Categories
Documentary

Know your history – The Sisters of ’96 (2021)

The Sisters of ’96 highlights an accomplishment that seems to barely register in American soccer history. While the 99ers are now easily recognized as the winners of the WWC 1999, how many know that prior to that, these women won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta?

Categories
Documentary

Review – ‘Neymar: The Perfect Chaos’ (2022)

Before watching this Netflix docuseries on Neymar, I knew little about the Brazilian who was supposed to be the next Pelé. I’ve probably seen more memes of Neymar than I’ve seen him play.

Categories
Drama

‘Maradona: the hand of God’ (2007) in under 2 hours

Right now, Amazon is showing Season 1 of Maradona Sueno Bendito, a 10-episode compilation of “sex, drugs, and historic goals”. While waiting for that serie’s episodes to appear, I supplemented my viewing with this similarly-themed feature film, which was produced in Italy and released in 2007.

Categories
Documentary

At least the soccer is great in ‘LFG’ (2021)

LFG,  the new documentary on HBOMax, is about a mission that is right and just. From other reviews on this website, you know that I am 100% behind the USWNT’s fight for equal pay. But LFG (Let’s F**king Go!) is in some ways a disservice to the cause, because the film is too long and becomes boring. The first rule of soccer movies should be: Don’t take more than 90 minutes to tell your story.

Categories
Drama

‘Baggio: The Divine Ponytail’ (2021) – GOAT or goat?

When creating a biopic about a footballer, who you claim to be one of the best that ever played, the rule is that the film must have some football in it. At least have enough soccer to show the viewer that the player’s greatness cannot be denied.

Categories
Kids

‘Strike’ (2019) a kids movie with football, mining, and sabotage

Strike is the story of Mungo, a footballing mole with a goal to win the Wild Cup for England. Mungo is torn, because like many footballing greats from the olden days, he has to work in the mines and uphold the proud tradition of his forefathers and everyone else at the Diggington gold mine.

Categories
Documentary

‘Fixed!’ (2020) – how to play the match-fixing game

Once you’ve served prison time for match fixing, what is the easiest way to keep making money? Claim yourself notorious, become a consultant, and get paid to give interviews about corruption in FIFA. 

The story of match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal first broke in 2010, when as a FIFA Match Agent, Perumal arranged an international friendly between Bahrain and a fake team from Togo. The resulting outrage brought the match-fixing to light.

Categories
Drama Suspense

‘Sikandar’ (2009) and terrorism in Kashmir

Sikandar opens with the activities of a small Muslim village in a beautiful mountainous setting. As school lets out, children stream downhill to the market plaza. A child spies a loose soccer ball, kicks it, and it explodes, blowing apart everything and everyone in the plaza. Welcome to routine life in Kashmir.

Categories
Drama Kids

‘The Goal’ is social justice + football in 1999

Gulbahar Singh is a director who wants to make feature films on humanity, and The Goal (द गोल) is an unusual football drama in that its coach decides that overcoming prejudice is more important than winning.

Categories
Drama

Daisy Shah a reason to watch ‘Gujarat 11’ (2019)

Gujarat 11 is promoted as the first Gujarati sports film and stars popular and handsome Gujarati actors Daisy Shah and Pratik Gandhi. The story mixes in a number of themes, but while each theme has good points, they are not enough to forgive 2 hours and 20 minutes of banality.

Categories
Documentary

‘The El Paso Conquest’ (2014) is an honest film

Feature length sports documentaries about real high school teams commonly focus on a theme of social good. In contrast, The El Paso Conquest covers the boys soccer team at Del Valle High School in El Paso, Texas in it ups and downs, but it avoids social themes.

Categories
Documentary

Glamour and goals in ‘Roma Story: Edin Džeko’ (2020)

If you know who Edin Džeko is, do you need to watch this movie? If you don’t know who he is, should you watch this movie? My answers are yes and no.

Categories
Documentary

‘Jason Marriner – Football Hooligan’ (2009) and one man show

Is there life after football hooliganism? This short documentary on Jason Marriner tells us, if nothing else, that hooligans retain many fond memories, most of which as perpetrators they can’t really talk about on screen.

And the other reason they can’t talk about it is because they want you to read their book instead.

Categories
Comedy Drama

Review: ‘The Naked Man on the Sports Field’ (1974)

Der nackte Mann auf dem Sportplatz is not really a soccer movie. This 1974 film from the East German director Konrad Wolf is about a sculptor (Kurt Böwe) in a small town, who gets a commission to create a monument for the local football stadium. Since the artist is fairly well known, the local authorities hope such a public artwork will help increase game attendance.

Categories
Documentary

‘Matthews’ (2017) admire the man but skip the film

The career of Sir Stanley Matthews is so long — he retired at age 50 — and the footage so slim that it is hard to understand why Gary Lineker calls Stanley “the Messi of his day”. 

It’s a difficult mission for the documentary Matthews – The Original No. 7. How do you make a 78-minute film more compelling than Tifo Football’s 5-minute animation “A Brief History of Stanley Matthews”?