More people might be less likely to watch 127 Hours after James Franco’s gig hosting the Oscars on Sunday than from word of mouth about the climactic self-amputation sequence. Do not let either put you off. Franco deserved the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in what amounts to a one-man show about Aron Ralston, a man who wrote a book called Between a Rock and a Hard Place, which pretty much sums up the whole thing. Physically and mentally trapped by circumstance, director Danny Boyle forms a story that could have been entirely about survival into one about man’s need for one another. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
We don’t have many new bona fide movie stars these days–people who enter the frame and own every second of their screentime with a look and attitude that is entirely their own. Faster makes a fantastic case that Dwayne Johnson (formerly The Rock) is a movie star. He’s a man out for revenge in a film that spends more time on the buildup than the payoff, making it–with help from Billy Bob Thornton as the “Cop” and Oilver Jackson-Cohen as the “Killer”–a surprisingly effective character piece. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Equaling the mistake of her performance singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl, Christina Aguilera picked Burlesque as her first starring role in a feature movie. It’s a good thing the movie loves itself so much, because it’s difficult to imagine anyone remotely likely something as dull and depressing as this. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
I didn’t so much want to punch Jake Gyllenhaal’s character in Love & Other Drugs (as has been suggested) as I wanted to slap him upside the head. Gyllenhaal plays a burgeoning rep from a pharmaceutical company who says he falls in love with Maggie (Anne Hathaway), who’s suffering from early-onset Parkinson’s, though all the evidence points to the contrary. Whether the movie’s attempts at humor (jokes about Viagra and the painfully forced “comic relief” of Josh Gad as the brother) or drama is more annoying is the only thing to debate about this one. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Reopening the psychological trauma of many of us whose first experience of dealing with death came from it, Bambi has arrived on Blu-ray. I will be picking it up and probably end up crying like I did watching it as a kid. Also available on DVD.