Depp, Jolie and the Golden Globes

Guess the Hollywood Foreign Press doesn't know The Tourist isn't funny

The Golden Globe nominations were announced on Tuesday. And the world, collectively, said “what the … ?” Typically the awards (which, really, are the drunken Oscars) throw out a few nominations to ensure a celebrity-filled awards show, but this year I couldn’t help but laugh. Not only are Burlesque and The Tourist nominated for Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie were nominated for The Tourist. Seriously?

At least Burlesque is a musical. But Hollywood Foreign Press, you do realize that The Tourist is neither a musical nor a comedy? Right?

Why not Kick-Ass? Or Easy A?

Well at least True Grit was nominated for Best Motion Picture — Drama. What? … It wasn’t? For anything? Hmm.


When the sequel, Tron: Legacy, was announced, I was obviously excited. The original — along with The Last Starfighter, The Explorers, The Flight of the Navigator, and Clash of the Titans — was the sci-fi movie my brother and I adored. The light cycles. The tanks. The flying, two-legged crunchers (like Atari Imperial Walkers). Not much story, just arcade game fun. It was pure, 1980s adolescent perfection.

So after re-watching the original, I still felt nostalgic for the rudimentary special effects, but I could not wait to see what modern technology could make of this world.

[SIGNUP]And here, Tron: Legacy fully met my expectations. The black and white, neon world (aka The Grid) is vibrant and exciting. With the stunning 3D, like Avatar, the filmmakers use the technology not to simply have things fly off the screen, but rather to allow the viewer to peer into the world … to fully pull you into the depth of the environment. The light cycle scene is unbelievable. Forgoing the rectangular, flat playing field, these cycles zoom in and out of ramps and parallel levels.

Regrettably, the story doesn’t match the 3D effects. While the movie has a quick liftoff, the middle is weighted down by over-burdensome exposition. And talking. So, so much talking. Instead of recapturing and focusing on the fun of the first film, we endure endless discussions of religion, meditation, creation, and death. Sure there are cool new light planes, but this is after having to discuss the genocide of computer-created organisms. Fun, right?

If you are a Tron original fan, there are things in Tron: Legacy that will make your heart flutter. However, it’s hard to be serious about an arcade game movie that takes itself a little too seriously. (In theaters.)

N(y)erd alert: Wanting to catch Tron on DVD or VHS before you see the new one? Well, you better hope you have an old copy. Or a local video store has it. Despite the interest in the new film, the DVD, inexplicably, is not available for sale (or on Netflix). If you’re interested in buying a used one, it’ll set you back $100.

Oscar Watch: Expect the film to appear in many of the special effects categories.

My Grade: C+


You will find one of the finest performances of the year in The King’s Speech. Colin Firth, who at one time was simply seen as a charming-love-interest type, has become one of Hollywood’s most exciting and estimable actors. Stunningly stern and stoic in The Single Man and now regal and broken in this movie, Firth has a way of making the audience fall in love with him.

Firth plays King George VI of England, a monarch who ascends to the throne at a time when radio broadcasts are now mandatory. His father King George V (Michael Gambon) and his brother King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) are natural communicators. But George VI is incapacitated by a debilitating stammer. His wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) searches for doctors to help, but none do. When all hope is nearly lost, they meet Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) who will assist the King and become a lifelong friend.

The movie is near perfect. The performances, the costumes, the script, and the cinematography are gleeful and grand. We hold our breath when King George VI gives speeches. (The opening speech is excruciatingly difficult to watch and to hear.) We laugh with Lionel when he has the King, who Lionel calls Bertie, do his exercises. And we fall for these wonderful characters.

Rush and Bonham Carter give performances of their careers, but it is Firth who is astounding. The technique of re-creating King George’s stammer is flawless. His ability to be an aloof monarch and a loving father, husband, and friend is wonderful. There is a wonderful scene when, after having a horrible day, he comes home and sees his daughters. In a quick moment, his posture erects, his face lights up, and he takes his girls in his arms. It is a simple scene, but deeply effective.

The MPAA decided to give The King’s Speech an R rating. This rating is simply because it is discovered that the King does not stammer when swearing. But don’t let these two — profanity-laced but extremely funny — scenes prevent you from seeing this wonderful film. And Firth’s sure-to-be Oscar performance. (In theaters.)

Oscar Watch: Colin Firth is a lock (and probable winner) for Best Actor. Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter are sure-to-be Supporting Actor nominees. Also expect Best Picture, Best Director (Tom Hooper), and Best Screenplay nominations as well.

My Grade: A