DVD CINDERELLA MAN [Blu-ray]  [1 disc] [Region 2] (DVD 4683458),
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CINDERELLA MAN [Blu-ray]  [1 disc] [Region 2]
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Director Ron Howard and star Russell Crowe re-team after their Oscar-winning collaboration, A BEAUTIFUL MIND, for this rousing biopic. It's the true story of boxer James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe), a heavyweight contender from New Jersey nicknamed "the Bulldog of Bergen," who lost his fame and fortune during the Great Depression only to win the hearts of the downtrodden during a spectacular comeback. Crowe is masterful as Braddock, with Renee Zellweger playing his wife, and Paul Giamatti as his loyal friend and manager, Joe Gould. The sharply observed script devotes a significant amount of screen time to the domestic struggles of Braddock's family; developing character and place with a wealth of period detail, so when the comeback starts, the payoff is enormous. The matches themselves are unforgettable: raw, intense, riveting, with more than a passing stylistic nod to Martin Scorsese's groundbreaking 1980 film, RAGING BULL. Though it may sound a bit formulaic, one should remember that this is the true and "original" underdog boxer story from which all others hail, and it's riveted together with true craftsmanship. Howard has a real skill for plucking audience members' heartstrings, and the performances are first-rate. Giamatti and Crowe play off each other in a rapport perfectly suited to their roles, especially at the ring, where the one's manic intensity makes a perfect contrast to the other's warrior grace.
Russell Crowe, Rene Zellweger, Renee Zellweger, Renee Kathleen Zellweger, Paul Giamatti, Craig Bierko, Bruce McGill, Paddy Considine
"Out of the ring and opposite Mr. Giamatti, Mr. Crowe eases into the boxer's soft side, at times beautifully; in the ring, he's repulsively believable."
New York Times
"Crowe's physical acting is miraculous....A top-notch entertainment and as fine a sports movie as one could hope for."
"Imbuing his Braddock with uncommon dignity and integrity, Crowe creates an utterly human character..."
Sight and Sound
"Russell Crowe is rugged and resilient....It's a solid picture..."
Ranked #6 in Rolling Stone's "Top 25 DVDs Of 2005' -- "If there's any justice, DVD will rescue this rousing drama from shocking box-office indifference."
"[An] emotional true story....This is a good soundtrack that works well with the story."
"[T]here's not another actor working in the movies today with Crowe's kind of gravitational pull to authenticity..."
"The climactic matchup works splendidly for two reasons. There's so much on the line, and the staging is breathtaking..."
"The film is RAGING BULL minus the rage, though with a motivation that's at least as involving, and a lot more surprising."
Wall Street Journal
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