Jeff Bridges picked up two Best Actor awards over the weekend for his portrayal of boozy Bad Blake, a legendary country singer whose career has fizzled to the point that he now plays bowling alleys. The story is familiar (Tender Mercies
, anyone?), but it transcends its fallen-star genre through great acting, well-written characters and scenes that feel true to the individuals, the circumstances and the contemporary Southwest settings. Maggie Gyllenhaal contributes a strong, specific performance as Jean Craddock, a reporter prone to codependency who gets involved with Blake. Colin Farrell is impressive as Tommy Sweet, a white-hot Tim McGraw-type singer whose mentor was/is Blake. Bridges and Farrell do their own singing and they sound great. 112 minutes.
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