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Spider-Man: Homecoming (a J!-ENT 4K Ultra HD Disc Review)

October 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” may not be featuring the Spider-Man that I grew up reading but I will say that “Spider-Man: Homecoming” was entertaining to the point that I watched it multiple times already because I really enjoyed watching the film.  The way I see it, if the “Spider-Man” trilogy or the next two films didn’t win you over, this movie may.  Wonderful story, loved the characters and this film was just a lot of fun and I highly recommend it!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Spider-Man: Homecoming

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2017

DURATION: 133 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 2160p 4K Ultra High Definition, 2:39:1 aspect ratio, English Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 compatible), French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio,  French, Spanish, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Audio Description, SUBTITLES: English, English SDH, Arabic, Cantonese,  Chinese, Dutch, French, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Spanish and Thai

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13

RELEASE DATE: October 17, 2017


Based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

Directed by Jon Watts

Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers

Producer: Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal

Executive Producer: Victoria Alonso, Avi Arad, Louis D’Esposito, Jeremy Latcham, Stan Lee, Matt Tolmach, Patricia Whitcher

Co-Producer:  Mitchell Bell, Eric Hauserman Carroll, Rachel O’Connor

Music by Michael Giacchino

Cinematography by Salvatore Totino

Edited by Debbie Berman, Dan Lebental

Casting by Sarah Finn

Production Design by Oliver Scholl

Set Decoration by Lauri Gaffin

Costume Design by Louise Frogley


Starring:

Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man

Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/Vulture

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man

Marisa Tomei as May Parker

Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan

Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts

Zendaya as Michelle

Donald Glover as Aaron Davis

Jacob Batalon as Ned

Laura Harrier as Liz

Tony Revolori as Flash

Bokeem Woodbine as Herman Schultz/Shocker

Tyne Daly as Anne Marie Hoag

Garcelle Beauvais as Doris Toomes


A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.


It is well-known that there is friction between Marvel Studios (which is currently owned by Disney) and their Marvel’s deal with FOX which gave them ownership to the X-Men films (and formerly the “Fantastic Four” films) which prevents the interaction of characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to co-exist.  But one big question that many have wondered is if one of the most iconic characters, Spider-Man, which the films are with Sony Pictures, would ever appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

And when it was announced that Sony Pictures, Marvel Studios and Disney would collaborate and allowed Spider-Man to be featured in a MCU film, not only was it unprecedented, fans applauded the studios of working together.

Spider-Man would be featured in “Captain America: Civil War” and now we have a new Spider-Man film which allows Tony Stark (Iron Man) and even Captain America to be featured in a Sony Pictures film, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.

The film begins not long after the Battle of New York (as featured in the first “Avengers” film).  Adrian Toomes (portrayed by Michael Keaton) owns a salvage company and is contracted to clean up the city of the destroyed alien Chitauri technology that have littered the streets of New York.

As Adrian sees the financial possibilities of obtaining this technology, the Department of Damage Control (D.O.D.C.) and a partnership with Stark Industries and the U.S. government have come in to take over, upsetting Adrian because he hired a lot of helped and spent his own money for the operation.

Having lost the job, his men reveal that they still have some of the alien technology.

Fastforward eight years later (following the events that took place in “Captain America: Civil War”), Peter Parker went to help Tony Stark/Iron Man and when taken home, is told that if they need him, they will call. Meanwhile, Happy Hogan (portrayed by Jon Favreau) would be watching over him.

And while Peter lives a double life as an intelligent studying at the Midtown School of Science and Technology, he takes on thugs or helps people with issues around the city, growing bored and wanting to do something huge.  He lives with his Aunty May (portrayed by Marisa Tomei) and hangs out with his best friend Ned (portrayed by Jacob Batalon) and has a crush on Liz (portrayed by Laura Harrier).

Meanwhile, we see that Adrian Toomes and his men have utilized the technology to pull of major theft of alien technology and selling it to the highest bidder and becoming wealthy because of it.

One device made is a shocking device and the person utilizing the technology would be known as The Shocker, while Toomes has a vulture like apparatus that allows him to fly and use the machinery as a weapon.

One day, as Spider-Man is out patrolling, he discovers a group of thieves dressed up with Avengers masks trying to rob a bank near his home.  Spider-Man goes to stop them but is shocked that they have alien technology that can literally destroy buildings quickly and another that makes him utilizing magnetic technology.

When he goes back home and sneaks in, Peter is unaware that his friend Ned is in his room and now Ned knows his secret that Peter is Spider-Man.

And as Peter tries to keep his double life in check, he is wanting to know more about the people using the alien technology despite the warning he receives from Tony Stark that he must stay on the ground.  Will Peter’s pursuit of who is using the Chitauri put him in true danger, especially of the people who are close to him?


VIDEO:

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is presented in 4K Ultra High Definition ala 2160p 4K Ultra High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio).

The film looks absolutely magnificent in 4K Ultra HD and Spider-Man’s outfit is vibrant, colors and visual effects look magnificent and with each passing year, I can’t help but be in awe of how these MCU films look better and better.

Videophiles will no doubt be happy with this release.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: To watch 4K Ultra HD, you will need a 4K UHD TV with HDR and an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player + a high-speed HDMI (Category 2) Cable.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Lossless audio quality is equally impressive. Presented in English Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 compatible), French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French, Spanish, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Audio Description.

The lossless audio is no doubt immersive considering the amount of action featured in this film.   Each shockblast, each web shot by Spider-Man, hearing the Vulture’s steel wings in action to the many numerous situations that involve explosions and weaponry, these sound effects for this film is truly marvelous.  Similar to the picture quality, for audio, lossless audio for this film is magnificent!

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Arabic, Cantonese, Chinese, Dutch, French, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Spanish and Thai

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” comes with the following special features (on the Blu-ray Disc):

  • The Spide Study Guide – Watch the film with informative pop-ups and hidden references.
  • Gag Reel – (2:17) Bloopers from “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes – (16:17) Featuring ten deleted and extended scenes.
  • A Tangled Web – (6:12) Stan Lee and filmmakers discusses Spider-Man becoming part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Searching for Spider-Man – (8:05) A featurette about Tom Holland and having him as Spider-Man.
  • Spidey Stunts – (5:48) A featurette about the stunts on “Spider-Man” and how when Tom Holland auditioned for the film, he was doing stunts and using his gymnastic/dance background in the film.
  • Aftermath – (4:48) A featurette about the expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe and incorporating storyline elements (featured in the “Avengers” film) to Spider-Man.
  • The Vulture Takes Flight – (6:02) A featurette about creating the antagonist, the Vulture on film.
  • Jon Watts: Head of the Class – (5:30) A featurette about hiring Jon Watts as the director of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and how he takes the character somewhere that has never been done for character on film.
  • Pros and Cons of Spider-Man – (3:28) Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon discussing the pros and cons of Spider-Man.
  • Rappin with Cap – (2:26) Featuring all four Captain America school films.
  • Photo Gallery
  • Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” comes with a slipcover, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray disc and an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


Growing up as a fan of “Spider-Man”, it has been interesting cinematic experiences.  From the Sam Raimi trilogy featuring actor Tobe Maguire in the 2000’s and the Marc Webb films starring Andrew Garfield in 2012 and 2014.  I was entertained by those films.

But with the Marvel Cinematic Universe establishing a well-oiled machine showcasing Marvel’s well-known characters interacting in each other’s films, one of the troubling situations was knowing that various superhero teams or superheroes featured from one studio, may not appear in the Disney/Marvel Studios films.

And when it was announced that Sony agreed to a collaboration for Spider-Man to be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, first with “Captain America: Civil War” and now with “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and I see this as a win-win, for the studios but also the fans who have seen the MCU and how these characters and films tie together as a major plus.

But with numerous Spider-Man films, how would “Spider-Man: Homecoming” do compared to the other films?

For one, there is no rehash of how Spider-Man became a hero, no Uncle Ben, no jocks vs. geeks storyline.  No Mary Jane Watson.  No Gwen Stacy.  In fact, no one knew what to expect from filmmaker Jon Watts (known for indie films, “Cop Car” and “Creative Control”), especially as the film had numerous writers such as Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Watts along with Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers.

And probably the unknown is what made this film so enjoyable for me.  We saw how Spider-Man was recruited by Tony Stark in “Captain America: Civil War”, but what happened after that film is what many wondered how “Spider-Man: Homecoming” would end up.

The film would kick off by creating a tie-in to the first “Avengers” film with showing how Adrian Toomes owning a salvage company, taking alien high-technology from the ravaged streets of New York and then being kicked to the curb by the government and Stark Industries.  But Toomes and company managed to keep some of that alien technology and eight years later, he and his crew would be able to create superpowered weaponry with the salvaged Chitauri technology and become an arms trafficker.

Meanwhile, Peter Parker who served with Iron Man and other Avengers would now be returned back home and would need to report to Happy Hogan, the former head of security of Stark Industries.  While wanting to be in major skirmishes like the Avengers, Peter Parker for now will be the neighborhood crime-fighting hero, even if it means walking elderly across the street or vandalism.

But meanwhile Peter is trying to balance school and uses his superhero front working with Stark Industries as a “student internship” and trying to enjoy his teenage life with his buddy Ned while enjoying the presence of his high school crush, Liz from afar.

But life changes for Peter when he discovers Toome and their crew trying to use Chitauri technology for crime and because of their deadly weapons, he was nearly killed until Tony Stark utilized one of his costumes to save Peter.  But Peter wanting to prove himself to Tony Stark pursues the criminals not realizing the full extent of the danger that awaits him but also how with great power comes great responsibility.

The major difference between this Peter Parker than other incarnations of Peter Parker is that this is a modern film.  The costume that Peter Parker wears utilizes technology from Stark Industries giving him a wide range of selections for combat and even has an assistant built in to the costume.  And part of the entertainment factor is seeing Parker learn what his costume is capable of.

Meanwhile, as for Peter, another key difference is that while he is often bullied by Flash, unlike the first trilogy and the comic books, Flash is not an athlete but a part of Peter’s decathlon team.  Modernized for today’s generation, I liked how the film portrayed Peter, Ned, Liz, Flash as smart, intelligent teens and showcasing geeks as “cool” unlike the past where the geeks were always tormented by the jocks.

The film mirrors today’s world society and one of the things that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done was to show diversity.  The film showcases a white teen who has a crush on an African American teen, her mother is married to a Caucasian man, the film features Peter Parker’s best friend Ned who happens to be a Filipino.

It may not mean a lot to some people but for those who have been wanting to see diversity, wanting to see situations that mirror real life and have wanted Hollywood to showcase diversity will definitely get that with “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.

The film looks absolutely fantastic on 4K Ultra HD and the lossless soundtrack is immersive and quite active thanks to the plethora of action sequences.  And you also get a numerous special features included as well.

Overall, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” may not be featuring the Spider-Man that I grew up reading but I will say that “Spider-Man: Homecoming” was entertaining to the point that I watched it multiple times already because I really enjoyed watching the film.  The way I see it, if the “Spider-Man” trilogy or the next two films didn’t win you over, this movie may.  Wonderful story, loved the characters and this film was just a lot of fun and I highly recommend it!

NEXT WEEK ON THE VIEW (3/14-18, 2011)

March 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

BILLY RAY CYRUS, TAYE DIGGS, MARISA TOMEI AND STEVE MARTIN ARE AMONG THE FEATURED GUESTS ON “THE VIEW,” MARCH 14-18

Country crooner/songwriter/actor Billy Ray Cyrus, comedian/actor/musician Steve Martin, Taye Diggs (ABC’s “Private Practice”), Marisa Tomei (“The Lincoln Lawyer”), designer Tory Burch, director Tom Shadyac (“I Am”) and Michael Flatley (“Lord of the Dance 3-D”) are among the featured guests MARCH 14-18 on “The View” (11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, ET) on the ABC Television Network. Former prosecutor and judge, now legal analyst Jeanine Pirro is featured guest co-host on Monday, March 14.

Scheduled guests the week of MARCH 14-18 are as follows (subject to change):

MONDAY, MARCH 14 – Guest co-host and legal analyst Jeanine Pirro; Director Tom Shadyac (“I Am”); actor Todd Bridges (author, Killing Willis).

TUESDAY, MARCH 15 – Taye Diggs (ABC’s “Private Practice”).

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16 – Academy Award(tm) winner Marisa Tomei (“The Lincoln Lawyer”); performance from Michael Flatley (“Lord of the Dance 3-D”).

THURSDAY, MARCH 17 – St. Patrick’s Day; musical guest Steve Martin.

FRIDAY, MARCH 18 – Country crooner Billy Ray Cyrus; “View Tube”: Week in Review highlights the most outrageous behind-the-scenes moments featuring “The View” staff/crew and guests, seen exclusively on abc.com/theview; “‘The View’ Fashion Friday” with celebrated designer Tory Burch.

“The View” features Daytime Emmy Award-winning hosts Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd. It’s the original forum in which real women discuss everyday issues, share their opinions and engage in colorful conversations. “The View,” broadcast in HDTV and produced in 2-channel stereo sound, is now available to watch online daily at 4:00 p.m., ET/1:00 p.m., PT on the ABC Digital Full Episode Player at ABC.com. “The View” is produced by ABC Daytime and Ms. Walters’ Barwall Productions, with Ms. Walters serving as executive producer along with Bill Geddie, who also serves as executive producer for “The Barbara Walters Specials.” “The View” is directed by Mark Gentile.

For breaking news and updated videos follow “The View” (@theviewtv) and hosts Barbara Walters (@BarbaraJWalters), Joy Behar (@JoyVBehar), Elisabeth Hasselbeck (@ehasselbeck) and Sherri Shepherd (@SherriEShepherd) on Twitter.(tm)

THE WRESTLER (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

April 19, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

“Mickey Rourke’s triumphant return! ‘THE WRESTLER’ is magnificently real and easily one of the best films to come out in theaters in 2009 thus far!  Rourke is absolutely amazing in this film!”

Images courtesy of © 2009 Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: THE WRESTLER

DURATION: 111 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: The Wrestler single-disc DVD is presented in widescreen format 2.35:1 aspect ratio with English 5.1 Dolby Surround.

COMPANY: Twentieth Century Fox

RATED: R (for violence, sexuality/nudity, language and some drug use.)

RELEASE DATE:  April 21, 2009

Directed by Darren Aronofsky

Screenplay by Robert Siegel

Produced by Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin

Co-Produced by by Mark Heyman

Associate Produced by Evan Ginzburg, Ari Handel

Executive Producer: Vincent Maraval, Agnes Mentre, Jennifer Roth

Music by Clint Mansell

Director of Photography: Maryse Alberti

Editing by Andrew Weisblum

Art Direction by Matthew Munn

Set Decoration by Theo Sena

Costume Design by Amy Westcott

Starring:

Mickey Rourke as Randy “The Ram” Robinson

Marisa Tomei as Cassidy

Evan Rachel Wood as Stephanie

Mark Margolis as Lenny

Todd Barry as Wayne

Wass Stevens as Nick Volpe

Juda Friedlander as Scott Brumberg

Ernest Miller as The Ayatollah

Dylan Keith Summers as Necro Butcher

Tommy Farra as Tommy Rotten

Mike Miller as Lex Lethal

Mickey Rourke gives the performance of a lifetime as pro wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a former superstar now paying the price for twenty years of grueling punishment in and out of the ring. But he’s about to risk everything to prove he has one more match left in him: a re-staging of his famous Madison Square Garden bout against “The Ayatollah.” Darren Aronofsky directs a powerful cast in this action-packed saga of guts, glory and gritty determination that is “as irresistible as a headlock” (New York Post).

Mickey Rourke’s triumphant return! ‘THE WRESTLER’ is magnificently real, edgy and easily one of the best films to come out in theaters in 2009 thus far!  Rourke is just amazing in this film!

“THE WRESTLER”, a 2008 film (released in theaters in Jan. 2009) had faced a good number of challenges during its planning and production.  Under the constant constraints of trying to get financing and setting a budget and a film finding the right talent that would be perfect for a certain role was indeed a challenge

Fortunately, the film was well-cast and well written, “THE WRESTLER” definitely succeeds under the wonderful guidance of Director Darren Aronofsky (“Requiem for a Dream”, “The Fountain”, etc.) and a convincing storyline by Robert D. Siegel.  Magnificent performances by Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood!

The film revolves around wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke), a professional superstar wrestler in the mid-80’s who had one of the classic memorable matches with the Ayatollah (Ernest Miller) at Madison Square Garden, in front of thousands upon thousands of people.

Fast forward 20 years later, Randy “The Ram” Robinson continues to wrestle, still wowing crowds but much, much smaller than the many thousands that he used to perform for.

Randy now wrestles on independent wrestling circuits, traveling around the country and making several hundred dollars per performance.  To his fans, he’s a legendary wrestler but his life outside of the ring is much, much worse.

He’s behind on payments for his trailer home that he’s often locked out.  He sometimes has to camp out inside his van but always in pain, in order to prepare himself for another match and mask the pain, he takes illegally prescribed medications and drugs.

Randy also works at a supermarket during the week and wrestles during the weekends. He also tends to frequent a local strip club where he visits Cassidy, the stage name for Pam (Marisa Tomei) who likes to treat him with special lap dances.  You get a sense that Pam is not really enjoying her job and as an older exotic dancer (who looks terrific), but she doesn’t get much of any paying customers.

Throughout the film, we see Randy being hit up for info. of how they can get in on some drugs to help them with their pain.  We also see Randy having a conversation with a fellow wrestler or is a drug pusher, hooking him up with pain medications and any drug that he may need.

We also see how Randy prepares for matches such as how they hide a blade in order to cut themselves in the forehead to bleed.   The following day, he has a match which will change his life.

As Randy prepares for a violent, hardcore wrestling match with Necro Butcher (Dylan Summers), the two start injuring each other with thumbtacks, barbed wire and glass.  As entertaining the film was on stage, both men are injured but backstage but as he tries to recover from his injuries, Randy throws up and immediately suffers a heart attack.

When he wakes up, he is told by the doctor that his heart is bad and he needed a bypass operation and is warned by his doctor to stop taking steroids and to stop wrestling.

The fact that he has a bad heart and now a permanent scar on his chest has given Randy a new sense of life.  Facing the fact that he may die, he wants to make things right in his life again.  Especially with his estranged daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood) who he hasn’t talked to since she was small.

When you see Randy trying to tell his daughter about his heart attack, she tears on him immediately and she talks about how much she hates him for not being there and all of a sudden, showing up unannounced and trying to be a father absolutely does not rest well with her.

When Randy tries to tell her that he had a heart attack, Stephanie is just livid, thinking that he only came to her, so she can be forced to take care of him if he’s bed-ridden. It’s something she has no interest.  He wasn’t there for her when she needed him, why should she be there for him.

Another wake up call for Randy is during one day as he joined other former pro wrestlers in a mini-event to sell their merchandise.  Although Randy gets a few good paying customers, he sees around him of how a lot of these wrestlers have suffered.  Some in wheelchairs, some in chronic pain or lifelong injuries, definitely a wakeup call that the fame the wrestlers once had is now gone. Randy eventually knows that he needs to change his life before its too late.

He decides that he wants to make things right and that he needs to stop wrestling and cancel all his booked events.  Also, to focus on working more, getting a job and just making the best effort to change his life.  But he needs to make things right with his daughter Stephanie.

So, Randy goes to the only person that he cares about and talks to Cassidy/Pam at the strip club.  She tells him that he needs to buy his daughter a cool gift like clothing and that she is going to go back on her policy of not talking personal to her clients and ends up lending her help to Randy in order to pick a clothing at a shop.

After a morning of shopping, Randy invites Pam to get a drink of beer at a bar and the two go out.  Both Randy and Pam seem to have some chemistry and even share a kiss.

As for Randy’s work life, he is able to get a job at the supermarket as a meat cutter and work in the deli section, so now he’s making a little more money to take care of himself.

And when he gives the gift to Stephanie, she actually is thankful to him and things become different for the two.  In fact, Stephanie gives Randy the benefit of the doubt and it seems there will be a reconciliation between father and daughter.  Both go visit a spot where the two used to go to when she was a toddler and the two even share a dance between father and daughter.

During this rare moment together, Randy admits that he’s messed up his life.  He tried to provide for them but it didn’t work out and he knew he lost her, so he tried his best to forget her but couldn’t.  He wants to be in his daughter’s life again and Stephanie, for the first time, is happy.  Both decide to go to dinner on a Saturday to discuss this new family relationship between the both of them.

Now, everything looks as if Randy has turned his life around for the positive.  That is until one night…

“THE WRESTLER” is a film about consequences and the moment.  Showcasing the dark side of professional wrestling, it definitely gives us a perspective of knowing that Randy’s story is just among the number of wrestlers…old and new, who faces aging, trying to keep fit and doing what they can to get them prepared for the ring, even if it may kill them.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“THE WRESTLER” single-disc DVD is presented in widescreen format 2.35:1 aspect ratio with English 5.1 Dolby Surround.  Picture quality is quite decent on DVD but I’m sure that a film with this much action in the ring should look much more better in High Definition.  But on DVD, it looks as if the film had a lot of grain but granted, the film was shot using 16mm

As for the audio, “THE WRESTLER” is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Surround, the audience cheering and the constant blasts of 80’s rock music from Quiet Riot, RATT and other 80’s rock bands with music that definitely comes out strong through the front channels.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The following special features for “THE WRESTLER” are included:

  • Within the Ring featurette – (42:44) An indepth featurette with interviews with the Director and producers of “THE WRESTLER” discussing their challenges the film faced, budget problems but working with the various talent and how this story is not to far off from the lives of real professional wrestlers.
  • The Wrestler Music Video – Written and Performed by Bruce Springsteen – (3:59)  A music video featuring Bruce Springsteen performing in the middle of a wrestling ring and clips from the movie.

“THE WRESTLER” is just a powerful film and I have to credit that to the performance of Mickey Rourke.  The amount of work to get his body so toned and muscular is quite impressive but the overall screenplay and level of direction really made this film feel genuine.  I was very surprised of how much bulking up he had to do in order to play the character of Randy “The Ram” Robinson.   But you can’t deny that Rourke looked perfect for the role and his portrayal of a man who’s lost was just magnificent.

I don’t know if any other actor could have really pulled it off.  Rourke’s determination and how he owned this role is just brilliant and he was definitely deserving of an Academy Award nomination.

Marisa Tomei also had an Academy Award-caliber performance and she looked absolutely great in this film.  Definitely a role that I would never have pictured her for, but nevertheless, she did great.

And Evan Rachel Wood, as the estranged daughter, she definitely brought the emotional element between father and daughter and how messed up things truly are between them.  Another fine performance for Wood, who was absolutely wonderful in her last film “Across the Universe”.

What makes “THE WRESTLER” work so well is its layers of believability.  The character living in a trailer park, the character of Randy still tries to live in his past relishing on the good years of when he was one of the most popular wrestlers. His mannerisms of dying his hair to continually working his various odd jobs.  He loves it when people listen to his wrestling war stories about his injuries, having the neighbor kids come over to play old school NES (with his character) and having fans and wrestlers continue to support him.   But knowing outside of his life and the persona he has lived, his life is just in shambles.

What is very sad about this film, although the storyline features the life of one wrestler, is to know that in reality, Randy’s life is a life that many professional wrestlers have lived.  Unlike other sports where an athlete can retire, many of these wrestlers in the 80’s did not have the big money contracts of today, nor did they have film offers and aside from Hulk Hogan, the truth is that a good number of the pro wrestlers from yesteryear are poor, wrestling to survive and like the character of Randy, estranged from their own family members, abuse steroids, pain medications or drugs and having to wrestle to survive.

How far these athletes will go to earn a paycheck which includes having their bodies battered decades after their prime as a top wrestler.  No health insurance for these aged wrestlers and what money is made from one wrestling match, would have to be spent in a hotel/motel in another state or city and really, are not in a good position to continually save. So, basically when they are in the ring, they are relying on their own wrestling smarts but if they get hurt or injured, it’s on their backs and thus many use drugs or painkillers for their pain.

Where a film such as “BEYOND THE MAT” showed to wrestling fans a realistic and dark and downside of professional wrestling, “THE WRESTLER” is obviously a film that has more visibility and will expose people to this side of life of pro wrestlers and thanks to its Academy Award  and critically-acclaimed hype (which is definitely warranted), I hope people give this film a try.

Overall, I was really impressed with the film and how well emotions were captured.  And again, magnificent performances from Rourke, Tomei and Wood.

“THE WRESTLER” is definitely recommended on DVD or Blu-ray!

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