Interstellar: AN AWE-INSPIRING FILM with many, many little problems…

Posted in 8, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2014 by mducoing

InterstellarWriter/director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Inception) along with co-writer Jonathan Nolan, offer audiences one of the more intense, stunning films in recent memories. Yet, despite its beauty, Interstellar is wrought with issues that, although troubling, must be overlooked to truly enjoy the film.

Premise: Earth explorers travel through a wormhole in an attempt to find a potentially habitable planet that will sustain humanity as time on Earth is running out. Result: A powerful and visually stunning film that is very good, but not quite great.

The film begins with a series of quick expository segments from the anonymous elderly recounting the Earth’s transition to degenerating wasteland.   Dust storms, ruined crops, decimated populations, are covered and intended to paint the Earth as a wasteland no longer suitable for humans. It is the twilight of Hope in our world.

But Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), an ex-NASA pilot, needs to hope for his children, Tom and Murph, his Father in Law Donald (John Lithgow), and the people around him near Nowheresville, America. And through a strange stroke of transcendent power, he and his daughter reach a top-secret facility that will alter their lives forever.

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Bang, Marry, Kill: The Farrelly Brothers

Posted in Articles, Bang Marry Kill, Comedy, Laz's View with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2014 by notlaz

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Laz’s View

***Disclaimer: I’m BMKing the Farrelly Brothers under duress because Dumb & Dumber To comes out this week.

Plus my editor likes to see me angry. He’s kind of a douche.***

Subjects: Peter & Bobby Farrelly

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Fury: Big Booms But Ultimately a Bust

Posted in 6, Action, Drama, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews with tags , , , , , , on November 12, 2014 by mducoing

FuryWhile a World War is no doubt breeding ground for an endless assortment of unique tales, writer/director David Ayer (End of Watch, Sabotage) manages to deliver one story we could have done without. The film has thrills and incredible action sequences, as well as having a clear, structured premise, but is nevertheless devoid of character development and the intangibles that move a story from forgotten to adored.

Premise: At the end of WWII, as the Allies make their final push into Germany, Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Result: Great action that misses the important points.

Amidst the aftermath of a devastating battle, we come across “Fury”, and American tank and its crew, led by Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) and supported by Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Trini “Gordo” Swan (Michael Peña), and Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal). But tragically, their co-pilot did not make it.

There is little time for mourning, although the few moments of confused, frustrated bickering speak volumes for the agony the crew internalizes. It is not long after they return to base that they reluctantly encounter their fallen comrade’s replacement, the painfully green Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), whose wide-eyes just aren’t what his new team quite had in mind to help keep them alive.

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Found Footage 3D: A New Direction in Horror Films? A Modest Discussion with Director Steve DeGennaro

Posted in Articles, Horror Films, Independent with tags , , , , , , on November 10, 2014 by mducoing

found-footage-3dScream. Se7en. The Silence of the Lambs. The Blair Witch Project. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Night of the Living Dead. The list of classic horror films can go on and on. But much longer and far more depressing is the list of films that either missed the mark or purposefully attempted to ruin us. And in an age of gimmicky tactics and studio-driven cliché, that list only suggests an eternal lengthening.

Is there hope for horror films? Or are we destined for a perpetual landscape of reductive blather and pointless slashing without rhyme or reason? At best should we hope for a genre that survives on a “diamond in the rough” model, or can we expect a future of more consistently, well-made, well-conceived horror with the rest relegated to “straight to DVD” (in a future devoid of DVD players).

This article will not answer that question, but will attempt to offer some ray of hope.The impetus for this line of thinking comes from a (fairly) recent conversation with director and self-described horror-aficionado Steve DeGennaro. Setting out to understand what makes his new film Found Footage 3D good, the conversation inadvertently reminded us what makes certain horror films not only worth watching but worth remembering.

 

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Ouija: Nothing New But a Few Thrills…Somewhere

Posted in 5, Horror, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2014 by mducoing

OuijaWriter/director Stiles White teams with writer Juliet Snowden to deliver a film we have seen before in one iteration or another. It is hard to watch this film without an overpowering sense of déjà vu and ennui, and yet it still has a few good scares that keep it from feeling like a complete waste of time.

Premise: Some friends must confront a terrifying spirit after playing with a Ouija board. Result: Meh. Don’t need free but would feel better with a discount.

Laine (Olivia Cooke) and Debbie (Shelley Hennig) have been friends forever. And for almost that whole friendship, they have lived life on the edge, playing with a Ouija board, reciting its rules like pros, and overall just taking life by the horns.

That is until Debbie cleans the attic (we know this because she has the foresight to leave us with before and after footage – for some reason), finds a Ouija Board, plays it by herself, gets freaked out and ultimately kills herself. But we know better. Debbie is too badass to have killed herself just like that. After all, she has been playing Ouija since she was young. Like very young. Possibly the womb.

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Nightcrawler: Mesmerizing, Thrilling and Deeply Unsettling

Posted in 9, Drama, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , on November 6, 2014 by mducoing

NightcrawlerWriter/director Dan Gilroy has delivered one of the more disquieting films in recent memory. On the backs of some wonderful writing, thrilling plot development’s and superb acting, Nightcrawler is one of the best films you won’t bring yourself to watch again.

Premise: When desperate Lou Bloom, forces his way into the world of L.A. crime journalism, his relentless focus blurs the line of success and terror. Result: The magnificent construction of a monstrous character that takes audiences on an unsettling thrill ride.

Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) begins his journey with us as a desperately unemployed creature, evolving into a small-time criminal. But his desperation turns to drive when he encounters an auto accident that draws TV crews to record the carnage. Instantly, his eyes are drawn to a different prize and his terrifyingly analytical mind begins churning scenarios that ultimately pull him, head-first, into the “Nightcrawler” business.

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Bang, Marry, Kill: Christopher Nolan

Posted in Articles, Bang Marry Kill, Comedy, Laz's View with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2014 by notlaz

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Laz’s View

What are the odds? The next director on Bang, Marry, Kill has a movie coming out this week.

Must be a coincidence!

Subject: Christopher Nolan

Film Meets Art Christopher Nolan

See? You keep making that face. Stop it!

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