A.I. Artificial Intelligence

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:25 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O’Connor, Sam Robards, William Hurt
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Warner Bros/Dreamworks Pictures
Kiddie Movie: Leave them at home.
Date Movie: She might get weepy.
Gratuitous Sex: Lots of innuendos and talk.
Gratuitous Violence: Robots get disintegrated.
Action: Not really but some chase scenes.
Laughs: Thanks to Teddy.
Memorable Scene: When David find The Blue Fairy. They should have left the film there.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Produced By: Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg, Bonnie Curtis

I said in my preview that “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” looked to be a great family film. I’ll tell you what, leave most of the family at home because this ain’t no “E.T.”

“A.I.” is a great showing of filmmaking, and you would think that combining the likes of great filmmakers like Stanley Kubrick, who started the development of this film, and Steven Spielberg who is, well, Steven Spielberg, that this film couldn’t go wrong. For me it went wrong, I guess, because Stanley Kubrick isn’t Steven Spielberg and Steven Spielberg isn’t Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick had a knack for turning a nightmare into a twisted reality, Spielberg is best at making a dream a reality, and this movie would have been better as a nightmare or as a dream, but not both which seems to be what Spielberg ended up trying to do.

In “A.I.” we get a future where you just can’t get pregnant willy-nilly. Robots have become commonplace, especially for sex, but our robot maker thinks that the next best thing is to make a child who can love, basically a child for all of the families that can’t have a child. He develops David (Haley Joel Osment) and gives him to the first test-family, Monica (Frances O’Connor) and Henry (Sam Robards), a family whose own son is in frozen hibernation until a cure can be found for his illness. At first Monica is skeptical, but eventually she activates David to be able to love. She begins to love David, even though he is a robot, but then, low and behold, her son gets a cure and now Martin, Monica and Henry’s biological son, comes home. Yea, you can guess, things get a little tense as Martin and David vie for attention, but Martin has the upper hand because he is human and can figure how to manipulate a robot.

After a few things go wrong on the David front, well, Monica decides it’s time for David to go, but she won’t return him to his builders for fear he might get destroyed. So she leaves him to fend for himself in the forest. It is here, after finding Gigolo Joe (Jude Law) – he’s a sex robot on the run, that David starts to see what he is, but he wants to be a real boy, like in the Pinocchio story which Martin made Monica read to them, and begins his quest to find the Blue Fairy. Not to give anything more away, well, let’s leave the story at that.

But here’s the problem – “A.I” deals with dreams and nightmares, and a movie trying to be both. I think this movie needed to be a nightmare to work, instead, Spielberg tried to turn it into a dream.

Why do I say that? I guess because, in the end, this movie shows that David would always be a robot and that is the nightmare, while Spielberg tries to make it a dream instead. David finds Gigolo Joe, who, in a way, is a much smarter robot than David, and is introduced into a world of sex and no answers. David finds a dark world, still searching how to be a real boy so he can really be loved by Monica, and sadly, even thinking he found it, well, he can’t find it (not like in the other robot movie “Bicentennial Man”, where eventually the robot finds a way to grow old). No, in this movie, we get a robot trapped in hell, in a nightmare, and given a way out, which, and no, I didn’t know Stanley Kubrick, didn’t like most of his films but appreciated his filmmaking, but would like to think he would have left David trapped in his nightmare instead of giving him a way out. David’s a robot. Yes, one that can love, but in the end one that can’t truly be loved. That’s how I think things are. But that can’t be the way for a nice, PG-13, bring most of the family movie, yet you will get, yes, a thought provoking movie, but in the end a nice, PG-13, bring most of the family movie that you shouldn’t bring most of the family to see.

For the younger ones the only cute thing is the super toy called Teddy, basically a teddy bear who can interact with its owner. Scarily, I think Spielberg should have really taken “A.I.” to the next level, yes, an “R” level, where David gets to experience decadence, where David gets to experience real hate, where David is really trapped in a nightmare, and where dreams don’t come true. Even for real boys dreams don’t come true – that, I think, is the reality.

I know a lot of critics are giving high praises to this film but I just can’t. I heard one ten-ish year old dude leaving the theater saying he gave it 2 stars, I heard a mom say she liked it although thought the ending was dumb, but the audience didn’t really applaud (the trailer for “Harry Potter” got more of a reaction), so I’m giving “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” 2 ½ stars out of 5. I think it would have been a better movie as David’s nightmare than David’s dream.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

A Lot Like Love

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:47 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

A Lot Like Love
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Amanda Peet
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Touchstone Pictures
Directed By: Nigel Cole
Produced By: Armyan Bernstein, Kevin J. Messick

Here comes the onslaught of Ashton Kutcher, whether you want it or not. First you are getting him in “Guess Who,” and now in “A Lot Like Love.” Both are of the romantic comedy genre, which I guess came along because of his “fantastic” work in “Just Married.”

For this one Ashton Kutcher is Oliver and Amanda Peet is Emily. For years they’ve been best friends and lovers, but Emily just won’t let this relationship last because she had to make the first move. Their lives take them in separate directions, but Oliver is miserable without Emily. Now that Oliver is ready to make the first move, well, he finds Emily engaged and now he must find a way to win her back. Blah, blah, blah.

I usually like Amanda Peet, and Ashton is okay, but the story just looks generic. It’s scheduled to go against Nicole Kidman in “The Interpreter,” so it will be a toss up which one I see.

That’s it for this preview! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

A History of Violence

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:36 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

A History of Violence
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, Maria Bello
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: New Line Cinema
Kiddie Movie: For goodness sake, leave them at home.
Date Movie: Only if she can handle a lot of gore.
Gratuitous Sex: Very intense and, frontal nudity, and Viggo’s butt.
Gratuitous Violence: Some of the best quality kills I’ve seen in a long time.
Action: Not too much chasing.
Laughs: A great scene at the end that it probably isn’t appropriate to laugh, but I laughed my ass off.
Memorable Scene: The scene in the front yard with Tom Stall and Carl.
Memorable Quote: I’m not saying who said it, but it’s simply the line “How do fuck that up?”
Directed By: David Cronenberg
Produced By: Chris Bender, David Cronenberg, J.C. Spink

As I was leaving “A History of Violence” my initial reaction was simply “Holy crap!” mostly because it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie that had such brutal violence, intense sex, sort of disappointing nudity, appreciation for the cheerleader fantasy, creepy characters, laugh-out-loud moments, and perfectly cast characters. Such was my take on “A History of Violence.”

The premise of the story goes like this…

Viggo Mortensen is Tom Stall. He runs Stall’s Diner in a quiet, little, Midwestern town where other than bullies picking on other kids, there really isn’t much violence happening. He’s got a loving, hot wife in Edie (Maria Bello), and a nerdy son, Jack (Asthon Holmes), the latter of whom keeps getting picked on by the high school bully. Things are their normal, quiet, self, until these two bad guys, who have been on a killing spree since they left the west coast, show up at Stall’s Diner. They’re threatening the few people there, planning to take advantage of the waitress, when Tom springs into action. The next thing we know the two bad dudes are dead, or at least we’re pretty sure since one of them doesn’t have much of his face left as his jaw is kind of bouncing up and down in a pool of blood, and Tom is a hero. Of course the television crews show up, and now Tom Stall is on every news channel as a hero.

The next thing we know, Carl (Ed Harris), a creepy, mob-looking kind of guy with a bad eye, shows up in the diner, telling Tom that Tom is really a mob guy from Philly named Joey. Tom looks at him like he’s nuts, Edie is creeped out by the dude, especially when they find out from their local sheriff that Carl isn’t just a mob-looking kind of guy, but is a mob guy, and at this point we’ve got a lot of questions.

Like…

Is Tom really Joey or is this just a case of mistaken identity? Will Tom’s family pay for this mistaken identity if that’s what it is? Will Jack get some balls? How did Carl get such a messed up face to begin with? How did they clean up all of that blood so quickly? How in the hell can nudity be disappointing?

Well I’m not giving you the answer to any of those questions except the last. First off, God bless Maria Bello for not being afraid to take her clothes off, and she really doesn’t have any reason to be afraid because she’s pretty hot. But, the full-frontal nudity scene for me, was slightly disappointing, because it came at a time I was really conflicted about the scene that just preceded it. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Wrapping this up, “A History of Violence” has some of the best quality kills in a long time, so if you’re not one for blood and guts getting everywhere, stay away. Also, if sex in cinema makes you sick, this is definitely not for you. But if any of that entices you, along with a really quality thriller where Viggo Mortensen does a fantastic job as the small-town Tom, Maria Bello shows Edie wondering if Tom really is who he says he is fabulously, and Ed Harris is as creepy as I’ve ever seen him just saying the word “Joey.”

I really had a great time at “A History of Violence,” but do understand if this movie isn’t for you. But it was for me, and I wasn’t afraid to laugh out loud, even though it seemed a little inappropriate, during a scene towards the end of the film. 4 ½ stars out of 5 for “A History of Violence.”

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

A Good Year

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:58 Long
A Preview by:
The Dude on the Right

A Good Year
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Albert Finney, Russell Crowe
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Produced By: Ridley Scott

This movie just looks like a nice story about remembering your past. In it Russell Crowe is Max Skinner. In England he is a great investment dude. And in growing up, he has forgotten a lot of when he was a youngin’. Suddenly he inherits the vineyard of his Uncle, and not having an interest in running the vineyard or owning the property, he at first looks to sell it. But upon returning to the vineyard, Max starts to remember things that were special in his childhood, meets a chick, and gets on with his life.

I read a couple of reviews of the book this movie is based off of, and they tell some different things from the trailer, but in any case, Russell Crowe looks to be in a great role, and the story looks nice enough to make a chick-flick movie that might be okay for dudes with a sensitive side.

That’s it for this preview! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

A New iPhone App, SCUBA-ing, and Frontera Grill is Good.

By: The Dude on the Right

Download and ListenDownload the Podcast!

As our latest episode of Stu & The Dude’s "Weekend Wrap-Up!" podcast starts, I give an explanation of time lords and doctors, and some other stuff about Doctor Who that Stu Gotz wondered, of which I have no clue what I’m talking about (Thanks Mystery Dude!). What I do know what I’m talking about, though, is that A) I made another iPhone app called the "Countdown Clockorrayter," and I’m getting marring in under two months!

So, I tell Stu how the wedding plans are coming along, about my BFF and I getting haircuts, and how Frontera Grill (a Rick Bayless restaurant in Chicago), is really good. Stu tried to film some stuff in 3-D while SCUBA-ing, took the little Gotz’s to "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," and finally saw the ending of "Cool Hand Luke" and now understands how it relates to Cartman on South Park.

Stu likes the iPhone app "Plants vs Zombies," while I still like my "Clockorrayter," (and hey, since I’m shamelessly self-promoting, check out "Make Me Smile" as well), Stu’s camera survived because it has some special Bonica magic, and neither of us figure we will be seeing the movie "Takers."

Thanks for listening!

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

8 Mile

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:50 Long
A Preview by:
The Dude on the Right

8 Mile
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Eminem, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy, Kim Basinger
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Universal Pictures
Directed By: Curtis Hanson
Produced By: Brian Grazer, Curtis Hanson, Jimmy Iovine

Eminem’s growing up in a crappy trailer park and trying to figure out his life. He sometimes hangs out with the wrong crowd, tries to pick up a girl, and life just pretty much seems like crap, but there does seem to be a bright spot or two.

I’ll write more as we get closer, but scarily it almost looks like Eminem will be able to make that transition from musician to the silver screen, unlike some other big named pop stars who haven’t faired so well.

That’s it for this preview! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

The 6th Day

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:04 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The 6th Day
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Rapaport, Tony Goldwyn
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Kiddie Movie: Not too young but fine for teens.
Date Movie: She might get a chuckle or two, or just see how useless and weak you are.
Gratuitous Sex: Close, and mostly in the virtual world.
Gratuitous Violence: Legs get blown off, so do fingers, and they have cool ray guns.
Action: Lots of it.
Laughs: Just what you would expect from an Arnold movie.
Memorable Scene: The bad guy standing there, hopping around on one leg.
Memorable Quote: “When I told you to screw yourself I didn’t mean to take it literally.
Directed By: Roger Spottiswoode
Produced By: Mike Medavoy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jon Davison

I was ready to give “The 6th Day” a 5 star rating. Schwarzenegger was back in a role he could play best, the story mixed some fun with some action, and I was just totally enjoying the movie. Then came the ending and all I could say to myself was “What the hell was that?” Before I get to that, here’s the story.

It’s the not to distant future, a future where cars can drive on their own, where helicopters turn into jets, where you can have a virtual girlfriend who will give you virtual sex whenever you want, and where, when your pet dies, you can have it instantly cloned so it looks just like you old pet, even better if you want, and will still remember everything you taught it. But if they can clone pets why can’t they clone humans? Well, an experiment gone wrong made it illegal to clone humans, but when you’re the richest man in all of existence and can hide your lab from everyone, who says you can’t clone someone?

So, we’ve got Arnold as Adam Gibson, he runs a helicopter charter service, mostly running snowboard geeks to a mountaintop, but he just scored a deal to charter Michael Drucker, owner of an XFL team among other things (Tony Goldwyn), and the most powerful man in the world (I would start keeping my eye on Vince McMahon right now). One day Adam comes home to find his family celebrating his birthday without him, only he is there, and then Adam finds out he was cloned. Simple story – he now wants his life back, has to figure out how to get it, and of course in doing so he kills a lot of bad dudes and a dudette who keep messing with him because, well, each time Adam does them in, well, they get cloned back into existence. I won’t go into the story more than that, because, well, it doesn’t need any more set-up and there are some things in the story that are more entertaining (it surprised me how long it took so many people around me couldn’t figure out why Adam got cloned) if found out on your own.

“The 6th Day” is just classic Arnold, which I would have never guessed from the stupid trailers that were shown before the movie came out. From those the movie didn’t really make sense, but as I watched it, “The 6th Day” ranked up there with a “Total Recall”, “True Lies”, and even some “Terminator 2”. You had the fun action scenes, you had the dorky jokes, you had the creepy characters, and you even had Robert Duval wondering if his cloning science really is the right thing (and a set-up for, hmm, would it be called “The 7th Day”). And all was well until “The 6th Day” gave me this sappy-ass ending, with the whole “you’re just as much a part of this family and here’s why” crap, and I suppose maybe the ending even gave a sequel set-up, but it just made me scratch my head in wonder how you could make such a classic Arnold movie and screw it up in the last 5 minutes. Even the two dudes next to me said to each other “What was that?”

So, it was going to be a 5 star review but with that ending it drops to 4 stars out of 5. If you are an Arnold fan “The 6th Day” should entertain you in the same way the classic Arnold flicks have. If you aren’t an Arnold fan, it’s still a pretty good action movie that you can bring your teens to and not feel too weird (except maybe at the virtual girl scenes).

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

The 40 Year Old Virgin

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:56 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The 40 Year Old Virgin
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Universal Pictures
Kiddie Movie: It’s rated R for a number of reasons, and one of those reasons is to leave the kids at home.
Date Movie: It’s as much a romantic comedy as it is a comedy.
Gratuitous Sex: Eventually Andy gets some.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Tons.
Memorable Scene: The speed-dating scene if pretty funny.
Memorable Quote: Too many to list.
Directed By: Judd Apatow
Produced By: Judd Apatow, Shauna Robertson, Clayton Townsend

Somehow this is turning into the summer of adult comedies. First you had the super-duper funny “Wedding Crashers,” and now we get “The 40 Year Old Virgin.” Sometimes it’s really good to be an adult. Let’s get to it…

“The 40 Year Old Virgin” gives us Steve Carell as Andy. He’s, well, 40 years old, and yes, he’s still a virgin. He works in the tech department of an electronics store, likes to collect action figures, and loves his video games as well as watching “Survivor” with the older couple in the apartment above him. Oh yea, he also doesn’t have a car and rides a bicycle to get around. He’s not really happy, just content, and then one night his co-workers need an extra for a poker game, and they ask Andy. Andy is shocked, because, well, they really don’t pay much attention to him, but seeking something a little different, Andy joins the game. When the guy talk starts getting to be about sex, Andy isn’t doing too well, especially with the comments that boobs feel like bags of sand, and low and behold, the truth comes out, that yes, he is a virgin.

As guys are want to do, at work the next day, well, everyone is making fun of him, but alas, he ends up talking to David (Paul Rudd), and now the workers befriend Andy, making it their job to get him laid. There is a wrinkle, however, in the fact that in the meanwhile, Trish (Catherine Keener) gives Andy her number, and Andy thinks he might be able to really like Trish. His friends are now on a super-mission because they figure it is imperative that Andy get some before he tries to start a real relationship because of, well, that awkward first time.

Anyway, lots of laughs ensue, and we can guess that yes, in the end, Andy and Trish get together and they live happily ever after.

“The 40 Year Old Virgin” is really an adult comedy, there’s lots of adult content, and like “Wedding Crashers,” they don’t seem to care, knowing that sometimes adults need to laugh and be treated like adults. But as much as this movie is adult, in a weird way it’s also a nice romantic comedy. Andy’s co-workers have their own issues with their respective relationships, and we are treated to lots of great scenes as they work through them. Then there is Andy’s boss, Paula (Jane Lynch), offering to be Andy’s f-buddy, and all along we get a budding love story between Andy and Trish as Andy wrestles with getting Trish’s kids to like him, lets Trish teach him how to drive a car, and be nervous about Trish finding out he’s a virgin.

If you liked “Wedding Crashers” you’ll probably find “The 40 Year Old Virgin” just as enjoyable. Yes, there is some sappiness, but the laughs will get you past that in a hurry. 4 ½ stars out of 5.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

A Civil Action

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:52 Long
A Preview by:
The Dude on the Right

A Civil Action
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: John Travolta
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Touchstone Pictures
Release Date: January 8, 1999
Directed By: Steven Zaillian
Produced By: Rachel Pfeffer, Robert Redford, Scott Rudin

The trailer sort of reminds me of the likes of “The Rainmaker” in the fact of John Travolta being the lawyer that fights the mean and nasty corporation and their team of overpaid lawyers. A town is getting sickened by a company contaminating their water supply, and nobody wants to go against the company or else bad things will happen to them. John Travolta stars as a high-falutent lawyer who people don’t know if they can trust, and a seeming big spender, but then gets wrapped up in the human emotion of the townsfolk. It has the potential to be a killer drama flick, and Robert Duvall is usually a winner on screen. I’ll try to catch it.

A Cinderella Story

MPAA Rated – PG
It’s 1:35 Long
A Preview by:
The Dude on the Right

A Cinderella Story
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Hilary Duff – does anyone else really matter.
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: Warner Bros.
Release Date: July 16, 2004
Directed By: Marc Rosman
Produced By: Ilyssa Goodman, Casey La Scala, Hunt Lowry, Dylan Sellers, Clifford Werber

Here it comes, Hilary Duff overload. She sings, she acts, we’ll never get away from her. In any case, here’s a twist on the whole Cinderella thing. This time it’s set in modern day Los Angeles. Hilary Duff has two pricks of sisters and a mom who maker her do all of the work in the diner. She shared some instant messages with a mystery dude and they set up to meet at the Homecoming dance. Well, she ditches work for the dance, wears a mask to disguise her, meets the man of her dreams, then loses her phone. The dude picks up the phone, and now it’s time to match the phone with the mystery girl.
Girls will flock to this movie, and the good thing for the dudes is that “I, Robot” opens the same day.

That’s it for this preview! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!