The King’s Speech

The King

A few weeks ago, I saw and greatly enjoyed American Hustle. It’s all surface and doesn’t really add up to anything profound, but I was at a mall on Cape Cod with my mom, whom I was visiting for Christmas. We didn’t need, nor were we expecting, any great masterpiece, and I wasn’t on the hook to review the movie for anyone, so we went to the movies and had a grand old time. This reaction was by no means universal. A whole lot of people don’t like the movie, and a number of critics found it infuriatingly insubstantial and sloppy. It was ever thus. But, when I’m not serving as the model of critical equanimity, I spend my days in a state of nervous terror, brought on by an acute fear of “being wrong” whose scale is frankly silly in its enormity, which is why it may be a very long time, if ever, until I can rewatch American Hustle. Here are 5 more films that induce that same state:

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The Ingredients is a column devoted to breaking down the components of a new film release with some focus on influential movies that came before. As always, these posts look at the entire plots of films and so include SPOILERS.  There are two films in particular that I thought about while watching Hyde Park on Hudson, the new historical film about an alleged love affair between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Bill Murray) and distant cousin Margaret “Daisy” Suckley (Laura Linney). Three films if you count Rushmore, due to the reunion of Murray and Olivia Williams, who plays First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and the much-talked-about scene depicting a handjob in a car (not a bloody Jaguar, unfortunately), but I don’t consider this one to be an ingredient in the same way. The two that I do think of as more content-based precursors are Dave and The King’s Speech. Regarding the former, I’m surely highlighting the wrong film as an earlier instance of a leader and his wife who are all but legally separated behind closed doors, the wife fully aware of the husband’s mistresses. But Dave does involve the POTUS and First Lady, and Williams’s Eleanor did remind me at times of Sigourney Weaver’s character in the 1993 doppelganger comedy. There are very likely other dramas of adulterous true stories that relate more to the overall plot of Hyde Park. I haven’t seen the JFK-mistress movie An American Affair, which might more closely fit. But given that I really despised every moment […]

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Culture Warrior

For the first time in recent memory, I’m going into Oscar Sunday having no idea who is likely to take home many of the major awards. I’m sure there are entire websites out there devoted to an accurate prediction of who and what will take home the gold on Sunday, but there seems something a bit different about this year. Of the nine films nominated, I don’t have a clear sense of what would be the top five had AMPAS not changed the number of entries in the top category. While The Artist may clearly have more of a chance than, say, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, there’s no grand battle between likely leads like there was between The King’s Speech and The Social Network last year. And I don’t think I’m alone in stating that this year’s uninspiring list of nominees seems to reflect a growing indifference against the ceremony itself. Sure, on Sunday, like I have every year since I was eleven years old, I’ll watch the entire ceremony from beginning to end. And, like every year since I was twenty-one years old, I’ll make fun of the pompous and excessive self-congratulatory nature of the proceedings. But while in most years I have had some skin in the game, besides the two nominations afforded to the excellent Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and the presence of the transcendentally excellent Pina in the Best Documentary Feature category, this year I didn’t even get a sense that the Academy was awarding […]

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You heard me – I’m dumping practically everything I can think of at you, and no doubt I’ll still miss a few. In fact, there’s one I am intentionally leaving out just so I can watch the angry comments and laugh like a Disney villain. Honestly, though – after having my memory jarred by all the comments on my first installment of 14 of the Most Impressive Monologues in Movie History, I couldn’t not make another one of these. So here are, once more, some movie monologues out there that really stick out from the rest.

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Boiling Point

Ah summer. It is finally upon us. Okay, technically, in scientific terms, summer doesn’t begin until June, but in movie season, May is summer. Suck it, scientists. Summer brings many wonderful things: warmth, trips to the beach, drinking in the daylight, bikinis, and summer blockbusters. Unfortunately, summer also brings many terrible things: crippling heat, overcrowded beaches, drunken idiots, fatties in small swimsuits, and summer blockbusters. See, it’s a joke – some summer blockbusters are awesome, some are terrible. All of them, however, are designed to be fun, something many in the critical community can abide or swallow without gagging. Soon you’ll start seeing phrases like “a real summer movie” or “mindless summer fun.” You know what I call movies like that? Regular fun.

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This Week in DVD

The winner of the Best Picture Oscar earlier this year, The King’s Speech, hits DVD today, and in an odd bit of congruence so does Gulliver’s Travels. This of course means the two films cancel each other out. Luckily there are several other titles to choose from including another fist-slapping winner from Donnie Yen (Ip Man 2), a compelling documentary about geometrically shaped fish (Square Grouper), a hilarious movie about the loss of a child (Rabbit Hole), an incredibly sad adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels, and more! And don’t forget that sequel to Street Kings you’ve been waiting for… Plus, if you see anything you like, you can click on the image to buy it directly from Amazon. Don’t worry. We can’t track what you buy, so you can snag Gulliver’s Travels without being mocked. Norwegian Ninja I’m not usually a fan of historical films because they’re often incredibly bland and lacking in truthiness, but this absurdly entertaining movie from Norway deftly avoids that trap. The true story of Arne Treholt involves him being convicted of spying in the eighties and sentenced to two decades behind bars, but the even truer story is that he was actually the leader of Norway’s secret defense force made up entirely of ninjas. Yes, really. They fought the good fight through the use of mad ninja skills, their love for animals, high tech gear, and a camp “protected by feng shui.” The film is lovably low-budget as evidenced by the excellent use of miniatures and […]

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This Week in Blu-ray

This Week in Blu-ray, always giving you the latest details on the hottest releases in the world of high definition home entertainment. This week it’s a group of critically acclaimed films, from last year’s Best Picture winner to a bleak tale from the legendary Ken Loach. There’s also a Jack Black movie, which cannot be counted among the critically acclaimed. And there’s one of Nicole Kidman’s finest performances to date. All in high definition, all reviewed as part of this week’s Blu-ray selection. The King’s Speech A lot of strong reactions were had to The King’s Speech taking home the Best Picture award on Oscar Night. But whether you thought it was deserving of the win, or you thought the Weinsteins had pulled off a great magic trick, there’s no doubting the fact that it belonged among the nominees. It’s a lively story of one man’s struggle to become the leader his nation needs, a Royal story that feels grounded and full of characters we are comfortable around, even to the point of liking them. At the very least, the Blu-ray will be beneficial because it contains the R-rated original cut of the film, not the PG-13 abomination that recently played in theaters. It’s also well-stuffed with extras, including a deeper look at the real Lionel Logue, as well as real speech reels that were given by King George. It’s History Channel stuff, but who doesn’t love the History Channel? This is an easy pick in an otherwise dull week.

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The Week That Was

What is The Week That Was? Lets take a guess here, shall we? If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you’d know that we put a lot of words on the internet. Chances are that you didn’t have time to sit by your computer screen and wait for every single update. Though if you did, congrats, you’re our favorite. That said, by Saturday the rest of you might be struck with the depressing realization that you didn’t read all of the best articles the FSR staff put together this week. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with a round-up of all the best that this site had to offer over the course of the last seven days. Go forth and enjoy.

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The Weinstein Company has sent out a memo warning people that on April 1st, The King’s Speech will be replaced in theaters by The King’s Speech Lite, which might still taste great but will be less fulfilling. They’ve gotten the PG-13 rating they wanted by making the necessary changes and bleeping out the right words, but that’s the only version that will see screens starting April 1st, so if you still haven’t seen it and still want to be treated like an adult, March is your last chance until the rental shelf. On the flip side, if you’re a 15-year-old kid who’s been scratching your braces out to catch this Masterpiece Theater-style period piece, tear your Lady Gaga poster off the wall and replace it with a calendar featuring a giant red circle around the first day of April because that day is your V-Day.

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The Reject Report

Literally. The entire city literally came to life and fought its way to the top of the box office this weekend. Not unlike Fightin’ Around the World with Russell Crowe but with less Australian accent. Yes, while that idea may lead to an amazing film, it probably wouldn’t end up doing as well as Battle: Los Angeles did this weekend. It may not have opened quite as big as some analysts were expecting – some had predictions of the film opening in the low $40-millions – it did do quite well for itself. In domestic sales, it has already reach the halfway mark of its reported $70-million budget. Not much indication how the film, which is very Amurrican, will play overseas, but Sony can stand proud knowing their domestic opening weekend is considered a grand one.

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The Reject Report

That’s right. It’s a battle in here sometimes. Two or three or maybe even four films enter. One film leaves. Which film is it going to be this weekend? The science fiction endorsement for the Marines? The Twilight-esque take on a werewolf classic? The Disney computer animated film from the guy who directed 2002′s The Time Machine. Hint: it’s not gonna be that last one. They’re all in here, and they’ve taken their corners. It’s time to see who’s going to knock some aliens out of the sky and who’s going to be wearing a hood of shame.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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The Reject Report

Of course you can’t really fit many dollars in your hand. Even if you’re rocking Benjamins, the most you could fit in one hand would be a couple of hundred thousand. Rango made a whole lot more than that this weekend even if it wasn’t able to manage $40+ million. In fact, Rango gave Johnny Depp his highest weekend outside of the Pirates series and a collaboration with Tim Burton. Considering he makes a new movie with Burton every other month, that may not seem like such an accomplishment. It was also able to break into the 10 highest March openings of all time, sliding in between Robots and Wild Hogs. You know, those marks of groundbreaking cinematic achievement. Even with this nice of an opening weekend and the overall positive buzz it’s been able to generate, Rango will have a hard time matching its $135-million budget in worldwide sales let alone what it brings in domestically.

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The Reject Report

Reject Reports. Adjustment Bureaus. A talking gecko. You’d think we were shilling for an insurance company this week. Not the case, and Johnny Depp as Rango is infinitely more adorable than the Geico lizard. That might have something to do with the latter’s Cockney accent. Also on board this week are Topher Grace making a move to top billing and a Beauty and the Beast for the Twilight crowd. Of course, a blind Neil Patrick Harris might be cuter than anything the other three films have to offer. Let’s see who’s in line to make some cash.

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Editor’s Note: This review originally ran in November 2010, but since The King’s Speech just won the Academy Award for Best Picture, it seemed incredibly relevant. Enjoy. According to the dictionary, to be kingly is to be “stately or splendid, as resembling, suggesting, or befitting a king; regal.” The great movie kings — Henry II, Richard III, Arthur — fit that description, being strong, alpha male types, domineering presences unafraid to exert their authority and make their reign felt. What a surprise, then, to encounter George VI (Colin Firth) in Tom Hooper’s eloquent, emotional The King’s Speech. The current Queen Elizabeth’s father ascended to the throne in 1936, at a time that called out for a forceful leader. With scandal in his wake, spurred by his brother Edward’s abdication, and the European continent on the precipice of war, the new king faced the daunting task of inspiring an empire rife with tumult.

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Boiling Point

Every year about this time it’s become custom for me to spew a whole lot of vitriol, venom, and curses about the Academy Awards. Some of my most vile diatribes have been brought to the surface by the Oscars – Juno is still a pile of shit. As you’re probably starting to glean, this year is no different. They’re still the same old Oscars and I’m still the same young handsome boy modeling school graduate who’s got shit to say about them.

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The Reject Report

The third weekend was a charm for Disney’s Gnomeo and Juliet. While it had a modest drop from the previous weekend, the two new films – yes, including the film I said would be #1, but we’ll get there momentarily – were unable to pull in much audience. Gnomeo and Juliet came out on top in a weekend that wasn’t ground-breaking in terms of box office receipts. The era of computer generated animation is long from over, and that’s not just thanks to PIXAR. With films like Tangled and now Gnomeo and Juliet, Disney is continuing to prove they are THE force to be reckoned with when it comes to this type of film. The immediate future looks inundated with like animated fare. Two computer animated films hit  in both March – Disney’s Mars Needs Moms and Rango – and April – Rio and Hoodwinked Too!. The animated market is flooded, and with Summer right around the corner, its looking to be quite a success for the industry, as well.

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This article is part of our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. This Sunday’s 83rd Annual Academy Awards will be the second year in a row featuring ten nominees up for Best Picture, and once again that means a list inflated with titles that have zero chance of winning the award. No one really believes the idea was a good one, but it caters to a wider array of movie fans happy to see their favorite of the year get nominated. The five “actual” contenders this year are Black Swan, The Fighter, 127 Hours, The King’s Speech, and The Social Network with those final two films as the front-runners. The nominees are listed below with my prediction for the winner in red…

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We’ve reported before on the possibility of The Weinstein Company shooting for an edited version of The King’s Speech in order to get a brand new, shiny PG-13 rating. According to Variety, they’ve successfully done so. What does it all mean? It means that an Oscar contender for Best Picture has been watered down because 1) bad language is dangerous to our youth 2) teenagers put down their Nintendo DSes and sexting devices for long enough to lobby TWC to get a teenager-friendly version approved and/or 3) none of the above. What it really means is that if you haven’t seen the film, and you want to see it in all its (literal) fucking glory, you might not be able to soon. If TWC decides to pull all of the original, un-bowdlerized versions and replace them with the PG-13 version (which some source are saying has the words muted. That’s right. Muted. You’ll hear nothing instead of a human talking where a human is supposed to be talking), then you might be out of luck. As adults and movie fans, the only response is to do the opposite of what TWC expects – don’t go see the film specifically because its been edited. It’s unclear what role Tom Hooper played in this move, if any, but it is clear that The Weinstein Company has done it solely because they feel it will expand their profit base. However, the millions of teenagers demanding access to this film will finally get it […]

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If there’s one thing that’s really great about the Academy Awards it’s the manner in which they decide who gets nominated and, ultimately, who wins for each category. It makes little sense to have directors vote on who did the best acting, or musicians deciding on who had the most splendid photography, or screenwriters deciding who made the best non-scripted picture. Professionals in their field decide on which other professionals in their same field did the most exemplary work to represent their profession.

And thank God, because I can’t imagine how you would define what constitutes great directing. The job encompasses so much that great directing can be equally applied to someone obsessively anal about their “vision” just as much as someone who relies on spontaneity and ad-lib to achieve the best results. It can be applied to someone with incredible photographic technique and an eye for scene setup, and another who seems to have little regard for visual appeal. As the matter of fact, as of last year it no longer even matters whether you have a penis or not.

I absolutely have no clue what constitutes great directing despite having my own opinion, which carries no weight because I’ve never done it in my life. I probably couldn’t direct traffic let alone tell someone to film me doing it from a specific spot and focus on my anxiety in close-up and then cut to a slow-mo clip of me weeping when drivers don’t pay attention to me. If I could do that then maybe I’d have an idea what a great director really does.

Thankfully, I don’t have to as the Best Director is decided upon by others who have been there, done it and conquered it in their own way to acknowledge how difficult it must have been to focus all collaborators’ attention to the right areas at the right times to arrive altogether at the same, desired destination; which is ultimately arriving at a final product they can all be proud of.

Here are this year’s nominees for Best Director:

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