A History of Violence

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

A History of Violence
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, Maria Bello
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: New Line Cinema
Kiddie Movie: For goodness sake, leave them at home.
Date Movie: Only if she can handle a lot of gore.
Gratuitous Sex: Very intense and, frontal nudity, and Viggo’s butt.
Gratuitous Violence: Some of the best quality kills I’ve seen in a long time.
Action: Not too much chasing.
Laughs: A great scene at the end that it probably isn’t appropriate to laugh, but I laughed my ass off.
Memorable Scene: The scene in the front yard with Tom Stall and Carl.
Memorable Quote: I’m not saying who said it, but it’s simply the line “How do fuck that up?”
Directed By: David Cronenberg
Produced By: Chris Bender, David Cronenberg, J.C. Spink

As I was leaving “A History of Violence” my initial reaction was simply “Holy crap!” mostly because it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie that had such brutal violence, intense sex, sort of disappointing nudity, appreciation for the cheerleader fantasy, creepy characters, laugh-out-loud moments, and perfectly cast characters. Such was my take on “A History of Violence.”

The premise of the story goes like this…

Viggo Mortensen is Tom Stall. He runs Stall’s Diner in a quiet, little, Midwestern town where other than bullies picking on other kids, there really isn’t much violence happening. He’s got a loving, hot wife in Edie (Maria Bello), and a nerdy son, Jack (Asthon Holmes), the latter of whom keeps getting picked on by the high school bully. Things are their normal, quiet, self, until these two bad guys, who have been on a killing spree since they left the west coast, show up at Stall’s Diner. They’re threatening the few people there, planning to take advantage of the waitress, when Tom springs into action. The next thing we know the two bad dudes are dead, or at least we’re pretty sure since one of them doesn’t have much of his face left as his jaw is kind of bouncing up and down in a pool of blood, and Tom is a hero. Of course the television crews show up, and now Tom Stall is on every news channel as a hero.

The next thing we know, Carl (Ed Harris), a creepy, mob-looking kind of guy with a bad eye, shows up in the diner, telling Tom that Tom is really a mob guy from Philly named Joey. Tom looks at him like he’s nuts, Edie is creeped out by the dude, especially when they find out from their local sheriff that Carl isn’t just a mob-looking kind of guy, but is a mob guy, and at this point we’ve got a lot of questions.

Like…

Is Tom really Joey or is this just a case of mistaken identity? Will Tom’s family pay for this mistaken identity if that’s what it is? Will Jack get some balls? How did Carl get such a messed up face to begin with? How did they clean up all of that blood so quickly? How in the hell can nudity be disappointing?

Well I’m not giving you the answer to any of those questions except the last. First off, God bless Maria Bello for not being afraid to take her clothes off, and she really doesn’t have any reason to be afraid because she’s pretty hot. But, the full-frontal nudity scene for me, was slightly disappointing, because it came at a time I was really conflicted about the scene that just preceded it. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Wrapping this up, “A History of Violence” has some of the best quality kills in a long time, so if you’re not one for blood and guts getting everywhere, stay away. Also, if sex in cinema makes you sick, this is definitely not for you. But if any of that entices you, along with a really quality thriller where Viggo Mortensen does a fantastic job as the small-town Tom, Maria Bello shows Edie wondering if Tom really is who he says he is fabulously, and Ed Harris is as creepy as I’ve ever seen him just saying the word “Joey.”

I really had a great time at “A History of Violence,” but do understand if this movie isn’t for you. But it was for me, and I wasn’t afraid to laugh out loud, even though it seemed a little inappropriate, during a scene towards the end of the film. 4 ½ stars out of 5 for “A History of Violence.”

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

The 6th Day

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:04 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The 6th Day
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Rapaport, Tony Goldwyn
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Kiddie Movie: Not too young but fine for teens.
Date Movie: She might get a chuckle or two, or just see how useless and weak you are.
Gratuitous Sex: Close, and mostly in the virtual world.
Gratuitous Violence: Legs get blown off, so do fingers, and they have cool ray guns.
Action: Lots of it.
Laughs: Just what you would expect from an Arnold movie.
Memorable Scene: The bad guy standing there, hopping around on one leg.
Memorable Quote: “When I told you to screw yourself I didn’t mean to take it literally.
Directed By: Roger Spottiswoode
Produced By: Mike Medavoy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jon Davison

I was ready to give “The 6th Day” a 5 star rating. Schwarzenegger was back in a role he could play best, the story mixed some fun with some action, and I was just totally enjoying the movie. Then came the ending and all I could say to myself was “What the hell was that?” Before I get to that, here’s the story.

It’s the not to distant future, a future where cars can drive on their own, where helicopters turn into jets, where you can have a virtual girlfriend who will give you virtual sex whenever you want, and where, when your pet dies, you can have it instantly cloned so it looks just like you old pet, even better if you want, and will still remember everything you taught it. But if they can clone pets why can’t they clone humans? Well, an experiment gone wrong made it illegal to clone humans, but when you’re the richest man in all of existence and can hide your lab from everyone, who says you can’t clone someone?

So, we’ve got Arnold as Adam Gibson, he runs a helicopter charter service, mostly running snowboard geeks to a mountaintop, but he just scored a deal to charter Michael Drucker, owner of an XFL team among other things (Tony Goldwyn), and the most powerful man in the world (I would start keeping my eye on Vince McMahon right now). One day Adam comes home to find his family celebrating his birthday without him, only he is there, and then Adam finds out he was cloned. Simple story – he now wants his life back, has to figure out how to get it, and of course in doing so he kills a lot of bad dudes and a dudette who keep messing with him because, well, each time Adam does them in, well, they get cloned back into existence. I won’t go into the story more than that, because, well, it doesn’t need any more set-up and there are some things in the story that are more entertaining (it surprised me how long it took so many people around me couldn’t figure out why Adam got cloned) if found out on your own.

“The 6th Day” is just classic Arnold, which I would have never guessed from the stupid trailers that were shown before the movie came out. From those the movie didn’t really make sense, but as I watched it, “The 6th Day” ranked up there with a “Total Recall”, “True Lies”, and even some “Terminator 2”. You had the fun action scenes, you had the dorky jokes, you had the creepy characters, and you even had Robert Duval wondering if his cloning science really is the right thing (and a set-up for, hmm, would it be called “The 7th Day”). And all was well until “The 6th Day” gave me this sappy-ass ending, with the whole “you’re just as much a part of this family and here’s why” crap, and I suppose maybe the ending even gave a sequel set-up, but it just made me scratch my head in wonder how you could make such a classic Arnold movie and screw it up in the last 5 minutes. Even the two dudes next to me said to each other “What was that?”

So, it was going to be a 5 star review but with that ending it drops to 4 stars out of 5. If you are an Arnold fan “The 6th Day” should entertain you in the same way the classic Arnold flicks have. If you aren’t an Arnold fan, it’s still a pretty good action movie that you can bring your teens to and not feel too weird (except maybe at the virtual girl scenes).

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

A Bug’s Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10,000 B.C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3000 Miles to Graceland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!!!