Nacho Libre (2006) Review

RATING: 3/5

A monk skips his church duties to become a luchador, in order to make sure the orphans have a better life.

Real soft spot this one has on me.

The movie, revolved around Jack Black. Without him, I’m unsure if the movie would have still worked. Black was a complete joy to watch. Delivering such memorable moments and quotable quotes. The stretchy pants, the corn-smacking, eagle eggs, all of that was pretty funny.

As far as the rest of the cast, it was hit or miss, mostly miss. Outside of Nacho, his sidekick Stephen was certainly funny in some scenes. Especially when he screamed like a girl while in the ring. He didn’t deliver as much memorable material as Nacho, but still earned a place. When it came to the other characters, there were scattered comedic moments, but a big problem with them was that there was very little in terms of their personality. The movie didn’t go in-depth with them or make one care about them in the end.

There was good music presented. Like the opening song “Hombre Religioso (Religious Man)” by Mister Loco and of course, “EncarnaciĆ³n,” sung by Jack Black himself. Lots of the songs fit the movie in terms of tone, mood, and the location for where the film was shot.

The film did display some nice cinematography. One got to see some beautiful wide shots of the Oaxaca landscapes. There was good framing whenever the church/orphanage were pictured. Colors were popping and radiating from the screen. Which it should seeing that the sport of “Lucha Libre” shown was all flash and show.

Now with the Luchador scenes, I say there was some good choregraphed moves. My favorite was when Nacho and Stephen were fighting those two lion-gremlin luchadores. As mentioned prior, the girlish screams from Stephen were funny, as well as the dirty moves done by or done to Nacho. That’s not to say there wasn’t any bad choreography. There were times where one can clearly see the punches and kicks didn’t land. There were points of sloppy editing where it can ruin the pace and flow. In particular the Battle Royale scene where there was so much fighting happening all at once.

While I did like the film utilizing its practical stunts and effects, the couple times where CGI was used was an eyesore. I mean the scenes which it was used was understandable, but the quality of it was noticeable. I’ve watched the movie quite a few times and only now I’m just seeing it.

The execution of the plot was beat-for-beat. It followed the “liar reveal” tropes. I would say “School of Rock” handled it better. The character progressions were choppy. In the climax, Nacho got stronger through the power of love, friendship, and convenience, while the Ramses guy got weaker in a fraction of a second. Stephen was Nacho’s yes man for a majority and he received a rapid change of heart on orphans. Like the editing, the pacing and flow of the plot was scattered.

Despite a plentiful of flaws the movie threw, on a personal level there’s a special place in my heart for it. The awkward, quirky, crude, and ridiculous nature definitely won me over. Black owned the movie and it’s hard to imagine the film without him. It’s also hard to imagine that the film was inspired loosely by the story of “Fray Tormenta.” A priest who spent many years as a Luchador to raise money for the orphans he was caring. While the movie doesn’t do that the real-life story any justice, it was still enjoyable and fun to watch. For me there’s a good-size rewatchability factor. I recommend it for sure.

YouTube: Tk Theater Productions/LoneCentric Pictures

Instagram: tk_theater/lonecentricpic

42 (2013) Review

42

RATING: 3.5/5

The story about the early days of Jackie Robinson’s baseball career.

The movie that brought eyes onto actor Chadwick Boseman.

Many of the performances in the movie were good. Boseman and Harrison Ford were the best. Even though Ford’s role was a bit cliche with his rugged and growly voice and old mentor-like persona, he still was enjoyable to watch. These two were the ones that a viewer can stand behind as they carried the most heart and soul for the film.

Actor Alan Tudyk played the racist coach Ben Chapman. I bring him up because, despite his 10 minutes of screentime, he delivered in bringing forth some relatable feelings for Robinson. To which I’ll bring up later.

Now I’m not a big baseball or sports guy for that matter. I only knew Robinson as the first black major league baseball player, nothing more. I mean I figured in his early days that he did take verbal abuse from all sorts of people. Whether it was from the crowd or from his own teammates, I figured as such. But actually witnessing the movie and reading about what really went down afterward, it truly made me respect the man even more.

Robinson was a guy who, very easily, could have quit playing baseball amongst the white crowd. He could have quit and not take the on-the-field and out-of-field bullying that he endured over those first years. But he persisted through the hate. Robinson did his absolute best to block the harsh words and play what he loved playing. He wanted to show the world that black players can be capable of participating in the major leagues. He had his back, along with a few others as shown in the film.

Ford’s character, Branch Rickey, a few Dodger teammates, and Robinson’s wife, Rachel, wanted him to move forward to bring about his talents. It was nice to see the support bring brought onto Robinson. My favorite scene in the movie was when Rickey was comforting Robinson after being hearing slurs thrown at him by Chapman. Granted this was a scene that didn’t happen in real life, but I feel this was a good illustration of what Robinson’s mind was like. One can gravitate easily to him and you wanted to see him make it up there.

As far as the rest of the movie was concerned, it did play itself rather safe and predictable. Like it doesn’t take any extra steps in wanting to see more into the personal life of Robinson, outside of his early baseball days. The film tapped on it occasionally, but not enough. While it was interesting to see the teammates and various baseball officials not wanting to near Robinson or play in their cities, it be nice to view beyond that.

Even with the beat-for-beat plot, it was performed and played out well. There was enough heart to make one care about the difficulties that Robinson endured. One wanted to root for him; to succeed in the violent and hate-filled world that encompassed him. Definitely recommend it. At the time of writing this review, this was another good reminder of the current status that the nation was going through in the troubling year of 2020.

The life of Jackie Robinson runs parallel to the life of Chadwick Boseman. Both men had to struggle with something in order to fulfill the loving people and fans in their lives. The fact the two men kept fighting for what they loved, was something that many would define as, a hero.

RIP Jackie Robinson

RIP Chadwick Boseman

YouTube: Tk Theater Productions/LoneCentric Pictures

Instagram: tk_theater/lonecentricpic

 

Uncut Gems (2019) Review

gems

RATING: 4.5/5

[SPOILERS]

A gambling addict is in a whirlwind of chaos as he has to deal with many things in his life while trying to pay off his debts.

After delivering crap and terrible flicks in the early to mid-2010s, Adam Sandler has given a performance that surely is one of the best, if not the best, in his career.

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