Straight Outta Compton: Powerful and Exhilarating

Posted in 8, Drama, Musical, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2015 by mducoing

Straight Outta Comption-IMDBDirected by F. Gary Gray (Law Abiding Citizen, The Italian Job) Straight Outta Compton, so named for the smash debut album of the rebellious hip hop group NWA in the late 1980s, is in many ways as raw and powerful as its namesake. It is a dark film that does not hide its true intentions – to tell the story of a group of young men that changed the world – for better or worse.

Premise: NWA emerges from the tough streets of Compton in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture. Result: A tale filled with energy and tragedy that must be seen and heard.

Before they were NWA, the five young men that founded the group – Eazy E (Jason Mitchell), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.) and MC Ren (Aldis Hodge) – were just that, young men. They were dealers and DJs, drop outs and poets, homeless and unwed fathers, but if nothing else, somehow hopeful. This despite living in Compton, a neighborhood synonymous with drugs, danger and death.

But these men came together due to personal drive and burgeoning talent and coupled with Eazy E’s drug money founded Ruthless Records and NWA was born. The first half of the film chronicles the rise and climax of this group and is as fast-paced and energetic as it is powerful in its exploration of racial injustice and the need for this musical rebellion.

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Pixels: Misses Expectations – Despite Being So Low to Begin With

Posted in 3, Action, Children, Comedy, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy with tags , , , , , , on August 19, 2015 by mducoing

Pixels-IMDBOccasionally Hollywood delivers a film that defies expectations in all the wrong ways. Pixels, surprisingly directed by Chris Columbus (Harry Potter 1 & 2, Home Alone), is one of these films, somehow managing to be boring, irritating and pathetically sloppy all in one sad helping.

Premise: Video Games as Aliens threaten to destroy the Earth and only nerds and convicts can help. Result: Unfortunately, as awful as you think. Or maybe worse.

Pixels sets up the calamity that will ensue by taking us to our past where Nintendo and arcades reigned supreme in the hearts and minds of geeks and nerds all across America. We are introduced to younger versions of Brenner (Adam Sandler), Cooper (Kevin James), Ludlow (Josh Gad) and villainous Eddie (Peter Dinklage) all of whom excel at said video games.

Rivalries are propped up with vacuous characterization and a time capsule is fired off into space. Little did we know that our rudimentary technology and hilariously innocuous 2D games would be taken as monstrous threats by a significantly more advanced race of beings.

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The Top 10 Highest Grossing Movies of All Time (and why humanity is DOOMED because of them) Part 1

Posted in Action, Action, Animation, Children, Children, Comedy, Comedy, Date Movies, Drama, Horror, Horror Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2015 by notlaz


No need for a long-winded intro here. We’re looking at the top ten highest grossing movies of all time and examining all the horrifying things that they imply about human nature.

Adjusted for inflation, of course, because I’d rather toss a hobo’s salad than watch Transformers 3, Harry Potter 8 or Furious 7 from the unadjusted list.

  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

This scene isn’t nearly as sexy as it looks.


The scene in the photo isn’t nearly as sexy as it looks.

Adjust gross revenue: $1,819,000,000

Historical context: Everything sucked in 1937. Shirley Temple was their Megan Fox, Errol Flynn was their Vin Deisel, Clark Gable was their George Clooney, and Jean Harlow was their YouPorn. You try spanking it to this and tell me you wouldn’t rather watch an Albino spaz wandering through the forest, shacking up with 7 mini Unabombers and singing to animals while they pooped on her instead?

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Magic Mike XXL: Not Enough Sexy, Way Too Much ZZZZZ…

Posted in 5, Comedy, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2015 by mducoing

MMXXL -imdbIt is difficult to imagine that a film about beautiful men and women gyrating and showing off their bodies could somehow go wrong.  This film went wrong.

Unlike the first film which at least managed some degree of entertainment, director Gregory JacobsXXL is a series of small sexy islands in a vast sea of dusty dialogue, unbearable existentialism and boring everything else.

Premise: Mike Lane and his crew have one last hoorah at a stripper convention with many laughs and antics on the way. Result: Boring and messy even when naked is a terrible, terrible thing.

It is difficult to tell what XXL is about or better what it is not about. It attempts to be a naked-fest, a thought-piece on life and love, a quasi-romantic comedy, a drug-use cautionary tale, a commercial for frozen yogurt, a bordello-how-to kit, and just about anything in between. It successfully executes on none of these objectives.

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Ted 2: Disappointing…

Posted in 5, Comedy, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy with tags , , , , , on July 16, 2015 by mducoing

Ted2The hotly anticipated sequel to Ted – one of the funnier, nonsensical films in recent memory- simply does not deliver. While there are certainly many laughs to be had, or at least some, the film’s desperate need to be profound drowns the entertainment value in a shallow bath.

Seth MacFarlane & Co. Are no strangers to raunchy laughs as Family Guy and the first Ted film demonstrated do well. But this film mixes melo-drama with raunchy fun and everybody suffers.

Premise: Ted has to prove he is a person. Result: Unworkable mess with laughs few and far in between.

This film picks up not too long after our first film ends but long enough for Ted to marry Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) and John’s (Mark Wahlberg) life to come crashing down around him. John and Lori (Mila Kunis) somehow never gelled in marriage, an initial premise that is nonsensical enough to derail the film in its infancy. The entire premise of the first film was how loving and supportive she was and how he had to learn to appreciate her – to have a major storyline focus on their inability to stay married after their lengthy dating and engagement feels wrong. Is wrong.

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Terminator Genysis: Ok. Fine. I’ll Take It.

Posted in 7, Action, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy with tags , , , , , on July 15, 2015 by mducoing

Terminator Genysis - IMDBAnother Terminator film. This one with enough time-travel mumbo-jumbo to make your head spin. But fortunately, director Alan Taylor (Thor: the Dark World) manages to deliver a new Terminator film that despite its short-comings, is actually a fairly fun time.

Premise: John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor, but the past is not what he expects it to be. Result: Stupid time travel shenanigans mixed in with some great action thrills, excellent pacing and good heaping of nostalgia help the film do its job.

While an imperfect film, Genysis, the fifth installment of the fabled Terminator franchise, is essentially middling. Good action and pacing, some fair character development and nostalgia overcome a chaotic time-travel plot that threatens to derail the film.

To discuss this film in a linear manner is to forget that the nature of the film defies such discussion, for better or worse. But the film does begin with John Connor (Jason Clarke) and Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) as they make the final push to defeat SkyNet. But in their final throes of victory, SkyNet sends a Terminator back in time, essentially beginning the storyline we know well.

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Jurassic World: Some Fun But Ultimately Dino-Meh (I Went There)

Posted in 6, Action, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2015 by mducoing

Jurassic WorldMore than 25 years since the original masterpiece Jurassic Park altered movie-going forever, the powers that be sought to capture that experience once more. With director Colin Trevorrow at the helm, the result in Jurassic World is certainly a box-office bonanza, if certainly nowhere near the impact of the original.

Instead, we are left with a fun, often spotty film that does little more for the franchise except (thankfully) improve on the dismal, repellent sequels so insulted fans years ago. And all it took was a few decades.

Premise: Finally John Hammond’s vision of a park where humans and Dinosaurs might co-exist is realized. But the park’s newest attraction -a genetically modified horror-escapes and goes on a killing spree. Result: A film that was fun but more ambitious than it was competent.

Decades after the disaster first befell Jurassic park, science and money have perfected the shortcomings of the original efforts and opened up Jurassic World where John Hammond’s true vision has been realized: a dino-theme-park the whole family can enjoy. Run by mysterious eccentric Misrani (Irrfan Khan) and kept profitable by Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the park has been experiencing some unforeseen obstacles: people have grown bored of dinosaurs.

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