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Archive for the ‘Michael B. Jordan’ Category

Creed

17 Nov

Creed – directed by Ryan Coogler. Sportsdrama. 133 minutes Color 2015.

★★★★★

The Story: a young man whose father was a famous boxer, but killed in the ring, takes up the calling with the help of one of his father’s opponents in the ring.

~

I like boxing movies. From 134 B.C. on, I’ve seen them all. This one, of course does not rank with The Fighter with Mark Wahlberg, for that one had inside its drama something real, whereas this one has its drama something typical. It’s a type of movie: a boxing movie. It is all geared to a wrap-up, and you know by its structure what that wrap-up is to be. A ritual. And worthwhile as some rituals truly are.

Ritual or not, that doesn’t matter here because the writing is so clean and the direction so energetic and young. Just what’s needed.

It also has the big assistance of the performance of Phylicia Rashad who opens the film with a performance standard that ensures the acting that will follow will be of a noble order.

And it is met. Certainly by the beauteous Tessa Thompson who plays the young singer our hero, Creed, falls in with. And by every one around Creed, who is played by Michael B. Jordan, who played the young troublemaker in the same director’s Fruitvale Station.

What are actors made of? If you are fortunate as Jordan is, actors are made of wonderful eyes. And if ever a person was meant to be on the silver screen it is he.

He is in great shape, and his training is so horrendous, you wonder that he doesn’t give up the ring and take up acting. He’s a lovely performer, completely convincing in the madness which the climactic fight takes him through.

Opposite him is Sylvester Stallone. I’ve always found him to be an actor difficult to behold. The droopy lids. The droopy mouth.

But the one thing about him which has always dominated his acting is his love of it. And also that, no matter what he looks like, he’s meant to be there doing that.

Even as an actor always meeting his calling, I’ve stayed away from the sort of stories he’s involved with. The first Rocky was the last one I saw. He was great in it. But he is greater by far here. As the old reluctant trainer, Rocky Balboa, he gives true value in every scene; he’s fascinating to watch; you don’t quite know what he’s going to do next; or say next.

Don’t miss him. He is that rare thing, an artist in a part, at an age, in a story, where his whole life has exactly meant him to be.

 

Creed

18 Dec

Creed – directed by Ryan Coogler. Sportsdrama. 133 minutes Color 2015.

★★★★★

The Story: a young man whose father was a famous boxer, but killed in the ring, takes up the calling with the help of one of his father’s opponents in the ring.

~

I like boxing movies. From 134 B.C. on, I’ve seen them all. This one, of course does not rank with The Fighter with Mark Wahlberg, for that one had as its drama something real, whereas this one has its drama something typical. It’s a type of movie: a boxing movie. It is all geared to a wrap-up, and you know by its structure what that wrap-up is to be.

That doesn’t matter here because the writing is so clean and the direction so energetic and young. Just what’s needed.

It also has the big assistance of the performance of Phylicia Rashad who opens the film with a performance standard that ensures the acting that will follow will be of a noble order.

And it is met. Certainly by the beauteous Tessa Thompson who plays the young singer our hero, Creed, falls in with. And by every one around Creed, who is played by Michael B. Jordan, who played the young troublemaker in the same director’s Fruitvale Station. 

What are actors made of? If you are fortunate as Jordan is, actors are made of wonderful eyes. And if ever a person was meant to be on the silver screen it is he.

He is in great shape, and his training is so horrendous, you wonder that he doesn’t give up the ring and take up acting. He’s a lovely performer, completely convincing in the madness which the climactic fight takes him through.

Opposite him is Sylvester Stallone. I’ve always found him to be an actor difficult to behold. The droopy lids. The droopy mouth.

But the one thing about him which has always dominated his acting is his love of it. And also that, no matter what he looks like, he’s meant to be there doing that.

Even as an actor always meeting his calling, I’ve stayed away from the sort of stories he’s involved with. The first Rocky was the last one I saw. He was great in it. But he is greater by far here. As the old reluctant trainer, Rocky Balboa, he gives true value in every scene; he’s fascinating to watch; you don’t quite know what he’s going to do next; or say next.

Don’t miss him. He is that rare thing, an artist in a part, at an age, in a story, where his whole life has exactly meant him to be.

 

Fruitvale Station

27 Jul

Fruitvale Station ­ directed by Ryan Coogler. Drama. The final 24 hours in the life of a man senselessly slain after a dust-up in San Francisco Bay Area BART train. 90 minutes Color 2013.

★★★★★

Michael B. Jordan carries the film, which is equally carried by everyone involved with it.

It is not just that Jordan is an excellent actor, one who can do all the turns required from the character in these circumstances, but he also has the talent, natural to be sure, thank goodness, to hold the screen with his life-mystery, which we shall have to call the mystery lying behind the character, which happens to be his own.

I had never seen him before, so this was a great treat.

The piece elegantly written by the director, and seen at The Grand Lake picture palace in Oakland, not far from the Fruitvale BART stop where the finale occurs, gave point and pertinence to the movie-going experience, for in the huge attentive audience were those who may have known Oscar Grant and ridden on that train that night. And it meant that I was not far from the permission for such violence, which the improper upbringing of American males of his generation and locale prompts. There are no male-mentor figures in the movie – just some few left-over uncles at a birthday party that night.

The problem is diction. The problem is that black folks in this country rightly retain and rejuvenate Ebonics as a code and safeguard and barrier and entertainment for themselves. It has had enormous influence on American speech. All black culture has had an enormous influence on America, none larger from any other ethnic group. The language of Ebonics is marvelous, especially when one cannot understand what is being said because some of it is dis-annunciated and some of it is in grunts and some of it is a highly decorumed code of respect.

But in the case of unmentored males, the diction often becomes suddenly over-the-top violent and insultingly, venomously, dangerously crude. The chip worn on the shoulders of black males is almost professionally sensitive. The language becomes more than justifiable pride. It becomes an ego-trip. It is the language of a deliberate bravado. The women who mother and grandmother these males have no way of stopping it, because the language itself, picked up from other males, is taken to be a mentorship in manhood.

It is a false version. And the entire catastrophe of this young man’s life and death is a demonstration of nothing more than the falseness of that version of Ebonics diction. Every male around him picks up on the diction and uses it in insult-matches. The prison bully himself taunts Oscar Grant in a white-supremacist adaptation of a Ebonics fliting, whose next step is physical violence from all parties. And the police themselves, called to keep the peace at the dust-up site, employ the same Ebonics diction of the unripened black male, and it leads to a gun being drawn and shot.

It is fabulous to see the tragedy of words unfold in all its variety and inevitable horror. And desperate to know that nothing, nothing will be done.

 
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Posted in ACTING STYLE: AMERICAN REALISTIC, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, Michael B. Jordan, TRAGEDY

 
 
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