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Movie Review: Cinderella Man

Alternate Title: Seabiscuit with Boxing Trunks

Story: If you like a feel good cinematic experience but also like watching men pound the crap out of one another then this Ron Howard film is for you. It is based on the true story of New Jersey's comeback kid boxer James J. Braddock. The screenplay is by Hollingsworth and Akiva Goldsman.

Like other formulaic boxing films we get to watch an up and comer fall upon bad times and then miraculously achieve greatness. The comparisons to Seabiscuit, the underdog horse, during the same period in time are impossible not to make. It is the Great Depression and this country needs hope. They gain it in Jim Braddock as he finds himself up against the world champ, Max Baer.

There's an awful lot to like about this film including the am amazing fight scenes, terrific editing and Crowe's acting. However, there are long periods of dragging discourse and I could not wait for him to climb back into the ring.

In the spirit of Rocky, if you want to watch a guy go from the bread line to a headline, then chance a few rounds with this summer film.

Acting: Russell Crowe delivers another knock out (couldn't help it) performance. He is a consistently great actor and there is not a film I would not go to see if he is in it. Paul Giamatti, as his long time manager, stands side by side with Crowe in the acting department. Renee Zellweger pouts a bit too much in this role.

Predilection: I like Russell Crowe.

Critters: Horses

Food: The depression was a tough time for most everyone. Not much food to be served up in those hard days.

Soundtrack: I didn't really notice too much annoying music and I did like the old songs that were played as connectors from scene to scene.

Visual Art: There's a smoky, gritty, sepia toned effect throughout which helped to set the tone for the period. This New York/New Jersey story was all filmed in Canada.

Theater Audience: A few diehard boxing fans and me.

Sappy Factor: It's Ron Howard ...there will always be some sap.

Squirm Scale: I flinched at some of the fight scene stuff but also found myself jabbing and punching the air along with Crowe.

Drift Factor: The scenes between the fights can easily allow one to drift.

Predictability Level: High (or why would they make a film about this almost unknown fighter).

Tissue Usage: A few tears welled.

Oscar Worthy: I would imagine there will be some nominations for acting.

Soap Box: Boxing is a bloody sport and I think it should be banned.

Nit Picking: I knew it was not New York City and that bothered me a bit.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure. If you like fight films how about renting: Beautiful Boxer, The Boxer, The Champ, Ali, When We Were Kings, Raging Bull, The Great White Hope, The Hurricane, all of the Rocky films, Rumble in the Jungle, Girlfight and Somebody up There Likes Me.

Length: Too long at two hours and 20 minutes.

LOBO HOWLS: 7