Chappie: Powerful and Fresh Take on the Subject

Posted in 7, Action, Ratings, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2015 by mducoing

ChappieWriter/director Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) delivers a far stronger film than expected with Chappie. While its resolution fizzles, the rest of this film is a mesmerizing dialogue on humanity and child abuse.

Premise: Crime in Johannesburg is controlled by a mechanized police force. When one police droid is given new programming, new life is born Result: A fresh new take on artificial intelligence and true life.

Deon Wilson (Dev Patel) sits atop his own world. His para-military automatons are wildly successful in helping to police the endemic catastrophe that is the Johannesburg city streets. But, he wants more, he wants to reach the answer to artificial life and despite repeated denials from CEO Michelle Bradley (Sigourney Weaver) and jealous madness from rival Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman) his obsession grows.

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What We Do In the Shadows: A Good, Fun Film

Posted in 7, Comedy, Horror, Ratings, Reviews with tags , , , , on April 14, 2015 by mducoing

What We Do in the ShadowsThe comedy subgenre “mock-umentary” is full of diamonds in the rough. With subtle satire and quirky themes, these films often go initially unnoticed, only to appear again as cult classics (Best In Show, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Spinal Tap). Writer/directors Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi have taken the movement forward another notch with a fun, dark satire that takes monsters we know and makes them so much more human.

Premise: Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav are vampires who struggle with modern life. Result: A fun film that has some good laughs even if it eventually does drag on.

Vladislav (Jemaine Clement), Viago (Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) and Petyr (Ben Fransham) are all bloodthirsty vampires. But that is where the similarity ends: the four could not be anything less alike as wayward flatmates in New Zealand, struggling with modernity on a daily basis – paying rent, dishes, club life- as each of them shines with their own hilarious idiosyncrasies.

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Project Almanac: Pretty Fun. Definitely Pretty.

Posted in 7, Action, Ratings, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy with tags , , , , , , on March 28, 2015 by mducoing

Project AlmanacDirector Dean Israelite delivers a fun and often intriguing time-bender with Project Almanac. While the film’s technical happenings may sometimes fall into the confusing or outright preposterous, the story is deeper than meets the eye.

Premise: A group of teens discover secret plans of a time machine, and construct one. However, things start to get out of control. Result: A good time with a film that is more complex than it lets on.

David Raskin (Jonny Weston) has been confronted with a difficult decision: allow his mother to sell the house to pay for his college. As he rummages through the active with is sister Christina (Virginia Gardner) in an effort to win a scholarship, he stumbles upon a camera that clearly shows him, his current self, in the mirror at his childhood birthday party.

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Insurgent: Some Fun in the Inevitable Slide Backwards

Posted in 5, Action, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2015 by mducoing

InsurgentConsidering director Robert Schwentke’s earlier films like The Time Traveler’s Wife and R.I.P.D., his latest film, Insurgent, is a cinematic marvel. But when compared to typical movies, Insurgent is unmasked as a dull, meandering film devoid of much of emotion and charm of the first film (and that one didn’t fare as well either!)

Premise: Tris must continue her fight against a powerful alliance, which threatens to tear her society apart. Result: The next installment in the quasi-interesting copy-cat series.

And so the sage continues. It’s not Twilight or Harry Potter or Hanger Games or…it’s the Divergent series, the lowest hanging fruit of the major studio Young Adult (YA) epics. While the first film had some uniqueness and charm having to explain a new, challenging dystopic world, the second film is all execution.

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Wild: More Accessible and Relatable Than Expected

Posted in 8, Drama, Ratings, Reviews with tags , , , , , , on March 26, 2015 by mducoing

WildDirector Jean-Marc Vallée follows up his hugely impactful Dallas Buyer’s Club with another Oscar Nominated film in Wild. While a less colorful and nationally important story, the heart of Wild is every bit as relevant to our world today.

Premise: The story of one woman’s 1,100-mile solo hike taken to personally recover from ruin and tragedy. Result: A painful but deeply impactful film that should give all viewers a sense that the journey may be long but the destination is worth-while.

Written by Nick Hornby and Cheryl Strayed, adapted from Strayed’s memoir “”Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”, Wild follows Cheryl (Reese Witherspoon) as she quite literally attempts to do the impossible in one final attempt to get her life back together.

Cheryl has fallen apart. Her mother Bobbi (Laura Dern) has died an early, tragic death and the emotional impact, the guilt and loss, devour her and drive her into drugs and personal catastrophe that devastates her relationships with her husband Paul (Thomas Sadoski), brother Leif (Keene McRae), and best friend Aimee (Gaby Hoffmann).

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Golden Chalice Award – Top 10 Films of the Year – 2014

Posted in Articles, movieMixology Awards, The Golden Chalice Awards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2015 by mducoing


2014 came in rather shaky and then ended with some of the best films in recent memory, with the stranger the film the better. While there were many other strong films in the mix over 2014, below are our thoughts on the year’s best films.

Also make sure to review Last Year’s Top Films as well as all previous Golden Chalice Winners!


GoldenChaliceIcon (2)Whiplash1. Whiplash
 Category: Drama, Music
Director: Damien Chazelle
Writer: Damien Chazelle
Actors: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, and Melissa Benoist

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. See Full Review.

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It Follows: An Entrancing, Multi-layered Horror Film

Posted in 8, Drama, Horror, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , , on March 25, 2015 by mducoing

It FollowsWriter/director David Robert Mitchell has delivered to audiences one of the most provocative horror films of recent memory.  While as a horror film it is interesting enough, its many layers are perhaps the most important of its accomplishments.

Premise: Passed on a curse after a sexual encounter, a young girl is followed and tormented by an unknown force. Result: A powerful, frightening film that will keep viewers thinking long after the curtains close.

The film begins in a dream-like media res, with a woman fleeing her home from some unseen horror. It is not long before she capitulates and her mangled body is found amidst the serene waves of a morning beach.

Enter Jay Height (Maika Monroe), a young, pretty girl (despite an intentionally ungendered name??) as she prepares for a date with “Hugh” (Jake Weary). Her home is filled to the brim with young adults – Yara (Olivia Luccardi), Paul (Keir Gilchrist) and Kelly (Lili Sepe) – sprawled about the carpet and couches like languid litter. Paul is just a little bit jealous. It is just that sort of scene damaged adults reminisce over with therapists after an untidy evening of sweaty tosses, turns, and nightmares.

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