36 posts categorized "Sports Drama"

September 11, 2018

FREE SOLO

ColeSmithey.comGroupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

Welcome!

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon



Free_soloTerrifying, invigorating, and heart-pounding describe this unforgettable documentary about free climber Alex Honnold and his efforts to climb Yosemite’s daunting 3,200 foot El Capitan Wall.

Co-directors Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (“Meru”) delve into Alex’s guarded personality as he prepares for the treacherous climb that will define his life, whether or not he lives or dies attempting it.

We get a sense of the childhood elements that contributed to Alex’s obsession with free climbing even as he enters into a romantic relationship that threatens to derail the strict focus and discipline essential for him to accomplish his goals. Every millimeter of Honnold's mind and body must be diamond-sharp to execute the climb.

Alex-honnold-freerider

Significant is the filmmakers’ willingness to delve into Alex’s meticulous rehearsal process using ropes and the help of master climber Tommy Caldwell to prepare for the solo climb. As Caldwell puts it, “Imagine an Olympic gold medal-level achievement where if you don’t get that gold medal, you’re going to die.”

Placing cameras along various places on Alex’s path up the behemoth mountain allow him to climb without being distracted by buzzing drones or cameramen.

Alex Honnold

With his large dilated brown eyes and wiry frame, Honnold resembles a young Iggy Pop at the height of his powers circa the Bowie-produced “Lust for Life” era. Honnold’s easy charisma masks onion layers of emotional armor that his doting girlfriend Sanni McCandless pokes and prods at to varying levels of guarded verbal responses from our brave protagonist.

El Capitan

Alex Honnold carries the spirit if a samurai warrior with him. Hearing him describe the grips, holds, and complex maneuvers necessary to climb El Capitan’s sheer face, convince the viewer of his amazing climbing abilities that most of humanity hasn’t the first clue about. Here is a man who knows his limitations and how to push them right to the edge of existence.

To watch “Free Solo” is to take a journey into an incredibly dangerous if joyful world of free physical expression. Go on the adventure of a lifetime. The rewards are enormous.

Not rated. 97 mins.

5 StarsModern Cole

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

July 25, 2018

ROCK RUBBER 45s

ColeSmithey.comGroupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

Welcome!

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon



Rock RubberFew are the number of people who could make a documentary about themselves that would be as entertaining as “Rock Rubber 45s.” Bobbito Garcia’s survey of his life as a New York pop culture icon of basketball, hip-hop, sneakers, filmmaking, and all-around bon vivant is captivating for its unabashed honesty and sincerity.

Born of Puerto Rican decent, “Bobbito the Barber” describes his warts-and-all childhood under a workaholic mother and a negligent father. His swagger and self-deprecation come in equal parts. He fearlessly wades the waters of his sexual abuse victimization to describe how he was able to put the past behind him. Tricky stuff.

Screen Shot 2022-03-26 at 3.16.28 PM

Also heartbreaking is Bobbito’s telling of his time spent playing basketball at Wesleyan, where his stellar basketball skills were ignored with a vengeance by a racist coach.

Screen Shot 2022-03-26 at 3.16.39 PM

Rosie Perez, Michael Rapaport, Questlove, and Lin-Manuel Miranda are just a few of the celebrities who give their two cents about Bobbito’s dynamic influence on culture, especially that of New York City.

Bobbito’s litany of accomplishments run the gambit from performing basketball tricks at stadiums across the country, authoring the first article (“Confessions of a Sneaker Addict” for Source magazine) about the intricacies of sneaker culture, authoring a book about sneaker culture, working as a promo rep during the early days of Def Jam Recordings, to hosting a TV show about sneakers.

Bobbito Garcia

“Rock Rubber 45s” is a personalized crash course into New York culture that charms by virtue of this film’s charismatic subject. Sure it’s self-reflexive; that’s the point. The music is infectious, the graphics are slick, and the vibe is hot. It might not be the best documentary every made, but this movie jams.

Not Rated. 96 mins.

3 Stars

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

September 23, 2017

BATTLE OF THE SEXES

ColeSmithey.comGroupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

Welcome!

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon



ColeSmithey.comIt’s a given that Emma Stone would seamlessly slip inside Billy Jean King’s skin.

It’s equally predictable that Steve Carell would embody aging tennis star and gambling addict Bobby Riggs with a portrayal that walks a fine line between a comic and tragic figure.

But what impresses most about co-directors’ Jonathan Dayton’s and Valerie Faris’s equality-focused time capsule is how Andrea Riseborough’s lesbian hairdresser Marilyn Barnett encompasses emotional, political, and social issues being put through a cartoon media blender regarding a tennis match in 1973.

ColeSmithey.com

“Battle of the Sexes” is a rebellious movie set during the confusion of the Watergate conspiracy that witnessed President Richard Nixon's resignation from office a year after Billy Jean King played Bobby Riggs.

Upset by the much higher pay awarded to male tennis players over their female counterparts by the USLTA (under Jack Kramer – Bill Pullman), Billy Jean King and her business partner Gladys Heldman (Sarah Silverman) break with the USLTA to start their own women’s tennis tournament. Ironically, it’s a tobacco company that takes on sponsoring the Virginia Slims Womens’ Tennis Tournament.

ColeSmithey.com

Andrea Riseborough is this film’s secret weapon. The romantic chemistry between Stone and Riseborough give the audience something to root for other than an exploitation tennis match promoted by three-time Wimbledon champion who could teach boxing promoter Don King a thing or two.

ColeSmithey.com

The tennis match scenes are well-crafted even if the movie doesn’t end on the strongest note. Pamela Martin’s editing is this film’s biggest stumbling block. The movie could lose 15 minutes and achieve a greater effect. Goofy secondary plot elements, such as Fred Armisen as a vitamin guru, go nowhere. There is a better movie hiding inside the one you see.

Rated PG-13. 121 mins.

4 Stars

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

Featured Video

SMART NEW MEDIA® Custom Videos

COLE SMITHEY’S MOVIE WEEK

COLE SMITHEY’S CLASSIC CINEMA

Throwback Thursday


Podcast Series