Tag Archives: Sylvester Stallone

Cinema Dispatch: Creed II

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Creed II and all the images you see in this review are owned by MGM Pictures

Directed by Steven Caple Jr

Back when I reviewed the first movie, I made a note that my conception of Rocky for the longest time was just the first three films, so the whole Ivan Drago thing always felt like an afterthought despite it being so iconic for many fans of the franchise.  That said, when the first one came out and was about the son of Apollo, yeah there was NO WAY that a sequel could exist without bringing Dolph Lundgren back into the mix which thankfully they managed to do here with what is probably the last necessary sequel to Rocky we’ll ever need (unless we want to bring back Clubber Lang) and they can either continue the franchise without the baggage of the original films or let this series finally lay to rest.  Do they manage to do justice to the story of Ivan Drago and Apollo Creed in this tale about their sons settling a decade’s long rivalry, or should the franchise have stopped while it was ahead?  Admittedly if they HAD stopped while they were ahead we probably wouldn’t have gotten the first Creed, but in any case LET’S FIND OUT!!

The movie picks up a few years after the first film where Adonis Creed () has risen in the ranks of the boxing world with the help of his wise mentor Rocky Balboa () and the loving support of his girlfriend () ().  After winning the WBC World Heavyweight Championship, he has FINALLY reached his dream of reclaiming the belt that his father lost those many years ago!  Well that’s great!  So now what?  He decides to marry Bianca for one, but even with a loving wife and a sterling career, something feels… missing.  Despite being the best of the best, he can’t seem to find the joy in it and pretty much immediately starts looking for a new challenge.  Fortunately a very helpful fight promoter (Russell Hornsby) saw this coming a mile away and knew that once Adonis became champ that there was only one challenge left for him to face, and by challenge I mean one BIG spectacle of a fight to rake in millions of dollars!  We are of course referring to, a rematch with Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren); the man who killed his father.  Or at the very least, Ivan Drago’s SON (Florian Munteanu) who as far as I know hasn’t killed anyone, but that might change if Adonis takes the bait and faces him again in the ring.  If you’ve seen a Rocky movie, you know the basics of what happens next (i.e. Adonis loses the fight at the halfway point), but what does it mean for him to have his first taste of true defeat, and will he be able to face him once again, as well as all his fears and insecurities that have held him back from reaching his true potential?  What will the strain of this lose put on his marriage to Bianca, and will she be able to live the life of a boxer’s wife; something that she’s never had to face since Adonis has never truly lost a fight on his own terms?  Perhaps most importantly, DOES ADONIS COME OUT TO LIVING IN AMERICA!?

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It’s hand to HAND across the nation; not hand to FACE!

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Cinema Dispatch: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by James Gunn

Sequels are not an easy thing to pull off in the world of Hollywood tent poles, at least critically.  Financially they’re almost certain to get as much if not more money than the film that came before it just off of buzz and familiarity alone, but rarely do we get sequels that areas critically beloved as the original film, provided of course the original was great to begin with.  For every Dark Knight we get, there’s a Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Terminator Genisys, Batman v Superman, and The Dark Knight Rises.  As great as Marvel is at churning out success after success from their cinematic universe, they aren’t immune to this either with Iron Man 2 and Thor 2, while both very watchable films, being low points for the company… at least until Iron Fist, but I’m ready to forget that ever happened if everyone else is too.  Can they manage to avoid those pitfalls with the sequel to the riskiest movie the studio has made date, or was the goofy and offbeat success of the first one truly a case of catching lightening in a bottle?  Let’s find out!!

After the events of the first movie where these five misfits managed to save the Galaxy through the power of Friendship (I hear it’s magic!), the newly formed Guardians of the Galaxy began taking odd jobs around said galaxy in order to cash in on their reputation.  The job that movie starts out on is a bit different though as the payment they are after is not money but Gamora’s sister Nebula (Zoe Saldana as the former and Karen Gillian as the latter) who was left for dead after the Xander incident, and Gamora plans on taking her to the Nova Corp to face justice.  Of course with five screw ups in the team, one of them is bound to do SOMETHING wrong and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) inexplicably robs their employers who are quick to find out and start hunting the Guardians down.  Fortunately, The Most Interesting Man in the Universe, though you can call him Ego (Kurt Russell), manages to save them all and reveals that he is in fact the long lost father of Star-Lord (Chirs Pratt)!  Well isn’t THAT convenient!?  He offers to take them to his home planet while the ship is being repaired, so Star-Lord, Gamora, and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) go with dear old dad while Rocket and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) stay behind to fix the ship and watch over Nebula.  Of course, things are never as simple as they seem, what with Ego’s assistant Mantis (Pom Klementieff) who appears to be hiding something or the fact that the planet the Guardians burned go ahead and hire Yondu (Michael Rooker) to hunt them down.  Can the Guardians escape their own demise once again and somehow find a way to smooth all this over?  Will Star-Lord accept the father who was never there for him his entire life, and how will that affect the life he’s built without him?  How awesome is it that this is the SECOND movie this year that Kurt Russell is in, alongside a wrestler, which will CLEARLY make a billion dollars!?

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Are we sure this guy isn’t REALLY a celestial being walking among mere mortals?

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Cinema Dispatch: Ratchet & Clank

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Ratchet & Clank and all the images you see in this review are owned by Gramercy Pictures and Focus Features

Directed by Jericca Cleland and Kevin Munroe

Well THIS certainly is a unique specimen!  I mean… it IS for another two weeks until Angry Birds comes out (ugh).  What we have here is the first CG animated film that has gotten a wide release in US theaters!  You’d think SOMEONE would have thought to do this by now considering how many of the pre-generation seven game heroes were aimed at children and some variation of a loveable animal character.  While Uwe Bowl was fucking around with Alone in the Dark and Postal, no one was willing to give Sonic the Hedgehog or Megaman a shot?  Well that all ends HERE with this movie based on the iconic video game series AND the added bonus of Insomniac games being a part of the production to make sure it’s done justice!  Do they succeed in making the first CG animated video game movie, or is this one big glorified cut scene that wouldn’t have passed muster in 2002?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is all about Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor); a cat like creature who lives a Tatooine knock off and spends his time poorly repairing hovercrafts by adding (presumably illegal) modifications that no one asked for and no one would find useful.  Oh well, at least he has heart, and dreams, and… probably other stuff too that the movie doesn’t really get into.  He’s THE HERO’S JOURNEY writ large and he’s got a call to action lined up for him!  Apparently some bad guys are blowing up planets for reasons (probably because their dicks) and so the team that defends the WHOLE galaxy has decided to increase their ranks from four… to FIVE!!  Okay… well the group, known as the Galactic Rangers, are holding tryouts to find this fifth member (there isn’t already a training program or an academy or something?) which Ratchet participates in, but fails miserably; probably due to his extensive arrest record.  Things may look grim for Ratchet who’s still stuck on this dirt planet, but salvation arrives in the form of a little robot who crash lands near the garage Ratchet works at, and he rushes to save him!  The little robot seems to know something about the villain’s evil plan and must get to the Galactic Rangers to warn them.  Ratchet agrees to help, gives the little guy the name Clank (David Kaye), and they’re off to save the Rangers and the Galaxy as they know it!  Can they manage to stop the bad guys from blowing up the rest of the galaxy?  Will the Galactic Rangers accept them as one of their own?  Did… did anyone actually sit down to watch this before shoving it into theaters?

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“PLEASE!  MAKE IT STOP!!”     “It’s too late Qwark!  We’ve already sequel baited!”     “NOOO!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Creed

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Creed and all the images you see in this review are owned by MGM Pictures

Directed by Ryan Coogler

I have this DVD boxset with the first three Rocky films in it that I think my dad got one Christmas.  He didn’t watch them all that often so I ended up holding onto the boxset and I would watch those three ALL the damn time.  A lot of people like the fourth film, but for me, Rocky has always been the first three movies which creates a perfect arc as Rocky starts out as a bum, eventually beats the champ, and they become friends afterwards.  Hell, it even ends right where Rocky begins (inside a crappy little gym) only now with Apollo Creed there as a reminder of how much has changed in such a short amount of time.  I didn’t catch Rocky Balboa until its home release, but it felt a perfect swansong for the series and Stallone proved once again that he really is a talented guy and deserved winning that Oscar.  Now we’re back with yet another film in that universe, but the dynamics have changed.  Not only is not really a Rocky film anymore, it’s not even a Stallone film considering that the writing and directing was handled by Ryan Coogler who himself is to proving to be an immense talent very early in his career.  Will this be an inspired continuation of series that still manages to be its own film, or will this be a disappointing cash grab on the level of Rocky 5 considering they pretty much have the same premise?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about Adonis “Donnie” Johnson who is the son of Apollo Creed; the child of one of his mistress and born several months after Apollo’s death which should STILL put him at about 29, but whatever.  Continuity in the Rocky series is pretty wonky as it is.  Anyway, the kid is eventually found in a youth detention center by Apollo Creed’s widow (Mary Anne Creed played by Phylicia Rashad who FINALLY managed to be a movie that’s NOT directed by Tyler Perry) and she adopts the boy.  We cut to when he’s an adult and despite having money and having a good life, he still can’t seem to resist the urge to fight, so between shifts at his day job he fights in low level boxing matches under the name Donnie Johnson.  It’s not enough for him though, so he decides to quit his job, move to Philly, and get his father’s best friend to train him to be a professional boxer.  Will Rocky be willing to step back into that life after leaving it behind him?  Will Donnie finally find what is he’s looking for if he can convince Rocky to train him and put him in fights?  How many times will YOU cry watching this?

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“You get this to work kid, and you’re gonna be set for at least four more movies.”

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Living on Netflix: Homefront

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Starring Jason “fist with an accent” Statham, written by Sylvester “I wrote Rocky a long time ago” Stallone, and has James “I’m James Franco” Franco as an evil redneck.  This sounds like the recipe for a down and dirty southern classic right?  Well there’s only one way to find out, and that’s to keep reading!

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