Tomorrowland: A Movie about Something…For Some Reason…

Posted in New Releases, Action, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy, Ratings, 5, Children with tags , , , , , , on July 2, 2015 by mducoing

Tomorrowland-IMDBAnother attempt by Disney to turn theme park attractions into cinema doesn’t quite fare as well as its first foray into the “genre” despite having director Brad Bird (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Ratatouille) at the helm. Unlike the original Pirates of the Caribbean and far more like its ever-diminishing sequels, Tomorrowland is based on hardly anything at all and delivers hardly any more.

Premise: Brilliant teen and a former boy-genius embark on a reluctant journey to a mysterious place and uncover secrets that may be more than they can handle. Result: An ambitious film that tried too much and accomplished too little.

The film begins at the New York World’s Fair decades earlier to introduce a young boy who encounters a new world via one of the Fair’s attractions. This young boy grows into curmudgeon Frank Walker (George Clooney) who is pulled out of a quasi-reclusive existence after a young girl is led to him.

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Entourage: A Great Episode of TV…uhm, Movie..ughh..Whatever, Still Fun

Posted in 7, Comedy, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2015 by mducoing

Entourage - IMDBWith four years passing since the series finale (that had met with lackluster reviews from both fans and critics), it is no wonder there was significant anxiety –not the least of which from writer/director Doug Ellin – when the Entourage film opened. The good news, however, was that the film is basically one long episode and thankfully an enjoyable one.

Premise: Vinny Chase and the boys are back and we hardly knew we wanted them back: Result: A pretty fun time considering the 4-year hiatus.

Our new story begins where we last left off: Vince (Adrian Grenier) is newly single, E(ric) (Kevin Connolly) is still struggling with Baby Momma Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) is still being Drama, Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) got skinny, and Ari (Jeremy Piven) is back to work but under a short leash.

And then, in typical Entourage fashion, this gaggle of surprisingly famous people, manufactures a problem: rather than just accept an acting role in Ari’s blockbuster, Vince insists on directing it.

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San Andreas: Latest Entrant into the Disaster Porn-Family Therapy Genre

Posted in 5, Action, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2015 by mducoing

San Andreas - IMDBAstoundingly not directed by Roland Emmerich (by director Brad Peyton instead), Hollywood’s latest disaster porn entry, San Andreas, is a minor improvement on other such catastrophe clones. While still a strict servant to the absurd, at least it’s opening half is exhilarating enough to help audiences coast through the latter.

Premise: San Andreas fault line activates destroying cities, killing millions: Result: Healthy serving of disaster porn mixed with preposterously timed family therapy time and sprinkling of superfluous patriotism – meh.

The film opens with a rock-slide-car-over-cliff rescue sequence that offers breath-catching thrills and cringe-inducing catch phrases: both directly foreshadowing the remaining 140+ minutes. Here the plot lines spew forth like a feisty hydra, slithering sinuously on screen.

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Mad Max – Fury Road: Stunning Thrill Ride

Posted in 9, Action, Horror, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2015 by mducoing

Mad Max - IMDBWhen news that writer/director George Miller was reimagining his storied Mad Max franchise via a series of storyboards rather than a full length script, there was much to fear in the fanboy universe. But with stunning visuals, visceral exhilaration and brilliantly painted canvas of colorful characters, Fury Road may be one of the most intriguing, thrilling events of the year.

Premise: After the end of civilization, two rebels haplessly bound together to restore order: Result: What it may lack in plot or dramatic dialogue it more than makes up for in intensity of experience.

The first few minutes of this film -a terrifying, utterly confusing capture and escape sequence by the wayward Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy)- immediately set the tone for a film that will do more than shock the system. By the time the opening credits explode onto the screen, audiences will already be experiencing a sense of euphoric exhaustion.

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McFarland, USA: A Bland “Feel Good” Paint-By-Numbers

Posted in 5, Drama, Ratings, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2015 by mducoing

McFarland - IMDBMost people love a heartfelt story about the downtrodden climbing their way up. Throw in a much misunderstood or maligned minority and the formula amplifies. Oh and an Oscar winner. And a love story. Sorta.

Director Niki Caro’s McFarland, USA tugs at the heartstrings but is ultimately just a rather tacky formula its producers dare us to defy. Unfortunately for them, this rather shallow sports-triumph-paint-by-numbers is as hollow on screen as on paper.

Premise: A wayward football coach relegated to a small California town transforms a team of athletes into championship cross country contenders. Result: All the makings of a heart-warming classic with all the delivery of milk toast.

McFarland is a hyper-Latino town with a confusing Irish name that also happens to be where Jim White (Kevin Costner), a disgraced football coach with anger issues, brings his family after quite literally having no place else to go. And like all fallen-from-gracers, he is disgruntled, aloof and unwittingly stepping all over greatness without an inkling.

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Poltergeist: Don’t Waste Your Time

Posted in 4, Horror, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews with tags , , , , , , on June 3, 2015 by mducoing

Poltergeist-imdbDirector Gil Kenan’s (City of Ember. Monster House) remake of the original horror classic has a few good frights but overall fails to even approximate its predecessor. The film, apparently aware of its flimsy script, appears far more interested in laughs than scares and ultimately ends up as the butt of its own jokes.

Premise: A family is afflicted by an evil haunting and must rescue the lost daughter from the clutches of the undead. Result: Like the house in the original, this film completely collapses into itself dragging all of us with it.

The Bowen family, forced to abandon their home and comfortable lives after father Eric (Sam Rockwell) is laid off, find themselves in a new home that instantly sets them ill at ease. The mother Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt) is on edge, Madison (Kennedi Clements) talks to her closet, Kendra (Saxon Sharbino) is distanced from her friends and Griffen (Kyle Catlett) is stuck in the attic staring forever on at a gnarled old tree that looms above his skylight.

After a run in with uninvited pests, a random, unexplained discovery of clown dolls, and some suspect electrical malfunctions, the family appears at wits end. Soon the audience joins them.

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Why You Should Not Go See “Jurassic World: Feminist Road”

Posted in Action, Articles, Comedy, Comedy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2015 by notlaz

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Not to get all “blood farty” on you, but the geek inside of me was excited when I saw the previews and marketing material for “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for Atari 2600.” From that great period before ET sold out to the man and joined the galactic senate. And technology powered by Reese’s Pieces and dying children (I don’t remember the E.T. that well).

It flopped worse than Operation Olive Garden.

Of courselloutse, this just reiterated a lesson that my hope (that I’d find a working Atari 2600) made me temporarily forget: Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning? And sadly the same thing can be said for “Jurassic World.”

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