Tag Archives: Jeff Bridges

‘Crazy Heart’ Review

29 Apr

Crazy Heart

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal

Director: Scott Cooper

A washed-up, alcoholic country singer is the type of character it took for Jeff Bridges to win his first Best Actor Oscar this past awards season.  Crazy Heart tells the story of Bad Blake (Bridges), a man on a journey, who’s trying to make ends meet by playing for whoever will listen and whoever will pay him, even if that means playing in a bowling alley.

Content with drinking his whiskey by day and making music by night, Bad meets Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a local journalist whom he finds to be more interesting than the run of the mill townies he’s used to.  After spending a few nights together, Bad moves onto his next gig and isn’t sure whether he will see Jean again or not.

Bad’s stubborn attitude is what stands between him and a chance at resurrecting his career.  He’s given the opportunity to open for Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), a former protegé of his.  He is reluctant to play second fiddle to someone he taught the game to.  Realizing that he can’t support himself or his drinking habits without money coming in, he decides to take the job.

Jean and her son come to visit Bad and during one of his many drinking binges, he loses Jean’s son.  Jean has had enough and packs her bags to head back home.  With the loss of two more people he cared deeply for, Bad must either clean up his life or die miserable and alone.

Bridges was meant to play this role.  I can’t seen anyone else being able to accomplish what he did with the character of Bad.  Along with the accolades he received for this film, he gave actors, directors and viewers everywhere an opportunity to watch a no-frills, no special effects, straight up dramatic performance.

Gyllenhaal is a magical actress.  The emotion she brings to the characters she plays is unlike any other actress of her caliber.  Whether she’s playing drug addicts, sex-obsessed secretaries or an average mother, she always gives performances that are heartbreaking.

Farrell was the surprise of this small film.  Playing Tommy Sweet was the sort of role Farrell needed as a reboot for his career.  After many years of extracurricular activities that soured his name in Hollywood, he gave an uncredited performance as a country singer.  He is so brilliant in the smaller, independent films he makes.

The other character that must be mentioned is the music in the film.  Sung mainly by Bridges and Farrell, the soundtrack is beautiful.  Not only is the film about music, but it lays the foundation for the emotion felt by the characters throughout the film.  The lyrics are raw and real and Bridges put every ounce of himself into singing the songs as his character.

This character-driven film is outstanding.  The performances are first class and the music tears at your soul.  This is definitely worth checking out; especially in the age of films like Avatar, Crazy Heart shows how a human acting and portraying a character won’t ever be outshined by CGI effects.

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Academy Award Winners!

7 Mar

The big show has just ended and it’s time to reveal who got to take the shiny Oscars home.  There were some surprises, some expected winners and history was made.  Make sure to check back tomorrow for my Oscar wrap-up, filled with opinions on the best/worst dressed, opinions on the show and how I did with my picks.

Picture: The Hurt Locker
Director: Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker
Actor: Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart
Actress Sandra Bullock
Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz
Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique – Precious
Documentary Feature: The Cove
Documentary Short: Music by Prudence
Animated Feature: Up
Foreign Language Film: El Secreto de Sus Ojos
Original Screenplay: Mark Boal – The Hurt Locker
Adapted Screenplay: Geoffrey Fletcher – Precious
Cinematography: Avatar
Art Direction: Avatar
Animated Short Film: Logorama
Live Action Short Film: Miracle Fish
Visual Effects: Avatar
Costume Design: The Young Victoria
Film Editing: The Hurt Locker
Sound Mixing: The Hurt Locker
Sound Editing: The Hurt Locker
Original Score: Up
Original Song: “The Weary Kind” (Theme from Crazy Heart) –
                                                             Ryan Bingham, T Bone Burnett
Makeup: Star Trek

Independent Spirit Award Winners

6 Mar

Last night the 25th Film Independent Spirit Awards took place in downtown Los Angeles.  Precious all but took over the award show.  Here is a list of the night’s biggest winners:

Best Feature: Precious
Best Director: Lee Daniels – Precious
Best First Feature: Scott Cooper, Robert Duvall, Rob Carliner, Judy 
                                             Cairo, T Bone Burnett – Crazy Heart
John Cassavetes Award: Lynn Shelton – Humpday
Best Screenplay: Scott Neustader & Michael H. Weber –
                                         (500) Days of Summer
Best First Screenplay: Geoffrey Fletcher – Precious
Best Female Lead: Gabourey Sidibe – Precious
Best Male Lead: Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart
Best Supporting Female: Mo’Nique – Precious
Best Supporting Male: Woody Harrelson – The Messenger
Best Foreign Film: An Education
Best Documentary: Anvil! The Story of Anvil
Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins – A Serious Man
Robert Altman Award: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Ellen Chenoweth,
                                                       Rachel Tenner, Richard Kind, Sari Lennick,
                                                       Jessica McManus, Fred Melamed, Michael
                                                      Stuhlbarg, Aaron Wolff – A Serious Man
Piaget Producers Award: Karin Chien – The Exploding Girl, Santa Mesa
Acura Someone to Watch Award: Kyle Patrick Alvarez –
                                                                                 Easier With Practice
Chaz and Roger Ebert Truer than Fiction Award: Bill Ross,
                                                                                                                    Turner  Ross –  
                                                                                                                    45365

Oscar Week Feature: Best Actor

5 Mar

With two days to go until the 82nd Academy Awards, I will close out the acting categories with Best Actor.  Don’t miss out tomorrow when I will wrap up my Oscar week features with a discussion and my picks for Best Director and Best Picture.

*Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart
*George Clooney – Up in the Air
*Colin Firth – A Single Man
*Morgan Freeman – Invictus
*Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker

 

Earlier in the awards season, many felt that Clooney might take this category.  However, Bridges has come storming through in these last couple of months.  Bridges has been piling up statue after statue and he’ll have to make room on his shelf for Mr. Oscar himself.

Many people felt that Clooney’s character in Up in the Air was too close to his own persona.  Firth is finally being recognized and I think he has a shot, a miniscule one though.  Freeman, much like Matt Damon in the Supporting Actor race, is cursed by a movie that didn’t go over as well as expected.  Renner doesn’t have a shot at this; I don’t think he should even be in this category.  I felt Anthony Mackie had more of a breakthrough performance than Renner did.

Bridges is one part of a Hollywood family legacy and with that, his past nominations (The Last Picture Show, The Contender) and his incredible performance in Crazy Heart, he is the guy to beat. 

My Pick: Jeff Bridges