Letter: Rocky bounces back swinging in Creed

…early reviews are indicating that it could be the best in the [Rocky] series.

Michael B. Jordan (left) and Sylvester Stallone continue the story of Rocky Balboa in Creed.

Just when you think Rocky is down for the count, he gets up again.

For almost 40 years, the iconic movie boxer has inspired generations, even those like me who are not fans of boxing. From the Academy Award-winning original, to the absurd Cold War storyline of Rocky IV to the disappointing literal street brawl that was Rocky V, the Italian Stallion still managed to inspire, especially when he made a comeback in Rocky Balboa.

Before you write off Creed at just another attempt for Sylvester Stallone to cash in on the aging franchise, you might just be right—but early reviews are indicating that it could be the best in the series. The title refers to the son of Apollo Creed, the rival boxer of Balboa before the two became friends and then died during the events of Rocky IV, before his son Adonis was born. However, Adonis has boxing in his blood and he travels to Philadelphia to seek out Rocky. The former champ sees the same strength and determination in Apollo’s son and agrees to train him.

What also makes Creed interesting is that Adonis Creed is played by Michael B. Jordon who, along with director Ryan Coogler, received acclaim for the movie Fruitvale Station. It also reunites producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff who helped the original Rocky win its Best Picture Academy Award.

Pixar Animation Studios has been one of Disney’s most successful subsidiaries, with every one of their releases, from Toy Story to Inside Out, becoming a hit. So what do they do when one of their films is in trouble? In the case of The Good Dinosaur, they stop production and re-tool it. Originally scheduled for a November 2013 release and then May 2014, Pixar decided to delay the release to this week to give the filmmakers time to re-imagine the story befitting the legacy of the studio.

The story asks the question: What if dinosaurs survived extinction and evolved alongside humans? A young Apatosaurus named Arlo falls into a river and gets knocked out by a rock, finding himself far away from home. While trying to find his way home, he befriends a human caveboy that he names Spot. While it may not equal some of Pixar’s greatest, it is getting good reviews and will likely be a moderate hit for the studio and will tide us over until Finding Dory is released next year.

Opening at Landmark Cinemas Paramount Theatre is Trumbo, the story of Dalton Trumbo who was one of Hollywood’s top screenwriters until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs in the late 1940s. The film recounts how he used words and wit to win two Academy Awards and expose the absurdity and injustice under the blacklist. Trumbo is played by Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and co-stars Diane Lane, Elle Fanning, Helen Mirren, John Goodman and Louis C.K.

Also being released this week is Victor Frankenstein, starring James McAvoy (X-Men: Days of Future Past) and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter). This version of Mary Shelley’s classic tells the story from Igor’s (Radcliffe) perspective and through his eyes we see the transformation of Frankenstein (McAvoy) from medical student to scientist trying to create life from death.

 

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