Archive for the 8 Category

The Witch: Terror Felt but Unseen, Unknown

Posted in 8, Horror, Independent, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , on February 27, 2016 by mducoing

The WitchIn modern cinema, audiences often rebuke films that leave nothing to the imagination, and yet, this is often exactly what they are asking for. The Witch is a slow burn horror film that is equal parts madness and supernatural and both gives too little and just enough to unsettle observers for far longer than its run time.

Premise: A family finds horror and a terrible fate alone in a Wood. Result: A brilliant, yet understated horror film that places tension in every crevice.

The Witch follows a devout family of Puritans in early established America, recently expelled from their Plantation Community for unclear reasons that appear to stem from the very devotion they hold dear. Father William (Ralph Ineson), mother Katherine (Kate Dickie), eldest daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), eldest son Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw) and two horrid twins Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson) and infant Sam. They are even more radical in their love of God than others and their reckless reproach has estranged them in a world where life is difficult enough without the terror of solitary.

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Deadpool: Lives up to Hype and…Don’t Get Greedy That’s Good Enough

Posted in 8, Action, Comedy, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy with tags , , , , , on February 26, 2016 by mducoing

DeadpoolIn the vein of tongue-in-cheek super hero films/spoofs, Deadpool ups the ante as one of those splendid films that lives up to the hype. Imperfect as it is, this is swept quickly beneath the rug in favor of playing along with this self-aware, dark, violent comedy.

Premise: A military operative turned mercenary is subjected to a terrible experiment that leads him to become alter ego Deadpool. Result: A fun spoof on super hero films that is as smart as it is violent (oh and raunchy).

Skeptics need only wonder how many times Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) can deliver the same film before somebody, anybody, could finally stop him. But unlike recent and not so recent catastrophes (Green Lantern, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where he actually played the same, albeit vastly distinct, character) this film seems retrofitted to Reynolds and his self-deprecating, irreverent, machine gun style humor.

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Room: Haunting

Posted in 8, Drama, Horror, Ratings, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , on February 21, 2016 by mducoing

RoomThere are films that frighten audiences. Others that lash, others that endear, others that fester and still others that cause emotional arrest. All these are true of Room, a film that handles an unspeakable tragedy in such a mundane manner as to make one wonder and ultimately succumb.

Premise: After five-year-old Jack and his mother escape from the room that has been their captivity, life afterward is more challenging than they dreamed. Result: A mesmerizing, tragic drama far from ordinary.

It is a room. In it are things, ordinary things that anyone might expect to find in any ordinary home on any ordinary street in any ordinary town. There is a small skylight to let in the dim glow of the sun. And these regular belongings appear to be owned by normal, if unkempt people, a young boy and his average mother, lounging about, sleeping, transfixed by television or mundane tasks about the kitchen.

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Star Wars – The Force Awakens: A Modern Version of What Fans Have Always Loved

Posted in 8, Action, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2015 by mducoing

SWTFA-IMDBSet to break every box office record that has ever existed in Hollywood, J.J. Abrams’ contribution to the Star Wars universe appears to be a gamble that has paid off in spades. An often stunning, fun, and deeply exhilarating film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is likely as good as it gets in Star Wars, delivering much of the power of the original in a modern, yet somehow nostalgic, incarnation.

Premise: Thirty years after the defeat of the Empire, The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy. With the help of the Resistance, only a reluctant and unexpected group of heroes can stop them. Result: The Star Wars film we have been looking for.

Harnessing the power fanboys everywhere (their hopes, their fears, their terrifyingly obsessive attention to detail), Abrams has created a Star Wars film that is as close to the original in look, feel and result as the original. It is quirky and yet sophisticated, combining action and comedy with the grandeur of a galactic storyline much as the originals did.

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Dope: Fantastic and Unnerving

Posted in 8, Comedy, Drama, Ratings, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , on October 9, 2015 by mducoing

Dope-IMDBWriter/director Rick Famuyiwa delivers one of the more intriguing, humorous, painful and provocative films in recent memory. Dope is one of the more powerful stories audiences will experience this year based on imposing raw storytelling with an exhilarating twist.

Premise: Malcolm, a geek who’s surviving life in a tough L.A. neighborhood, has his life abruptly change after a chance invitation to an underground party. Result: A good, thrilling film that challenging the lenses by which we see the world.

Our story begins with a group of young teens Malcolm (Shameik Moore), Diggy (Kiersey Clemons), and Jib (Tony Revolori) poised to somehow make it out of the slums that otherwise should have smothered them. If nothing else, it is the strong identity these three have cultivated -as preposterously anachronistic 80/90s hip-hop artists- that has kept them isolated, unified and firm.

But when Malcolm finds himself with a brick of coveted contraband, as a result of being quite literally in the wrong place at the wrong time, he and his friends sink into a nightmare. The ensuing film is a poignant thought piece on race, color, uniqueness and identity while also delivering the pacing and power of a modern thriller.

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Run All Night: Most Fun Since Taken! (OK, Taken 2)

Posted in 8, Action, Drama, Ratings, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2015 by mducoing

Run All Night - IMDBRun All Night, or in some circles Taken 5 aka Taken 5: Mafia Takes New York, is actually a pretty fun time. Directed by the man who directs all of the bad Neeson-Taken clones, Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop and Unknown) Run All Night is a rare triumph, delivering far more than the his previous efforts.

Premise: A crime thriller that leads Jimmy Conlon to protect his son against old friend and crime boss Shawn Maguire, and in so doing, find redemption. Result: Much better than the other Neeson films and plenty of fun.

Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) is a loser, the laughing-stock and enfeebled burden to a local crime syndicate run by Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), who is a boyhood friend and who takes pity on him for his past loyalties. But Conlon is s ruined man who stinks of cheap scotch and inescapable guilt. Fatally allergic to this stench is Conlon’s son, Mike (Joel Kinnaman), a former boxer, current mentor, family man, and limo driver. His drive is to be basically anything that is not his father.

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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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