Monday, September 26, 2011

Podcast: Episode 21

Head over to for the episode 21 of Shut Up! The Movie's Starting, the official podcast of Cucu for Movies.

In this episode Michael and Russell discuss the movie Killer Elite (in theaters now), The Flintstones (available on Netflix Instant Watch), Predator 2 and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (on blu-ray). They also discuss the new movie Moneyball, playing in theaters now, The Social Network, Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, the overly long trailer for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as well as the trailers for J. Edgar, The Grey, The Three Musketeers and Immortals, they talk about Michael’s love for Aaron Sorkin’s writing, airship battles, marathoning LOTR, the awesomness of Nicholas Cage and much more.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Short Review: Moneyball

Grade: A+

A man uses statistics to build a better baseball team.

Easily one of the best movies of the year.

Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, more.

Attention span must last 2 hours 15 minutes in order to enjoy.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Full Review: Moneyball

Grade: A+

Billy Beane is the general manager of the Oakland Athletics professional baseball club. The team has been going through hard times lately. They recently lost their opportunity to go to the World Series and their three top players have just been drafted to the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Socks. Billy has another problem; the Athletics have the smallest budget in the MLB in order to pay for players. He needs to come up with a new way to build a winning team on a budget. That is when he meets Peter Brand, a young baseball statistician, who shows Billy a way to use computer generated statistic s in order to build the best possible baseball team on the extremely low budget. If this works, Billy could completely change the way people look at baseball.

I would like to start out by saying that I am in no way a baseball fan, yet for some reason I was drawn to Moneyball. I am glad to say that this movie isn’t really about baseball but rather the business behind baseball. On top of that, Moneyball is an absolutely amazing movie. To start, it is shot beautifully and the story is told in such a way, every once in a while flashing between the present (2002) and Billy’s past as a baseball player, that I found really interesting and captivating. It was directed by Bennett Miller (Capote) who did a spectacular job. It is written by Steve Zaillian (All the King’s Men, Schindler’s List) and Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, A Few Good Men). These two did an amazing job writing this movie, I loved everything about it. The dialogue was interesting, the story moved along at a great pace and it had just the right amount of humor tossed in.

Moneyball stars Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Burn After Reading) who plays the role of Billy Beane, a former baseball player and talent scout who is now the general manager of the Oakland Athletics. This is probably one of Pitt’s best performances, he was absolutely perfect in this role. Some of my favorite moments of the movie are when Beane is interacting with his daughter, you really have to see it to understand. Jonah Hill (Get Him to the Greek, Cyrus) plays the role of Peter Brand, a statistician who comes up with a way to build a team on a budget. It was very interesting seeing Hill in a much more serious and, well, subtle roll. I am glad to say that he really pulled it off and did an amazing job in this movie. Hopefully this will allow him to further expand his talents and take on different roles. The movie also features fantastic performances by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Chris Pratt, Stephen Bishop, Kerris Dorsey and more.

Moneyball is easily one of the best movies of the year. Everything about this movie is great; It looks amazing, the writing is superb and the acting is astonishing. If you’re a fan of baseball or even if you’re like me and find baseball to be about as exciting as watching paint dry on growing grass, go and see this movie, it is well worth your time.

Great quote: “There’s an idea, I can teach one of the fans.”

Monday, September 19, 2011

Podcast: Episode 20

Head over to for the latest episode of Shut Up! The Movie's Starting, the official podcast of Cucu for Movies.

In this episode Michael and Russell discuss the very artistic Drive (Available in theaters now), the hilarious Mystery Team (Available on Netflix Instant Watch) and the always awesome Predator. The two also discuss The Beaver, Blind Dating, Winter’s Bone, Jennifer Lawrence, Bill Duke, great one-liners in action movies, the hilarity of 80′s action movies, the exceedingly great Marvel Comics and their movies, DC Comics and their greatly disappointing characters and movies, exciting Expendables 2 casting news, The Muppet’s parody trailers, the point break remake, 3D beach volleyball, and so much more.

Short Review: Drive

Grade: A

A quiet man really likes to drive.

A very artistic heist movie. Graphic. Great story.

Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaac, Ron Pearlman, Christina Hendricks.

Attention span must last 1 hour 40 minutes to enjoy.

Full Review: Drive

Grade: A

A quiet man who lives by himself works as a mechanic and a part-time Hollywood stunt driver also moonlights as a wheelman for robberies. One day he meets his new neighbor, Irene, in his apartment building and quickly becomes friends with her and her son, Benicio. When Irene’s husband, Standard, is released from jail, he still has a mob family seeking him for some money in order to let him finally leave the business. He asks the driver for his help and they work out a deal with the people looking for Standard. However, when things go sour on this final job, the driver seeks out all the people in order to set things right.

Drive is a very well made and interesting movie. It is very artistically done and looks great because of it. I really appreciate it when movies make bold steps like this these days. Most movies these days aren’t really willing to allow long pauses in the dialogue and have entire scenes with virtually no dialogue. The story is pretty interesting and you think that it’s heading in one direction when suddenly it takes a drastic turn. Also, and kind of as a warning, the violence in the movie is really graphic and realistic. Overall, this is a slower moving movie but is well worth it. The few action scenes that are in this movie are really tense and exciting to watch.

Ryan Gosling (Crazy Stupid Love, Blue Valentine) plays the lead role of the unnamed driver. I used to be pretty hesitant about seeing movies with him in them but I have definitely come to realize that given the right role, he can really shine, given that I would like to say that he was exceptionally good in this role. Carey Mulligan (Never Let Me Go, An Education) plays the role of Irene, his neighbor. She was pretty good in this movie and really fit the role well. Bryan Cranston (Contagion, TVs Breaking Bad) plays the role of Shannon, the driver’s boss at the mechanic shop and his only friend. Cranston was great in this role and I’m really excited to see him getting more roles like this. Drive also features great performance from Albert Brooks (who I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets some award nominations off this role), Oscar Isaac, Ron Pearlman, Christina Hendricks and more.

Drive is a very interesting and well-made heist movie that takes an artistic look at the genre. It is not the quickest paced movie but is well worth a watch. This movie is fantastic and loaded with great performances and a story that, despite its slower pace, keeps you griped to the edge of your seat. I have to say, given most of the other movies coming out this time of year, this is probably most worth your time and money right now. I would not be surprised if this movie gets some award nominations during award season.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Short Review: Contagion

Grade: D-

People get sick around the world.

Boring. Nothing Happens.

Matt Damon, Jude Law, Lawrence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, others.

Attention span must last 1 hour 40 minutes to enjoy.

Full Review: Contagion

Grade: D-

Mitch Emhoff’s wife, Beth, has just returned from a business trip to Hong Kong. She has unfortunately contracted a new flu-virus that manages to kill her in about twenty-four hours. The virus then also claims the life of Mitch’s stepson, Cliff. Mitch is immune and he takes his daughter and locks them into their Minnesotan house. This strand of flu-virus breaks out and quickly turns into a world-wide pandemic that threatens to kill billions of people. Meanwhile, members of the CDC and the World Health Organization quickly scramble to learn as much about the virus as quickly as possible in order to create a cure. As they try to do so, the media starts to question the government’s willingness to truly help the people.

Contagion, at first, seems to look like an exciting virus outbreak movie, like Outbreak but more global. It is billed as an action-thriller, but sadly I am here to report that this movie is about as far from action-like or thrilling as possible. It gets going pretty quickly. The first twenty minutes of the movie show the virus spreading quickly and it seems like it’s all going to build up to some huge and exciting climax that never shows up. The entire time I was watching this movie, I kept waiting for something to happen, so many times I kept thinking something was going to happen, but nothing ever did. Every once in a while the news would mention the numbers of people dead around the world, but they never really did anything to show the impact of that. Yes, streets were empty, but simply because the people were told to stay inside in order to avoid contracting the disease, plus the only people on the streets were people robbing stores and threatening people. Then, after a while, things just start to work out for everybody. Not to mention that this movie has one of the most annoying shots I’ve ever seen in a motion picture.

Most of the characters of the movie are very hollow and you never really feel anything for them. Mitch loses a wife and a kid in the same day and doesn’t really seem to care. The head of the CDC seems to truly not care about anybody but himself and his wife. Alan, a reporter, seems to only care about getting hits on his blog, even if that means causing mass hysteria. So many more examples like this, like I said, I didn’t care about one person in this movie.

Matt Damon (The Adjustment Bureau, True Grit) plays the role of Mitch Emhoff. I like Matt Damon and I don’t know if it was a choice or if it really is the way the character is written but he seemed ambivalent the whole movie. Lawrence Fishburne (Predators, The Matrix) plays the role of Dr. Ellis Cheever, the head of the CDC. Fishburne is great but again, I felt nothing for his character and he seemed pretty selfish and uninteresting. The movie also features John Hawkes, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Gwenyth Paltrow.

I have never walked out of a movie before but I came dangerously close with this one. I only stayed and watched the whole thing because I was determined to see how it ended. I can’t remember ever being so bored with a movie. Nothing happens in this movie and nothing keeps happening. For a movie where 100+ million people die, a whole lot of nothing happens. This movie serves only to attempt to cause paranoia in people as cold and flu season approaches and to slam the government in not so subtle ways. I really have to suggest that you skip this movie and if you absolutely have to see it, wait for DVD. Oh, this movie is also the biggest waste of IMAX sight and sound I could ever imagine. There was no visual or auditory spectacle to this movie. If you see it on IMAX (which again, just don’t see it) you get the pleasure of watching people sweat and look pale on a giant screen with crystal clear resolution, what a waste.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Podcast: Episode 19

Head over to to hear the latest episode of Shut Up! The Movie's Starting, the official podcast of Cucu for Movies.

In this episode Michael and Russell talk about the new movie Contagion (available in theaters now) as well as I Love You, Phillip Morris (available now on Netflix Instant Watch). Then the two discuss Alien Resurrection, A Few Good Men, Tangled, Wayne’s World, the awesomness of Ron Pearlman, groups of super-macho hit-men in action movies, the Star Wars blu-rays, their favorite Disney animation movies, the upcoming Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, the backwards ratings system, weird childhood behavior and so much more!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Short Review: The Guard

Grade: A+

In west Irelenad, an unorthodox policeman is teamed up with an uptight FBI agent to stop a cocaine smuggling ring.

Very funny, great story, great writing, great acting.

Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong.

Attention span must last 1 hour 36 minutes to enjoy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Podcast: Update

head over to to hear a quick update/podcast I posted.

On this “episode” I talk about the movie The Guard and I give a lot of information about Red State, which is available On Demand now, will be “in theaters” on September 25th and on DVD/Blu-ray October 18th. For more information on where Red State is available On Demand go to, for more information on Red State and where it will be available in theaters go to

Hopefully we'll return next Monday. Thank you.

Full Review: The Guard

Grade: A+

Sergeant Gerry Boyle is a rather unorthodox Irish policeman who has been working in west Ireland for a long time. However, shortly after a mysterious mystery in a local town, an FBI agent from the states shows up in search of a cocaine smuggling ring. Boyle is teamed up with agent Everett and the two do not get along very well as Boyle likes to make many inappropriate and offensive jokes. As the violence begins to escalate the two finally are forced to cooperate with each other and begin to form a bit of a friendship.

The Guard is a fascinating and surprisingly funny movie. I was extremely impressed with this movie and how it played out. I was interested in seeing it after watching the trailer for it a while back, mostly because of the cast, but I was unsure of how the movie would actually play out. I was very glad to see that the movie has a wonderful sense of humor and kept me laughing throughout the course of the movie. The characters are extremely well written and even better portrayed by their respective actors. The film is also really well shot and the cinematography really shows off the beauty of the Irish countryside.

The cast is what interested me the most in this movie and they did not disappoint. Brendan Gleeson (Harry Potter, In Bruges) plays the lead role of Sergeant Gerry Boyle, a wisecracking Irish policeman. Gleeson was absolutely wonderful and perfect in this role, this is probably one of my favorite performances of his. Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2, Ocean’s Eleven) plays the role of FBI agent Wendell Everett. Cheadle did a great job with this role and countered Gleeson’s character very well. Mark Strong (Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes) plays the role of Clive Cornell, the leader of the cocaine smugglers. Strong did a great job, he always does an amazing job playing the bad guy.

The Guard is a surprisingly good movie that is fun to watch and will make you laugh a lot. I will say though, sometimes the accents are hard to understand, but I don’t think it’s too bad. The movie is loaded with many great moments, the story is great, the writing is fantastic and the actors all do a wonderful job. It is a fun comedy thriller movie to enjoy during this slow period at the movies.