In cinemas this week: Creed, By the Sea, The Program, Love the Coopers and Hotel Transylvania 2.
Creed – Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) never knew his famous father, world heavy weight champion Apollo Creed, who died before he was born. Still, there’s no denying that boxing is in his blood, so Adonis heads to Philadelphia, the site of Apollo Creed’s legendary match with a tough upstart named Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Rocky sees in Adonis the strength and determination he had known in Apollo – the fierce rival who became his closest friend. Keep an eye out for Johnson’s review of the film, I expect he liked it every bit as much as I. It is brash, modern and emotional filmmaking that wears its weathered nostalgia proudly. Most committed to observing Adonis develop his mental toughness, as he searches for his identity, but the bouts are astonishingly shot. Sly and Jordan are fantastic. Full of chilling, heart-wrenching moments, including a single-take for the ages.
By The Sea – A married couple takes a vacation in France in the 1970s and find that their time in a sleepy seaside town, complete with a unique array of locals, strengthens their bond and reaffirms their marriage. Interesting only for Angie and Brad sharing the screen together once again, but international reactions aren’t strong enough to kindle much desire to see it.
The Program – This is the true story of the meteoric rise and fall of one of the most celebrated and controversial men in recent history, Lance Armstrong (portrayed by Ben Foster). Armstrong fatigue? Do we need this?
Love the Coopers – When four generations of the Cooper family come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration, a series of unexpected visitors and unlikely events turn the night upside down, leading them all towards a surprising rediscovery of family bonds and the spirit of Christmas. Christmas movies are a guilty pleasure so I have this on my watch-list, and with such a talented cast, we expect it will have just enough charming moments to balance out the questionable creative pedigree.
Hotel Transylvania 2 – Everything seems to be changing for the better at Hotel Transylvania… Dracula’s rigid monster-only hotel policy has finally relaxed, opening up its doors to human guests. But behind closed coffins, Drac is worried that his half-human, half-vampire grandson, Dennis, isn’t showing signs of being a vampire. He enlists his friends Frank, Murray, Wayne and Griffin to put Dennis through a “monster-in-training” boot camp. But little do they know that Drac’s grumpy and very old, old, old school dad Vlad is about to pay a family visit to the hotel. And when Vlad finds out that his great-grandson is not a pure blood – and humans are now welcome at Hotel Transylvania – things are going to get batty. The first one had its fair share of laughs, but I can’t imagine parents are going to be overjoyed with being dragged along to another one.
Weekly Recommendation: Creed. Whether you are a Rocky fan or not, this will not disappoint.