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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Scott Cooper
Cast:
Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall, Paul Herman, Tom Bower, Ryan Bingham, Beth Grant, Rick Dial
Writing Credits:
Scott Cooper, Thomas Cobb (novel)

Tagline:
The harder the life, the sweeter the song.

Synopsis:
Award winner Jeff Bridges delivers the performance of a lifetime in Crazy Heart, the powerful story of a country music star's rocky road to redemption. Bridges stars as Bad Blake, a boozy, broken-down singer who reaches for salvation with the help of Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a journalist who discovers the real man behind the music. But will Bad's hard-livin' ways and crazy heart cost him his last chance at a comeback?

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$82.664 thousand on 4 screens.
Domestic Gross
$38.774 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 4/20/2010

Bonus:
• Deleted Scenes and Alternate Music Cuts
• “Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Robert Duvall on What Brought Them to Crazy Heart” Featurette
• Previews
• Digital Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Crazy Heart [Blu-Ray] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 30, 2010)

After five tries – and 38 years – Jeff Bridges finally earned an Oscar for 2009’s Crazy Heart. Bridges plays Bad Blake, a worn-out old country singer whose best days appear to be far behind him. Broke and in poor health, Bad plays an endless series of low-rent gigs.

His prior fame does keep him going, though, and he gets offers for bigger things, most of which come from his former apprentice Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell). Now a huge star, Tommy wants to help out his old mentor, but Bad is too stubborn – and maybe just too lazy – to do much to follow up on the younger musician’s generosity.

While he drinks himself into oblivion, Bad meets a small-town newspaper reporter named Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal). While she interacts with him for her story, the two develop a relationship that turns romantic. Along with Bad’s vague attempts at career redemption, his connection with Jean maintains much of the film’s storyline.

Any review of a movie with an Oscar-winning performance needs to address one subject: did the actor deserve it? In Bridges’ case, I’d say yes. He takes a character who easily could’ve turned into a cheap stereotype and manages to produce real depth. In lesser hands, Bad could – and perhaps should – have been little more than a one-dimensional washed-up drunk, but Bridges delivers a turn that gives the role humanity and a life.

Gyllenhaal also earned an Oscar nomination, and I’d say that she merited such consideration as well. She gets the less interesting character, but she manages to create a memorable piece of work. Jean acts as the catalyst to prompt Bad to change, but she’s not a simple Jiminy Cricket. She comes with her own flaws as well, and Gyllenhaal makes her lively and winning.

Outside of the acting, unfortunately, Heart doesn’t have a lot going for it. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad film by any stretch of the imagination, as it always remains interesting and entertaining. However, the writing and direction just don’t live up to the level of the acting. The actors elevate the pedestrian material but can’t wholly overcome it.

To some degree, the script falters because the movie barely attempts any form of story. It’s a film full of subplots that fail to serve an actual main thread. We get a collection of character themes mixed with musical segments and not much else. These manage to maintain our interest, but not to a tremendous degree. The movie ambles just a little too much, as the lack of a true plot robs it of much energy.

Yes, I understand one could argue – and argue correctly – that real life doesn’t follow a neat, tidy storyline. However, movies aren’t real life. While we crave verisimilitude from a flick like this, that doesn’t mean we want to watch a banal collection of shots that show someone’s day-to-day existence. We want interesting characters and story material. Heart has some good characters, but the absence of an involving plot becomes a problem.

As does the fairly trite nature of the subplots we find. While Heart avoids the standard TV movie path in which Bad goes straight and finds total redemption, it flirts with that theme and doesn’t do much to reimagine the genre. We can see a lot of Bad’s path before he gets there and the journey rarely becomes especially stimulating.

Not that any of this makes Crazy Heart a bad movie. It’s simply a decent one that often feels less substantial because it’s actors are so good. That sounds backwards; it seems odd to knock points off of a film because it boasts excellent performances. However, when the actors outclass the rest of the movie, the imbalance causes problems. In this case, it leaves Heart as an enjoyable but not especially strong flick.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+

Crazy Heart appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Across the board, the movie looked great.

Sharpness consistently satisfied. No instances of softness materialized, as the flick appeared concise and well-defined. Jaggies and shimmering remained absent, and I saw no signs of edge haloes. Source flaws were also not a factor; some natural grain appeared but no specks, marks or anything else occurred.

In terms of palette, the colors fit with the sunset feeling of the flick’s Southwest setting. The tones always appeared warm and rich, as they connected with the environments well. Blacks appeared dark and deep, while shadows were clear and smooth. I found a lot to like about this strong transfer.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Crazy Heart, it worked for the material but didn’t have much to do. The mix came to life best during concert sequences; those scenes offered good stereo music and a nice sense of the rooms. Otherwise, the soundscape had little to do. It boasted some minor environmental material and that was about it; the track stayed quite subdued.

At least audio quality was good. Music came to the forefront and succeeded. The songs and score appeared vivid and lively throughout the movie. Effects played a small role, but they were accurate enough, and speech remained natural and distinctive. There wasn’t anything here that impressed, but the track was fine for this sort of film.

Only a few extras flesh out the set. A featurette called Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Robert Duvall on What Brought Them to Crazy Heart goes for three minutes, two seconds. The actors discuss… what brought them to Crazy Heart. And that’s about it, as the brevity of this piece prevents it from delivering much real information. It’s nice to see the three actors chat together, but they don’t tell us a ton.

Next we get a collection of 10 Deleted Scenes and Alternate Music Cuts. These run a total of 28 minutes, 22 seconds and mostly offer short character extensions. Two intriguing scenes appear. One shows Bad’s meeting with his adult son, and the other displays his post-sobriety relapse. The first is interesting in an abstract way but seems anti-climactic and unnecessary; it communicates nothing beyond what we already know. The second just seems “TV movie” to me, and it would’ve slowed down the movie as it neared its end.

A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Whip It, Amelia, and Adam. The trailer for Crazy Heart also shows up here.

A second disc provides a Digital Copy of Crazy Heart. As always, this allows you to plop the movie onto a computer or portable viewing gizmo. Awesome?

If you want to see a movie with excellent acting, Crazy Heart is the place to go. If you want to see a flick with rich characters and a stimulating story… keep looking. Heart has some real strengths but can be pretty mediocre in many ways. The Blu-ray boasts terrific visuals, acceptable audio and some minor supplements. I’d like more bonus materials, but the disc gets the picture and sound right at least.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.4 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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