Director: Roger Michell, Rated M, 107 Minutes
Notting Hill director Roger Michell has crafted a surprisingly refreshing movie about an enthusiastic TV producer who after being fired by one TV station is hired by the IBS network to resurrect their low rating morning television program called ‘Daybreak’.
Rachel McAdams (‘Sherlock Holmes’) plays the vivacious Becky Fuller who is told at the outset by her boss Jerry Barnes (Jeff Goldblum from ‘Independence Day’) that she will only hold onto her job as executive producer provided that she can ensure higher ratings for the show within a short period of time.
Determined to succeed, she initially replaces the program’s male co-anchor with the veteran TV journalist Mike Pomeroy (‘Indiana Jones’ star Harrison Ford) - despite his objections - after invoking a clause in his contract that forces him to take on the morning co-anchor role opposite the show’s long lasting co-host Colleen Peck played by the fabulous Academy Award winner Diane Keaton (‘Because I Said So’).
In addition to setting his charming workplace comedy within a TV station (which also includes some romantics between McAdams and The A-Team’s Patrick Wilson), Michell has assembled a wonderful cast of characters and made the scenes between the feisty producer (McAdams) and the grumpy non conformist journalist (Ford) an absolute pleasure to watch.
It is similar to watching a young matador about to fight a bull in a ring.
And the additional highlight for movie goers is the delightful performance of McAdam which is, of course, complemented by the witty one-liners from Ford, the latter demonstrating once again that he can perform well in either action or comedic roles alike.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 ½ Rubber Stamps
Director: Joel and Ethan Coen, Rated M, 110 Minutes
Once again the Coen Brothers have demonstrated what great filmmakers they are in their stirring remake of the 1969 John Wayne classic ‘True Grit’.
Jeff Bridges reprises Wayne’s academy award winning role as the drunken, one-eyed US marshal Rooster Cogburn and newcomer Hailee Steinfield plays the determined 14 year old Mattie Ross who hires Cogburn so that he will help her capture her father’s killer Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin from ‘W’).
Against Cogburn’s wishes, Mattie ends up accompanying him on his journey into Indian territory where they are joined by Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon from The Bourne Trilogy’) who is also after Chaney for a similar offence.
In adapting to the screen Charles Portis’ 1968 novel of the same name, the Coen Brothers have cleverly intermingled the humour from the 1969 version with some of the suspense and thrills from their earlier movie ‘No Country for Old Men’.
But it is the acting and cast that are far superior to those of the Wayne movie, not to mention the pleasing visuals shot by brilliant cinematographer Roger Deakins (‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’).
Except for Damon’s somewhat uncomfortable portrayal of LaBoeuf, the performance by Bridges is considered more deserving of an academy award than the one he received for ‘Crazy Heart’ while that of Steinfield was simply brilliant and particularly impressive in her feature film debut.
In addition to presenting a thoroughly enjoyable movie, the Coens have also shown in their western blockbuster the real meaning of “true grit” through their two major characters - Rooster Cogburn and Mattie Ross.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 Rubber Stamps
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