The good, the bad and the remakes...
The King’s Speech has won over everyone who has seen it. A quirky buddy movie with a period backdrop, it charts the relationship between Prince Bertie, later King George VI, and his speech therapist as he attempts to cure his debilitating stammer.
Colin Firth is the king, Geoffrey Rush is Aussie speech therapist Lionel Logue, Helena Bonham Carter is Princess Elizabeth (later the Queen) and Michael Gambon is King George V.
First-class writing and strong performances make this one a sure-fire winner. Firth is already being touted as an Oscar nominee as Best Actor. If so it will be his second nod in as many years.
Last year, Firth lost out to Jeff Bridges, who carried off the shiny golden man for Crazy Heart. Bridges is a definite contender for another nomination in 2011 for his grizzled lawman in the Coen Brothers’ re-working of True Grit. Whereas John Wayne turned Charles Portis’s novel into a vehicle for his own trademark brand of Western mythology, the Coens have gone back to the source and crafted a Western that emerges as an instant classic.
Bridges is Marshall Rooster Cogburn, the irascible, drunken saddletramp hired by Mattie Ross (newcomer Hailee Steinfeld) to track down the no-good ranch hand who killed her father.
Yet while Bridges is careful to put several thousand miles between his interpretation of Rooster and The Duke’s, the Coens litter the film with familiar lines and scenarios which will delight aficionados of the traditional (read “Hollywood”) Western, circa 1969. And if Bridges wins two Oscars in a row, he will have won for the same role that garnered Wayne his only Academy Award when he won for Rooster Cogburn in 1970, aged 62. Bridges is 61. Kismet beckons...
Christian Bale shines as a washed-up boxer in the square ring memoir The Fighter. Based on the true story of small-town American pugilist “Irish” Micky Ward and his older brother Dicky, David O Russell’s drama is less about the fight game and more about the familial pressures that drive these two very different men.
Dicky is the man who had a chance and blew it. Micky has his own chance – perhaps the only one he will ever have in life – and his family holds him back. Can he surmount it all? And will Dicky step up as only a brother can, or be forever lost in a tidal wave of drugs?
A superlative British cast inhabits Never Let Me Go, adapted by Alex Garland from the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro and directed by Mark Romanek. Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley are the children bred as organ donors in a grim Dystopian England.
Romanek and Garland have the courage to follow the book’s grim tone and never
OUCH!: James Franco as Aron Ralston in the harrowing true story of a climber who freed himself by cutting off his right arm.
WINNER: Jeff Bridges won an Oscar for and is a contender for a nomination for