Crazy Heart

25 02 2010

Others have labeled this 2009’s The Wrestler, and I think that fits it perfectly, both in storyline and quality.  Jeff Bridges plays Bad Blake, a washed-up country singer trying to find his way back to the top.  It’s one of the best roles of his career and I’d be surprised and disappointed if he didn’t walk away with the Oscar next week. 

I am not much of a country music fan, however the music is beautiful.  Bridges turns out to be quite the singer and gives several memorable performances, not to mention Colin Farrell’s performance of “The Weary Kind,” a song which is rightfully receiving a lot of awards attention.  First time director Scott Cooper uses subtlety and a quiet, slow pace to great effect, so everything breezes along and never bores.  It’s a touching film and Bridges’ performance is not to miss.

RATING:  9/10

The Road

11 01 2010

A post-apocalyptic survival tale starring Viggo Mortensen as “The Man” in possibly his final role (he recently announced his retirement), and newcomer Kodi Smitt McPhee as “The Boy.”  John Hillcoat, director of The Proposition, shows off the same set of strengths and weaknesses from his debut.  He nails the gritty atmosphere, but falls short with the characters.  The film, which is based on the book by Cormac McCarthy (author of No Country for Old Men), also loses the novel’s urgency, and as a result is more repetitive than it should be.  I did appreciate that the film is every bit as uncompromisingly merciless as the novel, but with the character and pacing issues it’s just not as powerful as it should be, despite another terrific performance from Viggo.

RATING:  7/10