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Movie Review: ‘Hands of Stone’ has Fast Feet and Weak Jabs

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Hands of Stone Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Get the scoop on all the punches and misses of Hands of Stone in this movie review: Was it a TKO or a total flop?

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he story of Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran is one that could be made into a unique boxing picture. He rose from poverty to become a champion of his nation, let fame get the better of him and walked away from the ultimate fight of his career. He faced off against the legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and worked with famed coach Ray Arcel. He trained and won at a time when political tensions were tense with the Panama Canal. So why does Hands of Stone appear as just an average boxing movie?

Hands of Stone Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Robert De Niro and Edgar Ramirez star in ‘Hands of Stone.’

After all, it has a solid cast. Edgar Ramirez makes a decent Roberto Duran with the right amount of pluck and cockiness to go well with his toned body. Robert De Niro fits snugly into the role of Ray Arcel, speaking with an experience that he’s carried over from his days of Raging Bull. Any scene where Ramirez and De Niro share the screen as student and teacher has real power and chemistry. It’s just too bad we don’t get enough of that.

One would think that a picture with two great actors in the two most important roles would become a prime focus. And yet we seem to spend more time with secondary characters to an absurd degree. Don’t think the movie forgot about Sugar Ray Leonard as the picture features plenty of scenes with him not even interacting with Ramirez. For as good a job as Usher does in the role of Sugar Ray, there’s too much of him and not enough for him to do in the many scenes he is featured.

Writer/director Jonathan Jakubowicz stages a picture that never slows down and never settles, as if it were a boxer trying to confuse the audience into being impressed by its all-over-the-place style. Every boxing match is staged more as though it were being shot for a trailer than a movie with dozen of different shots that never let you see the whole fight. The camera gets in close up, whips away, zooms back to a long shot, then a wide shot, another series of close ups and even drunkenly spin around in an overhead shot. It’s almost as if the camera is a third contender in each match.

Hands of Stone Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

The fight sequences are messy and confusing.

Pumped up with music and loud blows to the body, Jakubowicz stages these battles as nail-biters, but they don’t really have much tension if you already know the results. In trying to make the fights themselves seem exciting and intense, the director seems to have missed an opportunity to capitalize on the filmmaking potential of such fights. I know how the fight will end, but I don’t know so much about what was going through Duran’s head with each punch. Jakubowicz seems more enamoured with the fight itself than what’s behind the fight.

Read on for the rest of Hands of Stone’s movie review and check out the trailer:

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Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Have you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. 😉

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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