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!!!

A Bug’s Life

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

A Bug’s Life
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Lots of celebrity voices.
MPAA Rated: G
Released By: Walt Disney Pictures
Kiddie Movie: You betcha.
Date Movie: She might like it better than you.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: Nope, but the grasshoppers are kinda scary.
Action: Some cool bug chasing scenes.
Laughs: More for the kids than adults.
Memorable Scene: The out-takes, and the bug rescue scene with the bird.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: John Lasseter
Produced By: Darla K. Anderson, Kevin Reher

A quote I hear as I’m leaving “A Bug’s Life:” “The out-takes were the best part of the movie.” Sadly, I have to agree.

Now don’t get me wrong, “A Bug’s Life” is a good movie, but it just doesn’t live up to the vaulted expectations that “Toy Story” developed as a predecessor. The story goes sort of like this: You’ve got an ant colony. Each year they get visited by grasshoppers who expect the ants to pick their food, offer it up on the temple made of a leaf and some rocks, and the grasshoppers will leave them alone. This year the crop picking is going fine, until accident-prone Flik, kind of a nutty-professor ant, accidentally knocks over the pile of seeds, losing them all to the river below. Well, the grasshoppers are pissed when their food isn’t there, so they give the ants another chance to round up some food before the rainy season comes. The ants have a dilemma, pick the food for themselves as they normally would and brave the wrath of the grasshoppers, or pick the food for the grasshoppers and leave none for themselves.

Well, the ants opt to pick the food for the grasshoppers, but Flik thinks that they can scare the grasshoppers away with a little help from bigger bugs. So, Princess Anna lets Flik go to the “city” to round up some warrior bugs, and Flik, through a bunch of miscommunications and misunderstandings, rounds up circus bugs instead. Well, they aren’t warrior bugs, but do offer some help, and the ending, well, the ending works itself out.

It’s a nice story, kind of cute, but here was my problem – I just didn’t find myself connecting with Flik. Sure he was kind of a goof, sure his character came off as sort of lovable, but maybe it was just that he looked like all of the other ants that made me not separate him from the bunch. The circus ants, well, I could relate to each of their personalities because they were all different bugs – a dung beetle, a praying mantis, a stick bug, a black widow spider, a ladybug, and others, and they each had a personality that you could imaging that bug to have, but Flik was an ant, like all of the rest of the ants, and although with a personality, he looked the same. I don’t know, maybe it was just me, but I didn’t root for Flik.

Is “A Bug’s Life” for the kids? Sure, although they might get a little scared by the grasshoppers, but it’s cute and the animation and colors might be enough to keep the kids interested. As an adult, the movie had its chuckles, but other than being amused by the circus bugs I just wasn’t caring if the ants survived the upcoming onslaught of the grasshoppers.

But why the quote at the beginning of this review? Well, in a funny maneuver, the credits incorporated “out-takes” of the “filming” of the movie. They showed bugs messing up their lines, running into the “camera,” and one of the bugs peeing on the queen ant. They were, for me, the best part of the movie, so don’t get up and run out of the theater when “The End” hits the screen.

The rating for “A Bug’s Life?” Well, for an adult to see I give it 1 ½ stars. From the laughs of some of the kids around me I give it 3 ½ stars for the kids. Let’s average them together and give “A Bug’s Life” 2 ½ stars out of 5.

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

10,000 B.C.

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:48 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

10,000 B.C.
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Camilla Belle, Steven Strait, Cliff Curtis, Omar Sharif
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Warner Bros.
Kiddie Movie: Unless your a lousy parent, leave the 4 and 5 year olds at home.
Date Movie: It’s a nice love story.
Gratuitous Sex: Would have added a star.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of people getting impaled and stabbed.
Action: There’s chasing and running and hunting.
Laughs: Nah.
Memorable Scene: The mammoth hunting scene.
Memorable Quote: “Do not eat me when I set you free.”
Directed By: Roland Emmerich
Produced By: Roland Emmerich, Mark Gordon, Michael Wimer

As I was sitting, eating my giant pretzel, and waiting for “10,000 B.C” to begin, I tried to remember the trailer because after the third family showed up, complete with 4 or 5 year old in tow, I couldn’t remember the part of the trailer that screamed “Hey, this movie is great for your 4 or 5 year old daughter! Great for the whole family! Bring everyone!” So before writing this review I thought I would watch the trailer again, and you know what? I’m still not seeing that message in the trailer. I guess I wouldn’t make a good parent. Here’s the story…

It’s, well, 10,000 B.C., sort of. I say sort of because there seem to many liberties taken with the advancement of society, but hey, it’s a movie. Who cares? In any case we have a tribe pretty much surviving by taking out a mammoth or two during the year. Life isn’t that great for our tribe, especially when the witchy old woman announces things are going to be changing because the hunting is about to end, but things won’t be that bad because a hero will grow to bring prosperity back to the land. And the old woman also knows this because becoming a part of their tribe is Evolet (Camilla Belle), the blue-eyed girl to be the woman for the hero. We find that the hero is D’Leh (Steven Strait), a tribe cast-off because his Dad deserted the tribe when he was a youngin. Yup, D’Leh has the hots for Evolet, Evolet has the hots for D’Leh, and things seem okay for the tribe until the four legged monsters show up.

Suddenly many of the tribe folk are either killed or taken away by a mysterious group of other tribe people, including Evolet, and this does not please dear old D’Leh. So D’Leh heads off with a tribe elder, Tic’Tic (Cliff Curtis), and a couple of others to get their tribe’s folk back. And along the way D’Leh and his group traverse a treacherous mountain ranged, find a rainforest with giant ostrich-like looking things that wants to eat them, D’Leh stumbles across a giant saber-toothed tiger, and they meet another tribe who, thankfully, has a bilingual member. Word is spread that the man who is to save all of the tribe people from the evils of the mean group of pyramid-making people has arrived, and suddenly D’Leh has his own little army.

So we eventually get to the climactic fight at the end, and remember that 4 year old girl I mentioned at the start of this review? Well, I guess the dude getting stabbed multiple times and spears impaling people put her over the edge because she started crying, mom had to try to console her, then mom took her outside only to bring the little girl back just in time to see D’Leh drive a dagger through a bad dude. I guess mom really wanted to see how the movie ended, huh?

Anywho, “10,000 B.C.” did entertain me for most of its almost two hours, and unlike a movie that was similar in nature, that being “Apocalypto,” luckily our main tribe spoke English so I didn’t have to read during most of the movie. Part of what probably got me through the film was that I suspended reality for the movie, and that has to happen sometimes when watching a Roland Emmerich film (“Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow”), so get that through your head as the lights dim in the theater and just enjoy the ride.

Visually “10,000 B.C.” looks great, and I suppose that might be a decent enough reason to catch it in the theater, but I’m suggesting maybe an afternoon matinee for you and your honey. It’s probably okay to bring your 10+ year old boys (the group in front of me seemed to deal with the violence okay), but unless you suck at parenting, leave the 4 and 5 year olds with the family next door. A lot of critics didn’t like this movie, and sure, the saber-toothed tiger seemed just a little too big, but I’m not like most critics, and with Camilla Belle reminding me of Lindsay Lohan, only hotter, I’m giving “10,000 B.C.” 3 stars out of 5.

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

3000 Miles to Graceland

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 2:05 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

3000 Miles to Graceland
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Courteney Cox, Christian Slater, Kevin Pollak, David Arquette, Jon Lovitz, Howie Long, Thomas Haden Church, Bokeem Woodbine, Ice-T
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Warner Bros.
Kiddie Movie: Don’t even think about bringing them.
Date Movie: She might get a little scared and snuggle.
Gratuitous Sex: You know it’s happening but no nakedness.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of it.
Action: Some, but out of the ordinary.
Laughs: It did have some good jokes.
Memorable Scene: Robbing the casino and Murphy in the car with the bubble-gum girl.
Memorable Quote: Nothing really.
Directed By: Demian Lichtenstein

“3000 Miles to Graceland” is one of those movies that had just about every element needed to make it cutting edge, but somehow all of those elements just couldn’t come together. It had sex, it almost had nudity, it had quality kills, and it had a story of robbery and double-crossing. Even with all of that I came out of the theater unfulfilled.

“3000 Miles to Graceland”, which I’ll now call 3KMTG, stars Kurt Russell as Michael and Kevin Costner as Murphy. Michael just got out of jail, Murphy a little earlier, and their plan is to rob a casino. It seemed like a good plan – they would be disguised as Elvis imitators, the group of the five of them, and head for the money counting room armed with various forms of artillery. We get many a quality kill as they get the bag-load of dough, they get away, and it’s time to divvy up the cash. But there is dissension in the group, especially with one of the gang now dead, and you know what, the underlying rule of the game is you can never trust a thief. Therefore trust no one.

So you’ve got the story of the thieves, but 3KMTG also throws in a story of Michael getting some action from Cybil (Courteney Cox), but then getting double-crossed as Cybil uses her son to trick Michael while she takes the cash. Who’s gonna get the money, is Cybil trustworthy or just using everyone she can, why can’t cops with laser-sighting hit the bad guys, and is Murphy really an illegitimate son of Elvis? These are just many of the questions we find in the movie. Some are answered, some are not, and some aren’t necessary.

Like I said before, though, with all of these things going on they just don’t come together to make a captivating movie. I liked the story, the quality kills were pretty quality, and Courteney looks good in underwear, but even with all of this it didn’t hit the level of “Pulp Fiction” that this movie seemed to be shooting for, and it could have. Kevin Costner was in one of his best roles in a while, Kurt Russell was great as the bad but still good guy, Courteney played it well as the dudette not knowing if she should be in it for money or for love, and Ice-T was just too cool.

I just wish things didn’t get stupid, especially at the end. Let’s take Murphy and two other bad guys against a slew of SWAT members. Both sides are heavily armed, Ice-T comes through the warehouse, upside down, spinning, and taking out a good number of the good guys, and even with the laser-sightings the good guys can’t seem to hit the bad guys. And if that weren’t enough, how do you lose an ambulance? God this movie had potential.

In the end, even with the quality kills, 3KMTG gets 2 ½ stars from me. It had potential and didn’t get there, but it did have some of the best shoot-em-up scenes in a movie. If only Courteney had gotten naked.

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