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ZooTown74
Member since May 29th 2002
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Wed Nov-24-10 03:21 AM

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"The King's Speech (Hooper, 2010)"
Thu Nov-25-10 12:10 PM by ZooTown74

  

          

Ladies and gentlemen, I have seen what is (right now) a dark horse Best Picture candidate, and it is called The King's Speech, a (fact-based) story about the man who would become King George VI (Colin Firth) and his serious problem with stuttering. But since he initially has no real desire to become a ruler, he believes it's no big deal. His wife, the soon-to-be Queen Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter, back in Howards End babyface mode), thinks otherwise, and hires a speech specialist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) to help her husband out.

I'm going to go ahead now and say go ahead and give Oscar nominations to the following people: Director Tom Hooper, Screenwriter David Seidler (though it appears the script was heavily rewritten), Composer Alexandre Desplait, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush, and Colin Firth.

Ah, yes, Colin Firth. He hooks you in the very first scene of the movie, as he, at this time only known as the Duke of York, has to give a speech in front of a packed house at Wembley Stadium. Firth shows you the heartbreak of the moment by using nothing but his eyes. Makes you want to root for the guy to work through his issues and get over the fact that he, through a series of events, is going to become king... I thought it was a stellar performance, topping the work he did last year in A Single Man...

Some might argue that Geoffrey Rush is just putting on another variation of the "crazy renegade" character that he's played before, but I'd say that's not really the case here. He's a guy who's quite confident in his skills but also completely awed (and somewhat embarrassed) by the fact that he's literally been handpicked to help royalty out... it's a fun performance from him...

In fact the script is quite witty and includes some bon mots that apparently were actually spoken by George and Lionel... even still, it's very good work here by Seidler (and whomever else)... I was also impressed with Tom Hooper's work (didn't see John Adams), particularly the way he and DP Danny Cohen frames a lot of the shots...

Yes, this is yet another British period piece that's gunning for awards but to me this movie really isn't like other pieces, mainly because this is a surprisingly spry story of an unlikely friendship and isn't really concerned with class issues... I certainly thought it was a lot of fun... and that the R-rating that this movie got is TOTAL and COMPLETE BULLSHIT.

BTW, if you watch Nurse Jackie be on the lookout for a barely-recognizable Eve "Dr. O'Hara" Best in a small but pivotal role...

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
everything I've heard about it so far makes me want to see it
Nov 24th 2010
1
Saw this shit 3 weeks ago....
Nov 25th 2010
2
love Firth as an actor so I will give this a shot .
Nov 25th 2010
3
100% agree, this film is gonna grab a few statues (deservedly)
Nov 27th 2010
4
Great movie. One of the best (if not the best) about royalty I've seen.
Dec 18th 2010
5
RE: The King's Speech (Hooper, 2010)
Dec 19th 2010
6
I liked it.
Dec 25th 2010
7
this was great
Jan 02nd 2011
8
Firth was awe inspiring. Rush was fantastic. Great movie.
Jan 03rd 2011
9
no way!
Jan 06th 2011
10
      RE: no way!
Jan 06th 2011
11
Haven't seen Blue Valentine, The Fighter or 127 Hours
Jan 08th 2011
12
I was surprised I liked this more than The Social Network
Jan 14th 2011
13
this will sound like an exageration, but its not
Jan 23rd 2011
14
joining the lovefest.
Jan 23rd 2011
15
Underwhelmed
Jan 23rd 2011
16
RE: Underwhelmed
Jan 23rd 2011
17
RE: Underwhelmed
Jan 23rd 2011
18
      interesting switch up there
Jan 24th 2011
19
           Well, I think he's saying that he needs the exact historical context
Jan 24th 2011
20
                RE: Well, I think he's saying that he needs the exact historical context
Jan 24th 2011
22
                     Kinda agree with you.
Jan 31st 2011
25
                          Stuttering is debilitating.
Jan 31st 2011
29
                               I had a speech impediment when I was a kid.
Jan 31st 2011
30
                                    Fair enough.
Jan 31st 2011
33
Did you / are you gonna see Weir's new flick?
Jan 24th 2011
21
      yep
Jan 24th 2011
23
It was enjoyable
Jan 28th 2011
24
dark horse no longer
Jan 31st 2011
26
Why was it rated R anyway?
Jan 31st 2011
27
He dropped the F bomb more than once in a non-sexual context
Jan 31st 2011
31
      that's lame. a 'fuck' here and there never hurt anyone.
Feb 02nd 2011
35
that movie is fucking awesome. period.
Jan 31st 2011
28
yup
Jan 31st 2011
32
Why The King's Speech is a gross falsification (Swipe)
Feb 02nd 2011
34

janey
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Wed Nov-24-10 11:55 AM

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1. "everything I've heard about it so far makes me want to see it"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

and I've been a big fan of Colin Firth since Another Country.

~ ~ ~
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bwood
Member since Apr 03rd 2006
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Thu Nov-25-10 10:13 AM

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2. "Saw this shit 3 weeks ago...."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

and yea it lives up to the hype. Everyone should peep this ASAP!!!

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DJ007
Member since Apr 06th 2003
5447 posts
Thu Nov-25-10 06:56 PM

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3. "love Firth as an actor so I will give this a shot ."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          


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theprofessional
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Sat Nov-27-10 02:02 AM

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4. "100% agree, this film is gonna grab a few statues (deservedly)"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

firth is looking at a jeff bridges style lock on best actor. like you said, he was great last year in a single man and amazingly even better here. the empathy he evokes is immediate. rush will grab a nomination in the supporting category. the screenplay is sharp and funny, the direction is spot on. the interplay between rush and firth is just brilliant.

*minor spoiler* the finale when firth is about to give his speech, most tense moment in the film, and he's like, "how can i ever thank you?" rush's response brought the theater down. just two masters at work. at the risk of raising expectations, right now it's easily in my top three films of the year, and i'm not even into these british royalty films like that. you're absolutely right, it's a dark horse for best picture.

"i smack clowns with nouns, punch herbs with verbs..."

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
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Sat Dec-18-10 09:08 PM

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5. "Great movie. One of the best (if not the best) about royalty I've seen."
In response to Reply # 0
Sat Dec-18-10 09:09 PM by Frank Longo

  

          

Firth is great... easily one of the best performances of the year. A big crowd-pleaser, which is why it could topple The Social Network at the Oscars. Firth and Rush are both great, and the script is really witty. I was surprised to find how funny this movie is.

And the R rating is beyond bullshit.

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theMindofFury
Member since Feb 26th 2003
683 posts
Sun Dec-19-10 11:06 PM

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6. "RE: The King's Speech (Hooper, 2010)"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

My friend is pumped about this, she's a speech therapist and is thrilled to see a movie tackling this subject. Plus it looks really good.

C

"This brother is free; I'll be what I want to be."

  

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Ryan M
Member since Oct 21st 2002
42359 posts
Sat Dec-25-10 11:20 PM

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7. "I liked it."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Not ready to give Firth the nod over Franco yet, but those 2 are neck in neck IMO. You have the British period piece, and you have the guy acting and carrying a movie by himself. Both amazing performances which carry a film, and both are portraying real-life people, which the Academy loves.

However the flick itself is really well done...and this is coming from a dude who pretty much yawns when "British period piece" or "film about royalty" is ever brought up. I liked it quite a bit, and everyone was great in it. I thought Firth and Rush had amazing chemistry.

It's likely the favorite to win Best Pic, I'd think.

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lfresh
Member since Jun 18th 2002
92693 posts
Sun Jan-02-11 09:51 PM

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8. "this was great"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

never thought a WW2 speech by a royal would have me riveted
but it did

=)
~~~~
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~~~~
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The Analyst
Member since Sep 22nd 2007
4621 posts
Mon Jan-03-11 02:07 PM

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9. "Firth was awe inspiring. Rush was fantastic. Great movie."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I need not say much more. The ability of Firth to convey such a wide range of nuanced emotions by using mostly facial expressions (especially the eyes) was remarkable. My girlfriend especially loved Rush's performance, and left the theater giddily thinking he will win the statue for supporting actor.

Everyone should see it. I haven't seen Social Network yet, but I can't see how this movie won't give it stiff opposition come awards season.

----

  

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ternary_star
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Thu Jan-06-11 08:39 AM

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10. "no way!"
In response to Reply # 9


  

          

>My girlfriend especially loved Rush's performance, and left the
>theater giddily thinking he will win the statue for supporting
>actor.
>


i LOVED this movie...kinda blew me away considering i didn't really even want to see it. and all of the performances, including Rush, were amazing.

BUT.

if Christian Bale doesn't win Best Supporting this year, it'll be a real travesty. that was one of the best performances i've ever seen.

  

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The Analyst
Member since Sep 22nd 2007
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Thu Jan-06-11 03:48 PM

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11. "RE: no way!"
In response to Reply # 10


  

          

We haven't gotten around to seeing The Fighter yet, so I could very well end up agreeing with you.

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Marauder21
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Sat Jan-08-11 05:21 PM

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12. "Haven't seen Blue Valentine, The Fighter or 127 Hours"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

But right today, this is my best picture of 2010.

Simply incredible.

------

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The_Red_Ninja_Turtle
Member since Jul 14th 2007
7064 posts
Fri Jan-14-11 08:27 PM

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13. "I was surprised I liked this more than The Social Network"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

great fucking movie. Just wonderful. I even liked Helena Bonham Carter and i don't really care for her.

and yeah the R is complete and total bullshit.

  

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astralblak
Member since Apr 05th 2007
20029 posts
Sun Jan-23-11 01:29 AM

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14. "this will sound like an exageration, but its not"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

This movie shits on the competition in many categories and if it loses any awards to that Silly Ass Social Mehwork I will punch niggaz in the face just for living

I thought this was gunna be one of those grandiose bourgeois cinematic exercises that panders to Eurocentric ideas of philosophy and art to old critics, but damn was I wrong. Firth was a revelation. I hung on his every word, stutter, pause and mannerism. Rush was an exceptional compliment and HBC showed she ain't just good a playing the weird crazy bitch. The framing of shots, the color schemes, the wardrobe, and THE DIALOGUE had me stuck. People need to see this movie.

I'll stop being all dramatic now.

  

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selppataei
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Sun Jan-23-11 02:18 AM

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15. "joining the lovefest."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

btw, didn't realize mrs. logue was jennifer ehle until the end credits.

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colonelk
Member since Dec 10th 2002
5056 posts
Sun Jan-23-11 03:31 PM

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16. "Underwhelmed"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Perhaps there was just too much hype.

This was a nice little film with solid performances by Rush and Firth. Could have just as easily been a nice little play. (Just looked it up--was originally a BBC radio play).

The bigger context stuff were where the film stumbled. Why exactly was that dude doing a comical Churchill impression? Why was Churchill even in this movie? Did the king's ability to give a speech really save the Empire from Nazi Germany? Color me skeptical.

Some of the most interesting stuff (how exactly did the civil government force Edward off the throne) is glossed over.

Also, not a fan of the photography. Some nice lighting here and there but altogether far too many super-wide-angle lenses shoved up in actor's faces. Odd. And then there was that WTF high angle wide lens shot of the family packing.

Not really sure why this leaps out from the standard masterpiece theatre pack of Mrs. Brown, Tea With Mussolini, and other Judi Dench type vehicles.




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ZooTown74
Member since May 29th 2002
43582 posts
Sun Jan-23-11 04:56 PM

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17. "RE: Underwhelmed"
In response to Reply # 16


  

          

>The bigger context stuff were where the film stumbled.

But this movie isn't about "the bigger context stuff."


>exactly was that dude doing a comical Churchill impression?
>Why was Churchill even in this movie? Did the king's ability
>to give a speech really save the Empire from Nazi Germany?

But the speech wasn't really designed to "save the Empire." It was both a warning and a call to action for the country. I don't see where it was said at any point by any character that the speech was going to save England from Nazi Germany.

The movie's not about the effect of the speech, it's about the fact that he had enough confidence to deliver the speech in the first place. It's a personal story within the context of historical world events. And said world events don't all have to be given equal time, because they're not the actual focus of the story.


>Some of the most interesting stuff (how exactly did the civil
>government force Edward off the throne) is glossed over.

That's because it's not the story of how Edward got forced off the throne. It's King George VI's story, and while what happened to Edward is a key part of it, it's not about the machinations of British government or royalty.


>Also, not a fan of the photography. Some nice lighting here
>and there but altogether far too many super-wide-angle lenses
>shoved up in actor's faces. Odd. And then there was that WTF
>high angle wide lens shot of the family packing.

Fair enough.


>Not really sure why this leaps out from the standard
>masterpiece theatre pack of Mrs. Brown, Tea With Mussolini,
>and other Judi Dench type vehicles.

Probably because it's more witty and down-to-Earth than any of those pictures.

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colonelk
Member since Dec 10th 2002
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Sun Jan-23-11 08:49 PM

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18. "RE: Underwhelmed"
In response to Reply # 17


  

          

I guess then the problem is: I just don't care.

Without the context, he's just a supremely rich guy getting rid of a speech impediment. Not something that really moves me.



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lfresh
Member since Jun 18th 2002
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Mon Jan-24-11 08:12 AM

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19. "interesting switch up there"
In response to Reply # 18


  

          


>Without the context, he's just a supremely rich guy getting
>rid of a speech impediment. Not something that really moves
>me.


first it all about context

now it's without context blah blah

see what you did there?


~~~~
When you are born, you cry, and the world rejoices. Live so that when you die, you rejoice, and the world cries.
~~~~
You cannot hate people for their own good.

  

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ZooTown74
Member since May 29th 2002
43582 posts
Mon Jan-24-11 11:18 AM

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20. "Well, I think he's saying that he needs the exact historical context"
In response to Reply # 19
Mon Jan-24-11 11:19 AM by ZooTown74

  

          

in order to care about what happens to the characters in the film...

(Which is actually in there, just not to the extent that he would like it to be)

And kinda makes me wonder if he were not misled by the title of the film...

It's understandable; there *is* a possible double meaning in the title "The King's Speech"... maybe more...

Even still, the movie's not meant to be seen as a historical document about the events and processes and alleged nation-saving speeches leading to the British involvement in World War II; this is not that story. So one possible reading of the title is actually incorrect.

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colonelk
Member since Dec 10th 2002
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Mon Jan-24-11 08:35 PM

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22. "RE: Well, I think he's saying that he needs the exact historical context"
In response to Reply # 20


  

          

>in order to care about what happens to the characters in the
>film...

I don't need *exact* historical context. But they throw a lot of historical context in there (Hitler, Churchill, war looming, soldiers listening attentively to the speech, Edward's fiancee allegedly fucking Nazis) and then don't really make it work.

Why not, for instance, hew closer to the real story--future George VI got his stammer well under control in the late 20s, a decade before the beginning of WWII?

It seemed like the filmmakers really wanted to add all this context. I think it didn't work. And contrasting with all these grand happenings, the personal crisis just doesn't seem that consequential.

Again, this was a nice film with some nice performances. But it doesn't really rise above the genre for me.

I prefer, for instance, Frears's The Queen, which seemed to fuse the personal and public crisis much better. And was shot better to boot.



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denny
Member since Apr 11th 2008
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Mon Jan-31-11 12:07 AM

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25. "Kinda agree with you."
In response to Reply # 22


          

It's clear that the movie tries to present him as courageous and that didn't hold up well for me.

He's royalty. All he's gotta do is stay out of trouble and he's fine. And I couldn't help but reflect on the legitamacy of the 'tension' in the final scene. He has to read a brief speech written by someone else.

Kinda seems ridiculous doesn't it. I mean....what if he DID start stuttering a bit. Would the entire British empire have surrendered to the Germans?

Good movie though. It's just the 'struggle' and 'courage' seem a little silly from a certain perspective I kept returning to. Also....I chuckled a bit when he cried about his nanny pinching him and not feeding him. Really? My sympathies were not engaged.

  

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ZooTown74
Member since May 29th 2002
43582 posts
Mon Jan-31-11 03:51 PM

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29. "Stuttering is debilitating."
In response to Reply # 25


  

          

If you can't feel any kind of empathy for someone who has trouble with it, then I really don't know what to tell y'all.

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denny
Member since Apr 11th 2008
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Mon Jan-31-11 08:01 PM

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30. "I had a speech impediment when I was a kid."
In response to Reply # 29
Mon Jan-31-11 08:20 PM by denny

          

True story. I didn't stutter but noone understood me except for my brother. He used to have to translate for me to my mom.

I had corrective surgery on my tongue when I was 6 which fixed the problem but from there....I had to go to special classes and the whole bit. But seriously....people didn't understand a word I said til I was about 8 so I never talked.

I gotta 9 year old daughter with Tourette's syndrome now. Somewhat related to stuttering/stammering in terms of social stigma.

Sorry for the appeals to my real life....but seriously, I was looking forward to the film. Just didn't sympathize.

Edit: A little off-topic but speaking of Tourette's....documentary film buffs should check out the BBC film 'John's not Mad'. There's a follow-up they made for it 10 years later as well. Possibly the most heart-wrenching film I've ever seen.

The whole thing used to be on youtube....now I can only find the follow-up. Here's part 1:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnyTMzQ76WA&feature=related


  

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ZooTown74
Member since May 29th 2002
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Mon Jan-31-11 11:08 PM

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33. "Fair enough."
In response to Reply # 30


  

          

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Sponge
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Mon Jan-24-11 05:22 PM

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21. "Did you / are you gonna see Weir's new flick?"
In response to Reply # 16


          

  

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colonelk
Member since Dec 10th 2002
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Mon Jan-24-11 08:37 PM

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23. "yep"
In response to Reply # 21


  

          

Doesn't sound like a home run but Weir has not given me a dud in a long time. So until he disappoints I'll keep giving him the benefit of the doubt.

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okaycomputer
Member since Dec 02nd 2002
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Fri Jan-28-11 07:35 AM

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24. "It was enjoyable"
In response to Reply # 0


          

But it was also pretty much exactly what I expected from the trailer. I think I may have let the praise pump my expectations up a bit much.

I thought Rush was excellent. His performances are usually a bit much for me. I thought he pulled it back at just the right times and nailed what could have easily been really over-the-top and unbearable performance.

Firth of course was excellent as well. The whole movie succeeds or fails on that stammer and he nailed it.

The one performance I didn't much care for was Guy Pearce. He was two steps away from being a cartoon character.

The direction was good for the most part, but Hooper occasionally got a little too cutesy with the framing. There was one shot of the Lougue family in their living room where they were positioned as if they were posing for a painting. Was this an homage to something?

A good movie with great performances. But aside from that I don't think it does much new with the 'overcoming personal odds' story. Seems like one of those movies primed for Best Picture only to be left completely out of the conversation in 5 years time.

  

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theprofessional
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Mon Jan-31-11 12:33 AM

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26. "dark horse no longer"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

"i smack clowns with nouns, punch herbs with verbs..."

  

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Nopayne
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Mon Jan-31-11 03:21 PM

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27. "Why was it rated R anyway?"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

---
Love,
Nopayne

  

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Marauder21
Charter member
49516 posts
Mon Jan-31-11 08:25 PM

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31. "He dropped the F bomb more than once in a non-sexual context"
In response to Reply # 27


  

          

Which is an automatic R.

And using the f word even once in a sexual context is also an automatic R.

------

12 play and 12 planets are enlighten for all the Aliens to Party and free those on the Sex Planet-maxxx

XBL: trkc21
Twitter: @tyrcasey

  

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Nopayne
Member since Jan 03rd 2003
52486 posts
Wed Feb-02-11 12:09 PM

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35. "that's lame. a 'fuck' here and there never hurt anyone."
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---
Love,
Nopayne

  

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Heinz
Member since Dec 26th 2003
20555 posts
Mon Jan-31-11 03:46 PM

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28. "that movie is fucking awesome. period."
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astralblak
Member since Apr 05th 2007
20029 posts
Mon Jan-31-11 08:41 PM

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32. "yup"
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.

  

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The_Red_Ninja_Turtle
Member since Jul 14th 2007
7064 posts
Wed Feb-02-11 12:48 AM

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34. "Why The King's Speech is a gross falsification (Swipe)"
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/jan/31/the-kings-speech-gross-falsification

By Christopher Hitchens

The King's Speech is an extremely well-made film with a seductive human-interest plot, very prettily calculated to appeal to the smarter filmgoer. But it perpetrates a gross falsification of history. One of the very few miscast actors Timothy Spall as a woefully thin pastiche of Winston Churchill is the exemplar of this bizarre rewriting. He is shown as a consistent friend of the stuttering prince and his loyal princess and as a man generally in favour of a statesmanlike solution to the crisis presented by the abdication of the prince's elder brother, King Edward VIII.

In point of fact, Churchill was for as long as he dared a consistent friend of conceited, spoiled, Hitler-sympathising Edward VIII. And he allowed his romantic attachment to this gargoyle to do great damage to the very dearly bought coalition of forces that was evolving to oppose Nazism and appeasement. Churchill probably has no more hagiographic chronicler than the American author and biographer William Manchester, but if you look up the relevant pages of his The Last Lion, you will find that the historian virtually gives up on his hero for an entire chapter.

By dint of swallowing his differences with some senior left and liberal politicians, Churchill had helped build a lobby, with strong grassroots support, against Neville Chamberlain's collusion with European fascism. The group had the resonant name of Arms and the Covenant. Yet, as the abdication crisis deepened in 1936, Churchill diverted himself from this essential work to the horror of his colleagues in order to involve himself in keeping a pro-Nazi playboy on the throne. He threw away his political capital in handfuls by turning up at the House of Commons almost certainly heavily intoxicated, according to Manchester and making an incoherent speech in defence of "loyalty" to a man who did not understand the concept. In a letter to Edward VIII written that same year not cited by Manchester he spluttered his hopes that the king would "shine in history as the bravest and best beloved of all the sovereigns who have worn the island Crown". (You can see there how empty and bombastic Churchill's style can sound when he's barking up the wrong tree; never forget that he once described himself as the lone voice warning the British people against the twin menaces of Hitler and Gandhi.)

In the end, Edward VIII proved so stupid and so selfish and so vain that he was beyond salvage, so the moment passed. Or the worst of it did. He remained what is only lightly hinted in the film: a firm admirer of the Third Reich who took his honeymoon there with Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom he forfeited the throne, and was photographed both receiving and giving the Hitler salute. Of his few friends and cronies, the majority were Blackshirt activists such as the odious "Fruity" Metcalfe. (Royal biographer Philip Ziegler tried his best to clean up this squalid story a few years ago but eventually gave up.) During his sojourns on the European mainland after his abdication, Edward, then the Duke of Windsor, never ceased to maintain highly irresponsible contacts with Hitler and his puppets and seemed to be advertising his readiness to become a puppet or "regent" if the tide went the other way. This is why Churchill eventually had him removed from Europe and given the sinecure of a colonial governorship in the Bahamas, where he could be well-supervised.

All other considerations to one side, would the true story not have been fractionally more interesting for the audience? But it seems that we shall never reach a time when the Churchill cult is open for honest inspection. And so the film drifts on, with ever more Vaseline being applied to the lens. It is suggested that, once some political road bumps have been surmounted and some impediments in the new young monarch's psyche have been likewise overcome, Britain is herself again, with Churchill and the king at Buckingham Palace and a speech of unity and resistance being readied for delivery.

Here again, the airbrush and the Vaseline are partners. When Chamberlain managed to outpoint the coalition of Labour, the Liberals and the Churchillian Tories and to hand to his friend Hitler the majority of the Czechoslovak people, along with all that country's vast munitions factories, he received an unheard-of political favour. Landing at Heston airport on his return from Munich, he was greeted by a royal escort in full uniform and invited to drive straight to Buckingham Palace. A written message from King George VI urged his attendance, "so that I can express to you personally my most heartfelt congratulations. . . . (T)his letter brings the warmest of welcomes to one who, by his patience and determination, has earned the lasting gratitude of his fellow countrymen throughout the Empire."

Chamberlain was then paraded on the palace balcony, saluted by royalty in front of cheering crowds. Thus the Munich sell-out had received the royal assent before the prime minister was obliged to go to parliament and justify what he had done. The opposition forces were checkmated before the game had begun. Britain does not have a written constitution, but by ancient custom the royal assent is given to measures after they have passed through both houses of parliament. So Tory historian Andrew Roberts, in his definitively damning 1994 essay The House of Windsor and the Politics of Appeasement, was quite correct to cite fellow scholar John Grigg in support of his view that by acting as they did to grant pre-emptive favour to Chamberlain, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter to you) "committed the most unconstitutional act by a British Sovereign in the present century".

The private letters and diaries of the royal family demonstrate a continued, consistent allegiance to the policy of appeasement and to the personality of Chamberlain. King George's forbidding mother wrote to him, exasperated that more people in the House of Commons had not cheered the sell-out. The king himself, even after the Nazi armies had struck deep north into Scandinavia and clear across the Low Countries to France, did not wish to accept Chamberlain's resignation. He "told him how grossly unfairly . . . he had been treated, and that I was terribly sorry". Discussing a successor, the king wrote that "I, of course, suggested (Lord) Halifax." It was explained to him that this arch-appeaser would not do and that, anyway, a wartime coalition could hardly be led by an unelected member of the House of Lords. Unimpressed, the king told his diary that he couldn't get used to the idea of Churchill as prime minister and had greeted the defeated Halifax to tell him that he wished he had been chosen instead. All this can easily be known by anybody willing to do some elementary research.

In a few months, the British royal family will be yet again rebranded and relaunched in the panoply of the wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton. Terms such as "national unity" and "people's monarchy" will be freely flung around. Almost the entire moral capital of this rather odd little German dynasty is invested in the post-fabricated myth of its participation in "Britain's finest hour". In fact, had it been up to them, the finest hour would never have taken place. So this is not a detail but a major desecration of the historical record now apparently gliding unopposed toward a baptism by Oscar.

2011 Slate magazine, distributed by the New York Times Syndicate.

  

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