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Archive for the ‘Must See Movies’ Category

Movie Review by Matthew Schuchman- Four and a half out of Five ‘Staches. (No real photos from the film are available yet as it still listed as being in post production, so enjoy this Adrien Brody headshot, instead).

Tony Kaye, the director of “Detachment” is best known for making “American History X.”  He has done a handful of films since, but nothing seemed to garner much attention.  While “Detachment” is still in post production, a lot of the work that has to be done deals more with sound than anything else. They could put the film in theaters the way it is now and have no worries as “Detachment” is nothing less than incredible. (more…)

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By now you have seen plenty top of the year lists, but it is time that Movie Reviews From Gene Shalit’s Moustache reveals our top five films for the year 2010.  The following films are presented in alphabetical order.  When it comes time to predict who  a Globe or Oscar we will worry about putting one film over another. (more…)

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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- Four out of Five ‘Staches.

If you ask me what the best film of 2009 was, I would not say, “The Hurt Locker” and I would not say, “Avatar”.  With no question in my mind, not only was the best film of 2009 not even nominated for any of the big name, American/Hollywood awards, but the best performance of the year also went unrecognized.

“Moon” is the story of, Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) who is signed to a three-year contract with Lunar Industries, that has had him living in solitude on the moon, with only a robot control system, named Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey) for companionship.   Sam’s job on the moon is to help harvest, Helium-3, which is now used as the main source of energy back on earth.   Two weeks before his contract is done and Sam will be heading home to his wife and child, whom Sam was not there to witness being born, something goes wrong.

Now, already you may think this premise sounds trite and cliché; it has all been done before.  But “Moon” does the unexpected.  In the first 15 minutes of the film, everything is explained, more of a character study than anything else, “Moon” makes you think you are in for twists and turns and predictable situations and then turns it all on its head.  This film is a breath of fresh air, in a world of super convoluted story lines that purposely try to mess with your head and end up really going nowhere.  Those types of films, whether they are good or bad, will give people something to talk about and so does, “Moon”, but in a different way.

The first feature-length film for Co-writer and director by Duncan Jones was made for a shoe string budget, for the type of film it was.  However, you would never know.  “Moon” looks just as beautiful and expensive as a big budget blockbuster sci-fi film that costs, fifty to one hundred million dollars yet, “Moon” was completed for five million.  The story and filmmaking were top-notch for this “indie” flick, but the shining star of this movie, is Sam Rockwell.

I am a massive fan of Sam Rockwell, which made this movie a must see from the word go for me, but the performance he turns out in “Moon” should be noted as the definition of, “tour de force”.  At parts, Sam Rockwell, was his normal fun-loving self; he was a bit scary at times, a bit vulnerable and at other times very stoic.  At the same time though, he completely broke my heart.  Becoming  truly empathetic and sympathetic to a character in a movie these days, is a hard thing to do, but thanks to Sam Rockwell in “Moon”, it will always be possible.

“Moon” is making its T.V. premiere run right now (July, 2010) on the Starz network, which also means, besides being available for rent, it is also available as a, “Watch Instantly” title on, Netflix.  If you want to own a copy of “Moon”, look here on Amazon to purchase your copy on DVD or Blu-Ray.

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

Even if you have never actually seen the movie, “Network”, you probably know the most famous quote from it; “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

The now infamous line uttered by Peter Finch, in a performance that won him the Academy Award for best actor (Note that is was the first and only Academy Award to be given out posthumously till Heath Ledger won for playing the Joker in, “The Dark Knight”) will go down in history as one of the most famous movie quotes of all time.  However, the speeches Finch delivers later in the movie are ten times more poignant and much more powerful and meaningful and should be heard and seen by all movie lovers.  The film also contains an amazing little speech delivered by a well warranted over-acting, Ned Beatty (see the picture above) in one of the greatest film cameos of all time.

The film follows the dealings of butting heads at UBS, and no not the bank, but the lowest rated television station, at the beginning of the movie.  Opening up as two marvels of the news world, anchor Howard Beale (Finch) and producer, Max Schumacher (William Holden) are in middle of a drunken binge; as Howard was earlier that day, informed he was being let go.  Days before his last broadcast, Howard announces, live on the evening news, that on the following Thursday’s show, he was going to kill himself on air and it should get a hell of a rating.

These events start to unfold what is by far, one of the greatest films ever made, turning the steady news man, Howard Beale into, “The mad prophet of the airwaves”.  A stellar cast of, William Holden, Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall, Ned Beatty and Beatrice Straight (who won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for “Network”, for a role that had a total screen time of 5 minutes and 40 seconds) are brought together by the underrated genius of Sidney Lumet and the incomparable writing of Paddy Chayefky.

“Network” was a film ahead of its time.  Chayefsky wrote about the news becoming part of a corporation and more of an entertainment show than informative, way before it became a reality.  “Network” was a vision of fear, of what American’s may become, and basically have.  It picked up on the fact that anything that was going to be associated with “the tube” was going to change us.  In one of the best rants delivered by Finch  in the film, he goes to explain to the live audience and the millions of people watching him on T.V. to stop listening to him and what he and the rest of the personalities on T.V. tell them to do; “But, man, you’re never going to get any truth from us. We’ll tell you anything you want to hear; we lie like hell. We’ll tell you that, uh, Kojak always gets the killer, or that nobody ever gets cancer at Archie Bunker’s house, and no matter how much trouble the hero is in, don’t worry, just look at your watch; at the end of the hour he’s going to win. We’ll tell you any shit you want to hear. We deal in *illusions*, man! None of it is true! But you people sit there, day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds… We’re all you know. You’re beginning to believe the illusions we’re spinning here. You’re beginning to think that the tube is reality, and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you! You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even *think* like the tube! This is mass madness, you maniacs! In God’s name, you people are the real thing! *WE* are the illusion! So turn off your television sets. Turn them off now. Turn them off right now. Turn them off and leave them off! Turn them off right in the middle of the sentence I’m speaking to you now! TURN THEM OFF…” When I see the youth of today and how so many young people try to live the lives they see shows like”The Real World” or “Sex and the City” I can’t help but think of this speech; I mean “The Real World”?

Do yourself a favor and see “Network” if you haven’t.  It is poignant, funny, endearing, and thought provoking.  It also contains some of the best writing ever put to film and the greatest opening and closing line of any movie I have ever seen.  You will not be sorry.  You can of course rent the film on Netflix or purchase it from Amazon. Do enjoy.

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

Some people think that a made for T.V. movie should not count when thinking about the greatest movies of all time.  Of course, it is rare that a made for T.V. movie might be worth mentioning in that category.  Not only does this 1986 BBC mini-series deserve to be noticed as one of the best movies ever, it is without a doubt, my favorite movie of all time.

Trying to put “The Singing Detective” into a nutshell, is pretty much impossible.  The story revolves around fictional novelist, Philip Marlow (Notice the drop of the E off the name), played by the great  Michael Gambon  in  his first real starring/lead role.  Marlow is bedridden in a hospital in the then present, 1980(s).  He suffers from a severe skin disease in which the skin over his entire body is dried up and flaking away.  Red from irritation, it leaves him unable to  move any part of his body on his own and without pain; it is psoriasis, at its most heightened stage.  Dennis Potter, who wrote the movie, which started as a radio program, suffered from this disease and was writing from personal experience.  He believed that this disease that tore away at this skin, was a physical representation of the horrible or immoral thoughts he possessed at times, as does the character of Philip Marlow, he is a prisoner in his own skin.

Unable to do anything else while he is bedridden, Marlow begins to “re-write” his most famous novel, “The Singing Detective” in his head.  But due to the restraints of not having much else to do, high fevers that cause delusion, unfavorable dealings with other hospital patients and staff and the sudden appearance of his estranged wife, Marlow also begins to think about his past/childhood.  Soon, the memories of his childhood begin infiltrating the story of, “The Singing Detective” as well as his experiences in the present.  Nurses and doctors break out into lip synching dance numbers and the visions of dead bed mates seem to stream through everywhere.  Ultimately, all of these worlds seem to collide as the finale of the movie draws near.

Part drama, part mystery, part musical, part thriller and all powerhouse film making bring this movie of searching, paranoia, and self discovery,  into a world of its own.  To be frank, most people will not understand the first 3 hours of this 6 hour mini-series as nothing really starts to come together until then.  The series is broken up however into 6, one hour-long episodes that can make for an easy viewing.  It is a movie that demands your attention and you must watch and listen closely as you may get lost even if you miss the smallest item.

Besides being my number one favorite movie of all time, it is prudent to bring this film review to you now as it shares a very similar theme with movies like, “12 Monkeys” and the current blockbuster, “Inception”.  Now, it may share a message closer to, “12 Monkeys” but all three films ride a similar line or thematic tales.  For “The Singing Detective”, it can be put simple as this; No matter what you think you remember from your past or not, there is one single moment that changed the person you were and helped form the person you have become.

If you are interested in seeing, “The Singing Detective”, it is available to rent from Netflix.  Just remember it is a three disc set with the entire movie split across the first two discs.  You can also  buy it here, from Amazon. Watch out, there was an independent remake made in 2003 starring, Robert Downey Jr.  DO NOT rent or buy this version.  They chopped the story to about two hours and destroyed the 1986 classic.  The remake gets One ‘Stache out of Five. There was a lot of great talent associated with the remake, but it missed the mark, big time.  Feel free to see it after the original and you will see what I mean.

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