Monday, February 01, 2010

What's New In Blu? (Week of Feb. 2)

“The Music Man” (G)
Starring Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett, Hermione Gingold, Paul Ford
Directed by Morton DaCosta

Although it’s certainly old-fashioned by today’s standards, the big screen adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical is a thoroughly entertaining affair. Robert Preston (by no means the studio’s top choice – the thought was to go with a more recognizable name) recreates his onstage leading role as Prof. Harold Hill, a smooth-talking con man who arrives with his associate in River City, Iowa, with the intent of swindling the townsfolk out of money. But his plan is complicated when he falls for the town’s librarian. This is clearly Preston’s most memorable film role and Shirley Jones matches him scene for scene here. Look for a small, yet memorable supporting performance from a young Ron Howard.
Grade: A-

“Walk the Line” (PG-13)
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick
Directed by James Mangold

It would be hard to not emerge a bit of a fan of the music of Johnny Cash, after watching this bio-pic about the Man in Black. The movie doesn’t really focus on the later years of his life, instead choosing to center on the beginning of his music career and his dogged determination to win the heart of fellow musical performer June Carter. Director James Mangold does a very good job capturing the music in the film (no doubt assisted in no small part by musician T-Bone Burnett). But it’s the performances of stars Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon (who won an Oscar for Best Actress) that really distinguishes “Walk the Line” from the run-of-the-mill biography.
Grade: B+

Other releases:
“Amelia” (PG-13)
Starring Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor, Christopher Eccleston, Joe Anderson
Directed by Mira Nair

“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” (R)
Starring Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro
Directed by Terry Gilliam

“The House of the Devil” (R)
Starring Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, Greta Gerwig, AJ Bowen and Dee Wallace
Directed by Ti West

“The Last King of Scotland” (R)
Starring Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Kerry Washington, Simon McBurney and Gillian Anderson
Directed by Kevin Macdonald

“Love Happens” (PG-13)
Starring Aaron Eckhart, Jennifer Aniston, Dan Fogler, Judy Greer, John Carroll Lynch and Martin Sheen
Directed by Brandon Camp

“Mystic River” (R)
Starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney
Directed by Clint Eastwood

“Ong Bak 2: The Beginning” (R)
Starring Tony Jaa, Sorapong Chatree, Sarunyu Wongkrachang
Directed by Tony Jaa, Panna Rittikrai

“Zombieland” (R)
Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin
Directed by Ruben Fleischer

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