Big George Foreman is a surface level biopic.

From Olympic Gold medalist to World Heavyweight champion, boxer George Foreman leads a remarkable life. He finds his faith, retires and becomes a preacher. When financial hardship hits his family and church, George steps back in the ring and regains the championship at age 45, becoming the oldest heavyweight champion in boxing history.

George Foreman is a very interesting man that had a very inspiring boxing career where he made such a fantastic comeback, his childhood rough but he didn’t let that stop him at all. His story is truly an inspiring one that I am glad to see is still being told, however Big George Foreman unfortunately falls apart in a lot of ways that do ultimately hurt the movie badly. 

The cast did a decent job Khris Davis who plays George Foreman does a pretty good job here, but is unfortunately held back from being even better due to the script just not letting this movie be more than a Wikipedia article but in a movie. That’s quite honestly the main issue here a lot of this is very surface level stuff that can be easily learned from Foreman’s Wikipedia page. 

I have to echo what some other critics have been saying but I absolutely do think that this movie would have been a lot better if it was either a documentary or a miniseries, that way they could focus on some of the biggest parts of Foreman’s life rather than quickly moving on from them. A lot of the boxing scenes are fine enough but just are severely lacking atmosphere and tension, it’s supposed some of Foreman’s big moments yet there’s very little power to them. 

While the dialogue isn’t necessarily terrible, it lacks a lot of what could have made this biopic so interesting. It plays on the line of being way too safe and doing anything memorable, Big George Foreman is also way too long with a run time of 2 hours and 13 minutes the pacing does not help in this case. There’s definitely moments here that do shine quite well, but unfortunately those are very far and few in between. 

Big George Foreman is available on all VOD platforms. 

5/10 C

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Sweetwater isn’t a slamdunk

Nathaniel “Sweetwater” Clifton, star attraction of the Harlem Globetrotters, changes the game of basketball when he becomes the first African American player to sign a contract with the NBA in the fall of 1950.

The last person I expected to direct a movie about Nat Coffin the first African American to sign a contract with the NBA was Martin Guigui the director who did the 9/11 movie with Charlie Sheen and Whoopi Goldberg. Sweetwater might actually be the best movie in his career but given the quality of this movie that’s not saying a whole lot. 

Sweetwater has good intentions and really tries to the tell the story of Nat Coffin the best it can, the main problem here is Martin Guigui’s script and direction, there’s so many moments where you can tell the cast are trying to bring genuine emotion to their performances. But unfortunately that’s just not happening due to a lot of over acting or just flat out awful moments that completely take the viewer out of the movie. 

Sweetwater suffers from a lot of typical biopic story beats and if you are familiar with the sports film genre you aren’t going to get anything new here either, the third act lacks a lot of strength as well as being very underwhelming. It doesn’t really strike as a final game, if you took the clip of the game and showed it to someone without context I can assure you that nobody would guess it’s the final game. 

Sweetwater is available on all VOD platforms. 

3/10 D-

Chevalier tells the story about forgotten classical musical figure Joseph Bologne.

The illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner, Joseph Bologne rises to improbable heights in French society as a celebrated violinist-composer and fencer, complete with a love affair and falling out with Marie Antoinette.

The debate about biopics being oversaturated has been picking up over the years and it’s very easy to see why, a lot of criticisms tend to be either they don’t really tell anything new about the figure the movie is about (I’ve said this multiple times in some of my reviews) or that a lot of them serve as Oscar bait. So it’s quite refreshing when a biopic Chevalier comes along, it’s about a historical classical musician Joseph Bologne a very forgotten figure. 

Right from the first scene you get a taste of what you are in for and it’s quite electrifying, just seeing Kelvin Harrison Jr. who plays Joseph Bologne and Joseph Prowen who plays Mozart duke it out with the violin truly makes for an incredible opening. Speaking of which let’s talk performances, as mentioned before Kelvin Harrison Jr. plays Joseph Bologne and does a fantastic job as well. He gives one of the best performances so far this year and as the film goes on he just get’s better and better especially with the ending (which I’ll get to in a bit). 

Other performances such as Samara Weaving who plays Marie-Josephine, Lucy Boynton who plays Marie Antoinette and Ronke Adekoluejo who plays Nanon are all fantastic, they give so many powerful moments during the film and easily grab the viewer’s attention with their acting. Combine that with some very strong writing that really tells the story of Joseph Bologne and you have such a phenomenal biopic. 

The last moments of the film I have to say are some of the strongest, the build up to the final moment is what makes it even better. Throughout the movie we are given hints of the French Revolution coming and it sets up the ending with Joseph Bologne giving a performance to fundraise the Revolution, when Marie Antoinette wants him to stop he flat out refuses making a statement. With the people blocking her guards all while music is playing, everything is in slow motion as Joseph Bologne slowly walks out of the theater. 

Joseph Bologne is an important figure in history that is often overlooked and I think this film does a fantastic job of being an introduction to people who don’t know about him, while yes there is a lot more to be shared about him through TV or Film I’m sure the future will give us just that.

Chevalier is available in theaters. 

9/10 A

Emily has lines that blur fiction and reality.

Imagines the transformative, exhilarating, and uplifting journey to womanhood of a rebel and a misfit, one of the world’s most famous, enigmatic, and provocative writers who died too soon at the age of 30.

Emily could have been just another biopic but luckily there are a handful of things the film does a bit differently. Emily is a part fictional portrait of English writer Emily Brontë, which really does sum up this film quite well. 

For starters Emma Mackey is truly fantastic here, she gives so far one of the best performances of the year and truly hits it out of the park whenever given the opportunity. There’s these moments where the lines of fiction and reality are blurred, Mackey takes those moments and only makes them stronger with her incredible acting ability. 

The cinematography is gorgeous and gives the film a more gothic period piece type aesthetic which is very pleasing to the eye and really compliments the film quite well, the attention to detail with the costumes, background and foreground is truly sharp and creative as well. There’s so much to look at in each scene even if there is just a shot of one person in frame. 

When it comes to directing Frances O’Connor really nails it down, this is actually her directional debut which is quite impressive and really shows the upcoming talent really well, O’Connor creates a real but also fictional world. It has this playful atmosphere towards the beginning but at the same time has this dark atmosphere of tragedy which ultimately does come up in the film. It’s impressive to see how quickly O’Connor can capture so many different types of moods really well. 

The only main flaw is the movie does go on for a bit too long towards the end, however that doesn’t stop Emily from being such an interesting film that is truly beautifully told and done. 

Emily is available in theaters. 

8/10 B+

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is a clever parody of the music biopic genre.

The unexaggerated true story about the greatest musician of our time. From a conventional upbringing where playing the accordion was a sin, “Weird Al” Yankovic rebels and makes his dream of changing the words to world-renowned songs come true. An instant success and sex symbol, Al lives an excessive lifestyle and pursues an infamous romance that nearly destroys him.

I’ve thought about Weird: The Al Yankovic Story for a couple weeks now, quite honestly the more I thought about it the more I loved it. Which it helps since I already loved it when I first watched it. Anyway Weird is a biopic on the famous comedic and parody songwriter Weird Al, a music biopic on Weird Al was inevitable the music biopic genre is one that has grown quite rapidly over the last couple of years with films like Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman, Respect and even this year’s Elvis and Dance With Somebody (which is releasing in a couple weeks at the time this was written). The only question was how were they going to approach a music biopic about Weird Al? Luckily what they went with was a very clever decision and actually compliments Weird Al as a person and his career, for starters the cast here is truly brilliant. Daniel Radcliffe at this point in his career has been very diverse when it comes to selecting roles in each genre but his portrayal of Weird Al might just be one of his absolute best, he truly captures the mannerisms and singing voice that Weird Al has and truly turns this up to eleven, it also helps that Al Yankovic is one of the writers of the film so that only adds to Radcliffe’s performance, there’s tons of songs that Radcliffe truly nails but the one that truly stands out is “Like A Surgeon” there’s so much entertainment in that scene alone that makes the film a whole lot of fun and sums up Weird Al and his style quite well. Radcliffe gives one of those performances where the actor or actress in questions completely transforms into who they are portraying. Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna is truly mind blowing talk about a performance that completely nails every scene she’s in, she captures everything from the looks, to the voice and the energy it’s all there. She’s such a delight every time she’s on screen and really works well with Daniel Radcliffe, the two really compliment each other incredibly well and keeps the movie at a very strong pace. The cameo performances are a lot of fun such as Conan O’Brien as Andy Warhol, Jorma Taccone as Pee-wee Herman and Nina West (who is actually a drag queen) as Divine. Jack Black as Wolfman Jack is also a very fun performance. But now we are getting into what I hinted at earlier how they were going to approach this movie, easy make it a parody of the music biopic subgenre and go absolute bananas with it. Which given that like I mentioned earlier that Weird Al is one of the writers this was always going to be a very creative parody. It’s one of those parody type films that actually really works and is actually one of those cases where the parody is better than some of the films it’s parodying, it’s very cleverly written with tons of jokes, the performances are truly top notch and actually compliment the film, there’s a huge amount of entertainment value that really makes the film standout on it’s own. There’s even some genuine heartfelt scenes between Al and the people around him, overall Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is a a blast of fun. It succeeds as a parody and completely matches the style of Weird Al Yannkovic, if you are fan of Weird Al please be sure to check this one out!

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is available on Roku.

10/10 A+

Elvis captures the legacy of the iconic singer Elvis Presley!

The film explores the life and music of Elvis Presley (Austin Butler), seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). The story delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. Central to that journey is one of the most significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge).

Baz Luhrman definitely does his thing with Elvis and it really works here, for starters let’s start with elephant in the room Austin Butler as Elvis was an incredible casting decision that led to incredible results. From the way he talked, moved and sung Butler completely transforms into Elvis to the point where it almost felt like you were watching Elvis. Butler does this at the age of 30 taking on such a huge role of being a highly regarded singer and masterfully perfecting the role is truly fantastic, the amount of styles Baz Luhrman includes is pretty insane but a very nice welcome as well, he does tend to do this with most of his films and while I do understand the argument how it can be annoying or sometimes breaks the movie. In this case it was very necessary when you make a film about Elvis you should definitely try to make something interesting and capture the spirit of his legacy. That’s what Luhrman did here, from the performances and dancing he really paints an interesting picture. There’s a lot of fast editing that makes a scene where it focuses on Elvis’s sex appeal really standout mostly due to how insane it really is, there’s plenty of more scenes like that as well! The supporting cast such as Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kelvin Harrison Jr and Helen Thomson were also pretty solid! There’s only two major flaws with the film the first one being the 2 hour and 39 minute running time, while I do get it was trying to tell as much about Elvis as possible, there is some stuff in here that was admittedly extra fluff that didn’t need to be included. But at the very least the movie does keep things entertaining and the running time does go by relatively quickly. The second flaw being mostly Tom Hanks, I’m not entirely sure if Tom Parker being used as the narrative device was very successful (Hank’s accent is very very strange). Luhrman makes sure to lay it on you of how scummy of a person Parker was and he’s pretty successful at doing that, overall Elvis is a really solid film that definitely strays far away from the usual biopic film, mostly due to just how transformative Austin Butler’s performance is and Baz Luhrman’s stylistic choices!

Elvis is currently in theaters!

8/10 B+

The Tender Bar is another misfire from George Clooney.

In 1972, 9-year-old J.R. Maguire moves into his grandfather’s dilapidated house in Long Island, N.Y. Searching for a father figure, he falls under the unconventional tutelage of his uncle Charlie, a charismatic, self-educated bartender who introduces him to a handful of the bar’s colorful regulars. As the years pass and J.R. grows into a young man, he tries to fulfill his dream of becoming a writer.

The Tender Bar is a movie where I have a hard time thinking of a lot to say about it, mostly due to how bare bones it feels. I will say that the first half of this movie was quite great, that’s mainly due to Ben Affleck bringing in a ton of charm and passion into the role. There were some genuinely nice moments with his character, Christopher Lloyd is always nice to see as well. After the first half the movie completely sinks from there, it starts to lose it’s identity and ends up having the exact same problems George Clooney’s last several movies had. Very generic writing that is surface level and doesn’t tell the viewer anything about the characters, very by the numbers biopic that really doesn’t not tell you a whole lot of information about J.R. Moehringer. Lastly there’s the writing that’s just not strong enough to bring in the viewer, plus the coming of age story aspect feels incredibly bare minimum. Overall The Tender Bar is very forgettable and doesn’t offer much outside of a very strong performance from Ben Affleck and a few moments.

The Tender Bar is available on Amazon Prime Video!

4/10 D+

Being The Ricardos is another below average biopic.

In 1952, Hollywood power couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz face personal and professional obstacles that threaten their careers, their relationship, and their hit television show.

Being The Ricardos is what happens when a movie that is a very very below average gets constantly pushed to get spotlight. I was already dreading to watch Being The Ricardos after I heard how it’s a biopic that does nothing interesting, sadly that’s how I would sum up this movie. While Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem aren’t bad at all, they are not giving some of the best performances of the year that the movie and many sites are leading you to believe. Nicole Kidman was heavily miscast as Lucille Ball and it’s very easy to tell just by watching her performance for at least 10 minutes, the best performance was J.K. Simmons who gave this movie some sort of character. The writing felt like a huge drag, Sorkin’s writing this time around felt way too cluttered with so many ideas being thrown into the movie and proceeding to see what sticks. There’s a few interesting bits such as the camerawork which feels like it’s being filmed in a dressing room type of feel and it works actually pretty well considering the topic of the movie. What ultimately kills this movie is the 2 hours and 5 minute running time like a lot of biopics it over stays it’s welcome and goes on for far too long, it also starts to fall in typical biopic movie cliches and does absolutely nothing new. I really don’t know what else to say here, which is very concerning seeing how this might be a best picture nomination at the Oscars, in a year that I felt was a very strong year for film. The fact a below average biopic that has nothing to say and feels incredibly lifeless is being celebrated over Pig, The Green Knight, Nine Days and a few others is very sad. Give this one a skip.

Being The Ricardos is available on Amazon Prime Video!

4/10 D+

King Richard is an inspiring film about making your vision a reality!

Armed with a clear vision and a brazen, 78-page plan, Richard Williams is determined to write his two daughters, Venus and Serena, into history. Training on tennis courts in Compton, Calif., Richard shapes the girls’ unyielding commitment and keen intuition. Together, the Williams family defies seemingly insurmountable odds and the prevailing expectations laid before them.

King Richard is a biopic of Serena Williams and Venus Williams father Richard Williams, it shows how determined Richard was to make his vision a reality wanting Serena and Venus to succeed. Will Smith does a fantastic job as Richard Williams, he captures his soul and his mannerisms as well. It’s easily the best performance Will Smith has done in quite awhile it really brings the type of performance that I and so many other people have wanted to see from in quite some time. Will Smith not only captures Richard’s mannerisms but he also captures how much Richard wanted his vision to come true, how much he really wanted to reach that goal. The rest of the cast were quite fantastic Jon Bernthal, Demi Singleton, Saniyya Sidney and Aunjanue Ellis all do a really strong job in their roles! The writing is much better than expected, there are some incredibly powerful moments (such as the kitchen scene) that really drag you into the mind of Richard Williams. It makes you understand how much it means to him, which makes the build up for the end all the more powerful. Overall King Richard can feel like a formulaic biopic at times however those moments aren’t enough to stop it from being a really interesting film that goes beyond from being just a biopic film. It’s a film that showcases how someone was determined to make their vision a reality and would never give up until it did come true!!

King Richard is in theaters and on HBO Max!

8/10 B+

The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain is a beautiful biopic filled with cats!

Louis Wain was many things during his incredible life: artist, inventor, entrepreneur and caretaker. After adopting a stray kitten, he went on to paint the extraordinary images of cats that made him world famous.

The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain is another example of showing how Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the best actors working today, he does such a fantastic job of capturing the spirit of Louis Wain in so many different ways. For starters Cumberbatch does a great job of matching Wain’s mannerisms, it’s quite impressive to see and I’m really glad Cumberbatch was chosen for the role. The acting all around is quite fantastic, Claire Foy does a very solid job (even if she isn’t in most of the film), the filming combined with the score is quite beautiful. There’s certain scenes where the film itself does feel like a painting with a lot of bright colors that pop out really nicely, the film itself is also really wholesome at times and you just can’t help but smile. There’s also a lot of heartbreaking moments that I actually did cry during, which is to be expected when making a film about Louis Wain. The truth is Louis Wain did not have the best life like some other artists did and the film does a fantastic job of showing that perfectly. The cats are also present and yes are as cute as you would expect, it is very interesting to see how a simple drawings or paintings could turn into someone’s career and make a ton of people feel a tremendous amount of joy inside. Overall The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain is a beautiful film that I highly recommend!

The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain is available on Amazon Prime Video!

9/10 A