Tag Archive: sports


UK Release Date: 13th September 2013

Stars: Ron Howard (director), Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde, Natalie Dormer, Alexandra Maria Lara, Pierfrancesco Favino, Christian McKay.

Plot: A biographical drama of Formula 1 champion driver Niki Lauda and the 1976 crash that almost claimed his life. Mere weeks after the accident, he got behind the wheel to challenge his rival, James Hunt.

Rush looks like it is going to be a wonderful story of two rivals with a lot of respect for one another that will toy with the emotions of audiences all over the world. Although this is basically Niki Lauda’s story, a lot of the publicity so far has come from Chris Hemsworth being involved in a supporting role. This isn’t his fault, he’s become a huge star over the last couple of years, but that may take some of the gloss off the film.

The trailer sets up the story and rivalry brilliantly. It’s not an action packed trailer showing off all the race scenes which it could easily have been to appease action hungry mainstream audiences. Instead Rush plays on the dramatic rivalry between the two incredible racers; this is the best thing to do.

We get a small glimpse of the crash which could have ruined Lauda’s career and expect this to be a central piece of the film as we see Lauda’s recovery and jealousy as Hunt dominates races he enters. It looks as though the two main performances are going to be really strong.

At risk of putting the kiss of death to Rush, this could be an outside bet for a few Oscar nominations next awards season.

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Real Steel (2011) Review

Set in the near future, 2020 to be exact, Reel Steel is set at a time where the world of pro-boxing has come to an end and has been replaced by the WRB (the World Robot Boxing League). Two robots slug it out in the ring, being controlled outside the ring by their owners with a sort of futuristic gaming controller.

Our protagonist is Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman). Charlie is a former human boxer, one that never quite fulfilled his potential it seems, who is trying to make money by entering his robot in unsolicited fights. After being told his ex-girlfriend has passed away, Charlie is reunited with his estranged son, Max Kenton (Dakota Goyo). A strained father-son relationship gets put through the its paces as the two bond over their interest in WRB, eventually resulting in a surprise shot at the title belt.

It takes a while to begin to like Charlie. As the protagonist he offers very little to the audience in way of liking him, other than the fact that it’s Hugh Jackman playing him; he is selfish, in serious debt to a handful of people, doesn’t really care about anyone and he runs away from his responsibilities. Cue a family film where a stubborn child teaches his father to be a better person. And that’s where the real star of the show comes into play. Dakota Goyo is making a pretty good child career for himself and with his bright eyed and bushy tailed looks and attitude it’s no real surprise. Goyo is great here and adds a lot of heart to Real Steel and watching his relationship with, not only his father but, the discarded robot Atom grow is really heartwarming.

The work on the special effects in Real Steel is really noticeable and was credited with a nomination for the Academy Award for Visual Effects (losing out to Hugo). Animatronic robots were actually built, combined with motion capture performance, to bring the robots to life and they look 100% real. Everything they do, the way they look, the way they move, is brilliant. Watching the robots go toe to toe in the ring is as exciting as watching any Hollywood fight ever made.

The plot follows a fairly simple path. Nothing new is really offered in terms of the mould of a family film but what Real Steel does is give a masterpiece in how to make a really magical family film. Yes, at it’s core is the world of robot boxing, but really Real Steel is a feel good story with human relations at its core. The characters are really worth investing in and the story really manages to reach out and touch the emotions of the audience.

Slightly predictable, but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless!

My Rating: 7/10.

TWO DAYS LATER – I just re-watched Real Steel and I’m not going to change my rating but giving it the film a 7 I have done Real Steel a massive injustice! This is the latest addition to my ever-growing list of favourite films.

Everything Must Go Review

As soon as I finished watching Everything Must Go I had to Youtube the trailer because on the front of the DVD case the quote “sharply funny” was embedded along with “Ferrell has never been better”. These two quotes indicated to me that I would be watching a comedy and sure enough, the trailer makes Everything Must Go out to be a comedy drama. So I got all settled down, ready to laugh my head off at Will Ferrell doing some daft things… Everything Must Go should not be called a comedy.

Everything Must Go is more of an observation of five days into Nick Halsy’s (Will Ferrell) life; a small window which is enough to see his life be ruined. After losing his job for falling back into his alcohol addiction, Halsy returns home to find the locks on the door, gate and garage changed and everything he owns thrown out onto the front yard – this is the worst day of his life. Nick does nothing to change this and instead lives on his front yard until the police are called (who knew it was a crime to drink beer and have all your stuff on a front yard you have actually paid for?). Nick’s Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor, detective Frank Garcia (Michael Pena) informs him that the law states you can hold a yard sale for five days and so Nick decides to sell all of his belongings.

It’s a nice story and despite it not being a comedy as it is so wrongly advertised what you actually get is a real gripping character piece. Will Ferrell, one of the best comedy actors of his generation (if not all time), is successful because he can actually act and here is has to rely wholly on those skills rather than comedic actions or elements and it is a terrific performance. For the most part this is an independently Ferrell film but with a few minutes on screen from the likes of Rebecca Hall, Michael Pena and Christopher Jordan Wallace the acting is really top notch.

The film doesn’t really give you that happy ending you would hope for after the first twenty to thirty minutes pretty much force you to watch the self destruction of a human life as we know it and Everything Must Go does leave the ending open without the audience knowing if Nick is going to turn his life around for good or not. One thing is for certain though, his friendship that grows with Rebecca Hall’s character and the young boy Kenny (Wallace) are very believable and warming relationships in an otherwise low tone of a drama.

Everything Must Go is a slow burner and as I mentioned before it is very much a character study but if you give it a chance and can stick with it past the first fifteen/twenty minutes then you will enjoy the story of Nick Halsy. Ferrell’s performance is enough to keep the audience’s attention even if you would rather see him in something like Anchorman. This won’t go down as one of the best films ever and it won’t win any fans for it’s guessable plot twists but it does invoke sympathy and tells a very good story.

My Rating: 6/10.

I expect two questions to be raised by the title of this post. One: Who is Anthony Mackie? Two: Why will he be a household name? These are both questions that I am set to answer in the next couple of paragraphs. Simply enough, Anthony Mackie is an actor, an actor who has starred in some of the biggest films of the last few years but has so far had very minor roles or exposure in the public domain. However, his talent is undoubted and soon enough, everyone will know who he will be. But let’s not just say random things, people want proof. So what has he been in so far?

Anthony Mackie has made quite an impression on the stage and his theatre roots have not been forgotten as he has grown as an actor and he regularly returns in between filming to perform on stage. On stage he has played Tupac Shakur, starred in three plays written by award winner August Wilson and starred in an ancient Greek tragedy The Bacchae. But while his performances on broadway got him noticed by critics and the people in the know, he would still be unknown by millions around the world if it wasn’t for his film career.

His film career began ten years ago in Eminem’s film 8 Mile. Here, Mackie played Eminem’s rival Papa Doc. I really liked 8 Mile and thought it was a decent film so this was a good place to start for Mackie in my opinion, it was an easy break into the world of film making. His first starring role came a year later in Brother to Brother and Mackie received a nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards for best debut performance. In the next couple of years he appeared alongside Denzel Washington in The Manchurian Candidate, Spike Lee’s She Hate Me and multi-Oscar winning Million Dollar Baby. He later appeared in Helf Nelson and then another multi-Oscar winning film and one that received huge critical acclaim and is probably the best film still to have been made about the Iraq war: The Hurt Locker. With such big hits under his belt how is he still not more famous?!

In the last couple of years it looks as though Mackie has been pushing for more fame, but his choice of roles may just be letting him down. Since 2008 he has appeared in blockbusters such as Eagle Eye, The Adjustment Bureau, Notorious (where he once again plays Tupac Shakur), Real Steel, Man on a Ledge and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. None of the aforementioned films turned out to be as big as their studios or casts had hoped unfortunately. So that leaves us with what he is going to do next… after ten years of being a successful but little known actor Anthony Mackie finally looks set to receive the fame that that handsome face and charming smile deserve.

One of the most anticipated films of next year is Gangster Squad. And here Mackie is included in an all star cast that boasts names of the quality of Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone… basically it’s a sure fire hit. This could get Mackie the exposure that he deserves but if not, then his project in 2014 will definitely get him noticed. Comic book movies have become the biggest genre of the last few years without a doubt! And Anthony Mackie has been confirmed to be in Captain America: The Winter Soldier where his role will be Sam Wilson, better known as Captain America’s modern day sidekick with the power of flight Falcon. If the film stays true to the comic books then Anthony Mackie will have a big part to play as it is likely that Falcon will be Cap’s best friend and the person he can confide in while he deals with the change of waking up in a whole new world. Anthony Mackie is a perfect choice for the role and the casting decision has been greeted with great positivity by fans of the comic book hero. With a role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it is also likely that Mackie could be in with a chance of getting some screen time in The Avengers 2 which would be a dream for most actors at the minute, I believe.

The comic book movie genre shows no signs of flagging and this casting choice could throw Anthony Mackie into the limelight and who knows, in a few more years he might even be headlining films rather than just being a sidekick.

Let’s start with some great news for fans of Pixar. For a while it has been thought that there would be a sequel coming up to Finding Nemo, which is probably my favourite Pixar movie there has been so far. No plot details have been released yet but surely it can’t just be Nemo getting lost again and needing to be found? They could go the ‘Taken 2‘ route and have Marlin needing to be found instead this time but that would just be ridiculous too. Pixar don’t usually screw up so fingers crossed but the news this week about the sequel is that Ellen DeGeneres is back for the sequel. DeGeneres played Dory who is often thought of as the most popular character of the first film so this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

Lawless is hitting the cinema screens next week and with the cast it boasts (Hardy, LaBeouf, Oldman, Chastain, Pearce) it should surely be a hit. The western is the oldest genre in cinema and is still one of my favourites to this day and I am glad that some big name actors are trying to bring the genre back to the forefront of cinema. Natalie Portman is producing and also starring in a film called Jane Got A Gun where she plays a woman whose husband comes home pumped full of bullets so she reaches out to a former lover to protect her homestead from the criminals who are on the way to finish off her husband. Michael Fassbender is in talks for the role of the former lover! Brilliant news, this could well be another mark of how versatile Fassbender really is.

Tom Hardy, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire are set to team up for a new film with a strong message which takes aim at the horrible world of animal trafficking. DiCaprio and Maguire have long been friends with very strong animal rights opinions and DiCaprio has done plenty of work campaigning for better animal rights. Hardy has recently been fully informed of the actions by friends of his that used to be in the Special Forces but now work as anti-poaching fighters across the world. As of now the trio is only producing the film but with all three having such strong opinions on the subject I wouldn’t be surprised to see one, two or all three of them taking a starring role too.

Space Jam was released way back in 1996 and revolved around Bugs Bunny and his Looney Tunes friends recruiting basketball superstar Michael Jordan to play in a basketball match between the Looney Tunes and a group of aliens who stole the talent of some NBA heavyweights. Modern day Miami Heat star LeBron James has said that he is a huge fan of the film and has expressed interest in teaming up with Bugs, Taz, Daffy Duck and the rest for a sequel. Warner Bros. aren’t actually developing a sequel yet but James’ interest could be the push they need: Warner Bros. always want to make money, the Looney Tunes are guaranteed to pull audiences and sportsmen always want to be actors these days so I would suggest everything is already in place to get it going!

And finally… Tom Hanks has become a viral sensation this week and has earned the respect and adoration of thousands of new fans because of a set of pictures that have appeared on the internet. Tom Hanks is known for being pretty easy going and having a quirky and fun personality and now he has proven it once more as three pictures arrived of him pretending to be drunk and have his glasses stolen by a fan of his. Hanks shows he never gives acting a break and really plays up for the camera! See the pictures below…

 

 

Some weeks go by when there is not a single thing happening in the movie world that I am bothered about and then all of a sudden three things come along at once:

 

First up, there is a new Van Helsing film in development! Before you question why this is good news, you first have to know that this will not be a sequel to the awful Hugh Jackman interpretation of the character back in 2004, this will be a complete reboot. The reboot is to be written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, a writing pair that can boast hits such as Star Trek, Fringe, Alias, The Legend of Zorro, Mission: Impossible III, Transformers and, to a lesser extent, Cowboys and Aliens. Kurtzman has said that the reboot will be ‘grounded in reality’ and has high aims as he wants to ‘do for Van Helsing what [Christopher] Nolan has done for Batman’. The other piece of exciting news surrounding this project is who is attached to star as the title character: Tom Cruise. His career seems to have had its own little reboot in the last couple of years and he is being lined up to appear in everything, not that I’m complaining, I think he is a great person to watch and has a fantastic on screen persona. Van Helsing has no set release date yet with Cruise’s hectic schedule but a release of 2014/15 may be realistic.

 

Next up, Bourne! The Bourne trilogy is one of my favourites of all time, I think Matt Damon’s portrayal of super spy Jason Bourne is a character to rival any other and the storyline, the directing and the supporting cast are all fantastic. So when I heard that Damon and director Paul Greengrass would not be returning for fourth film The Bourne Legacy I was understandably disappointed. Then my disappointment faded with the announcement of Jeremy Renner becoming the lead role and playing Aaron Cross in what has been dubbed a ‘paraquel’ (the events take place simultaneously with the original Bourne trilogy). Frank Marshall, the producer of The Bourne Legacy has now said that it is his ‘dream’ to see Matt and Jeremy team up in the fifth installment. Of course, this is just a dream at the minute and Damon has fierce loyalty to director Greengrass and recently had a falling out with writer and new director Tony Gilroy but money talks and a huge payday for Damon could be in line if he was to return to the franchise which would be incredible!

Here is the incredible trailer for Renner’s The Bourne Legacy

And finally…

 

Marvel are riding high on the waves of success at the minute and a few months ago announced the line up for their next few films. among the regulars of Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Captain America 2 there were a couple of surprises with Marvel announcing two secret films. Immediately there was speculation that the 2014 secret movie would be a Black Panther origin story. Black Panther is one of my favourite characters in the Marvel universe and really does deserve a film and in the past week or so there has been no shortage of actors saying that they would love to be a part of the film. Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter) said that he hoped to be a part of The Incredible Hulk but wasn’t and would sign on to Black Panther today; Brian J. White (Cabin in the Woods, Brick) has also said he would love to work with Marvel when he was linked with the role but I don’t think that he looks the part so I would count him out straight away; Aldis Hodge (Leverage) seems to be the current fan favourite out of people who have confirmed their interest in the role and just by looking at him you have to say that he does seem to be the perfect fit. I would still hope that Djimon Hounsou got the part but maybe Marvel will go for a lesser known and cheaper actor for the part.

(left to right) Fan favourite Aldis Hodge; Marvel superhero Black Panther; my pick Djimon Hounsou.

Seriously Adam, what is going on?!

Adam Sandler’s career infuriates me. He made a name for himself in the world of comedy during the early 1990s thanks to his several appearances on Saturday Night Live and then made the journey to become a big movie star. During the late 90s and the early 2000s he was one of the funniest men working in film and his films were always (okay, most of the time) a treat and well worth a laugh or two. Then something happened. I don’t think anyone quite knows what happened, or even if Sandler himself knows, but his films turned terrible.

After impressing with his writing on Saturday Night Live, Adam Sandler was given the chance to perform on the show. He did so and became famous for his amusing songs that he would write, ‘The Chanukah Song’ being one of his best.

Sandler made the leap into films in the mid 90s and for the rest of the decade continues to be funny. Films such as Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy and The Waterboy made Sandler a legend among comedy fans. His films were funny, they were worth seeing and they were something that you could laugh about with your friends after watching. These ones still are.

Then the turn of the century came and Adam Sandler continued to make movies. Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds, Anger Management and even 50 First Dates are all good films and worth watching for a laugh. And Sandler impressed everyone in 2002 when he took the lead in romantic comedy Punch-Drunk Love.

For a couple of years Adam Sandler left the mainstream comedy circuit and made sports film The Longest Yard (among his best films in my opinion, not for Sandler’s performance in particular, just as a film on the whole) and he made Click. Click was based in comedy but it was a dramatic performance from Sandler that was worth noting; it was a different performance to his other comedy films and it was very very good.

So far, so good.

Then 2007 came and something absolutely terrible hit cinemas and this is what I have pinpointed as the turning point in Adam Sandler’s career: I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. It is a rubbish film. Nothing more needs saying. But then Sandler went on to do a ridiculous role in You Don’t Mess With the Zohan in which he played an Israeli counter-terrorist commando who fakes his own death to pursue his real dream of a career in hairdressing. THAT. IS. STUPID!

Sandler continued the decline with Bedtime Stories, Grown Ups and Just Go With It (not helped by the fact it features the cardboard actress that is Jennifer Aniston). None of these films have ever reached the heights of his earlier outings. And his most recent effort, Jack and Jill where he plays both of the title characters saw Sandler nominated for a series of Razzies.

Today I watched the trailer for Adam Sandler’s newest project hitting cinemas in the UK later this year: That’s My Boy. I really hoped the trailer would look good, I want nothing more than for his career to just get back on track, unfortunately though, this film will not be the rebuilding of Sandler’s comedy efforts. Guaranteed.

Adam Sandler needs to take a long hard look at his recent films and think about his career, not just for me but for himself. I can only assume he is working through some massive mid-life crisis and the sooner he gets through it the better, for everyone.

Below is the trailer for That’s My Boy being released in the UK on 7th September 2012.