Jada is an uncommon mix of soccer, drama, romance, comedy, and suspense. Some reviewers deem it a confused mess from first-time Director Kumaran. But if you go along for the ride, there is a lot of entertainment value in this multi-faceted football film from India. And if you’re shut in, it will occupy 2 hours and 12 minutes of your endless day.Continue reading “Jada (2019) soccer and suspense in Chennai”
Streetball is not just another homeless world cup film, it is the best of its genre. Despite being 10 years old, this documentary is fresh, vibrant, and still relevant in its reflection of the world today. Streetball also stands out as one of the few homeless world cup (HWC) films where the soccer is as engaging as the stories of the people.Continue reading “Streetball (2010) best Homeless World Cup soccer movie”
Shoot languished in my Amazon Prime watchlist because I assumed it was just another foreign film. So I was quite surprised when I started watching it, and almost the first words on the screen were “The first Saudi-American film”.Continue reading “‘Shoot’ (2018): an Arab-Arabian football story”
I was thoroughly enchanted by Buscando a Marcos Ramírez, the first soccer movie I have seen from Costa Rica. In the story, Marcos’ single mom has named him for the popular eponymous children’s book and given him a love of reading. But when she dies, he must move from the simple countryside to the unwelcoming home of his grandfather in the city of San José, Costa Rica.Continue reading “A Costa Rican gem: ‘Buscando a Marcos Ramirez’ (2017)”
Mi Mundial is a charming Cinderella-like football tale, except this Cinderella returns to the ashes of his old life. This futbol pelicula is based on the 2010 children’s book of the same name, by former Uruguayan futbolista Daniel Baldi. A prolific author of mostly juvenile books mostly about football, Baldi uses much of his life in his stories, and he made sure that the film stayed true to its origin and message.Continue reading “‘Mi Mundial’ (2017) is a cautionary tale”
Now that WC 2018 has finished in Russia (Congratulations to Les Bleus!), the eyes of the world turn to WC 2022 in Qatar. But as happened with Russia, the eyes of football fans are blind to the exploitation and corruption that FIFA has facilitated for these two tournaments. The Workers Cup might open your eyes a little, but to me, Adam Sobel’s film normalizes the conditions in Qatar.Continue reading “‘The Workers Cup’ (2017) normalizes Qatar”
First-time Director Pablo de la Chica initially set out to make a documentary about the young Ugandan players who had a chance to visit FC Barcelona in 2007. While investigating, de la Chica found Mubiru Reagan playing soccer in a garbage dump near the Mandela National Stadium.
The landfill is heavy with the toxic smell of burned plastic, but Reagan plays joyously while wearing a Fernando Torres jersey. Reagan is only 5 years old, but his skill, confidence, and positivity make him the leading goalscorer.Continue reading “Football is medicine for ‘The Other Kids’ (2016)”
This teen melodrama about a working class family in Mexico City is both hard to watch and hard to stop watching. The story is a well-crafted, methodical train wreck of the bad decisions people make to derail their own lives.Continue reading “Review: ‘Como no te voy a Querer’ (2008)”
Men in the Arena comes to your screen in the time of the xenophobic Trump Administration. It took over 3 years for Writer-Director J.R. Biersmith to deliver his tale of 2 young Somalian footballers, whose steadfast friendship and soccer skills are crucial in bringing them to the USA.Continue reading “Being ‘Men in The Arena’ (2017) helps exit Somalia”
Lusers is a delightful comedy of cultural differences as strangers from 3 countries travel the Amazon basin to the WC 2014 final in Brazil. Each of the trio (a Chilean, a Peruvian and an Argentine) is escaping a personal problem (thus a loser), but the trip presents even more challenges. They wreck their vehicle, are pursued by a hitman, are captured by an indigenous tribe, and discover a stolen relic.Continue reading “A Chilean, Peruvian and Argentine meet cute in ‘Lusers’ (2015)”
Small country. Wasn’t supposed to be there. Fairytale run. Are we talking about Iceland at Euro 2016? Nope! Before Iceland’s feel-good story, there was a more unbelievable tale. In Sommeren ’92, Writer-Director Kasper Barfoed immortalizes Denmark’s giant-killing performance at the 1992 UEFA European Championship.Continue reading “The Danish giant-killers of ‘Sommeren ’92’ (2015)”
Is this worth watching? When Erik Estrada has top billing, you know it’s going to be cheezy. The best line in The Final Goal is when Estrada’s henchman tells him, “You should have been an actor.”
Estrada is the bad guy bribing 6 players to lose a semi-final game in the Global Cup. The only thing in his way is backup goalkeeper Steven Nijjar, who BTW is also a master of martial arts.Continue reading “‘The Final Goal’ (1995) is a unique kung fu soccer movie”
Originally titled Fahrenheit 2010, this film provides reams of detail on the issues and controversy around hosting the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa. In Nov-Dec 2008, first-time Director Craig Tanner interviews leaders on both sides in the country.
Don’t get me wrong. The amazing story of Sons of Ben needs to be told. Its 3 founders organically grew a 2,000 member supporters group that demanded MLS grant Philadelphia a team.
This documentary celebrates the founders’ accomplishments and provides many details about the SoB ad hoc evolution that you can’t read online. But Writer-Director Jeff Bell’s first feature film is pretty slow, and I couldn’t stay awake. It’s a lot like the way the Philadelphia Union play soccer.Continue reading “How ‘Sons of Ben’ (2015) instituted an MLS team”
Pups United is a feel-good family film featuring soccer and dogs. I rate it a little higher than the 3 other dog-centric soccer movies I’ve seen. The soccer is pretty good, and the two bad guys (Andrew Tarr and Paul Lang) are very funny.
They are bumbling criminals trying to retrieve stolen software that they’ve hidden inside the trophy for the Kids International Cup tournament. Each tournament team has a dog mascot, and these dogs help thwart the criminals.Continue reading “The best soccer dog movie is ‘Pups United’ (2015)”