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Movie Review: TRUE GRIT

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TRUE GRIT is not as good as critics say, and  HOW DO YOU KNOW is not as bad as they claim; but there's nothing better in theaters than THE KING'S SPEECH.

TRUE GRIT is Joel and Ethan Coen's remake of the popular 1969 western starring John Wayne. This new version stars Jeff Bridges as an alcoholic federal Marshall in the old West who is hired by a 14 year old girl to hunt down the man who killed her father.
Even though most critics are praising TRUE GRIT, the only part of the film I appreciated was its cinematography.

Director of Photography Roger Deakins creates a bleak, cold, dark and pitiless world for TRUE GRIT.
You really get a feeling for how rough life was in the high desert winter of more than a century ago.

But I was disappointed by the performance of Bridges as Rooster Cogburn mainly because I had a hard time understanding his mumbled dialogue.

Hailee Steinfeld plays Mattie Ross, the fourteen year old who's tougher than most adults and gets her way more often than not. Mattie is a surprising character and the actress does her justice.
So does the versatile Matt Damon as a Texas Ranger who's after the same man for a different murder.
      
And Josh Brolin as the killer everyone is looking for is a menacing villain.

 The stilted almost Biblical language of the film  is apparently typical of the west at the time, but I can't recommend a film  just because it has an authentic atmosphere, odd characters and deadpan humor. It's got to have a story that stirs emotions and this movie lacks that.
     
HOW DO YOU KNOW is an entertaining romantic comedy by James Brooks best know for Mary Tyler Moore and the hit film, BROADCAST NEWS.

Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, and Paul Rudd are the three corners of a love triangle in which everyone is human and nobody deserves to lose... even though somebody must.

HOW DO YOU KNOW  is no masterpiece but it sure is fun to watch.

I just learned that THE KING'S SPEECH opened here this weekend. Colin Firth is almost guaranteed to get a best actor nomination for his role as the stammering Duke of York who gets help from an unconventional speech therapist played by Geoffrey Rush. I'll review THE KING'S SPEECH next week, but I can tell you right now it's one of the best films of the year.