'The Great Buck Howard'
(John Malkovich, Colin Hanks, et al / DVD / PG / (2008) 2009 / Magnolia Home Entertainment)
Overview: A mentalist who once charmed audiences as a casino headliner and “Tonight Show” regular with his logic-defying ability to read minds and hypnotize volunteers, Buck Howard (John Malkovich) has been reduced to playing small towns and community centers, yet he still refuses to accept that the world has passed him by. Buck thinks he has a great comeback up his sleeve, and a new road manager and personal assistant will help him introduce it.
DVD Verdict: If you ever had to wonder why you loved John Malkovitch, this is the reason why. This is the kind of movie you watch with your mouth open. The acting is strong. There's not a lot happening, this isn't a thriller, but even in the most ordinary scenes you can see that everyone believes in their characters. I thought I had this film figured out, but I was happily wrong. This story defies convention! John is simply fantastic in this role. Colin Hanks turns in a competent performance. He's a young actor so he still has to cut his teeth a little, but he did a fair enough job. His father even shows up for a scene and that's always nice.
But the real heart of the story I think is "do you still believe in magic?" not the real kind with witches and spells - but "magic" in a sense of wonder and amazement. I don't want to give anything away but in every scene when you think the story is about to fall apart, John Malkovitch pulls it off! He holds this film together with his bare hands. He's like a rock surrounded by superglue. He just makes this story happen. The way he talks about the human spirit - without talking about it.
The character is so outrageous and over the top that at first you laugh at him. But then later on you come to realize that this man is a believer. This man is for real, this isn't an act. He's not acting. Buck Howard does believe in the magic of the human soul. [BT] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, but does not come with any Special Features.