The actor-director’s forceful but flawed story of a fighter facing a bruising crisis also stars Jodie Whittaker, outstanding as his devoted wifePaddy Considine now presents his second feature as writer-director, and it’s a powerful and sincerely intend…
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/oct/12/journeyman-review-paddy-considine-boxing-film-drama
LaMotta was immortalised on screen by Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, but their brilliant 1980 movie remade boxing history in the process
“Now, sometimes, at night, when I think back, I feel like I’m looking at an old black-and-white movie of myself. Why it should be black-and-white, I don’t know, but it is. Not a good movie, either, jerky, with gaps in it, a string of poorly lit sequences, some of them with no beginning and no end.”
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2017/sep/21/jake-lamotta-raging-bull-martin-scorsese-robert-de-niro
Shia LaBeouf is perfectly cast as superbrat tennis ace John McEnroe, but this replay of his 1980 Wimbledon final with Björn Borg fails to create drama
This tennis film feels like a two-hour baseline rally, and it’s not just the rackets that are made of wood. It is all about the allegedly fascinating psychological face-off between supercool Swede Björn Borg and the superbrat challenger from New York, John McEnroe – played respectively by Sverrir Gudnason and Shia LaBeouf. It culminates in their first, titanic Wimbledon confrontation in the 1980 final. That really was an unbearably tense contest, but at the end of this film my nails remained salon-fresh. The awful truth was that for all their rivalry and wildly different styles, there wasn’t any needle between these two men personally, no tension, nothing outside the tennis court for us to get excited about.
Really, almost any other pairing of characters from this film would have been more interesting: there is McEnroe/Peter Fleming, his compatriot player and supposed friend on whom John might have played nasty gamesmanship tricks in the changing room. There’s McEnroe/McEnroe Sr, the demanding dad and professional lawyer who drove him hard. And there’s Borg/Lennart Bergelin, the coach and mentor played by Stellan Skårsgard with a perpetual look of priestly sorrow.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/sep/07/borg-mcenroe-review-shia-labeouf-tennis-wimbledon-toronto-tiff-2017
Johnny Harris packs a powerful punch as the star and writer of this heartfelt drama inspired by his experiences as a teenage champion in the ring
Johnny Harris is the tough, charismatic London actor who made an indelible impression in Paul Andrew Williams’s 2006 crime drama London to Brighton and in successive series of Shane Meadows’s TV version of This Is England. Now he has written, produced and starred in a boxing film, inspired by his experiences as an ABA teenage champion.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/may/10/jawbone-review-johnny-harris-boxing
The story of a Finnish boxer taking on a big-shot US star on home turf is the basis for this strange and wonderful comedy
Here is a treat and a delight: this lovely film from Finnish director Juho Kuosmanen is a gentle, shrewd, somehow mysterious love story, based on real life, beautifully photographed in luminous black-and-white and drawing inspiration from Scorsese and Truffaut. It is inspired by the Finnish boxer Olli Mäki, who electrified Finland’s boxing fans in 1962 by getting a shot at the world featherweight title, fighting on home turf against visiting American star Davey Moore. It is to be the greatest day of his life – but not for the reasons he might once have thought.
The movie has Jarkko Lahti playing the intense, wiry Olli, who finds that as the big fight approaches, he has fallen in love with a beautiful young schoolteacher, Raija (Oona Airola) – to the horror of his tightly wound trainer and manager, Elis, played by Eero Milonoff, who occasionally resembles a young Harrison Ford. Elis’s own marriage appears to be crumbling, and he is aghast, for complex reasons, at the distractions of love, which might mess with Olli’s focus. Like Jake La Motta, Olli has a habit of zoning out in public occasions at the thought of his love, and he sometimes looks like a blond Antoine Doinel, taking 400 blows outside the ring. It is a film of immense humanity and charm: the very best kind of date movie.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/apr/20/the-happiest-day-in-the-life-of-olli-maki-review-finnish-comedy