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Archive for August, 2010

What’s New

   Hey readers, I just wanted to drop a line and let everyone know The ‘Stache has a big slate of screenings coming up, including screenings from the 2010 New York Film Festival and the 2010 NY Comic Con.

   Stay tuned for reviews from those as well as others!

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Movie Review by Matthew Schuchman- One and a half out of Five ‘Staches.

When I was young, I had every toy on the market.  Between my brother and I, we had every single “Star Wars” toy, the complete “Transformers” collection and even had whatever “He-Man” paraphernalia was out there.  Those were all toys.  We spent about 2 hours setting up a massive battle of the good guys from all the sets of figures we had against all the baddies. These types of toys still exist for the youngster out there, but there is a wave of other toys, figures and collectibles out there, that everyone may not be aware of; the world of vinyl figurines.

The documentary, “The Vinyl Frontier” is now making its rounds through festivals and industry functions trying to not only bring this highly popular subculture to light, but also to try to bring to light that while these objects may be sold as toys, they are also art.  It is undeniable that some if not a lot of the pieces the film highlights are works of art, but the premise is nothing new to any medium out there.  There are people who will argue that a piece of art that hangs in a gallery is not art.  Film has been put through the ringer with this argument as have video games, graffiti and basically anything that bends one small rule from a previous paradigm.   There is a lot behind the world of vinyl toys that I do not know about and would love to learn, but this documentary cannot deliver on what is a very flat and flawed piece of filmmaking.

Amongst the overwhelming amount of talking heads and repetitive shots of some of the toys being discussed, the filmmakers decided to follow the creation of a new character named “Sharky” as its main centerpiece along with the history of the business.  The big problem with using this character as the centerpiece of the film is that it is a boring and un-inventive subject.  “Sharky” is the real world equivalent of a shark walking into Times Square and sitting down to have its caricature drawn by a guy sitting in front of the “Dave and Buster’s”.  On top of the underwhelming nature of the figure itself, the big payoff of the reception it gets when unveiled at the San Diego Comic Con is boiled down to a thirty-second thank you from the artist.  Now, I am not a great artist in any way and can’t draw a straight line without a ruler, but if you are going to make a film with a point of trying to say these figures are art and not just a toy, pick something to follow that has a lot more artistic value to it.

Beyond the inherent flaw of not having a fascinating enough subject to follow, the film’s editing technique lends to an overlap of information where as you feel you should be moving on to a new section of the film, but you are stuck listening to the same rhetoric and information that was being spewed out at the beginning of the film.  There is also a complete lack of inclusion of any views from the type of person who buys these figurines.  We are only given the thoughts of the artist and creators and not of the avid consumer.  As I stated when I started this review, the ultimate subject of this film is one of interest to me and will be to others and I wished for a better experience into a world that speaks to a group of hobbyists that I am not a part of, but the film making aspect of this venture is a failure.  But, just like some people may look at “Sharky” and see art and others will see a toy, some people will see “The Vinyl Frontier” and agree with me, while others may get just what they were looking for.

This film was viewed at the 4th annual ACEFEST Film Festival in Tribeca, NY.

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     I don’t care how cool it may look or how much action and special effects are thrown in, if the movie you are showing me contradicts a very important plot point in the first thirty minutes; I don’t like your movie.

     When giving Neo the rundown of what the matrix is and why he is capable of doing such special things  in the matrix, they have him jump an enormous gap between skyscrapers.  Morpheus makes the jump first and explains something to the effect of, since the matrix is not real, it does not have the same boundaries as the real world.  Knowing this, you can defy the laws of physics.  So in a nut shell, since you know the matrix is not real, you can do spectacular things.  However, about two minutes later they tell Neo, if you die in the matrix, you die in real life because your brain perceives the pain to be real.

     Come on!  If your brain can understand that the matrix is not real allowing you to do everything except escape anyone who is chasing you by just running through walls, then certainly it would know you are not really dead.  “The Matrix” movies are just filled with convoluted piles of crap that in no way can be understood by anyone, which gives the film makers the freedom to do whatever they please and everyone will eat it up like it was an ice cream sundae.  They even put in two albino twins in the second movie that can turn translucent and move through any object making them impossible to hurt.  These two can even have bullets and swords pass right through them using this ability, yet one of the heroes was able to trap one of them for a minute by jamming the albino’s arm in a door!  The dude just passed through cars and walls, yet the old arm in the door trick was too much for him.

     I’m sorry “Matrix” movies, you have no way of ever deeming yourself as anything other than eye candy that makes absolutely no sense.

Hate provided by Matthew Schuchman

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Mini Review by Matthew Schuchman- Three and a Half out of Five ‘Staches.

Do you love the comedy classic sketch show, “The State”?  Do you love the movie, “Role Models”?  Do you love comedy, even?  If the answer is yes to any of those and you haven’t seen it yet, go pick up a copy of “Wet  Hot American Summer”, right away.

The first film made by David Wain after “The State” went off the air, will not disappoint any audience member, unless you have no soul.  Stellar cast and great comedy antics are there for all to enjoy.   Stop fondling your sweaters and pick up this movie for a good time.

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     We here, in The ‘Stache, have been very busy lately and have not had a lot of time to get into the theaters in the past few days.  However, one of our readers wanted to share their enthusiastic views on the new film, “Piranha 3D”.  As a guest reviewer, the film will not be awarded a rating of any kind.  So thank you to our friend, Melissa Wermelinger for providing a quick and enjoyable take on the movie.

     If you’re looking for the best party on the lake with piranhas this summer, you’ve found it. Piranha 3D is a blast. The premise could totally happen. A tremor opens up the lake to another lake beneath it. This lake just happens to be the home of thousands of prehistoric piranhas… partygoers and Richard Dreyfuss beware.

      It’s spring break and this lake is packed with half-naked (and fully naked!) coeds. I wonder, how will the director possibly be able to fill the length of an entire movie with this one scenario? By packing it with as many exciting and creative ways to massacre a bunch of sinful little heathens as possible that’s how! And boy did they ever. I can take anything and at one point during the movie I was both horrified and laughing while shouting, “Oh my God! Oh my GOD!! No, no, NO he isn’t! WHY?!” And I’m an atheist.

     Great Scott! Is that Christopher Lloyd?! The cast was phenomenal. Jerry O’Connell plays a perfect scum bag. Ving Rhames plays the hero. Elisabeth Shue plays the butch cop you want to punch. That asshole from Step Brothers brings dry one-liners to the mix. And the best…..a guest appearance by Eli Roth! A most worthy kill!

     Carnage fans rejoice! The special effects and make-up were to die for (by little gnarly fish). As survivors were pulled out I kept thinking, how are those flesh wounds ever going to heal? Can a hospital even fix that?! I saw more bare-boned feet (and bare-breasted babes) than I could shake a stick at. And I saw more hanging flesh in Piranha 3D than I did in all the Jaws movies put together. The suspense and cheap thrill jumper junkies will not be disappointed either.

     Dads- bring the kids for the carnage, bring yourself for the boobs.

The views in this review are not those of the staff of; Movie Reviews, From Gene Shalit’s Moustache.

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Movie Review by Matthew Schuchman- Four out of Five ‘Staches.

I know at least one or two people are reading this thinking, “Why isn’t the review of “Vampires Suck” up when we were promised a review”?  Well, I went to the theater last night and the entire thing was a massive mess and I just didn’t feel like dealing with it for a film I know I will hate and would probably just end with the line, “Vampires Suck, sucked”.  So instead of wasting my time writing about a film that is not even worthy of a description.  I decided to write this review instead since, up until last week, I actually hadn’t seen, “Where The Wild Things Are”  and after finally viewing it, I felt it deserved a review here.

If memory serves me well, when “Where The Wild Things Are” hit theaters, it received mixed reviews and was followed by all the news stories that almost all the film had to be re-shot or re-worked because it was just too scary for children.  The problem is though, the story was never really meant to warm children’s hearts.  Yes, the original book was short and filled with pictures and was in all ways a children’s book, but it was trying to say something different; more on that later.

The idea that I was going to be disappointed with the film was stuck with me ever since the trailers hit the scene.  I like Spike Jonze and almost all of his work, so maybe I shouldn’t have doubted the movie from the start, but when a movie goes through so much red tape as this one did, it rarely comes out on a positive note; maybe “Citizen Kane” and “Brazil” being two of the few exceptions.  The end result though, is fantastic.

The story can seem a little disjointed on the first run through, but if you stick with it and let it all play out, it makes perfect sense and is in a very simple package, like the book.  It takes a special talent to bring you a film that can touch so many different nerves and emotions while keeping the viewer involved through a very recognizable reality and an alternate reality which at its base, is extremely familiar as well.  I am also usually wary of child actors and what they are capable of, but Max Records whose character shares the same first name was just perfect in every way and it is a testament again to Jonze and his casting staff for being smart enough to cast this young man in a role that drives everything we see and experience.

The film is dark and at the same time amazingly funny.  There are some fantastic laughs to be had from small characters that are puppet versions of Owls and a Raccoon that do wonders to expand the world that Maurice Sendak created with the original book.  And of course, do not forget the wonderful voice work by James Gandolfini, Katherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, Chris Cooper, Lauren Ambrose and Paul Dano as the, “Wild Things”.  They all did amazing work to bring a literal voice to this classic tale.

The work that went into the story of this stretched out version of a nine page book, worked wonders.  The film makers took the original theme and just expanded it a little and while maybe it won’t mean the same to you as it did to me, they succeeded in breaking my heart, in a good way of course.  I think too many people went to see the film, thinking it was just for kids or that it was just about a fantastic world that a young man was going to escape to and not what it really is about; a child finally understanding the hard work his mother puts in, trying to keep her family happy, even when it is beyond her control.  This is something everyone needs to understand.  As children we under-estimate all the things our parents do for us, from good times to bad times, they may not always do things the right way, the way you want it to be done, but they deserve your respect and your love, just as much as you want theirs, don’t forget that.

If you want to enjoy the wonder that is, “Where The Wild Things Are”, you can rent it from Netflix or purchase it here on Amazon.

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Movie Review by Matthew Schuchman- Two and a half out of Five ‘Staches.

Recently, I have given up  hope that someone will again release a decent to great horror film.  I would have liked to have said that, “The Last Exorcism” stepped up to the plate, but that would not be true.  But that doesn’t mean this is a bad film, but horror fans will most probably be very disappointed with the final result.

Like a pile of films before it,  “The Last Exorcism” uses a handheld camera that is filming a “Documentary” to try to bring a more realistic feel to the film.  The film makers succeed in giving the film a more genuine documentary feel for about the first half of the film, but everyone knows it is just a horror flick when it all comes down to it.  This time around we are following, Reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) as he goes to show a documentary crew of two, how as a preacher, he fakes an exorcism; for the last time.  As you probably know, things do not go as planned.

“The Last Exorcism” is for a good portion, pretty funny, which I was not expecting.  Fabian hams it up as the over exuberant showman preacher, which is what the character calls for.  It doesn’t seem to get in the way too much when things start to go awry either, but during the entire movie, he just comes off a little too calm.  You will get jumps and scares at times as you expect when watching the film, but it can’t seem to really deliver a memorable scare that is worth mentioning to your friends.  That fact alone may make you jump up and call “The Last Exorcism” a failure, but the film is triumphant in another way.  Where films like, “Paranormal Activity” and “[REC]” or its American version, “Quarantine” are made to  make you jump every five seconds and are straight forward scare-fest, “The Last Exorcism” feels more like “28 Days Later”, a film that is trying to tell you a story and has a horror themed background and is marketed more to horror audiences to get that niche money in the box office.

The most disappointing thing about the film is the ending by far.  It isn’t a bad ending and besides parts of it being a little, grandiose, I actually appreciated the road they took and the little parts of the film I can go back and think twice about, knowing what happens.  Though, I would have been praising this film up and down if it ended about 15-20 minutes earlier as it would have made for one hell of a metaphorical piece.  It would have pissed off horror fans beyond belief if that were the case and it wouldn’t have won the film any awards, but it would have made for an amazing conversation starter.  When all is said and done with what is put on-screen though, nothing special is being offered to the audience but nothing was totally ruined.

I guess I will have to wait a little longer till the half CGI/half live action film of “The Smurfs” comes out to be completely horrified by a film, but “The Last Exorcism” was actually a nice stop off, even if it didn’t make me crap myself.  I would say you won’t completely be wasting your time if you go see the film when it hits theaters on August 27th.  I would also like to thank my friends over at Cinemit.com for giving me the chance to get passes to see this film early.  If you are interested in getting into a preview screening or two  in the near future, make sure you stop by their site and sign up; it’s free.

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