"True Grit" in theaters - g'ddamn, this really isn't a hard one for me to rate against the original at all... Hailee Steinfeld outacts and outperforms and outshines Kim Darby even when Hailee's just standing still in front of the camera. that she performs brilliantly when she's not just standing still is gravy. Matt Damon stomps Glen Campbell's performance into the dust. Josh Brolin beats Jeff Corey as Tom Chaney. poor Domhanll Gleeson loses versus Dennis Hopper in the 1969 version (it's really unfair to compare them). Barry Pepper holds his own versus Robert Duvall's performance in the original, as does Jeff Bridges versus John Wayne. so the 2010 clearly wins on casting.
it wins on story too... and dialogue...
highly recommended, two enthusiastic thumbs up.

"Of Blood and Honey" by Stina Leicht in bookstores - urban fantasy has been popular for quite some time, particularly paranormal romances where kickass heroines stomp their enemies into bloody mud puddles and limp back home for some unfulfilled longing (or, in the case of Laurell K. - far too long and boringly fulfilled longing, so much so that it sometimes outweighs the plot by a factor of ten to one).
"Of Blood and Honey" is nothing like that. Fey and fallen angels and the Church and the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the '70's combine together into a brutal story where no character is untouchable and our lead, Liam, gets the shit beaten out of him physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually multiple times. it's beautifully written, taking the reader to a place and time no sane person would ever want to be except through the magic of a book. Stina obviously did her research and it shows. the book could have a sequel, but none is required and to make one work emotionally might be problematical - i don't doubt Stina could do it if she writes a sequel, but to make it feel right from the lead character's point of view will take some effort.
it's magical, but it's a dark magic - a gritty, 'realistic' magic - and there's nary a "and they lived happily ever after" to be found. i very highly recommend it. plus, bonus points, she's a local (Austin) author and God knows local authors should be supported.

"The King's Speech" in theaters - we went to see this film at the Alamo, and it was a semi-violation of our "Does It NEED To Be Seen On The Big Screen" standard... no, it didn't - but I'm so very very glad we did.
I can't think of a single negative thing to say about this film, with one tiny exception - I shall never again have the experience of watching it for the first time.
Superb casting, writing, directing... two extremely enthusiastic thumbs up from the wife and I.


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