“Avatar” Blu-ray Review

Click Here!When I sit down to write reviews, I usually take into account not only the audience size it likely had but also its distribution channels. So I’m kind of bewildered at the idea of reviewing Avatar as it’s the top grossing movie of all time–and not just by a small margin. No, the previous holder was Titanic at $1.8 billion and Avatar currently resides at a pleasant $2.7 billion. Granted, that number is extremely skewed—not only for inflation adjustment but also because the vast majority of Avatar’s sales were in 3-D…in which the tickets averaged $3-5 more per ticket (possibly more, I’m just ball parking off of what I had to pay). Still, the fact remains that this was a very, very big film and an enormous success for both Fox and Cameron (who is probably used to success by now, but I digress). So it’s of no surprise that the first release we get of this film, releasing on April 22nd (“Earth Day”…though the linking between the film and that day doesn’t really make complete sense to me), is completely and utterly barebones.

Synopsis
Oscar and Golden Globe winning epic is the highest grossing film of all time, taking in over $2.6 billion in worldwide box office. Director James Cameron takes audiences to a spectacular world beyond imagination, where a reluctant hero embarks on a journey of redemption and discovery as he leads a heroic battle to save a civilization. AVATAR delivers a fully immersive cinematic experience of a new kind, where the revolutionary technology invented to make the film disappears into the emotion of the characters and the epic nature of the story.

Unlike a lot of people I know, I only saw this film in theaters once. I did thoroughly enjoy myself, however—the 3D in this film was absolutely and utterly amazing. My jaw was on the floor at frequent times throughout the film and I never once questioned if the $12 I spent to see the film was worth it…as it most definitely and certainly was. So I never returned to the theaters to see it which means that this 2D viewing is only my second. I remarked to many that the story of the film was really nothing to get excited about (and that still holds true even now) as it was the action and the unique 3D elements of the film that made it such a visual feast for the eyes. Pure eye-candy and nothing more was my judgment on this movie after walking out of the theater.

And I still stand by that. It’s a technical marvel to behold but the film is little else than a retelling of a story that we’ve heard of for decades (possibly centuries) now. I’m sure we’re all aware of the ‘Avatar’ = ‘Pocahontas’ In Space note that has been circulating around the web since December or so and it’s probably one of the best examples of just how generic this story is. I mean Disney’s retelling of that film was a bit twisted from the reality of it, but nonetheless it’s scary accurate how easy it was to replace the names and locations of Pocahontas with Avatar. Of course there is also the Dances With Wolves comparison, but either way you cut it Avatar simply isn’t an original tale. It’s a “tried and true” story that adapts to just about any situation (obviously, considering Pocahontas took place in 1607 and Avatar in 2154) and as much as I could probably rant and rave on that all day I really won’t because as I said the real enjoyment of Avatar doesn’t come from the story, but the eye candy that accompanies it.

Click  Here!So is the film considerably less exciting in 2D than it was in 3D? Well, yes and no. Yes because the 3D elements were incredibly well done; no because the same sequences that made you tense up because of their jaw-dropping complexity are still there…they just aren’t leaping out in front of your face this time. It’s no doubt a very different experience between the two, but if you enjoyed the movie at all then you’ll likely find it as entertaining regardless of what dimension you’re viewing it in. This is due to the fact that even though the 3D was a big element of the film that everyone was talking about, the motion capture used in the film was just astonishing as well—it gets kind of eerily creepy at times, but it really does allow you to see the more nuanced performances from the actors.

I could go on and on about this two and a half hour long movie, but there’s really no point. You know what it is at this stage of the game and it’s an incredibly original visual experience to take on. For that reason alone it is Highly Recommended–the visuals are just that good. The story is definitely nothing to write home about, but perhaps we’ll get a more original follow-up with Avatar 2.

The Blu-ray
As mentioned previously this is a completely barebones Blu-ray release. It does include a DVD copy of the film (but no digital copy? Strange…), but other than that these are incredibly empty releases. This was expected; however, as there’s apparently some big ol’ super Na’vi edition coming out in November that will blow our socks off (although that edition is still not in 3D for some reason…whatever). So for now we’re in the same boat with Avatar as we were with Sin City. Whether you pick up this release now just to own it or hold off until the “ultimate” edition comes out is entirely up to you.

Video arrives in an 1.78:1 AVC encoded transfer. Yes…that is pure 16×9; an odd aspect ratio for a theatrical film, but Cameron had his reasons and it really looks quite brilliant on a big ol’ TV. It should probably go without saying that this is a definite demo-disc for your home theater, as the cornucopia of visuals, both during the day as well as the night sequences, are just jaw-dropping to gaze upon. You could say most of this film is all CGI, but it doesn’t matter—the CGI here looks so real that when everything is blended together you honestly can’t tell. And that’s quite a feat since the 1080p resolution often points out flaws that you otherwise wouldn’t notice. I will say that giving the film the entire disc to breathe did allow for an amazing transfer and as much as I miss the 3D elements I had a lot of fun just gazing upon the copious amounts of detail that littered any given frame of the film.

Click  Here!Audio is a DTS-HD 5.1 MA mix and while I’m sure we all would have liked a 7.1 mix, that’s not really Fox’s bag to toss on an additional two channels. I’m honestly quite satiated with this 5.1 mix anyway, as it’s got such an incredible range and amount of bass to it that an additional two channels wouldn’t have made much difference I don’t think (especially since my receiver now just matrixes it out to the additional two anyway). Every scene in the movie just drips with ambience and it is without a doubt one of the noisiest and most aurally satisfying experiences on Blu-ray I’ve ever had.

It should also be noted that this disc seems to be having the most widespread compatibility issues with Blu-ray players; it worked fine in my PS3 as well as my PC up to the point of actually trying to play the film…and then it choked, spread macroblocking everywhere and randomly sent the pop-up menu up. Oddly enough my parents $99 Insignia player that they bought on Black Friday played this thing…and that came with whatever firmware was available at the time of manufacture, as I didn’t update it when I installed it back in November (although it did have a firmware update release in February). It’s odd to me that a cheap Blu-ray player from Best Buy is playing Avatar without flaw when so many more expensive players are apparently unable. I’ve always found Fox’s anti-piracy protection to be a bit overzealous, as I seem to always be updating the software on my PC for playback…and they’re the only studio I have to do that for.

So aside from that…there’s nothing on the disc to talk about as there aren’t even any trailers (an odd experience, considering I’m so used to skipping past them). It is definitely a hell of an experience and the experience of it on Blu-ray is definitely recommended…but I’m going to withhold judgment on whether or not you should actually pick up this title as we all know that a November deluxe pack is already in the making. It really just depends on how badly (and soon) that you want Avatar on Blu-ray.

Avatar is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.

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Click Here!Of all of the Michael Bay films from the 90s, it was Armageddon that was perhaps the most well-known and most-copied. The two and a half hour epic about the possible end of the world further vaulted Ben Affleck’s movie career and cemented Bruce Willis, once again, as a tough bad-ass who could go up against anything. While detested by critics, the film grossed over half a billion dollars worldwide during its theatrical run and was one of the most talked about films of 1998. Over the years the film has seen various DVD incarnations, including an extras-laden Criterion Collection release, but this marks its first foray onto the Blu-ray format.

Synopsis
From the blockbuster-making team who produced and directed Pearl Harbor and The Rock (Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay) comes Armageddon, available for the first time on Blu-ray™ High- Definition! Starring the explosive talents of Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Will Patton, Armageddon is a meteor storm of action adventure moviemaking that has you on the edge of your seat forgetting to breathe! When NASA’s executive director, Dan Truman (Thornton), realizes the Earth has 18 days before it’s obliterated by a meteor the size of Texas, he has only one option – land a ragtag team of roughneck oil drillers on the asteroid and drop a nuclear warhead into its core. Spectacular special effects, laugh-out-loud humor, great characters, riveting storytelling, and heartfelt emotion make Armageddon an exhilarating thrill ride you’ll want to experience like there’s no tomorrow!

I have a genuine love/hate relationship with Michael Bay. For every film of his that I enjoy I seem to dislike two others. I still have yet to watch either of the Bad Boys films so I cannot comment on those, but his other works I’ve seen and mostly enjoyed for the deafening mess that they often are. The most recent Transformers I was ambivalent on, but I did enjoy the first film in the series. The Rock was a lot of fun to watch, but Pearl Harbor and The Island both greatly annoyed me. So where does that leave Armageddon? Well, Armageddon may be the only Michael Bay film that I genuinely hate.

I hadn’t seen the film until a few years back when I’d finally borrowed the Criterion disc from my brother. “Oh boy,” I thought, “I’ll finally get to see this movie!” I popped it in and within half an hour I was bored out of my mind. I flipped the timer on to see how much longer the film had to go and…two hours? You gotta be kidding me. How is this mess going to stretch on for another two hours? But it did…by God, did it ever keep going. Every mundane detail was dwelled upon and were it not for Bruce Willis’s genuinely entertaining persona, I would’ve given up on it after an hour. I stuck with it and was really not rewarded with anything of value; it was loud, stupid, made absolutely moronic scientific leaps and…I just really haven’t hated a movie with Steve Buscemi in it as much as I hated this one.

I really don’t know how so many people flocked to the theater for this one; I mean, yeah, it’s big and dumb but it’s also just so long. There is little, if anything, that is redeemable about this film and I quickly found myself wondering when it would end. The relationships between the characters is often forced and unbelievable; not only that but most are unlikeable (aside from the “Blue Collar” guys that make up Willis’s crew…and Billy Bob Thornton was entertaining, I suppose) and even if you can get past the overall stupid idea that this kind of asteroid destruction is even possible, you still have a very long climax at the end where we wait for the damn thing to blow up.

The special and sound effects are of course entertaining in an overly loud way, but there’s just no substance to this film. It’s akin to an amusement park ride that has intermittent stops along the way to help develop the “story” of the tracks that you’re riding upon. Only you don’t care about the story, you just want to have your stomach turn upside down and fall into your throat. It’s got too much substance for a film that should really float along on nothing. In that regard I can simply tell you to Rent It if you, for some reason, have yet to see this film. Then again if you don’t like Michael Bay productions then you can just continue to ignore it.

The Blu-ray
Buena Vista tosses out Armageddon in a very bare package. It has the movie, of course, in 1080p with DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, but the extras? Pfft. Forget it. Some trailers and the Aerosmith music video for that song that will get stuck in your head (it’s been looping in my head the entire time I’ve been writing this review) and refuse to leave. There’s nothing else on here, which means all of those wonderful extras from the Criterion release are staying in that same spot—making this Blu-ray release rather useless if you were looking to swap it out.

Video is an AVC encoded 2.35:1 encode and considering the film is now over a decade old there’s a lot of eye candy to take in. Some of the effects look dated at times, but as with most Bay productions comes the ballooned budget because he often utilizes real locations or implements enormous fireballs—so while there’s plenty wizardry going on, there are a lot of legitimate effects to look upon as well. It’s a pretty solid effort from start to finish, but it’s not the video transfer that will really floor you.

No, what will floor you is the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track. Although entirely expected from this movie, the resulting thuds and bangs from this soundtrack are deafening at times. It doesn’t matter whether its individual meteors laying waste to entire cities or the sound of a spaceship crash landing on an asteroid, there are not only a myriad of environmental sound effects but also plenty of LFE utilization as well. It’s a robust and potent mix, but sadly the A/V boost is all this Blu-ray has to offer.

As mentioned previously there’s nothing here on the extras side that’s worth mentioning—just all the old fluff in standard definition. Not worth upgrading to unless you absolutely love this film for some reason. Skip It.

Armageddon arrives on Blu-ray on April 27th.

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“Collateral” Blu-ray Review

Click Here!Over five years later and Collateral still remains a great thriller. Sure, the initial buzz around Tom Cruise playing the villain of the piece has long since died, but he is no less effective in that role. In fact, it remains probably one of his best roles to date. Wonderfully crafted, even if it suffers from a couple problems and a questionable finale, Collateral is a first-rate thriller that boasts great production values and a solid effort by the entire cast and crew. Guided by director Michael Mann (Heat), Collateral throws us right into the middle of one of the worst nights one can imagine.

Synopsis:
It started like any other night. Vincent (Tom Cruise) is a cool, calculating contract killer at the top of his game. Max (Jamie Foxx) is a cabbie with big dreams and little to show for it. Now, Max has to transport Vincent on his next job – one night, five stops, five hits and a getaway. And after this fateful night, neither man will ever be the same again. Tonight everything is changing. Boasting a cool vibe from director Michael Mann and powerhouse performances from Cruise and Foxx, Collateral takes viewers on an unforgettable ride.

When that body slams onto the roof of Max’s car, it startles you. It instantly glues the viewer to the screen and, from here on in, it has our undivided attention. We already know Cruise is playing a hit man in this film, but it just doesn’t really register until that jarring moment. It’s completely shifts the tone of the movie and puts you on the edge of your seat. All predictability is tossed out the window from here on in. Max now finds himself in an impossible situation trapped between both a cold hitman and federal agents quickly closing in on the ruthless killer.

Mann makes everything feel so real, so honest, so realistic, up until the climax when the film degrades into typical “action film” territory. The characters seem so bang-on, flaws and all, and the events seem to unfold with an air of honesty. It’s hard to believe this is the same man who directed the superficial Public Enemies last year. Even more, Foxx and Cruise make a great reluctant pairing. Cruise especially gives a great and surprising performance here. The “charm” he’d use playing the good guy in other films is flipped on its head here, giving him such a sinister and uneasy vibe. Cruise gives his character depth, coming across as more than just a one-note baddie, but one littered with shades of grey.

Foxx gives a great “in” for the audience, the regular Joe Schmoe who finds himself in an utterly shocking situation. More importantly, Mann doesn’t give Foxx an unrealistic character arc to go through, where he learns a valuable lesson, yada yada yada, but a realistic one of…just a guy in a bad situation. At the start of the movie and at the end, Foxx is who he is. Both he and Cruise just disappear into their roles, which helps enormously in adding to the layers of reality Mann has already bestowed on the movie thanks to his superb directing and use of cinematography. Toss in a great script and solid story and you, my friends, have a recipe for a great thriller deserving of at least one go-through.

If the film has any faults, it’s the finale. I will not spoil any details, but I find the film takes a noticeable shift in tone at the end, becoming more a typical overblown action flick than a taut thriller. It all leads to a gunfight that is just…kind of ridiculous. It doesn’t ruin the movie by any means, and many don’t mind, but I found it somewhat jarring when that final “action sequence” begins. Suspend your disbelief and you should be fine. Perhaps I’m being too picky, but that is the only real fault I found in the film. It’s a great one, don’t get me wrong, and it’s worth a spin.

By no means does this film rewrite the rules or change anything in the thriller genre, but it is a great entry nonetheless. Taut, suspenseful, and a fantastic look and feel to it, Collateral works on nearly all levels. Whether it’s the great acting, skillful directing, engaging story or film style, everything seems to click. Yes, I find the finale to be a bit of a letdown, but the movie is still a rock-solid addition to anyone’s viewing library. Coming Highly Recommended, Collateral is a movie that will grab you for an unforgettable night of bloodshed and intrigue. Like I said, it doesn’t rewrite the book in any way, but it’s thrilling and fresh enough to keep viewers compelled until the very end.

The Blu-ray:

Paramount Home Entertainment has created a great release for this catalog title. A solid package through and through, Collateral is definitely be worth the sticker price! Just look past the hideous cover art (why not keep the original and very awesome artwork?) and enjoy the excellent assortment of goodies this title has waiting for you.

The audio and video is excellent, primarily thanks to the how Mann filmed the movie, using primarily digital tools to capture the action. While there may be some very evident noise on screen, that is merely a byproduct of the digital cameras used to film the movie, and (I believe) actually adds to feel of the movie. It adds a great grit to the film. That being said, the color palette is quite vibrant here, even with the noise, and the detail is stunning at times. For those who own the original DVD release of Collateral will notice a difference. There are some soft moments here and there that again seems to be a byproduct of the filming techniques used. The audio is also truly excellent with a solid DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless audio mix. Every bit of dialogue and action comes out crystal clear. Whether it’s a quiet, tense scene between the two leads, or the loud streets of L.A., everything seems in perfect balance, the speakers provide a great experience. At times the audio provides such an immersive experience, such as the club sequence or when shots ring out, and sounds pretty impressive.

Porting over the bonus features from the original DVD release of Collateral, Paramount Home Entertainment provides a nice wealth of content to service the main feature. Bonus features include a pretty fascinating commentary by direction Michael Mann, who discusses many different aspects of the film, including the advantages of shooting digital and the work both main actors put into their roles. The track is always interesting, without a doubt.

Moving on, a solid 40-minute ”making of” documentary is next. City of Night: The Making of ‘Collateral’ pretty much covers all aspects of making the film and how it came together. This includes the training both Cruise and Foxx undertook for their respective roles, the script, shooting, locations, the score, and nearly every aspect of the film imaginable. It’s a very solid above-average making of documentary that cuts the fluff and just gets to the meat of what film fans want to know. After that is a series of brief featurettes, looking at different facets of the film’s production, deleted scenes and the film’s teaser and theatrical trailers. Save for the high-definition trailers, all bonus features are in standard definition.

If you enjoyed this movie, whether during its original theatrical release or DVD home video release, then picking up the Collateral Blu-ray release seems to be a no-brainer. Definitely a great addition to anyone’s collection, Collateral offers an exciting, taut thriller that showcases the stylish directing of Mann and surprising turns by Cruise and Foxx – especially Cruise. On top of that, Paramount has done this movie very well, offering up excellent video and audio transfers and porting over all the original bonus content from the original DVD release. Everything you could want is right here, just now on Blu-ray. It’s an excellent package for a great catalog title. Paramount Home Entertainment continues to pump out excellent Blu-ray releases and this title is no exception. Highly Recommended

Collateral is now available to own on Blu-ray. Previously available on DVD and VHS.

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“The Running Man” Blu-ray Review

Click Here!The 80s were a time of much prosperity for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie career. It’s too bad that it was also a time of some truly horrible movies. And it’s even worse when the two instances merged to form extreme mediocrity. While almost all of Arnold’s actions films were successful, there are always a few duds in any given group. Such is the case with The Running Man a movie based-on (but-not-really) a book by Stephen King of the same title. While instances between the two is wildly different, the same basic premise is the same…which is also the same premise for a number of other similar movies over the years (most recently Gamer). Considering the modest budget of $27 million, the domestic intake of $38 million still made this film a relative success, even if it didn’t blow away critics or audiences the way many of Schwarzenegger’s other movies had at the time.

Synopsis
The year is 2019. Television is now ruling people’s lives. The most popular reality show is called “The Running Man” featuring convicts who compete to defeat murderous henchmen known as “stalkers” to win pardon. The next contestant on the show is Ben Richards, a prisoner wrongly convicted of murdering hundreds. When Ben faces off against four of the most brutal stalkers, he begins the fight of his life and leaves the entire country glued to their television sets. The Blu-ray Disc is presented in 1080P High Resolution 1.78 Widescreen and 7.1 DTS HD Master Audio.

My excitement for this film kind of plummeted once I read the description. I’ve only just recently caught up on a lot of Schwarzenegger’s big titles from the 80s and 90s and with my enjoyment of Last Action Hero so high, I thought that maybe another ill-received title with Arnold in it would prove be as enjoyable. Sadly I’ve already seen this story too recently in modern productions, so as terrible and predictable a story as they always are, they usually offered some decent eye-candy or sound effects (the two most recent films that come to mind are Death Race and the aforementioned Gamer). But in The Running Man’s case, everything is dated and…just really not good at all.

It’s always a muscular man, ripped in every way imaginable, that gets tossed in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s always innocent, but for one reason or another he plays along with the prisons game in hopes of getting free. Sadly the prisons are always full of it and try to kill the winner anyway, so it’s kind of just annoying to watch so many similar movies. I mean they basically change the medium of transportation and…that’s it. Everything else stays the same. Hell, Stallone was in the original Death Race 2000 before Running Man ever came out, so in that instance Stallone had already done something Schwarzenegger hadn’t. And that movie also sucked, so why would they even try with this one?

I mean I can get the corny action appeal that these films have sometimes, but for the most part these are films that just genuinely annoy me. They’re never original and…I don’t know. I tried to get into The Running Man, hoping its 80s charm would win me over…but no dice. I couldn’t get over the dated visuals, the corny acting, and the lack of any real memorable Schwarzenegger lines (although there is one really brutal sounding one about him ramming his fist down a guys throat and breaking out his spine…I did laugh at that at least) just made this film incredibly forgettable.

It’s far from the worst Arnold film out there, but I still just couldn’t shake the feeling that I’ve seen this story done before…and in much better ways (and that’s not saying much considering Death Race and Gamer were pretty major disappointments as well). Of course this film is probably ahead of its time with the whole “reality TV forcing viewers to drool mindlessly as they watch,” bit, but there’s that going for it too I suppose. In the end if you’re a Schwarzenegger fan, then this is hard to pass up. But if you’re just a casual peruser of his works then you’ll find this one worth a Rental only.

The Blu-ray
Lionsgate releases The Running Man on Blu-ray in a standard Elite Blu-ray case. Included inside is the disc and…well, that’s it. No inserts or anything. There’s no fancy slipcover included and no new extras (but there are extras carried over from the previous DVD release at least), so only those looking for an A/V boost will be interested in this one. Or at least they would be if it actually looked or sounded good.

Now I’ll immediately preface this by saying that this isn’t a bad looking or sounding A/V transfer. It’s just that, for a Blu-ray, it’s really not up to par at all. It’s more akin to what your PS3 can do with a DVD and upscale it, because there just isn’t a whole lot of detail coming through here. Some sequences look fantastic, but others just look slightly Vaseline-smeared, with nothing really coming popping off the image. The film does have its moments, but between the sometimes questionable color palette that the film already rocks and the overall softness of the image, it just doesn’t look all that impressive.

Audio is the same way, although it is a tad bit better. The sound effects still sound dated and muffled (as is a staple with any movies that are pre-90s…and even then there are issues sometimes), but the sound field is pretty spread out for what it’s worth. LFE doesn’t pipe up as much as you’d expect from a Schwarzenegger movie, but, again, given its age it’s not all that surprising. It definitely sounds better than it looks, but in the end if you already own the previous DVD edition with the Dolby Surround EX and DTS 6.1 mixes, you really don’t have any reason to pick up this Blu-ray (although it’s so cheap you may as well if you’re a fan).

Coming over from the aforementioned previous release are the following extras:

Audio commentary by Director Paul Michael Glaser and Producer Tim Zinneman
Audio commentary by Executive Producer Rob Cohen
“Game Theory” featurette (20:15, SD)
“Lockdown on Main Street” featurette (20:37, SD)
Theatrical trailer

The dual commentaries are the real focus here as they offer plenty of insight into the production of the film from multiple sides of the production angle. Discussions about the difficulty in finding directors to work on the film as well as a myriad of other issues it had are discussed here in great detail—definitely recommended listens for the fans. The other extras are pretty brief, but interesting looks at how the film would be received in today’s society…though kind of dated at this point, considering they were originally made for the 2004 DVD release.

Overall a Recommended package if you’re a fan and somehow don’t own the movie already. Otherwise stick to a Rental.

The Running Man is now available on Blu-ray.

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“Walk the Line” Blu-ray Review

Click Here!While I never was a diehard fan of Johnny Cash’s music, when trailers for Walk the Line first hit I was intrigued enough to want to see it. While I missed its theatrical run, I caught it on DVD and was immediately impressed by what the film presented. The thoroughness and depth that it explored Cash’s life was amazing and the performances were nothing short of astounding. On top of the acting the songs that Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon recorded for the film was simply astonishing and surprising at how much they sounded like Cash and Carter.

Synopsis
Reese Witherspoon, in her Academy Award winning** performance and Joaquin Phoenix, in his Oscar nominated*** role star in the critically acclaimed Johnny Cash chronicle, Walk The Line. With his driving freight-train chords, steel-eyed intensity and a voice as dark as the night, the legendary “Man in Black” revolutionized music – and forged his legacy as a genuine American icon. Golden Globe winners**** Phoenix (Gladiator, Hotel Rwanda) and Witherspoon (Election, Vanity Fair) star (and sing) as Johnny Cash and June Carter in this inspiring true story of one man’s unwavering devotion to his sound, his message and the greatest love of his life.

Every element that I enjoyed in Walk the Line remained undiminished while watching it again for the third or fourth time. While I had worried that I was going to end up laughing uncontrollably after what Walk Hard did to the Johnny Cash story, I found that the film was so well acted and directed that no amount of parody could hinder this film in the least. While there were elements that I laugh at now that I shouldn’t (in a similar situation, I can barely watch the Batmobile chase in Batman Begins now without laughing after the “Tankman Begins” parody), for the most part Phoenix did such a remarkable job in the title role that it’s rather impossible to “ruin” what he did in any way, shape or form.

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