Jeff Bridges

Now Playing: MADE IN CHINA, BLOWN AWAY, BLIND DATE, ONE WEEK

Now Playing: MADE IN CHINA, BLOWN AWAY, BLIND DATE, ONE WEEK

On tap this week, we’ve got three quirky, funny and yes, sad films for the independent minded, plus a bonus: an unlikely blockbuster thriller with an unusual stock of Oscar-winning talent. That’s four films for the price of three. Who doesn’t love a holiday season deal like that?

TRUE GRIT

TRUE GRIT

I can’t speak to whether the Coen brothers’ TRUE GRIT is as faithful to the book as they claim, but if it is I’d be interested to see how author Charles Portis handles a grueling revenge story brought to a not so thrilling end followed by an abrupt 25-year flash forward and a less than satisfying conclusion. Despite great performances from the five lead actors and the efforts of two of the best filmmakers working today, this version of TRUE GRIT lacks the heart at the core of the 1969 film adaptation, not to mention the gratification an audience is due when the object of a burning revenge is shot dead.

TRON:LEGACY

TRON:LEGACY

A realistic-looking young Jeff Bridges is possibly TRON:LEGACY’s only high point.
For those who haven’t seen TRON since childhood, TRON: LEGACY might seem less like a true sequel and more like a complete reinterpretation. Long gone is the charmingly outdated animation of the 1982 original. In its place is a super slick, CG-world light years ahead of where the first film left off 28 years ago. Are we supposed to believe that the people/programs of Tron have advanced that far in under three decades? Of course not. TRON: LEGACY is less about believability and more about putting audiences in an experience so immersive that it distracts from the story’s many loopholes. The only problem is that with so many gaping flaws in the narrative it’s difficult to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Here comes the most depressing batch of holiday films in history!

Here comes the most depressing batch of holiday films in history!

Looking to Hollywood to brighten your Christmas season with laughs and good cheer? You’d have a better time renting old Hammer horror flicks.

The last month of the year has become less of a venue to trot out cinematic smiles and eggnog than to appeal to the dark side of the audience while also groveling for awards and recognition.

It’s a bleak time in the movie cycle, and I have no problem with that—in fact, I detest cheap sentiment—but I sometimes find myself dreading the December depressathons, even if they’re admittedly better for you than feelgood rom-coms and cutesy cartoons.

THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS

THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS

The United States was never going to develop a force of psychic spies until they heard the Russians were, or at least that’s the jump in logic we must accept in order to believe THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS. Enter Jeff Bridges, perfectly cast as Bill Django, equal parts military intelligence, paranormal researcher and daisy-wielding hippie. Django, armed only with several hemp necklaces and a long ponytail, is the commanding officer of The Earth Army, a select group of US soldiers whose specialties include yoga, remote viewing and the ability to stare a goat to death.