Archive for the New Releases 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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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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Spectre: Messy, Long and Boring Cover Up the Fun.

Posted in 6, Action, Drama, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2015 by mducoing

Spectre - IMDBCinematic Law: long and anxiously awaited sequels typically disappoint. Often catastrophically. While not every sequel is a plunge into the abyss (T2, Aliens are just two superiors films), these are often exceptions that prove the rule.

Spectre, while technically the fourth installment of the Daniel Craig Bond franchise, is often considered as the sequel to the mega-hit Skyfall, the final act to director Sam Mendes’ Bond Oeuvre. Viewed in this light, our mentioned cinematic law remains firmly intact.

Premise: Bond is on a trail to uncover a sinister organization at the heart of all his woes. Result: Disappointing.

Spectre finds Bond (Daniel Craig) -some time after M’s (Judi Dench) death- in Mexico City on the Day of the Dead, stalking a villain of some sort. A minor chase then ends with a thrilling helicopter battle above the crowded Zocalo resulting in the death of said villain.

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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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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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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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