‘Creed’ review – The worthiest successor to ‘Rocky’

Back in 1976, a struggling Italian-American actor moved to California where he was striking out at every casting call and audition. Down on his end and even having sold his dog, the man watched the heavyweight boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner. Inspired, he goes home and writes a screenplay which he fights for with his all. This is the story that gave us the classic Rocky and in many ways, it is cut from the same cloth as the Rocky story. Rocky has always been about loss, about determination and the rise of an unknown. Ryan Coogler’s Creed is about all of those things, and yet distinct from anything we have seen so far. With the biggest name in boxing history casting a shadow over him and with the motivation that only Rocky Balboa can dish out, Adonis Creed is a story straight from the streets of Philly back to inspire a whole new generation. Continue reading

‘Southpaw’ review – An unsurprising story shouldered by the unsurprisingly good Gyllenhaal

Everyone loves a good sports movie. From Rocky all the way down to Whiplash, the story of a man pushing onward for glory in the face of desperation has not failed to get the crowds going so far. And like every age-old story, repetition gives rise to genre tropes and clichés which leave the film open to negative critique on creativity. Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw treads the road more travelled by, hitting all the elements that made Rocky what it is, but at the same time is driven forward with the raw acting powerhouse that is Jake Gyllenhaal. And just as any good boxing movie, the audience rides along with him through all, from the fall from grace to the training montage-induced resurrection. With an edgier and rawer central character, Southpaw fails to venture away from blueprints but focuses on making itself a fine addition to the genre. Continue reading