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I Am Ali Review


Very Good

Packed with never-released material, this documentary tells the life story of Muhammad Ali from angles we haven't seen before, even as it has a tendency to drift into hero worship. But filmmaker Clare Lewins assembles the material with style and personality, mixing home movies and previously unheard recordings with firsthand interviews with the people who know Ali best. Oddly, many of them speak in the past tense, which makes the film feel like a eulogy for a man who's still alive.

Watch any clip of Ali and it's clear that this man is a force of nature. In his heyday, his charisma was legendary, infusing new life into the boxing world when he emerged as Cassius Clay and was banned from boxing for refusing to participate in the Viet Nam draft. A lifelong activist, Ali has never compromised his principles, being true to himself while sticking up for those around him. He also broke rules by talking directly to the world through the media's cameras, chanting at and dancing around his competitors. But the film's most intriguing aspect is its depiction of him as a doting father who has always had time for his kids. At 72, he lives in Arizona with his wife, and is seriously ill with Parkinson's.

Everyone on-screen has been caught up in Ali's magic, with one noting that looking into his eyes is like seeing God. These kind of comments are a bit too intent on creating a legend while skipping over some of the grittier details of his life. Yes, Lewins seems to get caught up in the mythology as well. The film only briefly touches on his four marriages and children from extra-marital affairs, but it does spend some time exploring his more shocking public comments. Although even these are recalled through the prism of time, offering explanations and even redemption.

Continue reading: I Am Ali Review

I Am Ali Trailer


'I Am Ali' is a documentary about the life of the boxing champion Muhammad Ali, as much as it is also a documentary about the people who were inspired and motivated by his image, or through meeting him. The documentary is told, in part, through never before heard audio journals from the boxing legend and human rights activist. Through his huge heavy weight career, as well as his racial justice and religious freedom avocation, Ali became a hero to many people. The film is set to be the third documentary about Ali, although with this new, more personal insight into the man behind the gloves, to could yet prove to be the greatest. 

Continue: I Am Ali Trailer

Fingers Review


Very Good
Rarely has a crime/gangster movie been produced with such a sense of calmness. Fingers, a cult classic, is a real showpiece for Harvey Keitel, who plays the title of Jimmy Fingers, a low-level gangster working for his father as a bag man but dreaming of becoming -- of all things -- a concert pianist.

Jimmy divides his day among busting caps, piano practice, and auditions for Carnegie Hall. The comparison to Taxi Driver is obvious, but these are far different films (and that said, Taxi Driver is a far better one, too).

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Any Given Sunday Review


Good

There's only about 22 minutes of plot in "Any Given Sunday," Oliver Stone's innovative, bone-crunching ballet of sound and fury football, so lets get that out of the way right now:

Al Pacino stars as the embattled, old-school coach of a fictitious pro football team. Cameron Diaz, is the willful, profit-zealous daughter of the franchise's recently deceased owner. Jamie Foxx is a hotshot young quarterback whose know-it-all attitude and colossal ego threaten team unity. He's just replaced the injured, aging, Elway-esque veteran QB Dennis Quaid, whose compound back injury has spelled curtains for his career -- if only his ruthlessly ambitious, harpy of a wife (Lauren Holly) would accept that fact.

During the last two minutes of the fourth quarter of the Big Playoff Game that serves as the film's climax, each of these characters (especially the selfish ones) will have an epiphany about what's really important in their lives.

Continue reading: Any Given Sunday Review

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Jim Brown Movies

I Am Ali Movie Review

I Am Ali Movie Review

Packed with never-released material, this documentary tells the life story of Muhammad Ali from angles...

I Am Ali Trailer

I Am Ali Trailer

'I Am Ali' is a documentary about the life of the boxing champion Muhammad Ali,...

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Any Given Sunday Movie Review

Any Given Sunday Movie Review

There's only about 22 minutes of plot in "Any Given Sunday," Oliver Stone's innovative, bone-crunching...

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