Connect with us

Reviews

Shooting Stars Review | Unfocused Sports Biopic Throws a Brick

Peacock’s Shooting Stars has noble aspirations, but doesn’t amount to anything remotely intriguing or thought-provoking.

Published

on

There have been several major basketball pictures this year, with Ben Affleck’s Air and Calmatic’s White Men Can’t Jump remake being considerable successes. This week, it’s Universal’s turn with Shooting Stars, based on the 2009 memoir of the same name written by LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger. The film chronicles the life of a young LeBron (Mookie Cook) as he plays in the St.Vincent-St.Mary High School basketball team with his friends Dru Joyce III (Caleb McLaughlin), Sian Cotton (Khalil Everage), Romeo Travis (Scoot Henderson) and Illya McGee (Algee Smith).

The film’s basketball scenes are shot with great verve by cinematographer Karsten Gopinath. Drones have been part of our collective imagination since Michael Bay showed the world how great of a filmmaking tool it can be with Ambulance, and here, Gopinath and director Chris Robinson use it to terrific effect. The film cuts to an overhead drone shot of a building slowly panning to LeBron during one of its opening scenes, and there’s an even more impressive shot of a drone going into a net, spiraling backward as if it were a basketball.

Stuff like this is so cool to watch, but it seems like Gopinath and Robinson use every trick in their arsenal during the film’s opening hour and starts to fizzle out afterward. The movie then becomes a highly conventional basketball picture with less interesting stakes and style than what came before. When Shooting Stars pushes the stylistic envelope, it’s a marvel to look at. But when it starts to morph into something terribly conventional and formulaic, it’s a massive bore.

Barring two great supporting performances, none of the leads are memorable in any way. Cook does his best as LeBron but can’t match the charm the real LeBron has had on the court and in film. The same can be said for every other lead: their performances are lethargic, and they feel devoid of any legitimate charm or kinship that would solidify a movie like this and make it memorable. Some of the scenes where they bond together on the court are well made (because of their impressive visual kinetics), but they seem to come few and far between.

Shooting Stars [credit: Universal Pictures]

Most of the character arcs and relationships feel underdeveloped since the movie focuses most of its time on the basketball scenes. And as impressive as they are from a purely visual standpoint, they’re not so impressive from a storytelling standpoint. The basketball scenes don’t necessarily develop the characters and don’t draw interesting stakes for the audiences to become invested in the film.

Thankfully, Wood Harris and Dermot Mulroney are excellent as coaches Dru Joyce II and Keith Dambrot, respectively. Harris is the film’s emotional core and the main reason why anyone would want to seek it out. His dramatic presence is unparalleled and delivers monologues of terrific profundity. It’s a shame that the leads can’t match, or at least can’t feel as tangible as Harris in this film and in most of the performances he gives.

 

Ultimately, Shooting Stars doesn’t hit a slam dunk. The film’s underdeveloped core of main characters, paper-thin plot, and formulaic structure doesn’t help it, even if the basketball scenes and two strong performances help it become quasi-engaging. But it’s not enough for me to recommend you seek it out, even if you’re a massive LeBron fan. You’re better off reading the book it’s based on instead of watching a biopic where you’ll learn nothing of value from LeBron or the “fab four” that shaped him.

FILM RATING

 

Shooting Stars is now streaming on Peacock. 

FILM RATING
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Adventure

Arthur the King is an Epic Masterpiece

Published

on

Arthur the King movie poster (Lionsgate Films)

Here follows the review of Arthur the King, a story of deep connection between people and dogs. Not all heroes wear capes, some have wagging tails and would cross a river (and jungle) for you.

Plot

Desperate for one last chance to win, Michael Light convinces a sponsor to back him and a team of athletes for the Adventure Racing World Championship in the Dominican Republic. As the team gets pushed to the outer limits of endurance, a dog named Arthur comes along for the ride, redefining what victory, loyalty and friendship truly means.

Arthur Foundation

Mikael Lindnord raced through a jungle in Ecuador and after feeding a few meatballs to a stray dog made a friend for life. The dog followed Mikael and his team through the rough terrain. Mikael named the dog Arthur and took him back home with him.

Arthur and Mikael Lindnord (Photo taken by Krister Goransson)

The Arthur Foundation collaborates with various organizations in different countries that work towards animal welfare.

Click on the following links to reach out to Mikael Lindnord.

Movie Review (no spoilers)

The movie is based on the memoir, Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home by Mikael Lindnord, who was the athlete who participated in the Adventure Racing World Championship in Ecuador. It is important to note in the movie they refer to him as Michael Light. Even though the original race took place in Ecuador, the movie changed the location to the Dominican Republic. The original race took place in 2014, while in the movie the race takes place in 2018.

Mark Wahlberg portrays the part of the Mikael and delivers an excellent performance alongside Simu Liu, Nathalie Emmanuel and Ali Suliman. Ukai, a stray dog, was a real champion portraying the role of Arthur. The film takes us through picturesque locations in the Dominican Republic. The suspense was felt at every turn and corner and you are kept glued to the screen with a gripping storyline. The story balances the journey of Mikael and Arthur and eventually joins their path like a jigsaw puzzle.

Mark Wahlberg as Mikael Light (Lionsgate Films)

A fictional backstory is provided of Mikael’s competitive journey as well as the journey that Arthur took to get to Mikael. The movie successfully tells a deep story of connection between dogs and people. If you want to know more about the real story, you can check your local bookstore or Amazon for a copy of Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home

This movie is a 5 out of 5 for me. The connection between Mikael and Arthur is brought to life in this epic masterpiece. Arthur found a home in the heart of Mikael and thanks to Mark Wahlberg and Ukai, this film adaptation of ‘Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home’ became a memorable movie.

The trailer doesn’t spoil any of the important scenes of the movie. Arthur the King has a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. There is no post-credits scene so no need to wait till the end.

Arthur the King Official Trailer (Lionsgate Films)

FILM RATING
Continue Reading

Entertainment

A Must-See Satanic Panic Horror – Late Night With the Devil

Published

on

 

Written and directed by Cameron Cairnes & Colin Cairnes, Late Night With the Devil follows a late night TV host Jack Delroy, fighting the plummeting viewership of his show by welcoming in people from the occult in order to change that, but of course, everything doesn’t go as smooth as planned.

David Dastmalchian as Jack Delroy Late Night With the Devil (2023)

David Dastmalchian has appeared in a lot of films however always in smaller roles including The Dark Knight, Prisoners and more recently The Suicide Squad. This film allows Dastmalchian to take on the lead role of Jack Delroy, the host of the late night show at the centre of this film, and he genuinely does a great job. There’s a real range of emotions which his character goes through during the course of this film and he depicts them so well.

If you’re a fan of the horror genre, you’re going to really appreciate the use of practical effects in this. There’s plenty of stretchy and gooey gore for all of the horror fanatics that will have you shouting at the screen. 

From left to right: Laura Gordon, Ingrid Torelli, David Dastmalchian, Ian Bliss

If you want to hear my full thoughts, check out my review over on YouTube and let me know your opinions in the comments.

Late Night With the Devil will be released in cinemas from 22nd March and on Shudder on 19th April.

FILM RATING
Continue Reading

Reviews

‘I Love You, Guys’ Review | A Poignant Exploration of Celebrity Vulnerability and Human Resilience

Published

on

We are living in an era where celebrities are worshipped like deities and sometimes, people forget that he or she is also a normal human being. If we feel happy or sad at certain moments, they do as well and even though a lot of people always surround them, they get vulnerable too. Although a lot of filmmakers forget to show that aspect of their lives, Billie Melissa Rogan takes the bold approach of showing the truth. Her directorial debut, ‘I Love You, Guys,’ is a poignant story about a celebrity fighting her inner self to maintain her celebrity image. The result is a stunning piece of art that resonates long after the end credits roll in.

The short film opens with a profound close-up of the young singing sensation named Sky (Becky Bush). She has made a name for herself by making and singing really exceptional songs. As a result, she is adored by her fans. Even though it feels like Sky has everything she wants, viewers see her submerged in a bathtub as she tries to battle her anxiety. Just then, Sky gets a phone that she’d be performing state-side. Now, that’s where we get to know about her vulnerable state for the first time. Although she says that she is really happy with the above-mentioned news, her face tells a different story. Despite her impending stardom, Sky has not started to feel the massive weight of mounting pressure, a sentiment audiences get to see in her conversations with bandmate Ryan (Pedro Leandro) and girlfriend Taylor (Celi Crossland).

Becky Bush in a still from ‘I Love You, Guys’ (Jumpcut Studios)

As the story moves forward, we get to know that ‘I Love You, Guys’ is about the fragile nature of the human spirit as much as it is about celebrity culture. It not only navigates themes of depression, it also highlights the turbulent emotional journey of Sky. One of the best aspects of the film is how Rogan masterfully brings Cory Varney’s screenplay to life. She managed to capture every minor detail of Sky’s emotions with utmost precision. Despite the fact that it is her first-ever film as a director, we get a sense that we are watching a flick helmed by a seasoned filmmaker.

Another aspect that makes this film such a compelling watch is its cinematography. Jenni Suitiala has done a phenomenal in showing expressions through vibrant colors and Rogan has made full use of the settings to give viewers a visually striking film. Whether it is heated arguments or silent moments of despair, each frame feels authentic and draws audiences into Sky’s personal life.

Apart from Rogan’s direction, Varney’s script is this film’s biggest strength. The writer has undoubtedly done a stunning job of showing the humanity of these characters. There’s a reason why Sky’s struggles feel very personal and it is because we have endured such moments in life. Moments where we doubt ourselves even when we know we are more than capable of doing a particular thing. Not every smiling person is happy. Sometimes he or she is smiling just so that no one finds out about the tough times they are going through.

A still from ‘I Love You, Guys’ (Jumpcut Studios)

Acting-wise, Becky Bush has given a performance that is surely going to open several doors for her. She delivers a magnificent performance by infusing Sky with a beautiful balance of vulnerability and strength. The way she manages to convey an innumerable amount of emotions is spectacular. I believe this is one of the most apt depictions of mental turmoil. Meanwhile, Pedro Leandro and Celi Crossland are just as spectacular. Every interaction between the characters feels genuine and nuanced.

All in all, ‘I Love You, Guys’ is a testament to how resilient a human spirit can be. In just 15 minutes, Rogan, Varney, and Bush take viewers on a journey that’s thought-provoking and talks about a subject that no one talks about. The writing, direction, and performances achieve a lot more than just viewers’ attention. The film offers a compelling examination of the human cost of pursuing fame and success. A poignant story that touches on themes of ambition, relationships, and self-discovery.

FILM RATING
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Popular Now

Advertisement
Advertisement

TRENDING NOW

Trending

CoastalHouseMedia.com is a property of Coastal House LLC. © 2012 All Rights Reserved. Images used on this website are registered trademarks of their respective companies/owners.

0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x