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The Crazy Young Horse Avatar Bones

By Genevieve Burgess | DVD Releases | April 20, 2010 |

By Genevieve Burgess | DVD Releases | April 20, 2010 |

Crazy Heart: Perhaps it’s the tool of the truly lazy critic to merely point to another movie as basis for describing the movie he’s currently reviewing, but it’s damn near impossible not to draw parallels between Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart and Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler. The comparison isn’t just apt thematically, but reflective of the awards season: it’ll get a best actor nomination for the lead and a deserving best song nomination. It’s a tried and true song we’ve all heard before: an old salt rumbling on the road, clinging to a life of desperation and destructive behavior because it’s the only one he knows, finding new loves and trying to reclaim old lives, que sera serve me a beer back. And I don’t offer that up as a negative; truth be told, there’s a reason why it’s a popular seed from which to sprout a story. Like a home run derby, it allows your lead muscle to step up to the plate and just fucking knock the ball out of the park and into the goddamn lights surrounding the stadium. Jeff Bridges — and lest you forget that’s four-times-over-four-decades Academy Awards nominee Jeff Bridges — is simply wonderful. In a fair world, he would win the rich-deserved accolades for his magnificent, career-defining performance. But as Bad Blake can tell you, this is long from being a fair world. - Brian Prisco

The Young Victoria: “Full disclosure: I don’t typically care for period pieces, nor can I claim with any honesty that I can’t take that bias into my review of The Young Victoria. I didn’t like it — in fact, I rather hated it. But if you like Victorian period pieces, then you might feel differently, assuming that one excellent performance, great cinematography, and lots of pretty costumes are enough to satisfy you. The Young Victoria, in that respect, is more than competent — fans of watching British actors titter and scowl while wearing uncomfortable clothing will no doubt come away pleased.” - Dustin Rowles

The Lovely Bones: “If Peter Jackson’s got an m.o., it’s to get lost in the details of visual effects while ignoring the larger story they’re meant to support. His dominating aesthetic is one of pleasant ignorance, dating back to his slapstick gore days with Bad Taste and continuing through his schlocky The Frighteners. Viewed within the context of his body of work, his sprawling adaptation of The Lord of the Rings is just a triptych meditation on the joy of being able to color in thousands of digital warriors and have them whale on each other like a video game come to life. He’s capable of crafting some tightly paced scenes, but when asked to place them in the framework of a convincing narrative, Jackson becomes as confused as you’d expect from someone who once made a feature-length film starring horny puppets involved in every sexual and scatological set-up you can imagine. As such, his adaptation of The Lovely Bones, from the novel by Alice Sebold, is a jarring, muddled affair that purports to be about loss, death, and a number of other dark issues but is really nothing more than the latest excuse for Jackson to sit in the corner and play with his toys. As a psychological and emotional exploration, it’s laughably puerile; as a film, it’s a jumbled embarrassment that forsakes any semblance of story or momentum and just sits there, limply. I never expected the afterlife to be so dull, but then, for Jackson to succeed here he’d have to use his beloved effects to actually make a point and connect with audiences. But that turns out to be too much to ask.” - Daniel Carlson

The Horse Boy: “That’s the situation that the Isaacson family is faced with in Horse Boy. When the parents of five-year-old Rowen discover that he’s autistic, it’s almost as though a child has died. They have to grieve over not the loss of the child, but the loss of their vision of the future. They’re forced to restructure their lives, and spend a large percentage of their day just trying to deal with their child’s bowel movements in between four-hour tantrums, hours in which the Isaacsons can’t engage with their son or reach an emotional place where they can console him. It’s an unimaginable scenario for me. I’m far too selfish a person to think that I could give up my sense of self, my identity, my life in order to constantly observe a situation I can’t control.” - Dustin Rowles

(Receiving a gimmicky Earth Day release this Thursday) Avatar: “It is a simple story in outline form, and one that is familiar to science fiction and told from start to finish in the trailer. Humanity has all but exhausted Earth. It stumbles upon a new unspoilt world, with strange new resources to loot, primitive aliens of hidden depth. The company wants to burn everything down, the scientists are appalled, the natives fight, our protagonist helps. But that summary is all facts and no soul.” - Steven Lloyd Wilson

Also released this week: 44 Inch Chest, Cheech and Chong’s Hey Watch This, Deadly Impact, Mammoth, Peacock

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Genevieve Burgess is a Features Contributor for Pajiba. You can follow Genevieve Burgess on Twitter.