Sylvester Stallone

[5.0] First Blood is a terrific action movie because, as absurd as it gets toward its conclusion, it’s rooted in solid drama and with great verisimilitude. This sequel, cowritten by Sylvester Stallone and James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar), and directed by George Cosmotos (Tombstone, Leviathan), lacks that sincerity or realism. It’s much more of a comic-book superhero movie, complete with a leading hero who looks more …

[7.5] Everyone in front of and behind the camera is back for another go-round in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, a fun time at the movies, even if it falls a tad short of the first film‘s humor and character engagement. This installment focuses around the sudden appearance and identification of Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) father, played by the always-welcome Kurt Russell. Dad reveals …

[8.0] Spoiler Review! Sylvester Stallone further cemented his action super-star status with this smart, character-driven thriller about a former Green Beret suffering from post-traumatic stress who gets bullied by a small mountain-town sheriff and his deputies. When the soldier finally defends himself, the police force him into an all-out war in the misty mountainside, where his special training helps him evade the law and stay …

[5.5] I know I’m being too kind to this over-produced piece of cheese, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it at least a little bit. It falls short of all previous installments primarily because the justification for fighting this time around is the weakest, and also because the drama is more forced. The Cold War very much influenced the American propaganda …

[6.5] Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) tries to slide into a normal life after the events of the first film, but Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) keeps insisting on a re-match. Rocky II follows closely enough to the narrative of the original movie to be annoying, and a pivotal moment where Adrian (Talia Shire) reverses an important opinion doesn’t sit well with me. But the characters are …

[5.5] If you can get past the fact that the Rocky series never should have lived to see a fifth entry, Rocky V may actually surprise you a little. I’m glad it doesn’t retread the old narrative of every installment that precedes it. It’s good to see Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) and his family ‘on the rocks,’ adjusting to life back in working-class Philadelphia. I found …

[6.5] SPOILER REVIEW: Sylvester Stallone returns both as star and director, this time pitted against a one-dimensional and downright evil opponent named Clubber Lang (Mr. T). Carl Weathers returns as former opponent Apollo Creed, offering his training services after the death of Mickey (Burgess Meredith). The film gains dramatic heft from Mickey’s departure, and I was glad to see supporting players Talia Shire and Burt …

[7.5] This documentary tells the story of how two very successful Israeli filmmakers came to Hollywood and shook things up for a while in the ’80s. While neither Menahem Golan nor Yoram Globus are interviewed, their personalities come across in archival footage and an exhaustive array of interviews with people who worked on the films they produced. For the uninitiated, Golan and Globus pretty much …

[6.5] The sixth entry in the Rocky franchise is far better than it has any right to be. Sylvester Stallone is back in the writing and directing chairs, presenting a melancholy portrait of a hero fighting against decline. At the film’s start, we see the Italian Stallion still reeling from the death of his beloved Adrian two years prior, while trying to maintain a relationship …

[9.0] Sylvester Stallone wrote and stars in this low-budget box office triumph that went on to win the Best Picture Academy Award. Rocky is a remarkable blend of fantastic performances, understated screenwriting, and straightforward execution. It’s very hard not to get swept up in the characters’ hopes and dreams. There are a couple of incredible scenes that really seal the deal for me. One is …