Combustible Celluloid
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With: Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Tony Goldwyn, Jon Bernthal, Dylan McDermott, Kevin Dunn
Written by: Zach Baylin
Directed by: Reinaldo Marcus Green
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence, strong language, a sexual reference and brief drug references
Running Time: 144
Date: 11/19/2021

King Richard (2021)

3 Stars (out of 4)

I'm Your Venus

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This Oscar-baity biopic, which is also a Rocky-like inspirational sports story, doesn't try much harder than it needs to, and it's too long, with too many similar or eye-rolling moments, but damned if it doesn't smash the game point at the end and make you love these characters. The movie landed an overly-generous number of nominations, with Will Smith a front-runner in a Beverly Hills Cop-type of role in which he strolls into just about every scene and satisfyingly makes a monkey out of the dumb white people. Otherwise, he argues with his family members about being such a strict disciplinarian, pushing his daughters, Venus and Serena Williams, to become the greatest tennis players of all time. In other words, it's a mess, but it's a fine mess, with a good heart, and it gets big points for celebrating Black heroes.

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