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items tagged with sports movies

K-Yo'd: "Rocky Balboa"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-12-27 09:27:26

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky BalboaROCKY BALBOA

With few exceptions, the reviews for Rocky Balboa have been pretty charitable. No one is proclaiming it a masterpiece, but the consensus seems to be that Sylvester Stallone could have missed by a mile with his latest, presumably last installment and didn't; the film was almost predestined to receive a critical flaying, yet there's barely a whiff of mean-spiritedness in the reviews. "Rocky Balboa isn't great," seems to be the prevailing opinion, "but it's sweet, and kind of touching, and it's by no means an embarrassment."

Assuming I'm not completely off-base in my assessment of these critical tones, I now feel compelled to ask: Exactly what would Stallone have had to do to make Rocky Balboa a bigger embarrassment? Forget his lines? Trip over the furniture? End the film by beaming Rocky aboard the Starship Enterprise? Make no mistake: Rocky Balboa is a humiliating experience, as grand an exercise in masturbatory excess as M. Night Shymalan's Lady in the Water, and as depressing an ego-trip for the writer/director/icon as could be imagined.


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A Lighter Shade of Noir: “The Black Dahlia,” “Gridiron Gang,” “The Last Kiss,” and “The Protector”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-09-20 04:34:58

Aaron Eckhart and Josh Hartnett in The Black DahliaTHE BLACK DAHLIA

The opening sequence of Brian De Palma's L.A. noir The Black Dahlia is so busily choreographed that, at first, you think it has to be some sort of put-on. A melee involving a street full of cops and sailors in downtown Los Angeles circa 1946, the balletic, slow-motion punching and flailing is orchestrated within an inch of its life; nothing about it seems real, but it's so dazzlingly executed that you hardly care. But with Josh Hartnett's ersatz tough-guy narration droning away, it quickly becomes clear that the scene isn't meant to be funny. It isn't comedy that De Palma's going after here but stylization, and as The Black Dahlia progresses, it's obvious that the director doesn't have the cast or screenwriter required to give his baroque touches a context. A few nastily enjoyable moments aside, the film is dour, dull, and confusing, enlivened only by a few zesty supporting portrayals and whatever directorial wit De Palma can bring to it.


Read More About A Lighter Shade Of Noir: “The Black Dahlia,” “Gridiron Gang,” “The Last Kiss,” And “The Protector”...


Shooting Stars: “Hollywoodland,” “A Scanner Darkly,” “Invincible,” “The Illusionist,” "Crank," and "The Wicker Man"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-09-13 04:49:56

Ben Affleck and Diane Lane in HollywoodlandHOLLYWOODLAND

Against all expectation, the most touching performance in current releases is probably Ben Affleck's turn as George Reeves in the Tinseltown drama Hollywoodland. Director Allen Coulter's work centers around the mysterious shooting death of the famed Superman star of '50s television, and Affleck is just about perfect here. Seen in flashbacks, he plays Reeves' heartrending rise and fall with the abashed sweetness of a man who knows his good looks and moderate talent will only carry him so far, and Affleck's strong, subtle turn is effortlessly moving. And as trophy wife Tony Mannix, Diane Lane nearly matches him, suggesting entire generations of women carelessly tossed away by Hollywood's obsession with youth and beauty; Hollywoodland's tragedy is hers as much as Reeves', and the emotionally naked Lane turns in a fierce, brave portrayal.


Read More About Shooting Stars: “Hollywoodland,” “A Scanner Darkly,” “Invincible,” “The Illusionist,” "Crank," And "The Wicker Man"...


The "Road" Always Traveled: "Glory Road," "Hostel," and "Casanova"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-01-18 00:00:00

Josh Lucas in Glory RoadGLORY ROAD

Is it just a coincidence, or do you think there’s an annual meeting wherein Disney shareholders tell the studio’s executives, “Bring us this year’s feel-good, triumph-of-the-underdog sports flick, and if you can find one that’s more formulaic, clichéd, and shameless than last year’s, all the better!” A couple of years back, we endured Kurt Russell guiding a bunch of interchangeable skaters to Olympic victory in the hockey drama Miracle, and my head is still reeling from the moribund sentimentality – and beyond-obnoxious miniature caddie – of The Greatest Game Ever Played, which managed to make golf look about five times less exciting than the sport’s reputation would suggest.


Read More About The "Road" Always Traveled: "Glory Road," "Hostel," And "Casanova"...


Acting Trumps Presentation, and Here’s the "Proof": Also, "In Her Shoes," "The Greatest Game Ever Played," and "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-10-12 00:00:00

Gwyneth Paltrow and Jake Gyllenhaal in ProofPROOF

Most cinephiles detest filmed versions of plays, with their awkward exposition, stagy dialogue, and functional, assembly-line characters who serve their purpose within the author’s conceit and exit just in time for another character to show up and do the same; oftentimes, you can all but see the proscenium arch hovering overhead.


Read More About Acting Trumps Presentation, And Here’S The "Proof": Also, "In Her Shoes," "The Greatest Game Ever Played," And "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit"...





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