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True Grit


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#1 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 03:59 PM

I was lucky enough to catch an advance screening of True Grit last night. It's a great film, with some of Roger Deakin's best photography to date. A beautiful opening shot, a beautiful closing shot and everything in between. The photography is reminiscent of both No Country & Jesse James at times. Don't miss it!
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#2 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 10:08 PM

I had not heard about this until this thread and my first reaction was COME ON, why would you even ATTEMPT to remake the film that garnered John Wayne an Oscar. I mean how in thee HHEELLLL are you gonna beat John Wayne in THAT role. Wayne is one of my heroes. THEN I saw WHO was making it.

The Coen Brothers are also my heroes. I can't remember a bad movie they ever made. I HATED No Country for Old Men but NOT because it was a bad movie. Because I don't like it when the bad guy, especially THAT bad a guy, gets away with it, but that's just me.

I'm actually very much looking forward to see it. It should be really good if the Coens deemed it worthy of a, I certain, re-imagining of the film so in this particular case, we'll have 2 great versions of the same story!! B)
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#3 Jason Reimer

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 02:12 AM

I was lucky enough to catch an advance screening of True Grit last night. It's a great film, with some of Roger Deakin's best photography to date. A beautiful opening shot, a beautiful closing shot and everything in between. The photography is reminiscent of both No Country & Jesse James at times. Don't miss it!


I was going to see this anyway, but Stuart when you say it looks like Jesse James and No Country, now I'm probably going to have to see it multiple times in the theater. I'm jealous that you've seen it already! Christmas day is going to be great.
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#4 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 07:09 AM

Stellar work as usual from Deakins. I don't think it really compares to Jesse James or No Country, it's not as naturalistic or source inspired lighting so much as the aforementioned films are. He does a lot more beauty lighting, taking a lot of care in creating soft and attractive eye lights and I think perhaps playing more towards the comedic tones of the material.

There are parts where I think the lighting was perhaps TOO soft and pretty, namely in some action sequences with the female lead. And some frames during firelit scenes where multiple sources were evidenced by multiple shadows appearing on faces during hand gestures, etc. I'm not being critical, I'm just surprised as his usual way of going about scenes like these would involve a single source, with augmentations that wouldn't reveal themselves in the shadows.

I suppose I expected a film titled "True Grit" to be a bit more "gritty" and less precious with the lighting. I did take away a lot of tips & techniques, as I always do with the films Deakins shoots. Always a learning experience, whether there are elements I like or dislike about the choices cinematographers make.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 11:32 AM

"Assassination of Jesse James" was more stylized, it's meant to be somewhat dreamlike, like a memory fading away over time. "True Grit", which I saw yesterday in a digital screening, is more in line with Deakin's straightforward realism such as in "No Country for Old Men", it's much more about telling the story and capturing the setting in a honest manner. The look is rich but believable, and it doesn't indulge too much in "prettiness", letting the landscape and light become harsh, stark, and even drab when the story demands it.

Firelight does create multiple shadows, a fire has many flames that rise and fall in different areas of campfire. The only giveaway that sometimes Deakins was augmenting the campfire key with something to wrap further around the face were the catchlights in the eyes. Anyway, I thought the night work was first-rate, as was the whole movie.

The movie felt a bit "slicker" (sharper, finer-grained) than other Deakins' movies but I think that's because this was the first one I've seen digitally projected so I don't have the extra grain and softness from the film-out and duping for release prints.
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#6 Chris Keth

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 12:44 PM

The movie felt a bit "slicker" (sharper, finer-grained) than other Deakins' movies but I think that's because this was the first one I've seen digitally projected so I don't have the extra grain and softness from the film-out and duping for release prints.


I'd agree with that. I saw a film print yesterday and I thought the texture was very on par with his usual work.
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#7 Tom Jensen

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 02:53 PM

I had not heard about this until this thread and my first reaction was COME ON, why would you even ATTEMPT to remake the film that garnered John Wayne an Oscar. I mean how in thee HHEELLLL are you gonna beat John Wayne in THAT role. Wayne is one of my heroes.

In 40 years someone else will be saying something similar when it gets remade again.
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#8 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 04:27 PM

COME ON, why would you even ATTEMPT to remake the film that garnered John Wayne an Oscar.


I love John Wayne movies too, but his Oscar win was more a recognition of his career as a whole than of his performance in True Grit. He had presence and charisma, but was he a great actor? Much as I like him, I don't think so.
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#9 Tom Jensen

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 12:42 AM

I love John Wayne movies too, but his Oscar win was more a recognition of his career as a whole than of his performance in True Grit. He had presence and charisma, but was he a great actor? Much as I like him, I don't think so.


It's all relative. You can't compare him to today's actors or films.

Edited by Tom Jensen, 29 December 2010 - 12:43 AM.

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#10 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 02:01 AM

John Wayne was a GREAT actor. He also had a very narrow, limited range, HOWEVER within that range, there was NO ONE who could do what he did. I would never cast him as Hamlet, but Laurence Olivier never could have played Rooster Cogburn and in fact there are very few actors who could have and NONE would have played him like the Duke!!. B)
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#11 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 05:33 AM

It's all relative. You can't compare him to today's actors or films.

Why not?

John Wayne was a GREAT actor. He also had a very narrow, limited range, HOWEVER within that range, there was NO ONE who could do what he did.


I think being a great actor and having a very limited range are two mutually exclusive conditions. John Wayne was very good at playing himself. If you happen to like that (which I do) then fine, but that doesn't make him a great actor. He was however, a Great Movie Star.
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#12 Tom Jensen

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 01:16 PM

Why not?


The quality of movies and the technology of film has improved tenfold which contributes to the belief that actors are better now. With all the special effects involved in film making these days viewers have a tendency to believe the actor is doing more than he does. We have more in our tool kit now to make the actor appear better. Look at Heath Ledger in the Dark Night.

There were plenty of acting schools back then but now there are acting mills, showcases. It's just a different time and I think it's a little more fair to compare films and actors of that era with films and actors of that era. You don't have to like him. I'm not trying to convince you to either, but he was an icon and people loved him. He might not have been the greatest actor in the world but he certainly had his moments.
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#13 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 02:08 PM

The quality of movies and the technology of film has improved tenfold which contributes to the belief that actors are better now. With all the special effects involved in film making these days viewers have a tendency to believe the actor is doing more than he does. We have more in our tool kit now to make the actor appear better. Look at Heath Ledger in the Dark Night.

There were plenty of acting schools back then but now there are acting mills, showcases. It's just a different time and I think it's a little more fair to compare films and actors of that era with films and actors of that era. You don't have to like him. I'm not trying to convince you to either, but he was an icon and people loved him. He might not have been the greatest actor in the world but he certainly had his moments.


Modern technology may make actors appear better than they are to the film going public (although I am unconvinced), but I would hope that I and other professional film makers would be able to see beyond that and judge a performance on it's own merits. It is, after all, our job to do so. If it is unfair to judge him by today's actors, then I would argue that even amongst his contemporaries he was not a good actor.

If you read my previous posts, you'll see that I do like John Wayne. I enjoy his films, and wouldn't dream of denying his status as a true Movie Star, but as an actor he was rather wooden, with a limited repertoire of expressions and mannerisms, and a tendency to be the same in whatever role he played.
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#14 Matt Smith

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 10:21 PM

Did anyone think the close-ups of Bridges and the girl (I forget the actress' name but she did a great job) when the two were riding back on her horse looked a bit...off? I'm guessing it was greenscreened, but it seemed obviously so. Otherwise the film look fantastic!
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#15 Tom Jensen

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 11:50 PM

If you read my previous posts, you'll see that I do like John Wayne. I enjoy his films, and wouldn't dream of denying his status as a true Movie Star, but as an actor he was rather wooden, with a limited repertoire of expressions and mannerisms, and a tendency to be the same in whatever role he played.


Miller: John Wayne was a fag.
All: The hell he was.
Miller: He was, too, you boys. I installed two-way mirrors in his pad in Brentwood, and he come to the door in a dress.
:lol: Name the movie without looking. First person gets a used car.
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 11:53 PM

Miller: John Wayne was a fag.
All: The hell he was.
Miller: He was, too, you boys. I installed two-way mirrors in his pad in Brentwood, and he come to the door in a dress.
:lol: Name the movie without looking. First person gets a used car.


Wasn't that from "Repo Man"?
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#17 Tom Jensen

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 01:36 AM

Wasn't that from "Repo Man"?


It was indeed. The used car was the hint.
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#18 Peter Moretti

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 09:57 AM

Did anyone think the close-ups of Bridges and the girl (I forget the actress' name but she did a great job) when the two were riding back on her horse looked a bit...off? I'm guessing it was greenscreened, but it seemed obviously so. Otherwise the film look fantastic!


I just saw the movie yesterday at the ArcLight theater in Sherman Oaks, CA (which does a very nice job of projecting) and I thought the EXACT same thing. There was definitely a strong green color cast in the scene when Rooster is first riding with the snake bitten Mattie on the horse. It was as if it were being digitally projected and the green channel went wonky for about a minute. But this was film projection. But I was amazed. And I have no explanation for it, except maybe it was somehow stylistically connected to Mattie being ill?
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#19 Peter Moretti

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 10:06 AM

John Wayne was a GREAT actor. He also had a very narrow, limited range, HOWEVER within that range, there was NO ONE who could do what he did. I would never cast him as Hamlet, but Laurence Olivier never could have played Rooster Cogburn and in fact there are very few actors who could have and NONE would have played him like the Duke!!. B)


I thought the actress who played Mattie Ross did an outstanding job. I also very much liked Barry Pepper as Ned Pepper and Josh Brolin as Tom Chaney, although their parts were small. I felt Matt Damon did a very good job of NOT being Matt Damon, but the repercussion of this is a rather wooden performance. I like Jeff Bridges, but I also felt that Rooster being a drunkard and crafty and the overall physical comedy took away from his relationship with the girl. So I have to say that I found John Wayne's performance as Rooster more moving.
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#20 Deniz Coker

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 06:27 PM

I just saw the movie yesterday at the ArcLight theater in Sherman Oaks, CA (which does a very nice job of projecting) and I thought the EXACT same thing. There was definitely a strong green color cast in the scene when Rooster is first riding with the snake bitten Mattie on the horse. It was as if it were being digitally projected and the green channel went wonky for about a minute. But this was film projection. But I was amazed. And I have no explanation for it, except maybe it was somehow stylistically connected to Mattie being ill?


I read on Deakins' own site that he also felt those shots were off. I'm headed out to see the movie now, I'll be looking out for this but he mentioned they were green screen shots indeed and he mentioned the plates might not have matched up quite right if I recall correctly.
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