Sugar

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I’m not any sort of sports guy at all. Corner me in a bar and try to talk to me about last night’s big game and I’m going to stare back at you blankly and stupidly. Invite me to your Super Bowl party and I’m going to politely decline for fear of dying of boredom. But even I understand the appeal of baseball: the lazy pace, the fresh-cut grass, the hot dogs and peanuts, the crack of the bat. Hollywood has a long tradition of movies that have tapped into this seemingly universal love, but ever since it was released, the Kevin Costner-starring Field of Dreams has been considered by most to be the king of the mountain. And while pretty much everyone has seen Field of Dreams at some point in their lives, or at least understands that it’s the source of the, “If you build it, they will come,” quote, almost no one I know has ever seen Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s 2008 film Sugar. It got a brief release in New York and L.A., and then was shunted off to DVD without playing for anyone else. That’s a shame, because this tale about a young Dominican prospect trying to improve his station in the world by making it to the majors is my favorite film about the game.

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Writing and directing duo Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden stunned me with the left hook that was their 2006 film Half Nelson. That project was a Ryan Gosling-starring film about a drug-addicted teacher trying to touch the lives of inner city children. Then they knocked me on my ass with the quick uppercut that was their 2008 film Sugar, which was a look at the life of a man from the Dominican Republic who is recruited to come to the U.S. and play professional baseball, but who doesn’t quite find it to be the glamorous experience one might expect. After that, they made It’s Kind of a Funny Story in 2010, and that saw me regaining my wits and getting back to my feet, because it was kind of a crappy movie. So, here I am, standing here dazed, waiting for Fleck and Boden’s next punch, what’s it going to be? According to Variety, it will be a drama called Hate Mail, which follows the intersecting lives of a series of Manhattanites who have all had relationship-ruining experiences regarding the receipt of hate mail. That’s about all of the information out there regarding this film so far, but it’s news to me just because of the filmmakers attached. I thought Half Nelson and Sugar put these two right up there with Ramin Bahrani when it comes to modern, minimalist filmmakers, so I’m hoping that It’s Kind of a Funny Story was just a momentary misstep. I guess Hate Mail will […]

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In this edition of This Week in Blu-ray, it is time to usher in the month of September with a swath of TV-on-BD, a forecast for the weeks to come as the fall television season heats up.

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Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves training friends and strangers alike in the deadly and mystical way of Jewish martial arts. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs. This week we have Sin Nombre, Good Dick, and Israeli Martial Artists!

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We missed Quentin, saw Olivia and finally found out what the big deal was with that Hamlet 2 movie…

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From the directors of ‘Half Nelson’ comes a slowly paced drama about a Dominican baseball player coming to America.

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
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