Universal Movie •••½Picture/Sound •••• Extras ••••
Oscar-worthy performances by Russell Crowe, Renée Zellwegger, and Paul Giamatti transform this sincere, somber biopic into a glowing portrait of James J. Braddock, a Depression-era boxer who hit the skids but fought his way back to the top. The picture on this two-disc set shows every bead of sweat, and the exciting surround sound puts you right in the arena with the crowd. Extras include three commentaries (one by director Ron Howard and one each by screenwriters Akiva Goldsman and Cliff Hollingsworth), original fight footage, and ten featurettes on Braddock, the history of boxing, and various aspects of the filmmaking process. The set comes with a souvenir booklet and four glossy still prints. [PG-13] English, Dolby Digital 5.1; letterboxed (2.35:1) and anamorphic widescreen; two dual-layer discs.