Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Hurt Locker

I saw The Hurt Locker but didn't review it. Sorry! But since it is up for an Academy Award, I will do a 1 minute summary. The main character, played by Jeremy Renner, works on the bomb squad in Iraq. What the audience quickly learns is that if you work the bomb squad, you have to assume you are going to die. And once you come to terms with that, then stop and enjoy the adrenalin rush of knowing each time could be your last. And with that acceptance comes a casual courage that ordinary people can't fathom. And the worst thing might be having to go home - because painting a fence isn't the same as cutting a red or green wire in a 100 pound suit. I thought this was great movie. It creates tension but not so much that you can't enjoy it. The performances were amazing. There wasn't too much anti-American sentiment as you usually find in Hollywood. SO, if you haven't seen it, definitely rent it.

Crazy Heart

I am not the first to observe that this movie is what The Wrestler wanted to be- but The Wrestler was too brutal to accomplish the feelings that this film leaves the viewer with. It is a story of an aging, alcoholic singer (Bad Blake played by Jeff Bridges) who never shows up late to a gig, even if it is at a bowling alley. He resents the success of a protoge (oddly well played by Colin Farrell), though in his heart he knows that drinking has killed his career. And with a sweetness at his core, he falls in love with women. When he falls for a local reporter at a gig, played by the hangdog and miscast Maggie Gyllenhaal, he convinces himself that he can be a success as a husband and stepfather. He does well, and almost makes it, except for what alcohol does to his judgment. Bridges is wonderful- one believes that he is capable of loving and being loved. He comes through the film and (at least for now) grows into the man he could have been all along. This film isn't really about music- it's about alcoholism. The music is great and the acting is great. The weak link is Gyllenhaal- this is a role that someone like Maura Tierney could have done- but Gyllenhaal's droopy and plain face doesn't inspire any emotion for her, and to make that character work- you'd have to believe this woman was a little wild with passion and distraction. No one in their right mind lets their kid be babysat by a late middle aged raging alcoholic! This film was a great character study and was very believable. I give it 4 stars.