True Grit is a powerful story of vengeance and valor set in an unforgiving and unpredictable frontier where justice is simple and mercy is rare. Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), is determined to avenge her father's blood by capturing Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), the man who shot and killed him for two pieces of gold. Just fourteen, she enlists the help of Rooster Cogburn (Academy Award® Winner Jeff Bridges), a one-eyed, trigger-happy U.S. Marshall with an affinity for drinking and hardened Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Academy Award® Winner Matt Damon) to track the fleeing Chaney. Despite their differences, their ruthless determination leads them on a perilous adventure that can only have one outcome: retribution. A 14-year-old girl needs a man with "true grit" to help her bring in the fugitive who killed her father. That she settles on Rooster Cogburn--a one-eyed, booze-soaked, potbellied U.S. marshal on the downward curve of his career in law enforcement--is the glorious springboard for all versions of True Grit: the Charles Portis novel, the 1969 western that won an Oscar for John Wayne, and the 2010 Coen brothers adaptation. The Coens have some mighty shoes to fill in their version, and their choice for the eye-patch is Jeff Bridges, who growls his way through an understated take on Rooster. Matt Damon plays LaBoeuf, the Texas Ranger who joins the hunt; Josh Brolin is the scurvy killer; and Barry Pepper is the leader of the outlaw gang. Working as usual with cinematographer Roger Deakins, the Coens exhibit their clear, crisp view of western places, thrillingly creating new takes on recognizable vistas such as the frontier town, the snowy forest, and the isolated cabin at night. The Coens revel in the incredibly ornate dialogue, which allows their sardonic attitude to bleed into the material--young actress Hailee Steinfeld doesn't seem at all fazed by the language, which may be a key reason she got the job as heroine Mattie Ross. While True Grit doesn't have the heft of the best films in the Coens' arsenal (there's something very formal and even a wee bit academic about their stroll through this familiar text), they do create a pleasant sense of a good yarn, retold around the campfire for the umpteenth time. --Robert Horton
Manufacturer: Paramount Pictures
Brand: PARAMOUNT - UNI DIST CORP
True Grit is a powerful story of vengeance and valor set in an unforgiving and unpredictable frontier where justice is simple and mercy is rare. Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), is determined to avenge her father's blood by capturing Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), the man who shot and killed him for two pieces of gold. Just fourteen, she enlists the help of Rooster Cogburn (Academy Award® Winner Jeff Bridges), a one-eyed, trigger-happy U.S. Marshall with an affinity for drinking and hardened Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Academy Award® Winner Matt Damon) to track the fleeing Chaney. Despite their differences, their ruthless determination leads them on a perilous adventure that can only have one outcome: retribution.
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video
Brand: Warner Manufacturing
Rio Bravo (DVD) (Rpkg)John Wayne and Dean Martin star as a Western sheriff and his recovering alcoholic deputy who, along with a small ragtag group of men and women, refuse to release a suspected murderer from jail, even though they are surrounded and greatly outnumbered by gunmen.]]>
Dances with Wolves (Two-Disc 20th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]
Manufacturer: MGM (Video & DVD)
Kevin Costner stars in and directs this triumphant masterpiece written by Michael Blake, based on his novel. On Blu-ray for the very first time, this breathtaking 20th Anniversary Edition includes an extended cut of the film and all-new exclusive extras. Winner of seven Academy Awards®, including Best Directing and Best Picture, this modern classic tells the story of Lt. Dunbar (Costner), a Civil War hero who befriends a tribe of Sioux Indians while stationed at a desolate outpost on the American frontier. What follows is a series of unforgettable moments – from Dunbar’s tender scenes with Stands With A Fist (Mary McDonnell), to the thrilling, action-packed buffalo hunt. Experience the excitement, emotion and sweeping beauty of this cinematic treasure as never before on Blu-ray! Kevin Costner's 1990 epic won a bundle of Oscars for a moving, engrossing story of a white soldier (Costner) who singlehandedly mans a post in the 1870 Dakotas, and becomes a part of the Lakota Sioux community who live nearby. The film may not be a masterpiece, but it is far more than the sum of good intentions. The characters are strong, the development of relationships is both ambitious and careful, the love story between Costner and Mary McDonnell's character is captivating. Only the third-act portrait of white intruders as morons feels overbearing, but even that leads to a terribly moving conclusion. Costner's direction is assured, the balance of action and intimacy is perfect--what more could anyone want outside of an unqualified masterpiece? --Tom Keogh
Costner directs and stars in this epic vision of the old West, where a disillusioned soldier leaves the Civil War and strikes out to the prairie on his own. After a difficult start, he learns to live, love and respect the land when the Sioux Indians welcome him into their tribe.
Set in the South two years before the Civil War, DJANGO UNCHAINED stars Academy Award ®-winner Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with a German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Academy Award®-winner Christolph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. The unorthodox Schultz acquires Django with a promise to free him upon the capture of the Brittles – dead or alive. Success leads Schultz to free Django, though the two men choose not to go their separate ways. Instead, Schultz seeks out the South’s most wanted criminals with Django by his side. Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal: finding and rescuing Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), the wife he lost to the slave trade long ago. Django and Schultz’s search ultimately leads them to Calvin Candie (Academy Award®-nominee Leonardo DiCaprio), the proprietor of “Candyland,” an infamous plantation. Exploring the compound under false pretenses, Django and Schultz rouse the suspicion of Stephen (Academy Award®-nominee Samuel L. Jackson), Candie’s trusted house slave. Their moves are marked, and a treacherous organization closes in on them. If Django and Schultz are to escape with Broomhilda, they must choose between independence and solidarity, between sacrifice and survival… From the moment Jamie Foxx throws off a filthy, tattered blanket to reveal a richly muscled back crisscrossed with long scars, it's obvious that Django Unchained will be both true to its exploitation roots but also clear-eyed about the misery that's being exploited. Django (Foxx), a slave set free in the years before the Civil War, joins with a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter (the marvelous Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds), who has promised to help Django rescue his wife (Kerry Washington), who's still enslaved to a gleeful and grandiose plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio, plainly relishing the opportunity to play an out-and-out villain). What follows is a wild and woolly ride, crammed with all the pleasures one expects from a revenge fantasy written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Plot-wise, some things happen a little too easily (for example, Django instantly becomes a master gunslinger), but the moral perspective is not glib. For all its lurid violence and jazzy dialogue, this is a still-rare movie that paints slavery for what it was: a brutal, dehumanizing practice that allowed a privileged few to profit from the suffering of many, a practice guaranteed by the gun and the whip. Think of it as the antidote to Gone with the Wind. Tarantino is more heartfelt in Django Unchained than in any of his previous movies--without sacrificing any of the pell-mell action, tension, and delicious language that made Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill, and Pulp Fiction so very enjoyable. --Bret Fetzer