Tuesday, February 1, 2011

All 'The King's Speech' and more

It's rare that a movie makes you feel sympathy for a king, especially a king of England.

But, hat's off to "The King's Speech," for doing exactly that.

The British film is reeling in most of the awards and deservedly so.

It was an absolute joy to see a movie without violence and noisy special effects.

Rather, it was brilliant acting, writing, directing, editing and cinematography that won the day.

How rare is that in this era of video game movies and blood-splattered films.

Some will say that it was just Masterpiece Theatre on the big screen with a dash of salty language. Well, so be it.

You won't find finer performances than those by Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth.

Two men, king and commoner, verbally spar with great dialog. They owned the screen and commanded my attention until the very end.

The supporting cast is excellent as well.

There were no gimmicks, no sleight of hand, just timeless craftsmanship.

It would be a relief to see "The King's Speech" take home the Oscar for Best Picture because, since 2002 when "Chicago" won, the Academy Awards have been dominated by violent, bleak films.

Yes, the final installment of "Lord of the Rings" won Best Picture in 2003, but it was largely a violent trilogy with video game imagery.

"The King's Speech" represents a new civility in filmmaking, one that respects its audience.

Another Oscar-nominated film that respects the viewer with honest acting is "Winter's Bone," which I saw on DVD.

Yes, a sense of dread pervades the movie like like a February fog, but it never descends into gratuitous violence. The no-name actors simply convey what no handgun could do. They make you feel the bleakness of the drug-addled Ozarks.

I have not seen "The Social Network," about the origins of Facebook, but I want to, because the screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, and director, David Fincher, do quality work. I just haven't made the effort to see it because, quite frankly, Facebook is so narcissistic that watching pure narcissism on the big screen doesn't thrill me.

I'll admit, I do have a Facebook page, but I have no idea what to do with it and it lies empty.

As for the other nominees, I did see "Inception" and enjoyed its multi-layer approach to the secrets of the subconscious mind. Still, never-ending chase scenes and pointless shoot-em-ups tarnished the film a bit.

"Toy Story 3" was fun, as usual, but it covered terrain that the second installment already explored. It's good to see it nominated, though.

As for "Black Swan," see my previous post.

As for the other nominated films, I haven't seen them and will likely wait until Netflix delivers them.

They include:

"The Fighter": Probably a fine film, but it's another boxing picture.
"127 Hours": Don't think I want to watch a man cut off his arm.
"True Grit": Most likely another quality Coen brothers' product, but it is a remake.
"The Kids Are All Right": About a real modern family that promises good acting, but definitely a small screen film.

In this crowded field, "The King's Speech" stands above the rest.

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