Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Short Review: Attack the Block

Grade: A

Aliens south London, a teen gang decides to fight them off.

Fun movie with a lot of fun action. Cool alien design.

John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Nick Frost, many more.

Attention span must last 1 hour 30 minutes to enjoy.

Short Review: Our Idiot Brother

Grade: A+

Ned stays with his 3 sisters causing conflict.

Best comedy of the year. Subtle and underplayed humor.

Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Steve Coogan, Rashida Jones, T.J. Miller, Adam Scott, more.

Attention span must last 1 hour 30 minutes to enjoy.

Full Review: Our Idiot Brother

Grade: A+

Ned is a bit of a free spirit who grows vegetables on an organic farm and sells them at a market. But when he sells marijuana to a uniformed police officer, he is sent to jail. After his release, his ex-girlfriend at the farm doesn’t want him back so Ned is forced to stay with some of his family. He essentially gets passed around the homes of his three sisters. Ned has a lot faith in the good in people and he insists on be as honest as possible. This, however, does manage to cause some complications amongst his sisters as he forces them to deal with each of their own problems.

Our Idiot Brother is yet another instance of bad advertising and a trailer that doesn’t properly portray the movie. When I watched the trailer I thought it was going to be a raunchy/stoner/slapstick comedy and I was glad that it wasn’t. The movie is my absolute favorite kind of comedy: subtle and underplayed. This movie had me laughing the whole time without getting raunchy or gross, without the characters falling down or getting hit by stuff, without much exaggeration and without a lot of the other things that most comedies these days tend to overdo. The writing was great and all of the characters were fascinating in their own way, especially Ned. This movie completely took me by surprise and is easily my favorite comedy of the year, thus far. I honestly don’t know how else to describe it but I loved absolutely every second of this movie.

Paul Rudd (Dinner for Schmucks, Role Models) plays the lead role of Ned. I am a huge fan of Rudd’s, he is one of the most consistently funny actors out there today. He is so good that even though I really don’t like the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I love his character in it and that almost makes it worth watching. With that said, I have to state that this is now my favorite role I have ever seen him in. Elizabeth Banks (The Next Three Days, Zack and Miri Make a Porno) plays the role of Miranda. Banks is great and one of my favorite comedic actors and she does not disappoint in this movie. Zooey Deschanel (500 Days of Summer, Yes Man) plays the role of Natalie. I can never get enough of Ms. Deschanel and she was great and extremely en in this movie. Emily Mortimer (City Island, Harry Brown) plays the role of Liz. Mortimer was great in this movie and this is one of her better roles I’ve seen her do. The movie also features Steve Coogan, Rashida Jones, Adam Scott, T.J. Miller, Kathryn Hahn and many more.

Our Idiot Brother is my favorite comedy of the year and is one of the better comedies to come out in a while, it feels like. I cannot recommend this movie enough. If you are looking for a feel good movie or a great comedy, get out there and see Our Idiot Brother. I can’t wait to see this movie again, I really loved it, I know I’ve said that a few times.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Podcast: Episode 18

Head over to sutmspod.wordpress.com/ to listen to the latest episode of Shut Up! The Movie's Starting.

In this episode Michael and Russell discuss the movies Our Idiot Brother and Attack the Block, which are playing in theaters now, as well as Rubber, available on Netflix Instant Watch. The two also talk about Alien3, Colombiana, The Help, Peep World, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, The trailers for Tucker and Dale vs Evil and The Rum Diary, Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim, the lies told by some trailers, the relatively new Denver Film Center, their love of Alan Tudyk, Steven Chow’s movies and oh so very much more!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Full Review: The Help

Grade: A

Set in the 1960’s, Skeeter has just returned home to Mississippi after graduating from college. She is determined to become a writer and takes a job at the local newspaper writing a housekeeping advice column. While reconnecting with old friends, she sees the way that everybody treats the black maids who clean their houses and raise their children. When one woman in particular, Hilly Holbrook, puts forth an initiative to have everyone build separate bathrooms for the help to use, Skeeter decides to ask some of the maids to answer some questions and tell stories from their perspective. Aibileen is the first person to agree. However, in the midst of the civil rights movement, more maids begin to step forward to tell their stories and help Skeeter write her book that when released, could shake the very foundation of southern society.

I will admit I was a bit wary about this movie when I first heard about it. I didn’t get why Hollywood would chose to make a fictional movie about the civil rights movement when there are so many amazing true stories to tell. However, after The Help was released, I started hearing about the performances and I became increasingly interested in seeing this movie. I’m really glad that I decided to watch this movie. It is a well written, well made and extremely well performed movie. Despite the fact that all of the characters in the movie are made up, all of the events happening around them were very real. I was very impressed with how good this movie was and how powerful it felt and the emotion in it was intense. It’s no wonder to me that this movie is already getting early Oscar buzz.

The movie touches on many interesting issues from back then. It shows how these maids raised these people’s children (often far more and far better than the actual parents) but yet were treated poorly and not allowed to even use the bathroom inside the house. It shows how even though these women raised these children and were close to them, the children would grow up only to treat them like third class citizens, just like everybody else. It discussed how even though the maids were technically employed by these people, often they were inherited as though they were objects. One of my favorite aspects of this movie was the character of Celia Foote, who was outcast by the rest of the girls because she doesn’t act like the rest of them do. Celia hires Minny and rather than treat her like everyone else treats their maids, she treats Minny like a friend and they form a wonderful relationship.

Emma Stone (Easy A, Crazy Stupid Love) plays the lead role of Skeeter. It is great to see Emma Stone stretch her wings a bit in this movie. She usually plays much more comedic roles and it was nice to see her in a more dramatic role. She did a great job in the movie and proved my thoughts about her potential as an actress. Viola Davis (Knight and Day, Doubt) plays the role of Abileen. She is an amazing actress and she delivers a powerful performance in the movie, I can’t say enough about her in this role and I strongly believe she will get many award nominations out of it. Bryce Dallas Howard (Herafter, Terminator Salvation) plays the role of Hilly Hilbrook, essentially the villain of the movie. She did a great job with this role and was extremely convincing in her performance. Octavia Spencer plays the role of Minny Jackson, Abileen’s best friend. It was interesting seeing her in a prominent role in a movie and a serious role at that and she did a great job with it. The movie also features great performances by Allison Janney, Jessica Chastain, Sissy Spacek, Ahna O’Reilly and more.

The Help is a great movie and one of the better feel good movies of the year. It manages to tackle the difficult subject with grace and meaning. One thing that really amused me while watching this movie was that of all the horrible things that are said and done to these maids and to black people in general in this movie, the audience I watched it with was never more horrified and offended than when one of the characters spanked her child. I recommend that everybody go out and see this movie when you have a chance, you won’t regret it.

Short Review: Conan the Barbarian

Grade: C-

A young man grows up to be a great warrior.

Fun action scenes but the story is uninteresting and the acting is bad.

Jason Momoa, Stephen Lang, Rachel Nichols, Rose McGowan, Ron Pearlman

Attention span must last 1 hour 53 minutes to enjoy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Podcast: Episode 17

Head over to sutmspod.wordpress.com to listen to episode 17 of Shut Up! The Movie's Starting, the official podcast of Cucu for Movies!

In this episode Michael and Russell discuss the movies Fright Night and Conan the Barbarian (in theaters now) as well as Piccadilly Jim (available on Netflix Instant Watch) and Aliens. The two also talk about Hobo with a Shotgun, Take Me Home Tonight, Defendor, the trailers for Harold and Kumar 3, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Underworld 4, the upcoming John Carter of Mars, future Pixar projects, Ridley Scott, the awesomeness of 80s fantasy and action movies and oh so very much more.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Short Review: Fright Night

Grade: A-

A boy befriends a Vegas magician.

Surprisingly good and entertaining

Anton Yelchin, Colin Ferrell, David Tennant, Toni Collette.

Attention span must last 1 hour 46 minutes.

Full Review: Fright Night

Grade: A-

Charley lives with his mom in a small suburban town just outside of Las Vegas. He becomes suspicious of his new neighbor, Jerry, after his friend raises some interesting questions about the man. Charley does soon discover that his neighbor is indeed a vampire. When Jerry finds out that his secret has been revealed, he begins to focus all of his effort on killing Charley and his mom. Charley then goes to Vegas to enlist the help of Peter Vincent, a self-proclaimed vampire hunter and stage magician. Vincent, however, turns out to be a drunk and doesn’t seem interested in helping.

Fright Night is a remake of a classic cult movie of the same name from 1985. I will admit, I have never seen the original and I was very wary of this remake as nobody seemed to have much faith in it and the trailer didn’t really make me all that interested in seeing it. However, I would like to say that I was very pleasantly surprised by this movie. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The plot is fun and really entertaining and the action is great. The movie has a really great sense of humor and it will make you laugh a couple times. This is probably one of the better vampire movies to come out in a long time, no sparkling in this one. My only complaint about this movie is that I saw it in 2D (no interest in 3D) and there are several blatant 3D shots in the movie. By that I mean that there are some weird camera shots that were set up specifically so that something can be thrown at the camera to try to scare the people seeing it in 3D.

Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Terminator: Salvation) plays the lead role of Charley. I am already a huge fan of this guy, he is great in every movie I’ve seen him in and this movie is no exception. He has great delivery and manages this character very well. Colin Ferrell (Horrible Bosses, In Bruges) plays Jerry, the vampire. Ferrell is perfect in this role. He makes an awesome and fun vampire. David Tennant (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, TVs Doctor Who) plays Peter Vincent. Tennant was fantastic in this role. He was hilarious and entertaining and he manages to pull himself together and be a total badass by the end of the movie. The movie also features Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and more.

Fright Night is a surprisingly good movie that I think most fans of vampires will enjoy. Again, I haven’t seen the original and I do plan on watching it soon, but this movie is absolutely great and so much fun to watch. I really recommend it for people looking for a decent vampire/horror(ish) movie.

Short Review: 30 Minutes or Less

Grade: B-

A young man has an explosive day.

Funny, could have been better though.

Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, Fred Ward.

Attention span must last 90 minutes to enjoy.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Podcast: Episode 16

Episode 16 of Shut Up! The Movie's Starting is now available at sutmspod.wordpress.com

Welcome to episode 16 of Shut Up! The Movie’s Starting. In this episode Michael and Russell discuss the movies 30 Minutes or Less, playing in theaters now, and John Carpenter’s The Thing, available on the Netflix Instant queue. They also talk about Alien, The Rocketeer, Tremors, Spaceballs, Simon Pegg, Mike Myers, the Harold and Kumar 3 trailer, the hilarity of future tech in old sci-fi movies and so much more.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Short Review: The Change-Up

Grade: B

A man works hard to make partner at his law firm.

It's a body switching movie with dick and fart jokes.

Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Leslie Mann, Olivia Wilde

Attention Span much last 1 hour 52 minute to enjoy.

Full Review: The Change-Up

Grade: B

Dave is a hardworking lawyer who is married with a daughter and two new born twins. Things have been rough lately as Dave has been working hard on a case at work and his home life has been affected by this. Mitch is an actor who doesn't seem to get much work and spends most of his days doing, pretty much, whatever he wants. The two have been best friends their whole lives and after a night of drinking, the two stumble upon a fountain they use to urinate in. Somehow, by doing so, the two switch bodies and the fountain has gone missing. Now, the two must do their best to respect each other’s lives until the fountain is found and they can switch back. The two, of course, learn valuable lessons along the way.

The Change-Up follows a tried and true formula of movies like Freaky Friday and its many remakes. The main difference being that this body switching movie is much raunchier and has tons of adult language. Rather than being the typical Mother/Daughter or Father/Son switch, this is more of an Odd Couple switch. Dave is clean, organized, wears a suit every day, has a respectable job, has kids and is generally responsible. Mitch is single, lazy, does what he wants (which usually includes lots of drinking and weed) and has lots of random sex with strange women. So to watch these two switch bodies is really funny and entertaining. Especially watching as Mitch tries to be Dave and just fail miserably. I easily laughed through 85-90% of this movie, it is better than I thought it would be. However, I do have to say that there are several moments in the trailer that were hilarious and they are either played down or missing all together from the movie. While I understand that this happens frequently, some of these moments were genius and I don’t get why they would be cut out. Also, one of my few complaints about this movie is that I am not a big fan of poop/gross humor and while there are only a small handful of these moments, some of them took me out of the movie for a moment.

Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses, Paul) plays the role of Dave. He does a great job in this movie and he is absolutely hilarious, as he usually is. Bateman is one of the more consistently funny actors out there and he does not disappoint in this. Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern, Buried) plays the role of Mitch. He was great and completely outrageous in this. His character has the vast majority of the language and raunchiness in this movie and Reynolds does this extremely well. Bateman and Reynolds play each other extremely well, but some of that is because the two have similar comedy styles. The movie also features Leslie Mann, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin and more.

If you are looking for a fun comedy that is loaded with adult humor and all that comes with that, then the Change-Up is the movie for you. It is a great comedy but the easily offended should pass on this one. It tries to instill a message and succeeds somewhat but it’s kind of lost amidst everything else that is happening in the movie.

Great quote: “Take my hands off of you!”

Podcast: Episode 15

Episode 15 of Shut Up! The Movie's Starting is available now at sutmspod.wordpress.com

In this episode Michael and Russell discuss The Change-Up and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, both in theaters now, and The Chase, available on Netflix Instant Watch. The two also discuss Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Jersey Girl, Smokin’ Aces 1 and 2, Intolerable Cruelty, The Jonses, MacGruber, the greatness of Val Kilmer, remakes that should not be, their lack of enthusiasm for Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises, they ramble on for a bit and Michael continues to defend the quality of the Apes movies and so much more.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Short Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Grade: A

APES!!!!!!

Great addition to the Apes series. Lots of fun. Very emotional. Not to mention APES!!!!!

James Franco, Andy Serkis, John Lithgow, Freida Pinto, more.

Attention span must last 1 hour 45 minutes to enjoy.

Full Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Grade: A

Will Rodman has been working at a genetic lab for years where he has been working on a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. He has recently made a break through and a chimp they have been testing on has been showing amazing cognitive abilities. Unfortunately, the chimpanzee went out of control and they were forced to stop the program and put down all the chimps. It turns out, the chimp they were testing on had a baby and rather than put it down, Will took him home in order to hide him from the company. It appears that this chimp has increased cognitive abilities and quickly learns sign language and much more. After becoming hostile with a neighbor, Will is forced to put Caesar, the chimp, in a primate sanctuary. Here, Caesar learns how humans really are and he begins to organize a revolution with the rest of the apes.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is essentially a prequel to the original Planet of the Apes from 1968 starring Charlton Heston. I have been pretty excited about this movie for a while as I am a huge fan of all of the Planet of the Apes movies (there are 6 including Tim Burton’s remake). I was hoping that this would be a nice addition to the series. I was not let down at all. Rise manages to be fun and exciting as well as very emotional. The chimpanzee, Caesar, goes through many emotional and tragic ordeals, it gets to the point where you aren’t just rooting for him, but all of the apes. On top of that, they make many great references to the original movie as well as some references to some of its sequels, particularly Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. The writers did a great job and managed to sneak in many of the classic lines we all know and love. The special effects in the movie look absolutely spectacular, the apes look incredibly realistic. The buildup is great but the payoff is even better. The climactic scene with the apes rampaging through the streets of San Francisco is an absolute blast to watch. They left it somewhat open ended for possible sequels, which as an Apes fan, I am all for.

The movie stars James Franco (127 Hours, Your Highness) as Will, the genetic researcher who finds the cure for Alzheimer’s. Franco did a great job of playing Caesar’s surrogate father. He did an amazing job with his character’s connection to Caesar. Andy Serkis (King Kong, Lord of the Rings) portrays the role of Caesar, a hyper-intelligent chimpanzee. Serkis did an amazing job with all of the motion capture work for this character. He made this character feel extremely real and you truly sympathize with Caesar, more than I thought I would in this movie. John Lithgow (Orange County, TVs Dexter) plays the role of Charles, Will’s father who has Alzheimer’s. Lithgow is great in this movie and does a great job with some of the heavy handed stuff he has to deliver. The movie also features Freida Pinto, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, Tyler Labine and more.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is absolutely everything I could have asked for and more out of a new Apes movie. I enjoyed this movie from start to finish and can’t wait to go see it again. If you are a fan of any of the Apes movies, I really can’t recommend this movie enough. If you aren’t a big fan of them or have never seen any Apes movies, I still suggest at least giving this one a try.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Short Review: Cowboys and Aliens

Grade: A

Mysterious visitors come to a small mining town in the old west.

Perfect summer popcorn flick. James Bond AND Indiana Jones are in it, how can you lose?

Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell

Your attention span must last 2 hours in order to enjoy.

Full Review: Cowboys and Aliens

Grade: A

In 1873, just outside a small mining town in Arizona, a man wakes up in the middle of the desert with no memory and a mysterious device attached to his wrist. He wanders into the town where he instantly makes a name for himself by teaching the son of a local business man a lesson. When it is discovered that this man is a wanted criminal, he is locked up and handed over to a federal marshal to deal with. However, that night, mysterious crafts arrive in the sky and lay waste to the small town, taking many of the residents. The man, Jake, the business man who practically owns the town, Woodrow Dolarhyde, a mysterious woman, Ella, and many other townspeople decide that they must work together in order to find the taken people and defeat the alien menace.

Cowboys and Aliens is one of the better westerns in a long time. Don’t mistake this movie for something that it’s not. It is simply a western where the bad guy is different than what you’re used to, and on that level, it completely works. It is an extremely fun movie with lots of great visuals. Director Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Zathura) did a great job with this movie, it looks absolutely fantastic. The creature design is very intriguing and the aliens are actually very intimidating. The writers of the movie, which includes the likes of Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof and more, did a great job with both the dialogue and action. This movie is based on a series of comic books of the same name created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, I have never read the comic books but after seeing this movie I’m going to pick them up.

Daniel Craig (Casino Royale, Layer Cake) plays the role of Jake Lonergan, a mysterious man with a case of amnesia. Craig is an incredible actor and he does a great job in this movie. He is a lot of fun to see wandering around the old west like Yul Brynner, fighting aliens and generally kicking butt. His character has some moments that are very Indiana Jones-esque, like how he won’t let anything happen to his hat, I think they did this because of his co-star, Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones, Morning Glory) who plays Woodward Dolarhyde, a man with seemingly more authority in the small town than the local sheriff. Ford is fantastic in this movie and I feel like for the first time in a long time, he was really trying and giving this role his all. Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy, The Next Three Days) plays the role of Ella, a beautiful and mysterious woman. Wilde is great in this movie and I’m really glad to see her career taking off the way it is. Sam Rockwell (Choke, Moon) plays the role of Doc, the owner of the local saloon. Rockwell is a greatly under-appreciated actor and he is really enjoyable in this movie. The movie also features Paul Dano, Adam Beach, Clancy Brown, Keith Carradine and many more.

Cowboys and Aliens tells a very interesting and fun story and is everything you could ask for out of a popcorn flick. It is an absolute blast to watch James Bond and Indianna Jones work together to kick some alien butt. This movie has all the right twists and turns with some great characters and special effects.

Short Review: Crazy Stupid Love

Grade: C+

A man gets a makeover.

Funny, great date night movie.

Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone

Attention span must last 2 hours in order to enjoy.

Full Review: Crazy Stupid Love

Grade: C+

Cal and Emily Weaver have been in a rut for a while now and after Emily sleeps with a co-worker, she decides that they should get a divorce. Not wanting to put up a fight, Cal moves out into a small apartment and begins his lonely, now single, life. He decides to start going to a local bar, where he meets Jacob, a young, smooth-talking ladies man who seems to go home with a different girl every night. Jacob decides to take Cal under his wing and help him become a better man. Cal gets an entirely new wardrobe, a new haircut and Jacob teaches him how to talk to women. Cal starts feeling much better about himself and soon realizes that he should be fighting to get his wife back, not just hooking up with random women.

Crazy Stupid Love is an interesting romantic-comedy that adds something slightly new to a classic formula. This movie definitely has its funny moments, like when Jacob takes Cal shopping for a new suit and other clothes and is teaching him how to have more confidence. It also hits many rom-com clich├ęs, like in one scene, after Cal and Emily get into another fight, it instantly starts to rain. For the most part, this movie is pretty decent. It does have its faults though. For instance, I feel that it goes on a little long, the amount of “Crazy stuff that happens is, itself, crazy. The movie feels like it’s heading towards conclusion several times only to have another weird incident drag it out a little longer, and some of the love triangles are a bit ridiculous.

Steve Carell (Date Night, Dinner for Schmucks) plays the role of Cal Weaver. I have to say, this is one of Carell’s better movie roles. I usually like him, but in this movie he seems a little better than usual. He manages to handle the balance of dramatic and comedic sides to the character really well. Julianne Moore (The Kids Are Alright, Children of Men) plays the role of Emily Weaver. I have always liked her and she is really enjoyable in this movie. Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine, The Notebook) plays the role of Jacob. I have to say, I usually don’t like Gosling and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in a comedic role, but he was actually very enjoyable in this movie and really funny at times. Emma Stone (Easy A, Zombieland) plays the role of Hannah, a girl whom Jacob meets and changes his ways. I am a huge fan of hers and I am glad to see her getting as much work as she is. She absolutely does not disappoint in this movie. The movie also features Kevin Bacon, Analeigh Tipton, Jonah Bobo, Marissa Tomei and many more.

Crazy Stupid Love is a decent and enjoyable romantic comedy. Even though I personally feel that it drags on a bit longer than it should, but I still feel that this movie would make for a great date night movie. It is funny and the cast is great. If you don’t see this on a date night, wait for DVD and rent it somewhere.

Podcast: Episode 14

Episode 14 of Shut Up! The Movie's Starting, the official Podcast of Cucu for Movies, is now available at http://sutmspod.wordpress.com/

In this episode, Michael and Russell discuss Cowboys & Aliens, which is in theaters now, and Chaos Theory, which is available on Netflix Instant Watch. Michael briefly talks about Tree of Life and Crazy Stupid Love. The two then go on to talk about their adoration for Clerks II, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Behind the Planet of the Apes, Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, movies hitting DVD, the trailers for In Time, Tower Heist and Battleship, Olivia Wilde’s amazing eyes, Paul Bettany, movie news and more!