Creed II

Creed was a movie that was better than anyone could have expected. Sure it was by Ryan Coogler fresh off directing Fruitvale Station, but still, how could any director pull it off? As it turned out even Stallone had to be persuaded. Creed is an exceptional film on its own, but as a Rocky film, it’s superb. I would also say that it could debatably be the best film in the franchise; however, I think the first Rocky edges it out.

The first Creed follows Apollo Creed’s son Adonis the illegitimate son wanting to pave his way into the boxing ring like his father before him. Rocky Balboa, Apollo’s old rival and later friend eventually takes Adonis under his wing. The road to the top is similar to the first Rocky film with a fresh take. The parallels of the original Rocky movies don’t end there but continue to enhance the franchise in Creed II.

Creed II centers around the theme of family. The story delves into Rocky’s family, and Drago’s as well. Drago’s character may be the most interesting in the entire film because we are catching a glimpse into a guy who had it all before being abandoned by his own country after losing the fight to Rocky all those years ago. Drago’s story is about redemption, and he seeks it by training his son to be able to take on Creed. Creed being at the top is like his father, Apollo in the first Rocky film with all the ego before fighting Rocky. The story takes a few neat twists and turns down this road, and as for Rocky, he is filling the Mickey role now.

The best order for watching the Rocky franchise is probably Rocky I-IV, and Creed before attending this one. Rocky V is notoriously bad, and Rocky Balboa is good but skippable. I gave a mini review of each here on the first Creed trailer a few years back now. Creed II was enough to finally satisfy me if they do choose to close the book here on the Rocky franchise. If they do make another in the same ilk, I’m there.

If Creed is the greatest fan film of all time, then Creed II is the icing on the top.

Check it out.

Robert Ring

2015 in Review

My New Year’s Resolution for 2015 was to see one film a week in cinemas, which I totally did! Below are all 52 films I saw from best to worst.

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Love and Mercy: I consider this my favourite film of 2015. It took me completely by surprise and I have been listening to the Beach Boys non-stop since, literally, my girlfriend is sick of hearing God Only Knows and Good Vibrations. My initial review is here.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: This was my favourite cinematic experience for 2015. It was not a perfect film, but it was a perfect Star Wars film. It’s also the first Star Wars film to have real acting!

Creed: This might be the most perfect film on the list. It innovates the way a fighting film can be shot and it has so much heart. Sylvester Stallone looks like he may even be nominated for an Oscar this year too. Ironically, my second and third favourite films of the year are the seventh title in a series with this being the seventh Rocky film.

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Jurassic World: So much nostalgia, and dinosaurs, and Chris Pratt (what more can you want?)

Kingsman, The: This is the biggest surprise of the year. Nobody expected this to be good and it was excellent.

Mad Max: Fury Road: Fuck all story in this movie, and yet I had the most fun I’ve ever had in a pure action film.

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Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation: Remember how good Ghost Protocol was? Yeah, well this is even better!

Amy: Beautiful, haunting, and real. My review here.

Straight Outta Compton: Excellent biopic on the N.W.A, the ending is a bit drawn out and effectively takes it away from being nominated for best picture.

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Trainwreck: Without a doubt the funniest movie of the year. My review here.

Sicario: We saw one side of Mexico in Breaking Bad, and it doens’t have anything on the dark crevices we discover of Mexico in this unforgettable film.

Bridge of Spies: Spielberg works his magic, and this time he gives us a solid, very good, political drama.

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Martian, The: The unofficial sequel to Intersteller (if you know what I mean), or Cast Away in space. Who cares? Matt Damon will have you in stitches even as his situation turns desperate.

Avengers: Age of Ultron: I like it just as much as the first Avengers and this time we get James Spader!

Inside Out: I was honestly disappointed with this one. They had too much for the kids in this when it was such a rich idea for adults. Good film, my expectations were just too high.

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Ant-Man: Solid heist film with the Marvel touch.

Cinderella: Really enjoyed this. Makes me very excited if they nail a live action Beauty and the Beast too.

Spongebob Movie: Better than the first?

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Man From U.N.C.L.E, The: This got a lot of flack from critics, maybe because we had a year with so many spy films, but I really enjoyed it.

Crimson Peak: Marketed as a horror film. Yeah, it’s not a horror film, just a beautifully shot and enjoyable little murder mystery.

Everest: It’s a crime not many people saw this one. Man against nature: Nature 1 and Man 0.

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Tomorrowland: The most unique film of the year delivers us something left better to the imagination. It’s a good watch, just misses many marks.

Ricki and the Flash: Decent.

Night Before, The: More laughs than I expected.

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Spectre: It’s James Bond.

Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The: You come for the characters, not the story.

Minions: Personally, I liked it much more than Despicable Me.

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In the Heart of the Sea: It didn’t know what movie it was trying to tell, and therefore you will be a little unsatisfied.

Entourage: The boys are back. Like four back to back episodes… I’m not complaining.

Age of Adeline: I love most of this movie, but I hated the ending. Overall, a unique fairy tale.

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Good Dinosaur, The: Apart from a couple of cute scenes I find it entirely unoriginal. Was The Land Before Time the last best animated dino flick?

Get Hard: A Will Ferrell comedy.

Daddy’s Home: Another Will Ferrell comedy with a crappy title. What was wrong with calling it Step Fathers? It’s essentially the spiritual sequel to Step Brothers.

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Vacation: Critically panned, but I giggled.

The Visit: Saw the twist from a mile away, although M. Night has now proven he can make a good film, your turn Michael Bay.

Project Almanac: Cool little time travel film.

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Poltergeist: Not bad. I recommend the original.

The Hunger Games: Mokingjay – Part 2: First three quarters are pretty good. Last quarter is a cop out ending with a crappy twist. Thank you for being the last.

Chappie: It’s Robocop with South African accents.

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Freeheld: Great cast, overall underwhelming.

Dumb and Dumber To: The films get pretty bad on this list from here on in…

Pitch Perfect 2: Terrible direction. Sorry Elizabeth Banks.

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Ted 2: I didn’t much care for the first one and I liked this one even less.

50 Shades of Grey: Exactly what I thought a studio film would do with this material. Zero kinky scenes.

Paul Blart 2: I loved the first one. What the hell was this?

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American Ultra: Utterly loathed it!

Paranormal Activity:The Ghost Dimension: The worst cinema going experience I’ve ever had.

I saw these films too, however they are technically films of 2014 so I thought to exempt them from my 2015 list.

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Nightcrawler: Very underrated. Jake Gyllenhaal was robbed of an oscar nomination. My review here.

Imitation Game, The: Solid biopic on a fascinating side of the war I never knew about.

Birdman: Understandable pick for Best Picture. I really liked it.

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Still Alice: Heartbreaking.

Foxcatcher: Brilliant performances. Chilling and masterful.

Anyway I had so much fun seeing a film a week at the cinemas that I’m going to continue doing it this year too.

What did you think of the films listed here? Let me know in the comments section below.

Wishing you a good 2016,

Robert Ring

Creed Trailer Released!

This year I dived into the Rocky franchise and watched all six films. It is one of the oldest film franchises ever made and I think it might be the longest running franchise with the same cast of characters. There is 39 years between Rocky (1976), and Creed (2015) at the end of this year. Creed is technically a spin off, but one where the character of Rocky takes the backseat as coach to Apollo Creed’s son. Well today the trailer for Creed hit the web and I’ve attached it below. It is everything we could want from a spin off of one of the finest movies, and it brings the journey full circle as Rocky’s own coach taught him.

Additionally here are my thoughts on the six Rocky movies, and if you are a newcomer I would say watch all but Rocky V.

Rocky (1976)
Rocky Balboa fights Apollo Creed – 4/5

Rocky II (1979)
Rocky Balboa fights Apollo Creed (Again) – 3/5

Rocky III (1982)
Apollo Creed trains Rocky to defeat Mr T – 3/5

Rocky IV (1985)
Rocky fights to avenge the death of Apollo Creed – 3/5

Rocky V (1990)
Rocky loses his money and turns to coaching – 2/5

Rocky Balboa (2006)
Rocky wants to fight one last time, sums up the legacy of Rocky and makes up for Rocky V – 3/5

Creed could be as good as the original Rocky, if not better with a great director in Ryan Cooglar and Michael B. Jordan in the title role. The baton will be passed and a new franchise may fill our cinemas for years to come.

Robert Ring