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SOUTHPAW, WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS & MISTRESS AMERICA

year: 2015
SOUTHPAW: Here's an untrue story made to seem very real in a biopic sense, yet mirroring just about all the awesomely fictional ROCKY films...

From being a SOUTHPAW (left-handed boxer) goaded by a shunned opponent who obnoxiously flirts with his wife during a press conference (Mr. T in ROCKY 3) to losing his fortune (ROCKY 5) and then starting from scratch in an urban gym, morphed from a bruiser into a real boxer (via Apollo Creed in ROCKY 3) who can actually dance, dodge, and score...

Only in this case it's not a former rival, but the rival's former manager, who teaches street-urchin turned bad boy brawler Billy Hope the ropes when he desperately needs a comeback for his professional and personal life: After Billy's wife is murdered and his only child/daughter is taken by the government, Forest Whitaker's world-weary trainer Tick Willis and Jake Gyllanhaal (attempting his own edgy FIGHTER style performance) share the most genuine scenes, both actors finally getting lost in their roles without the melodramatic distractions.

year: 2015
WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS: Would you believe a movie centering on Zac Efron as a Rave-DJ who yearns desperately for greatness would channel the Film Noir template? Well it does, and that aspect is somewhat intriguing as a slightly older, semi-famous guy allows (and fully trusts) Efron's climber to hang around his girlfriend ala POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE.

The real story involves Zac figuring out how to acquire his own unique sound while the characters mean very little by the end when, after a SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER vulnerable-sidekick turnaround, the people, connected to the music, are supposed to really matter... and they just don't. Yet FRIENDS is breezy, entertaining filler nonetheless.

year: 2015
MISTRESS AMERICA: Certain indie art films are supposed to be like stage plays, but "stagey" is never good, even for... a stage play. And if you throw in a John Hughes style synth and two polar opposite females with zero chemistry, this 90-minute gabfest is a complete misfire: The passive narrator is too aloof while her forced mentor/muse never shuts up, or says anything to drive the story along.

Meanwhile, to make us forget that, in real life, shallow good looking guys land pretty girls in college, two complete duds are being fought over by beauties and... if the Millennial generation needs their comedy denial-driven and fantastical while subliminally attempting Woody Allen/Judd Apatow bantering neurosis, than this could be the CITIZEN KANE of pretentious crap: and not even that interesting.

RATINGS:

SOUTHPAW: ***
WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS: **1/2
MISTRESS AMERICA: *
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