Recliner Reviews for April 25, 2013

April 22, 2013 

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook."

Sometimes it’s a dilemma: what DVD should you rent or what movie should you stream or order-on-demand? Do you want a date flick, an action caper, or a goofy comedy? Weekly Surge is here to help with our reviews of recent at-home movie releases, which we’ve watched from the comfort of that favorite recliner.

“Silver Linings Playbook”

Occasionally, a film comes along about love that takes all the elements of romantic comedies, shakes them up in a rusty can and pours out something completely different and new. Like the novel by Matthew Quick, the movie deals with dramatic, difficult issues with uncomfortable and comedic approaches. Mix in some strange romance with broken characters and you have this original film. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence weren’t director David O. Russell’s first choices but Cooper was nominated for an Oscar for his role and Lawrence won one for hers. They attack their parts and it shows why they are the captains of their futures in film – choosing movies that they want to do. It doesn’t hurt to have Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver as co-stars. The whole cast just seems to fit with Russell’s vision and they make an unforgettable work that doesn’t give a shit about genre. You don’t have to look for a silver lining, every element of this movie is worth a watch.

“Les Miserables”

British director Tom Hooper loves himself some period pieces. He has delved into various eras of the past in his previous three projects – “The King's Speech” (2010), “The Damned United” (2009) and “John Adams” (2008). Hooper takes on this Broadway musical goliath, done to death on the stage and the screen. How is Hooper going to make his different, you ask? Well, he’s going to have the actors sing on set, not lip-sync, and without studio enhancement. It is a gritty, real sound. But fear not, most of the cast are trained theatre singers – we did say most. The fun is finding the actors with the terrible voices and there’s a couple. But that’s about all the fun you’re going to have here. This movie is an incredible downer – A film set during the French Revolution amid pestilence, poverty and death. But the cast makes keeps it interesting for fans of the musical – Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter. And that’s just a few. Yes, it’s miserable viewing but it’s still worth a watch.

“Sound City”

Dave Grohl is always looking for a creative outlet. Getting his start as the drummer for Nirvana, moving on to be the frontman of Foo Fighters, forming the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, he’s also been a studio musician for a list of bands including Tenacious D and Queens of the Stone Age. Here, he takes a shot at rock historian and documentarian, chronicling a little music studio in Los Angeles and the bands that darkened Sound City’s door while producing some of the greatest music ever recorded. The star of the film is the soundboard and the magic it was able to record. Grohl captures the ups-and-downs of decades of the business of making music beautifully. He does it with relaxed interviews, quick-edited archival photos and videos which results in a new musical product. This is the story of a place, existing out of time, that brought out the most human and honest aspect of the musicians playing there – worth a watch.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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