Bang, Marry, Kill: Paul Thomas Anderson

Posted in Articles, Bang Marry Kill, Laz's View with tags , , , , , , , on December 16, 2014 by notlaz

Bang_Marry_Kill_LogoLaz’s View

Yep, another release-date timed, click-bait whoring, excuse to review a famous director. You’re welcome, internet!

Subject: Paul Thomas Anderson

I would totally hang this portrait in my haunted mansion to spy on those meddling kids!

I would totally hang this portrait in my haunted mansion to spy on those meddling kids!


Birth date: On June 26, 1870, Christmas is declared a federal holiday in the United States. Exactly 100 years later, TO THE DAY, Jesus gives us the immaculate births of Chris O’Donnell, Nick Offerman and Paul Thomas Anderson.

Checkmate Atheists!

Occupation: Dream Weaver. Or magical Nightmare Wizard. Guess it depends on how you look at it.

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VHS – Viral: Not the Best, But Another Good Example of Experimental Horror

Posted in New Releases, Horror, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy, Thriller, Independent, Ratings, 7 with tags , , , , , , , on December 15, 2014 by mducoing

VHS-ViralAs VHS: Viral bursts onto the horror scene, it is impossible not to recall and compare it to its two, strong prequels, VHS and VHS2. Like its predecessors, Viral is a strong step in the experimental horror sub-genre, where boundaries are pushed and creativity rewarded. While there is some uneven delivery (as with all the films) due to its anthological nature, the film, in general, is quite strong and worth a viewing.

Premise: Another submission into experimental horror that offers more vignettes meant to scare and inspire. Result: A few clear hits elevate this film overall beyond the obvious misses.

There are essentially four stories in Viral (a fifth, “Gorgeous Vortex” will only be available on Blu-Ray release), with an outer-ring and three inner tales whose only connection is a mysterious link to a horror collection of VHS tapes.

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The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 1: Pretty Good.

Posted in 7, Action, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2014 by mducoing

MockingjayDirector Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games, I am Legend) has delivered a pretty good sequel with Mockingjay1. For fans of the series and the films, this installment is basically Catching Fire but with a far less interesting plot.

Premise: Katniss is now in District 13 after District 12 is destroyed. President Coin tries to convince her that she must be the Mockingjay, the symbol of the revolution. Result: More a psychological thriller with limited action, the film is a pretty good set up for the upcoming final installment.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is back again after a second bout in the Hunger Games that landed her in the midst of rebellion. Yet her days are spent essentially moping despite some familiar faces: Gale (Liam Hemsworth), her mom and Prim, a shell-shocked Finnick (Sam Claflin), and even the detoxing duo of Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and Effie (Elizabeth Banks) – one from booze and the other from accessories.

But Katniss can’t quite shake the absence of her pretend love, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) who suffers endlessly at the hands of President Snow (Donald Sutherland) in the Capital. And so despite her melancholy. District 13 President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) plot to make Katniss the reluctant heroine of a revolution.

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The Legend of Hercules: Yeah. As Bad as You Think It Is.

Posted in 3, Action, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy with tags , , , , , , on December 8, 2014 by mducoing

Legend of HerculesThere are some movies you cannot unsee. Director Renny Harlin gives us a textbook example of this tragic phenomenon with his cinematic drivel known as The Legend of Hercules, a B-action movie that depends entirely on pretty people doing nonsensical things.

Premise: Another Hercules origin story. Result: Poor performances and terrible, laughable action sequences make this film unwatchable unless black-out drunk, or on your way there.

Queen Alcmene (Roxanne McKee) is so over her husband King Amphitryon’s (Scott Adkins) world conquering antics. So much so that with the help of mentor Chiron (Rade Serbedzija), she begs Hera to help her resulting in Zeus coming down and leaving her with child, you know, that age old Greek romantic tale.

From this blessed union comes Hercules (Kellan Lutz), hated by Amphitryon and his son and Hercules’ half brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan). And as punishment for loving Hebe (Gaia Weiss), the object of Iphicles’ affection, Hercules is banished on a trek that would see him dead. The film is then focused on Hercules’ rise.

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Whiplash: A Stirring, Cathartic Masterpiece

Posted in 9, Drama, Independent, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on December 2, 2014 by mducoing

WhiplashThere are some films that move you. There are others that shake you long after the screen has faded to black and the lights turn on. Writer/director Damien Chazelle has certainly delivered such a stunning cinematic achievement with Whiplash, a visceral, overwhelming exploration of obsession.

Premise: A young drummer enrolls in a top-tier music conservatory where his dream of mentoring from a great music director opens him to untold greatness and misery. Result: An intense, inspirational and terrifying account of the raw power of passion.

Practice makes perfect. While the majority of us think of this innocuous pet phrase that adults pour over children as a guiding principle, the young low-grade Aspergian Andrew (Miles Teller), intent on impressing Shaffer Conservatory Director Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) with his drumming skills, takes this quite literally.

The next Charlie “Bird” Parker he wishes to be (and rise above his father Jim’s (Paul Reiser) supposedly meager accomplishments), even if it means working with Fletcher, a man notorious for inflicting unimaginable emotional torment unto his vict- er- students.

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Willow Creek: Some Funny, Some Scary, Some Bad. OK.

Posted in 6, Horror, Independent, Ratings, Reviews with tags , , , on November 30, 2014 by mducoing

Willow CreekComedian turned horror writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait (Yes, THAT Bobcat Godthwait!) has delivered a fair found footage horror film with Willow Creek. Despite some cliché moments, plot issues and other minor missteps, the film is still worth the watch at least for the funny moments and certainly for the terrifying last few. .

Premise: A found footage doc about Bigfoot. Result: Some funny and some scary, it is better than expected despite many issues.

Bigfoot aficionado Jim (Bryce Johnson) drags his girlfriend Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) to film a documentary around his big-footed interest, at the notorious site of the original (and only) sighting.

Either an updated carbon copy or otherwise parody of The Blair Witch Project, the two enter the town at the foot of the mythical pass and begin a series of sightings and interviews. This segment of the film is hilarious and may offer the most interesting part of Willow Creek.

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The Babadook: A Stunning, Different Take on Horror

Posted in 8, Drama, Horror, Independent, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , on November 30, 2014 by mducoing

BabadookWriter/director Jennifer Kent has delivered one of the most unsettling psychological thrillers of the year. Wrapped in a tale of children’s terror, the film explores a greater dread that lies at the center of one family’s struggle.

Premise: A single grieving mother, plagued death of her husband, battles with her son and his fear of a lurking monster lurking in the house, only to realize the terror goes far deeper. Result: A terrifying descent into madness and mayhem, The Babadook will delight audiences who still long to be surprised.

Amelia (Essie Davis) is struggling to raise her young son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) after the abrupt, traumatic death of her husband Oskar (Benjamin Winspear). Her days and nights are a blur, ever-filled with a deep sadness and the very real terror of her child, a seemingly psychotic creature with arguable roots to the Omen.

The boy spends days and nights in the basement crafting makeshift weapons, frightening all those around him, including his aunt Claire, and downright terrorizing his mother. Even neighbor Mrs. Roach (Barbara West) can’t help but skulk about in growing concern for them.

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