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The Lovely Bones Movie Review: Murder Most Surreal

The Lovely Bones Movie Poster

The Lovely Bones is directed by Peter Jackson of King Kong and Lord of the Rings fame. However, this fantasy drama and thriller points to some of his earlier work. It doesn't have the epic magnitude of his latest ventures, yet nestles itself in the realm of fantasy. The Lovely Bones tells the story of Susie Salmon, a young girl who is murdered, destined to watch over her family and her killer as she decides between the path of vengeance or healing from heaven above.

It's based on Alice Sebold's novel of the same title and is adapted by Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens and Peter Jackson. The setting is '70s America... an age romantically thought to have been void of life's hidden evils. No one had to lock their doors at night and stranger danger was something that happened in the movies. This was a vibrant, warm time for families as they watched their children grow up in the comfort of their white picket fence neighbourhoods... as they rode bikes and made the most of the sunshine years. However, life for the Salmons happened in a "that could never happen to us" space, one that would catapult the underlying feelings into plain sight as their daughter was whisked away by the darkness.

The Lovely Bones is divided into two dimensions... the reality of Susie in the real world, where photographs capture a moment of life and the other side, where a young girl's imagination determines her heavenly environment. There's very little focus on the transition as Jackson chooses to allude to Susie's tragic murder and rape, instead of...continued.

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Crazy Heart Movie Review: Hard Candy

Bridges delivers a powerful performance in Crazy Heart as the story follows ‘Bad’ Blake, a whiskey-swigging legend of a musician, who would trade horses for a guitar. His music has inspired a generation of country and western performers, yet his high regard hasn’t translated into the high life the way he’d want it to be. His alcoholism and loneliness are crunch factors that keep Bad, well… bad. He’s bad to the bone and destined to be that way until he meets Jean Craddock, a young journalist and single mother played by Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Crazy Heart does the unthinkable… it actually makes you appreciate and respect country music. We’ve all heard a guy with a twelve-gallon hat crooning on about his jaded love life or missing teeth, but what really goes into a country and western song? Crazy Heart answers that foreboding question with much gusto and a terrific performance from Jeff Bridges, who talks, walks and sings like the real thing.

More surprising is the fact that Crazy Heart is Scott Cooper’s directorial debut. Cooper penned the script based on the 1987 novel of the same name by Thomas Cobb, produced and directed Bridges, making this a passion project for him. His struggling actor days are a thing of the past now that Crazy Heart is out there and he’ll be sending plenty of thank yous to ‘The Dude Ranch’ for putting him on the map. The film’s soundtrack is heartfelt and full of tunes to rattle your bones. Bridges goes headlong, belting out his own numbers and doing such a fine job that he could always fall back on a career in country and western if he ever gets tired of winning ...continued.

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New Rental Releases This Week (15/02/10)

New DVD rental releases at DVBee this week:

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Pandorum, The Soloist, The Time Traveler's Wife and The Informant!


Director: Chris Miller
Starring: Ana Farris, James Caan
Genre: Animation, Family, Comedy, Romance, Fantasy
Age Restriction: PG

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is as funny and zany as its title would suggest. This animated fantasy film has a solid voice cast, excellent animation and wild set pieces, relying on mild peril and off-the-wall humour in the same vein as Meet the Robinsons. All in all, it’s light-hearted, imaginative, quirky family fun for everyone.

Director: Christian Alvart
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster
Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror, Thriller
Age Restriction: 16LV

This “lost in space” psychological thriller features slick visuals, claustrophobic sets and a decent cast, but relies too heavily on influences and themes from better science fiction movies within the genre, like Event Horizon, Resident Evil, Dead Space, 30 Days of Night and Doom.

Director: Joe Wright
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx
Genre: Biography, Music, Drama
Age Restriction: 13L

Steve Lopez (Downey Jr.), an L.A. Times columnist, discovers a modern day Beethoven in Nathaniel Ayers (Foxx), an “eccentric” ex-Julliard student playing a two-string violin on the streets. The Soloist brims with solid lead performances, an inspiring true story, beautiful music and gritty life on the streets of Greater Los Angeles, but is undermined by its swirling narrative.

Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Romance
Age Restriction: 13NS

This supernatural romance novel adaptation is bolstered by sincere performances and a fascinating time travel premise, but slips into melodrama too often to surpass the status of “chick flick”. Think Highlander with marital complications and time travel anomalies substituting for swordplay action and the quest for immortality.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Matt Damon
Genre: Drama, Comedy,  Thriller
Age Restriction: 16L

A quirky corporate espionage drama based on a true story: laden with offbeat comedy, circus style soundtrack interludes, Matt Damon as “Ned Flanders” and the colour of corn. Mark Whitacre, a high-level executive, finds himself trapped between the FBI’s agenda and colleagues in a corporate price-fixing scandal in the ‘90s. While it’s original and unique with a solid performance from Damon, the music ranges from distracting to irritating, the script is jam-packed with detail. Not for everyone.

Celeb ID #11: Guess Who?
Milla Jovovich Photo

The first person to identify this warped celebrity at SPL!NG on Facebook
wins a DVD!
Clue: This celebrity practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and went to high school with Christina Applegate.

(Unmodified original image will be posted on right once this Celeb ID game is over.)

Join SPL!NG on Facebook

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