If you've seen one underdog team sports film, you've seen them all, but that doesn't stop Hollywood from churning out another two or three per year ad nauseam. Welcome "12 Mighty Orphans" to the mix, a period football film that does nothing to further the genre, but one that might satisfy those who find themselves suckers for this brand of melodrama.
Most sports dramas follow the same clichéd patterns, with rousing action sequences interspersed with bits of drama, featuring a man with the heart of a champion for us to root for. "Embattled" can't even balance the genre clichés properly. The problems start with the script, but they expand to cover the choppy, ineffective MMA fight sequences and the either overcooked or under-served characters at its center.
Most people know David Arquette as an actor. He's most recognizable as the lovable Deputy Dewey Riley from the "Scream" movie franchise, and back in the 90s, was thought of as one of Hollywood's best and brightest young up-and-coming actors. He graced the cover of Vanity Fair in 1996 alongside contemporaries like Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, Tim Roth and Matthew McConaughey.
The explosion that was supposed to be a promising acting career never quite happened. Instead, David Arquette became the WCW Heavyweight Wrestling Champion of the World.
And if that seems far-fetched, just get a load of the appropriately-named new doc, "You Cannot Kill David Arquette."
Ben Affleck has never been better than he is in "The Way Back," playing a character that hits a bit close to home for the actor who has recently opened up about his struggles with alcoholism.
"Maiden" tells the story of sailing pioneer Tracy Edwards, the first Captain of an all-female yachting crew to enter the prestigious Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.
Jesse Eisenberg is perfectly cast as a victim who desperately wants to flip-the-script, in this cleverly-penned examination of toxic masculinity.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Genre: Drama, Sport
Run Time: 2 hours, 3 minutes, Rated PG-13
Starring: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks, Gugu Mbatha-Raw David Morse, Stephen Moyer, Luke Wilson
Directed by Peter Landesman (Parkland)
By now, even non-sports fans have most likely heard about the "scandal" dealing with the NFL and concussions. What seems like common sense - that football players who suffer continual blows to the head over the course of several years end up with life-threatening head trauma over time - has only recently been acknowledged by the National Football League. Much like the big tobacco companies denying the existence of ill-affects related to their product, so has the NFL turned a blind eye to the consequences of theirs. Concussion (opening today) is the story of the doctor who helped bring this issue to the fore-front, and who forced the NFL to take action towards protecting their own.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Genre: Comedy, Sport
Run Time: 1 hours, 53 minutes, Rated PG-13
Starring: Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Jon Bernthal, Kim Basinger, Kevin Hart, Alan Arkin
Directed by Peter Segal (Get Smart, The Longest Yard, 50 First Dates, Tommy Boy, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult)
To determine the worth of the new Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro comedy, Grudge Match (opening today), look no further than the film's TV trailer. In it, there are the usual positive comments ("It's a knock-out! Or, "A great time at the movies!"), but if you look closely, they are pulled directly from random Twitter handles instead of the usual "respectable" pool of film critics.
Rating: 4 out of stars
Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport
Run Time: hour, minutes, Rated PG-13
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, T.R. Knight, Harrison Ford
Written & Directed by Brian Helgeland (The Order, A Knight's Tale, Payback)
There's no question that Jackie Robinson was one of the most important people of the Civil Rights Movement, becoming the first African American ball player in Major League Baseball (MLB). In the film 42 (opening this weekend, named after Robinson's jersey number), we learn that there were other very important, yet perhaps over-shadowed figures involved in his historic achievements on and off the field. As much as this is the Jackie Robinson Story, it is the story of several revolutionary, forward-thinking individuals who were determined to change the perceptions of popular culture at the time.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Genre: Comedy, Sports
Run Time: 1 hour 32 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Live Schreiber, Alison Pill, Marc-Andre Grondin
Directed by Michael Dowse (Take Me Home Tonight, Fubar)
From the opening shot of Goon (really? A gargantuan black hockey player??? [Note: It was later pointed out that this was a cameo from real NHL enforcer Georges Laraque]), there is not a single shred of authenticity. On the surface, it will appear to be a hockey movie, and it isn't, really. It appears to be a comedy, but it isn't very funny. And for those that may say it is authentically a Canadian movie may want to re-consider...our neighbors in the north should be wary of a film like this being associated with them.
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