Hilary Swank soars through ‘Amelia’
BY SEAN O’CONNELL
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Once believed to be an Oscar contender, Mira Nair’s biopic of pioneering female pilot Amelia Earhart met critical resistance and failed to get off the ground with audiences. (It took in a domestic gross of $14.2 million last fall.)
The presence of two-time Academy Award wined Hilary Swank in the title role couldn’t jumpstart Nair’s soapy, subdued account of the pilot’s ill-fated attempt to circumnavigate the globe after successful jaunts across the Atlantic. Richard Gere lends support as Earhart’s lifelong love, George Putnam, and Ewan McGregor temporarily rocks the boat as Earhart’s secret lover, Gene Vidal. But the whole endeavor is too polite, too chaste to stir much passion. The aerial footage translates beautifully to your home theater screen. Sadly, so too does the restrained and unresponsive writing.
Look for deleted scenes, a “Making of” featurette and seven vintage newsreels on the new “Amelia” DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
The movie – ** out of 4
The DVD – *** out of 4
Sometimes the accolades convince you to take a chance on a film. So when the press release for Christophe van Rompaey’s “Moscow, Belgium” boasted its selection at the Cannes International Film Festival and “Critic’s Pick” nominations from The New York Time and the Los Angeles Times, I requested a copy and discovered a treasure.
The monotony of middle-class living is etched into the face of Matty (Barbara Sarafian), an unhappy wife and mother of three who enters an intriguing relationship with Johnny (Jurgen Delnaet), a much younger truck driver, after a fender bender. Van Rompaey’s “Belgium” finds unexpected laughs in the blue-collar tragedies of the film’s central love triangle, yet is grounded by Sarafian’s fantastic performance as a woman long neglected in the game of love who suddenly finds herself caught between two eccentric suitors.
Extra features on the “Belgium” DVD include an audio commentary track, a Cannes featurette from the film’s appearance at the 2008 fest, a picture gallery and two trailers.
The movie – *** out of 4
The DVD – *** out of 4