Advertisements

Tag Archive: Christopher Meloni


boseman-as-robinson-42

Review by C.J. Bunce

Sadly racism has not gone away in America since the days of the legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson, but the progress that has been made can be felt from the biopic 42: The Jackie Robinson Story, now streaming on Amazon Prime.  Starring a perfectly cast Chadwick Boseman (Captain America: Civil War’s Black Panther) as Robinson and Harrison Ford as craggy Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, file this baseball entry as a straightforward, historical, earnest film, but probably one falling short of your baseball best-of list.  Where so many films of sports heroes put the hero in the driver seat, the oddity here is Robinson seems to be shown as merely a pawn in the 1940s segregated business of baseball.  A film centered around Robinson instead of Rickey with less slow motion shots of kids in the crowd and more Robinson as inspirational figure may have fared better.  To their credit, director Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, A Knight’s Tale, The Postman, Mystic River) and the film’s writers do make efforts to portray Robinson as the almost “superhuman” athlete history reflects him to be.

You’ll likely get the feeling that at times the difficulty of being the first black man in baseball is glossed over, and at other times the director seems to plunge the viewer in too much and too bluntly, as when Firefly star Alan Tudyk as Pittsburg Phillies manager Ben Chapman goes on a painful, unending, cringeworthy, racist rant in front of a full stadium with no one standing up to him.  Another scene hints that a lynch mob almost finds him in a residence he is staying at during training in Florida.  The true story can probably be found in a combination of the best of the scenes that are recreated here.  Certainly the spirit of this legendary figure is portrayed with reverence.  Robinson is the only baseball player ever to have his number–the movie title’s 42–retired by every baseball team in the major league in honor of his achievements.  42 is a bit old-fashioned, but thankfully Boseman anchors the film with leading man acting prowess to lift the film beyond being merely sentimental.

harrison-ford-in-42   42-movie-poster

The story covers Robinson’s rookie year only via Rickey’s selection of Robinson from a file of African-American candidates, through Robinson’s move to the farm team the Montreal Royals, and then to his promotion to the Brooklyn Dodgers, and finally winning the league championship in 1947–stopping short before the Dodgers lost to the Yankees in the World Series that year.  The lack of nuance, an often dragging recitation of events, and lack of visionary artistry in the editing and cinematography prevent the film from being as inspiring as baseball fans may hope for.  Quality acting makes up for some of this from Boseman and Ford and an interesting supporting cast including Sleepy Hollow’s Nicole Beharie as Robinson’s wife, Law and Order: SVU’s Christopher Meloni as Dodgers manager Leo Durocher, and a surprise appearance by Barney Miller’s Max Gail as kindly replacement manager Burt Shotton.

Continue reading

Advertisements

marauders willis 2016 poster

One thing Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger have always had in common is that (except when Arnold was out being the Governator), both men were working actors.  They never seem to pick and choose the “right” movie for their careers, but instead seem from an audience standpoint to take every new role coming down the pike, resulting in inconsistency in audiences’ ability to count on getting a good movie for their dollar every time.  Lately you could add a more recent action star to this–Jason Statham.  In contrast, action stars like Tom Cruise and Sylvester Stallone seem more consistent, Cruise banking top performing movies with interesting and varying parts, and Stallone tending to pick to stuck in a rut with more than his share of duds.

For every Die Hard, Pulp Fiction, Twelve Monkeys, The Fifth Element, The Sixth Sense, RED, and Looper, there’s a The Last Boy Scout, The Color of Night, Death Becomes Her, and A Good Day to Die Hard.  For every Terminator, Predator, Total Recall, True Lies, and Twins, there’s a Last Action Hero, Junior, Jingle All the Way, and Batman & Robin.

Not that every “B” movie these guys churn out isn’t worth your time.  Just take a look at Striking Distance, The Jackal, The Kid, or Mercury Rising, or Eraser, The Last Stand, and Maggie.

Bruce Willis Marauders

Bruce Willis’s next release is Marauders, a heist movie with an interesting-garbed masked robber, co-starring TV’s Christopher Meloni and SPECTRE and Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista (here Bautista isn’t hidden by make-up and gets to deliver more than one line!).  Where will this fall in Willis’s catalog of films?

Check out this trailer for the Bruce Willis heist movie, Marauders:

Continue reading

Eva Green Sin City Dame to Kill For

After the original Sin City, the 2005 film adaptation of Frank Miller’s 1993 graphic novel from Dark Horse Comics brought to the screen by co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, it might take a lot to get audiences back in the theaters for a sequel.  But Miller has a big comic book fan base, and Rodriquez several fans of his slightly askew action flicks, so it’s not that big of surprise a studio is taking another run at the Sin City universe.

Lions Gate has now released its trailer for Sin City:  A Dame to Kill For.  If the preview won’t get you into the theater, the great cast list might be enough to add this one to a future Netflix queue.  Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, Jamie King, and Powers Booth all are returning from the original film, and adding Jeremy Piven, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Christopher Meloni, Eva Green, and Ray Liotta (with rumors of Lady Gaga and Christopher Lloyd making appearances).

Sin City Dame to Kill For

As with the original movie, the sequel certainly has its own comic book noir style, although it certainly borrows a lot from Dick Tracy–plenty of “dames” in seedy places, car chases, ugly and gruff villains, and just as ugly and gruff good guys (or at least they are almost good guys).  As with Alan Moore, his books and film adaptations, Miller’s work tends to be just as polarizing.  You love it or you hate it.

Here is the trailer for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For:

Continue reading