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Sylvester Stallone


Your Bad Movie Night Guide, Vol. 4: Tango & Cash

The original shower buddy cop movie
Aug 11
// Rick Lash
Imagine a time when movie heroes were heroes not for being pretty, metrosexual types capable of playing a broad range of characters aptly displaying a broad spectrum of emotions, but because they had big muscles, or knew kung...

Review: Chuck

May 05 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]221422:43548:0[/embed] ChuckDirector: Philippe FalardeauRating: RRelease Date: May 5, 2017 Chuck has an endearing center in its star Liev Schreiber, whose ease and affability keep the film watchable even when it's sluggish or middling. I was reminded how good and versatile Schreiber can be and how underrated he is as an actor. As Chuck Wepner, he's both pathetic and sympathetic, a legitimate hometown hero and a fame-chasing clown. I'm not sure how true to life these contradictions are to the real-life Wepner, but as a character in a film, there's promise there. One minute he's quoting Anthony Quinn from Requiem for a Heavyweight, the next minute he's trying to hump anything with boobs by mentioning Rocky. Many of Schreiber's co-stars also elevate the material. Jim Gaffigan's solid as Wepner's brother, a guy who loves to be a hanger-on so long as there's coke or women involved (and as long as he doesn't have to pay). Schreiber's former real-life partner Naomi Watts appears mid-film as Linda, who would eventually become Wepner's third wife. Watts isn't given much to do but flirt and support the pathetic palooka, but the genuine fondness she and Schreiber shared comes through on screen. Elizabeth Moss is especially good as Wepner's second wife, Phyllis, even though she mostly just has to put up with his BS. Despite that cast, Chuck falters because of its writing, and by extension its production. Writers often use the term "connective tissue" to describe the moments between the big scenes. In Chuck, the connective tissue feels more like biopic filler. The film is stitched together with on-and-off voiceover narration. It's too hand-holdy and on-the-nose. The movie also rushes itself, breezing along with its flutey, wah-wah kinda-disco stock score, which cheapens the overall feel. Some of the scenes may have been written too big for the budget or without much consideration for lighting and texture. Take the opening scene in which Chuck fights a grizzly bear in the ring. That's a godd set up, but it's lit like a coke-fueled disco party later in the film; it may have been shot in the exact same location. It feels small, but in a "Yeah, we couldn't quite afford all this" way rather than a seedy, "My god, what's become of my life" way. The parts of Chuck that work are the scenes in which the movie slows down, builds out a scene, and allows the awkward moments of these characters lives to unfold. When Wepner tries to hassle Sylvester Stallone about Rocky, there's something there. The same goes for a bad audition or a crummy parent teacher conference. These scenes are when Chuck feel less like a movie from "biopic trope land" and more like a movie about flawed people trying to screw up a little less (or a little more). So much of the movie feels like it's just checking off shaggy story beats rather than letting the moments come like they would but given a deliberate shape. Oddly, Chuck might have taken more cues from the original Rocky to be a better film. Rocky is a quiet, quirky, thoughtful love story about discarded people finding hope in each other. There's also boxing, but the connection between two misfits is so strong that it doesn't matter if Rocky wins or loses in the end, just that he endures. In Chuck, the whole arc of someone's rise, fall, and redemption feels like it's missing that human core. There are scenes that have it, but like fame or pseudo-celebrity, they're fleeting.
Review: Chuck photo
This coulda been a contender
Certain movies have the seeds of a much better movie sown through them. Usually these movies are a little bit of a mess, with a jumble of tones and scenes and characters, some working better than others. The stuff that works ...

Complete List of Nominees for the 2016 Academy Awards

Jan 14 // Hubert Vigilla
Best PictureThe Big ShortBridge of SpiesBrooklynMad Max: Fury RoadThe MartianThe RevenantRoomSpotlight Best DirectorAdam McKay, The Big ShortGeorge Miller, Mad Max: Fury RoadAlejandro Inarritu, The RevenantLenny Abrahamson, RoomTom McCarthy, Spotlight Best ActorBryan Cranston, TrumboMatt Damon, The MartianLeonardo DiCaprio, The RevenantMichael Fassbender, Steve JobsEddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl Best ActressCate Blanchett, CarolBrie Larson, RoomJennifer Lawrence, JoyCharlotte Rampling, 45 YearsSaoirse Ronan, Brooklyn Best Supporting ActorChristian Bale, The Big ShortTom Hardy, The RevenantMark Ruffalo, SpotlightMark Rylance, The Bridge of SpiesSylvester Stallone, Creed Best Supporting ActressJennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful EightRooney Mara, CarolRachel McAdams, SpotlightAlicia Vikander, The Danish GirlKate Winslet, Steve Jobs Best Adapted ScreenplayThe Big Short, Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKayBrooklyn, Screenplay by Nick HornbyCarol, Screenplay by Phyllis NagyThe Martian, Screenplay by Drew GoddardRoom, Screenplay by Emma DonoghueBest Original ScreenplayBridge of Spies, Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel CoenEx Machina, Written by Alex GarlandInside Out, Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del CarmenSpotlight, Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthyStraight Outta Compton, Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff Best Documentary FeatureAmy, Asif Kapadia and James Gay-ReesCartel Land, Matthew Heineman and Tom YellinThe Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge SørensenWhat Happened, Miss Simone?, Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin WilkesWinter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, Evgeny Afineevsky and Den TolmorBest Documentary Short SubjectBody Team 12, David Darg and Bryn MooserChau, beyond the Lines, Courtney Marsh and Jerry FranckClaude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah, Adam BenzineA Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Sharmeen Obaid-ChinoyLast Day of Freedom, Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi TalismanAchievement in Film EditingThe Big Short, Hank CorwinMad Max: Fury Road, Margaret SixelThe Revenant, Stephen MirrioneSpotlight, Tom McArdleStar Wars: The Force Awakens, Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey Best CinematographyCarol, Ed LachmanThe Hateful Eight, Robert RichardsonMad Max: Fury Road, John SealeThe Revenant, Emmanuel LubezkiSicarioi, Roger Deakins Best Foreign Language Film of the YearEmbrace of the Serpent, ColombiaMustang, FranceSon of Saul, HungaryTheeb, JordanA War, DenmarkAchievement in Makeup and HairstylingMad Max: Fury Road, Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian MartinThe 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared, Love Larson and Eva von BahrThe Revenant, Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert PandiniBest Original ScoreBridge of Spies, Thomas NewmanCarol, Carter BurwellThe Hateful Eight, Ennio MorriconeSicario, Jóhann JóhannssonStar Wars: The Force Awakens, John WilliamsBest Original Song“Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey, Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio“Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction, Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty“Simple Song #3” from Youth, Music and Lyric by David Lang“Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground, Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga“Writing’s On The Wall” from Spectre, Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam SmithAchievement in Production DesignBridge of Spies, Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard HenrichThe Danish Girl, Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Michael StandishMad Max: Fury Road, Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa ThompsonThe Martian, Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Celia BobakThe Revenant, Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy Achievement in Costume DesignCarol, Sandy PowellCinderella, Sandy PowellThe Danish Girl, Paco DelgadoMad Max: Fury Road, Jenny BeavanThe Revenant, Jacqueline West Best Animated Short Film“Bear Story” Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala“Prologue” Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton“Sanjay’s Super Team” Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle“We Can’t Live without Cosmos” Konstantin Bronzit“World of Tomorrow” Don HertzfeldtBest Live Action Short Film“Ave Maria” Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont“Day One” Henry Hughes“Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)” Patrick Vollrath“Shok” Jamie Donoughue“Stutterer” Benjamin Cleary and Serena ArmitageAchievement in Sound EditingMad Max: Fury Road, Mark Mangini and David WhiteThe Martian, Oliver TarneyThe Revenant, Martin Hernandez and Lon BenderSicario, Alan Robert MurrayStar Wars: The Force Awakens, Matthew Wood and David AcordAchievement in Sound MixingBridge of Spies, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew KuninMad Max: Fury Road, Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben OsmoThe Martian, Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac RuthThe Revenant, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris DuesterdiekStar Wars: The Force Awakens, Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart WilsonAchievement in Visual EffectsEx Machina, Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara BennettMad Max: Fury Road, Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy WilliamsThe Martian, Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven WarnerThe Revenant, Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron WaldbauerStar Wars: The Force Awakens, Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould
2016 Academy Awards photo
Mad Max: Fury Road goes big
The nominees for the 88th Academy Awards were just announced. Here is a full list based on the tweets sent out by The Academy and from The Hollywood Reporter. The Revenant leads the field with 12 nominations, including Best P...

The Golden Globes have their winners

Jan 11 // Matthew Razak
Best Motion Picture – Drama“The Revenant” (WINNER)“Carol”“Mad Max: Fury Road”“Room”“Spotlight” Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical“The Martian” (WINNER)“The Big Short”“Joy”“Spy”“Trainwreck” Best TV Series – Drama “Mr. Robot” (WINNER)“Empire”“Game of Thrones”“Narcos”“Outlander” Best TV Series – Comedy“Mozart in the Jungle” (WINNER)“Casual”“Orange Is the New Black”“Silicon Valley”“Transparent”“Veep” Best Animated Feature Film“Inside Out” (WINNER)“Anomalisa”“The Good Dinosaur”“The Peanuts Movie”“Shaun the Sheep Movie” Best TV Movie or Limited-Series“Wolf Hall” (WINNER)“American Crime”“American Horror Story: Hotel”“Fargo”“Flesh and Bone” Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language “Son of Saul” (WINNER)“The Brand New Testament”“The Club”“The Fencer”“Mustang” Best Director – Motion PictureAlejandro G. Iñárritu (“The Revenant”) (WINNER)Todd Haynes (“Carol”)Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”)George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”)Ridley Scott (“The Martian”) Best Screenplay – Motion PictureAaron Sorkin (“Steve Jobs”) (WINNER)Emma Donoghue (“Room”)Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer (“Spotlight”)Charles Randolph, Adam McKay (“The Big Short”)Quentin Tarantino (“The Hateful Eight”) Best Actress in a Motion Picture – DramaBrie Larson (“Room”) (WINNER)Cate Blanchett (“Carol”)Rooney Mara (“Carol”)Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”) Best Actor in a Motion Picture – DramaLeonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”) (WINNER)Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”)Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”)Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”)Will Smith (“Concussion”) Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”) (WINNER)Melissa McCarthy (“Spy”)Amy Schumer (“Trainwreck”)Maggie Smith (“The Lady in the Van”)Lily Tomlin (“Grandma”) Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or MusicalMatt Damon (“The Martian”) (WINNER)Christian Bale (“The Big Short”)Steve Carell (“The Big Short”)Al Pacino (“Danny Collins”)Mark Ruffalo (“Infinitely Polar Bear”) Best Supporting Actor in a Motion PictureSylvester Stallone (“Creed”) (WINNER)Paul Dano (“Love & Mercy”)Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation”)Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”)Michael Shannon (“99 Homes”) Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) (WINNER)Caitriona Balfe (“Outlander”)Viola Davis (“How to Get Away With Murder”)Eva Green (“Penny Dreadful”)Robin Wright (“House of Cards”) Best Actor in a TV Series – DramaJon Hamm (“Mad Men”) (WINNER)Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”)Wagner Moura (“Narcos”)Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”) Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy Gael Garcia Bernal (“Mozart in the Jungle”) (WINNER)Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”)Rob Lowe (“The Grinder”)Patrick Stewart (“Blunt Talk”)Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”) Best Actress in a TV Series – ComedyRachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex Girlfriend”) (WINNER)Jamie Lee Curtis (“Scream Queens”)Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”)Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”)Lily Tomlin (“Grace & Frankie”) Best Supporting Actress in a Motion PictureKate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”) (WINNER)Jane Fonda (“Youth”)Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”)Helen Mirren (“Trumbo”)Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina”) Best Actress in a Limited-Series or TV MovieLady Gaga (“American Horror Story: Hotel”) (WINNER)Kirsten Dunst (“Fargo”)Sarah Hay (“Flesh & Bone”)Felicity Huffman (“American Crime”)Queen Latifah (“Bessie”) Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited-Series, or TV MovieMaura Tierney (“The Affair”) (WINNER)Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black”)Joanne Froggatt (“Downton Abbey”)Regina King (“American Crime”)Judith Light (“Transparent”) Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited-Series or TV MovieChristian Slater (“Mr. Robot”) (WINNER)Alan Cumming (“The Good Wife”)Damian Lewis (“Wolf Hall”)Ben Mendelsohn (“Bloodline”)Tobias Menzies (“Outlander”) Best Actor in a Limited-Series or TV MovieOscar Isaac (“Show Me a Hero”) (WINNER)Idris Elba (“Luther”)David Oyelowo (“Nightingale”)Mark Rylance (“Wolf Hall”)Patrick Wilson (“Fargo”) Best Original ScoreEnnio Morricone (“The Hateful Eight”) (WINNER)Carter Burwell (“Carol”)Alexandre Desplat (“The Danish Girl”)Daniel Pemberton (“Steve Jobs”)Ryuichi Sakamoto Alva Noto (“The Revenant”) Best Original Song“Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre” (WINNER)“Love Me Like You Do” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”“One Kind of Love” from “Love & Mercy”“See You Again” from “Furious 7”“Simple Song No. 3” from “Youth”  
Golden Globes photo
Rocky! Rocky! Rocky!
The Hollywood Foreign Press is a strange group that really shouldn't have the second biggest award show around, but through marketing and a willingness to get famous people drunk they do. And so we once again bring you the wi...

Review: Creed

Nov 29 // Nick Valdez
[embed]220168:42717:0[/embed] CreedDirector: Ryan CooglerRated: PG-13Release Date: November 25th, 2015 Rocky started out as a humble film where the titular character was in search of his prime. Themes of resurrection, Jesus imagery, and bouts between mythical legends blew the series into the huge proportions it's known by today. But just like how the sixth film, Rocky Balboa, saw to end the series, Creed chooses to bring it back down to Earth. Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) is Apollo's illegitimate son and after years of self-taught boxing and fighting underground in Mexico, he's ready to take on the sport full time in order to break out of the shadow of his famous father. After heading to Philadelphia, he convinces his father's old rival and friend, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), to train him through some of the biggest fights of his life.  Creed manages to accomplish something I've never seen before. Although it can technically be the start of a whole new set of films, it feels like an appropriate epilogue to Balboa's saga. Stallone may not have written this film, but lots of the film's lines and themes fit right in with the other six films. Everything from slight story touches (Balboa knows every person in town, and people still call him "Champ"), to Balboa's dialogue sounding exactly like how he should (he's a big dumb lug, but he's got heart), and to homages folks can miss completely. It's a film informed by history so fans of the series will absolutely love the callbacks, but newer viewers won't feel lost without that knowledge. The homage is all in the background (other than two scenes, and only one of those is a major setpiece); stuff you'd pick up if you're paying attention. Like its major theme of trying to break out and creating a new legacy, Creed isn't weighed down by the past but is made that much better for acknowledging it a little.  Creed is also a technical marvel. Its running time (two hours and 14 minutes) gave me pause at first because while the Rocky saga was always great, it tended to run long. And while Creed does indeed have some scenes that could be skimmed down, it's edited kind of perfectly. The story has the time it needs to breathe, and allows the audience to get used to a new perspective of this old world. We have enough story to move the film forward, but there's still plenty time to develop the characters. The story isn't perfect as there are a few threads that get lost with an entire secondary group of characters that get shoved aside for an odd feeling title match we're not really invested in (so Wood Harris is ultimately wasted as a result but I don't want to talk about it too much because it'll spoil the film), Phylicia Rashad isn't really needed, the love interest seems tacked on (but Tessa Thompson is great), and unfortunately we don't get to the root of why Adonis wants to be a boxer other than the fact that his father once was. But it's hard to mind because everything works so well. Especially, watching the fights unfold. The film strives for a realistic take on boxing. Unlike the grandiose nature the sport takes in the later films of the Rocky saga, director Ryan Coogler brings the sport back down to its gritty appeal. Fights are visceral, we're reminded on a few occasions of the damage boxing can do as Apollo's death in the ring comes up a few times (and feels real each time), and watching Stallone as a older, weaker Balboa who's been ravaged by the sport is very compelling. And the matches themselves are some of the most engrossing fights I've ever seen in boxing films. One of the weaker aspects of the Rocky saga has always been the boxing matches themselves. There was always care to develop the personalities of the fighters themselves because we're more likely to get invested in an admittedly goofy fight if we cared about the characters. But in Creed it's the other way around. While there is attention to fighter detail, it's more about what happens in the ring. And it's definitely something I'd like to see more of should there be more films (of which I'd gladly see). It's a cool way to modernize the typically old fashioned saga. Adonis' first official match is a huge stand out, and I want to talk about how marvelous it is here but I want you to experience it for yourself. It's quite a sight.  As mentioned before, Sylvester Stallone may have not written the film this time around, but it definitely feels like it. As the new school props up the legends of old, every scene with Stallone is absolutely enthralling. Stallone wears Balboa's iconic image like a glove, and it's like the saga never ended. It's kind of amazing how he nails each bit of dialogue, humor, and physicality. His arc in the film is fantastic, and it's quite emotional given our history with the character. If you've watched any of the films in the past, expect to cry a little. It's a staunch reminder of the kind of actor Stallone can be in case you've forgotten after watching him in films like The Expendables. Creed subdues his image a bit, but as much as the film tries, it doesn't dim Balboa completely. Michael B. Jordan turns in quite a performance here, adding the necessary believable edge and charisma, but he's pretty much outclassed by Stallone in their scenes together. It's to be expected since Stallone has many years of the role under his belt, but it doesn't even matter too much since this is a bridge film that serves to pass the torch along. So even this slight negative feels like another positive.  My only major concern is whether or not someone unfamiliar with the Rocky series will be able to enjoy Creed to its full potential. Since I'm far removed from that position, I can only offer a few key points: Creed is an entertaining boxing film in its own right, so you're likely to get invested without knowing the history, there are a few iconic Rocky images that float around in the pop culture space and they're paid homage to here so you'll at least recognize those, and it's just a fantastic film all around. Creed isn't a perfect film, but it's as close to perfect as you can get.  Folks, let me let you in on some behind the scenes stuff for a bit. The first thing I wrote for this site was, in fact, an article on Rocky's training montage.  I started writing community posts here and there before being brought on to the staff full time, eventually working my way up to the guy who gets to review every now and then. So three years later, it's surreal to take on Creed for my 100th review. Creed hit me hard, folks. I've been writing, re-writing, and completely erased a draft to write it all over again just to get it right. It's a film I liked so much that it was hard to put in words. It's the best film I've seen all year, and there's a good chance nothing will top it for some time. Whether there are more or whether this is the last Rocky universe thing I'll ever see, I'm perfectly happy.  Hollywood, if you want to reboot everything, give every old property sequels, spin-off into cinematic universes, take note of Ryan Googler's Creed. This is how you do it. 
Creed Review photo
Gonna fly now, gonna fly forever
Twenty years ago, my father had a bout with lymphoma. In the following years of recovery, I searched for any means to get closer to him. One of the first things we did together was watch a bunch of his favorite films. Godzill...

New Creed trailer photo
New Creed trailer

New trailer for Creed fleshes out the drama between Adonis and Rocky

You gotta know your chicken
Sep 17
// Hubert Vigilla
The first trailer for Creed showed a whole lot of promise. Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) has become a new Mickey and Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is a hungry newcomer to the ring. This second trailer for Creed reveals...
Creed Trailer photo
Gonna fly now, gonna fly forever
Everyone's got that one film franchise that means more to them than anything. Some have Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, and there's probably a few folks that really want more of Pixar's Cars. But me, I've got...

Hulkamania photo

Hulk Hogan says he's playing the villain in Expendables 4

Rocky vs. Hulk: the rematch no one wants
May 27
// Matthew Razak
Think The Expendables is going to run out of aging, muscle-bound actors? Think again. Hulk Hogan is claiming that he'll be playing the villain for the fourth film in the implausibly continuing series. Of course, as with ...

First official photo from Rocky spin-off Creed

Eye of the (old) tiger
Apr 13
// Matthew Razak
We're mostly just posting this to remind you that, yes, another Rocky film is coming and it's called Creed. Remember? Probably not since it's hard to get excited outside of the fact that Michael B .Jordan is starring in it as Apollo Creed's son. Here we have what must be an image of him visiting a retirement home and teaching the elderly how to box.  Creed releases on November 25. 
Creed photo

Rocky spin-off Creed gets a sad synopsis

I'm not ready for this to be over again :(
Feb 26
// Nick Valdez
It took me years, YEARS, to get over Rocky Balboa. When the three decade long Rocky saga finally came to end, it was a good end but I still wanted much more. The Rocky films mean so much to me (so much that I wrote my undergr...

Stallone working on Rambo 5 next after Creed

Titled Last Blood: Rambo, which is a dubious claim
Dec 30
// Matthew Razak
While Sylvester Stallone is currently on his way to the city of brotherly love to film Creed, the Rocky spin-off in which Rocky trains Apollo Creed's son to box (just stand there and get punched a lot) he's revealing tha...

Review: The Expendables 3

Aug 14 // Nick Valdez
[embed]218182:41744:0[/embed] The Expendables 3Director: Patrick HughesRated: PG-13Release Date: August 15, 2014 During a routine mission into some nondescript country, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his Expendables run into Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), a cofounder of The Expendables who has gone rogue and now runs a small militia in "Azmenistan." After the mission ends in failure, Ross disbands the group and hires a batch of younger mercenaries (including Kellan Lutz and Ronda Rousey) for a revenge mission. After some shenanigans, it's up to Ross and the older crew to save the younger crew and stop Stonebanks once and for all.  The Expendables 3 has the most promise in the franchise at the outset. Banking on the back story once considered to be stifling, the film probably would've had more effect had the seeds been planted sooner. The Expendables' concept is inherently great as it allows the films to replace, recast, and add actors whenever it chooses (by focusing the story on a team of ever changing members) so the fact there's a member we've never heard of makes sense, but it's executed in such a haphazard fashion as they just kind of stumble on him. That seems to be the major current running through the film. It's full of decisions that seem like a good idea in theory, but are marred by awful follow through.  For example at one point, The Expendables 3 is quite awesome. It presents this "old blood vs. new blood" theme that works as both a nostalgic fix (as that's one of the major staples of 80s action) and fun plot, but it's abandoned about fifteen minutes after it's picked up. Instead this awesome idea bloats the screen time of the already pushing its luck film beyond understandable limits. The "new" crew full of relative nobodies (sorry, Rousey) is a complete waste of time as there's an incredibly long montage (featuring Kelsey Grammer for some reason) that introduces that crew as if we'd care about them, then pushes them to the side for the majority of the film when shenaningans lead to their capture. The only newbies who get attention, Rousey and Kellan Lutz, only serve to befuddle the audience. Rousey's character is a blatant attempt to make up for the lack of strong women in the series, but is shown fighting in heels and is the only one who gets direct abuse from her captor. And someone in Hollywood is still trying to make Kellan Lutz a thing. It's even worse when he starts riding a dirt bike through tanks and you realize he's been wearing biking gear this whole time. It's sort of an unintentionally funny moment that almost cycles around to being entertaining. It's funny how the most nostalgic thing about this film happens when it's trying to distance itself from it. And it plain sucks that the newbies get so much attention when the new additions to the older crew are brilliant.  Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, and Antonio Banderas? Fantastic. Wesley Snipes has the same swagger that's really been lacking in actin films lately. With a suave darkness, his scenes are very enjoyable even if they're criminally in short supply. Gibson has a great turn as a villain, and while he's not as cheesily great as he was in Machete Kills, he really colors the film when on. And Banderas gets a lovely turn as the comic relief, but only gets to use his Desperado flair once. While his jokes actually land, it's sort of a toss up as I selfishly wanted him to be more of a badass. Speaking of comic relief, the comedy actually kind of maybe works here and there. When it's intelligible through the majority of the cast's thick accents, a lot of the jokes work. Sure, some are forced, but I'll take what little works.  You may have noticed that I've really only talked about the cast and general plot for this review and are wondering why I've seemingly skipped over everything else. Well, the rest of the film is really, really bad. So bad in fact, I just want to focus on the few bright spots. The film borders on boring at times, the needless back story building is still here, and while the practical effects are okay, the CG is just far too funky for a film with a budget like this. You just have to assume the bulk of the film's money was used paying actors and the rest of the film had to be shot in some styrofoam building somewhere. And for those wondering about the film's PG-13 rating, don't worry the violence is still here and is in fact helped by the lack of the terrible looking CG blood from the first R film.  If you're wondering whether you'll like The Expendables 3, let me tell you a bit more about myself. I love Sylvester Stallone's filmography so much, I once wrote a 15 page thesis on Rocky's montages. I grew up with these types of films, and while I got a few knowing chuckles out of hearing Schwarzenegger playfully yell "Get to the choppa!" I don't think it's worth sitting through the rest of this. If I could gauge how tired everyone seems to be (and Harrison Ford? Yeesh.), I'm sure you can too. There's no hiding it anymore. Everyone involved needs to stop lying to themselves. Stallone can't do this again.  Matthew Razak: The Expendables 3 is easily the best film in the series. Now you might be of the opinion that that isn't saying much, but for me the films have always been a solid throwback to action films of yesterday. Solid, but not great. They always seemed a little flat, with the first film suffering from only one truly big action sequence and the second a bit over stuffed. This one, however, is all action and almost entirely fun. Easily the best scripted with some fun humor and awesome throwback one-liners it all builds (as much as a mostly plotless movie can) to a fantastic, all out action sequence that smartly weaves everyone's skill into one violent explosion of action. It took three films, but Stallone finally nailed it. 78 - Good
The Expendables 3 photo
One last, tired, soggy ride
The Expendables could've been a good series had it been advertised differently. First touted as a return to form for aging 80s action stars as they wax nostalgic about their glory days, The Expendables turned out to be a grey...

Expendables 3 Trailer photo
Expendables 3 Trailer

Final trailer for The Expendables 3

Aug 04
// Nick Valdez
Due to some unfortunate events, a digital copy of The Expendables 3 was leaked onto the Internet and was pirated more than 2 million times. Now Lionsgate is trying to sue the individuals responsible claiming that the piracy ...

See The Expendables 3 early and free

Washington DC screening
Aug 04
// Matthew Razak
I'm not sure any of us really thought The Expendables was anything, but a one hit wonder, but thanks to Stallones ability to crank these babies out and continuously put more over-the-hill action stars into his films its ...
The Expendables 3 photo
The Expendables 3

Character posters for The Expendables 3 get colorful

Jul 22
// Nick Valdez
While the trailers for The Expendables 3 refuse to drop the Fast & Furious-style title font, at least it's trying something different with the rest of its marketing. In a lighthearted move to remind us the film will be ra...

Rumor: Rambo V is something that maybe possibly might still happen

This times he's going south
Jun 24
// Matthew Razak
If the subtitle for the story isn't the tagline for this film, which is only a rumor and evidently only a screenplay at this time, then I'm out. See Sylvester Stallone is reportedly pitching a fifth Rambo movie, though there'...

New trailer for The Expendables 3 gets the blood pumping

Jun 17
// Matthew Razak
Been wondering if The Expendables 3 would have explosions and fight scenes and action? That's a dumb thing to wonder since it's The Expendables, but this trailer fully confirms that those things exist along wi...

Expendables 3 shoots up a PG-13 rating

Now with less gratuitous violence!
May 22
// Jonathan Wray
I guess it was inevitable. The latest version in the Expendables franchise, due for release in mid-August, will be PG-13. This move makes Expendables 3 go from that movie that annoying kids snuck into to that movie that the a...
Expendables 3 Trailer photo
That's the Furious 6 font, right?
The folks over at Yahoo Movies have released the first teaser for The Expendables 3, showing a couple action beats and the film's pretty sizable cast. I didn't much care for The Expendables One, with its dark color palette a...


Expendables 3 rolls out a whole ton of posters

Because it has a whole ton of actors in it
Apr 02
// Matthew Razak
The cast for the Expendables films just keeps getting larger and larger, and in this very rare instance that is a completely awesome thing. You can tell it's completely awesome because despite the absurd amount of charac...

Review: Grudge Match

Dec 24 // Matthew Razak
Grudge MatchDirector:  Peter SegalRated: PG-13Release Date: December 25, 2013  It's easy to see Stallone in this movie as the guy is still built like a brick wall and dumping out action films with his shirt off left and right. DeNiro on the other hand is a harder sell. He looks old, and while it turns out he's in pretty good shape the film's premise seems like a stretch. Stallone and DeNiro respectively play Henry 'Razor' Sharp and Billy 'The Kid' McDonnen, two aging boxers who were once rivals back in their heyday. The two fought each other twice, each winning once, but when the third fight was about to happen Razor dropped out. Flash forward and through a series of improbable events and the wonders of viral video a grudge match is set up between the two boxers by broke promoter Dante Slate, Jr. (Kevin Hart). If the film had solely relied on old people jokes and training montages we'd be having a far different discussion, but instead, knowing its two stars aren't actually boxing material owns up to its ridiculousness and focuses on the comedy and relationships. Does it do this especially cleverly? Not in the least, but it does it far better than a movie about two 60 plus men punching each other in the face deserves to be done. 'The Kid' has a plot line focusing on kindling a relationship with his son (Jon Bernthal) while 'Razor' works on a broken relationship with Sally (Kim Basinger). Alan Arkin, as Razor's trainer, adds some comic relief and emotional punch as well. It's the film's focus on these relationships instead of the boxing that make it better than it should be. There's barely a training montage to be had, and by the time the actual boxing match rolls around the movie has smartly parlayed the focus from the fight to the people, bluntly hitting the viewer over the head with its cliche sports movie message of sportsmanship and family. Nothing is very subtle here, but it never hits that point where the film loses the audience. It helps that its liberally peppered with enough humor to keep you moving when the lackluster screenplay doesn't keep you interested.  It's also pretty smart of the filmmakers to mostly ignore the boxing since the boxing itself is pretty damn awful. Stallone and DeNiro's previous in ring appearances weren't exactly known for their realism, but this concluding fight is a joke. As if it wasn't obvious enough that Stallone was about 100 times heavier than DeNiro, the fight is so cut up its hardly coherent. That's probably the fault of the two boxers, who aren't exactly able to jump around like they could in their youth. Still, its just enough to hit that spot where all decent sports movies hit so when the triumphant ending comes you're suckered into it even though you've seen it a million times before. DeNiro and Stallone seem to be in the same boat. The two riff well enough here and there, but it's all so obvious at what they're trying to do. At some points they're spot on and at others they aren't, but they both pull out just enough to get you going. It's really the comic relief of Arkin and Hart that keep their characters alive. The film -- to use another old person metaphor -- is kept off life support thanks to the fact that the actors pump just enough life into it to get you going with the characters. It's obvious everyone is having a bit of fun even if they aren't fully committed to it.  Grudge Match is definitely not your best option in theaters this holiday. Far, far, far, far... far... really, really, really far from it. That being said, and despite the fact that it is cliche and obvious, the movie delivers some heart. I'm not sure where they found one that was still beating with actors this age, but it's there. 
Grudge Match Review photo
Old dog. Same tricks.
Grudge Match is a movie based entirely around getting two old actors (Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro) from two of the greatest boxing movies ever made (Rocky and Raging Bull) back into the ring to punch each o...

Expendables 3 Teaser photo
Extremely brief but great.
We've been completely in the dark with The Expendables 3. We've heard about all of that ugly stuff behind the scenes about Bruce Willis, the numerous additions to the cast, but no one really knows what's going on. There...


See Grudge Match early and free

Washington DC and Baltimore screening
Dec 16
// Matthew Razak
Old people boxing? No it's not another Rocky movie, though Stallone is in this as well. It's Grudge Match, which sees not only Stallone returning to the ring, but Robert DeNiro as well. There's going to be a lot of wrinkles. ...
Homefront Trailer photo
Homefront Trailer

Red Band trailer for Homefront is so America

Oct 21
// Nick Valdez
Homefront is a film, written by Sylvester Stallone, starring Jason Statham as an ex-DEA agent who has to eventually confront the druglord Gator, played by James Franco. How has this film not been hyped more? If you're lookin...

New clip from Escape Plan has some bad one-liners

Sep 20
// Matthew Razak
"You hit like a vegetarian." It's going to be a bumpy ride sitting through Escape Plan if that's the best the movies got. In this first clip from the film we see Stallone and Arnie get in a fist fight in order to help t...
Homefront Trailer photo
Homefront Trailer

First trailer for Homefront, written by...Sly Stallone?

A film so American, only a British guy could be the hero.
Sep 13
// Nick Valdez
This first trailer for Homefront, adapted from a Chuck Logan novel with a screenplay written by Sylvester Stallone, is everything great about movies. It's about an ex-DEA agent, played by Jason Statham, who travels to a back...
Grudge Match Trailer photo
Grudge Match Trailer

First trailer for Grudge Match settles all bar bets

Who'd win in a fight between Rocky Balboa and Jake LaMotta?
Sep 13
// Nick Valdez
Let's say you're drunk and your drunk nerd friend goes, "Hey, who'd win in a fight between Rocky from the Rocky movies and Jake La Motta from Raging Bull?" Assuming any of that comes out coherently, the two of you get into a...
Rambo TV program photo
Rambo TV program

Rambo TV show in development, possibly starring Stallone

"They drew first blood, not TV."
Aug 21
// Nick Valdez
You know how that upcoming Rambo: The Video Game seemingly came out of nowhere? I think we finally know what it's attached to. Stallone has been trying to get another Rambo film off the ground for some time now (it would've i...

Maybe Stallone was on to something

Looks like Bruce IS a little on the greedy side after all
Aug 08
// Jim Schweitzer
Yesterday, we let you know that Bruce Willis had effectively been chucked from the upcoming Expendables 3. Also, that the spiritual heart / driving force of the franchise (i.e., Stallone), had Tweeted a foot into his ass on t...

Things are getting ugly in "Expendables" land

No love lost between Sly and Bruno
Aug 07
// Jim Schweitzer
USA Today is reporting that the soured relationships surrounding the upcoming Expendables 3 have taken an even nastier turn. The film's writer and star Sylvester Stallone tweeted yesterday that former co-star Bruce Willis was...

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