Chuck (US – 2016) – Short Review

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for Cinetalk.net

Chuck (it was titled the The Bleeder when shown at TIFF in September)is based upon the real life story of heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner who had a shot at glory in 1975 facing Muhammad Ali in the ring and making it to the 15th round.

Directed by Philippe Falardeau (The good lie) it stars Liev Schreiber (Spotlight, X-Men), Naomi Watts and Ron Perlman (Hellboy). It is said that Wepner’s story was influential in the Making of Rocky (1976). At least that is what he wants us to believe.

We are witnesses to the preceding, then the fight and the ensuing downfall. The depiction of 1970’s era is honest, the performances are enjoyable, especially Perlman as the manager. A colorful manager is a must to any boxing film.

Chuck is a pedestrian ride narrated with with a great dose of narcissism, but in such a self-deprecating way it ultimately becomes sympathetic. Chuck is much about trusting the word of the one telling the story…

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The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (Finland – 2016)

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for Cinetalk.net

Finnish director Juho Kuosmanen’s first feature, The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, won top prize of Cannes Film Festival’ Un certain Regard in 2016. As Finland’s submission to the Academy Awards, it made it to the infamous short list of nine before being cut out when it came down to five. It should have been in.

 

The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki is based on real events. In 1962 Mäki got a shot at the World Featherweight boxing title becoming the hero of a nation. But on the way, because of love, he partly lost the will to fight.

Kuosmanen’s film, poetically shot in glorious black and white by Continue reading