True Grit (2010)


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.


Cowboys & Aliens (2011)


This movie was almost a complete mystery to me.  Going in I had no idea what to expect.  Was it going to be a ridiculous, out of this world, borderline B-movie?  Or perhaps it’ll be an action-packed bloodbath like Aliens vs. Predator?  Well, this is what it’s about:  a mysterious man wakes up with no memory and proceeds immediately to start kicking ass for about 2 hours.  I guess I did expect that too.  But in the end, this movie was, in my mind, a mish-mash of many movies I’d seen before, rolled together and filmed with famous actors.

From the early scene of night time abductions, the movie began to remind me Altered, which few may have heard of, but it was the common “aliens abduct humans at night for experiments” theme.  The scene was similar, up until the part that Jake starts retaliating with alien technology.  From then on, it just reminded me of a western and more action oriented version of District 9.  Things progressed pretty much as expected.  They revealed the mystery behind Jake much earlier than I expected, but it didn’t hinder the story-telling.  The girl was something else for sure, but I still don’t understand what her situation is.  Will she be back?  Obviously burning her to death doesn’t actually work, so why would an explosion?

One thing I was surprised by was their offensive tactic in fighting the stronger, more technologically advanced alien miners.  My initial plan would’ve been to take off alien arms and steal their weapons, since as far as we knew, there was nothing really stopping humans from using the alien weapons.  But no, we stuck with our pistols and arrows (minimal effectiveness), knives (effective at close range), and spears and shotguns (highly effective).  At least the actors seem to get very proficient with alien takedowns.  The first few aliens were impossible to get down, but by the end they were getting headshots and one hit kills with ease.

Coming out of the movie, I just really want to go horseback riding on the open plain.

Unforgiven (1992)


It was about time I got around to this movie. I guess the reason it took so long is I’m generally not that big a fan of Western’s in general. But, with the recent re-make of True Grit (which I actually have yet to see), I was in the mood to see a movie that has been deemed one of the best Western’s in recent history. Sure enough, I thought it lived up pretty well to its hype.

Not just another tough guy movie where the cowboy appears and guns down everyone in his path, Eastwood’s character has a worthy purpose, and hunts down those that deserve what they get. Along the way, we get to discover what each character is truly made of as well. Though the movie really takes its time laying out the entire situation with Clint and Morgan being washed up old men, it is quite interesting to see how they evolve before our eyes. As it draws toward the end, the feel of the movie reminds me a bit of Man on Fire, with the reformed ex-killer finding purpose for his killing again.

Two hours with quite a slow start and build-up but well worth it in the end. A good movie that I’d be happy to watch again in the future, just not the immediate future. As a side note, although I have not see the new True Grit, I do like the original True Grit starring John Wayne.