Renée Zellweger Movie Reviews: JUDY, Jerry Maguire, Case 39

Renee Zellweger in Case 39 (2009 thriller)

After seeing Renée Zellweger’s excellent performance in JUDY, I decided to do a streaming movie search at home and watch or rewatch some Zellweger movies that are on Prime Video or Netflix as of this writing (9/28/2019):

Let’s start with the move that’s in limited screenings right now… (as always, click the movie title to see the full review)

JUDY ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Biopic – 2019
Covers primarily the last year of Judy Garland’s life when she gigged at London’s Talk Of The Town. Zellweger not only goes through the prosthetic makeup and fake teeth, contacts and wigs to look like Garland, she spent two years studying to be her, including time with a vocal coach.

RESULT: about as close to facsimile of Judy Garland at the end of her life as we’re probably going to get anytime soon in a feature film. The singing still isn’t Garland’s, but it’s easy to see how hard Zellweger tries to emulate. I love that this wasn’t lip-synched. Zellweger’s vocals do not have as much vibrato the stunning power for a woman the size of Garland’s frail frame at age 47. See this post with side-by-side recordings of “Over The Rainbow.”

Want more Judy Garland? Vanity Fair recommends 9 essential Garland movies. CNN takes us back to Judy wearing a gingham pinafore in The Wizard of Oz.

Jerry Maguire ⭐️⭐️⭐️½  – Sports Drama – 1996
Sports agent Tom Cruise has a conscience. “Show me the money!” Cuban Gooding Jr. is the start NFL athlete client of Cruise and Zellweger plays his only employee, holding on for that single big contract.

RESULT: Zellweger plays Cruise’s employee who takes a chance on his refreshing mission statement in an industry where ethics are questionable. She also is the main love interest. Plays it well and there is definite chemistry between the two.

Case 39 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Thriller, Psychological Horror – 2009
Emily Jenkins (Zellweger) is a case worker investigating a 10 year old girl named Lilith who she believe parents are endangering her. All is not what it seems, though, as the parents have the child taken away and put in Emily’s care temporarily while awaiting foster care placement. And the story gets progressively more disturbing from here.

RESULT: this is not some warm rom-com loving role for Zellweger. The tension in this film is strong, tight and challenges the actor. She pulls it off well. Great range. It isn’t a very original story, however, but great scripts eluding Zellweger’s talent seem to be an issue sometimes for her. Story is probably 2 stars, but Zellweger’s acting is 4+ stars.

JUDY Not Screening At Many Big Theater Chains In Seattle Area

Judy is showing at one independent theater in Tacoma and three theaters in Seattle

The movie I’m most looking forward to seeing being released today, JUDY (PREVIEW) is not showing at virtually any nearby Regal Cinema until October 3. Apparently, there are limited screenings of this movie, at least in the Seattle/Tacoma Washington area (what about your area?). I had to do some deep dive Googling to find it screening at a paltry four cinemas in the entire Seattle/Tacoma area.

JUDY is showing today at an independent theater: The Grand Cinema in downtown Tacoma. It is also showing at one larger AMC-10 in Seattle and two Regal in north Seattle (Thorton Place) and another further north Seattle.

Seattle is a big city. A big liberal city. This surprises me that a movie about Judy Garland — who is a known cultural gay icon, and one would think should be a bigger deal in this area of the United States isn’t screening on opening day in more theaters. Way more theaters.

Perhaps this is by design and marketing strategy. Start small, independents mostly, then get the buzz going and open wide in later weeks to the big chains (AMC, Regal, Cinemark)?

I do think it’s kinda cool that if I want to see this movie — and I very much do — locally, I must see it in an independent theater. I’m OK with that.

JUDY is playing opening day at the Grand Cinema, a nonprofit independent film house

Wow, after more digging, The Grand Cinema is a nonprofit too?!

The Grand Cinema is the South Sound’s nonprofit home for independent, international, and local film. As the only nonprofit cinema in Pierce County, we are committed to enhancing the cultural vitality of the community through quality film and educational programming.

Very cool. I wonder if this theater is going to have a vintage moviegoer experience (the old metal uncomfortable bucket seats)? This could be an interesting experience today.

Yes, I’m going.