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Bleed for This (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)
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Bleed for This is the incredible true story of one of the most inspiring and unlikely comebacks in sports history. Miles Teller (Whiplash) stars as Vinny "The Pazmanian Devil" Pazienza, a local boxer from Rhode Island who shot to stardom after winning two world title fights. After a near-fatal car accident leaves Vinny with a severed spine, he is told he may never walk again. Against doctor's orders, renowned trainer Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart, The Dark Knight) agrees to help Vinny return to the ring in just a year after the accident for what could be the last fight of his life.
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Now that that's out of the way, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with this flick. Miles Teller has the "Pazmanian Devil" speech patterns and mannerisms down to a fine science. Aaron Eckhart has never been a personal favorite of mine, but he steals the show as Kevin Rooney, the ex-fighter and disciple of the Catskills Wizard, Cus D'Amato. The soundtrack is rocking, and while there aren't too many fights, the choreography and effects are all believable. Ben Younger (whose "Boiler Room" I haven't seen in awhile but I remember favorably) has total command as a director. The story's true, and truly inspirational, and everyone involved does a good job of letting the emotional experience of Vinny's arduous journey feel organic when it could have turned out disastrously sappy.
The movie was a box-office bomb, and has only garnered qualified praise from critics (some of whom are unfairly lambasting Teller's performance, and the storytelling as formulaic). This movie is certainly better and more believable than the ridiculous "Southpaw" starring Jake Gyllenhall, which I think did pretty good business at the box office (no accounting for a fickle public's tastes, I guess).. If I had to situate the movie in the boxing film sub-genre, I would say it strikes a good balance between the warts-and-all ugliness of something like "Raging Bull" or "Champion" and the fairy-tale treatment of "Rocky." I guess that makes it most like "Somebody up there likes Me," the old Paul Newman flick about Rocky Graziano. It's kind of depressing and kind of uplifting, in equal parts. Of course, "Bleed for This" can't compare to "Somebody", but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised (especially if you've heard bad things about it). Recommended.
I liked it, if you like inspirational movies that are entertaining, go for this!
end note: I've seen "Fighter", this was 10x as good.
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