We are closely approaching a major decision here that I will be sure to make sure that all of you know when it becomes official. For now, we are continuing right along with our next movie of the week and this week’s is one that I have been dying to see for a little while now. There are two things that you can count on from me and that is one I am a huge fan of films that are based on true stories and the second is that I am a huge fan of the sport of boxing. When you combine those two things then I have to watch which is the case with this week’s film Hands Of Stone. The film follows the journey of not just legendary lightweight boxer Roberto Durán (played by Edgar Ramírez) and his rise from poverty in Panama to world champion, but it also follows that of his legendary trainer Ray Arcel (played by Robert De Niro) and his return to the sport he loved and had to let go of for a while. Watch as their journey for respect goes through it’s trials and tribulations. The film also stars Usher Raymond (The Faculty) as Sugar Ray Leonard, Ana de Armas (War Dogs) as Felicidad Iglesias, Pedro Perez as Plomo, Rubén Blades (Predator 2) as Carlos Eleta, Óscar Jaenada (The Shallows) as Chaflan, and the film was directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz.
One of my favorite things about the film was definitely the acting from De Niro, Ramírez, and even Usher Raymond. They did an amazing job of painting who Sugar Ray Leonard was back in the day and they fear they had of his boxing style which by the way is not a fear of whether he’ll hurt you or not. However they do portray Roberto as this immature punk kid who has never been disciplined in his life because of how amazing of a boxer he was. They portray him at times to be the uneducated idiot with gloves who couldn’t see the bigger picture. What they do eventually show is his maturity and accent into manhood later in the film. They do a pretty good job with the fight choreography which you have to give kudos to as they try to cut an hour fight into mere minutes and that is difficult because you have to choose the best moments. One of the other things about the film that I loved was the beautiful Ana de Armas who plays Roberto’s wife the film because she was not only great, but she had some amazing scenes in the film (see pic below). Other than that, it was a pretty decent film and it had some amazing cinematography to boot especially the scenes in Panama. The film does at times show how easy it is for a child to grow to hate America just on what he went through and saw in his life. You’ll understand what I am talking about throughout the film. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
There are moments that happen in the world that are just magical and if you don’t capitalize then you lose out. The Lonely Island was one of those moments that Andy Samberg (Hot Rod) needed to capitalize on and he did just that with today’s film Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. The mockumentary style film follows former Style Bros member Connor4Real (Samberg) as he is about to embark on one of the biggest world tours of his career alongside his best friend Owen (Jorma Taccone) and his other 32 members of his entourage. Soon though, Connor will learn that fame doesn’t last forever as the problems begin to pour in for the popstar. He’ll have to dig in deep to try and figure out a way back to the top, but that could mean conjuring up some skeletons in the closet. The film also stars Akiva Schaffer (The Watch) as Lawrence, Sarah Silverman (Wreck-It Ralph) as Paula, Tim Meadows (Mean Girls) as Harry, Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids) as Deborah, Joan Cusack (Say Anything…) as Tilly, Imogen Poots (Need For Speed) as Ashley, Chris Redd (Empire) as Hunter, and the film features cameos from Ringo Starr, Usher, 50 Cent, RZA, Nas, Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood, Mario Lopez, Simon Cowell, and so many more.
If I had to find the right way to describe this film in one sentence it would be that the film is this generation’s This Is Spinal Tap or CB4. What This Is Spinal Tap did for the 80’s, CB4 did for the 90’s, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is going to do the same for this generation that worships popstars who do not write their own material and take themselves way too serious. The film itself was based off of Justin Bieber’s life according to one report that I read and it certainly makes sense after seeing the film. Just as This Is Spinal Tap had hilarious and outrageous songs, this film certainly had it and they were hilarious. One of my favorite songs from the film is Finest Girl (Bin Laden), the song is so outrageous that I couldn’t stop laughing, but I was also singing along too. There’s also plenty of funny moments in the film like Justin Timberlake’s cameo as Connor’s soft spoken personal chef and some of the testimony from the celebrity cameos. One of the scenes that I thought was funny at first, but then in my opinion they dragged it out too long was the CMZ (instead of TMZ) segments. It was cool at first like I said, but they kept the joke going too long in one of the scenes leaving me wanting them to move on. They also tried hard to put in some drama in the film like Connor hitting rock bottom, but even that was too funny not to laugh at like Seal getting attacked by wolves. Nonetheless, I am proclaiming that this is a contender for Comedy Movie Of The Year in the Monster Entertainment Awards next year. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade because I loved it for what it was.