Wednesday, June 15, 2011

True Grit and Bridesmaids

True Grit 

LaBoeuf: You give out very little sugar with your pronouncements. While I sat there watchin' I gave some thought to stealin' a kiss... though you are very young, and sick... and unattractive to boot. But now I have a mind to give you five or six good licks with my belt. Mattie Ross: One would be just as unpleasant as the other. 

I finally saw True Grit and was pleasantly surprised by how much of an old school adventure story it was.  True Grit follows 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) as she seeks to bring her father's murderer, Chaney, to justice.  She hires US Marshall Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to track him down, and they are joined by Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon with a mustache!), who is also after Chaney.   

From the action-packed, rather-dark trailer, I was expecting True Grit to be more like Unforgiven, but the movie that True Grit reminds me of the most is actually Miyazaki's beautiful Porco Rosso- both feature young girls who experience the adventure of a life time with fascinating characters (Rooster and Porco).  I haven't always liked Westerns, but one thing that made me really start to enjoy Westerns is that they slow things down (long horseback rides) so that characters have to interact with each other.  I like that the characters, despite their faults, are all decent people and that the main trio, Mattie, Rooster, and LaBouef genuinely see each other for who they are and truly respect each other in the end.  From the trailers, I thought Damon looked very silly with his Western get-up, but he's fine in the movie and disappears into LaBouef.  Bridges is decent, though he is oftentimes hard to understand (subtitles definitely needed).  At the heart of the movie, though, is Steinfeld, who rightfully won an Academy Award nomination for her actin.  She anchors the movie and portrays Mattie as one of the strongest, most sensible female characters I've seen in a long time.

True Grit is less tense than I expected it to be.  It's a notch above the usual adventure movie, and I was especially surprised by how moved I was by the ending.  Definitely worth watching as an old school, slower paced Western.    


I'm a bit late on reviewing this one, but Bridesmaids is one of the best "raunchy" comedies I've seen in a while.      It's refreshing to see a female-centric comedy that is not so much focused on romance but rather friendships.  In some ways it is the female version of "The Hangover" movies, but it's so much more.  

Annie (Kristen Wiig)'s life is falling apart: she lost her dream business, has a super douchey f- buddy (Jon Hamm), and the only good thing going on in her life is her relationship with her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph).  Lillian makes Annie her maid of honor, but soon, Lillian's new friend, Helen (Rose Byrne) starts taking over her role as Lillian's best friend.   

The performances are what really make the movie.  I haven't been a big fan of Wiig on SNL; many of her characters are outrageous and obnoxious.  Kristen Wiig is fantastic as Annie, though.  She's down down to earth and believable as a woman who is really hurting herself with her low self-esteem.  The supporting cast is fantastic, as well.  I especially liked Melissa McCarthy's insanely confident Megan, Wendi McLendon-Covey's weary mother of three Rita, and Chris O'Dowd as a cop and Annie's love interest.  Jon Hamm is also hilarious in the few scenes that he's in.  He IS Don Draper, of course, but it's always nice to see him branch out and do comedy.  

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