Of what does true grit consist? Grit, presumably, but also something else, something that makes it easy to distinguish from false grit. True Grit the film consists of a young teenage girl in 1880 Arkansas who hires an old, fat, drunk, half-blind marshal to help her track down her father’s killer.
Nobody wants to say a disparaging word about an experimental reverie on Allen Ginsberg from the filmmaker who hit The Times of Harvey Milk out of the park. But just as directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s not-quite-docudrama thrills us with Ginsberg’s brilliance, so does it manifest the peculiar difficulty of trying to make a movie about same.
As man-against-nature stories go, 127 Hours is a bit of a detour: no fending off wolves or grizzlies, flash floods or blizzards. Aron Ralston’s foe is, instead, the inert but somehow malevolent boulder that falls—along with Aron—into a narrow crevice in the earth, pinning his arm and Aron himself.
Fair Game is the kind of film that expects to incite passion and outrage. By every token, it should. It centers on two gravely wronged people—Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson—whose careers were destroyed when their opinions conflicted with the George W Bush administration’s agenda.
The season of serious films is upon us. It’s time again for the earnest, honorable pictures that like to quiet the room, just when you’re in a good conversational groove, to say, “Ladies and gentlemen, may we have your attention, please?” Which means, “May we have your award consideration, please?” It’s the major studio idea of autumnal dignity.
In this film based on a true story, brother and sister Kenny (Sam Rockwell) and Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank) have the kind of fierce devotion to each other more often seen in movie lovers or mafiosi. Their connection is undoubtedly forged in a difficult childhood: a negligent mother and a painful separation, courtesy of the foster care system.
It’s strange to think that the famously adamantine Clint Eastwood would be so easy to brush off nowadays but, somehow, his movies have become overwhelmingly wishy-washy. It’s fitting, then, that a tsunami should be the inciting action of Eastwood’s Hereafter, a blundering and archly Babel-esque melodrama.