90. Tangled (A-)
91. The Fighter (A-)
David O. Russell's newest and probably most conventional film (though it's still very different from any boxing movie I've seen) - though when you go as far into weirdness as I Heart Huckabees
, it may be time to take a step back. It's a contenda at the Oscars this year (Oscar loves boxing most of all sports, by a wide mile), particularly, it's shaping up, in the supporting acting categories. The second of two Oscar hopefuls this year focussing on poor Irish-American families in Boston, though in this case in a more reputable profession.
I don't know much about Micky Ward, but as played by Mark Wahlberg he's a pretty low-key individual - Wahlberg's a capable actor, and he plays his part well, but the film envisions Ward as the object of a tug-of-war between various individuals far more assertive and energetic than he, and a lot of the time Micky kind of gets lost. The trio of major supporting performances: Christian Bale as his brother Dicky, Melissa Leo as his mother, and Amy Adams as his girlfriend, are all livewires. Bale, in particular, is brilliant, and if he's on track to win the Oscar here, he'll deserve it.
The film isn't especially interested in the actual fights of Micky's rise to the big-time as it is the fight between two factions (his family on one side, his new girlfriend and other trainer on the other) over how he's going to train. His family has bungled his career pretty much from the start, and in a lot of movies this'd be pretty clear-cut (indeed, it initially seems to be); but they show things as a bit more complicated than that. Russell also isn't afraid to throw in some almost zany stuff that you wouldn't find in most boxing movies, such as everything to do with Micky's sisters, or a lot of Dicky's schtick.
The final fight is the only one we see in any detail, and, as I said before, it's not as involving as some fights (Russell films it with commentators constantly talking; it comes across like the audience is watching TV for most of it), but it's competent enough.