Archive for the Drama Category

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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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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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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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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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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Maggie: Slow But Interesting

Posted in 7, Drama, Horror, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews with tags , , , , on May 20, 2015 by mducoing

Maggie - IMDBThe world has seen no shortage of zombie films, covering countless scenarios meant to torment observers with chilling and monstrous scenes. Maggie is not that sort of film at all. While chilling, director Henry Hobson has delivered a film that focuses far more on the emotional reality of slow decay, of the tragic horror that awaits the victim of the disease rather than the victims of what the afflicted shall become.

Premise: A teenage girl is infected by an outbreak of a zombie-creating disease that takes months to fully incubate. This is the story of her descent into death. Result: A relatively powerful, nuanced film that while not particularly energizing, makes most of the right moves.

In the midst of a scourged Midwest at the center of what appears to be a global pandemic, we have Maggie (Abigail Breslin),a young girl who was somehow or other bitten by one of these creatures afflicted with what is known as the NecroAmbulance Virus. It is a truly saddening ordeal that afflicts her, her father Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger), her step mother Caroline (Joely Richardson), her friends and all those around her.

A young girl bitten. We have seen it all before…but arguably not like this.

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