August 29, 2016

Tag Archives: Tessa Thompson

Could we see “Creed” make a dent in the Oscar race?

I love a good cinematic surprise, and boy oh boy did I get one last week when I saw Creed. This sixth sequel in the Rocky franchise is also a spinoff, focusing on the son of Apollo Creed as opposed to just Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa. It’s also one of the best movies of the year so far, masterfully done by filmmaker Ryan Coogler. I expected very little, but this film blew me away. It’s now something that I consider a dark horse awards player, in particular for Stallone. Hard to believe, I know, but believe. The flick is out today and is a must see, so hopefully I can convince you now…
The film centers on Adonis Johnson (Jordan), who finds out he’s the son of Apollo Creed and sets off to follow in his father’s footsteps. He tracks down retired and broken down Rocky Balboa (Stallone) in the hopes of being trained by him, leading to a bond neither of them expected. There’s plenty of boxing, including a sequence brilliantly shot in one take, but this is a story about family, legacy, and your place in the world, more so than just a sports drama. It’s just amazing. Coogler directs and co-writes with Aaron Covington, while in addition to Jordan and Stallone, the cast includes Tony Bellew, Wood Harris, Graham McTavish, Phylicia Rashad, Tessa Thompson, and more. Maryse Alberti is the cinematographer here (more on her in a bit) and the score is by Ludwig Göransson. It’s all top notch in Creed, from start to finish.

I adored this movie, with special recognition going to Stallone’s supporting turn and the visuals from Alberti, who deserves a citation in Best Cinematography (it’s some of the best camera work of the year to me, and I’ve seen The Revenant, though I’m embargoed from saying anything about that one right now). Stallone has never been better, playing his iconic character as an old man, lacking much to live for anymore. Somehow, it’s heartbreaking stuff. Jordan is excellent as well, while Coogler one ups himself after a promising debut with Fruitvale Station (also starring Jordan). As I mentioned earlier this week, this is the best Rocky film since the original, and I mean that. This is one special flick.
Awards wise, what used to be a laughable concept is now something I’m sure Warner Brothers is considering for Creed. Expect sudden campaigns to be launched […]

“Creed”: An under the radar Oscar contender?

Ladies and gentlemen, I know it sounds silly, but a sequel/spinoff from Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky films might be in awards contention this year. Yes, the upcoming movie Creed is another installment in the franchise centered around fighter Rocky Balboa, but this one takes a U-turn. Instead of being about Stallone’s pugilist, it’s about former rival turned friend Apollo Creed’s son. Rocky is more the trainer than the protagonist, essentially re-launching this series with a grittier and younger bent to it. A Trailer hit last week and really impressed me (which you’ll see below), leading me to wonder if the Academy might once again be interested in this franchise?
For those who don’t know, the first Rocky with a big time Oscar contender, nominated for ten Academy Awards and winning three (Best Picture, Best Director for John G. Avildsen, and Best Film Editing). Stallone himself was cited two times, for Best Actor as well as Best Original Screenplay. The franchise became a bit sillier each time out, as Stallone stepped behind the camera (except for Rocky V, which had Avildsen direct again) and made his hero a superhero, essentially negating the interest voters had in it. The most recent sequel, entitled Rocky Balboa, brought a measure of respect back to the series, so now Creed hopes to capitalize on that.
This film centers around Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan, best known for Fruitvale Station), the son of former champion Apollo Creed. Fans of the franchise know that Apollo has passed on, so it’s fellow former champ Rocky Balboa who steps in as a trainer to help Adonis follow in his father’s footsteps. Essentially, this looks to be more of the first Rocky than any other in the franchise so far, while also functioning as basically a reboot of sorts. Ryan Coogler (of Fruitvale Station fame as well) co-writes with Aaron Covington and directs, while aside from Jordan and Stallone, the cast includes Graham McTavish, Phylicia Rashad, and Tessa Thompson. Taking the series back to its roots might be just what the doctor ordered.
The main reason to be excited for this one is seeing Coogler and Jordan work together again. They both broke through in a big way with Fruitvale Station, a film that was majorly snubbed by the Academy. This time around, they’re getting to tell a similarly gritty (if fictional this time out) story, just couched around an established franchise. Especially if […]

Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls” moving up to November release date

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Lionsgate and Tyler Perry appear to be tossing their hat into this year’s Oscar race.
The studio announced this morning that Perry’s next picture, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf,” will premiere on Nov. 5 … and not in 2011 as was expected.
The star-studded film, an adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s landmark 1975 stage study of the African-American female experience, packs Anika Noni Rose, Kerry Washington, Janet Jackson, Kimberly Elise, Phylicia Rashad, Loretta Devine, Tessa Thompson and Thandie Newton into its ensemble.
Clearly, the studio feels Perry’s drama can compete in the annual awards race. Perry had success just last year as a producer for Lee Daniels’ “Precious,” which won two Oscars (for screenplay and co-star Mo’Nique).
More on “Colored Girls” as it begins to screen, but this is a very good sign for Lionsgate, a vote of confidence for Perry, and a shakeup for the still forming Oscar picture.
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