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1408 - Blu-ray DVD / horror DVD / suspense DVD review
1408 Rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 1/2 stars
Featuring: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, Tony Shalhoub
Director: Mikael Håfström   Studio: Weinstein Company
DVD release: 16 September 2008   Runtime: 125 minutes (2 discs)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features:Audio tracks (Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround - English, French; Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - Spanish, Portugese), Subtitles (English, Spanish, French, Portugese, Chinese, Korean, Thai), 1080p/VC-1, Extended footage, Deleted & extended scenes, 16 song performances, Line-o-rama, The Music of Walk Hard; The Real Dewey Cox, A Christmas Song from Dewey Cox, Cox sausage commercial with outtakes, Song demos, The Making of "Walk Hard," The Last Word with John Hodgman, Commentary (w/ Jake Kasdan, Judd Apatow, John C. Reilly and Lew Morton

I enjoy biopics about musicians, if they're done well, even if I'm not a fan of their music. There was a time when a marathon of Behind the Music could leave me stuck in front of the set for the better part of a day. I'd keep telling myself "I don't even like Glen Campbell," but there I'd be for eight more hours. I quite enjoyed Ray and Walk the Line (films of the lives of Ray Charles and Johnny Cash, in case you've been under a rock a while), and Jake Kasdan's genre parody Walk Hard celebrates each.

Walk Hard is about Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly), a poor young man who accidentally kills his immensely talented brother and develops "smell blindness" from the trauma. His brother makes Dewey promise that he'll be double-great. This haunts Dewey, as does his father's constant complaint that "The wrong kid died." Naturally, Dewey puts together a little rock 'n' roll combo, and they perform at the school talent contest. They incite a combination orgy/riot (it is rock 'n' roll, after all) and Dewey gets thrown out of the house at age 14 (fourteen year-old Dewey is played by John C. Reilly, by the way, but they make it abundantly clear that he's fourteen every chance they get).

Dewey gets to take the stage at a rough all-black club through a convenient mishap... oh, and the record execs are in the audience, too. Dewey hits it big, and all the marks are hit in his rise to fame. His thirteen-year-old wife, Edith (Kristin Wiig), and an impossible number of children try to weigh him down, yet he succeeds, he's tempted by drugs and loose women and haunted by his brother and father (and soon his mother, as his first big hit manages to be responsible for her death). All of this is totally tongue-in-cheek, of course. Dewey discovers his true love is Darlene Madison (The Office's Jenna Fischer) when she applies for a job as a back-up singer. She is the June to Dewey's Johnny. They get married, but Dewey screws that up.

Throughout the story, Dewey crosses paths with such major stars as Buddy Holly (Frankie Muniz), Elvis (Jack White), The Beatles (Paul Rudd as John, Jack Black as Paul, Justin Long as George, and Jason Schwartzman as Ringo), and more. The amusing part of these meetings is the way they are introduced and how everyone around them reiterates who they are as if we're likely to miss it.

1408 mimics formula superstar biopics and it knows it - it celebrates the formula. It practically puts on a 'formula biopic' tee shirt and dances around in front of the camera, and that's a big part of what makes it so much fun. It also has excellent music (Cox's songs performed by Reilly) that is not only lyrically clever but quite musically enjoyable as well. Walk Hard is the best movie I've seen in a while, and I'm eager to share it with others who I know will enjoy it.

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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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