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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

new on DVD: true love, and not so true crime

I’m still reeling from the power of Joaquin Phoenix’s Johnny Cash in Walk the Line (read my review/buy at Amazon) — the moment in the film when Cash, singing in a recording studio for the first time, discovers his voice is the moment when Phoenix became a truly great actor. His performance is what makes the movie for me — much of the rest of the package is rather conventional, including the Grand Romance. On the other hand, today also sees the DVD release of Pride & Prejudice (read my review/buy at Amazon), in which a classic story that has become something of a convention is suddenly fresh and exciting and romantic again.

Love drives the crime at the heart of Where the Truth Lies (read my review/buy at Amazon), an underappreciated, twisty little film about celebrity, fandom, the delusions we hold that blind us, and the lengths people will go to protect what’s theirs. And with a cast like Colin Firth, Kevin Bacon, and Alison Lohman, it’s always fascinating to watch.

Pure, unthinking greed is behind the heist in The Ice Harvest (read my review/buy at Amazon), a neo-noir caper that’s not as funny as it should be, but is still more entertaining than most of what passes as comedy for grownups. John Cusack settles into a weary new niche for himself like it was a comfortable old shoe, Billy Bob Thornton is a hoot, and Connie Nielsen is a killer femme fatale. But then, you knew she would be.



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