Category Archives: Sport

Warrior (2011) Review

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Warrior

Time: 140 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast:
Tom Hardy as Tommy Riordan Conlon
Joel Edgerton as Brendan Conlon
Nick Nolte as Paddy Conlon
Jennifer Morrison as Tess Conlon
Frank Grillo as Frank Campana
Director: Gavin O’Connor

The youngest son (Tom Hardy) of an alcoholic former boxer returns home, where he’s trained by his father (Nick Nolte) for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament – a path that puts the fighter on a collision course with his estranged, older brother (Joel Edgerton).

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I saw Warrior for the first time a while ago, I remembered the general plot, and I remember liking it but that’s it. I’ve been meaning to it rewatch it for some time, and having watched a lot of other Tom Hardy movies recently, it was the best time for me to watch it again. I’m glad I did, I like it even more than I did the first time, an emotional drama that you can easily get invested in.

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Despite MMA playing a key part of the movie, at its core, Warrior is a drama about family. Yes, there’s a number of familiar sporting tropes, you get the montages, you get some moments that could be argued as a little cheesy, but if you’re as invested in the story and characters as I was, that won’t even matter. The only sports movie trope that it really could’ve gone without was the typical big unstoppable Russian opponent, who’s also literally called Koba. On top of his existence in the story being kind of silly and out of place, he ultimately doesn’t have that much of a significant part in the story, and could’ve been swapped out with any powerful fighter and avoided the rather dated trope. The plot isn’t exactly unpredictable, especially if you’ve seen other stories like this, and even other sports movies, but it is handled so well. Warrior from the beginning establishes itself as a sincere and honest movie with its characters clearly being the main focus. Despite the familiarity of the story, it does feel real, and the well written script played a part in that too. It’s 2 hours and 20 minutes long, but I was quite into the story and it didn’t even feel that long to be honest.

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The acting is one of the best parts of the movie. The main two leads are Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, and both are really great in their roles. They are convincing as brothers, and they were also convincing in the fighting scenes. Hardy gives a typically great performance as this damaged character with issues, conveying his single mindedness in and out of the ring. Edgerton gives some of his best work as his character, very genuine, authentic, and easy to root for. It’s not just those two however, Nick Nolte gives an intensely emotional performance that has rightfully been receiving acclaim. This has to be the best performance I’ve seen from Nolte, here playing the father of both Hardy and Edgerton’s characters, who was a former alcoholic and had a lot of regrets. The dynamic between each of the three actors are strong and believable, and there’s a lot of tension between them. Also good in supporting roles is Jennifer Morrison as Edgerton’s wife, and Frank Grillo as Edgerton’s coach.

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Gavin O’Connor directed this movie very well, handling both the drama and fighting aspects of the film strongly. Despite them not being the main focus or even the highlights of the film, O’Connor does really well to get the audience really engaged and invested in the fight scenes, even those who aren’t really interested in MMA. The fights also feel very believable, and you really feel the impact of every blow.

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Warrior is a really good movie, emotional, entertaining, and all around great, far better than it appears to be at first. You don’t have to be a fan of MMA or other fighting sports to get into the movie, while those fight scenes are very strong, the rest of the movie works as a drama first and foremost, and is just so excellently written, directed and overall well made that there’s something for everyone in it. I thought it was great, and even if you don’t think you’ll like it, I definitely think you should give it a chance when you can.

The Color of Money (1986) Review

Time: 120 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson
Tom Cruise as Vincent Lauria
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Carmen
Helen Shaver as Janelle
John Turturro as Julian
Bill Cobbs as Orvis
Forest Whitaker as Amos
Director: Martin Scorsese

Pool hustler Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) finds the young, promising pool player Vincent (Tom Cruise) in a local bar and he sees in him a younger version of himself. To try to make it as in the old days, Eddie offers to teach Vincent how to be a hustler. After some hesitations, Vincent accepts and Eddie takes him and Vincent’s girlfriend Carmen (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) on a your through the country to work the pool halls. However, Vincent’s tendency to show off his talent and by doing so warning off the players and losing money, soon leads to a confrontation with Eddie.

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I knew only a little bit of this movie going into it. Along with it being directed by Martin Scorsese, it involved pool games, starred Tom Cruise in one of his earlier roles, and was a sequel to a Paul Newman movie The Hustler, with him reprising his role as Fast Eddie Felson. Outside of that I didn’t know much of the movie, but because it’s a Scorsese movie I was going to check it out. I actually liked The Color of Money quite a lot, it was fast paced and entertaining, with the performances and especially the direction shining.

Having seen The Hustler the day before I saw this movie I’ll just say that you don’t need to watch that before The Color of Money, despite it being a sequel. As someone who thought The Hustler was just okay, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Even if you have no interest in pool whatsoever, the movie does such a great job in getting you really into what’s going on. It’s paced very well, never allowing for a dull moment, though I thought it really picked up significantly in the second half of the movie.

Paul Newman reprises his role of Eddie Felson from The Hustler, and you see glimpses of his character 25 years later. He gave up his career at the end of that film but 25 years later in this movie when he starts teaching Cruise’s character what he knows, he starts up pool again himself. Newman as usual is great. Tom Cruise plays Vincent, Felson’s protegee who has a real talent for pool. His performance is just full of such energy and he really does hold his own against Newman. Also someone who shouldn’t be overlooked is Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Vincent’s girlfriend, she’s also quite important as part of the trio who go on the trip together. Other smaller roles work well, especially an early one scene performance from Forest Whitaker.

A large part of why this movie works so well is Martin Scorsese’s direction, that was the real star of the film for me. The camera movements and the cinematography in general was so great and really stood out. On top of that, Thelma Schoonmaker as usual delivers on an incredibly edited movie, and was a big part of way its so well paced. Both of them really infuse this movie with such an energy that keep you invested in what’s going on. Pool games have never been so tense, engaging and entertaining to watch.

The Color of Money is often placed towards the bottom area of Scorsese’s filmography, but even though I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s one of his best, I do think it’s a little overlooked. It’s performed well by Newman, Cruise and Mastrantonio, and it is sharply written, but the key ingredient is Martin Scorsese’s direction, which makes the whole movie engaging and so entertaining. So I’d say that it’s worth checking out for sure, you don’t need to have seen The Hustler beforehand and can jump right in at any time.

Raging Bull (1980) Review

Time: 129 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence
Cast:
Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta
Joe Pesci as Joey LaMotta
Cathy Moriarty as Vickie LaMotta
Nicholas Colasanto as Tommy Como
Director: Martin Scorsese

When Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro) steps into a boxing ring and obliterates his opponent, he’s a prizefighter. But when he treats his family and friends the same way, he’s a ticking time bomb, ready to go off at any moment. Though LaMotta wants his family’s love, something always seems to come between them. Perhaps it’s his violent bouts of paranoia and jealousy. This kind of rage helped make him a champ, but in real life, the winds up in the ring alone.

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3 years after a movie known as one of his weakest with New York, New York, Martin Scorsese made one of the best films of his career. I had been meaning to give Raging Bull a rewatch for some time as it’s been years since I’ve seen it for the first time, and with my recent viewing of many of Scorsese’s films, there was no better time. Raging Bull nearly 40 years later remains an absolutely masterful, if hard to watch, film.

Raging Bull may be about a boxer but the boxing itself isn’t the focus of the movie. It’s about real life boxer Jake LaMotta and his self destructive life. Saying that Jake LaMotta isn’t a good person would be quite an understatement, it doesn’t try to give you a reason to sympathise with him. It really doesn’t hold back in showing the brutal truth. It’s definitely not an easy movie to watch, only check it out if you’re ready for it really.

Robert De Niro gives one of the greatest performances of his career as Jake LaMotta. He’s transformative both as the fit Jake LaMotta earlier in his career, as well as the older and retired Jake LaMotta with more weight. Again, LaMotta really doesn’t have any redeeming qualities at all, with his mistrust, rage, outbursts, and self loathing alienating everyone around him. Yet De Niro manages to make him an human angle that works and makes him feels like a complex person, and still rather compelling to watch. The supporting cast also do well, with Cathy Moriarty playing Jake’s eventual wife and Joe Pesci playing Jake’s brother. Pesci and De Niro particularly have great chemistry together, really feeling like brothers.

Martin Scorsese directed this film immaculately, at the time of filming he thought that this might be his last film, and you certainly feel it in his work here. Although the black and white certainly helps with the violence with the colour of blood during boxing scenes, it also does something with the tone that makes it work, not to mention differentiates it from other boxing movies. The fighting scenes aren’t necessarily the focus of the movie but they are filmed masterfully. Unlike other boxing movies made at the time like Rocky, Raging Bull actually places the camera inside the ring along with the fighters. The violence both inside and outside the ring are harsh and brutal, and you feel every blow. Raging Bull is also edited extremely well, this marks the first time since Who’s that Knocking at My Door that Martin Scorsese would work with legendary editor Thelma Schoonmaker, and her work here is nothing short of fantastic. And with their work here you can see why Scorsese and Schoonmaker worked together on each of his movies from this point onwards.

Raging Bull is definitely a tough watch, but it’s a fantastic film on every level. Martin Scorsese is at the top of his game here, and the performances are great, especially from Robert De Niro, giving one of his all time best performances. It’s not a movie that you watch over and over again, but it is worth watching at least once.

The Art of Self-Defense (2019) Review

Time: 104 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, cruelty & offensive language
Cast:
Jesse Eisenberg as Casey Davies
Imogen Poots as Anna
Alessandro Nivola as Sensei
Director: Riley Stearns

After he’s attacked on the street at night by a roving motorcycle gang, timid bookkeeper Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) joins a neighborhood karate studio to learn how to protect himself. Under the watchful eye of a charismatic instructor, Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), and hardcore brown belt Anna (Imogen Poots), Casey gains a newfound sense of confidence for the first time in his life. But when he attends Sensei’s mysterious night classes, he discovers a sinister world of fraternity, brutality and hyper-masculinity, presenting a journey that places him squarely in the sights of his enigmatic new mentor.

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The Art of Self Defence was the other movie I saw at the NZIFF (along with The Nightingale), and I’ve been meaning to watch it for some time. I had heard of the movie for a while, mainly that it involved karate and Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots were in it, however I wasn’t particularly interested in it for whatever reason, or at least didn’t look into it. After seeing the trailer though, it really got me on board with it really quickly, it looked like it would be something right up my alley. I’m glad to say that The Art of Self Defence did not leave me disappointed, in fact it surpassed my expectations.

I’m a big fan of well done dark comedy, and even seeing the trailer I knew it was going to be for me. Throughout the movie was really funny, especially with how absurd and ridiculous the movie would get. You do have to keep in mind that it’s a satire, you’re not meant to take this movie 100% seriously. The dialogue was fantastic, and I especially loved the use of deadpan humour, leading to some hilarious and memorable moments/lines. I have no idea how most audiences will react to the comedy, but my audience seemed to have an absolute blast with it. As funny as the movie can get, the movie is actually a lot darker and twisted than you’d think it would get, and it only gets darker as it progresses. So if you are thinking that this is going to be a light hearted and quirky comedy about Jesse Eisenberg learning karate, it’s definitely not that. The movie at its core is really a commentary about toxic and hyper masculinity. At times the satire itself is funny, at other points it feels very dark and real. The movie is not subtle at all, it is very ham fisted, but for some reason it just works for the rest movie. Much of The Art of Self Defence is over the top and doesn’t always make complete sense, but its something that you’re going to have to go along with in order for it to work. There is also one twist which I did sort of figure out very early on, but it’s still earned and works within the movie very well.

Jesse Eisenberg is perfectly cast in the lead role, it almost feels like the role was written with him in mind to play it. He starts off as pretty much the embodiment of a beta male, really timid, self conscious, and can’t stand up for himself, but as the movie progresses and he tries to become more masculine, he becomes very full of himself and goes through some changes. Probably among Eisenberg’s best performances. Imogen Poots is also good in a supporting role as one of the first students of this karate group. Unfortunately she’s very much in a supporting role and doesn’t get to have a ton to do. She does very well with what she’s given however. Alessandro Nivola was a scene stealer as the mysterious and intense sensei known only as Sensei. So many of his lines are so ridiculous and insane but he delivers them so seriously and straight faced that it makes them even more hilarious. While much of the movie is funny, some of the highlights involved him. One of the best supporting performances of the year for sure.

This is the first movie by Riley Stearns I’ve seen (I believe he made another movie called Faults, which I have yet to see), and he’s done a very good job with it. It’s a smaller and independent movie but it was directed quite well, at least well enough for the movie.

The Art of Self Defence is darkly hilarious, disturbing, and entertaining, and I had a great time with it. Eisenberg, Poots and Nivola were great in their roles, and Riley Stearns’s writing and direction were fantastic. If you like dark comedy, this is a movie that you’ll definitely need to check out. Definitely one of my favourites of the year thus far.

Creed 2 (2018) Review

Time: 130 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed
Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa
Tessa Thompson as Bianca Taylor
Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago
Florian Munteanu as Viktor Drago
Phylicia Rashad as Mary Anne Creed
Director: Steven Caple Jr.

In 1985, Russian boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lungren) killed former U.S. champion Apollo Creed in a tragic match that stunned the world. Against the wishes of trainer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), Apollo’s son Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) accepts a challenge from Drago’s son (Florian Munteanu) — another dangerous fighter. Under guidance from Rocky, Adonis trains for the showdown of his life — a date with destiny that soon becomes his obsession. Now, Johnson and Balboa must confront their shared legacy as the past comes back to haunt each man.

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While I’m not a huge fan of the Rocky series (I’ve only seen the original film), Creed was one of my favourite films of 2015. The idea of a sequel to Creed, a movie that seemed to be a good sendoff for the Rocky series, but also being done without writer/director Ryan Coogler, seemed like a recipe for disaster. Also it’s bringing back a classic Rocky antagonist, Ivan Drago, and it just seemed really forced and cliched and looked like it wouldn’t really work. Creed 2 however turned out to be a real surprise.

Creed 2’s story admittedly isn’t the most unpredictable. Not that everything in the trailer is all that’s in the movie, but when watching the movie, you can get the idea of the direction the story will take and what things will happen. Not that this is a big negative against the movie, it’s just not as surprising as maybe the first Creed. Also, the Rocky series is very formulaic, so it’s a given that it would follow similar story beats. Without spoiling anything, structurally this movie is a bit different from what you’d expect based off the plot summary. On paper the idea of the plot sounds incredibly silly, but like the first Creed movie, they actually take the story very seriously and it works. This is probably the darkest of the Rocky series. The third act is so incredibly satisfying, with an ending which would be perfect for the entire Rocky/Creed series. The movie is 2 hours and 10 minutes and you can feel the runtime and some of the pacing was a little slower, but I was still invested in what was going on.

Michael B. Jordan is once again great as Adonis Creed, this is even more his movie than the previous Creed with the whole movie pretty much surrounding him rather than him and Rocky. He’s really convincing both in the dramatic side as well as on the physical side. Sylvester Stallone is also good as Rocky. Whereas in Creed where Rocky was a really present supporting character with a big storyline, here he’s even more of a supporting player but he’s still quite involved with the movie. Rocky Balboa is still Stallone’s best role and he gives yet another great performance as him. One of the highlights of Creed was Tessa Thompson as Bianca Taylor, Adonis’s girlfriend. Thompson made Bianca more than just the protagonist’s love interest and that continues into Creed 2, with their relationship playing a big part in the story. The chemistry between Jordan and Thompson is also once again great and feels really believable and genuine. The biggest surprise is of Dolph Lungren as Ivan Drago (again I should mention that I never saw Rocky 4), who gives a great performance. The film took a really cheesy character from Rocky 4 that was pretty much an 80s Russian villain and made him into a real fleshed out human being. The movie surprisingly gives some time focussing on Drago and his son Viktor (played by Florian Munteanu) and that really benefited the movie. Florian is a real boxer and that could’ve been either been good or bad, as being a good boxer isn’t guaranteeing that they are good at acting. Even though he doesn’t have many lines, he really works in the role and is imposing as this beast of a boxer, but he’s also someone you can sympathise with given what’s happening with him and how he’s been brought up. There are also some parallels between Rocky and Adonis, as well as Ivan and Viktor. I actually would’ve liked to have seen more scenes between Ivan and Viktor.

One of the biggest concerns of Creed 2 I had was the lack of Ryan Coogler being involved. His direction of Creed was fantastic and added a lot to it, and so I wasn’t sure how a different director would handle the sequel. While Steven Caple Jr.’s direction isn’t quite at Coogler’s level, it’s still rather solid and all around really worked. There isn’t as much fighting as you’d think there’d be, but the fight scenes that we get are really great. It doesn’t quite reach the levels of the first main fight in Creed with the tracking shot, but they’re all great. It all feels real tense, you feel every blow that’s dealt to Adonis. The last fight in particular was really great, and was captivating, cathartic and really satisfying.

Creed 2 is surprisingly great. It doesn’t quite reach the levels of greatness of the first Creed but it’s a very solid movie, very satisfying and well made, and also a perfect ending to the Rocky/Creed series. I heard that there may be like a Drago movie and while I’d be on board with that, I hope that the Rocky/Creed series ends here, because I can’t think of a better ending to the series than this. If you like Creed or the other Rocky movies, I’m pretty sure you’re going to like Creed 2 as well.

Southpaw (2015) Review

Time: 124 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive langauge & content that may disturb.
Cast:
Jake Gyllenhaal as Billy “The Great” Hope
Forest Whitaker as Titus “Tick” Wills
Rachel McAdams as Maureen Hope
Oona Laurence as Leila Hope
Naomie Harris as Angela Rivera
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as Jordan Mains
Director: Antoine Fuqua

As tragedy strikes him in his prime, famed boxer, Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal), begins to fall into a great depression. Once the decision regarding the custody of his daughter (Oona Laurence) is under question, Billy decides to get his life back on track by getting back into the ring.

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I remember getting reasonably interested in Southpaw, with my main point of interest being Jake Gyllenhaal, he really commits to every role and continues to physically change himself and gives great performances. Also, Antoine Fuqua directed this movie and I liked a lot of his work with films like Training Day, King Arthur, Shooter, Olympus has Fallen and The Equalizer, so I was interested in seeing what this film would be like. Although this movie is pretty predictable and cliché, the execution of the story worked quite well, especially with the performances (Gyllenhaal particularly) and the direction.

I will say that before going in, it would be a good idea not to look at the trailers because it spoils an earlier aspect of the film. The story is fairly predictable, if you’ve read the summary or watched the trailer (which you shouldn’t) you know what type of movie it is and you probably can predict the most basic plot points. One thing I liked was how Gyllenhaal’s character does actually have some issues. In many of these types of movies with similar plots you would usually want the main character to be with their child despite all the odds but here, you can tell that maybe in this case that shouldn’t happen (no spoilers). Aside from that, most of the movie is how you would expect it to be. You do root for the main character and all that but it doesn’t quite have you quite as emotionally invested as much as other similar movies do. For me, it’s the execution of everything that makes Southpaw work so well.

Southpaw may have some familiar characters, but the talented cast gives it their all and are great here. Jake Gyllenhaal is once again incredible in this movie, he transforms physically and mentally into his character Billy Hope and he does some more great work here. Gyllenhaal once again shows himself to be one of the best actors working today. Another performance I was impressed with was of Billy’s daughter by newcomer Oona Laurence, the chemistry between her and Gyllenhaal was really good and believable, you can buy them being father and daughter. Forrest Whitaker also gave a pretty good performance and so did other supporting actors like Rachel McAdams and Naomie Harris, really everyone does quite well in their roles.

Southpaw was overall a well directed movie and one of the reasons why the movie works pretty well. I really liked how the boxing scenes were filmed, as this is Antoine Fuqua, he doesn’t hold anything back and he did quite well showing the impact that the fighting had on Billy Hope, both physically and mentally.

Southpaw isn’t the most original movie and you can predict a lot of its plot/ You’ve all seen this story before and there aren’t too many surprises and it doesn’t really do anything new with this kind of story. What makes this movie work despite the lack of any surprises is how Antoine Fuqua and the cast delivered this movie. I do think that it’s worth seeing for at least for the performances, especially from Jake Gyllenhaal as he is fantastic here. Southpaw is a solid enough, if familiar movie that is worth giving a chance when you can.

I, Tonya (2017) Review

Time: 120 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Domestic violence, sexual violence, sex scenes & offensive language
Cast
Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding
Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly
Allison Janney as LaVona Fay Golden
Julianne Nicholson as Diane Rawlinson
Caitlin Carver as Nancy Kerrigan
Bojana Novakovic as Dody Teachman
Paul Walter Hauser as Shawn Eckhardt
Bobby Cannavale as Martin Maddox
Dan Triandiflou as Bob Rawlinson
Director: Craig Gillespie

Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) rises through the ranks of competitive figure skating only to find disgrace when her husband (Sebastian Stan) tries to eliminate her rival.

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I, Tonya had my interest because of the cast (with Margot Robbie and Sebastian Stan), premise and the trailers. I wasn’t very familiar about Tonya Harding and going into it had a very vague knowledge about the incident with her and Nancy Kerrigan. I was expecting from I, Tonya great performances and I definitely got that. But I didn’t expect this to be one of my favourite films of the year. The style, the story, everything somehow worked together to make a great biopic that surprised me on many levels.

I, Tonya covers more than just the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan incident, it also covers Tonya’s life in chronological order, so we actually get to know her before “the incident” occurs. From start to finish it cuts to many of the characters/people in interview tapes who tell their side of the story, sometimes there are conflicting stories, especially between Tonya and her ex husband Jeff. One of the best strengths that the film has is that it is a dark comedy, it makes the film a lot more entertaining than if it just showed the events play out. The comedy somehow works and works seamlessly, it doesn’t feel forced at all. Some of the comedy comes from just how ridiculous some events were and how stupid many of the people were (particularly Tonya’s bodyguard played by Paul Walter Hauser). However, despite the comedy and entertaining style, it doesn’t hold back on a lot of the darker things that happened. A lot of it is quite hard to watch with Tonya having to deal with things such as abuse from both her mother and her husband, and of course the end of Tonya’s career because of the incident with Nancy Kerrigan. As someone who didn’t know a lot about Tonya Harding, let’s just say that events played out like how I didn’t think they would, so I was invested from start to finish, and barely anything took me out of the movie.

Margot Robbie has already proved herself to be a great actress in the past 5 years but with I, Tonya she has delivered her best work yet, she was absolutely phenomenal as Tonya Harding. Margot really transformed into Tonya and brought her to the big screen, a lot of the time you will probably forget that it’s Margot who’s playing her. While we don’t always agree with what Tonya does, we can understand why she does the things she does. There are particularly some scenes that Margot has in the last act which are some of the best pieces of acting that she’s ever done, particularly two certain moments. This is one of the best performances of the year for sure. Sebastian Stan really surprised me as Tonya’s ex husband Jeff Gillooly. Throughout the majority of the film I actually forgot that it was Sebastian Stan who was playing him. His performance shouldn’t be overlooked. Allison Janney is also incredible as Tonya’s abusive mother, she is a force to be reckoned with and steals every scene that she’s in. Although she has some moments which are funny, on the whole she is at times frightening in the way she acts towards Tonya, she really leaves a strong impact. Other actors like Julianne Nicholson and Paul Walter Hauser were also great and played their part well.

The direction by Craig Gillespie was solid, very stylistic. Some people have accused the film of stealing the style from Martin Scorsese’s many crime movies, often calling it Goodfellas on ice and I can see a lot of similarities and why they would say that. It breaks the fourth wall multiple times, many of the characters at times talk to the camera (especially when it cuts to present day in the interview room scenes) and there is a lot of narration. However, something about it just worked here that I didn’t mind that it was essentially trying to imitate a Scorsese style. The one aspect that didn’t work so well however was the use of music, at times the song choices felt a little on the nose and convenient and it was distracting occasionally. The ice skating scenes themselves were great, some of the ice skating was probably not done by Margot but at least for me, I thought they did a good job hiding that.

I, Tonya manages to bring to the big screen not only the story behind Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan incident, but also Tonya’s life story and it was done so well, better than I thought it would be. The way it was directed and portrayed was great and the performances from everyone, especially from Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney were outstanding and some of the best of the year. One of the biggest things I can say about it is that I’m also pretty sure that Gillespie and the cast and crew have redefined who Tonya Harding is, she is no longer known as just the infamous ice-skater who “supposedly” had another skater’s knee bashed in. I, Tonya is one of the best films of the year and shouldn’t be missed.

Creed (2015) Review

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Creed

Time: 133 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Michael B. Jordan as Adonis “Donnie” Johnson Creed
Sylvester Stallone as Robert “Rocky” Balboa, Sr.
Tessa Thompson as Bianca
Phylicia Rashad as Mary Anne Creed
Wood Harris as Tony “Little Duke” Evers
Tony Bellew as “Pretty” Ricky Conlan
Director: Ryan Coogler

Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) is the son of the famous boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died in a boxing match in Rocky IV. Adonis wasn’t born until after his father’s death and wants to follow his father’s footsteps in boxing. He seeks a mentor who is the former heavyweight boxing champion and former friend of Apollo Creed, the retired Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Rocky eventually agrees to mentor Adonis. With Rocky’s help they hope to get a title job to face even deadlier opponents than his father. But whether he is a true fighter remains to be seen….

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I haven’t watched many of the Rocky movies, I only really watched the first one; so although I was interested in seeing this movie for stars Michael B. Jordan and returning Rocky actor Sylvester Stallone as well as director Ryan Coogler, Creed wasn’t something that I couldn’t wait to see until I heard tremendous acclaim. Everyone is saying that this is the best Rocky film since the original, as I haven’t seen any of the other films I can’t attest to that, but I’m sure that’s the case. However calling Creed a Rocky movie or a boxing movie for that matter, is cutting it short in how incredible it is.

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Ryan Coogler was an interesting choice as director for a Rocky film, seeing as how he only did one film beforehand but as I said earlier, calling Creed a Rocky movie is cutting it short. He did an excellent job with this film. First of all the writing and dialogue is spectacular. I really liked the character of Adonis, he was going through a journey similar but different from Rocky. One thing I like about this is that Adonis is trying to make his own mark on the world without riding the coattails of his father’s name while this movie fights to make its own place in cinema without riding the coattails of the Rocky name. This is what I’m hoping Star Wars: The Force Awakens does, to be great as the previous movies but at the same time is its own thing as well. I also like how you don’t have to have watched the previous Rocky movies or any boxing movies in order to love it like I did.

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Michael B. Jordan shows once again that he is a great actor. He sells both the physical and emotional aspects and this might be his best performance to date. Another person that should be mentioned is Sylvester Stallone. He is absolutely incredible in this movie, I don’t know the last time I’ve seen him give a performance this good. I actually think it’s possible to be nominated (and perhaps win) for best supporting actor, I don’t usually think of these sorts of things but he’s that good.

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The scenes were incredibly well shot, all the environments look dark and real and this really added to the tone of the film. There aren’t many boxing scenes in this movie but when it’s there, it puts you right in the middle of the action. There are many highlights, the end fight was good but the fight I personally thought was the best was the one previously where I swear, all of it is done in one shot. I don’t know if there was any camera tricks used but it looked authentic and real and even if it wasn’t done in one shot, it’s incredible that they made it look like it.

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Creed is hands down one of the best films of the year. The real performances from Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone as well as the great story by Ryan Coogler, makes it an unforgettable experience. Even if you aren’t a big Rocky fan or a big fan of boxing movies, you should check it out as soon as possible. I don’t know if there are going to be any more Creed movies but if there is, I’m definitely looking forward to them, Jordan, Stallone and Coogler have made an amazing movie and one of the best of 2015 for sure.