There Is Mercy In Hollywood when It Comes To Drama

Just Mercy Poster

 

In today’s constantly changing world, it’s always a hassle to find justice in a system with ever “evolving” morals.  As traditions collide, new trends form, and the world does not quite take the moral high ground in favor of reward or pleasure, those that may be innocent have less of a fighting chance.  Thus, the plot of today’s movie tries to show how there are still avenues of good in this world and it is hoping to impress the audience and share it’s story.  Robbie K is back again to give you his thoughts on the latest movies to hit the silver screen, so let’s get cracking as I review:

 

Movie: Just Mercy (2019)

Director:

Destin Daniel Cretton

Writers:

Destin Daniel CrettonAndrew Lanham

Stars:

Brie LarsonMichael B. JordanJamie Foxx

 

 

LIKES

  • Great Acting
  • Emotional
  • A Drama That Moves
  • Multiple Aspects/Complete Picture
  • Fantastic Use Of Soundtrack and Visuals
  • Did Not Feel Like a 2-hour movie

 

DISLIKES:

  • Drama Vs. Real Life
  • Conventional/Predictability

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

This movie has a wealth of positives for me and the true cornerstone comes from the great acting contained in this 136 minutes.  Michael B Jordan continues to prove he is a master of his trade, bringing the incredible persona of the justice seeking lawyer, who is not only competent but empathetic.  He works great with all of the scenes and sequences, naturally reacting and acting to all the players in this drama, and making a central figure to follow.  Brie Larson, the ever-impressive actress herself, dominates her roles and supporting the two figure heads, though I had wished for a little more time with her, she capitalizes on her screen time.  As for Foxx, well not much needs to be said, but again a natural presentation of a man convicted of crimes and believing to be innocent, while on death row mind you.  It’s sleek, and often not forced on you, crafting a character that seems to be exactly what you would expect in this situation, compared to Hollywood’s idea of making everyone yell, scream and fight.  Like Jordan, the man also has great chemistry with his squad and it helps expand the character while also proving how awesome his acting is. Even the secondary characters are for the most part stunning examples of talent, and I enjoyed the integrated crew bringing this gut wrenching tale to life.

That’s just the acting like what about the rest of the movie.  Director Daniel Cretton succeeded in taking a movie I thought would be long and drawn out, and transforming it into a piece that netted my attention and dragged me to motivation station.  It’s an emotional ride that will take you through just about every feeling you can imagine and somehow keep everything in balance.  As mentioned in previous biographies, it manages to inject some good drama into the mix, to entrance you into caring about the story, while managing to avoid the overdramatic flare that reality television does.  This balanced approach is something I enjoy as it allows you to appreciate the story without getting caught up in the soap opera semantics that this world can create.  Additionally, the movie utilizes wonderful visuals and an audio score that manages to fill those scenes with a push that succeeds in bringing out the culture with motivational force.  Finally, the movie achieves another goal that I always mention but seldom see in that it tries to give you a complete approach to how this lawyer fought for justice.  Just Mercy, is all about giving you Bryan’s quest to help those in need, not only focusing on Foxx’s character case, but looking into a few others that were going with it.  The movie then extends to those other characters who are intertwined with Foxx, again helping expand upon the character while helping you dive into Death Row mindsets.  Throw in the families that help, the antagonists, even the assistants that help with drafting forms, getting interviews, and collecting evidence and you get an experience that again brings you into the film.  It’s a wonderful drama, and through all the above-mentioned goodness, makes this movie feel less than 2 hours for the most part, the ending maybe being the exception.

 

Finding dislikes in this movie is difficult for me as I’m trying to be fair, but there were a couple of things I think still take away from a perfect score for me.  There is always that notion of what is fact and what is fiction, and without reading the book, I can’t be certain. I believe Just Mercy has a better balance than most, but there are some times where the drama supersedes the facts a little too much.  This nets interest I know, but a movie like this sometimes paints cultures and traditions a little too extreme, inciting some anger.  In addition, the convention of the genre vs. the predictability is another aspect that you have to try and ignore.  If you read the case files, pay attention to the trailers, or just know the genre as a whole, you will find the usual formulaic approach on record.  It’s not awful by any means, but I have to take it into account when I review.  Finally, I had hoped for a little more involvement in another character, whose story is wrapped up via the end credits, but it’s a minor flaw because they use the good actor to another awesome level.

 

The VERDICT:

            Truth is Just Mercy was a lot better than I had anticipated, taking what looked to be a long, drawn out legal movie and adding spice to the mix.  It’s acting is going to draw most people in to be honest, with a cast that makes this tory all the more impacting to those with an open mind.  Outside of that though, it is an example of the partnership drama and reality can achieve when helmed by a competent director and his team.  Multiple aspects, fantastic use of visuals, and a compelling involvement with all its characters makes this film a fantastic watch and not feel like 136-minute ride.  True there are still some dramatic moments that might be excessive, and you have to be ready for the usual bag of tricks it needs to spring, but outside of extreme fans… you should be okay with it.  Another film I believe can be enjoyed in the theater for stellar acting and storytelling, I implore many to watch this film when it comes out in the home.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama:  9.0

Movie Overall:  8.0

 

I DeCreed This One Powerful Sequel

Creed II Poster

            The legacy of Rocky is an epic one that has etched its way into the hearts of sports movie fanatics until the end of time.  Despite their outdated cinema work, the movies hold such epic bouts of fist flying destruction, brazen masculinity, and surprisingly deep portrayal of sport vs. life.  It has worked super well for years, and with Creed reviving the series with a new, modern edge that showed a boxing movie can still pack the punches.  So a sequel to continue the new boxer’s legacy has emerged to challenge the rest of the Thanksgiving line up in hopes to win the championship of best box office.  Will it succeed?  Robbie K here to fill you in as I review:

 

Movie: Creed II (2018)

 

Director:

Steven Caple Jr.

Writers:

Cheo Hodari Coker (story by), Ryan Coogler (characters)

Stars:

Michael B. JordanSylvester StalloneTessa Thompson

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Character Development: Adonis Creed’s journey was soul searching and inspiring in the first film, and the sequel follows that back in spades. This film is dedicated to the torture of balancing pride of your career while trying to balance the other aspects of life.  Adonis goes through a lot of tough mental burdens, which helps stretch the limits of the character.  Of course Rocky himself still is finding ways to expand his own dynamic, still finding lessons to teach and learn as he himself goes through the throngs with his indirect nephew.  A Rocky films has always been about expanding the character and the traditions continues in the 8thinstallment.

 

The Music:  You like rap, hip hop, and R&B, you’ve got yourself a soundtrack that captivates the essence of the film.  It’s edgy, aggressive beat mixes beautifully with the actions scenes, mirroring the fighting lion that is Adonis in his quest for reaching his goals. Be ready for some hard-hitting beats, with potential aggressive lyrics that can be offensive.

 

Expanded Villain:  Most Rocky movies do a poor job of elaborating on the villainous boxer who wishes to stop our hero.  In this film though, the villains get a small subplot that helps to give them more details and appreciation.  Balancing this tale with the main story, crafts a much better investment in time when it comes to designing the rival boxer that I really liked, especially when even Ivan Drago contributes significantly to the tale.

 

The Rocky Feeling:  Creed II continues the tradition of the boxing movies, by crafting a tale that is all about getting guys in the macho, masculine mode.  Adonis’ next tale brings the motivational force to full light, instilling the testosterone fueled training, hype, enticement, and whatever else you are looking for.  Guys in my showing were hooting in delight, sometimes batting their hands together during the high adrenaline moments.  As for the females, well plenty of shirtless scenes and chiseled bodies to get you swooning if you like that. Past these moments though, classic fans will enjoy the bonds of coach and trainee once again working together to face life gloves up and eyes sharp.

The Final Fight:  We know the series is all about that final match, where contender and titan throw themselves into the ring in all their epic, sweaty glory.  Creed II has the finale you wait for, filled with the high adrenaline special effects, sound editing, high energy shots magic that studios craft.  As the bout progresses the raw emotion of both contenders is unleashed, in a manner worthy of the David Vs. Goliath status they were going for. It is an epic finish to all the buildup and lasts well enough to be worthy of inclusion.

 

DISLIKES:

 

A Little Too Aggressive at Times:  For me the in your face, high adrenaline moments were sometimes perfectly executed. Other times it was a little eye rolling and overdone.  The in your face moments, and fast to action attitude was fine in the first one, but at points in the movie it was a little sadder to watch. This plot point was supposedly conquered in the first one, yet they decided to harp on it as a recycled device. Small dislike, but we go with it.

 

Some Unnecessary Subplots: Creed II has a lot of heart and emotion with it, working to integrate a lot of angles to take Adonis’ life in to help shape the character.  Some of these angles worked quite well for me, and a couple of them didn’t.  I won’t say anything to minimize the spoilers, but there are a couple of tangents they took that didn’t quite add to the movie as much as they wanted.  I would have liked a few other subplots to get some more detail instead, but given the grand scheme of the movie it’s not quite as noticeable.

 

Carbon Copy:  A point that might make or break the movie depending on the audience Creed 2 loses points for originality.  While I understand that the first one wasn’t unique in terms of stories, Creed 2 really modeled its structure quite closely to one of the original Rocky movies, guess which one.  As such, the new coat of paint is quite refreshing, but given how much it follows the original in terms of main plot, it’s a little disappointing given the predictability of the movie that comes with it.  Will you be disappointed?  It really depends on how much you hate carbon copy plots.

 

 

The Verdict:

         Creed II delivers on the attitude the trailer promised long ago. By expanding upon the rivals, portraying more life components with career, and maintaining the feel of a Rocky Movie it’s going to please many fans of the franchise. Yet, the film still suffers from a tad too much modern aggression, some plot devices that didn’t quite need to be there, and a rehashed plot that will make or break the film. Overall though, I liked it and felt it fit very well in the universe and holding quality above a number of other installments.  So if you are looking for the testosterone driven plot line for the weekend, check this film out in spades this weekend, maximizing your experience in the theater. Otherwise definitely get ready for this one when it comes out to the wide public. 

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Sport: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0-7.5