Rocky Franchise Revived with Compelling, Character-Driven Spin-Off

 

Creed

Film Review by Kam Williams

Rocky Franchise Revived with Compelling, Character-Driven Spin-Off

When most people think of Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), what automatically comes to mind is the iconic image of a gutsy underdog easy to root for who held his own in the boxing ring against a variety of imposing adversaries. Each installment of the series has basically revolved around the hype leading to a riveting championship bout between a veritable David and Goliath.

Creed, Film Review, Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa, David and Goliath, Michael B. Jordan, boxing

Directed by Ryan Coogler, Creed is a worthy spin-off which not only pays homage to that tried-and-true formula but also represents a bit of departure for the beloved franchise. What’s new is the fact that this film devotes as much attention to character development as to ratcheting up the tension surrounding the fateful showdown.

Creed, Film Review, Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa, David and Goliath, Michael B. Jordan, boxing

The picture reunites Coogler with Michael B. Jordan, the star of his directorial debut, the critically-acclaimed Frutivale Station. Here, Jordan plays, Adonis Johnson, a juvenile delinquent who’s had his share of scrapes with the law, thanks to a quick temper and a tendency to settle differences with a pair of unusually powerful fists.

Just past the point of departure, the hot-headed orphan is informed by Apollo Creed’s (Carl Weathers) widow (Phylicia Rashad) that he is the illegitimate son of Rocky’s original archenemy. That at least explains the inclination to fight that’s ostensibly been baked into his DNA.

Fast-forward a few years, when Adonis has learned to channel his anger and explosive might via boxing. Over the objections of his adoptive mom (Mrs. Creed) he decides to follow in his father’s footsteps.

So, he moves from L.A. to Philly where he finds Rocky running a restaurant called Adrian’s. Adonis prevails upon the ex-champ to serve as his trainer. Rocky agrees on the condition the kid changes his surname to Creed, and the next thing you know the kid rises in the ranks to #1 contender and luckily lands a title fight with Pretty Ricky Conlan (Tony Bellow).

Creed, Film Review, Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa, David and Goliath, Michael B. Jordan, boxing

Meanwhile, Adonis falls in love with his next-door neighbor, Bianca (Tessa Thompson), an aspiring hip-hop artist on the verge of making it in her own right. Away from the gym, he spends some quality time with Rocky, too, offering a little heartfelt, if unsolicited advice that just might save his aging mentor’s life.Creed, Film Review, Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa, David and Goliath, Michael B. Jordan, boxing

“Rocky” and the next Roman numeral might not be in the title, but this engaging and faithful seventh episode includes all the fixins to amount to a highly-recommended spin-off of the storied franchise.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for violence, profanity and sensuality

Running time: 95 minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures

To see a trailer for Creed, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtWoDw3GvlA

Source:  Baret News

Bittersweet Boxing Tale of Redemption Released on DVD

 

Southpaw

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Bittersweet Boxing Tale of Redemption Released on DVD

Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) surmounted incredible odds en route to becoming the World Light Heavyweight Boxing Champ. After all, his prospects weren’t exactly brilliant, given how he’d been abandoned by his mother at birth.

Southpaw, DVD Review, by Kam Williams, Boxing

But he was lucky enough to meet Maureen (Rachel McAdams) while they were being raised in an orphanage in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. For, the two would not only fall madly in love but she would serve as the rock who kept his nose clean after a couple of brief stints behind bars.

As Billy worked his way up the boxing ranks, the childhood sweethearts married and had a daughter, Leila (Oona Laurence). And Maureen repeatedly inspired her husband to climb into the ring to channel his aggression positively, rather than entertain any ideas of blowing off steam in self-destructive fashion.

By the time his record reached 43-0, Billy and family family were living beyond their means in a gaudy McMansion where they conspicuously consumed the trappings of the nouveau riche: the flashy cars, the gaudy bling, the expensive champagne, and so forth.  However, between his parasitic entourage and a shady money manager, Jordan Mains (50 Cent), it was also readily apparent that he’d have to keep winning bouts to maintain the decadent lifestyle.

Sure enough, in the wake of a terrible personal tragedy, Billy did lose the title belt and, faster than a Don King haircut, found himself broke and back on the rough streets he’d worked so hard to escape. Abandoned by his hangers-on and by his fair-weather manager for the #1 contender (Miguel Gomez), he ends up at a gym in Harlem run by Tick Willis (Forest Whitaker), an irascible trainer reminiscent of the character played by Burgess Meredith in Rocky. The salty veteran on the verge of retirement reluctantly agrees to take on the reclamation project on the condition that the brawler’s willing to add a little finesse to his pugilistic repertoire.

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously once uttered, “There are no second acts in American lives.” Well, he obviously never met Billy Hope who endeavors to make the most of a shot at redemption in Southpaw.

Southpaw, DVD Review, by Kam Williams, Boxing

Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the film features yet another nonpareil outing by Jake Gyllenhaal who deserved Academy Award nominations for both Nightcrawler (2014) and Prisoners (2013). He is again nothing short of mesmerizing, here, as a desperate, deposed, disgraced champ on an appointed mission to reclaim his throne and his fortune.

Gyllenhaal floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee in an Oscar-quality performance!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for violence and pervasive profanity

Running time: 124 minutes

Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment / The Weinstein Company

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Deleted scenes; Southpaw: Inside the Ring; Extended Training Montage; and a Q&A with the cast.

To see a trailer for Southpaw, visit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBBi02IXlbw

To order a copy of the Southpaw Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B012BPM536/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  Baret News

Ex-Champ Mounts Comeback in Bittersweet Boxing Tale of Redemption

 

Southpaw

Film Review by Kam Williams

 

Ex-Champ Mounts Comeback in Bittersweet Boxing Tale of Redemption

 

Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) surmounted incredible odds en route to becoming the World Light Heavyweight Boxing Champ. After all, his prospects weren’t exactly brilliant, given how he’d been abandoned by his mother at birth.

Southpaw,  Film Review, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Boxing
But he was lucky enough to meet Maureen (Rachel McAdams) while they were being raised in an orphanage in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. For, the two would not only fall madly in love but she would serve as the rock who kept his nose clean after a couple of brief stints behind bars.

As Billy worked his way up the boxing ranks, the childhood sweethearts married and had a daughter, Leila (Oona Laurence). And Maureen repeatedly inspired her husband to climb into the ring to channel his aggression positively, rather than entertain any ideas of blowing off steam in self-destructive fashion.

By the time his record reached 43-0, Billy and family family were living beyond their means in a gaudy McMansion where they conspicuously consumed the trappings of the nouveau riche: the flashy cars, the gaudy bling, the expensive champagne, and so forth.  However, between his parasitic entourage and a shady money manager, Jordan Mains (50 Cent), it was also readily apparent that he’d have to keep winning bouts to maintain the decadent lifestyle.

Southpaw,  Film Review, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Boxing

Sure enough, in the wake of a terrible personal tragedy, Billy did lose the title belt and, faster than a Don King haircut, found himself broke and back on the rough streets he’d worked so hard to escape. Abandoned by his hangers-on and by his fair-weather manager for the #1 contender (Miguel Gomez), he ends up at a gym in Harlem run by Tick Willis (Forest Whitaker), an irascible trainer reminiscent of the character played by Burgess Meredith in Rocky. The salty veteran on the verge of retirement reluctantly agrees to take on the reclamation project on the condition that the brawler’s willing to add a little finesse to his pugilistic repertoire.

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously once uttered, “There are no second acts in American lives.” Well, he obviously never met Billy Hope who endeavors to make the most of a shot at redemption in Southpaw.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the film features yet another nonpareil performance by Jake Gyllenhaal who deserved Academy Award nominations for both Nightcrawler (2014) and Prisoners (2013). He is again nothing short of mesmerizing, here, as a desperate, deposed, disgraced champ on an appointed mission to reclaim his throne and his fortune.

Gyllenhaal floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee in an Oscar-quality tour de force!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for violence and pervasive profanity

Running time: 123 minutes

Distributor: The Weinstein Company

Source:  Baret News Wire

Boxing in Vero Beach with ‘Classy’ Chris Gray

Judyth Piazza chats with ‘Classy’ Chris Gray, Sweet Science Training Center, Vero Beach, Florida on The American Perspective Radio Program. (Click here to listen)

‘Classy’ Chris Gray is a spiritual warrior both figuratively and literally. A stanch family man, Chris has built a foundation of success on hard work and love for both family and God.

“My Wife is my best friend and when I am not in the ring we do everything together, I guess you could say I am more of a home body these days,” says Gray.

When asked what is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to you, Gray said, “Getting married, I never thought I would ever get married.  I love being married and that is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me.”

Gray was also asked who he would like to meet one day and he said, “Christ without a doubt, just the amount of love that he showed for people is amazing.”

Vero Beach’s #1 Workout! Our hardcore “Rocky” style workouts will get you in the best shape of your life- all experience levels are welcome!

*Boxing
*Weights
*Cardio
*Self Defense

Address
1137 21st Street,
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Phone
772 501 2744

Hours

Mon – Tues:  6:30 am – 8:00 pm

Wed:  6:30 am – 6:00 pm

Thurs – Fri: 6:30 am – 8:00 pm

Sat:  8:00 am – 12:30 pm

Judyth Piazza Goes Ringside with Gus Curren, House of Champions,

Judyth Piazza chats with Gus Curren, House of Champions, Vero Beach, Florida on The American Perspective (Click here to listen to interviews)

Vero Beach, FL:  Gus Curren produced a combined 25 State Regional Champions including a 17 year old heavyweight ranked # 3 in the Country.

Trained World Champion Stevie Johnston, WBF and IBO Heavyweight Champion Sherman Williams and WBO Lightweight Champion Graham Earl.

Currently training National Team Of China and undefeated cruiserweight Danny Kooij 10-0.

House Of Champions has been a training base for 19 World Champions including Oscar Delahoya, Pernell Whitaker and Arturo Gatti.

House of Champions Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=340235765022&v=wall&viewas=0

The American Perspective is a cutting edge radio program that is full of inspiration and information which airs on The SOP Radio Network. It`s intended to help people succeed in life. Each week the American Perspective features celebrity guests from around the nation such as Zig Ziglar, Maya Angelou, Yolanda King, Billy D. Williams, Tony Little, Mark Victor Hansen, Dean Koontz, Dawn Well`s from Gilligan`s Island and many many more.

“It`s the next generation of Inter-tainment”

The American Perspective can also be heard at a variety of other news sites such as Vero Beach Local News www.verobeachlocalnews.com, St. Aug News, www.staugnews.com, and The Baret News Network just to name a few.

Also, check out these other great boxing features:

Judyth Piazza chats with ‘Matt Sharp Shooter’ Remillard America`s Leading American Featherweight on The American Perspective

Chase Von and Female Boxer on the Rise! Stacey, (stayLo) Louise …

Chase Von and Four Time Women`s Boxing Champion, Hollie (Hot Stuff …

Judyth Piazza chats with Eddie Goldman, the most sought-after and …

To be a guest on The American Perspective, contact Robert at robert@newsblaze.com.

Matt Remillard and Gus Curren Going the Distance with Judyth Piazza on The AP

Vero Beach, FL: Today on Judyth Piazza`s American Perspective, pro boxer #4 ranked featherweight, Matt Remillard and the legendary superstar trainer Gus Curren. 

Gus Curren produced a combined 25 State Regional Champions including a 17 year old heavyweight ranked # 3 in the Country. House Of Champions has been a training base for 19 World Champions including Oscar Delahoya, Pernell Whitaker and Arturo Gatti.

“The House of Champions is not just a gym, but a club, where people of all different backgrounds share a common goal ­ to learn how to fight. Our fighters are male and female, adults and kids, young and old, who moonlight as doctors, lawyers, students, teachers, actors and every other profession under the sun,” says Gus Curren.

Gus Curren Training at House of Champsions, Vero Beach, FL

Matt Remillard is an undefeated featherweight from Manchester, Connecticut.  He was selected as the 2010 Pro Fighter of the Year by the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame.  This marks the second award won by Remillard.

The American Perspective is a cutting edge radio program that is full of inspiration and information which airs on The SOP Radio Network. It`s intended to help people succeed in life. Each week the American Perspective features celebrity guests from around the nation such as Zig Ziglar, Maya Angelou, Yolanda King, Billy D. Williams, Tony Little, Mark Victor Hansen, Dean Koontz, Dawn Well`s from Gilligan`s Island and many many more.

“It`s the next generation of Inter-tainment”

The American Perspective can also be heard at a variety of other news sites such as Vero Beach Local News www.verobeachlocalnews.com, St. Aug News, www.staugnews.com, and The Baret News Network just to name a few.

Also, check out these other great boxing features:

Chase Von and Female Boxer on the Rise! Stacey, (stayLo) Louise …

 

Chase Von and Four Time Women`s Boxing Champion, Hollie (Hot Stuff …

 

Judyth Piazza chats with Eddie Goldman, the most sought-after and …

 

To be a guest on The American Perspective, contact Robert at robert@newsblaze.com.