Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Still from Country Strong
One of the Films I am most excited to see right now actually won’t be opening over the Holidays in these parts, but it opens today for the lucky people of Los Angeles and Nashville. Country Strong from Director/Screenwriter Shana Feste, stars Gwyneth Paltrow as an unlucky Country Singer with a few vices, on the comeback trail. Believe it or not, Feste has cited Britney Spears’ downward spiral a few years back as being the inspiration behind her Heroine, Kelly Canter (Paltrow).

Previewing its Soundtrack last night for the first time, I was rather impressed by Paltrow’s conviction on the four tracks in which she appears, like the rockin’ swagger of Shake That Thing and the Film’s title track. Garrett Hedlund from TRON: Legacy is convincingly Bluegrass with that lower Baritone register on his sole track Chances Are. Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester does a credible job too on her one track Words I Couldn’t Say, although there is no doubting who the real star is in Paltrow. It appears co-star Tim McGraw might have lent her a pointer or two.

Reviews are starting to come in for the Musical Drama and although mixed unsurprisingly with the most telling sign being its snubbing at last week's Golden Globe nominations in the Acting and Best Motion Picture categories, Variety Magazine’s Justin Chang praised it still.  Chang in a review just published last night says it is a “rare ensemble piece in which all four principals are not only compellingly drawn but handled with an astute sense of dramatic balance.”
Claudia Puig from USA Today wasn’t as impressed with it believing that “Most of the effort seems to have gone into the original music, which is pleasant but not memorable, and too little on creating believable, multidimensional characters.”

Los Angeles Times’ Betsey Sharkey was on-the-fence not being impressed overall, but still felt Paltrow as “an actress who slips into roles as if they were old sweats, creating a kind of organic fit whether it's the light loveliness of her theater romantic in Shakespeare in Love or her darkly used down-market girl in Two Lovers."

This will be the longest two weeks of waiting ever. And people wonder why DVD-Screeners somehow find their way on Torrent sites around this time of year so quickly!

(Photo credit: Sony Screen Gems)

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