What could easily have been a sentimental slog is given a spark of intelligent wit by writer-director Helgeland (A Knight's Tale). This is the story of an iconic figure from American sport who had a massive impact on society at large, and Helgeland focusses on the elements we can most readily identify with while quietly stressing how important and, yes, inspirational this story is.
In 1945 post-War America, most states still have segregation laws on the books, and black baseball players are sidelined in their own league. But Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey (Ford) wants to break this barrier, and drafts Jackie Robinson (Boseman), making him the first black player in the Major League. Jackie is a determined, principled young man who struggles to hold his tongue in the face of blatant bigotry. But he gets help from Branch and team manager Leo (Meloni), and support from his equally feisty wife Rachel (Beharie). There's also a young black journalist (Holland) who works with him to further both their causes. But it takes Jackie a little longer to win over his teammates.
The film portrays endemic racism as the hideously ugly thing it is: socially accepted cruelty and prejudice. In truth, it was probably a lot worse than shown here, but we certainly don't miss the point. Especially since this kind of abusive language is never heard in today's politically correct climate. And Helgeland also creates complex characters who can't be tagged as heroes or villains, played with cheeky energy by a very strong cast. Boseman oozes charisma in the central role, undercutting what could be a too-saintly characterisation with sensitivity and steeliness. And Ford shines in a rare character role as a cantankerous old guy who simply won't take no for an answer.
Continue reading: 42 Review
42 is the true to life story of Jackie Robinson and his rise to the top as one of America's best and most respected Baseball players and the manager of Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey, who decided to end racial segregation by enlisting Robinson onto his team.
In 1947, Branch Rickey controversially made a name for himself when he signed Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers. At the time, this kind of behaviour was unheard of, and both Robinson and Rickey were sure to cause problems for themselves - both on and off the pitch. Racism was rife between player on every team including the Dodgers and Robinson's transition was one of the most courageous of its time.
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With Final Destination 3, first impressions are good impressions.
Continue reading: Final Destination 3 Review
The title is evidently the former, though the movie is hardly the overwrought mess that I'd expected to see (for example: Message in a Bottle). Instead, The Deep End of the Ocean is a surprisingly thoughtful and laconic character study, full of nuance and genuine emotion, largely driven by Pfeiffer's unraveling character Beth. The well-known plot involves the sudden disappearance of Beth's 2 year-old son Ben, who vanishes while she is visiting Chicago. Nine agonizing years later, a kid who can only be Ben shows up -- as Sam, a neighbor's boy who wants to mow the lawn. Sure enough, it's him, but he doesn't remember his family,
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Just Looking is the story of Leny (played perfectly by Ryan Merriman) who is a boy like any other 14 year old, curious about sex. So much so that his goal for the summer of 1955 is to see two people "engaged in the act of love" as he puts it. But his innocent curiosity ends up getting him caught and his mother (Patti LuPone) and stepfather decide to ship him off to "the country" (also known as the Bronx) where he meets a new set of friends who just happen to share a similar interest.
Continue reading: Just Looking (1999) Review
Abandoning the gimmicky defining premise of itspredecessor, about the ghost of an evil littlegirl exacting blood-curdling vengeance on anyone who watched a hauntedvideo tape, "The Ring Two" seems also to have jettisoned allnotions of pacing, creative chills and common sense.
Catching up with newspaper reporter NaomiWatts (whose talents are wasted on B-movie screams)and her hollow-eyed son (David Dorfman) after they've survived the firstfilm by slipping through a gaping hole in its own internal logic, "TheRing Two" gives its poltergeist arbitrary new powers to track thesetwo down to a small West Coast town and possess the boy's body.
Little else happens in the course of the story, exceptthat Watts' suspicious attempts at exorcism draw the attention of the localChild Protective Services. The kid ends up in the hospital (from whichhe easily escapes and no search is ever mounted) while Watts tracks downthe ghostly girl's asylum-confined birth mother (Sissy Spacek) for somelong-winded exposition laying out the new rules of the plot.
Continue reading: The Ring Two Review
What could easily have been a sentimental slog is given a spark of intelligent wit...
Just from the marketing you can tell Final Destination 3 is scraping the bottom of...
Growing up can be difficult no matter what era you are from. Of course,...
Abandoning the gimmicky defining premise of itspredecessor, about the ghost of an evil littlegirl exacting...