‘Legend’ isn’t quite legendary, but it’s damn close

Tom Hardy has the difficult task of playing twin brothers Ronald and Reginald Kray in the film Legend and he is more than up to the task.  The Kray twins were gangsters in London’s East End and this film concentrates on their exploits during the 1960s.  Both had boxed in their youths and this was something that would be part of their violent natures throughout their lives, although Reg was the brains and Ron the true muscle.  They owned clubs, ran protection rackets and they wanted to ‘rule’ London.

Read more‘Legend’ isn’t quite legendary, but it’s damn close

‘42’ is the best baseball movie in ages

Chadwick Boseman is Jackie Robinson in '42'
Chadwick Boseman is Jackie Robinson in ’42’

[rating=4]Starring:  Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Christopher Meloni, Ryan Merriman, Andre Holland, Lucas Black, Alan Tudyk, Hamish Linklater, T.R. Knight, John C. McGinley, Max Gail and Brett Cullen
Writer(s):  Brian Helgeland
Director(s):  Brian Helgeland

In 1945, Branch Rickey (Ford) was the part-owner, club president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers.  He was also a man on a mission. He wanted to break the “color barrier” in Major League Baseball.  He needed a Negro who was not just a great player, but one who could withstand the blistering, withering assault that would come from those who didn’t want to see this barrier broken.

He chose Jackie Robinson (Boseman) and history was made.

Read more‘42’ is the best baseball movie in ages

‘A Knights Tale: Extended Cut’ adds goodness to a good movie

[rating=3]Starring: Heath Ledger, Mark Addy, Rufus Sewell, Paul Bettany, Alan Tudyk
Director(s): Brian Helgeland
Writer(s): Brian Helgeland

Heath Ledger stars in 'A Knight’s Tale'
Heath Ledger stars in ‘A Knight’s Tale’

The first time I saw the commercials for A Knight’s Tale back when it was first released in 2001, I thought it was pretty silly. The idea of rock and roll music mixed into a medieval period piece was ridiculous. It seemed like some stupid gimmick to appeal to the chronic MTV watchers who would normally avoid anything that didn’t take place in modern times and feature fart jokes or lots of guns.

But I have seen it a few times since then on cable, and now with this “extended cut” DVD, I have to admit it really is a funny film, made all the more interesting by its use of rock and roll. This unique mixture of modern music and old world jousting is well done, with some terrifically light-hearted performances from both the stars and supporting players.

Read more‘A Knights Tale: Extended Cut’ adds goodness to a good movie

Clint Eastwood’s ‘Mystic River’ is richly performed, beautifully executed

Kevin Bacon in 'Mystic River'
Kevin Bacon in ‘Mystic River’

[rating=3]Starring: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney
Director(s): Clint Eastwood
Writer(s): Screenplay by Brian Helgeland; Based upon the novel by Dennis Lehane

Deeply nuanced performances breathe reality into the film’s somewhat tried plot devices, and ultimately overshadow a director’s visible manipulation and a studio’s heavy handed marketing to deliver an intensely satisfying film.

Read moreClint Eastwood’s ‘Mystic River’ is richly performed, beautifully executed