6 Souls

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:42 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

6 Souls
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Julianne Moore, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Released On: July 2, 2013
Kiddie Movie: Only if you want them creeped out by old witches and people with multiple personalities.
Date Movie: It’s probably pretty good for snuggling with your mate.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: It’s got some pretty good gruesomeness.
Action: Some chasing and breaking glass.
Laughs: Nah.
Memorable Scene: The scenes with the creepy witch.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stood out.
Directed By: Mans Marlind, Mjorn Stein

Unless I give away the ending it’s hard to explain why I was pretty much enjoying “6 Souls” for the most part up until the last ten-ish minutes of the film, so I guess for now I’ll just say I was pretty much enjoying “6 Souls” for the most part, up until the last ten-ish minutes of the film. Maybe I’ll expound on that a little later, in which, here’s the proverbial “Spoiler Alert” warning, but for starters let’s get to the story.

In “6 Souls” we get the always-awesome Julianne Moore. She’s Dr. Cara Harding, a psychiatrist lady who’s having a hard time after her husband dies. Her dad, though, trying to get her back in the game, brings along Adam (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Adam, it seems, is harboring a bunch of personalities inside of him, with one of them easily being called up when he answers a phone.  The thing is it’s not just a personality that Adam seems to have, but Adam actually mentally and verbally turns into the personality, who happen to be murder victims.

At first, of course, the good Doctor figures Adam has just read up on the murder victims, figures out their quirks and mannerisms, and then is able to channel the victims as different personalities. It isn’t until Dr. Harding brings along the mother of one of the murder victims that Adam channels, and Adam knows things that only the son would have known, that now she thinks something else, something mystical, something spiritual might be afoot.

The problem is that Adam begins meeting up with more and more people in Dr. Harding’s life, including her daughter, and as this isn’t really a case of multiple personalities as it is a case of possession, and now her family is deathly involved.

As it goes Dr. Harding’s  research takes her to more-than-rural America, to shacks in the back of the woods where the scary people live, and yet, our fair Doctor finds out the truth about Adam, but sadly it might be a little too late for…

Okay, I’m not going to give it away, but I will say that Hollywood cliffhanger mode came in to full play for the ending of the movie, setting up a possible sequel, I’m sure if the money is right, instead of going for a better mode of closure, and the true crushing of Dr. Harding’s spirit, which is how I would have ended the movie.

For the most part, though, ending aside, everyone is pretty fantastic in the movie. Julianne Moore, well, enough said – She could take the roll of a porn star and make it awesome. Oh wait, she did. The rest of the cast, especially Jonathan Rhys Meyers, does well, also, and kudos for Jonathan for actually pulling off great jobs as multiple roles, what with him having the multiple personalities and all. Then there are the creepy folks, especially Joyce Feurring as the witch and Katiana Davis as her helper girl.

As a thriller “6 Souls” is pretty good, even if some of the movie is standard fair, and even if it doesn’t offer too many surprises. I would have preferred the bad guy’s soul being sucked out of him and stored on a shelf for safe keeping as an ending, instead of the one we ended up with, but I guess I can’t have it all. It’s 3 ½ stars out of 5 for “6 Souls.” It could have easily ended up a 4 starrer for me with a different finish.

As far as the Blu-ray, there’s nothing special. Get this one for some creepiness on a night to snuggle with your honey.

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

Fred Won’t Move Out

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:15 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Fred Won’t Move Out
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Elliott Gould, Judith Roberts, Mfoniso Udofia, Fred Melamed, Stephanie Roth Haberle
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: Virgil Films
Released On: June 11, 2013
Kiddie Movie: It’s about parents getting old and dying. Put the kids to bed.
Date Movie: Put her to bed, too.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: Nope.
Action: Nope.
Laughs: Some attempts at a “pussy” joke. And, oh yea, the line by my “assistant.”
Memorable Scene: None.
Memorable Quote: From my assistant at the end of the movie: “What, did they run out of money?”
Directed By: Richard Ledes
Cool things abou the DVD: Nothing.

The press release stated “Told with both humor and wistfulness,” and the DVD packaging “With levity and sadness.” These were descriptions for the movie “Fred Won’t Move Out” upon which I sold viewing the movie to my assistant reviewer on a Saturday night. “Sure, Honey,” I said, “It’s probably got some sad and depressing moments, what with the movie being about an older couple, dad Fred struggling to walk and mom Susan having Alzheimer’s, but it’s supposed to have some humor and levity, too.” That and the fact that I told her if the movie was that bad, it was only an hour and fifteen minutes, so it won’t last that long.

And so we watched “Fred Won’t Move Out,” I kept wondering where the levity was, the best humor was a line by my assistant at the end of the movie, “What, did they run out of money?”, and although some rather fine acting by Elliott Gould and Judith Roberts was throughout the film I couldn’t help but be happy the movie was only an hour and fifteen minutes.

“Fred Won’t Move Out,” as somewhat stated earlier,” works to tell the story of a family, brother Bob (Fred Melamed) and sister Carol (Stephanie Roth Haberle), dealing with their elderly parents Fred and Susan. It’s a small snapshot of a few weeks towards the end of the parent’s lives when it’s time for Susan to definitely be put in an assisted living facility as her Alzheimer’s is reaching the advanced stages, Fred really needs more help as his walking ability is fading fast and he is becoming senile, and the work is becoming too much for the live-in caregiver, Victoria (Mfoniso Udofia) to handle. It’s up to Bob and Carol to convince Fred that it’s time to face the reality of getting older, and that although he doesn’t want to leave the house he has lived in for years with Susan, that it’s really for the best, and it’s really time to accept Susan’s condition, as well as his own.

The movie spotlights many of the internal struggles the family is dealing with, as well as Bob trying to deal with his own failings as a filmmaker. There are a lot of mentally tough scenes to deal with as a viewer, especially of Susan showing many of the ravages of Alzheimer’s, and Elliot Gould is fantastic as the elder husband not really understanding what is going on sometimes, especially with his wife, and her inability to function as he remembers. There is one especially touching scene when a second Bob (Robert Miller), a music therapist, comes to sing some songs to bring comfort to Susan, and the family is together, singing songs, and for a few minutes it’s like things are back to normal.

Don’t get me wrong, the acting by Elliott Gould and Judith Roberts is fantastic, and yes, it’s a tough story to try to tell, but truthfully, at least for me, don’t watch this movie for any levity nor humor as the couple of attempts might bring a chuckle or grin, but this is truly a serious look at a brother and sister dealing with their elderly parents.

And then there is the ending.

Yes, the movie is only an hour and fifteen minutes, but as the movie ended, and I won’t ruin it for you, my wife, I mean assistant, blurted out “What, did they run out of money?” Why? Because I’m sure there was some deep-seeded meaning to the ending scene, and maybe I missed part of conversation that took place earlier in the film that would explain it, but with Fred, Bob, Carol, and Victoria out on the back patio of the house, calling out towards the woods, the movie ended. No real closure, no real answer, and no real ending.

“Fred Won’t Move Out” is an indie-style film, filmed in the childhood home of the writer-director Richard Ledes, and the movie really looks like it. There are a lot of shaky camera movements, a lot of “trying to be artsy” camera shots, and a lot of scenes that could do better by a soundstage, but thankfully the acting of Elliott and Judith carry the film otherwise I would have been shooting for a rating of 1/2 star. Instead I’ll give the movie 2 stars out of 5. I suppose it should be 1 ½ star with the ending it gave me, but I’ll stick with the 2 stars. No real humor, no real levity, but if you do want to laugh just think of what my wife said as the credits started, “What, did they run out of money?”

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

23:59

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:18 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

23:59
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ted Chan, Stella Chung, Philip Hersh, Henley Hill, Susan Leong
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Released On: June 4, 2013
Kiddie Movie: Nope, it’s horror-ish.
Date Movie: Only if she wants to be bored for an hour, and then finally creeped out.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope, it’s not your American horror film.
Gratuitous Violence: Some gross scenes mostly, and leftover people hanging.
Action: It tries to be creepy.
Laughs: The fight scene between the recruits.
Memorable Scene: I did like when we finally see the deformed child.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stands out.
Directed By: Gilbert Chan
Cool Things About the DVD: Nothing special but it does have a “Making of” featurette.

Sometimes I should read an entire press release before getting a movie to review, and at first when I started watching “23:59” I thought I would be frustrated because the movie started with subtitles while the folks on the screen were speaking in Mandarin, and I was not in the mood to “read” a movie. Then, I read the release and low and behold, “23:59” features an English dub, along with original Mandarin, English, and Spanish subtitles.” Sweet, watching a movie just like the old “Godzilla” films! A setting change here, and I was set for some creepy, horror, goodness.

Or so I thought.

Let’s start with the basics of the movie…

“23:59” says it’s based on a true story, and maybe some of the aspects of it are true, but really it’s based upon any story of people at any camp, whether it be a camp for kids, a day camp sleepover, camping in the wilderness, or in this case, a group of army recruits at military camp on a “haunted” island. Why based on any story at camp, do I say? Because every camp has a creepy story, a legend if you will, that is intended to scare the campers to be wary of falling asleep and wonder if that bump you hear in the night is the ghost of the creepy lady who wants to kill you.

This movie, however, expands on the story aspect and makes the legend true, with the legend based around a deformed child, a demented old woman, and a recruit being found dead at, yup, 23:59 (that’s one minute before midnight for you non-military time people). Then weirder things start happening like possessed recruits, creepy noises, mysterious scratches, and seeming scariness, only it isn’t really that scary as the acting is pretty lousy and ruins a lot of the horror aspect (I reference a scene with some of the worst “fighting” between recruits, and sure, some of the anger may have been lost in the English translation, but the swings being thrown were closer to a cat-fight between girls rather than military dudes trying to beat the crap out of each other).

As the movie plods along you get the proverbial scene of the military officers knowing what might be going on, then the non-proverbial scene of calling in a medium to find out if the dead are possessing the living, the recruits going on a hike during the middle of the night even though the officers know this might not be a good idea, what with creepy woman being around, and a recruit whose father used to “talk” to the dead.

So, yea, what I’m saying is that as I’m watching the movie I’m pretty bored, actually chuckle at times, and was all set to give the movie one, maybe one and half stars, for being a pretty bad horror movie.

Then, finally, the story came together, and uber-creepiness, actually sending some chills up my spine, came around when we finally were introduced to the deformed child, and some enhanced demented old woman goodness. I don’t know why I was actually creeped out, but it would have helped, I suppose, by focusing the movie a little more on the deformed child story, rather than the generic, “horror” things happening at camp aspect.

The movie was a lot of set-up and bad horror flicking until the climactic scene, which for me is the only thing that saved it, so as hard as it might be to stick with the first hour of the movie, stick around for the last 18 minutes (Yup, it’s only 78 minutes long), and you might find the creepiness you were hoping for. With that, I’ll add one star to my original thought of a rating and give “23:59” 2 ½ stars out of 5. Laugh at the bad acting, and maybe get some spine-tingly goodness at the end.

On the DVD there is a “Making Of” feature that is okay, and is a nice look at how the movie came together, but in the end it just goes along with the rest of my thought of the movie missing out on the main aspect of the film – the creepy woman and the deformed kid.

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

Just Like Being There

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:23 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Just Like Being There
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Daniel Danger, Jay Ryan, Kevin Tong
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: Virgil Films
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Kiddie Movie: Only if they want to learn a little something about art and concert posters. There’s also some bad words better left for when they’re older or on the playground with their friends.
Date Movie: Ditto.
Gratuitous Sex: Um, no.
Gratuitous Violence: Um, no.
Action: Um, no.
Laughs: Some of the people are kind of quirky.
Memorable Scene: I was fascinated at the look at the artists who still did nearly all of their work by hand.
Memorable Quote: “I tried to paint and I’m shit at it”“The history books will tell what happened, but the art will tell them how we felt about it.”
Directed By: Scout Shannon
Cool things about the DVD: Actually some of the deleted scenes were interesting, and the expanded band interviews were pretty cool.

And here I always thought they were some kind of ground, marketing campaign by a record company to advertise a show, and in my head a weird type of marketing campaign only to be seen by a select few who might be driving near a concert venue. I’m talking about concert posters, or “gig” posters as they are sometimes called, and they are those posters, usually with some giant text and cool artwork, that if you live in the small city have probably only seen in the movies, but if you live in any larger city, near a concert venue, will see them used almost like wallpaper along a wall, usually plastered on construction barriers and such, whenever a “cooler” kind of band comes to town. Little did I know that most of the time those posters are made by local artists, saluting bands they love or bands that inspire them, and the documentary “Just Like Being There” well, documents those people’s stories.

Little else did I know that most of these artists mostly do this for love, but a lot of them do it for love and money, as the gig poster world has become a haven for collectibles at times, with some works commanding thousands of dollars.

Who knew?

“Just Like Being There” gives a fascinating look at the world of the gig poster and follows a variety of poster artists, with names most people won’t know like Daniel Danger and Jay Ryan. The documentary follows them through their days, through their creative process, and in the span of the 83 minutes of the film, I learned more about screen-printing than I’ve ever known. We see what inspires the artists, we see how some of them are old-school about their craft still doing a lot of the work by hand, while others have entered the digital age, and there is also the interaction with the bands, many of whom don’t really know what artwork is awaiting them until their arrival in a city, which at times is almost a “Welcome” mat for the band.

We also learn that many of these artists are kind of quirky, with personalities nearly as interesting as the artwork they create, there is a look at the collectability of many of the artists with gallery shows highlighting the much varied artwork that goes into the poster world, and how, many times, there is so much more involved rather than just a colorful poster with some big lettering. There is a passion in many of the artists, and a nice development of how their work does a great job at trying to tell a complete story of a band, of a time in history, all on one poster.

The documentary also includes a lot of cool music, with bands like Archers of Loaf, Spoon, Nada Surf, and Tokyo Police Club highlighted, and the interviews with the bands are sometimes just as interesting as the spotlight of the artists.

As a music lover, and a person who has sometimes wondered who was actually putting up “gig” posters, I was pleasantly surprised at the work put into “Just Like Being There.” It’s a complete documentary, giving a great, inside look at the art world of the poster and their place in the music industry, a wonderful view of those who have become household “gig” poster names, and a love for those who are really in the world with a passion for something they love.

It’s 4 stars out of 5 for “Just Like Being There,” and if you have ever wondered where those concert posters come from, this documentary has many of the answers and will give you a greater appreciated for the work, and quirkiness, that goes into their creation.

As far as the DVD, it pretty much is what it is, but there are some extras including some deleted scenes, a greater look at the work of Daniel Danger, and more clips of band interviews that are always fun to watch. The DVD really is a solid, and seeming complete look, at the world of concert poster art.

John Dies at the End

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:39 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

John Dies at the End
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Clancy Brown, Paul Giamatti
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Released On: April 2, 2013
Kiddie Movie: Oh no, put them to bed.
Date Movie: If she is a fan of the b-movie genre.
Gratuitous Sex: Just a lot of boobs.
Gratuitous Violence: Over-the-top and gratuitous.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: In the over-the-top gore/goofiness kind of way.
Memorable Scene: The monster made out of meat products.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stood out.
Directed By: Don Coscarelli
Cool things on the DVD: Nothing stands out but the “Creature Corps” feature is a nice look at making creepy creatures.

“John Dies at the End.” Now, please stop it with the “You should have said, ‘Spoiler alert,’” because that’s the title of the movie, and not my synopsis. The movie could also easily be called “John and Dave Save the World,” which I guess is also a spoiler, but before any more direct spoiling or synopsising, let’s get to the story.

Okay, this is going to be goofy. We are introduced to Dave (Chase Williamson), discussing an axe and the death, or seeming death, of a strange being. An interesting take if one version of the axe that chopped of the head of said being is the same axe after it has been rebuilt over time. Re-enter Dave, now talking with Arnie (Paul Giamatti) in a Chinese restaurant, trying to tell Arnie his story so that Arnie may tell the world, and the story of the “soy sauce.”  It seems the world is being attacked by beings from an alternate universe, and somehow John and Dave take it upon themselves to save us all. In the meantime, there is this “soy sauce” that gives people strange powers and offers lots of hallucinations, and also gives a glimpse of the strangeness of the invasion. In the meantime, during Dave’s storytelling, we find his story of his buddy John, his meeting up with a monster made out of meat parts, his finding a dog that helps, well, helps them a lot, and also how there are these bugs that try to infest humans on the way to domination. We also find a hot dog that works like a cell phone, a girl with no hand who can open a “ghost” door, a magician who can help kill the invaders, and an alternate universe where girls walk around without tops so as not to scare John and Dave.

Does that sound a little confusing? Well, I will admit that “John Dies at the End” is a tad confusing, what with not really knowing if parts of the story are bits and pieces of hallucinations or actually happening in the real world, but through it all it is totally entertaining, in a B-Horror, B-Comedy, B-I would totally watch on late night cable, B-movie kind of way.

There is goofiness, there is lots of over-the-goofiness gore, there are some creative goofy monsters, and although at times confusing, it is confusing fun. The acting isn’t anything to write home about, well, except for the always-awesome Paul Giamatti, but I don’t think this is a movie made for Oscar-style performances. Instead it does exactly what you want it to do, if you are a fan of the B-movie kind of film – entertain.

All movies aren’t supposed to be spectacles, some just entertain, and “John Dies at the End” entertained me. It may not be your cup of tea, I admit, but it was mine and I give it 4 stars out of 5.

Extra-wise the Blu-ray doesn’t have that much except some nice interviews and some normal “Making of” stuff, at least on the entertaining side. I didn’t care for the deleted scenes, but so be it.

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

ExistenZ

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:37 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

ExistenZ
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Dimension Home Video
Release Date: 1999
Kiddie Movie: Oh no, I don’t think so.
Date Movie: She might get scared and snuggle a little closer, or she might just go “Huh? This movie sucks.”
Gratuitous Sex: Almost, but not quite.
Gratuitous Violence: Yea, some pretty good violence, especially with the organic gun.
Action: Some.
Laughs: Not really.
Memorable Scene: Most of the movie had me thinkin’.
Memorable Quote: None that stand out.
Directed By: David Cronenberg

“eXistenZ” is one of those movies that you probably didn’t see in the theater and might pass up on the video shelf saying “I haven’t heard of that one. Let’s find “The Matrix.” It didn’t have the hype and is not the high-packed, action-filled, blast your senses movie like “The Matrix,” but if you like the psychological twistedness of “The Matrix” I urge you to rent “eXistenZ.” It’s kinda like “The Matrix” without all of the gunfire.

“eXistenZ” is a virtual reality game, but taking it to the next level. In this world, or one of the worlds, you plug this living game pod into a computer-like port in your spine. This puts you in a sort of trance in which you, in conjunction with the other players who are hooked up to the pod, become an actual part of the game, almost like a dream with multiple players controlling the outcome. We are introduced to the game designer, or is she(?), Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who is on the run from game manufacturers set on seeing that eXistenZ doesn’t make it to market. Her protection is supplied by Ted Pikul (Jude Law), about the only dude on the planet who doesn’t have a game port and who really isn’t a security guard. But, Allegra needs to see if her game is damaged so she plugs up Ted and they enter the game, where reality and imagination meld into one, and get lost in it.

This movie is so multi-layered that going into it more might just ruin it more for you, but I’ll just say that it’s got gross-you-out scenes, it’s got some quality violence, it’s got some steamy moments, and you’ll wonder throughout the movie just what scene is reality and what is part of the game.

Like “The Matrix,” I came to the end of “eXistenZ” saying something like “Whoa, that was fucked up,” and I was pleased. But if or when the future of computer games comes to the point of something like eXistenZ I’m scared. It’s just too fucked up.

4 ½ stars out of 5. This movie was most excellent. Rent it.

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

Enchanted

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

Enchanted
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Amy Adams, Susan Sarandon, Patrick Dempsey
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Release Date: 2007
Kiddie Movie: Maybe not 9 year old boys, but definitely the girls.
Date Movie: Even if you don’t have kids it’s a fun movie. Not too long and with a happy ending.
Gratuitous Sex: It’s from Disney. What do you think?
Gratuitous Violence: In a cartoonish kind of way.
Action: There’s some suspense more than action.
Laughs: Lots of them!
Memorable Scene: I liked when Giselle became “big citied” when she order the hot dogs with Prince Edward.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stood out.
Directed By: Kevin Lima

DVD Review:
When the movie “Enchanted” made its way to movie theaters I sort of balked at seeing it, as, well, I’m a 40 year old dude with no kids. Then I started hearing reports of how good it was, for both kids and adults, and then I did want to see it. But then as my Thanksgiving weekend kind of got turned upside down, I didn’t see any movies, but during our “Stu & The Dude’s Weekend Wrap-Up!” podcast, Stu Gotz mentioned that he really enjoyed seeing the flick. As such I added to my Netflix queue, and you know what, the movie was fantastic.

The story goes as the trailer shows – Giselle (Amy Adams) is a Princess in the animated world, and she is set to marry Prince Edward (James Marsden). The evil Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), working to put the kibosh on the upcoming nuptials, dispatches Giselle to our real world in New York City. But Prince Edward is in love so he transports himself to New York City as well, and suddenly you have two lovable people from a Disney animated movie trying to survive life in the big city. The thing is that all is not simple for Prince Edward, as in the time period between Giselle and the good Prince’s arrival, Giselle has met single dad, Robert (Patrick Dempsey), and his adorable daughter, Morgan (Rachel Covey). Now sort of indoctrinated into our world, and able to round up what would be the grossest of critters to us, namely roaches and rats and pigeons, to clean Robert’s apartment, when Prince Edward does arrive Giselle begins to think some things might have to change because now she’s looking for a life after her “happily ever after” happens.

Yes, of course, you can see that Robert will fall in love with Giselle (and who wouldn’t?), there’s a foreshadowing that the good Prince might not actually end up with Giselle, and to bring the movie full circle, Queen Narissa shows up to finally put an end to Giselle, and in Disney fashion, she fails.

The movie is fascinating as Disney takes the rules of the Princess story in the animated world and translates them to the grit and grime of New York City, but what totally brings this movie into a fantastic realm is that Amy Adams is able to pull off playing an animated Princess in real life, and she deserves even more accolades than she received for her role.

If you’ve got kids you’ve probably already seen “Enchanted” in the theater, or via DVD, or probably both, but if you haven’t, I will say this is not one of those children’s movie with nothing for the adults, in fact it is just the opposite, and might even melt the hearts of the dudes who only like movies where a lot of stuff blows up. With that I’m giving “Enchanted” 5 stars out of 5.

As far as the DVD I was disappointed in the blooper reel, because those clips are usually my favorite, and once again we see why deleted scenes make their way to the deleted scenes extra. What was fascinating, at least for me, were the “making of” portions of the bonus material, especially how they filmed the cleaning of the apartment scene. The thing I didn’t need on the DVD bonus features was the section telling me that I suck because I don’t have a Blu-ray DVD player yet, as the Blu-ray version has a few more extras.

A super-solid rental if you’re just looking for a nice movie to snuggle with your honey on the couch, and if you’ve got kids, especially little girls who love Disney movies, you’ll probably have to buy it.

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

Eagle Eye

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:57 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Eagle Eye
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Chiklis, Billy Bob Thornton
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Paramount Home Entertainment
Release Date: 2008
Kiddie Movie: It might make them never use their cell phone again.
Date Movie: She might cuddle with you for comfort or just roll her eyes.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: There’s a lot of people who die, but you don’t see it.
Action: There’s a lot of people who die, but you don’t see it.
Laughs: Only for the absurdity of some of the scenes.
Memorable Scene: Who knew Morse Code could save the world.
Memorable Quote: “We’re already in mid-shitstorm.”
Directed By: D.J. Caruso

While watching “Eagle Eye” I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a day, a few years ago, when a group of friends were getting liquored up, watching a bunch of movies, namely “I, Robot,” “War Games,” “The Italian Job,” and maybe even “Enemy of the State,” and said to each other, in an altered state, “Dudes, we could make a movie combining all of these,” and then, you know what, they did. I would toss in “Live Free or Die Hard,” only I believe that movie was probably already in development by the time “Eagle Eye” was being drafted, but hey, you can’t say that the “Eagle Eye” tunnel scene isn’t reminiscent of the “Live Free or Die Hard” tunnel scene, just substitute a helicopter for a military drone aircraft?

Okay, maybe the premise for the story of “Eagle Eye” wasn’t developed in my fictional universe, but it does takes a lot of premises from a bunch of different movies, with the end result that computers really only do what they are programmed to do. “I, Robot” had the three rules for robots; “Eagle Eye” has the Preamble and Constitution. In the end computers just want to be our friends, and look out for us.

In terms of story, for this one you get Jerry (Shia LaBeouf) and Rachel (Michelle Monaghan). They are ordinary people, in fairly ordinary lives, and then, somehow, their lives become intertwined by the voice of a woman who seems to need them to carry out some dastardly deed. The voice dictates to Jerry instructions that get him in a jam with the FBI and then helps him escape from the FBI, while the voice also turns Rachel into a distraught mother with the fear of her son being killed, thus dictating her actions. And as the movie goes along, Jerry and Rachel can’t seem to figure out how this voice seems to be able to control just about every technological part of their lives, from subway trains to street lights, from junkyard robots to power grids, and in the middle of it all, we start to see a plot developing, which we must suppose is some dastardly terrorist plot, but, ahh, other things are at work here.

And you know what, I’m not going to directly give away what is directly at work here, although I sort of already hinted at it, only to say that most every aspect of this movie is unbelievable in our world, yet somehow believable if the “ringleader” of this story turns out to be who she is.

So, here we go. If you want to totally escape reality, “Eagle Eye” should take you there, or maybe freak you out as to what might be possible in a few years. The weird thing is that I kind of liked it, in the same way I liked the movie “I, Robot,” and loved Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton) as the FBI guy who is flustered by technology. There are a lot of things blowing up, you might wonder if someone can really change stoplights at will, who knew that the baggage handling of an area could be so much fun if you aren’t being shot at, and if you live near some electric towers, you might think about moving.

As a Chicago person, in a little aside for this review, in the theater I was unsure if I saw it, but thanks to the DVD and slow-motion, at the beginning of the movie there is a helicopter shot of the Chicago El, St. James Catholic Church in Chicago (where I used to go to mass sometimes when I was in college), and Keating Hall, the “sports center” where I used to do a killer can-opener of the high-dive board in the pool at Illinois Institute of Technology, where, yes, I went to college, and also where all of this reviewing stuff began for me. I know it’s dorky, but for me it’s always cool to see things I am totally familiar with in a movie.

Anyway, “Eagle Eye” is an action-filled movie with tons of seemingly implausible scenarios, but get the DVD realizing this and you should have a good time on your couch, and sure, you might laugh when some things happen, but hey, that’s what movies are sometimes about. And as hard as this might be hard to believe, I was almost ready to give this movie a 4 star rating, until, in Hollywood fashion, the poignant ending I envisioned was changed into a feel-good ending, so I’m dropping it ½ star to 3 ½ stars out of 5 because someone else in this movie should be dead. With that, I was hoping, when watching the DVD, that the alternate ending it contained would be the one I was hoping for, but all it really did was sort of set up a sequel. Blah.

And speaking of the DVD, for the movie-geek crowd, the 2-disc version does have quite a few extras that are interesting if you love seeing how movies are made, especially mixing in seeing behind-the-scene things on location, a nicely detailed “Making of…” features, and a feature with the Director of Eagle Eye, D.J. Caruso, having a discussion with John Badham, the director of “War Games,” with how the movies are similar, yet different. I always love a fun gag-reel and the 2-disc version has it, and as usual, we can see (and be happy) that some scenes were deleted. You also get commentary stuff, if you want it, more scary stuff about your cell phone, and I’m just sad they didn’t have an “On Location…” for Chicago. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to like looking at my old church from above.

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

Extract

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:32 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Extract
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Gene Simmons, Kristen Wiig
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Release Date: 2009
Kiddie Movie: Put them to bed.
Date Movie: My BFF liked it, so go ahead and watch it with her.
Gratuitous Sex: Lots of talk but clothes are kept on.
Gratuitous Violence: A dude loses a testicle.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Lots of chuckles.
Memorable Scene: Every scene with Ben Affleck
Memorable Quote: Nothing sticks out.
Directed By: Mike Judge

Who knew Gene Simmons was such a great actor? Okay, maybe not great, but as scheister lawyer Joe Adler, I loved him. The movie is “Extract,” and you are definitely getting this Blu-ray for the movie because the extras, well, let’s get to that at the end.

Here’s the story…

Jason Bateman is Joel. From his youth he has been fascinated with “extracts,” you know, things like vanilla that your grandmother would use in baking. Turns out that Joel is also a chemistry wiz and developed special versions that, well, I didn’t really understand it, but they are better extracts used in baking than most extracts. But, that’s not important right now. What is important is that Joel has turned his knowledge into a business, owning and running a bottling plant for his extracts, being married to Suzie (Kristen Wiig), and have a best friend in Dean (Ben Affleck). But things at an extract plant can get a little hairy, especially when you don’t always have the most intelligent or dedicated workforce, and especially when things aren’t the greatest in your love life, as is the case with Joel, and you have recently hired the hottie Cindy (Mila Kunis).

So, Joel wrestles with whether or not he should sleep with Cindy, he hedges this by seeing if Suzie will be faithful while in the company of a new pool boy, and finally, Joel’s big payday might be ruined because one of his employees has hired said scheister lawyer, Joe Adler, and might just drive the company into bankruptcy. Things are rough in the extract business, and Joel knows it.

Look, “Extract” is a Mike Judge film, and as such develops itself into a quirky look at the workplace. “Office Space” had Mike analyzing people in the corporate office, this movie has the folks in an extract processing plant, and it has its moments that I think most anyone can understand and/or relate to. The weird thing about this movie is that it takes many strange turns, from the thievery aspect of the drifter Cindy, to the setting up your wife to cheat on you aspect, to a dude getting a testicle blown off in a freak plant accident, and I think the place that “Extract” lost a little character is almost trying to have too many tentacles in the movie instead of just maintaining the focus on what could have been the funniest of aspects, namely Step getting his ball shot off and hiring Joe Adler as a lawyer.

I have to say that I’m kind of happy that I didn’t catch the movie in the theater, I think I would have been disappointed, but as a DVD I think it’s a nice little comedy that takes a funny look at a food processing plant. For that, it’s 3 out of 5 stars, especially if you enjoy the Mike Judge type of humor.

Now, as far as the Blu-ray, or the DVD for that fact, don’t even worry about the extras. I mean, there’s a little clip about how Mike Judge goes about putting a movie together that is nice enough, but the “Blu-ray” extras, namely the deleted scene and extended scene, aren’t worth it at all. You’re getting this movie on Blu-ray only because, well, you own a Blu-ray player.

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

Dogma

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 2:08 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Dogma
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Salma Hayek, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Chris Rock
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Columbia/Tristar Home Video
Release Date: 1999
Kiddie Movie: Nope, lots of swearing.
Date Movie: She might find it funny or maybe just find it disturbing.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: They don’t show it, but it’s hinted at.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: Lots.
Memorable Scene: Rufus falling out of the sky and Silent Bob’s facial expressions.
Memorable Quote: Two quotes by Jay: “Snootch to the motherfuckin’ nootch!” & “Beautiful, naked, big-tittied women just don’t fall out of the sky you know.”
Directed By: Kevin Smith

I don’t know why but “Dogma” is quickly becoming one of my favorite videos to watch or movies to watch for on cable. Maybe it’s the way they question religious beliefs, maybe it’s the subtle jokes, or maybe it’s because they bust on the platypus. In any case, as long as you can keep an open mind about religion, well, “Dogma” might just be a movie for you.

Opening with a disclaimer that the movie is fictitious and should be taken as a comedy, Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) and Jay (Jason Mewes), joined by the 13th apostle, Rufus (Chris Rock) help Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) make her way to New Jersey to stop two banished angels, Loki and Bartleby (Matt Damen and Ben Affleck) from entering a church and negating all of existence. How can entering a church end existence? Well, it seems the Pope has decreed, in conjunction with the New Jersey church’s anniversary, that all who pass through the church doors get their sins forgiven. Loki and Bartleby, who have been banished by God from Heaven for eternity, could find their way back into heaven if they walk through the church doors. This would make God fallible and thus end existence as we know it. Alright, my explanation isn’t the greatest, but Bartleby does a better job explaining it to Loki, and they begin their journey to the Garden State.

So it’s a race against time to stop Bartleby and Loki, and Bethany and her entourage aren’t without their difficulties getting to Jersey. There’s a run-in with a shit demon, Jay constantly trying to get in Bethany’s pants, Bethany questioning why she is chosen to stop the angels, and Azrael and his goons trying to stop Bethany because he wants existence to end.

Like I said before, “Dogma” is at its best on many levels, from Loki’s conversation with a nun resulting in her wondering what she is doing with her life, to the Rufus’ dilemma of not being in the bible because, well, he is a black man, to Alanis Morrissette playing God, and portraying God as kinda, well, a ditz. This movie isn’t to be taken seriously, but it may make you wonder if Mary did have sex with Joseph after Jesus was born because, as Rufus explains, “Do you really think he would have stayed married to her for all those years if he wasn’t getting laid?”

I didn’t see “Dogma” in the theater so I can’t say which place might be a better venue to see it, but it is nice to be able to pause and rewind to go back and catch a joke or two you might have missed in the theater. That and the fact that the DVD subtitles helped me figure out one of my favorite lines, only because it still doesn’t make sense to me, “Snootch to the motherfuckin’ nootch!” I give Dogma 4½ stars out of 5.

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