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Rush has a winning formula, Ron Howard’s movie is more than just a race around a track

Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 4:35 pm


By Peter Covino

A&E Editor

I didn’t see Rush when it opened in theaters this fall and, apparently, I had a lot of company.
This Ron Howard-directed film had a modest budget (by Hollywood standards) of about $38 million and grossed less than $27 million domestically.
After watching this fast-paced film (with Formula 1 racing and a true story about two men in 1976 in hot pursuit of the world championship) it really is hard to figure the lack of zoom at the box office.
It did lack big name stars (Chris Hemsworth plays English Formula 1 driver James Hunt and Daniel Bruhl is rival and nemesis, Austrian Niki Lauda) but this is a Ron Howard film, the guy responsible for box office winners such as Apollo 13 and Backdraft.
Maybe it was just a matter of timing.
Well Rush can be that surprise film you can tell all your friends about, because this is one really worth seeing, even if you are not an auto race fan.
Both Hemsworth (Thor, The Avengers) and Bruhl (Inglourious Basterds) really deliver the goods. Lauda and Hunt are nowhere near as noteworthy in the U.S. as they are in Europe, but by all accounts, both men really nailed these famous racers in their portrayals.
Hunt is the womanizing freewheeler, who is pretty much loved by all, while Lauda is a no-nonsense kind of guy, who seems to be universally disdained.
Rush follows their true story, both on the track and off, for one very eventful racing season.
Featuring a screenplay by Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon and The Queen), the emphasis in Rush is on far more than racing, which makes it a great film for more than just race fans.
But it is the racing scenes that make Rush a great Blu-ray purchase as well.
Rush, available in Blu-ray combo pack and standard DVD, features some pretty commendable bonuses as well, particularly for those who have never heard of Hunt and Lauda.
Blu-ray features include Race for the Checkered Flag: The Making of Rush. It is one of those all-encompassing, behind the scenes features that includes everything from casting, location and writing to the fashion and styles of the 1970s. Curiously, while the film really looks like it traveled the world for all those Formula 1 racing scenes, the shooting was almost entirely done in the United Kingdom. The feature has interviews with Ron Howard, Hemsworth, Bruhl, screenwriter Morgan as well as many others responsible for the film.
For a closer look at the relationship between the two drivers, The Real Story of Rush  includes insights into the two men and a short documentary with a rare interview with Lauda. The Real Story of Rush also features a look at Formula 1 racing in the 1970s as well a closer look at the races, music, clothes and lifestyle of the era.
Other bonuses include deleted scenes and Ron Howard: A Director’s Approach, a behind-the-scenes look at his passion for filmmaking.
The Blu-ray combo pack also includes a DVD version and digital HD Ultraviolet copy for use on the go in phones, tablets and game consoles.
Rush  will be available in Blu-ray/DVD Tuesday from Universal Home Entertainment.
Okay guys. It is getting close to Valentine’s Day again and before you get seeing one of those sugary-sweet romantic films, you might want to suggest About Time (Universal Studios Home Entertainment).
It is still a romantic comedy, but has a bit of a twist and plot that is fun to watch.
This British film from director Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral) stars Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson in this fantasy romance about a guy named Tim (Gleeson) who discovers he has inherited an ability that all the men in his family have — he can travel through time.
This isn’t an all-encompassing ability, but sort of like Ground Hog Day, if he doesn’t like the outcome of a particular afternoon, he can go back and do it over again.
Tim never has had luck with women, but with his newly-found talent he is able to woo and win a girl (Rachel McAdams) and soon start a family. Of course, there are mishaps along the way, but that is part of the charm of this lessons learned story.
About Time also stars Bill Nighy (Love Actually).
The Blu-ray combo includes an UltraViolet copy as well as standard DVD.
Bonus features include:
About Tim and Time Travel — a brief guide to the mechanics of time travel and what effect Tim’s new power has on himself and those around him.
The Look — a lingering look at the locations used in London as well as Cornwall, Tim’s birthplace.
The World of Richard Curtis — An inside look at the director on set and his this film fits into the rest of his directorial catalogue.
Other features include deleted scenes, a blooper reel, music video and commentary with the director and cast.
One of the most famous prom nights in movie history returns in the 2013 version of Carrie.
It’s really hard to get a take on this new version, which is very much like the Brian De Palma original (based on the Stephen King novel).
New director Kimberly Peirce doesn’t do a scene-by-scene remake the way Gus Van Sant did with Psycho, but for the most part, this is just an updating of the original film.
This time it is Chloe Grace Moretz (500 Days of Summer, Hugo) starring as the one girl you would not want to see at your prom and Julianne Moore as her religious zealot mom.
It follows the same path for the most part, with the same characters, but it does have a bigger budget which means more money for pig’s blood, I guess.
It is hard to beat (make that impossible) Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie in the original roles (the first film also starred John Travolta, Amy Irving, Nancy Allen and William Katt), but Moretz and Moore give it their best shot.
Fans of the original film will like comparing the two movies and if you have somehow never seen the first version Peirce’s film will still deliver a few jolts.
Like the original film, Carrie is rated  R.
Carrie on Blu-ray/DVD does feature an alternative ending to the one in theaters (the ending here is close to the original).
Other bonus features include:
“Bringing Back Carrie” Featurette.
Deleted/Extended Scenes with Commentary by Director Kimberly Peirce.
Commentary by director Kimberly Peirce.
The Power of Telekinesis.
Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise.
Theatrical Trailer
“Bringing Back Carrie” Featurette.
Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise.
Theatrical Trailer
Carrie is released through Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
Going to the prom doesn’t have the same disastrous results in GBF, but it isn’t without its problems.
GBF (gay boyfriend) is a teen comedy for the new millennium. Think Clueless or Mean Girls and throw in a gay boy or two, and you pretty much get the idea.
North Gateway High School has three reigning divas but they are all lacking that one certain something that has been deemed the hottest new must-have accessory — a gay boyfriend.
Unfortunately, there is only one openly gay boy in school and now they are vying for his attention.
Tanner (Michael J. Willett) is the boy getting all the attention and Paul Iacono is his best friend, and for awhile they share the same gay secret.
But when the divas find out about Tanner, it becomes a social war free-for-all to get his attention. Sasha Pieterse, Xosha Roquermore and Andrea Bowen are the divas.
It’s a lot of fun with good performances throughout in this updating of the standard teenage comedy.
GBF is already available  through on demand services and will be released on DVD from Vertical Entertainment Feb. 11.
One of the best new action thrillers on Blu-ray and DVD doesn’t star The Rock or Sylvester Stallone.