[REVIEW] Mexican Fighter

Mexican FighterThe Ultimate Fighting Championship had its first appearance in November of 1993. That’s almost exactly 21 years ago. And while some argument can be made that the sport it popularized, mixed martial arts, predates the advent of the UFC, it’s as good as point of origin as any when discussing the evolution of combat sports over the past two decades.

For time out of mind, the combat sport in the United States has been boxing. There was a time when pretty much every man in America was a boxing fan. And for the longest period it was dominated by a succession of white men, which made it appealing to America’s racial majority for entirely different reasons. Looking at the sport now, though, you’ll see that while there are still white fighters, the biggest performers are not white and the audience for boxing has browned, as well.

MMA never really had this transformation. The first breakout stars of the UFC were the Brazilians of the Gracie family, employing what has come be known as Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Kinda-sorta related to the Japanese martial art of jujutsu, jiu-jitsu is pretty much its own thing now, combining a variety of grappling forms into something that’s not quite wrestling, not quite judo, not quite any one thing. And it forms the cornerstone of the mixed martial arts form, insofar as there as such a thing.

So what I’m saying is that ethnic divides are not quite as marked in MMA as they were in boxing or basketball or football or any number of sports where whites dominated, but were eventually displaced by men and women of different hues. That said, there’s a particular story to be told about fighters from Mexican backgrounds, as they’ve come to form the foundation of combat sports across the board.

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[REVIEW] Gravity

GravityThose of you who’ve read my reviews for any length of time know that I have no love for 3D movies. I wear glasses as a part of my everyday life and cannot see clearly without them. That means that if/when I do see a 3D film, I’m forced to put a pair of glasses on over my glasses. This is uncomfortable, awkward and has the additional annoyance of making the movie darker than it otherwise would be. All of these things are unacceptable.

I also don’t make a habit of watching IMAX movies. At my local theater, a matinee-priced ticket for a regular movie is nine dollars. To see the same movie in IMAX, I’d have to pay nineteen dollars. At that point we’re getting into, “I might as well just buy the Blu-Ray” territory. In fact, the last IMAX movie I saw was Skyfall, and though I enjoyed the movie, I definitely came out of it feeling like I’d been bilked out of my cash. I won’t be seeing SPECTRE in that format for certain.

Occasionally, though, despite all my protestations to the contrary, there are movies which benefit from 3D or IMAX projection or both. As it happens, Gravity is one of them, and while I think it’s plenty good to watch in high-definition on a large television set, I can imagine it looks absolutely amazing in IMAX 3D. So score one for the filmmakers in that regard.

What’s extraordinary about this is that Gravity is actually a really simple movie. It follows the actions of a single character pursuing a single goal without any deviation. This could result in something incredibly boring, but is instead a raw, exhilarating adventure that I can, and have, watched again since first viewing it. This is not necessarily true of all movies I see.

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