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crazy heart

Review: True Grit, Inside Job and Wild Target

By Cinema and Reviews

Once again the Coen Brothers set a stand­ard for every oth­er film to try and match. True Grit is every bit as bril­liant as its repu­ta­tion would sug­gest: the best west­ern since Unforgiven and a cent­ral per­form­ance from Jeff Bridges that is twice as good as the one he secured an Oscar for last year (Crazy Heart).

Bridges plays iras­cible one-eyed Deputy Marshall Rooster Cogburn, a man with a repu­ta­tion for shoot­ing first and ask­ing ques­tions later, a man with a taste for whis­key and a dis­taste for author­ity. He is hired by spunky 14 year old Mattie Ross (aston­ish­ing new­comer Hailee Steinfeld) to hunt down Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), the man who killed her law abid­ing, decent, cit­izen fath­er. Also, hunt­ing Chaney for a huge Federal reward (that dwarfs Mattie’s small bounty) is suave Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) and soon the chase is on, into law­less Indian ter­rit­ory where the fugit­ive is holed up.

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2010 Wellington Cinema Year in Review

By Cinema

So, after trawl­ing through the many thou­sands of words writ­ten about cinema in these pages this year, I sup­pose you want me to come to some con­clu­sions? Do some “sum­ming up”? Help guide you through the great video store of life? Well, alright then. Here goes.

We don’t do Top Ten lists here at the Capital Times – they are reduct­ive, facile and, frankly, you have to leave too many titles out. I have taken to divid­ing my year’s view­ing up into cat­egor­ies: keep­ers are films I want to have in my home and watch whenev­er the mood takes me; renters are the films that I could hap­pily watch again; then there are the films that I enjoyed but am in no hurry to repeat, the films I might have mis­judged first time around, the films I can’t get out of my head (for bet­ter or worse), the films I am sup­posed to love but you know, meh, and most import­ant of all – the films you should avoid as if your very life depends upon it.

First, the keep­ers: a sur­prise for some will be Fantastic Mr. Fox which was released after my 2009 Year in Review was sub­mit­ted and the only film in the list that I already own. Animal Kingdom was the film I most recom­men­ded this year – a stun­ning, tense piece of work that gripped me totally.

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Review: Shutter Island, Bright Star, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, Masquerades, Toy Story 3D and Crazy Heart

By Cinema, Reviews and Screenwriting

There’s some­thing very odd about the open­ing scenes in Shutter Island and it takes the entire film for you to put your fin­ger on it. Shots don’t match between cuts, there’s a stil­ted qual­ity to the dia­logue (too much expos­i­tion for a Martin Scorsese movie) and the pacing is off. For a while I found myself won­der­ing wheth­er Marty had lost the immense influ­ence of his great edit­or Thelma Schoonmaker, but there she is, still in the cred­its, as she has been for Scorsese since Raging Bull.

Several years ago, Scorsese played a prac­tic­al joke on me (per­son­ally, it felt like at the time) when an entire reel of The Aviator was treated to look like faded 1930s Technicolor – I went to the Embassy counter to com­plain and felt very sheep­ish to be told by Oscar, the pro­jec­tion­ist, that the dir­ect­or meant it that way. So, this time around I decided to trust the maes­tro and roll with the strange­ness and was rewar­ded with one of the best (and cleverest) psy­cho­lo­gic­al thrillers in many a year.

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