6 posts categorized "Sports Drama"

September 23, 2011


MoneyballDirector Bennett Miller (“Capote”) does the improbable. You don’t have to be a math nerd or a baseball fan to savor every minute of Miller’s cinematic balancing act built on Billy Beane’s ah-ha season with the Oakland Athletics in 2002.

Screenwriters Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin provide a solid foundation based on Michael Lewis's book about Beane's unique approach to putting together a championship baseball team on a comparatively tiny budget.

Moneyball' TV Spot: Brad Pitt Plays Billy Beane In Oakland Athletics Movie  (VIDEO) | HuffPost

Brad Pitt gives the performance of a lifetime as former big league player Billy Beane, who recognizes talent when he sees it even if that talent is for crunching numbers. Only Pitt could make chewing tobacco look sanitary. Jonah Hill establishes himself as a dramatic actor of consequence as Peter Brand, a bean-counter with an unconventional viewpoint amount which baseball stats matter most. Together, Pitt and Hill are exquisite. Hill's beautifully understated performance allows for sublime levity at especially significant moments. Some of the film’s sweetest bits of humor come at Johan's Hill’s clever command.

Jonah Hill To Play CABLE In Deadpool 2

If last year's thinking-outside-the-box-movie "The Social Network" gave cynical insight to a social activity platform that is already approaching a crisis of identity, "Moneyball" has a more lasting quality. What’s profoundly interesting is how the romanticism of baseball comes through via sidelong moments of deeply personal experience. When Beane’s daughter plays a song for him on guitar in a music store, it somehow resonates through a terse interplay of negotiation strategy that Beane and Brand coordinate during a telephone conference.

Moneyball (2011): “What are you really worth?” | Rooster Illusion

“Moneyball” has a euphoric characteristic of passion and intelligence that transcends the motivations of life. There’s more to the game of baseball, and life, than meets the eye. As Billy Beane and Peter Brand proved, you can find deeper truths if you're willing to look long and hard enough, and believe in the proof before you. Oscar season has officially begun.

Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman as Art Howe in 'Moneyball'

Rated PG-13. 133 mins.

5 Stars

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

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September 14, 2011


Seven_Days_in_Utopia_Poster "Don't preach" is just one of the seven deadly screenwriting sins committed by the script committee of David L. Cook, Rob Levine, Russell, Sandra Thrift for their strictly amateur adaptation of a novel by David L. Cook.

Hammy, cheesy, and insufferable from start to finish, "Seven Days in Utopia" works better as a 96 minute commercial for Callaway golf products than it does as a movie. Robert Duvall tarnishes his career as retired golf pro Johnny Crawford. Johnny is a born-again Christian living in a "Stepford Wives" styled small town known as Utopia. Lucas Black plays hot-headed young golf pro Luke Chisholm. After suffering a meltdown in the presence of his dad on the final hole of a golf tournament, Luke has the happy accident of crashing his car into a field. Johnny rescues Luke, putting him up for a week during which time he tutors the squeaky clean kid in all things religious and golf related. Painting and fly-fishing are on the agenda. Yawn.

Seven Days in Utopia' a faith-based drama | Star Tribune

Prosaic doesn't begin to describe a Christian propaganda fantasy movie so out of touch with reality and cinema that it comes across as an insult to your intelligence. See the movie, buy some Callaway golf clubs, and get re-born. I’m sure that will work out so well for anyone bored and rich enough to spare the time and money to do it.

Seven Days in Utopia - Movie Review - The Austin Chronicle

Rated G. 99 mins.

1 Star

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

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August 27, 2011


Warrior Magnificent. The 21st century version of "Rocky" and "Raging Bull" rolled into one, "Warrior" is as solid as Tom Hardy's tensed ab muscles. Hardy plays Tommy Conlon, an ex-marine with a wellspring of pent-up anger. Much of Tommy's hardly concealed pain is the result of his alcoholic father Paddy's abuse, which sent Tommy and his sick mother on the road 14 years earlier in order to escape Paddy's temper. Tommy’s mom died in the process. Tommy also harbors concealed issues regarding his Iraq War experiences.

Nick Nolte's resonating performance as the contrite and now-sober patriarch packs a punch to match the ones Tommy throws after he cuts a deal for the old man to once again train him as a pro fighter.” Paddy’s brief narration readings of sections from “Moby Dick” color the story with a churning sense of lurking danger. Nolte’s investment in his troubled character easily matches that of his award-winning performance in Paul Schrader’s 1997 film “Affliction.” I wouldn’t be surprised to see “Warrior” garner a slew of nominations come Oscar season.


Sparta, a mixed martial arts championship with a $5 million purse, is the name of the game that coincidentally draws Tommy's younger brother Brendan (Joel Edgerton) out of his family-man shell. Brendan's job as a high school math teacher isn't bringing in enough cash to prevent the bank from foreclosing on the family home he shares with his wife Tess (well played by Jennifer Morrison) and child. Brendan was also a pro fighter. Although the years are creeping up on him, he convinces his former coach Frank Campana (Frank Grillo) to take up his cause. Frank returns to using Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as Brendan’s unconventional theme music to facilitate his confidence and patience in the ring.

There’s a dynamic chemistry between Edgerton and Hardy. The two are utterly believable as brothers. One of the film’s posters splits the actors’ faces to enable a shocking similarity between their faces. The intensity and desperation the characters share draws the audience into their psyches. It’s no surprise that the brothers must face off against one another. What is astounding is how invested you become in each of the characters. You may find yourself rooting for a different brother than you imagined you would when the explosive battle between Tommy and Brendan commences.


Gavin O’Connor (the director of the exceptional Olympic hockey movie “Miracle”) co-wrote the screenplay with newcomers Anthony Tambakis and Cliff Dorfman. The resulting script contains kind of beautifully crafted plotting and dialogue that would make Paddy Chayefsky (the screenwriter of such classics as “Network” and “Altered States") proud. Not a single line of conversation or action is wasted. The filmmakers develop the characters thoroughly before throwing them into the Atlantic City-set arena of ultimate hand-to-hand battle. The fight scenes are profoundly realistic. My jaded palms sweated through the second half of the movie.


You don’t have to be a boxing or mixed martial arts fan to enjoy this hard-hitting drama. If you are such a person, you will not be disappointed in the film’s accurate attention to details regarding things like the effectiveness of various fighting styles. “Warrior” is a big movie with a lot on its mind. Its nonjudgmental social commentary comes with the territory. You can’t help but be moved by it. “Warrior” will knock you out.

Rated PG-13. 139 mins. (A)

Five Stars

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