dvd reviews

June 9, 2011 |

By Jared Curtis


‘True Grit'

Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

PG-13, 110 minutes


Some film fans would consider it sacrilege that a John Wayne movie be remade. But, when you put a film in the capable hands of the Coen brothers, those worries disappear. Their version of "True Grit" is not only better than the original, but Jeff Bridges gives a stronger performance than the Duke ever did as the drunken marshal, Rooster Cogburn. The story follows a young girl named Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), who hires Cogburn to hunt down Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), the man who killed her father. A pompous Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) also joins them in the hunt. Although Steinfeld holds her own on screen with Bridges and Damon, it's Barry Pepper as snarling gang leader Lucky Ned Pepper who steals the show. Filled with award-worthy acting and a tremendous shootout, it's easy to see why "True Grit" was one of the best films of 2010. CV



Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

1996, Rated R, 98 minutes


For more than three decades, the Coen Brothers have directed some the best and most eclectic films ("Raising Arizona," "Blood Simple," "The Big Lebowski," and "No Country for Old Men") ever to hit the big screen, and "Fargo" is no exception. The film follows Jerry (William H. Macy), a lowly car salesman who conspires to kidnap his wife so that his rich father-in-law (Harve Presnell) will pay the ransom. But the caper goes horribly wrong when the two criminals he's hired - Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare - show they're more goofballs than gangsters. Soon, not only is Jerry's father-in-law suspicious, but a pregnant sheriff (Frances McDormand) also starts sniffing around, causing Jerry to crack under the pressure. "Fargo" is an odd film, but thanks to the performances of Macy, McDormand and Buscemi, as well as the desolate background, it's one of the best. Just stay away from the wood chipper. CV