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PHOTOGRAPHY

THE SOLOIST
DVD Review by David Blackwell
 
DETAILS:  116 minutes, audio commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes
VIDEO:  2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO:  English, French, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Subtitles:  English, French, Spanish
 
STUDIO:  Paramount HOme Entertainment/ Dreamworks Pictures/ Universal Pictures/ Studiocanal/ Participant Media/ Working Title Films
RELEASE DATE:  8-4-2009

THE SOLOIST is based on a true story with a few changes for the movie's story.   Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr) is a columnist for the LA Times.   He comes across a homeless man playing a violin one day.  This homeless man is Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Fox),a music genius suffering from a mental disease for a few years since he attended Julliard.   Lopez tries to help Mr. Ayers by telling his story and get people to help him only to find out sometimes being a friend is all you can do.

The film is a little too sentimental at times, but it doesn't wrap things up in a neat bow.  Sometimes all someone needs is a friend and you can't cure them no matter what if they don't want to be helped or can't be helped is you want to.  THE SOLOIST also shows what the homeless problem is like in LA while weaving a character driven narrative between two men who form an unlikely friendship that changes both of them in many ways.  It also features real homeless people and the LAMP community that helps many homeless in the skid row area of LA.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
Director Joe Wright provides an audio commentary for the film.
 
AN UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP: THE MAKING OF THE SOLOIST is a 20 minute featurette.   KINDNESS, COURTSEY, AND RESPECT:  MR. AYERS + MR. LOPEZ is a five minute fetaurette wher the real life counterparts talk about their friendship.  Ayers seems more lucid than how he is portaryed in the film.
ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL: ADDRESSING HOMELESSNESS IN LOS ANGELES looks at the homeless problem in LA with interviews by the people who run the homeless shelters and programs.   BETH'S STORY is a two minute animated short of how Beth became homeless.  The five deleted scenes are interesting and I like the first and last scenes the best.  The previews on the disc include a theatrical trailer for the upcoming SHUTTER ISLAND.
 
FINAL ANALYSIS:   THE SOLOIST is a good movie about an unlikely friendship.  However, it makes me want to see Robert Downey Jr. more in roles like Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes.
 
this DVD review is (c)8-14-2009 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com