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items tagged with sports movies

Running, DUFFing, Tubbing: "McFarland USA," "The DUFF," and "Hot Tub Time Machine 2"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-02-23 15:29:26

Kevin Coster and Ramiro Rodriguez in McFarland USAMCFARLAND USA

God, I hate Disney. Not all the time, of course, and in any case, “hate” is probably a strong word. But why does the studio have to keep releasing live-action movies that are inseparable from cartoons, with all of the potentially legitimate conflict inevitably dulled down and scrubbed squeaky-clean? And why does its succession of inspirational sports dramas never feature any actual coaching beyond bland and clichéd motivational speeches? And why do these damned things keep making me weep like a baby?


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Gridiron Man: "When the Game Stands Tall" and "If I Stay"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-08-24 22:52:41

When the Game Stands TallWHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL

Inspirational sports dramas, particularly inspirational high-school-sports dramas, can boast many virtues, and even the crummier ones can be a lot of fun. But one thing they’re not generally known for is surprise, which is why it’s all the more flabbergasting that When the Game Stands Tall has such a doozy of one at its center: the leading performance, and maybe the finest one yet, by Jim Caviezel. Director Thomas Carter’s football saga is actually pretty terrific for a number of reasons. Yet despite working within a formula, and with the type of role, in which beats and arcs so often feel preordained, Caviezel provides one happy surprise after another, principally – and misleadingly – by appearing to do next to nothing at all.


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Godz Not Dead: "Godzilla" and "Million Dollar Arm"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-05-18 14:16:28

GodzillaGODZILLA

To get the inarguable out of the way, director Gareth Edwards’ new take on Godzilla is an incalculably stronger piece of work than Roland Emmerich’s woebegone 1998 version. Its visual effects are superb, and occasionally stunning. Its supporting cast boasts some obscenely gifted actors. It has been crafted with professionalism, confidence, seriousness of purpose, and obvious respect for its cinematic forebears. And taken overall, I found the experience so deathly boring that in the midst of its incredibly loud, debris-strewn action finale, I actually fell asleep. On two separate occasions.


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And Here's to You, Mr. Robinson: "42" and "Scary Movie 5"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-04-13 20:58:35

Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman in 4242

42, writer/director Brian Helgeland’s dramatization of three years in the life of baseball trailblazer Jackie Robsinson, is an earnest, deliberately old-fashioned entertainment, an inspirational bio-pic made with professionalism and care but little in the way of emotional or thematic nuance – it’s the very definition of what-you-see-is-what-you-get filmmaking. In three specific scenes, though, this seemingly prototypical triumph-of-the-underdog sports flick also achieves a legitimate, rousing greatness, and it’s the sort of expansive and lingering greatness that makes you leave the picture feeling, with few reservations, that the movie as a whole was truly great.


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A Map of the World: "Cloud Atlas," "Chasing Mavericks," and "Silent Hill: Revelation"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-10-29 12:50:52

Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in Cloud AtlasCLOUD ATLAS

I’ve seen plenty of movies in which a number of excellent passages can’t seem to blend into a satisfying whole. But prior to the release of Cloud Atlas, the film version of David Mitchell’s sprawling 2004 novel, I don’t think I’d ever seen a movie in which so many merely adequate sequences combine to form a whole that’s not only satisfying but downright exhilarating. Directed by Tom Tykwer and siblings Andy and Lana Wachowski and running just shy of three hours, this genre fantasia should be a mess, and it oftentimes is. It’s also, however, a hypnotic, glorious, grandly entertaining mess, one that’s probably far more enjoyable than a more presentationally faithful adaptation would’ve been.


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