Archive for the Sport Category

Everybody Wants Some!!

Posted in Comedy, Sport with tags on December 16, 2017 by Mark Walker

Director: Richard Linklater.
Screenplay: Richard Linklater.
Starring: Blake Jenner, Glen Powell, Tyler Hoechlin, Wyatt Russell, Ryan Guzman, J. Quinton Johnson, Temple Baker, Austin Amelio, Zoey Deutch, Juston Street, Will Brittain, Tanner Kalina, Jonathan Breck.

“We came for a good time, not for a long time”

I have never been one to hide my admiration for director Richard Linklater. I’ve always found him to be a hugely talented filmmaker and he’s always struck me as a very intelligent and savvy individual. Whenever a new project of his arrives, I’m always filled with anticipation, especially one that’s been mentioned in the same breath as his indie classic Dazed and Confused. Why is it then, that Everybody Wants Some!! left me with ever so slight feelings of disappointment? This could simply be explained by having very high expectations so for that reason I waited until I watched the film again before making any final judgements on it. Turns out, my opinion didn’t change. Everybody Wants Some!! has many great qualities but it doesn’t quite hit the heights of its predecessor. Continue reading


Posted in Drama, Sport with tags on December 11, 2017 by Mark Walker

Director: Thomas Napper.
Screenplay: Johnny Harris.
Starring: Johnny Harris, Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, Michael Smiley, Luke J.I. Smith, Anna Wilson-Hall.

“I don’t know what demons you’re fighting but when all this is done and dusted, just walk away. You can’t fight forever, son”

Let’s face it, boxing is a brutal and unforgiving sport. But it’s also reflective of class. Rarely, if ever, is it taken from the point of view of the privileged or the upper-classes. It’s a sport that offers the working class a chance to break free from their poverty or a chance of absolution from personal demons or afflictions. From Rocky to The Champ or Raging Bull to The Fighter, boxing flicks often provide raw and gritty, blue collar entertainment and Jawbone is no exception. Continue reading


Posted in Drama, Sport with tags on January 21, 2016 by Mark Walker

Director: Ryan Cooglar.
Screenplay: Ryan Cooglar, Aaron Covington.
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Tony Bellew, Ritchie Coster, Graham McTavish, Andre Ward, Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran, Malik Bazille, Ricardo McGill, Wood Harris, Gabe Rosado.

“Time takes everybody out; time’s undefeated”

Nostalgia has crept into a lot of films lately. In 2015 alone, we’ve revisited Bond (for the 24th time) in Spectre, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is now the 5th film spawned from the 60’s TV show, Mad Max was rebooted with Fury Road, Jurassic World and Star Wars: A Force Awakens tapped into the magic and excitement of their predecessors and now Ryan Cooglar’s Creed is a revisit to the boxing gyms of Philadelphia and has much in common with the original Rocky of 1976. Yes, it’s hard to believe but it’s been 40 years since Balboa first had us on the edge of our seats and punching the air with delight. Continue reading

Grudge Match

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Sport with tags on March 14, 2014 by Mark Walker


Director: Peter Segal.
Screenplay: Tim Kelleher, Rodney Rothman.
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Sylvester Stallone, Kim Basinger, Alan Arkin, Kevin Hart, Jon Bernthal, LL Cool J, Barry Primus, Anthony Anderson, Ireland Baldwin, Rich Little, Roy Jones Jr, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson.

Yeah, look at us! We’re not dead! Everyone’s laughing at us! The whole world’s laughing at us! But we’re not dead! In fact, I feel more alive now than I ever felt!

Although their careers have went in very different paths, Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro have been around roughly the same amount of time and have, on occasion, come together. In 1976, they were Best Actor nominees for two of their most successful roles in “Rocky” and “Taxi Driver” (both losing out to Peter Finch in “Network“) and in 1997 they shared the screen for the first time in “Cop Land“. Now they’re at it again…

Continue reading


Posted in Action, Biography, Drama, Sport with tags on January 22, 2014 by Mark Walker


Director: Ron Howard.
Screenplay: Peter Morgan.
Starring: Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Stephen Mangan, Christian McKay, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Jamie de Courcey, Pierfrancesco Favino, Natalie Dormer.

A wise man can learn more from his enemies than a fool from his friends“.

Before he became a director, Ron Howard was originally known for his acting as Richie Cunningham from “Happy Days” and that character seems to have plagued his career since. Howard can certainly resemble the character’s name in some ways; He makes production companies ‘rich’ and he most certainly delivers ‘ham’ but he lacks the ‘cunning’ to be the truly great director that he perceives himself to be. Please excuse the very poor puns but if Howard can get away with as many clichés as he does, then I deem myself the right to use as many bad puns as I want. “Rush” is further proof of Howard’s over-praised talents and no amount of money or positive word-of-mouth will change that.

Continue reading

Moneyball * * * *

Posted in Biography, Drama, Sport with tags on March 11, 2012 by Mark Walker


Director: Bennett Miller
Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian
Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Chris Pratt, Stephen Bishop, Reed Diamond, Brent Jennings, Ken Medlock, Tammy Blanchard, Glenn Morshower, Kathryn Morris, Nick Searcy, Jack McGee, Arliss Howard, Spike Jonze.

A slow moving, dialogue driven Baseball film – that features very little actual Baseball – will almost certainly ostracise a large amount of viewers. However, this actually works on a surprisingly dramatic level from acclaimed stage director Bennett Miller.

Based on the true story of financially crippled baseball team, the Oakland Athletics and their general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), who tried to hold them all together. In order to make a winning team with no money, he had to change the sport. To do this, he enlisted the help of smart young analyst Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) and attempted to use a new formula of computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.

How this film manages to maintain your interest – with constant boardroom discussions and talk of Baseball statistics – is testament to everyone involved. Miller’s direction is low-key, adding an almost documentary feel; Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay is full of natural dialogue and Pitt’s central performance is subtly brilliant. This doesn’t rely on special effects – or even on the game itself that much – to entertain. It relies on a basic story well told. The formula of sports films are left far behind for this fly-on-the-wall approach to the business side of things. There’s no players pointing to the sky before knocking the ball out of the park: there’s no clock ticking as the underdog tries to overcome the big-hitters. Well, in some cases you could say this happens. But it happens less on the park and more in the offices and boardrooms of the backroom staff. This inevitably leads to talking. Lots of talking. But thankfully, the cast are more than up for the challenge. Pitt (in an Oscar nominated turn) is an actor that has grown in the maturity of his recent roles and handles the difficult role of Billy Beane to perfection. The normally profane Jonah Hill (also Oscar nominated) is effectively reserved and even Philip Seymour Hoffman, in a vastly underwritten role, manages to speak a thousand words with his expressions alone. The only downside it had was it’s over-length. At over two hours long, it’s hard to maintain your concentration with a film that is primarily concerned with number crunching. However, most of the time, surprisingly, flys by.

An unconventional sports film that focuses on a side of the game that is rarely addressed. In our current financial climate, this has been released at just the right time.

Mark Walker


Warrior * * * * 1/2

Posted in Drama, Sport with tags on March 6, 2012 by Mark Walker


Director: Gavin O’Connor.
Screenplay: Gavin O’Connor, Anthony Tambakis, Cliff Dorfman.
Starring: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte, Frank Grillo, Jennifer Morrison, Kevin Dunn, Maximiliano Hernandez, Kurt Angle, Erik Apple, Gavin O’Connor, Noah Emmerich.

2011 was a good year for movies. Even the ones that tread old ground still achieved their own identity. Just look at the Oscar winning “The Artist“, for harking back to silent films; “Hugo“, for reminding us of the origins and the magic involved in making them; “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” remake also found an audience, a mere two years after the Swedish original. This is another, that manages to take an old formula and still make it work.

Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) returns to his hometown Pittsburgh after serving time as a Marine. When back, he prepares for the world’s biggest mixed martial arts tournament, reconnecting with his father, Paddy (Nick Nolte), who takes up his training. Meanwhile, his estranged brother, Brendan (Joel Edgerton), realises he has to return to his old fighting ways if he has any hope of saving his family from crippling financial debts.

This is no basic rags to riches sport flick; there’s personal history to the three main characters. It has the working class background and fighting montages that lead to the obvious comparisons to “Rocky” or more recently “The Fighter“. But even though this is on similar, well worn territory, it’s greatest achievement is in delivering something surprisingly fresh and all it’s own. The two lead performances are excellently delivered by Hardy and Edgerton but it’s Nolte, as their estranged alcoholic father, that really stands out. A great moment, in particular, between the tortured characters of Nolte and Hardy in a diner where the tables turn. As soon as Nolte takes over as trainer, he becomes the patriarch once more. Meanwhile, Edgerton (reminding me of a younger Russell Crowe) combines the family man with ferocious fighting abilities more than competently. The sport itself has rarely been covered on screen. David Mamet touched upon it in 2001 in his impressive film “RedBelt” but that didn’t take much of the fighting into the ring. This does. It has the usual sports flick cliches; the underdog; the montages; the friends and relatives watching at home; the opinionated commentary at ringside. If truth be told though, it’s a winning formula. But where this film succeeds is in it’s human drama. The characters are real and instill a sympathy and sensitivity while building to it’s inevitable conclusion. There are moments that genuinely have you on the edge of your seat and ultimately punching the air with delight. (particularly Edgerton’s fights).

Despite the formula and abundance of cliches, this still manages to transcend them and come out a winner. A great sports film that hits all the right buttons.

Mark Walker