Review: Creed

Creed-Movie-Poster Synopsis: Adonis Creed, the youngest son of Apollo Creed, follows in his late father’s footsteps to become a boxer. Adonis enlists the help of a retired Rocky Balboa who was his father’s friend and greatest rival. 40 years after the first Rocky film, Creed breathes new life into the franchise accompanied by knockout performances by Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan.

There’s no question that Michael B. Jordan is a great actor, but this young man has the ability to be a superstar. Starring in Creed was a fantastic way to rebound from the flop that was Fox’s Fantastic Four.

Jordan gives a balanced performance as a troubled young man who’s inspired by his father to be a fighter, but doesn’t want to be cast in his shadow. We’re introduced to Adonis as a young boy in a juvenile facility who gets in trouble for badly beating another child. Instead of being transferred to yet another foster home, he gets taken in by Mary-Ann (Phylicia Rashad), Apollo Creed’s affluent widow.

We then fast forward to an older, clean-cut and successful Adonis who quits his job to become a full-time fighter, much to the dismay of Mary-Ann. Adonis moves to Philadelphia to enlist the help of his father’s greatest rival, a retired and older Rocky Balboa, who refuses several times before he gives in to Creed’s persistent son.

The movie does an excellent job of building a father-son like relationship between Adonis and Rocky. Throughout the course of the film, it seems like Rocky is paying a debt to Apollo by helping his son become a great boxer. But it gets deeper than that. Rocky and Adonis form a bond that’s reminiscent of the one he had with the senior Creed, but deeper in the sense that Rocky gets to lead Adonis on the path to become a great boxer himself.

The two characters share funny family moments such as the young Creed telling an old Balboa about the cloud and cracking typical old man jokes. A retired Balboa having fun watching the rookie Adonis go through the same grueling training he had to endure in his formative days as a boxer. Though both characters are faced with their own battles, they find solace and strength in one another to work to defeat them.

Sly Stallone may not be the best actor in the world, but damn does he put forth his best acting skills in this film. Six movies and 40 years later, he still completely embodies the Balboa character and you can tell that Stallone still really enjoys playing this role. He also does an exceptional job of emoting during his more emotional scenes with Jordan.

The fight scenes were also very well done. It was cool watching Adonis grow from a regular street boxer to a professional one. He certainly gets knocked down a few times, and badly, but it’s what you would expect from a boxing movie. Also, you can tell Jordan gave everything he had into preparing for the role. He’s certainly in amazing shape.

It’s hard to call Creed’s main villain, heavyweight champion Tommy Holliday (Graham McTavish), an actual villain because he hardly appears in the movie until the climax of the film. His purpose is to take advantage of Adonis’ inexperience and defeat him in a championship match in order to make money off defeating Apollo Creed’s son. It’s clear he was just there so Adonis could learn the lesson that your greatest opponent is yourself, a trope that’s constantly used throughout the film, but isn’t overused.

Tessa Thompson appears as Bianca, a singer with progressive hearing loss and Adonis’ love interest. She and Jordan had good enough chemistry to make their relationship believable.

Even if you’ve never seen the other Rocky films, Creed emphasizes the bond between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed well enough that new audiences understand Apollo was and still is an apparent character in the movie. Also, I’d like to see more Creed movies. This has the potential to be a very good series if it continues to embody the same gritty and underdog spirit that’s made the original Rocky movies so special.

Quick tidbit: Wire fans will be happy to see a brief Avon and Wallace reunion in the movie.

[easyreview title= "Review of Creed" cat1title="T'ara's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="5.0" overall= false]

Review: That Awkward Moment

That Awkward Moment

That Awkward Moment is a male driven romantic comedy with a bit of coming-of-age thrown in for good measure. Focusing on three friends as they embark on growing up and the ever changing relationship dynamics that comes with mid to late twenties somethings. When a major bump in the road happens to one of the friends the others vow to stay single along with him in solidarity. Things, of course, go awry faster than they could have possibly imagined.

The group is lead by the ladies man, Jason (Zac Efron) while Daniel (Miles Teller) and Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) round out the rest of the trio. Early on, Mikey discovers that his wife is cheating on him with her lawyer. Upon hearing that their best friend is having to deal with this, Jason and Daniel vow to take him out to meet women to have lots of casual sex with as soon as possible. Here, I felt that the writer had never had a friend before. The normal human reaction is compassion...and then drink and ladies. However, Jason and Daniel were like sex crazed robots who only saw this as an opportunity for an odd gathering of asshole behavior. There are some pretty hilarious moments as Mikey works his way back into the single life alongside his buddies. Meanwhile Daniel is falling for his female friend, Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), but of course the trio’s agreement is that no one gets into a relationship. Daniel and Chelsea continue to carry on a casual relationship that quickly blossoms into something more substantial.

Jason, while continuing his quest to have sex with every woman within earshot he meets Ellie (Imogen Poots), a woman with an awkward personality that clicks immediately with his. They sleep together almost instantaneously. Jason makes a rather bold and frankly stupid assumption about Ellie which causes the classic rom com early story rift. He works his way back in and the two are dating but not dating. The entire premise is that you don’t want the situation to get to “that awkward moment.” This moment in question is the “...so, where is this going?” moment. Jason works overtime to avoid these type of moments but with Ellie he just can't. Obviously, he is quite smitten with her and this poses a problem. Jason doesn’t want to upset the other guys and welch on the agreement. However, Daniel and even Mikey are breaking their promises as well.

At the end of the day, the movie is a pretty by the numbers romance comedy. Miles Teller has by far the best lines and is legitimately quite funny. Michael B. Jordan plays a pretty flatly written character, but takes nothing away from the movie. Imogen Poots gives a serviceable performance. She has definitely done better work, see A Late Quartet, but not much for her to chew on here. Zac Efron, who is to shoulder this movie, was not so good. His performance was stilted and wooden in parts, and yet fluid in others. Its was the only unbalanced performance of the group. Due to his position in the movie his weakness is shown a lot more than if he were a supporting actor. That Awkward Moment should appeal to the late twenty somethings that you know and make the older folks you know cringe at the thought that we actually did some of this stuff. Not a bad Friday date choice.

[easyreview title= "Review of That Awkward Moment" cat1title="Jay's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="3.0" overall= false]