The Social Network Review

           When it was announced in 2009 that David Fincher was going to direct Jesse Eisenberg in a film about the creation of facebook there was a lot of doubt over whether the film (eventually nicknamed “the facebook movie”) could be pulled off.  Fast forward one year and we were given the answer.  It was a yes as Fincher and company did pull it off.

            The Social Network follows three different storylines.  The first one follows the events that lead to Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) creating facebook with the help from his only friend, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), and an idea that might have come from the Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer plays both of the twins with his head digitally added to Josh Pence’s body for one of the twins).  The second follows the deposition in a lawsuit filed by the Winklevoss twins against Mark.  The final storyline follows a second deposition in a second lawsuit  filed by Eduardo Saverin against Mark for events that are eventually revealed in the film.

            If there was to be a most valuable contributor for this film it would definitely have to be Aaron Sorkin for his masterful script.  Sorkin is able to create easily the most quotable film since 2008’s The Dark Knight.  However, this is not the script’s only strength.  Sorkin adds in a bunch of zip and the script moves at a racecar like pace.  Most importantly, Sorkin creates a bunch of characters that can’t stop making bad decisions and yet we come out feeling bad for all of them.  They may be assholes but Sorkin makes them assholes we can feel for.  Unfortunately, the same can not be said for David Fincher’s direction, which, in my opinion, is the most overrated aspect of the film.  I could easily see other directors pulling this film off as good if not better than Fincher.  Fincher’s style is very noticeable throughout the film and in most cases feels out of pace (such as a very stylized rowing race scene, a scene following a group of women traveling to a dark-lit club to party, and some CGI enhanced cinematography during another club scene).  I acknowledge I am in the minority in this opinion but I truly believe it to be true.

            The cast of this film is pretty top notch.  Jesse Eisenberg is just as integral to the creation of Zuckerberg as the script.  Eisenberg is perfect for the fast pace dialogue the script contains, and he ends up creating one of the most fascinating film characters of this generation (so interesting that it is quite obvious that the events of this film are either not true or very exaggerated).  Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin has gotten the most critical love out of the three major supporting males but I think Justin Timberlake does more by making a more despicable figure, Sean Parker, into a sympathetic one by the end of the film.  Armie Hammer is also a great service to the film as the most antagonistic characters in the film, the Winklevoss twins.  However, the greatest performance of the supporting cast is Rooney Mara in a brief role as Zuckerberg’s ex-girlfriend.  She surprisingly makes the most impact on the viewer despite appearing in only 2 scenes.

            The behind the camera aspects of the film are pretty good.  The score on its own is amazing but within the context of the film seems out of place at times.  The cinematography is at times great but at other times over the top.  The editing is great and definitely awards worthy.  However, most impressive is the CGI.  One of the big complaints of Tron: Legacy was how the CGI Bridges looked fake, but here the inclusion of Armie Hammer’s head onto Josh Pence’s body to make the second Winklevoss twin looks completely real.

            Although it is not the second coming (like some critics make it out to be), The Social Network is a solid biopic featuring one of the most interesting film characters of the new millennium in Mark Zuckerberg.


The Social Network has been nominated for 8 Academy Awards including:
-Best Picture
-Best Director-David Fincher
-Best Lead Actor-Jesse Eisenberg
-Best Adapted Screenplay
-Best Original Score
-Best Editing
-Best Cinematography
-Best Sound Mixing

83rd Academy Award Nominations Predictions Update

I ended up predicting 86/120 of the nominations correctly for a percentage of 71.67%. Some highlights:
-I correctly predicted all 10 Best Picture nominees
-In the top 8 categories, I predicted 39/45 nominees for a percentage of 86.67%

The Bad, The Ugly and the Unforgivable: The 83rd Annual Academy Award Nominees

            As the nomination ceremony commenced this morning (with Mo’Nique and AMPAS president Tom Sherak announcing the nominees), I noticed how everything was going relatively to plan.  All the predicted nominees were, for the most part, becoming the actual nominees (There were small surprises such as Michelle Williams, John Hawkes and Javier Bardem making it into their respective categories).  However, when the Best Director field was announced something went horribly wrong.
            Rewind to a little over 10 months ago where I found myself looking upon this nomination day with much more enthusiasm than I normally would with that many months out.  The Reason?  It appeared many of the, in my opinion, most overdue people in the business were finally going to be represented.  Sam Rockwell, one of the most criminally underrated actors in the business, finally decided to do an Oscar bait film with Conviction, there was a lot of buzz over Christian Bale’s weight loss requiring role in The Fighter and, of course, there was a director who was unfairly scorned 1 year prior…Christopher Nolan.  Embarrassed by this snub for Nolan’s work on The Dark Knight, the Academy worked to make changes that would prevent it from happening again (the 10 Best Picture nominee field and the preferential ballot).  So with Inception the Academy now had the perfect chance to redeem themselves. 
            Fast forward a little more than 4 months later and Inception is a critical and box office smash.  Nolan is finally being hailed as one of the greatest directors of his generation and it looks like Inception is in good shape come Oscar nomination time.  Fast forward 5 months and despite losing some buzz that it once had Inception is doing great at the guilds (including an ACE nomination for Lee Smith’s masterful editing).  However, most importantly, Christopher Nolan received another Director’s Guild Award.  This was his third one (his work for Memento and The Dark Knight were the others).  The DGAs are great precursors of the eventual Oscar nominee field and usually end up predicting 4 of the eventual 5 nominees.  Last year, for instance, the DGAs correctly predicted all 5 Best Director nominees at the Oscars.  So surely Nolan was going to get that nomination, right?
            Nope, wrong!.  As the directors nominee field was announced Nolan’s name was skipped over.  One of the greatest directors of our time was shunned again (although to the Academy’s credit they gave Nolan nominations in Original Screenplay and Picture). Instead of Nolan the field included such names as Tom Hooper, David O. Russell and the Coen Brothers.  Nothing wrong with any of these directors and their films, but can you seriously tell me what they did was a greater directorial achievement than what Nolan did?  Nolan created an entire world and guided his entire cast and crew through a tight rope walk.  He included fight scenes, romantic scenes, scary scenes and dreams within dreams within dreams scenes.  He pulled off an ending that will most definitely still be talked about 50 years from now.  Could Hooper, O. Russell or the Coen brothers pull off Inception.  Don’t kid yourselves, of course not (well the Coens…maybe).  However, Nolan could definitely pull off the The King’s Speech and True Grit and probably pull off The Fighter.
            As the announcements continued, Inception did pull of a Best Picture nomination but what’s the point without the captain of the ship not joining in on the journey?  However, the Academy hid their greater sin within the technical categories not to be announced on television.  Lee Smith was snubbed for his editing work on Inception.  Can you really tell me with a straight face that Black Swan, The Fighter, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours and The Social Network were edited better than Inception?  None of the directors were given a challenge like the heist scenes in Inception.  Sure, Andrew Weisblum (Black Swan) and Angus Wall & Kirk Baxter (The Social Network) cut some great sequences but nothing comes close to Lee Smith somehow making dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams that are all occurring at the same time watchable.  Without Smith, Inception fails.
            The Inception snubs weren’t the only problems with this year’s batch of nominees.  Where were Black Swan’s cringe-Inducing (in the very good way) sound nominations?  Bale was nominated (but that was inevitable) but Rockwell is nowhere to be seen for his work in Conviction.  The Ghost Writer got a big fat goose egg.  Rabbit Hole only got a nomination for Nicole Kidman.  Daft Punk got skunked in the Original Score, and you can bitch all you want about the CGI Bridges but no visual effects nomination for TRON: Legacy is a huge snub.
            The only small morsel of goodness that came out of today’s nominations was that National Geographic’s underrated War in Afghanistan documentary, Restrepo, pulled off a surprise nomination.

Final 83rd Academy Award Nominations Predictions

            Here are my final Oscar predictions.  It seems this year is a lot more open in the acting categories than last year, and if you remember last year there was the shocking nomination for Maggie Gyllenhaal.  So you should expect to see at least one surprise in the acting fields tomorrow.  The Best Picture race is a little more closed than last year though.  Last year there was 1 spot open with many films in contention (that spot eventually went to The Blind Side).  This year there are only 11 films vying for 10 spots.

Best Picture
-127 Hours
-Black Swan
-The Fighter
-The Kids Are All Right
-The King’s Speech
-The Social Network
-Toy Story 3
-True Grit
-Winter’s Bone

I am sticking with 127 Hours and Winter’s Bone in the final 2 slots.  The Town seems too much like a lesser film then the other two.  What I mean by this is that the other 2 films said more within them and Oscar loves message films.

Best Director
-Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
-Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, True Grit
-David Fincher, The Social Network
-Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
-Christopher Nolan, Inception

I’m sticking with my guns here and using the thinking that O. Russell still isn’t well liked in Hollywood which would allow the Coens to sneak in and grab the final slot.

Best Lead Actor
-Jeff Bridges, True Grit
-Robert Duvall, Get Low
-Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
-Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
-James Franco, 127 Hours

Despite a late challenge by Javier Bardem, the SAG lineup should show up again for the Oscars.

Best Lead Actress
-Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
-Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
-Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
-Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right
-Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Bening, Kidman, Lawrence and Portman are locks, but that final slot could go to anyone.  I’m betting that the Oscars follows BAFTA’s lead and nominates Bening’s co-star Julianne Moore.  Hailee Steinfeld probably would have scored a nomination here if they campaigned her lead from the start.  I’m guessing now that vote confusion over category placement will cost her a nomination.

Best Supporting Actor
-Christian Bale, The Fighter
-Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
-Jeremy Renner, The Town
-Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
-Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

Bale, Ruffalo and Rush seem like locks and Renner seems in good shape (However, there is always the chance that the late Pete Postlethwaite gets enough votes to cause a split vote between the two and they cancel each other out).  For the final spot I am assuming Garfield gets in on The Social Network’s coattails. 

Best Supporting Actress
-Amy Adams, The Fighter
-Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
-Mila Kunis, Black Swan
-Melissa Leo, The Fighter
-Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

This is by far the most wide open of the big 8 categories.  Adams, Carter and Leo are the only locks.  I already explained why I think Hailee Steinfeld will miss out here (and in lead) and I think the same reasoning will cost Lesley Manville a nomination.  Jacki Weaver seems the most safe for one of the two nominations as Mila Kunis may have a split vote situation with co-star Barbara Hershey.

Best Adapted Screenplay
-127 Hours
-The Social Network
-Toy Story 3
-True Grit
-Winter’s Bone

I doubt The Ghost Writer will surprise here due to lack of recognition on the precursor circuit (with the exception of a USC scripter nomination which holds no similarities in voting body with the Oscars).  Considering I am counting on The Town missing out in picture I really don’t think it will make it here and that leaves the 5 I am predicting left.

Best Original Screenplay
-Black Swan
-The Fighter
-The Kids Are All Right
-The King’s Speech

The last 2 spots (The Fighter and Black Swan) are up for grabs but considering those 2 films are best picture contenders I think they will make it.

Best Original Score
-127 Hours
-Alice in Wonderland
-The King’s Speech
-The Social Network

The King’s Speech, Inception and The Social Network are the only 2 locks here.  How to Train Your Dragon and Never Let Me Go could definitely make it in here.

Best Original Song
-“I See the Light”, Tangled
-“If I Rise”, 127 Hours
-“Shine”, Waiting For Superman
-“You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me”, Burlesque
-“We Belong Together”, Toy Story 3

This is by far the craziest category of the bunch.  Runaway frontrunners have been known in past years (Eddie Vedder for Into the Wild and Bruce Springsteen for The Wrestler) to get snubbed of a nomination.  So take these predictions and anyone else’s for this category with a grain of salt.

Best Foreign Language Film
-In a Better World
-Life, Above All

Another crazy category but In a Better World and Incendies appear to be locks.

Best Documentary Feature
-Inside Job
-The Tillman Story
-Waiting For Superman
-Waste Land

It would be great if Restrepo could make it in here but I am not counting on it.  Gasland, Inside Job and Waiting For Superman are the locks here.

Best Animated Film
-How To Train Your Dragon
-The Illusionist
-Toy Story 3

I am counting on a surprise nomination for The Illusionist.  The other 2 have been locked and loaded for months now.

Best Live-Action Short
-Ana’s Playground
-God of Love
-Na Wewe
-The Six Dollar Fifty Man

These are the only 5 films on the finalist list that have a visible campaign going (meaning websites).  So they would be the best guesses.

Best Animated Short
-Coyote Falls
-Day & Night
-The Gruffalo
-The Lost Things
-The Silence Beneath the Bark

Coyote Falls and Day & Night have gotten the most publicity and seem like good bets.  However, the rest of the category is anyone’s guess. 

Best Documentary Short
-Killing in the Name
-Living for 32
-One Thousand Pictures: RFK’s Last Journey
-Poster Girl
-Sun Come Up

Your guess is as good as mine but Living For 32, Poster Girl and Sun Come Up should make it in based on its content (the Virginia Tech shooting, women in the military and climate change respectively).

Best Film Editing
-Black Swan
-The Fighter
-King’s Speech
-The Social Network

The Fighter, Inception and The Social Network are locks with Black Swan not far behind.  You would also have to assume that The King’s Speech will get a nomination here if it is to have any chance at winning Best Picture.  127 Hours, True Grit or Shutter Island could always surprise.

Best Cinematography
-Black Swan
-The King’s Speech
-The Social Network
-True Grit

Black Swan, Inception and True Grit are locks here.  I think the two Best Picture frontrunners will fill out the last 2 slots but 127 Hours or Shutter Island could score here.

Best Art Direction
-Alice in Wonderland
-The King’s Speech
-Shutter Island
-True Grit

Inception, The King’s Speech and True Grit are the locks.  The other 2 look like the period or fantasy based films that are commercials hits that normally score here.  However, watch out for Black Swan.

Best Costume Design
-Alice in Wonderland
-The Fighter
-The King’s Speech
-True Grit

Alice in Wonderland and The King’s Speech are locks.  True Grit isn’t far behind.  The last 2 slots are up for grabs as Black Swan, Made in Dagenham, Robin Hood or the Tempest could make the field.

Best Makeup
-Alice in Wonderland
-The Fighter
-The Wolfman

The top 2 are locks and you would think the last spot would got to a Best Picture nominee (only The Fighter and True Grit made the short list).

Best Visual Effects
-Alice in Wonderland
-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
-TRON: Legacy
-Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World

I doubt the other 2 finalists (Hereafter and Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World) can break in.  Update: Rumor is that Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World's presentation for visual effects went very well so I am now expecting it to get nominated instead of Iron Man 2.

Best Sound Mixing
-127 Hours
-Black Swan
-The Social Network
-True Grit

Inception is the only lock.  The other 4 scored big in this category on the precursor circuit but there is always the chance Shutter Island and (especially) TRON: Legacy sneak in here.

Best Sound Editing
-Black Swan
-Iron Man 2
-The Social Network
-TRON: Legacy

Inception is once again the only lock.  The type of film that normally gets nominated here is a blockbuster so expect a few of those with a best picture frontrunner (The Social Network?) thrown into the mix.

Hypothetical Nomination Leaders
11-The King’s Speech
10-Inception, The Social Network
9-Black Swan
8-The Fighter, True Grit
6-127 Hours
5-Alice in Wonderland, The Kids Are All Right
3-Toy Story 3, Winter’s Bone
2-Burlesque, TRON: Legacy, Waiting For Superman

The nominations will be announced at 8:30am EST tomorrow.  They will be live streamed on and CNN and the other morning shows normally cover them.  (E also normally has a 15 minute show covering them but I still have to confirm if they are doing that again this year).  Update: E! will be providing coverage beginning at 8:38am EST

Lord of the Films Podcast

Sorry for the lack of posts recently.  I have been working on starting a podcast for this website.  The 1st episode will be tonight @ 11pm @ UStream.  I will be discussing my final Oscar predictions, my top 10 tv series of 2010 and my top 10 films of 2010.

Boardwalk Empire: Season 1 Review

           Boardwalk Empire features one of the great ensembles to ever appear on television.  The casting department for this series was genius in their approach as they went about finding the best character actors and younger actors on the verge of a breakout to bring onto the show.  Now if only the story and screenwriting for the show was just as good.

            Boardwalk Empire follows the life of Nucky Thompson (a criminial kingpin and treasurer of Atlantic City played by Steve Buscemi) as well as his entourage and enemies.  As the season continues, Nucky faces more opposition in his attempts to have his party get reelected and a challenge about how he handles himself with his lover, Margaret Schroeder (Kelly Macdonald).

            The best episodes of this season were the ones where the storyline had some momentum (the pilot episode directed expertly by the great film director Martin Scorsese, “Nights in Ballygran” that shows one of the first big showdowns between major characters and the finale which is written by series showrunner Terrence Winter).  However, the problem with this series so far was that it rarely showed a direction for the story or had any momentum.  It was by no means bad but very generic.  Luckily, the cast and behind the camera crew keeps you watching this show.

            The casting directors were genius in deciding to cast a bunch of character actors and "team player" actors (the ones who are always great in small roles).  In the lead is Steve Buscemi who is given the least amount of material to work with but still makes an interesting character.  The real standout among the leads, however, is Kelly Macdonald as Margaret Schroeder.  She perfectly nails the accent her character is required to have and makes you root for her the whole way (even if many of her actions are questionable).  Michael Pitt is also great in a breakthrough role as one of Nucky Thompson’s protégés.  He definitely looks and acts like a young Leonardo DiCaprio.  The supporting cast is large and there are a bunch of standouts so I will only mention the best of the best.  Michael Stuhlbarg is great as the villainous Arnold Rothstein.  It is amazing that the big role he played before this was a loser-type figure in A Serious Man and he follows that up with this devilish performance.  The other standout is Stephen Graham who is very believable as a young Al Capone.  He is everything you imagine him to be.

            The behind the camera aspects of this series are also very impressive.  The cinematography is outstanding (especially in the Scorsese-directed pilot).  The art direction and costume design are some of the best ever put on the small screen.  The editing is sharp and very cinematic.  Most impressive is the visual effects which are great but almost unnoticeable.

            Featuring what is probably the best ensemble currently on television and some great directing, Boardwalk Empire is a show that could become one of the best on tv if it improved its storyline.


As part of Golden Globes Week, here are the nominations this series received:
-Best TV Series, Drama
-Best Lead Actor, Drama Series-Steve Buscemi
-Best Supporting Actress, TV Series-Kelly Macdonald

Easy A Review

            Easy A is one of those light-romantic comedies that actually works.  It oozes wittiness and features a star making performance by Emma Stone.

            Easy A is partially based off of The Scarlet Letter and follows a series of events that Olive (Emma Stone) finds herself in after she lies about losing her virginity to a college boy.  Along the way she keeps running into Todd (Penn Badgley) who she is secretly in love with.  She must also now keep Todd from finding out what she has gotten involved in.

            The film is directed by Will Gluck (his big directing breakthrough) and written by Bert V. Royal (his first screenwriting gig).  You could not at any point in this film tell that the creative team behind it was filled with a bunch of novices.  Royal’s script is one of the better ones from this year.  Royal, very effectively, takes a classic piece of work (The Scarlet Letter) and makes it his own.  He then fills it with a bunch of one-liners (which in most cases come across as lazy but not here).  Will Gluck doesn’t have as impressive of a breakthrough as Royal, but he does very solid work (and the material doesn’t require more than that from him).  The one thing I really liked about his work was the way he displayed how information travels throughout the campus the film is set in.  It is a very interesting gimmick.

            The second standout of the film (along with the script) is the cast.  Emma Stone is already being cited as having one of the breakthrough performances of the year for her portrayal of Olive and she is definitely deserving.  She is very believable in her role (which many actors portraying high school characters struggle to be).  She easily handles all of the one liners, and, most importantly, she makes you feel for her character.  The supporting cast is just as good.  Amanda Bynes is surprisingly good as Olive’s nemesis.  She is over the top but it’s just as the character should be.  Patricia Clarkson is great in her small role as Olive’s mother.  She perfectly fits into the crazy mother archetype.  Many of these characters actually are archetypes but the actors who play them are able to make the characters rise above the material.  No one does that better in this film than Stanley Tucci.  He really is a chameleon-like actor and can play almost any role.  So it is really funny watching him play the crazy father who may be gay.

            A strong cast led by Emma Stone and some great breakthroughs by the director and writer make Easy A a notch above your normal romantic comedy.


As part of Golden Globes week, the nominations for this film are:
-Best Lead Actress, Comedy or Musical-Emma Stone

The Fighter Review

            The Fighter is an almost great film that ends up being just an okay film due to casting issues.  You see, the film has a performance for the ages with Christian Bale’s portrayal of former boxer and current drug addict, Dickie Eklund, but the rest of the cast can’t match up to him.  However, the film relies on all actors being equal as the film contains a lot of arguments between the main characters.  Consequently, everyone else besides Bale’s Eklund comes across as a jerk even though his character is the most morally reprehensible.  So in this aspect the film is a failure.  Luckily, other aspects of the film save it.

            The Fighter follows the real life story of brothers Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale).  Dickie Eklund is the “Pride of Lowell” and constantly reminisces about his glory days when he once knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard.  Currently, he is his brother’s trainer, but he harbors a dark secret.  With Dickie falling behind as a trainer for him, Mickey has to decide whether to continue working with his family (including Melissa Leo as his mother) or follow his girlfriend’s (Amy Adams) advice and find a new crew to bring him to a championship.

            The film is directed by I Heart Huckabees helmer David O. Russell and written by Scott Silver (8 Mile), Paul Tamasy (Air Bud), Eric Johnson and Keith Dorrington.  The film at times seems like it is about to lose its focus but quickly regains this focus.  It appears that in this case this is mostly due to a lackluster script that was healed by Russell’s style and dedication to his craft.  Despite the film’s many flaws, O. Russell works hard to make the movie his own and at the same time brings the material to another level.  He only partially succeeds but he succeeds a lot more that most directors would with the material.  This easily could have been another Rocky ripoff.

            The cast is the main problem here.  Bale, as mentioned before, is phenomenal in a tour de force performance.  He is (as usual) almost unrecognizable.  He truly looks like a crack-addict and has a Boston accent more authentic then that of a real Boston inhabitant.  If you are unsure about seeing this film, see it just for him.  Melissa Leo as the mother is also solid.  She comes across as a little over the top at times and spends most of her time in the film with the scene-stealing Bale so she doesn’t come across as Oscar-worthy.  Wahlberg is fine until he actually takes a stand for himself.  We are supposed to agree with our hero but when Wahlberg takes his stand we can’t help but feel sorry for Bale as Wahlberg’s character takes him down.  The big miscasting here is Amy Adams as Micky’s girlfriend, Charlene.  Her character is constantly arguing with Bale and Leo’s characters and can never hold a candle to their characters.  Due to this, she comes off as a big jerk when really we are supposed to see a strong woman in her character.

            Sharp editing and some authentic cinematography make the fight scenes really work in this film.  Everything else (Behind the camera) is pretty average.

            In conclusion, The Fighter is a film that only partially succeeds.  Some bad casting and a script that doesn’t know what to do with the material bring the film down.  However, Christian Bale’s performance should be enough for any moviegoer to want to see this film.


As part of Golden Globes Week, all films and TV Series reviewed will include the awards they have been nominated for:
-Best Picture, Drama
-Best Director-David O. Russell
-Best Lead Actor, Drama-Mark Wahlberg
-Best Supporting Actor-Christian Bale
-Best Supporting Actress-Amy Adams
-Best Supporting Actress-Melissa Leo

The King's Speech Review

            The King’s Speech is definitely one of those films that is perfect at what it sets out to do but what it sets out to do does not require any amount of ambition.  In my opinion, (despite its perfection at what it does) it cannot be considered a great film.

            The King’s Speech follows the formation of the friendship between King George VI (Colin Firth) and the man who tries to fix his stammer, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).  The film’s backdrop is the eve of World War II as England needs a new figure to look up to.

            The film is directed by Tom Hooper (who is probably most known for directing the miniseries John Adams).  Hooper’s direction is average.  There is nothing wrong with it but there isn’t anything great about it either.  This is definitely not a director’s film.  David Seidler writes the script for the film (This is Seidler’s big breakthrough in film).  Seidler’s script is definitely a huge part of this film’s success.  He makes the relationships of not only King George VI and Logue interesting but the relationships between King George and his family as well.  Sure the film ends very predictably, but the character interactions easily make up for it.

            The cast is spectacular in this film and is deserving of any ensemble awards it receives throughout the awards season.  Colin Firth is at the top of his game while playing King George VI.  He is given the tough task of portraying a character with a stammer and not coming across as obnoxious or hammy.  The stammer actually comes across as very genuine and works perfectly (to the point that you are sometimes cringing as he tries to get the words to come out of him).  Firth is deservedly the front runner for the Oscar.  Geoffrey Rush is a perfect companion to Firth as his Lionel Logue has perfect chemistry with King George VI.  If it wasn’t for Firth, Rush would be stealing scenes left and right.  He has all of the funny moments in the film and really makes this movie very accessible to the average moviegoer.  Helena Bonham Carter is adequate as the wife of King George and as the third lead of the film.  The supporting cast is just as good as the first two top liners.  Guy Pearce is probably the best as a very conflicted King Edward VIII.  Michael Gambon is perfect casting as King George VI’s father and Timothy Spall (although miscast) brings his all as Winston Churchill.

            The production design and costume design are both top notch (and some of the best of each for the year).  Although the score is somewhat lackluster the sound mixing on this film has been very underrated so far.  It deserves as much credit as Colin Firth in bringing out the cringing effect I witnessed.

            Despite some phenomenal acting and great production qualities, the story and directing is too average to be considered a great film.  It would be very disappointing if this turned out to be our next Best Picture winner.


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