Archive for the 7 Category

The Revenant: Proof That It Really Could Always Be Worse

Posted in 7, Action, Drama, Horror, Ratings, Reviews with tags , , , , on February 10, 2016 by mducoing

Revenant - IMDBThere is beauty in misery. For the most part, this sums of Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s latest film, The Revenant, which basically follows a colonial version of Job through every horror one can imagine. Beautiful, engaging but also exhausting and ultimately over-the-top.

Premise: A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s fights for survival in pursuit of revenge. Result: A dark, emotional draining crucible of horror and madness that is both beautiful and traumatic.

Iñárritu‘s newest film forgoes much of the brilliant, often esoteric meta-tale of one man’s personal woes in favor of a far more direct route. Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his “half-breed” Native American son are trackers who appear to be the only hope of a band of American fur traders out in the Northern Wilderness who have just been trounced in one of the most jarring camp raids to hit audiences in recent memory. Observers will be shaken by the powerful and painful direction and will welcome the subsequent low-burn tension that pits Glass against John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), who has declared his opposition to Glass’s recommended plan in spite of Captain Andrew Henry’s (Domhnall Gleeson) decision to side with Glass.

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The Final Girls: Good Time!

Posted in 7, Comedy, Horror, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2015 by mducoing

TFG - IMDBWhile not nearly as impactful and groundbreaking perhaps as Cabin in the Woods, The Final Girls is a very fun satirical take on Slasher Films. Enjoyable from moment one, it mixes comedy with horror with drama and genuine emotion to deliver a genuinely intelligent good time.

Premise: Wayward teens are transported into a cult-classic slasher film. Result: A really well-delivered, fun time throughout.

Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson, The Final Girls focuses on the legacy of slasher classic Blood Camp, an obvious parody of Cunningham’s horror staple Friday the 13th. At its center is Amanda Cartright (Malin Akerman), Nancy in the film, who twenty years later is still struggling to distance herself from that role and become the breakout star she’s always dreamed to be. But as she and her daughter Max (Taissa Farmiga) drive to dinner one day after a failed audition, rocking out to Bette Davis Eyes, a fatal collision leaves Max an orphan.

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Southpaw: Good Boxing Movie. Not Great Boxing Movie.

Posted in 7, Action, Drama, Ratings, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on September 7, 2015 by mducoing

Southpaw - IMDBDirected by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen) Southpaw, the latest foray into possible Academy Award contention for Jake Gyllenhaal, is a good film that never quite achieves great. A solid story, strong performances and redemption in spades, the film somehow rings hollow with characterization that feels incomplete.

Premise: On the brink of personal ruin, Billy Hope must overcome his troubles and get his daughter back. Result: A fair time but doesn’t live up to the hype.

Billy Hope – yes, Billy HOPE!- (Jake Gyllenhaal) is on top of the world. He is a dominant light weight boxer with s wonderful wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams), beautiful daughter Leila (Oona Laurence) and all the creature comforts imaginable. His manager Jordan Maines (50 Cent) and entourage believes he can continue his greatness. And all this despite an orphan- off the streets childhood that channeled Oliver Twist.

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American Ultra: Surprisingly Fun

Posted in 7, Action, Comedy, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , , on September 6, 2015 by mducoing

AU - IMDBIf expectations alone were sufficient to determine a film’s worth, then certainly American Ultra would have required a ritual sacrifice with its leads burned in effigy among a bellowing crowd disgusted fans. But sometimes surprises happen and premonitions of catastrophe averted. Directed by Nima Nourizadeh, American Ultra is just such a tale: where we expected disaster and instead watched a film that might be considered likable.

Premise: A comedy-Spy thriller hybrid that revolves around Mike Howell who must use his unearthed skills to survive. Result: More fun than expected.

Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) and Phoebe Larson (Kristen Stewart) live their sheltered lives as filthy stoners in the middle of no place, West Virginia (a possible redundancy) living in a hovel and working at the local mart. The mundane is their existence and they couldn’t be happier in their situation. But when Howell attempts proposal on a perfect trip to Hawaii, he is unable to board the flight due to a terrible panic attack.

This sets of a chain reaction at Langly, where it is revealed that Howell is really part of some buried government program to create some sort of elite military force. Formerly under the protection of Victoria Lasseter (Connie Britton), Howell has now been subject to termination by Adrian Yates (Topher Grace), a ruthless new overlord at the CIA. And so it begins.

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Insidious – Chapter 3: Not Bad

Posted in 7, Horror, Ratings, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , on September 6, 2015 by mducoing

Insidious 3 - IMDBThe third installment of the Insidious saga (see Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2) is a strong showing for modern horror. Writer/director Leigh Whannell (who has been involved in all previous installments) is able to deliver many frights even as the story and delivery sometimes fray at the edges. What results is a scary film that is enjoyable if imperfect.

Premise: A prequel to the Lambert terrors. Result: Definitely some good scares throughout and capably delivered, if imperfectly.

The tale of horrors that afflicted the Lambert family in the first two films is given an origin story in Part 3, before young Dalton and father Josh fell into the clutches of countless ghostly villains. This is the story before that story where Elise (Lin Shaye) must come to the aid of another young victim, here Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) who innocently calls out to her recently deceased mother and gets a reply from something terrifying

The film covers three key story lines intertwined effectively to deliver an eerie experience throughout: the story of Quinn Brenner afflicted by a lurking horror, a medium that must confront her fear of death to protect her, and a family damaged by the loss of a loved one coming apart at the seams.

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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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The Avengers – Age of Ultron: Still Good But A Step Back

Posted in 7, Action, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2015 by mducoing

AoU-IMDBDirector (Joss Whedon) has followed up his classic 2012 The Avengers with a good but not great sequel. While it still has much of what made the first film so strong, the timing and execution just aren’t quite there, making this film feel messier and less engaging than its predecessor.

Premise: When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner begin their Ultron project, their peaceful plans backfire. Result: Avengers in full force but the film is not nearly as good as expected.

The old gang is back: Tony Stark/ Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner/ Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Steve Rodgers / Captain America (Chris Evans), Natasha Romanoff/ Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Clint Barton/ Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and a recovered Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) now together facing the remnants of H.Y.D.R.A. with some added foes in Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).

But there is truly no greater foe than Ultron (James Spader), Stark’s creation intended to protect humanity – a task it takes all too seriously. Believing that humans and their nature are the true sources of evil in this world and ultimately must be protected from themselves, Ultron undertakes a major campaign of catastrophic proportions. With an army of adaptive clones, Ultron pushes the team to the brink.

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