films seen
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The inoffensive

Fruitvale Station

2013 / 85m - USA
Fruitvale Station poster

The last day in the life of Oscar Grant, a young black man shot down by railway police in Fruitvale Station. It's a case that got a bit of media attention, so it's not too surprising to see a film based on these events. The film would be Coogler's big breakthrough, not too surprising since he adds his signature to this story.

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Oscar is a young guy who is trying to make something of his life, trying to leave unfortunate past choices behind. After celebrating New Year's Eve, a scuffle on the metro ends badly for him. A couple of hours later, he succumbs from a gunshot wound after a violent police intervention.

Performances are good, and the drama is solid. Coogler gives his version of the facts and Oscar's character does feel a little too idyllic, but there have been so many similar cases that you can take the plot as an abstraction rather than a realistic account of Oscar's last day. Not quite as impactful as I'd hoped, but certainly not a bad film.

Dubious filler


2015 / 133m - USA
Creed poster

Going into this film, I didn't even know it was an official Rocky spin-off, just that it was a contemporary, often lauded boxing film by Ryan Coogler. What you're getting here is simply Rocky 2.0, a reboot of the original franchise in a more modern and black setting, warts and all.

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Adonis Creed never knew his father, but he inherited his taste for boxing. Quitting a well-paid job and a cushy life, Adonis sets out to make it in the ring. He seeks out Rocky Balboa, hoping he will guide him to the top. Rocky isn't part of the boxing world anymore, but upon seeing Apollo's boy he's willing to give it another try.

Jordan is pretty decent, Stallone is passable (which is a big win). Other than that, there's really not much to say about this film. If you've seen one boxing film you've seen them all, and apart from a more hip-hop inspired soundtrack and a slightly blacker cast, Coogler does very little with the material. Creed is way too long, doesn't offer enough excitement and chokes on the more dramatic parts, but boxing fans should be happy that this contemporary update is on the same level as the original.

Big nopes

Black Panther

2018 / 134m - USA
Action, Adventure, Sci-fi
Black Panther poster

Another horrible superhero flick. It's cheesy, boring and the shallow attempts to do something more serious are painful to watch. So yeah, it has lots of black actors. If that gets you hot then go for it, but apart from that this film is a complete disaster. That's on par for Marvel though.