MPAA Rated – PG
It’s 1:44 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Edward Speleers, Sienna Guillory, Garrett Hedlund, Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Robert Carlyle
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: 2006
Directed By: Stefen Fangmeier

These are rough times for the peasants and farm folk of this mythical time looking like old times in Europe, and many of the children are told of times when dragons helped the good folk control evil. Then Eragon (Ed Speleers) finds what looks like a jewel, only to find out it is a dragon’s egg, and no he knows that his destiny is one to bring goodness back to the land, with the help of the dragon, in taking out the king.

Sure, the movie looks some like “The Lord of the Rings,” and it’s based on a novel of the same name, but maybe “Lord of the Rings” has just gotten me all pooped-out of mythical movies where things like dragons lived.

The trailer does look cool, but I’m still taking a wait-and-see attitude on this movie until I hear some better things about it.

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


MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:53 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Rogin Wright Penn, Angelina Jolie
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Paramount Pictures
Kiddie Movie: It should really be rated R.
Date Movie: Only if she likes video games.
Gratuitous Sex: Would have been better in real life.
Gratuitous Violence: Even though video-game-ish, there was a ton of it.
Action: The dragon scene at the end.
Laughs: A chuckle here and there.
Memorable Scene: Hrothgar’s final questioning of Beowulf about how Beowulf got away from Grendel’s mom.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

I love technology, and I love CGI for the most part, but so far, between “The Polar Express” and now “Beowulf,” I still can’t stand performance capture movies. I guess I’ll get more into that later, let’s first get to the story of “Beowulf.”

If I ever had to read “Beowulf” I must have really hated it because I have absolutely no recollection of the story. Pretty much, though, the movie gives us Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) as King of some land up in Viking land. He’s an old dude, but has a younger wife, Wealthow (Robin Wright Penn). Even though Hrothgar brags about his killing a dragon, there’s this strange creature, Grendel (Cripsin Glover), who really doesn’t like the singing going on in town so he attacks it a lot. The King is finally fed up and says that the town will no longer have any fun, so as not to have Grendel come back, and that they need a hero to kill the beast.

Enter Beowulf (Ray Winstone).

Beowulf’s some kind of badass who has heard that the land has a creature to slay, and he and his men are just the people to slay it. Of course knowing that those who have tried to kill Grendel have used various weapons to no avail, Beowulf figures it’s best to fight the beast in his birthday suit, with his willy hidden by various objects, reminiscent of “Austin Powers.” And so Beowulf kills Grendel and now Grendel’s Mother (Angelina Jolie) is both pissed but also looking for some lovin’ and a new son. Beowulf, in the meantime, is looking to stop the violence, and maybe a kingdom wouldn’t hurt, so hey, he takes one for the team.

Beowulf eventually becomes King, replacing Hrothgar, and his reign is pretty benign, with his folks pretty much running roughshod over neighboring regions, but then some things change, Grendel’s Mother is pissed again, and now a dragon threatens to destroy Beowulf’s kingdom, or at least kill his Queen Wealthow (she became his when Hrothgar died), and his young hottie to sleep with girl, I believe she was Ursula (Alison Lohman). So it’s up to Beowulf to save the day, and hopefully, once and for all, remove the curse from the land.

In its premise “Beowulf” had so much potential to captivate me the same way I loved “300,” but damn, I just can’t get over the performance capture look that just gives the film cartoonish feel, like I’m watching a video game. For me I would have liked to see Robin Wright Penn in real life as the Queen, maybe Ray Winstone wouldn’t be buff enough but I think he’d still be good in real life as Beowulf, and the animation work they did for Angelina Jolie, well, they might as well just had her there in real life, and I think Unferth’s character (he was in line to be King until Beowulf came along) would have been better played by a real John Malkovich. Hell, it even would have been better seeing Anthony Hopkins old-man butt when his toga-thing almost falls off rather than the cartoon version.

The only thing I guess “Beowulf” being “animated” helped was the fact that the MPAA, in its still bizarre wisdom, let a movie that had tons of violence, lots of people getting pulled apart, lots of talk about sex (although no one dropped the F-bomb), general debauchery, and Angelina Jolie might at well have been naked for real because the only thing missing from her character when it came out of the water were some nipples and a landing strip, be rated PG-13. I guess even when the line between real and cartoon becomes as close as “Beowolf” put it, being a cartoon lets you get away with a lot more.

As much as the look of the movie bugged me and really disconnected me from the story, I went to see this version of “Beowulf” in 3-D, and I will give props to 3-D technology because it has become incredible, but so far it’s been limited to cartoon movies, of which “Beowulf” technically is (though there was a preview for “Journey to the Center of the Earth” next year, with real people, that looks very cool). If you do see this movie do yourself a favor and spend the extra two bucks (which I don’t really understand because I didn’t get to keep the glasses) to at least be a little dazzled.

In the end “Beowulf” just didn’t wrap me in to a movie that done in real life, and just going balls out for the R rating like “300” did, well, it probably could have been fantastic for me. As such I’ve got to only give the movie 2 stars out of 5. The only reason I can tell you to see this movie is for the 3-D version because it will give you a glimpse of the future of movies.

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

Burn After Reading

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

Burn After Reading
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, J.K. Simmons
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Focus Features
Release Date: 2008
Kiddie Movie: For the love of your children, leave them at home.
Date Movie: If she likes espionage and is kind of kinky.
Gratuitous Sex: Talk, The Liberator, and a chair.
Gratuitous Violence: Someone carries a gun and it goes off, and I’m not talking about his wiener.
Action: Nope.
Laughs: Tons, once you get into it.
Memorable Scene: Harry might be a psychopathic killer!
Memorable Quote: Too many to quote.
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen

And just when you think Harry (George Clooney) is a bad guy in “Burn After Reading,” you just come to realize that he really just wants to make his wife, and maybe some other women, happy.

Such is part of the twisted tale of “Burn After Reading,” a movie from the Coen boys, that takes a little bit of time to get going, but once it kicks in, be ready to laugh, be ready to shriek, and be ready to wonder if a boob job is really worth keeping a government secret.

The basic premise is that Osborne Cox (John Malkovich), married to Katie (Tilda Swinton), works for the CIA, but rather than getting demoted, he decides to quit, much to the dismay of Katie. But Osborne has a plan, and in a weird twist of copying information from a computer, a CD with information that looks like super-secret spy information falls into the hands of Chad (Brad Pitt) and Linda (Frances McDormand). Chad and Linda are trainers at a local fitness center where Linda is obsessed with getting some plastic surgery to maintain her aging physique although she doesn’t have the cash, while Chad is just a dope, who is more fascinated in the game of having a super-secret spy CD, and if some money rolls his way, oh, what the hell?

So Chad and Linda begin their escapade to trade the CD back to Osborne, for a sizeable reward of course, but in the meantime events have been set in motion that will intertwine all of their lives, much to the confusement of the CIA superior dude, played by J.K. Simmons. It turns out that multiple people are sleeping with other people, some divorces are in play, and when government secrets are involved, as is the Russian consulate, things can get really weird, really fast, and as “Burn After Reading” ends up at its conclusion, well, you might wonder who you were really rooting for in this movie. That doesn’t matter because I think they all get what they deserve, except for maybe Chad, who got what he deserved only because he is a dope.

The thing with “Burn After Reading” is that as you are trying to get yourself through the first 30 minutes or so, you will probably be scratching your head quite a bit, wondering why, if he is sleeping with her, and she is looking for love on the internet, and he might be an alcoholic, well, how will these stories intertwine, but let me tell you, the Coen brothers do their best to weave a twisted tale of infidelity, government espionage, and sex furniture, into a fun-filled movie that if you let yourself go with it, and might just give you a laugh that will have that soda coming out of your nose if you take that drink at the wrong time.

I can understand people not liking “Burn After Reading,” but for me, I loved it. I didn’t 5 Star love it, because it did take a while to get moving, but Brad Pitt playing a dope was so spot on, the laugh I got with those in the theater that probably subscribe to magazines like Rolling Stone, Maxim, or Playboy was great, and as preposterous as most everything was in the movie, it just worked so well that I didn’t care once things started rolling. With all of that, and with a lot of weird laughter, I’m giving “Burn After Reading” 4 stars out of 5. It’s all adult fare, and fine, you can probably wait until the movie hits the DVD side, but I laughed a lot. Government espionage meets kinky sex. And Brad Pitt as a dope: If that intrigues you, you’ll probably like “Burn After Reading,” too.

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

Being John Malkovich

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:52 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Being John Malkovich
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, John Malkovich, Charlie Sheen
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: USA Films
Kiddie Movie: Let’s see? Sex. Nudity. Bad language. A fucked up story line. I don’t think so.
Date Movie: She might chuckle or hate you.
Gratuitous Sex: Some, and some nipple shots of Catherine.
Gratuitous Violence: Craig locks Lotte in a monkey cage.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: Lots.
Memorable Scene: John Malkovich entering John Malkovich.
Memorable Quote: Too many to quote.
Directed By: Spike Jonze

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall listening in at this pitch meeting. “Well, the basic story of the movie goes like this. There’s this loser puppeteer. He can’t find a job as a puppeteer, is slightly perverted, and his wife is a little goofy and loves animals, especially taking care of a monkey who has ulcers and is in therapy, the monkey that is. Well, one day this puppeteer finds a job on the 7 ½ floor of an office building. The room is about 5 feet high so everybody has to crouch over. While there he finds the woman of his dreams but she has no interest in him. Then, one day he finds this door, crawls through, finds himself in John Malkovich’s head, and then after about 15 minutes he gets spit out on a ramp near the Jersey turnpike.” “Did you say ‘John Malkovich?'” “Yea, well, his nutty wife goes through the portal, thinks she’d like to be a man, falls in love with the hot chick his husband wants, and guess what, the hot chick falls in love with her, but only if she’s in John. But then the puppeteer realizes he can stay in John Malkovich and the hot chick doesn’t seem to care, sort of.” “That’s it?” “Well, you’ve also got a horny old boss who has this mysterious connection to John Malkovich.” “And we have to have John Malkovich?” “Well, yea, otherwise the title ‘Being John Malkovich’ will be pretty silly now, wouldn’t it?”

So, did you catch that? I can see you reading the basic gist of the movie above and going “Wow, that sounds pretty fucked up. I don’t know if I want to see that.” Well, “Being John Malkovich” is pretty fucked up, but totally enjoyable in a fucked up sort of way.

The movie has lots of laughs, mostly for the unbelievability of it all. First of all there is the 7 ½ floor, which you enter by hitting the stop button in the elevator as the light goes between 7 and 8 and prying open the doors with a crowbar. You can’t help but laugh as totally normal people walk around, hunched over, and find this normal. John Cusack as the wacky puppeteer, Craig, is great. Cameron Diaz does probably the only role I’ve ever seen her where I didn’t find her totally hot (just partially hot) as Lotte, Craig’s wife. Maxine (Catherine Keener) plays the “able to use any man” role just about perfect. And John Malkovich plays himself, which sounds bizarre enough, especially when John Malkovich isn’t really John Malkovich but is John Malkovich possessed by Craig. I know, it sounds twisted, but somehow it all comes together.

I guess going into any more of this movie won’t help because it probably won’t make any more sense than what I wrote above. Let’s just say that the humor isn’t the gut-busting kind, but there are lots of laughs and chuckles, mostly at the expense of John Malkovich and one at the expense of what Charlie Sheen will look like when male pattern baldness sets in.

I think you will come out of “Being John Malkovich” in one of two ways, either really liking the movie and saying it was twisted or really hating the movie and saying it was twisted. I’m on the liking side and give it 4 stars out of 5.

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


Here’s a bit from The Dude on the Right’s Blu-ray review of “Secretariat”

Whereas “Seabiscuit” was a movie about a horse that also had Tobey Maguire in it, “Secretariat” is a movie about a strong women, Penny Chenery, that also has a horse in it, and had I known that, I might have actually gone to see the movie in the theater, because really, all I thought from the commercials was that I was going to see a movie about a horse, and that’s too bad. Luckily I caught the Blu-ray because yup, “Secretariat” is just as good as “Seabiscuit,” just in a different way. …


MPAA Rated – PG
It’s 2:03 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Diane Lane, John Malkovich
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Kiddie Movie: Not too young, it’s kind of drama-driven with cool horse scenes.
Date Movie: It’s a nice story for both of you.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: Nope.
Action: The horse racing scenes are fantastic, even if you do already know the outcome.
Laughs: John Malkovich is a hoot.
Memorable Scene: Penny getting all “horse whisperer” with Secretariat.
Memorable Quote: Nothing totally stands out.
Directed By: Randall Wallace
Cool Things about the Blu-ray?: I actually liked one of the deleted scenes for a change, the interview with Penny Chenery makes you just want to stop by and have tea with her, and the technical stuff was cool. You also get the audio commentary and a detailed look at Secretariat the horse, not the movie.

I remember when “Secretariat” was coming to the theaters. I saw the trailer and in my head simply said, “Didn’t I already see this story before, with ‘Seabiscuit?’” I mean, that was a movie about a horse, how different could this be?

Boy, was I wrong.

Whereas “Seabiscuit” was a movie about a horse that also had Tobey Maguire in it, “Secretariat” is a movie about a strong women, Penny Chenery, that also has a horse in it, and had I known that, I might have actually gone to see the movie in the theater, because really, all I thought from the commercials was that I was going to see a movie about a horse, and that’s too bad. Luckily I caught the Blu-ray because yup, “Secretariat” is just as good as “Seabiscuit,” just in a different way.

In a nutshell, the story of Secretariat is one about a woman, Penny Chenery, played in the movie by the stunning and super-talented Diane Lane. As the movie opens we learn of how Penny is being called to the family horse farm as her father has taken ill and things are in peril, namely they might lose the farm. Penny is married at the time, with a few kids and a loving husband, but this is the late 1960’s/early 1970’s, and women aren’t supposed to be the owners/managers of the horses, nope, they’re supposed to be there, supporting their man. But Penny is strong and sees her calling, and in this calling comes a horse, a racehorse with the potential to accomplish the rare feat, winning horse racing Triple Crown.

So, leaving her family behind, Penny works the horse farm, but she also needs some help if Secretariat is to become a champion, and she finds that help in the quirky horse trainer Lucien Laurin, played funningly by John Malkovich.

And so, as the movie goes, we know the outcome, that Secretariat will win, but in the course we see how Penny overcomes the challenges of being a women in a man’s sport, of being away from her children who are growing up in the peace and love movement, and in believing in herself, and Secretariat, so much, that she is willing to risk everything for the family legacy she believes in.

As a movie “Secretariat” is great. It looks beautiful, the horse racing scenes are phenomenal, Diane Lane, John Malkovich, and the rest of the cast is great, and the story is truly one of inspiration, especially for women. But, and I give this only as a word of subtle warning, for me “Secretariat” plays more like a drama than a fun-filled family movie so I’m worried if the little one will be able to stick with it. It is only rated PG, so it’s safe for them, but not having kids, I wasn’t able to test it.

So, it does look good, the story is great, and in the end, as a full-blown movie I’ve got to give “Secretariat” 4 stars, but as a drama there are some slow parts, some deep parts, which might not really be what you are expecting. But then again, I was expecting another “Seabiscuit” and got something different, so go ahead and get this one, and watch it on your big screen in all of its Blu-ray glory!

As far as extras, I have to say that “Secretariat” isn’t overloaded with tons of stuff you probably won’t watch, but there are a couple of things I liked. Yup, there’s the standard audio commentary by the Director, Randall Wallace, but as much as I liked the movie, I really didn’t want to spend another two hours for any director insight. Instead I did watch the Deleted Scenes, and actually thought the directors Alternate Opening was better than the movie opening, but then the rest of the deleted scenes were, like normal, better off deleted. I did like the “Choreographing the Races,” because, well, technical stuff always gets me some how, but the extra I really liked, almost surprisingly to me, was the “A Director’s Inspiration: A Conversation With The Real Penny Chenery.” It was fascinating hearing her take on the movie, how some things were slightly different, and how some parts of her life, or changes to some scenes, she actually wishes might have made the film. She just seems like a fun lady to hang out with, and it showed in the interview. And, if you want to learn more about Secretariat, the Heart of A Champion bonus will help you out.

All in all I liked “Secretariat” the movie, actually liked some of the bonus features, so in the Blu-ray world, I say go ahead and watch a great story about a strong woman. And, oh yea, there’s a horse mixed into the movie, too.