HANDS OF STONE

When it comes to sports on film, none transfer to a composed and contained visual medium quite like boxing. Two men, and in some cases women, square off in a confined arena below the spotlights of show time. The action is fast, but not too fast, and in the end, a winner’s hand is raised while the music soars. And while boxing provides the draw for Hands of Stone — based on the true-life story of Panamanian champ, Roberto Durán (Edgar Ramírez) — the movie offers little else in the dramatics department to make it a full course meal. Durán was … Continue reading HANDS OF STONE

JOY

David O. Russell’s latest, Joy, tells the story of Joy Mangano, an American inventor best known for her self-wringing Miracle Mop. Well, sort of. Joy is partly about how Joy Mangano became Joy Mangano, but it’s also about how family just likes to watch you fail, even if that means they have to lend failure a hand. Russell likes a squabbling family — Flirting With Disaster, The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook — and the more squabbling the better, but with Joy, Russell takes his usual squabbling to an unbearably shrill level, sucking all the humor out of the room in … Continue reading JOY

THE INTERN

Using an incredibly hokey premise and coming off like an over manufactured product, The Intern is a kind and gentle movie that massages the shoulders of the generation on the way out while holding the door open for the generation on the way in. Too bad that it fails to really say anything in the meantime, choosing instead to plays directly to the middle, refraining from saying anything offensive or insightful. The premise is bland; Ben (Robert De Niro) is a 70-year-old widower and retired vice president of a phone book printing company. With little to keep him active, he … Continue reading THE INTERN