Review: Netflix’ GLOW is a splendid blend of many things—from campy female wrestling, satire to telly industry, feminism spirit and rage against racial stereotypes—that work fascinatingly. Presented as a period piece which sees L.A. circa 1985, the show radicalizes the era’s fascination towards glazing neon and devotion to day-time soap opera, then mixes them together in an exhilarating, vibrant ‘fake-sport’ drama.
In GLOW, a struggling actress, Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) is disheartened upon finding out that the industry has suppressed female roles to the brink of marginalization. When she encounters a desperate B-movie director, Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron)—who develops ‘The Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling’ a.k.a. GLOW for a TV channel, she surprisingly finds an absurdly empowering opportunity. From there, the line between pro-wrestling and soap opera begins to blur; and a road to stardom emerges. Continue reading A Season with: GLOW (2017) – Season 1
Review: You might not be familiar with Vinny Pazienza’s miraculous story dubbed as the ‘greatest comeback in sports history,’ but, after 5 minutes, Bleed for This will give you clear head-ups. The story comfortably fashions itself as a cliché-ridden based-on-true-events boxer’s story, which feels as text-bookish as it could be. However, clichés are no match for the true sportsmanship spirit it carries on and the hard punches it launches.
Miles Teller portrays Vinny Paz – a loudmouth Rhode Island native, who is eager to take all punch; but, really, he is a no-contender. In a title shot against Roger Mayweather, he suffered an embarrassing defeat, which triggers his managers, The Duvas Brothers, to urge him to give up boxing. Yet, Vinny, a tenacious macho man, refuses to surrender; instead, he teams up with Mike Tyson’s former alcoholic coach, Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart). The feat instantly becomes an unlikely union – the band of losers aiming for the most plausible shot for future. Continue reading Bleed for This (2017) – Review
Review: Possibly you might never hear about it, but there’s a notorious Olympian known for his ill tenure in 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada. He’s the one whom the president of the committee, Frank King, addressed in a quintessential “some of you have even soared like an eagle” closing speech. He’s the one and the only Michael “Eddie” Edwards, the eagle.
Eddie the Eagle is a loose feel-good biopic of the famously unsuccessful Olympian; produced by Matthew Vaughn and directed by Dexter Fletcher. It revolves around the dream of a feet-defected kid Michael Edwards a.k.a. Eddie (portrayed with clumsy persona by Taron Egerton, Kingsman), who dreams to be an Olympic athlete since he’s little. Portrayed as having no natural talent of sports and being held down by his disability, Eddie never gives up; he literally tries every kind of sport. He almost makes it to the qualification of Great Britain’s downhill skier team, but he narrowly misses (or more correctly, is singled out from the team by the committee). Continue reading Eddie the Eagle (2016) – BALINALE Review
Review: Similar to The Force Awakens, one doesn’t have to be an adept viewer of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky saga to love Ryan Coogler’s Creed. Yet, those who have known ‘The Italian Stallion’ might find Creed familiarly intriguing since it feels nostalgic and fresh at once.
While Rocky Balboa (2009) gives clear-cut indication that Rocky’s tenure as a boxer might completely end after once again proving his prowess in a ring; it turns out Creed gives extra breath for the people’s champ as well as for Stallone by shifting him to the supporting side and exploring some related legacy from the saga’s past instead.
The legacy is Adonis ‘Donnie’ Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), a non-legitimate son of Apollo Creed, Rocky’s former foe-turned-friend who were killed in a fight against Drago on Rocky IV. And Creed is literally a series of fights to decide what would become of him. Continue reading Creed (2015) – Review
Southpaw is another example of an overwhelming movie saved by an astonishing showcase of craftsmanship by its leading performer. This time it’s Jake Gyllenhaal saved this boxing bonanza with an unorthodox performance, a southpaw one.
Rumour has it Southpaw was meant to be a sequel to hip-hop hit 8 Miles starred by Eminem; as it takes an allegory state of story-telling by juxtaposing boxing to hip-hop. Yet, that version never happened since 2010.
Then, in 2014, the first image of Southpaw was released—showing another significant body transformation from Gyllenhaal (who previously appeared slender on Nightcrawler). Afterwards, internet broke with hypes. Continue reading Southpaw (2015) – Review
“Coach is the father. Coach is a mentor. Coach has great power on athlete’s life,” said John du Pont.
Bennett Miller is known for constructing a difficult, untouchable real-life subjects into some emotional character-driven films that fortunately brought him glory. His tendency to disclose some real-life low-profile figures to screen is proven in Capote (2005) and Moneyball (2011). It’s no surprise when he finally decided to direct a film about a shooting tragedy—involving a queer multi-millionaire oddball and a world champion wrestler—and not make it a pure biopic in Foxcatcher.
Continue reading Foxcatcher (2014)