Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fighting movie review

This 2009 bare-knuckle action drama with the overly long and complicated name and is directed by Dito Montiel who previously wrote the book and directed the 2006 A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints movie about his life growing up in Astoria, Queens. Anyway, Fighting stars Terrance Howard (of I want more money for Iron Man 2 fame) and Channing Tatum (of Step Up and soon to be Public Enemies and Gi Joe fame) and is the story of Shawn MacArthur (Channing) who after moving to NY struggles to make ends meet by selling counterfeit goods. A chance encounter with Harvey Boarden (Howard) a hustler and street fighting coach brings him into the world of high stakes bare knuckle fighting. Is this the chance he’s been looking for to make some green, or will he only be seeing red in the end?

When we left the theater I overheard something someone said and I just couldn’t stop laughing. Basically a group of girls walked out of the Fighting screening, and one of them said something prompting a complete stranger, a guy around the age of 27, the demographic for this film, to turn around shell-shocked. Penny and I will re-enact the scene.

Penny: Man that was amazing.

Man: (turning around wide-eyed) Amazing? Alright.

I just thought that was hilarious, just the shocked look on the guys face. To be fair, Channing Tatum was shirtless for most of the movie so that fact may have prompted her response. But anyway, so Penny was Fighting like the girl said amazing, or should Channing Tatum just stick to dancing?

For a movie called simply fighting, a movie that finds its basis in the fact that there will be fighting, the fighting scenes stunk. Basically it was like a bunch of drunks at a bar fight. There was no skill involved, just punch, punch, push, Channing wins. There are a lot of fast cuts that I’m sure are there to accentuate the action, making it seem fast and fierce, but all the cuts did for me was to make the action to quick paced so you couldn’t really see any technique. You’re better off going to a bar at night and watching drunks fight. Save your money and grab a beer.

What’s worse is that there are real fighters here, I mean one of Channings opponents is current Strikeforce Middleweight champion Cung Le, as Dragon Lee (big stretch) and he’s busting out all these real submission and fighting moves, and he easily gets beat by Channing after a few punches. The whole movie was, bad guy throws a bunch of kicks and punches, beating Channing badly, Channing punches the guy twice and the guy hits his head on a random sink, Channing wins. Again for a movie called simply Fighting, the actual Fighting was silly.

The whole plot is also ridiculous. I mean the movie’s explanation for anything makes no sense. The reason why Stephen is living on the streets, why he had a falling out with his father, why he doesn’t like the main bad guy, what is Terrance Howard’s Harvey’s backstory, who are the group of bad guys, nothing, nothing makes sense. I mean seriously, they try to explain things and it just makes things more confusing. Now I don’t expect a great plot from these kind of movies, but my god, this is like watching an episode of Lost and then that’s all you get, that one episode. Just terrible, not even clich├ęd because I can’t even tell you the why’s of this movie.

Let’s talk a little about the romance. Channing’s character Shawn falls in love with a nightclub busgirl named Zulay (Zulay Henao, they really went crazy with the names here), and while they are both equally hot, the chemistry between them felt forced and their scenes together felt awkward. And I say forced because it was basically set up where Channing sees Zulay, he likes her, stalks her a bit and then they have sex. I was like, “I get that Channing is a good looking guy but come on.”

Now I have to admit, from the trailers and commercials, I was looking forward to seeing this one. If anything I thought, a much lesser Rocky, a sports underdog movie, and I always, and I mean always love those. But yeah, I could forgive this film for its poor plot if it had good action and I just didn’t think the action was any good. Sure there were a lot of beefcakes, but bare-chested men are not enough of a thing to sway me, so I’m giving this a, “sneak out/I want my money back rating.” A movie that I somehow find worse than 2008’s Never Back Down, with the equally hunky Cam Gigandet, and that movie was terrible.

Monday, April 27, 2009

What I Think Of: Music and Lyrics (2007)

Sure Hugh Grant doesn't have the best of voices, but this rom-com about a faded musician who finds one last chance in a bubbly songwriter is sweet and frankly a great deal fun to watch. The pop songs Grant sings are reminiscent of the music of Wham and surely thats never a bad thing right? And yes the ending is predictable, and sure the movie is very cliched, but the music and the chemistry between Grant and Barrymore are enough to make this average film an above average watch. So yeah, catch this little film with the all-star cast that nobody watched.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Episode 29: Soloist, Fighting and Tyson

Hello there and welcome to the 29th episode of the Cinema Cafe Podcast: the new weekly film podcast by the fans, for the fans. Each week we will review new movies releases, dvd reviews, talk some film news and share our general love for all things cinema. The main goal is to have some fun and hopefully provide the listener with some helpful insight. This week we have a treat: a look at 3 movies that have been recently released. With that said here's a look at what we discuss on this weeks podcast:

* Soloist
* Fighting
* Tyson
* A quick re-look at two romantic films, one a musical comedy and one a weepy remake, the Hugh Grant songfest in 2007's Music and Lyrics and the reunion of the Speed duo in 2006's Lake House.
* DVD Review of the 2008 critically acclaimed French film, I've Loved You So Long
* Upcoming movie releases for the weekend of 5.01.09

Also, film news and more, only on the Cinema Cafe Podcast. We hope you enjoy and happy movie watching.

We're now on Itunes so head there and subscribe to the Cinema Cafe Podcast. Thanks!

Friday, April 24, 2009

What I Think Of: Manos The Hands of Fate (1966)

The Five scariest words ever grouped together bringing with it shame and derision, that when translated into English means, "The Hands: The Hands of Fate." Arguably the worst movie of all time made by a fertilizer salesman on a bet. Has a 20 minute driving scene that feels out of place at the beginning because titles were supposed to roll over it but the director forgot to put them in so it's just 20 minutes of watching someone driving. This film, like Poltergiest ruined everyone's life involved. Truly Manos's hands reaches far. Featured in one of the greatest Mystery Science 3000 episodes, this film is legendary for all the wrong reasons. So bad that once you watch it you can never erase it from your memory. You've been warned.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Movie Releases for the Weekend of 4.24.09

1) Obsessed

- a Beyonce movie where she doesn’t sing? What’s going on? This one’s about a successful business man with a beautiful wife (played by Beyonce) who gets stalked by Ali Larter. So essentially, this movie is about living the dream. I have no idea why this thriller got made, but well, the world has to deal with it now.

2) Earth

- this trailer for a documentary that follows the migration path of four families of animals and their plight to survive has been playing a lot and every time I see it I feel as if I’ve already seen the whole movie. That’s because if you’ve watched BBC’s Planet Earth tv series, this is basically a condensed version of it, except now the voice over is no longer of Patrick Stewart but of James Earl Jones.

3) The Soloist

- from Atonement director Joe Wright comes this this based on a true story about a brilliant but troubled and homeless musician (played by Jamie Foxx) and a LA reporter (played by Robert Downy Jr.) who befriends him. This was supposed to come out last October but got pushed back, probably because the field was too crowded, but yeah, an early feel good movie.

4) Fighting

- I have to admit, I really want to see this cheesy movie starring Channing Tatum and Terrance Howard about the underground world of bare knuckle fighting. I’m a really big fan of Mixed Martial Arts, so much so that I try to follow every single fight here in the States and overseas, so I’ll watch any movie that’s about MMA, but yeah this looks like a lesser Rocky and that could still be good.

5) Tyson

- a documentary that played at this year’s Sundance about the life and times of former Heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson. I’m a big sports nuts and I grew up watching Mike Tyson, so it always saddens me when I think back on Tyson’s fall from grace and he brought all on himself. Many are saying this is one of the best documentaries of the year, so I’m eager to see this.

6) Mutant Chronicles

- this movie about a futuristic soldier that fights to save the Earth from a mutant plague, came out in the UK and Canada last year, and well, it has an interesting cast (Ron Perlman, John Malkovich, Thomas Jane, Devon Aoki) and looks somewhat exciting. However, reviews say it’s dreadful, and this is going to premiere on the SCi-Fi channel soon after the theatrical release, so that should tell you something.