Categories
Drama

‘Maradona Sueño Bendito’ (2021) sex, more sex, drugs and fútbol

Maradona Blessed Dream, the 10-episode series from Amazon, may hook you in its steady outpouring of sex, drugs and fútbol. It will probably be the grandest film/series about Diego Armando Maradona that will ever be made. But if I hadn’t felt compelled to review it, I would have preferred to turn it off. It just feels so distasteful and disrespectful. Do we really want to remember Maradona by the depictions of his nightlife, copulations and orgies?

Categories
Documentary

Review: ‘Otra forma de entender la vida’ (2021)

What does it take to win your league during a pandemic? In this documentary, the answer is to tackle one game at a time: partido a partido. What does it mean to win your league during a pandemic? Just as much as winning during a regular season. Maybe a great deal more, because the stakes are so much higher on and off the pitch.

Categories
Drama

‘The International Player’ (2009) entertaining Egyptian drama

The International Player kicks off with a somewhat familiar scene — a celebrity leaves a night club accompanied by 2 women who are ready to party. The man drives fast and recklessly, until he crashes his Porsche convertible into a concrete wall. From his hospital bed, the film looks backward to see how the player Malek (Youssef El Sherif) came to this point of possible suicide right before a World Cup qualifier.

Categories
Drama Suspense

‘Champion’ (2019) – the 2nd best Indian soccer drama

Released just 2 months after Bigil, one might write off Champion as a literal poor man’s version of that big budget production. Champion‘s star (Vishwa K as Jones) is an unknown newcomer, there are no dance scenes or music videos, and there is no CGI. Both films relate to criminal life in the slums, but the 2 films don’t really compare.

Categories
Documentary

Will there be more ‘Men of Hope’ (2019)

Afghanistan has been in a state of civil war since 1992. For almost 30 years, lives have been violently torn apart by the Taliban, ISIS/ISIL, Pakistan, and the USA. So why is this film titled Men of Hope? Because when Afghans can watch their National Team play, it brings hope to locals, migrants, and refugees, that the homeland can return to normalcy.

Categories
Cultural Documentary

There’s real coaching at ‘Real Kashmir FC’ (2019)

Greg Clark’s documentary Real Kashmir FC makes you wonder if being a football coach is a career, a calling, or a sheer act of stubbornness. In the case of former Rangers player David Robertson, it appears to be a tasty stew of all three.

Categories
Documentary

Searching for Justice – ‘The Celtic Boys Club Scandal’ (2021)

Child sexual abuse is a topic that society sweeps under the rug, even though the effects on its victims and their families are lifelong. When child sexual abuse happens within an organization’s purview, it is a huge liability for which many deny responsibility.

Categories
Documentary

‘Captains of Zaatari’ (2021) raises awareness

Imagine a film where Cinderella goes to the ball, has her magical moment, and then returns to the cinders to make the best of her life as a servant to a cruel family. If you know Cinderella, you know she is resilient, and she will keep singing and will find friendly relationships to sustain her, even if they are only animal friends.

Categories
Drama

‘A Barefoot Dream’ (2010) a Korean in East Timor

In the drama A Barefoot Dream, Kim Won-kang is a  former youth national team footballer for South Korea. In adulthood, he has never succeeded in anything, losing his own money and that of family and friends. He heads to the newly independent country of Timor-Leste (East Timor) to get rich quick and redeem his reputation, but the money doesn’t materialize, and his real redemption comes from the change he effects within himself and others.

Categories
Comedy

‘Rembat’ (2015) funny the 2nd time around

The pandemic may have altered my sense of taste — in movies. When I first tried to watch Rembat 2 years ago, I could not finish it. It seemed so weird and nonsensical, and the actors kept spitting rice everywhere.

Categories
Documentary

‘Gascoigne’ (2015) is a warts-free view

Should viewers accept a film that focuses on the good side of one of England’s most talented players, who is also a wife-beater, an alcoholic, and a cocaine-addict? Apparently, some reviewers could not, assessing this Paul Gascoigne documentary as the ultimate vanity project (The Telegraph) and ignoring the elephants in the room (Timeout).

Categories
Documentary

QPR tries to wake a ‘Sleeping Giant’ (2012)

Sleeping Giant sat in my Amazon watchlist for 2-3 years, and now I’m quite sorry I so neglected this documentary. Director Daniel Glynn follows two U14 boys from South Mumbai, who are selected via a tournament to receive 6 weeks of football training at QPR.

Categories
Documentary

When Wichita was hopping – ‘God Save the Wings’ (2020)

Very good things can come out of obsessive fan behavior*. …such as this feature length documentary, God Save the Wings. Producer and life-long Wings fan Michael Romalis took his 40 year old collection of memorabilia, facts, and videos, and with co-producer and fellow fan Timothy O’Bryhim wrote a book and then made a movie.

Categories
Documentary

‘The FIFA Family’ (2017) – a never-ending corruption story

Thank DR, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, for bringing the stories of Chuck Blazer and the corruption behind the Qatar World Cup to the public in such an easily digestible form.The FIFA Family: A Love Story dissects how Blazer’s plea deal to become an undercover informant led to the arrest of 6 members of the FIFA Executive Committee (Ex-Co) on May 27, 2015.

Categories
Documentary

‘All or Nothing: Tottenham HotSpur’ (2020) showcases Mourinho

The Amazon docuseries, All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur, directed by Anthony Philipson and produced by 72 Films, has a purpose that can’t be ignored. You can hear a small Gollum whispering in your ear: “Like us,” it says. “England’s biggest newest stadium,” it says. “José Mourinho is really a good guy,” it says.

Wait, stop. Run that by me again? And that’s a thread that ran through my mind the whole series: why would Tottenham create over 7 hours of promo for José Mourinho, the once-adored, now-maligned former (FIFA 2010) best manager in football? Simply put, it’s all about global branding.