‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ review at Awful Announcing

Had Space Jam: A New Legacy not been available to watch at home on HBO Max, I don’t know if I would’ve seen it. Maybe I would have, however, because it’s arguably a “sports movie” starring LeBron James and I could justify reviewing it for Awful Announcing.

Hey, that’s exactly what I did:

Sure, perhaps the original Space Jam is viewed affectionately through a nostalgia lens and a sequel couldn’t compete with those memories. But the first movie was fun in a way the new version isn’t. Jordan knew what kind of movie he was in and went along with it. He allowed himself to be goofy and for wacky things to happen to him. To put it in Bugs Bunny’s words, Jordan was “looney.”

LeBron never lets himself go to embrace the spirit of the movie, even when he becomes a cartoon alongside Bugs. He looks like this is an obligation for him, as if he should be in a new Space Jam as this generation’s biggest basketball star.

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‘Tiger’ review at Awful Announcing

I’m not certain why HBO scheduled the premiere of Tiger, its two-part documentary on Tiger Woods for Jan. 10, at the end of a big NFL playoff weekend (and up against the last of six Wild Card games, Browns-Steelers). Not to mention it’s on the night before the College Football Playoff national championship game.

Perhaps the network figures it can be alternative programming for viewers who weren’t plugged into football all weekend. And a non-sports audience might be more interested in the ugly details of his many affairs and his 2017 DUI arrest when he had several opioids and sleep aids in his system.

But Tiger is definitely worth watching and warrants being split into two parts. I reviewed the documentary for Awful Announcing:

Yet watching one and not the other avoids the full story. His childhood, relationship with his father, training to achieve at the highest level, and struggles with fame are prevalent themes that inform the entire film. They — along with insights from family friends, rivals, and media — create a deeper portrayal of a fascinating figure in sports history and make Tiger worth watching.

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‘Jungleland’ review at Mountain Xpress

I’m not certain Jungleland is a sports movie, though it does take place in the world of underground bare-knuckle boxing. The story ultimately depends on the outcome of a sporting event, however. So it probably fits into that category.

Regardless, you might not guess that this was directed by Max Winkler, who’s mostly known for comedy work on TV shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

I reviewed the movie for Asheville’s Mountain Xpress:

Jungleland follows brothers Stan (Charlie Hunnam, FX‘s “Sons of Anarchy”) and Walter “Lion” Kaminski (Jack O’Connell, Unbroken) as they pursue success in the underground world of bare-knuckle boxing. Lion was a promising Golden Gloves fighter, but any hopes of a professional career were ruined when Stan tried to bribe a referee.

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‘Nomad’ review at Mountain Xpress

Thanks to his recent acting performances in The Mandalorian and Jack Reacher, Werner Herzog has become something of a cultural meme. His dour expression, dry narration, and nihilistic philosophy makes for great parody when applied to absurdity.

But it can’t be forgotten that Herzog is still a fascinating, distinct filmmaker. His latest documentary, Nomad, is a powerful tribute to writer Bruce Chatwin, whose work and approach to life Herzog admired.

I reviewed the movie for Asheville’s Mountain Xpress:

“‘Chatwin was a writer like no other,’ Herzog says. “He would craft mythical tales into voyages of the mind. In this respect, we found out we were kindred spirits. He as a writer, I as a filmmaker.’

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My Spy review at Mountain Xpress

Dave Bautista is officially a movie star. He demonstrated his comedy talents in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and in Blade Runner 2049, he showed he could be good with dramatic roles.

But successfully headlining a family-friendly action-comedy will take Bautista to another level and he’s done that with the surprisingly fun My Spy, available on Amazon Prime.

I reviewed the movie for Asheville’s Mountain Xpress:

My Spy wouldn’t be nearly as fun without Dave Bautista carrying the entire venture on his formidably muscled shoulders. Any doubters who dismissed Bautista as another pro wrestler trying to be a movie star like Dwayne Johnson were likely silenced by the comic timing he showed in the Guardians of the Galaxy films.

Bautista has continued to use that talent for deadpan humor in comedies like Stuber, and with My Spy, he’s taking the step to family-friendly action star, which elevated the careers of Johnson, Vin Diesel and John Cena. (Bautista is also a producer here, showing he knows this is the right move, balanced with his roles in upcoming spectacles such as Dune, Army of the Dead and a third Guardians movie.)

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