Tuesday, May 26, 2009


This documentary uses Mike Tyson himself to review the life and career of a man whose brilliant boxing was lost when he was charged with rape. And of course, when he bit off part of Holyfield's ear. It's easy to see Tyson as a fighting animal- ready to kill. He describes his rage at Holyfield at one point- and wanting to kill him in the ring. Yet, when he talks about his childhood and the bullies he had to fight, when he talks about not wanting to ever fight or hurt anyone, a little part of the viewer believes him. I think Tyson believes himself. But he is probably wrong. His early career bond to his trainer, Cus D'Amato, is that of a child to a parent. Tyson is fatherless and when he gets the guidance and training of D'Amato, he becomes a fighter of unbelievable speed and strength. Perhaps Tyson's future would have been different had Cus lived. In the archival footage, it is almost impossible to see some of his punches- they are that fast. But then, on a rape conviction Tyson denies, he goes to prison for 3 years. Prison is a horrible experience for Tyson. There is still fear and sadness in his eyes when he speaks of his prison experience. He is afraid he will die- because prisoners have nothing to lose and to take down Mike Tyson would be the ultimate status. He knows he is vulnerable there. But he makes it out. The most interesting thing about this documentary is how Tyson varies from a childlike view of the world to becoming a menacing and brutal machine. He sheds tears. But he is always on the lookout for the next bully. This is a very strong film. You cannot walk away from it without an opinion. But you will walk away sure of the incredible talent of the boxing skills Tyson possessed. And maybe pity for the man that circumstance shaped.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Star Trek

When you take on an iconic series, then you better do a great job. And the writers and director and actors have done just that. The viewers (most of them) KNOW these characters. I doubt there are more well known characters on TV than Captain Kirk, Spock, etc. We know their quirks and their mannerisms. Fortunately, there is enough of a nod to their personalities that the audience feels at home. The plot requires a bit of attention. But what is fun is feeling like you are finally watching a home movie that explains HOW these people got to the 1966 television series. Even Captain Pike is in it. You never doubt that this IS James T Kirk. Just younger. Star Trek lost me when it moved on past Shatner and Nimoy. It no longer had the sass, for lack of a better word. Initially, in 1966, it was just silly with bad makeup, shoddy sets and sometimes, even worse acting. But it grew up. And this movie will make old viewers happily nostalgic. I can't wait for Star Trek II and I hope this cast goes on for a long time.