The Fighter packs a definite punch

Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams

Yes the title is a bit of a cliche, but it works; I mean come on, it’s a boxing movie.

The Fighter tells the story of boxers Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his half-brother Dicky Ecklund (Christian Bale). I’m not usually a fan of boxing movies, so I wasn’t expecting much coming into this one; however,  after leaving I wish I’d watched it a few weeks earlier so I could have put it on my Top 5 Movies of 2010 list.

What I liked most about The Fighter:

  1. The Cast: I was going to focus on Christian Bale’s amazing transformation into Dicky Ecklund, or Melissa Leo, the guys’ mother who was so very annoying at times, but I’ll chalk that up to good acting. Picking favourites wouldn’t do the cast justice, because they all put in great performances.
  2. Boston: I’m a firm believer that films based in Boston generally get critical acclaim and rightly so; most of them are awesome (The Town, The Departed, etc.).
  3. Montages: It wouldn’t be a boxing movie without a great montage or two, and this one definitely had that, including one to the Red Hot Chili Peppers (win).
  4. Cinematography: The camera work was great, specifically during the fight scenes when it had that early 90s television feel over the boxing broadcasts – seems like a little thing, but it made a difference to me.
  5. Story: I’ll give Marky Mark full credit for backing this film because the way the story of the two brothers was told was done in a way that didn’t come across as biographical, as many do. It was a tense, funny, sad film and it flowed perfectly.

I rate The Fighter a 5/5. Have you seen it yet? What are your thoughts?

A double review! The Other Guys and Dinner for Schmucks

On the weekend I went out with the girlfriend to check out a couple comedies: The Other Guys, starring Will Ferrell and Mark(y Mark) Wahlberg, and Dinner for Schmucks with Paul Rudd and Steve Carell.

First up let’s get to reviewing The Other Guys:

The movie starts off a bang: The Rock and Samuel L. Jackson in a hardcore police chase. There’s explosions, car flips, double-decker bus driving; pretty much everything you could ask for in a car chase. The reason why they were chasing them was pretty funny and a good commentary on American enforcement, but I won’t spoil it.

Soon after that we’re introduced to Allen Gamble (Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg). Allen’s a mild-mannered (on the surface) financial accountant who’s working with Terry, a former rising star in the police force, until he did something so unbelievably unforgivable to New Yorkers; now he’s riding a desk job working with Allen, and doesn’t like it one bit.

The movie see’s the two guys take on a case (reluctantly for Allen), that has them in much bigger trouble than they originally thought. With Allen’s calm, safe style, and Terry’s in your face attitude (he’s literally angry 90% of the time) it makes for a great comedy. While I was laughing the whole time, the comedy seemed to take preference to the dialogue/story line at times, which made parts feel disjointed.

I give The Other Guys a 4/5.

Next up.. Dinner for Schmucks:

During the opening credits we’re introduced to a really cool scene of dead mice modeled to look like humans, spending a day in the park. Steve Carell’s character, Barry’s favourite hobby is taxidermy; specifically taxidermy of mice. As creepy as that sounds, some of the models are pretty cool looking.

Anyway, the movie moves on to Paul Rudd’s character, Tim, watching a co-worker who just got fired getting in his car. Then begins his quest to take his spot among the elite at the company. In a meeting Tim brings up an idea that causes the CEO Lance Fender (Bruce Greenwood) invite him to the newly vacant office. Here he’s invited to this dinner where he has to bring an idiot with a creative talent. All the other guests will be doing the same, and they’ll proceed to make fun of these people. This set the premise for the movie, and immediately my interest dropped. It seemed like the dumbest idea and was so out of place, for some reason.

After leaving, Tim runs into Barry, who we meet for the first time. After a bit of discussion, Tim realizes he’s found his dinner guest. Barry’s a really nice guy, who’s just a tad eccentric, and ends up not leaving Tim alone, after he was invited to the dinner.

With Barry in his life, Tim starts to see more trouble pop up. Barry’s just trying to be helpful but ends up causing strife for Barry, like his girlfriend Julie leaving him (for an artists named Kieran, played by Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame and probably the highlight of the movie). He also put Tim in danger by causing a potential important client to not like him. In the end though Barry starts to grow on Tim and he begins to see the err of his ways.

While the movie has a bunch of funny moments, it just wasn’t my thing. I think the setup for the dinner really threw me off. Steve Carell fans might like this.. he’s basically a super eccentric Michael Scott from The Office. I’m a fan of Paul Rudd’s straight man style, but this didn’t really seem like the best role for him.

I give Dinner for Schmucks a 2.5/5.

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