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This past weekend, less than a million dollars separated strong Thanksgiving holdover “Creed” from flimsy newcomer “Krampus.” I’ve decided to take a look at both films.

“Creed”

“Creed” tells the story of Adonis “Donny” Creed (Michael B. Jordan), son of legendary boxer Apollo Creed. And who was Apollo Creed’s most famous opponent? That’s right, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Some say that this should be considered a seventh “Rocky” movie. I say that it’s perfectly fine simply being the first “Creed.”

Although young Donny doesn’t want to use the Creed name to help his career, he does use his family history to convince the aged Rocky to be his trainer. Rocky uses his influence to get Donny a major fight against a local standout (Gabe Rosato), and this leads to Donny getting a shot at the title against the undefeated world champion (Tony Bellew). Donny is suddenly in over his head, being given a title shot that no one thinks he’s earned. Sound familiar?

In fact, the biggest problem with “Creed” is that it progresses so similarly to the first “Rocky.” There’s the completely expected conflict, romance, training (this movie has Donny do the classic “Rocky” exercise with the moving meat, but not the one with the hanging meat, much to my disappointment), and of course, the spectacle of the final fight. He spends most of it at a disadvantage, what a shocker.

But the predictable story shouldn’t take away from what “Creed” does right. These elements include award-worthy acting, well-written characters and harrowing fight sequences (including one done in an unbroken shot). Plus it’s hard not to get pumped up suckered into cheering just as much as with any “Rocky” movie. It’s everything you expect, but it’s also everything you want.

I suppose that “Creed” not wanting to use the “Rocky” title for name recognition is similar to Donny not wanting to use the Creed name to help his career. And as with Adonis Creed, this movie fights to earn respect and I believe it succeeds. It is admirable in its own right.

Three Stars out of Five.

“Creed” is rated PG-13 for violence, language and some sensuality. Its running time is 133 minutes.

“Krampus”

There are many bad words I can use to describe “Krampus.” Ugly and unfunny spring to mind, but I’m going to wait until the end to let you know the one that I think best describes it.

The plot sees young Max (Emjay Anthony) miserable at Christmas. His parents (Adam Scott and Toni Collette) aren’t happy, his aunt and uncle (Allison Tolman and David Koechner) and their whole side of the family are jerks, everybody’s mad at everybody and nobody believes in Santa. Max curses the holiday and unleashes the Christmas demon Krampus, who terrorizes the neighborhood and starts abducting the family one by one.

This movie is ugly, but not in a good way. Which is to say that it’s not scary. Krampus and his minions have cheap faces that I wanted to rip apart, but only because they look like they need to be scrapped, not because they seem like a threat.

The movie is unfunny because it thinks it’s being original by letting us know that people can be mean around Christmas, in contrast to the harmonious image of the season. I’ve been hearing cynical Christmas jokes all my life, and this movie brings nothing new to the table (there are barely, and I mean barely, enough funny lines to earn this movie a half star from me).

“Krampus” bills itself as a Horror Comedy, and it fails at both genres. It’s a movie about people you won’t like, but who don’t deserve their fate just enough that you can’t relish in bad things happening to them. Nobody should be happy with anything that happens in this move. The bad word that sums up this movie best is unhappy.

One and a Half Stars out of Five.

“Krampus” is rated PG-13 for sequences of horror violence/terror, language and some drug material. Its running time is 98 minutes.

Contact Bob Garver at rrg251@nyu.edu.

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