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Jeff Bridges, Colin Farrell strum through DVD release of “Crazy Heart”

BY SEAN O’CONNELL stays on top of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases so you know which films are worth your time and money. This week, we recommend:

Crazy Heart (*** out of 4)
Was there ever a question Jeff Bridges was taking home the Best Actor Oscar at this year’s Academy Awards? In a year of expected finishes, only Mo’Nique appeared more of a lock for “Precious” than Bridges was for “Crazy Heart.” Expect plenty of fans to check the film out one more time now that it’s available on DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Once upon a time, “Bad” Blake (Bridges) occupied the top of the country music charts. Lately, his life has become a long, sad, country-western song pockmarked by drink, drugs, poverty, some celebrity, but mostly the glistening remnants of a fading star.

Blake’s glory days are behind him. He makes a decent living touring dive bars and bowling joints throughout the Southwest. (The sight of Bridges in a bowling alley instant5ly warms the hearts of “The Big Lebowski” fans.) His manager is begging him to reunite with Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), the upstart protégé who long ago surpassed Blake in ticket and album sales. But the tired performer prefers the road … and the company of a pretty young journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

Once you’ve seen Bridges’ portrayal of Blake in Scott Cooper’s debut film, you’ll understand that precious few other actors could ever occupy the role.

Cooper’s human drama proves that what goes up must come down. For every star on the rise, there’s a similar celebrity in free fall. What stays steady throughout, however, is the strength of the performances. A natural musical talent, Bridges could have earned a decent living on the country music circuit with his raspy singing voice. He embodies the body and soul of “Bad” Blake to the point that the character becomes a second skin. Bridges inspires his cast mates, and everyone – from Farrell to Robert Duvall in a small supporting role – is commendable. But Bridges’ memorable turn truly is the majestic solo that stands out in Cooper’s sturdy musical number.

Fox’s “Crazy Heart” DVD is a little thin in the Extras department, however. It comes with six deleted scenes and a trailer. We’d have gone “Crazy” for a downloadable copy of the soundtrack, but alas, it’s not to be.

The movie — *** out of 4
The DVD — ** out of 4



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