REVIEW: True Grit

True Grit
Directed by: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Written by: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (screenplay), Charles Portis (novel)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin

True Grit is not about the large names behind the camera and on the marquee, nor is it haunted by the ghost of John Wayne.  Above all, it is a fatalistic Western with more dry wit than dead bodies behind its lessons.  It is a tall tale about a small girl and her quest for blood.

Don’t be fooled by Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, or Josh Brolin.  The Coen Brothers know that many who aren’t drawn in by their own names will be drawn in by the names of those stars or fans of the original film that won John Wayne his Oscar.   All the hype surrounding the mystical one-eyed Marshall and his eye-patch has made many lose sight over the fact that this is indeed a film about that 14-year-old and the loss of her innocence by her own accord.

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REVIEW: The Ghost Writer

The Ghost Writer
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Written by: Robert Harris and Roman Polanski
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams, Kim Cattrall

It is wise advice to be told as a storyteller to separate personal affairs and creative work if you are looking to tell a good story. But if you are looking to tell a great story, then making your work personal is exactly what you want to do. Roman Polanski, a nearly 80 year old filmmaker publicly known for currently being placed under house arrest for a sex scandal that happened back in the 70’s with a 13 year old girl, does something like that.

The Ghost Writer is film is by no means Polanski’s personal film, nothing in the likes of Woody Allen’s Whatever Works which in a way is his firm defense on being charged with molesting his 7 year old adopted daughter and later marrying wife’s biological daughter. In no ways does Polanski involve himself in the politics of the film, nor does he allow that sort of thing to distract from the story, but politics and controversy are nonetheless haunting this somber political thriller much like Polanski’s ghastly past must haunt him. His familiarity with scandal may be the reason this film is done so authentically. Continue reading