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Silence of the Lambs Retrospective

"Don't help the man with the broken arm! Don't get in his van! Too late... She does it every time. Which is why this is such a good movie: it really makes us care, and even when we know what's going to happen, we hope it won't."- Edward

"Such a great BP winner. I remember seeing it when I was a teenager and even then I noticed the eyelines being so close to the camera, and the way Clarice was framed in a male-dominated world as though she was being watched and judged." - MSD

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Entries in sports (40)

Tuesday
Dec082015

Interview: Ivan Ostrochovsky on Directing the Slovak Oscar Submission 'Koza'

Jose here. As Creed gains popularity in the awards season, it would be fascinating to juxtapose it with Ivan Ostrochovsky's Koza, the Slovak Foreign Language submission which also happens to be about a boxer. The main difference with both films is that in the very American Creed, boxing is a noble enterprise used by the hero to reclaim his position among the "gods" (it's no accident that in such an Oedipal drama, the leading character's name is Adonis). In Ostrochovsky's film, boxing is the means by which the leading character (played by real life boxer, and former Olympian, Peter Balaz) who goes by the nickname Koza (which means "goat") is trying to raise money to prevent his wife from having an abortion. 

Formally exquisite, and with a running time of a little over an hour, showing how great editing proves that less is indeed more, Koza is an exemplary work of art that combines documentary filmmaking and drama. Its un-romantic look at sports might prove revelatory to some (it certainly did to me) and Ostrochovsky's deep humanism should place him as a director to keep an eye on. He was also kind enough to answer a few questions I had about the film, including how he directed Balaz, and what an Oscar nomination might mean for his career.

Read the interview after the jump...

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Wednesday
Dec022015

Can "Creed" Go 12 Rounds With Oscar?

In the past 48 hours I've screened The Revenant, Joy, and Creed. Since the first two are still under embargo we're not allowed to speak of them yet. I will say these non spoilers that The Revenant continues the tradition of Inaritu's love of miserable arguably suicidal men, and Joy continues in the tradition of David O. Russell sandbox like playgrounds for actors eager to play with their new parts. But...embargo!

As movie buffs well know, the original Rocky was a smash hit when it premiered in December 1976, becoming the biggest box office hit of that year, making a star of Sly Stallone, charting a #1 single ("Gonna Fly Now"), and earning an incredible 10 Oscar nominations. It eventually won Picture, Director, and Editing on the big night. And against unreal competition too: Network, Taxi Driver, Bound for Glory, and All The President's Men. The Rocky series spawned a few popular sequels but eventually exhausted its welcome as film franchises do. Creed, smartly plays like both a straight sequel (VII) and a spinoff or rebirth with Rocky Balboa passing the franchise torch to Apollo Creed's son Adonis (Michael B Jordan).

So let's talk Creed and Oscar and the ways it could well factor into the Oscar race after the jump...

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Monday
Nov232015

Review: "Creed"

Our newest team member Chris Feil saw the latest in a long dormant franchise early. Here's his review - Editor

Making good on his mainstream sensibilities post-Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler returns with Rocky reboot/sequel/spin-off Creed. Born after his legendary father Apollo's death after an affair, Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) attempts to forge his own boxing path without the Creed namesake, recruiting his father's notorious opponent and comrade Rocky Balboa. Similarly, the film tries to have it both ways, attempting to be a sideways stand-alone film while borrowing heavily on the iconography of the original. It is a bit of a left turn for cinema's current trend of cut-and-paste nostalgia, giving Coogler's film a much needed edge for a tired genre, but cursing it with enormous shoes it falls short of filling.

If Fruitvale showed us anything about Ryan Coogler's potential, it was that he could both emotionally invest the audience with a charismatic subject and that he knew how to structure a film's most intense scenes for their maximum dramatic effect. These skills make him the perfect candidate for a mainstream actioner that pulls on the heartstrings, and Creed provides a solid larger platform for him to deliver those goods. Unfortunately still present is his diminished sense of confidence and clarity of vision in extended dialogue scenes, lending to an overall flabby structure. He knows what we want as audience and how to give it to us, but here he has a tricky time transitioning between story beats.

more...

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Wednesday
Nov112015

AFI: Will Smith & Gugu Mbatha-Raw in "Concussion"

There was a weird and wonderful symmetry last night watching Will Smith talk about his starring role as Dr Bennet Omalu in Concussion in front of the real man and thinking of the character we'd just seen onscreen. It was not the easy symmetry of mimicry, but of spirit. Both men are legends of their respective fields, if you will, and that's the last time we'll compare forensic pathology and movie stardom! More curiously neither man seemed willing to admit that the night's festivities were about him. Will Smith was especially humble about his performance and starstruck by the real man, admitting after Dr Omalu burst out laughing during the Q&A that followed the premiere, that he loved that laugh but couldn't manage to perfect it for the movie. Dr Omalu, in the movie and on stage kept saying that the story wasn't about him but about the science. The writer/director Peter Landisman called the movie version of Omalu a "triangulation" of the two men which is the best description possible of what we were watching on stage, the movie still fresh in the mind.

Concussion centers on Omalu's discovery of CTE, a brain disease brought on by repeated concussive head trauma, and the attempts of the NFL to cover up the physical damage on their players. A string of high profile suicides finally broke down the NFL's attempts at denial and debunking of Omalu's claims. [More...]

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Monday
Jul272015

Podcast: Ant-Man and Southpaw

We're spoiling you with two podcasts this week. Yesterday we talked 1995 (to tease the Smackdown). Now, conversations about Marvel's Phase Two ender Ant-Man with Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Michael Douglas, and Michael Peña, and the new boxing drama Southpaw starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams.

Contents (43 minutes)
00:01 Marvel's Ant-Man
27:55 Antoine Fuqua's Southpaw
40:00 Coming Attractions: Mistress America & The Finest Hours


You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversation!

Southpaw & Ant-Man

Wednesday
Jul012015

YNMS: "Steve Jobs" & "Creed"

Films celebrating their over achieving male protagonist are par for the course come fall movie season each year as Oscar competition heats up. But Steve Jobs and Adonis Creed both got trailers in the same 24 hours or so and I couldn't resist conjoining them since they both also star actors named "Michael". They make both an odd couple and perfect pair: Mind and Body. Michael Fassbender plays real life computer genius Steve Jobs for Oscar winner Danny Boyle; And Michael B Jordan, reuniting with his Fruitvale director Ryan Coogler, plays fictional Adonis Creed, the son of dead boxer Adonis, in an attempt to reboot the stalled Rocky series.

Yes No Maybe So on both trailers after the jump...

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