The Fighter (2010)#

'The Fighter' chronicles the early career of the junior welterweight boxer Micky Ward. He is most famous among boxing fans for his legendary bouts with Arturo Gatti. I feel that sports movies have the highest risk of being hit or miss. Majority of them have the tendency of having a generic inspirational underdog rising to the top storyline without much substance or character development. On that note, 'The Fighter' is not your typical sports movie.
Micky Ward (Mark Walberg) is in a slump. A losing streak and an unreliable management has him questioning his will to continue fighting. Ward is embarrassed of being seen as a stepping stone for his opponents and frustrated with lack of support from his mother (Melissa Leo) and half brother (Christian Bale). His mother seems more interested in making a profit than getting the best fights for his career. His half-brother, Dicky is a former boxer who earned his nickname as the the 'Pride of Lowell' by going the distance with Sugar Ray Leonard. Dicky is addicted to crack and is in no condition to train his brother properly. When Micky is at his lowest point, his new girlfriend (Amy Adams) convinces him to turn his life around by starting fresh without his family dragging him down. With a new direction and motivation in his life, Micky is focused to attempt a last run at becoming a champion before it is too late.
'The Fighter' has an authentic drama quality that separates it from typical sports movies. It really draws you into the lives of these characters from a tough New England neighborhood and makes you care about them. Christian Bale really steals the show with his convincing portrayal of Dicky. Whenever he is on screen, it is impossible to take your eyes off of him. I dare you to not look at him. You'll be asking yourself, "What happened to batman?" Bale really shows his range as an actor. He seems like a strong favorite to win an Oscar as the Best Supporting Actor. I also thought Amy Adams was deserving of her nomination for Best Supporting Actress. (By the way, Kim Hye Ja really deserved an oscar nomination for 'Mother') 'The Fighter' is a very well made inspirational movie with heart of a champion (you like how I used a sports metaphor there?). Simply labeling it as a sports movie does not give this movie the proper praise it deserves. Do you think it has a good shot at winning the best picture?

#IMDB-8.2/10 (#211 on Top 250)
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-89% Audience-90%
Yong's Rating- 4/5 Stars (highly recommended)
*I've decided to go to a five star rating system, rather than 10 pt system. Why? it's easier and more simple.


Zelig (1983)

Deep down inside we all want to be liked, to feel accepted as a part of a group, to fit in. Let's say you find yourself with a group of people talking about the latest box office hit. They express just how much they loved all the fast paced action and the graphics. You go on to agree with them and express how much you loved the graphics as well. Next day, you find yourself with another group of people discussing the same movie. Only this time, they are talking about just how terrible the movie was. "No substance, just big explosions," they say. You go on to agree with them and say how tired you are of these big hollywood movies with no real substance. More often then not, most of us tend to let the majority sway our opinions.
In "Zelig", Woody Allen takes the simple human desire of wanting to be liked to the extreme. Set during the 1920's, "Zelig" is a mock documentary examining a man named Leonard Zelig (played by Allen). His desire to be liked is so great that he develops a condition which allows him to transform himself into whoever he is talking to. Surround him with group of Chinese men, he'll start to develop oriental features. Surround him with group with black jazz musicians, he'll soon start to develop darker complexion and even play some jazz. You see the pattern.
Zelig soon gains national attention as the "Human Chameleon." Doctors take him into custody to study the strange phenomenon. Zelig surprises the doctors by transforming himself to blend in with any group of people he is presented with. Doctors see him as nothing but a study subject and his family sees him only as a chance to make a profit. Only Dr. Fletcher (played by Mia Farrow) develops a personal attachment to him and truly wants to help him fix his problem. Dr. Fletcher makes it her personal professional duty to diagnose and help treat Zelig. To cure him of his disorder. She teaches him to think and stand up for himself. In the process, the two develop strong feelings for each other.
Woody Allen has never been known for using technology or special effects in his films. But it is worth noting that "Zelig" is definitely his finest technical film. The footages, music, and the actors all looked like they belonged to the era. I really enjoyed the use of documentary style to film this movie. Using real people as actors also added that authentic documentary atmosphere. As always, there's plenty of quick funny one-liners spread throughout the movie. "Zelig" is an unique movie that really surprised me the first time I saw it simply because I haven't seen anything like it before. I urge you to check it out for yourself sometime and I give it my highest recommendation. Let me know what you think.

IMDB- 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-100%, Audience-86%
Yong's Rating- 5/5 stars


The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

Our planet is once again faced with danger from visitors from outer space. And this time, Will Smith isn't here to save us. He sent his son instead. The Day the Earth Stood Still is a remake of the 1951 classic. This version features Keanu Reeves as the alien visitor in human form and Jennifer Connelly as the heroine scientist. Earth is suddenly bombarded with mysterious alien landings all over different countries. Keanu Reeves presents himself as an alien ambassador, but fear and paranoia prevents the USA government from letting him start communication with the world leaders. Jennifer Connelly plays the caring scientist who tries to reason with Keanu Reeves in order to understand their motives behind the invasion. Once she learns about the aliens' intentions, she must do everything in her powers to save her home and everyone she loves.
To its credit, this movie has fantastic graphics and sound effects. Aside from its technical aspects, this movie felt very flat to me. It started out strong, but I found myself losing interest fast. Once the mystery of how Jennifer Connelly could be Jaden Smith's mother was solved, I started to lose interest. This movie just isn't captivating or interesting enough to hold the audience's attention for its full length. If you are a fan of sci-fis with good visuals and sound effects, it may be worth checking out. Otherwise, there's nothing much to see here.

Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-22%, Audience-34%
Yong's ratings-4/10 (skip it)


Easy A (2010)

Easy A is a delightful teen comedy featuring Emma Stone. She really shows that she has the charm and the smarts to carry a movie all by herself. Easy A tells the story of a relatively unpopular high school girl who gains notoriety due to a rumor that she lost her virginity to a guy in a community college. Instead of trying to dispel the rumor, Stone embraces the attention and even adds to her new "slutty" persona by agreeing to have fake sex or give other imaginary sexual favors to desperate guys wanting to elevate their social standing in school. Seeing the parallel between her situation and that of Hester Prynne in "The Scarlet Letter", Stone sees her new social standing as a perfect chance to conduct her own personal social experiment. However, she soon learns that living a lie has many downfalls.
I thought Easy A was a very well made teen comedy and found it engaging and fun. Some may find the dialogue a bit pretentious, but i thought it was just quirky enough to be enjoyable. Go check out Easy A and see what all the rumors are about.

Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 87% Audience- 77%
Yong's Rating- 8/10 (recommended)


La Di Da...

Happy Birthday to Diane Keaton! One of my favorite actress. La Di Da...