(12-22-2010) KCUR Arts Reporter Steve Walker sets us straight on which films are worth seeing this week.
The King's Speech
Playing King George VI, father of the current Queen of England, Colin Firth is the man to beat for this year's Best Actor Oscar. The royal suffered from a debilitating, humiliating stutter which, in turn, ate away at his charm and confidence. With the loving support of his wife (Helena Bonham Carter) and the unorthodox tactics of a speech coach (Geoffrey Rush, who's also wonderful), he is eventually able to fill the shoes he was born to wear. Ably directed by Tom Hooper, the movie is whip smart, engagingly funny, and incredibly moving. - Steve Walker
In their superb remake of the dated John Wayne hit of the late 1960s, the Coen Brothers made a wise decision to ignore the older movie completely. Their brilliantly rich and dense script is a heartfelt salute to Charles Portis's novel, which had the sharper and bloodier edge they needed to make the film their own. The movie's beautiful cinematography is by Roger Deakins and it features 3 terrific performances at its core: Jeff Bridges as the one-eyed drunk, Rooser Cogburn; Matt Damon as the pompous Texas ranger; and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld as the steely heroine whose story it really is.
- Steve Walker The Fighter
The true story of Boston boxer Mickey Ward is a punch to the solar plexus, thanks to fierce performances from Christian Bale as his drug-addled brother and Melissa Leo as their over-protective mother. Though director David O. Russell embraces all the clich?s of the boxing movie, he does so with his own style and vigor, frequently employing hand-held camera to put the Ward family right in our face. Though it's not in the class of "Raging Bull," it's very good. - Steve Walker