1408

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:34 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

1408
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Dimension Films
Kiddie Movie: It’s a hard PG-13. Keep the kiddies at home.
Date Movie: She’ll probably get scared and snuggle.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: No real blood and gore.
Action: Some chasing.
Laughs: Nope.
Memorable Scene: The entire hour of hell.
Memorable Quote: Mr. Olin: "It’s an evil, fucking room."
Directed By: Mikael Hafstrom
Produced By: Lorenzo di Bonaventura

Is it possible to make a great horror/thriller film, with no real killings, no over-the-top gore, no psychopath trying to kill people? Could you also do so where the movie will only be rated PG-13? My answer is “Yes,” especially if it is a movie based on a Stephen King short story, and this movie is “1408.”

John Cusack is Mike Enslin. He appears to have written a decent novel at one point in his life, but now writes books geared at reviewing locations that are supposedly haunted, or at least infiltrated by something supernatural. In every case he has debunked the ghost stories, but still reviews the overall creepiness of the place giving it his “skull” rating. Psychologically-wise there is a reason for Mike’s searching out the supernatural, tied to the death of his daughter, but as of yet he has no reason to believe in the afterlife. Here comes room 1408.

In his mail is a postcard telling him to not enter room 1408 at The Dolphin Hotel in good old New York City, which he then researches finding out the room has been the location of many a death. Figuring it would be the perfect last stop for his next book, he heads east from the sun and surf of California only to find Mr. Olin (Samuel L. Jackson), the hotel manager, totally against Mike’s staying the night in the room. Mr. Olin states no one lasts longer than an hour in the room without something really bad happening to them, but Mike is undeterred.

Using his tape recorder, Mike begins his dictation as to the flavor of the room, from the bland paintings to it being like most other rooms he has stayed at. Things are a little creepy for him, which he accounts to parlor tricks, and as the air conditioning doesn’t seem to be working properly, he calls down to room service, they send up an engineer (the dude won’t enter the room, only tells Mike how to fix the thermostat), and suddenly Mike thinks he is in the middle of a big ruse by Mr. Olin, that is until the window slams his hand, the clock radio turns into a countdown timer starting at 60 minutes, and Mike is sent into an hour long bizarreness somewhere between a bad nightmare and a total mental breakdown. The walls bleed, his dead daughter comes back to life, he meets his father again, he sees ghosts jumping out windows, the room turns freezing cold, he can’t get help from room service, and his room is like Hotel California, where you can check out, but you can never leave.

“1408” is a refreshing horror movie in a time when slasher films seemed to have been ruling the roost. Not that I have anything against slasher films, and sure there are times I get creeped out when someone’s balls are in a vice, but for the most part I can laugh off most of the story of a slasher film. But “1408” is more like a nightmare you might have had, one you can’t wake up from, and when you do wake up you are freaked out and in a cold sweat. For a change a movie actually gave me goosebumps and chills, I suppose probably because for an hour of the film you knew at any moment something creepy could pop up, and I mean at any moment, and just as you let your guard down, there it is.

I’ve got to give it to John Cusack because he is fantastic as Mike, skeptical at first, but when he quickly gets spooked by the room during the first few minutes, he totally lets the room’s history spin him into total delusion. You would think he would be cool enough to go “This is just a giant parlor trick,” sit on the bed, and let the hour go by, but there is his deep-seeded hope that there is some sort of afterlife that keeps him trapped in the hell that has become room 1408.

If you are a little tired of the slasher horror genre and want a fantastic thriller, “1408” should really do the trick. The writing is smart, the acting is smart, and no one gets their balls in a vice, just a hand crushed by a window. It’s 4 ½ stars out of 5.

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

300

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:57 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

300
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Rodrigo Santoro
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Warner Bros.
Kiddie Movie: For the love of any God, leave them at home.
Date Movie: She might like the buff bodies, but hate the violence.
Gratuitous Sex: Both sex and nudity!
Gratuitous Violence: Some of the most gratuitous I have seen in a long time.
Action: Lots of battles.
Laughs: There’s some chuckles.
Memorable Scene: The opening scene with the baby sets up the entire story.
Memorable Quote: “Then we will fight in the shade!”
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Produced By: Mark Canton, Bernie Goldmann, Gianni Nunnari, Jeffrey Silver

Because of some scheduling issues while I was visiting my parents last weekend, I couldn’t see “300” at the new theater with the stadium seating and good sound. Instead I found myself at a different theater, complete with sticky floors, lousy sound, and you’re happy it’s pretty dark inside because you probably don’t want to see the condition of the squeaky seats you are sitting in. And as I was waiting for the film to start it was obvious the theater didn’t give a damn about letting those under 17 into the R-rated film as the mid-teenagers began to infiltrate. Sadly this left my movie-going experience a bit underwhelming, especially for such a grandiose film, but at least the youngins were behaved, just happy to see gratuitous violence, gratuitous sex, and gratuitous nudity, although from the “What the hell is that?” comments I don’t think they liked the new commercial for Dove Pro-Age, the one with the naked, older people, before the movie started. But enough movie-going experience, let’s get to “300.”

I’m not a history buff, nor do I remember if any of my world history teachers ever told us about the Battle of Thermopylae, but the movie “300” is supposedly loosely based on that battle, but more based on the Frank Miller’s graphic novel. It’s a little after 500 B.C. and Xerxes (Rodrigo Santora) is leading the Persian Army all over the place, creating a big ol’ empire, but then he runs into Greece. He sends his ambassador to Sparta, but King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) is having none of the “surrender” talk he is being offered. And why would he – Spartans are bred from birth to be the best warriors in the world. They are so dedicated to their warriorness that if you are a scrawny baby you end up tossed into a pit to die. But Leonidas is not scrawny, and neither are his best Spartans, and he gathers up 300 of them to take on the Persian Army at a place where the hundreds of thousands of Persians mean nothing when they have to travel through the Thermopylae pass.

After a sendoff every soldier should get by their wife on the way to battle, Leonidas is off with his 300 troops to fight the Persians, but his wife, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) is left behind to keep things running in Sparta, and hoping to convince the Sparta council to send more troops to help her husband, even enlisting the help of the squirrelly Theron (Dominic West).

Back on the battlefield, Leonidas and his men are kicking such major ass that Xerxes meets with Leonidas, offering the King a butt-load of power in Xerxes’ empire, and yet again, Leonidas will have none of it, goes back to his men, and they continue to stab, decapitate, and pretty much destroy the best of Xerxes’ Army. Like the famed battle, though, there is a traitor in the Spartans midst, Xerxes finds a way to gain the advantage, and Leonidas finds himself dead (hey, I’m not giving anything away, it’s history dammit), but not before dispatching one of his men back to Sparta to tell the tale of the resolve of the 300, inspiring the rest of the Spartans and the rest of Greece to stand up to Xerxes and his army, and keep Greece from being taken over.

“300” is not for the kids, not for the squeamish, and not for those who are appalled at seeing nudity or sex on the screen. Yup, that’s right, Queen Gorgo knows how to send off her man into battle, there’s this naked Oracle Girl, and the violence is sometimes simple, but most of the time way over-the-top and in slow motion. Heads come off, arms come off, spears pierce right through torsos, but mixed with it are some great speeches of going to battle. The movie does have some slow moments, and seems longer than its hour and forty-five minute running time, but for the most part, if from the trailer, you think you might even be remotely interesting in the movie, you probably won’t be disappointed. It’s 4 stars out of 5 for “300,” and this is one I definitely recommend heading to the best theater you can, with the giant screen and great sound, or better yet, the IMAX experience is probably the ultimate way to see this film, because seeing it in a theater with sticky floors and questionable sound, well, I feel a little bit cheated.

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

54

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

54
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Salma Hayek, Mike Myers, Neve Campbell, Ellen Albertini Dow, Sherry Stringfield
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Miramax Films
Kiddie Movie: Not at all.
Date Movie: Ehh.
Gratuitous Sex: Shane gets into Studio 54, heads to the balcony, and there are two people doin’ the nasty, and that’s just the start.
Gratuitous Violence: Nothing really.
Action: It’s a movie about a disco. I don’t think so.
Laughs: Some funny one-liners.
Memorable Scene: "Disco Dottie" at New Year’s Eve.
Memorable Quote: Something like: Greg says to Anita "I’m too short and I don’t suck cock." Anita replies, "Well, there’s nothing you can do about being short."
Directed By: Mark Christopher
Produced By: Richard N. Gladstein, Dolly Hall, Ira Deutchman

As a normal, everyday person, sometimes you dream of being a star. You dream of getting invited to all of the cool parties, hanging out with the stars, and most of all, getting to go to those bars and clubs that you read about in the gossip column. It’s a world that seems so much better than yours, but all you can do is dream. “54” is a movie about one of those clubs, the infamous Studio 54, but also a movie about the seeming everyday people who are let into that dream.

The movie kinda goes like this: Shane O’Shea (Ryan Phillippe) is 19 years old and thinks soap opera star Julie Black (Neve Campbell) is a babe, but then, who doesn’t? Anyway, he’s tired of the same old bar he and his friends go to, really doesn’t want to grow up to be like his “come home from a blue collar day of work and have a beer” father, and convinces his friends they should drive to the city and try to get in Studio 54 because he heard Olivia Newton-John is supposed to be there. They drive to the city where Steve Rubell (Mike Myers) is letting the clientele in Studio 54. He sees Shane and his buddy, calls over Shane, and lets him in as long as he takes off his shirt. So Shane enters a world most are only left to dream about, and then, low and behold, gets a job as a busboy in that same world. You’ve got to start living that dream somewhere.

Well, through Shane and his new friends, Greg (Beckwin Meyer) who wants to be a bartender, and Anita (Salma Hayek) who wants to be a singer, we get a glimpse at what having that look to be let in Studio 54 is about. We see sex, we see drugs, and we see disco in all its glory. We see it’s not usually what you know or how well you do your job, but to get ahead in this world it turns into who you know or who you’ll blow. In Shane’s case he comes through the ranks quickly. He meets his dream girl, he has lots of sex, he does drugs, but his new world which he’s been thrown into crashes around him because he finally sees that this dream world isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

“54” isn’t the world’s greatest movie, but it isn’t that bad and kinda shows that world only the few knew while many dreamed about. Mike Myers as Steve Rubell is terrific. With that happy but still evil looking grin of his, we see Rubell as having the job he loves, throwing the world’s greatest party every night, but always letting you know it is his party, and he has final say of who gets in. Phillippe does a decent job as the naïve Shane, but I really enjoyed Ellen Albertini Dow as “Disco Dottie,” the normal grandma by day but escaping the real world at night in a club with her friends.

As I’m leaving “54” one dude behind me says to his friend “That was a decent flick. Let’s go do some disco dancin’.” Me, I’ll give it 2 ½ stars out of 5. Catch it at a matinee, or an evening show if you’ve seen everything else out there.

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

50 First Dates

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:36 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

50 First Dates
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Rob Schneider, Sean Astin, Dan Aykroyd
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Kiddie Movie: There’s a lot of crude humor. Keep it to the teens.
Date Movie: It is a decent romantic comedy.
Gratuitous Sex: Nothing gratuitous.
Gratuitous Violence: Lucy beating up Henry when she wakes up in bed with him and doesn’t know who he is.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Some good ones.
Memorable Scene: Nothing stands out.
Memorable Quote: Henry, when trying to cop a feel: "After the 12th date, I’m entitled to unlimited boob access."
Directed By: Peter Segal
Produced By: Jack Giarraputo, Steve Golin, Nancy Juvonen

Maybe it’s just Adam Sandler’s way to make sure guys can have some fun when they have to go see romantic comedies with their dudettes – toss in some vomit joke, some nipple rubbing, and jokes about wet dreams. Me, I actually thought those jokes took away from what was developing into a sweet, romantic movie. Maybe I’m just becoming a puss as I age. Here’s the story.

Sandler plays Henry Roth. Marine veterinarian by day, dude to show tourist women a good time by making up all kinds of professions only to leave them without even a phone number by night. Opening the movie we are treated to an onslaught of testimonials of Henry’s ability to show a good time, so Henry is instantly painted as a womanizer. Then one day he finds himself in a café and sees Lucy (Drew Barrymore). For a change he finds a girl that makes him happy, actually can see himself getting in a real relationship with her, and his womanizing ways might be over. After their getting-to-know-each-other breakfast, they agree to meet each other for breakfast the next day, only when Henry arrives for their breakfast date, he is shocked that Lucy doesn’t remember him. It is explained to him that Lucy has short-term memory loss caused by a car accident about a year ago. Pretty much all of her memories lead up to the day of the accident and every time she goes to sleep, well, the previous day is gone. Henry then learns that her father and brother, along with the café patrons, do their best to keep each day the same so she doesn’t freak out finding out about the accident. This leads to every day being the same for dad and brother, watching a tape of the same football game they were scheduled to watch, and seeing “The Sixth Sense” every night because Lucy was giving it to dad as a birthday present. Lucy constantly thinks it’s the Sunday of her dad’s birthday, and everyone else plays along. But Henry thinks things can be different.

After slowly getting approval from dad to start seeing his daughter, and seeing how a day goes when Lucy finds out what happened, Henry develops a plan so that every morning Lucy starts the day watching a video tape explaining the accident, how her friends and family love her, and how she is dating Henry. An hour or two after this, Lucy accepts her fate and at least now gets to have a new day, with new discoveries, and Henry not having to work as hard to get her to like him because the tape already explains that they’re dating. All is going well for our happy couple until one day Lucy discovers that Henry is giving up on his dream to sail to Alaska and study walruses so he can be with Lucy. She decides to dump Henry, erase him out of her journal she has now been keeping, and he’ll be able to get on with his life. Blah, blah, blah, yea, they live happily ever after, although the ending isn’t as cookie cutter as you might think, which I did find refreshing.

Anyway, the movie is cute in the aspect of the chemistry between Lucy and Henry that develops every day. There’s a scene where Lucy has a beach party with the friends she hasn’t seen in a year, comments on all of their changes, and when one of Lucy’s girlfriends questions Adam on his having to make sure Lucy falls in love with him every day, she slaps her husband asking him why he can’t do the same. It’s those cute moments that make the film. But, in Adam Sandler tradition, the film is laced with uncomfortable weirdness and sexual humor that, although funny in their weirdness ways, I found took away from the movie. Case in point – Ula (Rob Schneider), Henry’s friend, being a sort of creepy sidekick who likes to rub his nipples and stores a joint down his butt-crack.

I liked the movie, but for a change found the sexual humor mostly stupid and unnecessary. Sure the premise for the movie is sort of out there, but there is a sweetness in Henry that Sandler plays well, and Barrymore does a great job with the Lucy character treating each new day with an innocence of that first date, that first kiss, that first time you realize you love someone. The movie really didn’t need a walrus barfing on Henry’s vet assistant, Alexa (Lusia Strus), whom we are pretty sure is a woman, but looks like a man, nor the idea that Doug (Sean Astin), Lucy’s brother, wants to know if steroids can cause wet dreams. It stood as a better romantic comedy on its original premise and really didn’t need the crude humor. 2 ½ stars out of 5. I probably would have given it 3 ½, but the unnecessary stabs at humor cost it a star in my book.

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

40 Days and 40 Nights

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:34 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

40 Days and 40 Nights
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Shannyn Sossamon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Keegan Connor Tracy, Emmanuelle Vaugier
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Mirimax
Kiddie Movie: Leave them at home, please.
Date Movie: She might think it’s cute, or be afraid she might lose her edge.
Gratuitous Sex: Lots of it, and lots of boobs.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Quite a few.
Memorable Scene: I think it was day 38, or maybe 39. I couldn’t keep track of that nor how many boobs they showed.
Memorable Quote: “Did she just Xerox her ass?”
Directed By: Michael Lehmann
Produced By: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Michael London

Okay, I like the movie. Yes, I’ll say it again, I like the movie. The movie is “40 Days and 40 Nights,” and I’ll give you that the story has its faults, but hey, it does show that it is sometimes just as hard for a guy to get over a girl, even if he has turned into a bit of a sex-crazed stud, as the other way around. And maybe, just maybe, a guy needs to prove to himself that he can stay in control, even when the girl of his dreams tempts him to break his promise to himself. Alright, here we go…

In “40 Days and 40 Nights” Matt (Josh Hartnett) gets dumped by his too-hot-for-him girlfriend, Nicole (Vinessa Shaw), mostly because she seems to get sick of Matt videotaping them everywhere they are. In the meantime, Matt keeps his sexual activities at their peak, the only problem is that he keeps getting hallucinations just as things are about to spurt. His brother, the priest in training, doesn’t really have any advice for him, and then in a quick conversation with the Pastor of the parish, well, Matt decides that it is sex that is keeping him from giving up Nicole, so along with Lent, well, Matt goes for 40 days and 40 nights without sex. And not just sex. We’re talking about any physical contact, including self-gratification. Ask any guy – it’s not that easy.

Well, as Matt begins his journey, tossing out the porn, and now building model cars and doing a lot of laundry, well, it is at the laundromat that Matt meets Erica (Shannyn Sossamon). Matt does his best to ignore her and not have any real conversation, but there is an attraction he can’t deny. Long story short, Matt thinks Erica might be the girl of his dreams, Erica doesn’t understand why Matt doesn’t try to sleep with her, and then she finds out his Lenten plans. She doesn’t get it at first, especially since Matt’s friends and colleagues have set up a betting pool on the internet about when Matt will cave to his sexual urges, but she lets Matt grow. Hooray!

So we have Matt trying to convince Erica this is something he really needs to do, if at least for his own pride; we have lots of hot girls coming on to Matt trying to get him to break his vow; we have various people in the betting pool trying their darndest, using porn, Viagra, and any other means possible, to get Matt to cave in so they can win the money, and we have a movie with a lot of cheap laughs, some things you don’t really want to see (like Matt with a boner at an inopportune time), and a scene most every guy can enjoy as Matt gets to his final days and all he can see anymore are women with no clothes on (that means a lot of boobies).

Yes, “40 Days and 40 Nights” is pretty dorky because most every guy I know would have caved by, well, it only took Kramer a few minutes in the “Seinfeld” episode that dealt with the same subject, but the prospect of 40 days and nights without any touching, that’s a challenge for any man. And in a cute scene where some of the women seem hell-bent on getting Matt to cave, well, their reason isn’t for the money, it’s because one of the last strongholds a woman has over a man is denying him sex, and if Matt can overcome this, then other men will be able to as well, and women will have lost their edge.

On a movie scale, I give “40 Days and 40 Nights” 3 ½ stars as long as you don’t take things too seriously. And I was going to leave the rating at that except I haven’t seen that much gratuitous and beautiful use of boobs in a movie in a long time. That in itself is enough for another star. It’s 4 ½ stars out of 5 for “40 Days and 40 Nights.” Hey, I’m a guy.

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

28 Weeks Later

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:31 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

28 Weeks Later
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Robert Carlyle, Imogen Poots, Mackintosh Muggleton, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Fox Atomic
Kiddie Movie: Only if you want them to have nightmares.
Date Movie: If she likes a gore-fest.
Gratuitous Sex: Some peeping-tom action.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of killing, eating, and blowing shit up.
Action: Lots of running.
Laughs: Nope.
Memorable Scene: The helicopter.
Memorable Quote: Nothing really.
Directed By: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Produced By: Enrique Lopez-Lavigne, Andrew MacDonald, Allon Reich

Stupid sister. Now you’ve doomed us all.

I figured I would open this review of “28 Weeks Later” with those seven simple words. Why? I’ll get to that later.

Anyway, “28 Weeks Later” is the sequel to “28 Days Later,” and the rage virus is back. It isn’t supposed to be back because we have found out that Great Britain was, indeed, quarantined during the initial outbreak of rage (rage is a virus that make you like a zombie on speed, where you are either going to be feeding on people, or infecting them along the way), simply so that those where were infected would die of starvation. It’s now 28 weeks later, and a UN military/rebuilding force, led by the United States, has been dispatched to London to help rebuild the city and let people back in. Don (Robert Carlyle) can’t wait because after surviving the initial rage infestation, in which he presumed his wife was dead, well, his kids are coming back to live with him.

Enter Tammy (Imogen Poots) and Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton), Don’s kids.

Reunited with dad, the kids learn of mom’s supposed fate, but Andy is having a hard time dealing with the death of mom, and the fact he doesn’t have a picture of her, so our rambunctious kids flee the safety of the green zone (the safe area of London) to go back to the old homestead and get some things, including a picture, and low and behold, there is mom. Mom is alive, it seems, because although infected with the virus she doesn’t have the symptoms, namely the desire to eat people or vomit blood on them. The military finally round up the kids, pack up mom, and it’s back to the medical center.

Now dad finds out that mom is alive, and because he is still filled with guilt for leaving her to die the first time, he uses his high security clearance to visit, maybe ask for forgiveness, and it’s time for the virus to rear it’s ugly head again.

People are running from the infected, the infected are gaining their stronghold, so the military pulls out the “Code Red” order, pretty much meaning all the people they just let back into the city are going to get killed.

But wait, we’ve got Tammy and Andy to worry about, don’t we? Well, the good doctor Scarlet (Rose Byrne) thinks one of the kids might be the secret to finding a cure for the virus, now that mom is dead, and with the help of one of the soldiers, Doyle (Jeremy Renner), it’s off to the races to safety.

I suppose I’ve already given away too much of the story, but I don’t think it matters because, for the most part a lot of the scenes of the movie are telegraphed as it moves along. We know the rage virus is coming back, and it comes back through in an obvious way. We know the rage infected people run really fast trying to eat or infect other people. And we know there will be a group of survivors doing their best to stay one step ahead of the infected.

Me, I think I liked “28 Weeks Later” actually a little more than the original “28 Days Later,” even though there were a boatload of plot points that just seemed ludicrous, i.e., why wasn’t there 24 hour surveillance on mom? The rave infected folks were just as fun to watch as in the first film, you’ve got just as many stupid people who deserve to die in this one, and I have to say this movie had the best use of a helicopter in a movie, ever.

With that I’m giving “28 Weeks Later” 4 stars out of 5. Sure, the first film was a little more creepy with our hero waking up in the hospital only to find everyone gone, but this one had that helicopter.

And, oh yea, the stupid sister. Sure, it was necessary to set up the sequel, which might be called something like “280 Million Dead Later,” but thanks to her and her “promise” the rest of the world might be screwed.

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

28 Days Later

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

28 Days Later
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Fox Searchlight
Kiddie Movie: Nope.
Date Movie: She might get frightnened and snuggle.
Gratuitous Sex: Some army dudes are lonely.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of blood and gore.
Action: Zombies chasing humans.
Laughs: There is a chuckle or two.
Memorable Scene: Nothing totally stands out.
Memorable Quote: Nah.
Directed By: Danny Boyle
Produced By: Andrew Macdonald

Some people were touting “28 Days Later” as the scariest horror movie of all time, or at least at a really scary movie. Well, I don’t know about either of those claims, but it was a really creepy movie that would have been better had they asked Roger Ebert how they should end it.

Anyway, the movie goes like this. Some no good animal activists think it would be a good idea to free some monkeys from a test facility. What they don’t know is that these monkeys are infected with some kind of virus called “rage.” Pretty much if you transmit some bodily fluid, you become a ravenous zombie attacking all of those around you. We break to the next scene where our main dude, Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up in a hospital bed only to find the place ransacked and no one around. Alright, that’s not too bizarre, but now he’s walking the streets of London only no one is there. He goes to a church, it’s starting to be nighttime, and in the church he encounters his first zombies. Running for his life, he gets rescued by Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley). They explain to him what the deal is, of course he doesn’t believe them, so they make their way to his old homestead where he finds his parents dead, killing themselves instead of becoming rage victims. Another attack ensues, our heroes are on the run, less one member, (It’s explained that if your friend gets infected there’s no helping them, so pretty much you have to kill them on the spot or risk getting “rage” yourself), and it’s now a search if anyone is still normal.

Our heroes find a father and daughter, Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and Hannah (Megan Burns), holed up in a high rise apartment, and find that Frank has a little portable radio that has picked up a broadcast stating there is a safe place run by the military. It’s now a road trip, and eventually they find the outpost, and even though it’s true they have a secure outpost, things aren’t so secure for our heroes.

But it is there where an interesting plot twist is revealed, that possibly the island of Great Britain has actually been quarantined, that “rage” hasn’t spread across the world, and that they are just waiting for all of the zombies to die from starvation. Low and behold, that seems to be the case since Jim looks up and sees an airplane flying overhead. Now I know I’m giving some things away, but it sets up why Ebert had a better ending than the happy go lucky ending I got. The ending originally in theaters (there is a second ending now attached to the movie after the credits end, a less happy ending, but not as creative as Ebert’s) has Jim, Selena and Hannah in a house on a hillside putting together a lot of fabric spelling out the word “Hello” so the military planes that occasionally fly over would see them. The plane does see them, and it ends at that. Ebert proposes that the jet circles around and blast our heroes to bits. I thought that would have been great, after all, how can you be so sure the infected zombies didn’t learn how to spell?

In the end “28 Days Later” is a great, spooky movie that doesn’t give you the payoff of really being shocked. You’re at a scary movie to begin with, why does the ending have to be happy? Screw the focus groups, blow them to bits! It’s 3 1/2 stars our of 5.

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

28 Days

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:43 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

28 Days
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen, Steve Buscemi
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Kiddie Movie: Most of the humor is adult oriented. Leave them at home.
Date Movie: It’s a good movie for the both of you.
Gratuitous Sex: Nothing gratuitous.
Gratuitous Violence: Not really violence, but a pretty depressing scene is in there.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Some chuckles and cute spots.
Memorable Scene: I’d tell you, but it would really spoil it.
Memorable Quote: Too many to write down.
Directed By: Betty Thomas
Produced By: Jenno Topping

Can you make a movie about an alcoholic that can treat the subject with a little bit of laughter, with a little bit of seriousness, and get a point across without being preachy? Yes, and the answer is the movie “28 Days.”

“28 Days” stars Sandra Bullock as Gwen. She’s a tad out of control, a happy-go-lucky drunk who mostly has been just lucky. Always partying, waking up wondering how she got there and then cracking open a beer, she’s a party girl with a party lifestyle. She’s out of control and she doesn’t know it. But it’s the morning of her sister’s wedding, she’s running late, grabs her boyfriend and a couple of drinks and ruins her sister’s big day. Wouldn’t that be enough? Nope. Let’s add being drunk, stealing a limo to go buy a new wedding cake, and crashing said limo into someone’s living room. That’s enough to land you in jail or rehab and Gwen opts for rehab. She hasn’t hit rock-bottom yet, that comes a few days into rehab, but eventually she sees the world around her and realizes it’s hers to fix, with a little help from her new friends.

I won’t go into the days at rehab because I think most of that is better found out in the movie-going experience, but the movie does give a comical edge to rehab to keep the movie light, while still throwing in some total seriousness to have you connect a little more with the problems the patients are all facing. And Sandra Bullock with the rest of the cast do this well.

This review is a short one other that to say that “28 Days” is a great movie. I loved Sandra Bullock’s portrayal as Gwen and her transition from party-girl to taking responsibility for what she does. It took a subject that is tough to talk about without either sounding preachy or condescending, or totally making a joke out of it or being so depressing you just want a drink, and made a nice movie that both entertains and tells a story. In the end it’s 4 stars out of 5. I really liked the movie and Sandra is quickly becoming one of my favoritist actresses.

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

27 Dresses

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

27 Dresses
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Akerman, Judy Greer, Edward Burns
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Fox 2000 Pictures
Kiddie Movie: The girls might like the frilly dresses but the boys will hate you forever.
Date Movie: It’s really a dudette night out flick.
Gratuitous Sex: There’s some gettingit on but no nudity.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nope.
Laughs: Probably more for the ladies.
Memorable Scene: In the bar singing"Benny and the Jets."
Memorable Quote: "That selfish whore."
Directed By: Anne Flether
Produced By: Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, Jonathan Glickman

I’m still trying to figure out what went wrong. See, there I am, waiting for the trailers to start, munching on a giant pretzel, when three hot dudettes walk in with no rings on that special finger. It’s single ladies morning out! This might be it, my dream of picking up women in the movie theater. One, I’m sitting by myself at the movie “27 Dresses”; Two, I’ve got on my raggedy, white sweatshirt; Three, I haven’t shaved in two days; and four, this morning, when I woke up, resigned to the sweatshirt and not shaving, well, there was no extra effort made to make my hair look nice either. It must have taken all that they had not to just jump me right there in the theater, or maybe they were lesbians. In any case I was still sitting by myself, watching the movie.

Anyway, as far as “27 Dresses,” if you saw the trailer you pretty much saw the movie, and trust me, there are no surprises at all in the movie. Kathering Heigl plays Jane. All of her life she has been the perfect bridesmaid, able to organize every wedding to perfection, even able to juggle two weddings going on at the same time. She’s in love with her boss, George (Edward Burns), but can never muster the nerve to let him know about her feelings and when she finally does get the nerve, well, enter Jane’s sister, Tess (Malin Akerman). Of course George and Tess hit it off, and now Jane is planning Tess’ wedding to the man that she is in love with. But enter Kevin (James Marsden). He’s a writer for the society section of the newspaper, reporting on weddings, and after finding Jane’s calendar book realizes there is an interesting story about her.

Yea, you can already guess a bunch of things, namely that Kevin and Jane are meant to hook up, Jane realizes George isn’t the man for her, Tess is a bitch, and everyone lives happily ever after.

Look, “27 Dresses” is a cookie-cutter movie about the wedding thing, about the girl looking for her true love, and dudes, do yourself a favor by letting your dudettes have a dudette night out when she wants to see this movie. I can get sucked into many a romantic comedy, and as great as Katherine Heigl is in her role of Jane, this movie has absolutely no testosterone quotient, even with Malin Akerman wearing low-cut tops. Sure, I did chuckle at some moments, but this movie is really one for the ladies.

For dudettes the movie is probably 4 stars out of 5, for dudes it’s more like 1 star out of 5. Average them together gives the movie 2 ½ stars out of 5, but for Katherine Heigl doing a great job in her leading role, and the spitfire nature of her friend and co-worker, Casey (Judy Greer), I’ll add ½ star giving “27 Dresses” 3 stars out of 5.

The movie doesn’t try to trick you into anything it isn’t, so I suppose going in you will get everything you expect, even a nice montage of Jane trying on her 27 bridesmaid’s dresses. Katherine Heigl, though, deserves more than a cookie-cutter wedding movie.

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

2012

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

2012
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oliver Platt, Woody Harrelson
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Distributed By: www.whowillsurvive2012.com
Kiddie Movie: Only if you want them to be paranoid their house will fall into the Earth.
Date Movie: She might get snuggly, or hate you for taking her to this film.
Gratuitous Sex: Amanda Peet getting naked would have helped.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of people die. It is about the end of the Earth after all.
Action: There’s a lot of trying to outrun geological catastrophes.
Laughs: Most of the movie.
Memorable Scene: Too many “Oh, come on.” scenes to list.
Memorable Quote: “No we’re not, we’re going to die.” and “That’s great. Open the God damn door!”
Directed By: Roland Emmerich
Produced By: Harald Kloser, Mark Gordon, Larry Franco

I will say this, after watching “2012” I will no longer be in the market for an SUV – Nope, I’m buying a limo!

Well, the world is on the verge of disaster again, and who better than Roland Emmerich to destroy it, only this time the evil villains are neutrinos, sub-atomic particles that, following some Sun activity, decide to heat up the Earth’s core like it were in a microwave oven.  Sadly this will cause the Earth’s crust to, well, I’m not really sure, but tectonic plates will shift, the Earth will shake, tsunamis will swallow the world, and humanity will die, that is unless the Chinese can build some arks for a batch of human to hang out in until the trouble is over.  Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?  Well it is, unless you are a writer named Jackson (John Cusack), you want to get your family on that ark, and you don’t have a ticket.

Yup, Jackson is a writer.  He was married to Kate (Amanda Peet) and has a couple of kids. But Jackson and Kate are split up now and Kate is hitched with a boob doctor, Gordon (Tom McCarthy). So it’s dad’s weekend with the kids, and he shuttles them to Yellowstone National Park (who knew it was just a hop, skip, and a jump from the California coast?), only to discover a missing lake and wacky radio dude, Charlie (Woody Harrelson).  It is there that Jackson realizes there might be problems with the Earth, especially after running into scientist Adrian (Chiwetel Eliofor).  Well, wouldn’t you know it, when all hell breaks loose it turns out that Jackson is a swell dude and lets Gordon along for the ride as they make the getaway from the west coast sliding into the ocean, and it’s a good thing, too, because it turns out Gordon is one hell of a pilot.

Anyway, in the meantime, the good scientist, who helped figure out the Earth was going to destroy itself, is working with the President (Danny Glover) and Scientific Advisor (Oliver Platt), and the world leaders, to analyze exactly when the world is going to die, but sadly he failed to understand the heating properties of Earth’s core, or some crap like that, so, of course, he’s wrong and it happens sooner than everyone thinks.

So, now, with the Earth falling apart, it is a mad dash for the ark inhabitants to make their way to said arks, and somehow Jackson is able to get his family from the west coast, back to Yellowstone to secure a map, down to Vegas, and off to China to save his family.

The problem is, I didn’t care.

Yup, that is the biggest problem I had with “2012,” the simple fact that I didn’t really care who lived and who died, and I think that was simply because there were too many players involved.  I mean sure, there was Jackson and his family, but then they became intertwined with this Russian millionaire on the dash to China.  There was also the story of Carl the Scientific Advisor, who was a prick, and the President who is a good dude, and international intrigue as people aware the Earth was going to destroy itself were mysteriously killed. Sure, Charlie was a hoot, and I am quickly remembering how great an actor Woody Harrelson is (he’s also great in “Zombieland,”), but for the most part, all of them could have bought it, Jackson should have, and I wouldn’t have cared.

Yes, there is unbelievable action as the world disintegrates, but I have to say that asteroids and aliens make for much cooler destruction, especially when “2012” takes things to truly unbelievable levels as the six-engine plane rises from the depths of Vegas, and the limo is able to nearly leap tall buildings in a single, well, jump, but for a movie with a human element, this movie just lost it all in two and a half hours of “We are all going to die!”

I wanted to like “2012,” but just couldn’t so I have to only give the movie 1/2 star out of 5.  Yes, it is much more impressive on the big screen, but if you are going to spend your hard-earned money, at least wait for a matinee.  All the movie did for me, really, was miss the “Quick Takes” dude, Zay “tap-dancing militant Islamic fundamentalists” Smith, from the Chicago Sun Times, who got axed a while ago, as he kept a watchful eye on the Yellowstone Caldera, which supposedly will cover Chicago in six feet of ash if it blows again, as it did in the movie “2012,” but hopefully won’t really blow again until about 2112, because, well, I’ll most likely be dead and people would then say that the band Rush somehow prophesied it. Okay, enough rambling.

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