HG West

The Reel Thing– John Carter Film Review of Disney’s John Carter By Hamilton Richardson “Transplanted to Mars, a Civil War vet discovers a lush planet inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter a princess who is in desperate need of a savior.” (from IMDb.com) The preceding paragraph appears on IMDb.com describing the film, John Carter. As weird as it sounds, the description is totally accurate…and the movie is really very good. John Carter is based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ 11-volume Barsoom series of novels (1912–1943). How a civil war vet finds himself on Mars is a strange occurrence that seems to make sense when you’re watching the film. And Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) makes the character of John Carter truly his. The acting in the film is very good throughout, even though many of the main characters are CGI creations. Kitsch plays Carter creatively and with wit and charm, all the while playing the hero and in many cases, beating the tar out of the alien bad guys. The SFX in the movie are pretty good and were very important to the story since most of it takes place on a far away planet with a lot of strange creatures and weapons. The overall experience reminded me somewhat of Cowboys and Aliens, which I thought was a good flick. I loved the twist at the end, which has to do with whether John Carter is alive or dead and which planet he’s actually on. John Carter is a Disney production and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action. The Reel Thing gives John Carter four and a half out of five stars. UPDATE as of 4/21: I just read that John Carter was a colossal failure at the box office…bummer but I still loved it. No accounting for taste.

Posted in Uncategorized by hgwest on September 13, 2012

The Reel Thing film review– “True Grit”

Posted in Uncategorized by hgwest on March 29, 2012

True Grit has true talent

by Hamilton Richardson¶

I looked forward to seeing the new Paramount Pictures film, “True Grit,” starring Jeff Bridges, primarily for two reasons.¶

The first was that my 15-year-old son was eager to take me and two, I absolutely love westerns.¶

My love for western films is only surpassed by my love for really good western films, which this one is.¶

As a matter of fact, I am going to break one of my own rules and give the star rating of “True Grit” before I officially review the flick because I loved it so much.¶

The Jeff Bridges movie, “True Grit,” gets five out of five stars.¶

Jeff Bridges, of “Iron Man’ and “Tron” fame, as well as about a million other great films over the years, plays the cranky, mean and mostly heroic U.S. Marshall, Rueben “Rooster” Cogburn.¶

The movie takes place in 1870’s Fort Smith, Arkansas where Cogburn is recruited by 14-yeard-old Mattie Ross, played by one of the best young actresses I’ve seen, Hailee Steinfeld, to help her find and catch her father’s murderer, Tom Chaney.¶

Josh Brolin portrays Chaney, who is a less-than-brilliant criminal who is on the run from the law with Lucky Ned Pepper’s gang of thugs.¶

Cogburn, during one of more sober moments, agrees to track Chaney with Ross in tow and is soon joined by Texas Ranger, LaBoeuf, played convincingly and humorously by Matt Damon.¶

Imagine a young, smart-tongued, feisty yet intelligent girl plus a half-drunk, meaner-than-a-rattlesnake lawman and a cocky, egotistical Texas Ranger in one posse hunting a killer.¶

The humor that comes from this trio, along with some very poignant moments and very graphic violence, make this film a winner-of-a-western from all angles.¶

Bridges does an excellent job of creating for himself a character that stands alone from the original “True Grit,” in which John Wayne handled the role.¶

If you never saw the original two movies (“True Grit”-1969 and “Rooster Cogburn”-1975), you wouldn’t care because this film is so good all by itself.¶

The scenery, props, costumes and soundtrack in this film all exemplify what a classic western should be.¶

The acting of every character, even the most minor player, is wonderful and even at times qwerky, but always believable. ¶

I was glad to see one of my favorite actors, Barry Pepper, portraying Lucky Ned Pepper, a bandit on the run from Cogburn.¶

Pepper, who wore heavy make-up in the film to appear as a scarred up crook, was in several memorable movies including “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Saving Private Ryan.”¶

The newest adaptation of “True Grit” was produced by the Coen Brothers (Joel and Ethan), who also produced “No Country for Old Men.”¶

The duo worked hard to adapt the western as closely as possible to the book, which was written by Charles Portis in 1968.¶

The Film, “True Grit” is rated PG-13 for western violence including disturbing images. There are also several instances of mild profanity.