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Wednesday, Nov 25 2015
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Remember that Greil Marcus essay in which he described Bill Pullman's face as "a window onto an American defined not by hope but by fear"? With the release of Creed, someone will undoubtedly wax rhapsodic about Sylvester Stallone's American face, because it's been 40 years since Sly was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Rocky. In reprising the role, this time as a supporting character, Stallone's expressions exude an abashed, aw-shucks approach to the audience, the hound-dog droop of his eyes telegraphing the question all movie stars ask when past their prime: "You haven't forgotten what I once meant to you, have you?" Creed attempts to create a new mythology (read: franchise) around a young boxer, the very fit Michael B. Jordan, by manufacturing cheap affection for a ghost of cinema past. That Phylicia Rashad's few minutes on screen fill the theater with more honesty and depth than the script merits begs the thought: Why didn't we get a film about the forlorn and lovely Mrs. Creed? Rashad may not have the biceps of a boxer, but it's impossible to dodge the full weight of her emotional muscle. It's her face, in the end, that's worthy of a long read.



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