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Archive for the ‘3 and 1/2 ‘Staches’ Category

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

The inspiration for “The Horse Whisperer,” Buck Brannaman is a man who needs people to understand that abusing an animal to train them is not the way to get results. And while for Buck, the animal in question is always a horse, the message he delivers carries a deeper meaning for all animals, including us humans. (more…)

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

MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) are bigger than ever. Boxing has taken a back seat and today’s fighting champs are seen as fearless, crazy and monstrous. At a base level, there is no mistaking that the sport is not for everyone. But everyone in the sport is not a monster and the skill, patience and sheer willpower it takes to excel in these endeavors are embodied in the current UFC middle weight champion, Anderson “The Spider” Silva. (more…)

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

When Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson first pitched the idea for their BBC series “Black Adder, ” they were told they were nuts. No one would watch a historical comedy that took place in the middle ages.  Those naysayers were wrong.  And while Monty Python had success lampooning multiple eras of the earth’s past, I still find myself weary of any film that tries to take on a similar feat. “Your Highness, ” written by Danny McBride and directed by David Gordon Green (though better known to most male audiences as the movie with Natalie Portman’s ass) is the latest film to try and find comedy in the  dark ages. Good thing for the viewing audiences, it succeeds. (more…)

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

If you have read through my whole site, you know I thought “Moon” (written and directed by Duncan Jones) was the best movie of 2009. Jones is back with his follow up in the directors chair with a script from Ben Ripley.  While “Source Code” is nowhere near the knockout I felt “Moon” was, it is definitely an enjoyable movie experience that will take the audience for a mind bending ride, but not confuse everyone; ala “Inception.” (more…)

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

My reaction to the news that Seth Rogen was writing and starring in a new adaptation of “The Green Hornet” was probably similar to the thoughts of the rest of the world; “Huh?”  The end result however, is massively funny and thoroughly entertaining to say the least. (more…)

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

True story or not, every boxing movie that ever comes out will automatically be compared to “Rocky” and “Raging Bull”.  It may be a little unfair, but no one has really found a way to treat the subject in a new and creative light.  A boxing film needs something special to separate itself from the rest and “The Fighter” has Christian Bale to provide this distinction.

“The Fighter” is the story of boxers and brothers, “Irish” Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund, “The Prides” of Lowell, Massachusetts.  Dicky, the older of the two reached a certain level of fame when he arguably knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard.  Now a crack addict, he still tried to live in the moment of that fight and nothing else.  He trains his younger brother through a series of losses for a fighter that people seem to think has some great talent, but is hindered by his brother and his family and their hold on him.

The formula plays out from there.  Micky gets some good opportunities and they either are hindered by unmitigated circumstances or squandered through bad decisions.  He also just happens to start dating a girl who creates rifts between Micky and his family.  Ultimately, his career starts to get on track and he gets some real fights and real press.  While the story is predictable and almost cookie cutter when it comes to the events, it is very easy to empathize with Micky and cheer him on as if you are watching a real bout.  At the screening I saw, one audience member was even clapping non stop through one of the matches and the entire theater came to a roar when Micky landed some crucial punches.

The real strength of the movie though, is Christian Bale.  In another weight loss performance, he is frantic, funny and simultaneously loveable and unlikable.  And while I enjoyed watching him during the film, I couldn’t help but think he is just taking it over the top a little too much, until you see the real Dicky Eklund at the end of the movie and it becomes obvious to anyone that his portrayal of Eklund is frighteningly spot on.  The one thing that everyone will remember from this film will be Bale’s performance.

The rest of the cast helps keep the movie afloat.  Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams pretty much just go through the motions, but you can’t say they were bad in the film.  Melissa Leo as the boys’ mother is great as always and the supporting cast playing the seven sisters in the family will have you laughing every time they are on the screen.  The entire cast helps to bring a lot of charm to what is  eventually an uplifting story, but a thoroughly bleak one as well.

If you are the type of person who goes out to see every best picture and best actor nominee then you should go see “The Fighter” the minute it comes out because there is no way, even if you end up not liking his work, that Bale is not getting a Best Supporting Actor nomination for this film.  And while you are watching him take the spotlight, enjoy the rest of the film; you won’t come out disappointed.

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

Just to be clear, “The Social Network” is not a blow-by-blow tale of how Facebook was started.  Maybe storytelling wise, it does follow the sordid tale of how the site was created, but the movie is not trying to chronicle the rise of Facebook so that a civilization of superior apes in the future can see how it came to be that Dr. Zaius reached 100,000 friends.  Like any good movie based on fact or fiction, “The Social Network” uses its story to unveil a more intricate message.

In 2003, during a drunken night on his computer, Mark Zuckerberg created something that caused a stir amongst the campus of Harvard; which he was attending at the time.  From this incident he was approached by a pair of brothers who row crew and their business partner who wanted Mark’s help building their website that brings the Harvard elite together via the web.  A handful of unreturned emails and phone calls later, with the monetary aid of his friend Eduardo Saverin, Zuckerberg launched his own site which became, Facebook.  I don’t want to bog down this review with details about how it all happened since you will see it all when you watch the movie.  I should also mention, that somewhere in the story line Zuckerberg and Saverin cross paths with Sean Parker, the inventor of Napster, who really helped make Facebook reach the entire world, not just a few select schools.

For a lot of people, Facebook is a way of keeping in touch with others.  For me now, it is a way of promoting this site.  For a large amount of people though, it is about stature and vanity.  Zuckerberg wanted to be liked, to be known, to be feared.  Before Facebook, his goal was to be accepted into one of Harvard’s prestigious final clubs.  He wanted to be lauded like the well-known athletes in the school were.  He, like everyone else out there, wanted to be loved.  That tiny feeling you get in the pit of your stomach that says, I want people to think about me, I want to be needed by someone; that is a driving force in all of us.  Unfortunately for Zuckerberg,  his natural persona or the persona he wanted to be known by, drove more people away than towards him.

Even as things began to go well for him, Zuckerberg would just do something else to push those that helped him away.  His motives may have been created out of a deep-seated resentment for some people or they just could have been pure misguided fumbles.  In the end though, Zuckerberg just lives what he creates, at least in the film version.  I have no idea how the real Mark Zuckerberg lives.  He is a billionaire and may live the life he wanted, surrounded by loved ones or people  he pays to pretend to be loved ones, who knows.  As I stated when starting this review, the story is just a means to the moral.  Facebook has become another tool that makes the internet a place where we have tons of friends,  but no physical contact with them.  All we are left with is our thoughts on how those acquaintances may think of us, away from the computer screen.  This is the world in which the film version of Zuckerberg lives in.

What I enjoyed most about the film though, are the hints of overall paranoia it explored.  “Catfish” used the idea of people pretending to be what they are not, through Facebook as the main plot line.  “The Social Network” instead, explores the more human side of this internet paranoia.  Eduardo Saverin and Sean Parker both express their paranoid fears in the film, front and center.  Zuckerberg on the other hand, takes his fears and worries and uses them to put up that wall that keeps everyone else out, which gives him his flair of arrogance.  They are people dealing with their fears in different ways, but the outcome though different, is still gloomy for all of them.  I would not go as far as saying that their worries are not valid (though Sean Parker comes off as a real nutcase) but the way they all let these fears dictate their lives is scary.

The movie all around is well acted.  Jesse Eisenberg  is as unlikable as they come.  As well as he comes off as this very confident and pompous jerk, the real terror of the character’s feelings is so subtle and so well hidden.  The more I think about his performance, the more I feel he is award ceremony bound.  Andrew Garfield does his job well, but it is nothing spectacular and Justin Timberlake really just plays what I expect him to play.  The big surprise of the film comes from, Douglas Urbanski.  Urbanski is Gary Oldman’s manager in real life.  Here he turns in a side-splitting hilarious performance as the President of Harvard.

“The Social Network” is not the game changing movie that defines a generation that I have previously been led to believe it was.  The fact that it doesn’t actually try to define a generation is what makes it good.  Put the events of this movie in a world in the 1950’s without paper and make one of the students figure out a way to make a yearbook and you have the same thing.  You don’t have to use or understand Facebook, let alone the internet to know what these characters are feeling; you just need a heart.

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