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Director Philippe Falardeau
takes on boxing with Chuck

By Iain Blair

On the surface, French-Canadian director Philippe Falardeau — whose drama Monsieur Lazhar was Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards — might appear to be an unusual
choice to helm a boxing film.

However, in his inspired hands, Chuck — the true story of Chuck Wepner, the first man to knock Muhammad Ali to the canvas while he was defending the title — lands a lot of impressive punches. Wepner was the inspiration behind Sylvester Stallone’s Oscar-winning Rocky franchise.

Set in the early ‘70s, Chuck tells the unlikely story of Wepner, who was the heavyweight champion of New Jersey and also sold liquor on the mean streets when he got his big shot to fight Ali. Ultimately, he didn’t win the fight, but he found instant fame as the underdog who lasted 15 rounds in the ring with Ali. That was nothing compared to when Rocky came out. Wepner quickly attained hero status as the real-life inspiration for Stallone’s script and was quickly anointed King of the Jersey shore.

However, just when Wepner thought he was invincible, life set him up for the ultimate K.O. The aftermath of that fight triggered a series of events and numerous legal struggles that led to Wepner grasping to stay in the limelight. These obstacles led to sobriety and redemption after serving five years in prison for cocaine possession.

Liev Schreiber stars as the flawed but charismatic boxer opposite Elisabeth Moss, Naomi Watts, Ron Perlman and Jim Gaffigan. The IFC Films release is also on Blu-ray presented in 1080p HD with English 5.1 DTS HD master audio, and on DVD and digital HD from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

I recently talked to Falardeau — whose films include The Left-Hand Side of the Fridge, which won Best Canadian First Feature at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival; the Warner Bros. release The Good Lie, starring Reese Witherspoon; and My Internship in Canada — about making the film.

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Agent of Sleep: The making
of a spec commercial
By Jennifer Walden

Director/producer/writer Stephen Vitale's spec
spot for Tempur-Pedic mattresses was inspired
by traditional action films.

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Review: Røde Mic’s Stereo
VideoMic Pro Rycote

By Brady Betzel

Røde's Stereo VideoMic Pro Rycote is exactly the on-camera mic you need to grab some great stereo ambience and add life to any b-roll shot, instantly.

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