You’ve got to hand it to director Ron Howard: he went out on a limb to produce and direct this film set during the golden age of 1970s Formula 1 racing — a sport little-known by most Americans (although it draws massive audiences worldwide, both at Grand Prix events and via broadcast). There are few auto racing movies that make money — actually, there have been only a handful of racing movies, period — and, unfortunately, “Rush” isn’t among those moneymakers. Which is a shame, since it’s actually a well-directed, honest and accurate look at men pushing themselves to emotional and physical breaking points in pursuit of their muse — which here happens to be winning Grand Prix races at all costs. The film portrays the exhilarating true story of two of the greatest rivals in the sport — handsome and flamboyant English playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and his methodical, brilliant opponent, disciplined Austrian perfectionist Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) — in the 1976 season, both on and off the track. The racing scenes are spectacularly amazing — Howard planned the scenes for months, mainly using vintage F1 cars and their drivers in lieu of special effects and stunt drivers (except for the crash scenes). It’s a breathtaking production. Extras: “Ron Howard: A Director’s Approach.” Blu-ray adds a six part featurette, “Race for the Checkered Flag: The Making of Rush,” with “Peter Morgan on Writing Rush,” “The Making of Rush — Finding James and Niki,” “The Light of Speed and Filming F1,” “Around the World in One Location,” “Fashion and Styles of the 70’s” and “The Making of Rush — Ron Howard: A Director’s Approach”; three-part featurette, “The Real Story of Rush” with “Meeting James Hunt and Niki Lauda,” “F1 Take 1: F1 Racing and the F1 Car” and “The Rock and Roll Circus.” Vitals: Director: Ron Howard. Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Stephen Mangan, Christian McKay, Julian Rhind-Tutt. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 123 min., Action, Box office gross: $26.491 million, Universal.
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