Greater


Rated: PG | Running Time: 130 Minutes
From: Well Go USA Entertainment
Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital Platforms:  December 20, 2016
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Greater on DVDI will not lie – at the end of “Greater” i got a little weepy. The thing is it wasn’t really “sad” weepy, it was more of “what a great life, even if it seemed too short” weepy.

Yes, I will come right out of the gate and let you know Brandon Burlsworth died.

It’s not really a spoiler, I mean, if you do any quick Google search about him it’s right out there, but I had no idea. The press release didn’t mention it, the DVD case didn’t mention it, but instantly, as the movie opens with a stone slab for a tombstone my first thought, followed by Google confirmation was “Crap, he dies? So much for an uplifting movie.” But it is, even with his death.

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Chicken People


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 83 Minutes
From:Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Samuel Goldwyn Films and CMT
Available on DVD and Digital Platforms:  November 22, 2016
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Chicken PeopleThis is what I call a “Who knew?” documentary? Who knew there were so many kinds of chickens? Who knew there was a National Poultry Show? Who knew there was a Standard of Perfection, a book that details the perfect chicken? Who knew you could be an engineer and systematically breed chickens to try to produce a champion? And yes, who knew there was an Ohio National Poultry Show, the chicken equivalent of the Westminster Dog Show?

The chicken people do.

“Chicken People” is a documentary following the lives of three people over the course of about a year, and their quest to raise a perfect chicken, at least as rated by the Standard of Perfection, and win the National Poultry Show. Yes, that means that they have the best of 9,700 birds entered in the competition. And yes, that’s right, 9,700 birds are entered, one will win.

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Uncle Nick


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 81 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Online:  November 1, 2016
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Uncle NickI guess I was at that age when I was old enough to like baseball, but too young for my parents to explain to me what happened at the Ten Cent Beer game, a legendary debacle of fan sportsmanship resulting in a bunch of drunk, unruly fans ruining a lovely day at the ballpark for those who just wanted to see a ballgame.

Who knew you could build a Christmas movie around the progression of events at the Ten Cent Beer Game, but the folks of “Uncle Nick” did a pretty good job.

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The Overnighters

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:30 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

The Overnighters
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jay Reinke
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: Drafthouse Films
Video Release Date: February 3, 2015
Kiddie Movie: Nah, it’s about a lot of down-and-out people.
Date Movie: If she’s interested in a good documentary and not something mushy.
Gratuitous Sex: Some talk of sex offenders, but nothing graphic.
Gratuitous Violence: Just one person trying to get the Reverend off of their property and threatening to shoot him.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Ehh.
Memorable Scene: The reveal by Rev. Jay of something from his past.
Memorable Quote: “A man with no teeth and living with his daughter calling other people trash.
Directed By: Jesse Moss
Cool things about the DVD: Some of the deleted scenes actually should have been left in the film, and the extended interview with Rev. Jay is actually interesting.

The OvernightersThe stories were out there: Move to North Dakota! There are tons of jobs, waitresses are making $15+ dollars an hour, and you can easily find a job making over $100k a year! While some of this may be true, when stories like this get published what happens? Tens of thousands of people, mostly out of work, consider moving to North Dakota to find work. Here’s the problem. While there are jobs, there aren’t that many, and it’s North Dakota. The fracking boom has come mostly to smaller towns that don’t have the resources to accommodate such a giant influx of folks, many of whom are down on their luck, have questionable pasts, and think that North Dakota, or in the case of the documentary “The Overnighters,” Williston, North Dakota, is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. “The Overnighters” focuses on these people, the ones not getting the jobs, as well as Rev. Jay Reinke, a pastor in Williston who opened his church to those who couldn’t find a place to say, much to the dismay of the town, especially when the questionable pasts of those seeking shelter came to light.

As the documentary opens we see the Reverend waking up the people he has sheltered for the night. Most of them are men, those who came by bus or train are sleeping throughout the complex, in hallways and rooms, while those with cars would sleep in the parking lot, and the documentary begins to key in on a few of them with Rev. Jay, trying to help them through the transition to find a job. He advises them to clean up, cut their hair, get a resume together, and keep trying, but challenges await most of them, especially as background checks reveal criminal records, but more importantly for the documentary, people on the sex offender list.

We see Rev. Jay’s family who is trying to do the Christian thing and help everyone they can, but you can see the strain the situation is placing on them as well. The key to this story is the town of Williston, torn by wanting to be good Christians, yet wanting to keep their small-town feel, worried about crime, and trying to keep their children safe.

Progressing through the documentary we learn that the Reverend is housing men with sex offender pasts, both in the church and in his home, and while some might be a blip on a record that follows them for life, others are not so seemingly insignificant, and when the local paper brings this to light, the blow-back for Reinke is insurmountable, especially as he is harboring some of his own secrets.

What I loved about this documentary was that it really showed the flip side to the stories of the boom of North Dakota. You see the people and some you root for, but many you question because at one instance they seem like people just trying to restart their lives, but then you see them slip into being assholes again. The thing is this even happens with Rev. Jay when one minute he seems like the great-natured guy, just trying to help, but, and sure every story has two sides, from the commentary by some of the people he helps, there are times even his motives seem questionable. There is an extra with a detailed follow-up interview with Reverend Jay when he addresses this, mostly in a manner consistent with his personality shown in the film.

There are a few times the documentary drags, but other than that “The Overnighters” is a fantastic look at the other side of the North Dakota story. Sure, those with a little bit of a better plan than the people just “showing up” and thinking millions await them probably have a decent chance of the good jobs, but it’s this other side people don’t hear about.

This documentary shows people doing a lot of soul-searching, losing even more, like their families, by even coming to North Dakota, and a Reverend who has his own demons that he can’t come to grips with. It’s a great look at the town reaction, those who don’t have it so easy, and the challenges faced when the “boomtown” event happens because not everyone is happy about it. It’s 4 stars out of 5 for “The Overnighters.” I guess I would have liked a few success stories on people who really made it, though there was the one dude who was excited because he was actually going to have someone to supervise. Other than the little blurb of “What is happening now,” a little more follow-up on some of the characters might have been nice. Also there is some “niceness” about the documentary, although one of the outtakes, “I Used to Stay Here,” really shows the flip-side and the volatility that can be there. I think I might have like to have seen a little more of that.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Bound by Flesh

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:30 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

Bound By Flesh
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Daisy Hilton, Violet Hilton
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: IFC Films
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Kiddie Movie: Nah, it’s a documentary. They’d be bored.
Date Movie: If she’s a documentary kind of girl.
Gratuitous Sex: There’s talk.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Some chuckles at some stories.
Memorable Scene: It was interesting seeing the sisters performing together.
Memorable Quote: “Freakery sells.”
Directed By: Leslie Zemeckis

Think about your best friend, your wife, your sibling. You like them, don’t you? You probably generally like to be around them? Now picture being attached to them, and I’m not talking emotionally, but physically attached, kind of around the butt area, for 60 years. Granted you didn’t start out that way, but Daisy and Violet Hilton were born, as conjoined twins, and “Bound By Flesh” gives a fascinating, yet kind of sad look at the ladies who had fame, sort of, but because of the people around them had nothing, really, but each other.

“Bound By Flesh” takes you on the journey, from birth to death, of Daisy and Violet. We learn early on that their Mom was devastated when they were born, feeling punished by God because she was having children out of wedlock. Mom was a barmaid, and though she wanted no part of the kids, her boss, Mary Hilton, saw financial potential in exploiting the kids so she bought them from mom. Thus began a life of being trotted out in front of people, bar patrons “testing” their connection, and isolation and control so that the girls couldn’t have a life.

The girls were taught music and dancing, oddly enough, so as their life progressed they ended up in the carnival circuit mostly thanks to Edith and Myer Myers, a couple who ended up with the twins after Mary Hilton died. They did well because, as one guy puts it in the documentary, “Freakery sells.”

Eventually a few people around them gave them the courage to sue Myer, and they won, but a life of isolation, and getting older, didn’t prove helpful to the sisters as bad business decisions and failed relationships followed them for most of the rest of their lives. Yes, they became one of the highest grossing acts in Vaudeville, but as is cautioned in the documentary, be careful what you wish for because now, without the control of Myers, the girls were free, promiscuous, and general party girls who could never figure out who the con-men were, and also never had decent guidance for the rest of their lives, losing touch with the changing world and not being able to understand why people didn’t want to see them any longer, nor understanding the business of it all, and failing to see that as they grew older their popularity went away.

Stranded in North Carolina by their tour manager and left with nothing, the twins, who at a time seemingly had it all, were hired by a local grocery store, and it’s there they lived out the rest of their lives. Working at the store gave them a little money, but more for the ladies, it gave them time to reminisce with the staff and customers as all they really wanted to do was entertain.

They could have been separated later in life, but Daisy and Violet, by this time, realized their lives were one, and they probably couldn’t survive without each other, and in the end Violet came down with the flu. Daisy made the decision to lie there, in their little home, and die along side her sister.

“Bound by Flesh” is a fantastic documentary showing both the ups, but mostly downs, of the Hilton sisters. Their lives are reminiscent of many child and young actors, where the manager or family pretty much steals everything from them, and eventually they become “whatever happened” anecdotes. The other thing about the documentary is that as much as it’s about the sisters, it’s also a great look a the early days of the carnival and of the side-show, how the shows got their start as outgrowths of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, as well as the rise and fall of Vaudeville, and it’s relation to the sisters.

Fascinating yet sad lives, if you are looking for a wonderful documentary I must say I really enjoyed “Bound by Flesh.” It’s 4 out of 5 stars for this great look at two ladies who could have had so much more if it weren’t for the scumbags around them.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Hot Guys with Guns

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:45 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

Hot Guys with Guns
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Marc Anthony Samuel, Brian McArdle
MPAA Rated: Not rated.
Released By: Wolfe Video
Release Date: Video on Demand: May 6, 2014DVD: May 8, 2014
Kiddie Movie: Oh no. Put them to bed.
Date Movie: My wife got sucked right into it.
Gratuitous Sex: A lot of talk, and gay, sex parties.
Gratuitous Violence: There are some guns and fighting.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Quite a few.
Memorable Scene: Nothing stood out.
Memorable Quote: “How’s your head?” “It still hurts.” “You didn’t say the safe word.” “I had something in my mouth.”
Directed By: Doug Spearman

As my wife simply put it: “It’s so bizarre it’s captivating.” The movie is “Hot Guys with Guns,” and yes, I have to agree with my wife.

With an opening scene reminiscent of a James Bond movie, only with dude butts instead of dudette butts, we are introduced to passed-out guys in a room and a weird dude in a mask.

Let’s cut to the heroes of the movie starting with Danny (Marc Anthony Samuel). He’s taking a private investigator class as research for a movie role because, well, the film takes place in California, and, of course, it’s got a dude who wants to be an actor. Then there is his friend/ex Pip (Brian McArdle), who lives with his wacky mom, she who doesn’t like black guys or Mexicans, and Danny is worried about Pip because Pip is getting involved with a dude that Danny doesn’t trust.

As the story unfolds it turns out Pip finds himself at a party where everyone ends up drugged and passed out, with things stolen. It turns out there are Sex Party Bandits out there, and our two heroes want to solve the case, especially now that Danny is learning private eye stuff.

So our heroes get wrapped up in a plot of intrigue and bad guys, a plot that thickens when we find an actor was hoping for a role in a Disney film that was somehow involved in a drugged-up rape, and comedy, mayhem, and crime-solving ensues.

I must say that the first half of the movie had way too much plot development for what was supposed to be a buddy movie in the likes of something like “Lethal Weapon,” and was mostly background for internet surfing, but all of a sudden I was actually wrapped up in the story and wondering how the boys were going to crack the case without getting killed. I laughed, I cringed, and yes, I thought “bizarre.”

Had the movie opened with a tighter first half I could have easily seen myself heading to the 4 ½ star range for “Hot Guys with Guns,” but because it took too long for me to get involved in the story I have to drop it to 3 ½ stars out of 5. It’s not the greatest of acted movies, and there is some bizarreness in a world of gay, sex parties, but for some fun you could do a lot worse. Stick with the movie past the first half and let the bizarreness and fun take hold.

The DVD has some general stuff like some bloopers, but for the most part this one is all about the movie – No, you’re not going to get any real insight into sex parties.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

“How’s your head?” “It still hurts.” “You didn’t say the safe word.” “I had something in my mouth.”

Breaking the Girls

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:27 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Breaking the Girls
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Agnes Bruckner, Madeline Zima, Shawn Ashmore
MPAA Rated: Not rated.
Released By: IFC Films
Release Date: November 19, 2013
Kiddie Movie: For the love of God, put them to bed.
Date Movie: For the love of God, put her to bed, also.
Gratuitous Sex: There’s some girl-on-girl, and girl-on-guy stuff, but it’s pretty lame.
Gratuitous Violence: It’s a murder-mystery movie, so there is some.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: The acting.
Memorable Scene: The bad, being drunk acting.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: Jamie Babbit

I really hate writing reviews that bash a movie, and will generally try to find something nice to say, but there are times a movie, in my book, is just bad. “Breaking the Girls” is that movie.

In terms of story we get Sara (Agnes Bruckner). She’s a law student struggling with some money and has to bartend to get by. There’s a weird love-connection between her and Eric (Shawn Ashmore), who’s girlfriend isn’t to thrilled by their gazes at each other. When Sara steals a few bucks at her job, and gets turned in by the girlfriend, her life implodes as she loses her job and gets kicked out of law school. Lucky for her she met Alex (Madeline Zima), who has a lot of money and is freaky. So, yup, Sara and Alex get it on, but not before Sara meets Nina, Alex’s mother-in-law who used to be her lover, and so, with both girls having sworn enemies (or do they?), they make a pact to kill each other’s enemies.

Of course, Alex being the nutty one, carries out the dastardly deed, and then Sara has second thoughts. And of course, of course, we find out Alex isn’t too happy about this, and so she starts to threaten Sara that she better stand up to her end of the bargain, or else. And of course, of course, of course, there is the supposedly interesting plot twist, where things are not as we see, as Eric, who of course, of course, of course, of course, has now firmly planted his relationship with Sara, but then does some investigating and finds out a few things.

Sadly the movie comes across as “I know, let’s have this weak story that has been done before, and mix it with some girl-on-girl action, which has also been done before, and it will be great!” movie. I mean, here’s Sara, the law student, working in a bar, and meets Alex, playing the worstly acted drunk person I have seen in years. Sara goes home with Alex, Alex breaks this crystal vase and Sara doesn’t really think anything of it, and then, I know, “Let’s go to a party!” Sure, it’s all part of Sara’s master plan, but the acting is so bad that I almost was laughing at everyone as the movie went along.

The guy in me wants to try to recommend this movie to other guys on the premise of “If you want some hot girl-on-girl action in a dorky murder-mystery, go ahead and buy/rent ‘Breaking the Girls,’” but sadly even the girl-on-girl action was kind of lame.

Bad acting, a not-really-exciting story, and even some lame girl-on-girl stuff does not make this dude a happy man. And so, I’m not even sure about the ½ star, but I’ll give “Breaking the Girls” ½ star out of 5, if only for the humor at how badly acted the scene of Alex being drunk was.

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

Vitality

MPAA Rated – Not rated.
It’s 0:55 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Vitality
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Dr. Bruce Lipton, Dr. Hyla Cass, Mari Winsor, Dr. Tim Brown
MPAA Rated: Not rated.
Released By: Virgil Films
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Kiddie Movie: Maybe if you want them to be a health nut, or they might find the poop and pee talk funny.
Date Movie: If she is on a health kick.
Gratuitous Sex: It’s a documentary, but there is talk about sex in the bedroom.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: I did laugh a lot during the fake commercial for “Suprato.”
Memorable Scene: Nothing really.
Memorable Quote: Nothing.
Directed By: Pedram Shojai

Let me say, right off the bat, that the fake commercial for “Suprato” during the documentary “Vitality” was hilarious. That said, “Vitality,” being a documentary about health, doesn’t break new ground, but does reiterate a lot of common-sense ideas most people forget, stressing that our health system is messed up because, in general, it fights the problem with drugs instead of creating lifestyle changes, and that leading a healthy, vitality-filled life begins, for these documentarians, with four key points: Exercise, Diet, Sleep, and Mindset.

As the documentary goes along it touches on each of the subjects, with the diet-side being focused on the too-much sugar debate, that we should eat more veggies and drink more water, and the fact that the problem with most meat is actually the fact that the animals aren’t getting fed healthy diets, thereby passing along their own unhealthiness to us. Exercise delves around the fact that we sit around too much and need to move more, and in regards to sleep, the advice that the bedroom should only be used for sleeping and sex sounds great in theory, but I’m guessing for many a people, with flat-screen TV’s on the wall across from the bed, neither spouse will end up parting with their nightly entertainment nor morning news.

The mindset area of the documentary lets us know that we need to deal with stress a little better, where oddly enough my mom’s advice of “Counting to ten” is actually similar to their advice of stepping back from a situation and letting your mind calm down so you can deal with things in a more rational manner.

For the most part the documentary doesn’t get too preachy, except for maybe the “You should shop at a Farmer’s Market because the food is healthier” segment, and it doesn’t get into too much, for no better way to put it, possible weirdness, at least until there is talk of the body’s “invisible energy field,” which, sure, might sound hokey, but who really knows?

Will “Vitalty” help you become the healthiest of persons? Probably not, but it doesn’t hurt reminding us all that there aren’t too many keys to living a healthy, vitality-filled life. The documentary isn’t going to win any cinematography awards as it is, to put it bluntly, not shot well, but I suppose this one is more about trying to tell its message rather than looking good.

If you need a reminder about living a healthy life, “Vitality” isn’t bad, but for the most part it’s nothing new or groundbreaking. For me it’s a 2 star out of 5 film. It probably could have gone up ½ star with a better look, and maybe another ½ for adding a little more substance, but the beginning where they are just spouting tons of statistics that can always be manipulated to fit your needs turned me off a bit from the start. I guess I wanted a little more from the movie, and that let me down.

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

Errors of the Human Body

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:42 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Errors of the Human Body
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Michael Eklund, Karoline Herfurth, Tomas Lemarquis
MPAA Rated: Not rated.
Released By: IFC Films
DVD Release Date: August 13, 2013
Kiddie Movie: They’d be bored. Put them to bed.
Date Movie: If she likes an artsy thriller with some gruesomeness.
Gratuitous Sex: It’s got some sex.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Nah.
Memorable Scene: The dream sequence with the mice.
Memorable Quote: Nothing really.
Directed By: Eron Sheean
Cool Things About the DVD: A weird Q&A between a mouse and a deformed baby thing.

There was a scene towards the end of “Errors of the Human Body” where I simply blurted out, “Cool!”, and then the ending scene continued. I have to say I became a little let down as things wrapped up, hoping instead for total mayhem. Instead I got “shocking,” though not really shocking at all.

The movie gives us Geoff (Michael Eklund). He’s a bit distraught as he is recently divorced, but even more distraught over the loss of his son due to a horrible genetic mutation. With his distraughtness, Geoff makes his way to a German lab to work on a cure to the mutation that killed his son, and finds himself in a twisted world of scientists. There he begins working with Rebekka (Karoline Herfurth), a geneticist who was once Geoff’s intern, and becomes entangled in a boatload of crap when he, of course, hooks up with Rebekka, and also stumbles upon one of Jarek’s (Tomas Lemarquis) mice. You see, Jarek was involved with Rebekka, too, he might be stealing her research, or they all might be in cahoots in some twisted genetic mutation experiments to find a regenerative gene.

Here’s the thing, “Errors of the Human Body” plays out like an artsy thriller, with lots of camera work that pans across scenery, seeming deep conversation, and a story trying to mix up twists and turns, but unfortunately, for me, it lost things when it could have really taken a gruesome turn after Geoff, well, got a bump on his head is the best things I can say without giving too much away.

There were a few things that gave too much foreshadowing for me, but the premise of the story was interesting, and could have really taken a fabulous turn with some viral infections. I also find the dying sequence just a little too long as it didn’t really have the payoff I wanted. In any case it was kind of creepy, especially a dream sequence, and if you want a nice, little thriller, in an artsy kind of way, “Errors of the Human Body” might be a nice rental or DVD to pick up.

In the end it’s about a 3 star out of 5 movie. It had the potential for more creepiness, but I guess they were going for more of an artsy ending. So be it.

Not too much on the Special Features side for the DVD, just a creepy Q&A with a mouse and a deformed baby for the most part.

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

My Amityville Horror

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:29 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

My Amityville Horror
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Daniel Lutz, Laura Didio
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: IFC Films
Video Release Date: August 6, 2013
Kiddie Movie: It’s a little creepy and a documentary. Send them to bed unless you want them fascinated with the paranormal.
Date Movie: If she’s a documentary fan.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: Nope.
Action: Nope.
Laughs: Nope.
Memorable Scene: Nothing stood out.
Memorable Quote: Nah.
Directed By: Eric Walter

It’s been a long time since “The Amityville Horror” movie hit the scene, nearly 35 years as a matter of fact, and most people forget, or have never even realized that the story was based on the accounts of a real family, the Lutz’s, and that there are tons of websites on the internet dedicated to the paranormal activity that supposedly went on at the time. As most people forget the story is based on a real family, most people also forget that it also means there were kids involved, and for this documentary, “My Amityville Horror,” Director Eric Walter takes us directly to Daniel Lutz, one of the children in the house, who tells his tales of what went on.

The documentary is interesting in that it doesn’t try to prove anything, nor give a final answer as to what happened in the house, nor try to say if what Daniel says is true or not, but it does a good job of letting Daniel tell his recollection of the events leading up to, while in the house, and the life he had to live after the movie became a sensation. He tells of mostly just trying to get away from the story, how sometimes people would realize who he was and the implications involved with being a back-ended celebrity. Much of the movie brings Laura Didio along for the story, as she early on befriended the Lutz family, and Daniel seems to feel almost the most comfortable with her around, which helps the movie travel along.

Was there a haunting at Amityville? Did the Lutz parents just try to capitalize on being in a house where some horrendous murders took place? This documentary doesn’t answer that, but if you are a fan of the Amityville story, seeing Daniel Lutz relate things from his perspective, even if he wasn’t even a teenager at the time  that things happened, is an interesting look on the events, and how being in that situation can turn a person into the man Daniel Lutz is today.

I felt the documentary was well made, even the “Making of..” featurette wasn’t bad, so whether or not you really believe it, if you do want to just see a decent documentary about a man with a story to tell, “My Amityville Horror” is a 4 star documentary in my book. No, it’s not a horror tale, so don’t expect all kinds of scares, just expect a man and his story.

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