Categories
Documentary

‘Kroos’ (2019) follows a familiar arc

Kroos (2019)

In general, I don’t like to watch documentaries about current players because they tend to be boring marketing fluff. The arc is usually the same: kid has a nice family, leaves for academy at a young age, overcomes obstacles, recognized as great, wins championships, and starts a foundation. 

Categories
Comedy

The Supporters are the best part of ’The Bromley Boys’ (2018)

The Bromley Boys (2018)

As an American, I sometimes have a terrible time understanding British humor. The Bromley Boys is one such case. Which in this year of 2020 is quite sad, because I really need cheering up.** Having enjoyed the youtube series Seaside Town by Warren Dudley, I expected his screenplay for The Bromley Boys to be equally fun.

Categories
Cultural Documentary

Social change through ‘Zanzibar Soccer Dreams’ (2016)

Zanzibar Soccer Dreams (2016)

Watching Zanzibar Soccer Dreams via the virtual 2020 Women Sports Film Festival, I suffered a little deja-vu, wondering if I had already seen this film. It turns out that this documentary, by two professors in the UK, came out only a year after New Generation Queens: A Zanzibar Soccer Story was released by a couple of young American women. I saw both films through the WSFF.

Categories
Comedy

2 digits of excess in ‘Hello Mr Billionaire’ (2018)

Hello Mr Billionaire (2018) aka  西虹市首富 or Xi hong shi shou fu or  The Richest Man in Xihong City

With a box office of $367M, Hello Mr Billionaire would be the most successful soccer movie yet. If it were really a soccer movie. But regardless, this comedy demonstrates the power of Chinese films in the Chinese market. In 2018, TheNumbers listed it at #27 worldwide, but if listed in the 2019 international BoxOfficeMojo ranking, Hello Mr Billionaire would be #25, right after Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Categories
Drama Strong Sexuality

‘Ultras’ (2020) sex nudity language smoking and mindless threatening

Ultras (2020)

When this Netflix original first pops up on your TV, the upper left corner warns “sex, nudity, language, smoking”. That warning is also an able synopsis of this Italian hooligan movie.

Categories
Comedy Drama

It’s better to pass than to try ‘Shooting for Socrates’ (2014)

Shooting for Socrates (2014)

The problem with Shooting for Socrates is that the football is really a backdrop for writing a feel good story about the Troubles in Northern Ireland. And while sport as metaphor is the motivation for many soccer movies, in this case, the film doesn’t find its chemistry and feels like oil and water. Categorized as both drama and comedy, the film feels like neither.

Categories
Documentary Short

ESPN falls flat with ‘Mysteries of the Jules Rimet Trophy’ (2014)

ESPN 30 for 30 logo

It’s hard to believe that Brett Ratner, director of the Rush Hour franchise, put together the worst ESPN 30 for 30 segment that I have seen. Mysteries of the Jules Rimet Trophy covers all the facts, but the production is flat, and the importance of the artifact is blown way out of proportion. It’s almost facetious. It’s not the Holy Grail, it’s a small piece of metal of a woman holding up a cup. It’s not even gold.

Categories
Documentary

‘Foul Play’ (2017) – it’s easy to fix matches in Indonesia

Director Suridh Hassan put together this documentary about corruption in Southeast Asian football, mostly covering Indonesia. He follows the season of UK manager Simon McMenemy, who coaches Indonesian side Mitrar Kukar FC. He also conducts interviews with a youth coach, a physio, and a journalist who explain how easy and pervasive match fixing is in the area. The bottom line is: Don’t bet on games in Indonesia and Singapore.

Categories
Comedy

‘Diamantino’ (2018): A satire or just randomly disturbing?

Diamantino (2018)

Great expectations make a heavy burden. After Diamantino’s smashing 2018 premiere at Cannes, I eagerly looked forward to it for over a year. It is now available to rent/purchase on iTunes and Amazon, but the typical football film and soccer movie fan may end up wanting to reverse the last 90 minutes of their lives. 

Categories
Documentary Strong Sexuality

‘Kaiser’ (2018) perpetuates a lad’s fantasy

Kaiser: The Greatest Footballer Never to Play Football (2018)

Imagine you’re at WC 2014 in Brazil, and you hear this great story about a legendary local lothario. Known as Kaiser, Carlos Henrique Raposo pretended to be a pro footballer and lived the life for over 20 years. He slept with thousands of women, conning the ladies, owners, and coaches, while cleverly avoiding ever getting on the pitch. 

Categories
Documentary

‘Making Shankly’ (2017): the mines were the real football factory

Football was the only way out of working in the coal mines. Bill Shankly was the youngest of 5 brothers (10 kids) who all became footballers for Glenbuck Cherrypickers. Over 40 years, 53 young men in Glenbuck (pop 1,000) became footballers, and 7 played for Scotland.

Categories
Comedy

Where did ‘United We Fall’ (2014) go wrong?

United We Fall (2014)

As viewers, we sort of expect that a mockumentary will play out, as Bob Balaban has described, like “spending time with a bunch of really funny and totally harmless mental patients.” Christopher Guest set a very high bar for mockumentary, and I have no doubt that, when Writer-Director Gary Sinyor outlined his plan for United We Fall, he hoped his football comedy would reach similar heights of hilarity.

Categories
Drama Suspense

‘Lethal Soccer Mom’ (2018): Not Worth Watching in a Lifetime

Lethal Soccer Mom (2018)

The last time I watched a film with Lethal in the title must have been Lethal Weapon 2, 3, 4, or 5. (Is there a Lethal Weapon 5?) I figured Lethal Soccer Mom was a click-bait film that would be a grind to watch.

Categories
Kids

Don’t bet a leg on ‘Shui Hu the Soccer Heroes’ (2006)

Shui Hu The Soccer Heroes (2006)

Talk about strange. I found Shui Hu, The Soccer Heroes ( 水浒足球 ), an anime Chinese DVD, in my county library system. The animation is quite crude and similar to Captain Tsubasa, so that I thought this film must be from the early 1980s. Instead, this feature length cartoon from Hong Kong was produced in 2006.

Categories
Comedy

La Pena máxima is watching ‘Penalty Kick’ (2018)

Penalty Kick (La pena Máxima) (2018)

Mariano, an ardent fan of la Selección, passionately believes that Mexico always wins when he is at the game at Azteca to cheer them on. In a home-and-away series with the USMNT to qualify for the World Cup, Mariano (Adrian Uribe) bets all his savings on Mexico.

But on the morning of the deciding home game, his uncle dies. Mariano and his brother desperately try multiple deceptions to escape the funeral service and get to their seats in Azteca. As the game progresses, they try to at least find out the score.