True Grit (2010)

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Despite gaining so much acclaim, I did not get a chance this movie until very recently.  I wondered how it would compare to the original True Grit movie starring John Wayne.  The original seemed like a timeless classic, and I wondered if Jeff Bridges would top John Wayne’s performance as Rooster Cogburn.

I can’t say I really liked it better or worse than the original.  Perhaps I had such high expectations for this version that were not quite met, but it was still fun to watch again.  It was still surprisingly similar to the old movie even though I had read many reviews saying this one was more faithful to the book.  But, now I’m interested in reading what exactly happens in the book.

I must say, John Wayne seemed like a much happier Rooster than Jeff Bridges did.  Jeff Bridges’s version was a better angry, pathetic drunk, which is the way the character is meant to appear.  All in all, I enjoyed the movie, but it was mostly carried by Jeff Bridges’s acting, and I felt the other actors contributed little to the movie.

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Real Steel (2011)

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I expected this movie to be very mediocre, and after watching it, I’m really glad I didn’t spend money to see it on the big screen.  In my mind, there is no parallel between human fighting and robot fighting.  A fight between people tests their spirit, but a fight between two robots, I feel, is just a test of engineering and programming quality.  A test of engineering quality deserves merit too, but it does not inspire people in the same way.

That is the main flaw with this movie.  It wanted to be inspirational, but it centered around a failure of a father/person as a protagonist who engages in robot boxing.  The whole movie felt like a weak, frail, lost little brother to the original Rocky.

Except Rocky was a good person who was a little mentally slow; traits most viewers empathize with.  But Charlie Kenton, on the other hand, was a man who gambles away his chances and abandons his own son; not the most attractive character.  Even at the end, when he was a better father, I did not like Charlie anymore than in the beginning.

And the flaw with the (not at all) epic final match was that it did remind me exactly of Rocky, with the underdog putting the champion against the ropes, but the final bell saving him.  In fact, I only enjoyed the last fight because, in my head, I was really re-living the first fight between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed; a fight that actually was inspirational.

In the end, this movie is predictable, and the story played out exactly the way I anticipated it to.  It was okay to watch, but I would recommend playing the movie on the side while you’re doing something else.  The film definitely does not require or deserve a viewer’s full attention.

Haywire (2012)

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I would consider Gina Carano’s first starring role as very successful.  The plot was nothing but predictable with a tagline like “They left her no choice,” but it was still exciting to watch a female lead break some necks and jump kick some fellow secret agents.

The plot is like all those movies where an organization tries to kill off their best agent.  It’s always baffling that the organization’s don’t realize that these people are “the best” in the company for a reason.  Obviously, it is because these killers are masters of their craft.

But aside from the plot, I felt the story was both told and shown in a unique way.  The movie felt like an independent film.  I shouldn’t be that surprised since it is Soderbergh directed, and I quite liked the way he filmed Traffic.  The soundtrack felt uniquely old school too, like I was straight out of some mid-century film.  The music also always stopped for the exciting hand-to-hand combat scenes of the film.  Clearly, they didn’t want anything to distract your full attention from Carano’s mixed martial arts skills on display.

It’s just a pity that they ended it in such a kitschy way, while setting up for a possible sequel. Truth be told, even though I liked the movie, I would NOT like to see a sequel.  I would like to see her added to the cast of Expendables 2 though, even if she is only an action star just coming into her prime.

Warrior (2011)

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Tree Of Life (2011)

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Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star (2011)

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I originally set out to see this movie on the opening weekend with some friends.  It didn’t happen.  The combination of a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 9 out of 100 on MetaCritic were more than enough to scare my friends and I away from it.  But still, in the back of my mind, the thought lingered, “Could this film really be that bad?”

After watching it, I almost created a new category of 0 star ratings for my blog, but decided that it was not worth the time or effort.  I expected it to be horrible and it was able to blow away all my expectations for how bad it could be.  Spare yourself the time and let us never think of this movie again.

The only possibly arguable redeeming factors are that I did not expect the details of the movie to play out the way it did, and I also did not expect it to be such a bad film for what was supposed to be a box office hit.  Happy Madison Productions, you’ve let me down…

The Muppets (2011)

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