Breaking the Girls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vitality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grabbers

MPAA Rated – Not rate.
It’s 1:34 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Grabbers
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley
MPAA Rated: Not rated.
Released By: IFC Films
Release Date: November 12, 2013
Kiddie Movie: I think the young teen boys would find it funny, though there is some gratuitous, alien violence and drinking.
Date Movie: If she likes quirky, horror movies.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: Just the alien octopus kind.
Action: There’s a lot of running and chasing.
Laughs: It’s got plenty.
Memorable Scene: Figuring out how drunk you need to be to kill the aliens.
Memorable Quote: “It’s always the quiet places where the weird shit happens.”
Directed By: Jon Wright

Watching “Grabbers,” in addition to being entertained, I have to say I was almost shocked because this wasn’t some cheaply made, looks like a fake “We’re going to get eaten by this giant octopus thing that is actually an alien” movie that you might find on the late-night horror channel. Nope, this movie had some decent effects with the monsters, and sure, some dorkiness was involved, but it was all in good fun!

The movie opens with a meteor through the night sky and something splashing into the sea off the coast of Ireland. We are immediately pulled into the sinister nature of the movie when a fisherman finds his buddy getting impaled and pulled into the sea, and then, as is the case with many an alien-horror-kinda-comedy movie, strange things become afoot in the small village, that of course, will be shut off from the rest of the world by a storm thereby leaving the locals to fight the alien invasion/monsters on their own.

Enter Lisa (Ruth Bradley). She’s the new police officer in the fishing village and is learning the ropes by the fun, usually drunk officer O’Shea (Richard Coyle). Not much happens in this town, but when a whale washes on shore looking like it went through a blender, a lobsterman catches what looks like an octopus that subsequently attacks him, and a quirky scientist realizes said “octopus” is really an alien, we know our little town is in peril. And, of course, with this being a horrorish film, there is no “I must send this out on the internet to show the world” moment. Nope, instead it’s our heroes beating the monster and trying to set it on fire.

Oddly enough our heroes discover the alien can travel on land if it’s raining (of course a giant storm is coming), and also the weakness of the aliens who normally survive on water and human blood, but oddly enough, are allergic to blood with a high enough alcohol content. Lucky for the human race the aliens started their journey in Ireland, where the stereotypical, Irish drunkards are plentiful, thereby not letting the aliens get a stranglehold on us, but to save the town, our officers do have to organize a party for the locals at the pub, which, of course, isn’t too difficult.

Look, “Grabbers” is exactly what it sets out to be, and is highly entertaining at it. It’s got some dorky moments (think decapitations by the aliens), it’s got drunk, Irish people, it’s got the goody-two-shoes girl who discovers alcohol, and it’s got a good time for those in search of a decent “alien octopus discovers it shouldn’t have landed in Ireland” horror movie kind of way. Is the movie “Oscar” gold? Of course not, but if you want some good, horror fun, that might give you a shock or two with a surprise impaling, “Grabbers” is a great find. It’s 4 stars out of 5 for “Grabbers,” being exactly what it is trying to be, and not being too low-budget looking to turn it into too many “Oh, come on!” moments.

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

Dealin’ With Idiots

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

Dealin’ With Idiots
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jeff Garlin, Nia Vardalos, Bob Odenkirk, Gina Gershon, Timothy Olyphant, J.B. Smoove, Jami Gertz
MPAA Rated: Not rated.
Released By: IFC Films
Release Date: November 12, 2013
Kiddie Movie: Lots of adult humor and some swearing. Put them to bed.
Date Movie: My wife liked the parts she didn’t sleep through.
Gratuitous Sex: Nothing gratuitous.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: I chuckled and laughed from start to finish.
Memorable Scene: Hans running the bases.
Memorable Quote: She’s just a big bowl of “Dear God!”
Directed By: Jeff Garlin
Cool things about the DVD: Nothing.

During “Dealin’ With Idiots” there is a point in the movie when one of the characters is intrigued that Max (Jeff Garlin) will be making a documentary about their little league baseball team, even though Max’s intention is to make a comedy based on the various “characaters/parents” at his son’s events. The thing is, after watching the movie, it might as well have been a documentary instead of a comedy because sure, maybe the character antics are dialed up a notch or two, but if you have ever been to a little league game lately, or heard the stories, I’m guessing the difference between the “real” and the “comedy” isn’t much different.

Let’s get to the movie…

Max is a comedian. He’s kind of famous, or at least he says he is up there in the top twenty of comedians. He’s also having some father/son bonding by hanging with his son, Jack (Max Wright), at his little league games and practices. While in the stands, watching the various parents, he sees comedy gold in a movie based on the parents. With his new-found inspiration, Max decides he needs to do his research by interviewing the various parents, finding out what makes them tick so to speak, all the while reflecting in a series of “moments” with his own father, about raising a son and baseball.

Max begins his research, and we are taken deeper into the lives of the parents and the coaches, finding out things like Coach Ted (J.B. Smoove) lives quirkingly in a trailer park with his own odd groups of friends and their “book” club, that Coach Jimbo (Bob Odenkirk) runs a printing shop and doesn’t follow his own coaching advice, and Hezekiah (Steve Agee) decides to do research of his own in order to write his own movie about little league baseball. I’d say it would be easy to round out the rest of the “idiots,” but that might ruin the movie.  Let’s just says there are lesbians with wonderful parenting advice (Mom: “What does mommy always tell you?” Son: “Go big or go home?” Mom: “Don’t fuck up.”, a “She’s just a big bowl of ‘Dear God’” nanny, the self-proclaimed “Team Mom” who keeps asking for donations and doesn’t know her husband subscribes to S.O.F. (Soldier of Fortune), and Marty (the always great Fred Willard) who has the coolest chair ever, shaped like a baseball mitt. And, of course, there is the normal mom, Max’s wife Ava (Nia Vardalos), who becomes just like the rest of them when it’s time for the game that can take the team to the playoffs.

The movie plays out like a Christopher Guest mockumentary (think “Best in Show”), with Max “interviewing” everyone, but it also has a touching side with the moments of Max and his father (Timothy Olyphant), and with that comment, if you like the “Best in Show” style of humor, or “Curb Your Enthusiasm” for that matter, you will probably like the movie. Me, I found it a quirky and funny look at the nuttiness that can be the parents involved with their children and their sports, and I’m also thinking if you like baseball, and you aren’t one of the “idiots” at your kid’s events, you will find the movie funny. If, however, you are the “idiot,” you will probably wonder, “What’s so funny?”

My wife, who was dead tired and fell asleep while we watched the movie, said, “What I saw was pretty good.” Me, I kept laughing and chuckling throughout the entire film, trying not to wake her. I was originally going to go with 3 ½ stars out of 5, but then I remembered one scene with Hans (Robert  de Keyser) and it made me remember a time we almost got our buddy, Big Cooter, to run around a baseball field during a game, and I’ve got to up the rating a bit. With that it’s 4 stars out of 5 for “Dealin’ With Idiots.” Hopefully you’re not one of the “idiots.”

And, oh yea, I almost forgot the antics of the nutty assistant (there’s an extra scene at the end of the credits – kind of weird), so yes, it’s a solid 4 stars for me.

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

Curse of Chucky

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

Curse of Chucky
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Fiona Dourif, Brad Dourif, Brennan Elliott, Maitland McConnell, Summer Howell
MPAA Rated: R / Unrated
Released By: Unviersal 1440 Entertainment
Blu-ray Release Date: October 8, 2013
Kiddie Movie: Only if you want them afraid of every doll.
Date Movie: If she likes the horror!
Gratuitous Sex: Some girl-on-girl action, but no nudity.
Gratuitous Violence: Umm, duh.
Action: Some chasing.
Laughs: Achuckle in a horror-movie type.
Memorable Scene: I loved the death scene with the priest.
Memorable Quote: “Yea, the eighties were awesome.”
Directed By: Don Mancini
Cool things about the Blu-ray: The “Voodoo Doll: The Chucky Legacy” and “Living Doll” Bringing Chucky to Life” featurettes are great.

He is the doll that won’t die. Yes, Chucky has been terrorizing people for 25 years now, has seen many iterations since the original “Child’s Play” movie, has sometimes been horror and sometimes horredy, but for “Curse of Chucky” the evil doll is back in all of his evilness, the franchise is back into horror mode, and dammit, I enjoyed it in all its Blu-ray glory.

The story is basically the same, this time starting with the arrival of a delivery at an old house where Nica (Fiona Dourif), she being in a wheelchair, lives with her mom. Yup, it’s a creepy-looking doll, and neither of them think anything of it, and then mom ends up dead. Sure, I could have yelled “SPOILER ALERT,” but really, it’s a Chucky movie, so do I really need to warn you about people ending up dead?

In any case, with mom’s death here comes the rest of the family to support Nica, and convince her she needs to move out of the house. Of course there is a little girl involved who doesn’t find the Chucky doll creepy, of course more people start dying, of course it’s a stormy night, sadly there’s not the obligatory nudity but there is some girl-on-girl action and underwear, of course Nica eventually finds out that it is the Chucky doll doing the killing, and yes, the movie finishes where the franchise can easily continue should they want to keep horror, and the doll, alive.

Is the acting Oscar-worthy? Please, it’s a Chucky movie, although actually everyone does a great job as either the clueless-dude roll (Brennan Elliott as Ian), bimbo roll (Maitland McConnell as Jill), little kid roll (Summer Howell as Alice), and evil (Brad Dourif as Charles Lee Ray and the Voice of Chucky). Something else that is nice is that with the movie being the Chucky franchise, there is actually some money spent on effects, the movie visually looks great, and not a cheap, horror film, and we get some well-done horror music. Then there is Chucky himself, who has come a long way in terms of realism, well, for as real as a doll should act, since the initial “Child’s Play” film as yes, the animatronics are pretty impressive as Chucky just looks a lot meaner rather than cartoon-like Chucky you might remember.

Forget Chucky getting in on with another doll, forget tons of cheesiness, and relish in horror goodness that treats the franchise with the respect a scarred-up, 25 year-old doll deserves. “Curse of Chucky” is horror goodness, there’s a nice surprise at the end, and it’s 4 stars out of 5. Had the girl-on-girl action involved a nip-slip or at least some side-boobage I could have easily seen me getting to 4 ½ or 5 star horrorness, but alas, I’m leaving it at 4.

The Blu-ray combo pack gives fans of Chucky a great look at the history of the franchise with “Voodoo Doll: The Chucky Legacy,” and if you want to know how Chucky looks so awesome, check out the “Living Doll: Bringing Chucky to Life” featurette. The gag reel is a throw-away as far as I’m concerned, but all in all, a decent Blu-ray set of features.

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

Gimme the Loot

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

Gimme the Loot
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ty Hickson, Tashiana Washington
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: IFC Films
Released on: September 17, 2013
Kiddie Movie: Unless you want them to be foul-mothed graffiti artists.
Date Movie: If she likes a well-done movie.
Gratuitous Sex: It’s got some hanky-panky.
Gratuitous Violence: Nothing horrible.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Lots.
Memorable Scene: Trying to break into the rich girl’s apartment.
Memorable Quote: “I got stickage!”
Directed By: Adam Leon
Cool Things About the Blu-ray: The “All City Hour” is fun, and its got the commentary and deleted scene stuff, too.

Sometimes a movie surprises you. Sometimes that surprise is bad, sometimes that surprise is good, and sometimes that surprise is great. “Gimme the Loot” is a movie that was a great surprise.

Sure, that opening paragraph should be enough to get you to go and get the movie, or at least download it, but I’ll give you some story stuff to help you along.

If you see a synopsis about a couple of kids in the inner city who like to spray graffiti you might shy away thinking this is going to be either a do-gooder kind of film, how kids find out they can be more than graffiti taggers, or you might think the movie is a sad look at the inner city, with gang shootings and danger. “Gimme the Loot” isn’t either, but a great story about Malcolm (Ty Hickson) and Sofia (Tashiana Washington), two friends who live in the Bronz and happen to be graffiti taggers. When their latest creation gets painted over by a rival gang, the duo decides that the tagging war is too back and forth for them, and that they need to hit the ultimate goal for taggers in New York City, tagging the New York Mets home run apple.  The good news: They have a connection to let them sneak into the stadium. The bad news: They need $500 in two days to pay him to let them in.

So our couple is now on a quest to scrape up $500, and how do you try to make money in the inner city? Well, you try to sell a cell phone you took from the kid who took your bike, you sell some dope to the rich girls, and you, well, you also see a necklace at the rich girl’s apartment and decide it might be easy to steal.  With that we get Malcolm working the selling drugs side through some stoners, and we get Sofia doing her best to help out with the stealing a necklace heist, and through it all we get to wonder if maybe Malcolm and Sofia can actually pull this off, if they actually have a thing for each other, and if their life will be better by becoming famous.

The thing with “Gimme the Loot” is that, and I don’t know how accurate it is, but it really is just trying to show two kids living in the inner city, during a couple of atypical kind of days for them, complete with some rival tagging-gang interaction, some punks in the neighborhood, some people who are always a little more “trouble” than they are, although they need their help, and some hanky-panky.

The language in this movie is real, so be ready for a lot of f-bombs, and there’s a slight “beating up” part, but for the most part this movie nicely shows the weird world of tagging, surviving, scraping, and trying to be famous, and maybe even some love. The kids actually have a nice heart, though their circumstances put them in some bad situations, and the writing in the movie is also witty at times, with the kind of straight talk you would expect from any batch of teens, like “You’re fucking breath smells like ass, so get out of my face,” and “I got stickage!”

Look, just get this movie and be pleasantly surprised. It’s not gut-busting laughter for the most part, but for a well done, entertaining comedy with two characters you can’t help but like, “Gimme the Loot” is a 4 ½ star out of 5 film.

As far as the Blu-ray, the “All City Hour” featurette is great, and you get some of the other normal things like commentary and deleted scenes, but really, the movie is the gem here.

Java Heat

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

Java Heat
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Kellen Lutz, Mickey Rourke, Ario Bayu
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: IFC Films / MPI Media Group
Blu-ray Release: September 17, 2013
Kiddie Movie: Nope. It’s got killing and blowing stuff up.
Date Movie: Nah. Unless she finds Kellen Lutz dreamy.
Gratuitous Sex: A scene where Jake picks up a lady of the evening.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of shooting and blowing stuff up.
Action: See “Violence.”
Laughs: Nah.
Memorable Scene: Nothing really.
Memorable Quote: Hashim to Jake: “You were given two eyes and one mouth. What did you see?”
Directed By: Connor Allyn
Cool things about the Blu-ray: It’s got a nice “Making of…” featurette where we learn of Kellen’s future acting plans.

You know what makes me sad? No? I’ll tell you. A movie that has a lot of potential and a pretty decent story, only to be pulled down by a lead actor that isn’t lead actor qualified yet, and a lazy plot development that takes away from the entertaining plot/action that preceded it. “Java Heat” made me sad. And yes, there might be a spoiler in this review.

Here’s the thing, “Java Heat” isn’t a bad movie, and it tries really hard. The story is pretty safe, basically about an FBI/marine dude who is hot on the trail of an international terrorist/thief guy, and finds himself in Indonesia at the latest bombing which turns out to be an attempt to get some crown jewels. He becomes intertwined with the Indonesian police in some weird world of “We hate Muslims/We hate Americans/We hate anyone who doesn’t like our General” world, and it’s supposed to be an action-packed thriller on the way to catch the bad guy. Sounds nice enough. Just as things are heating up, and the intrigue grows, guess what? Now let’s throw in a kidnapping involving the Indonesian police dude’s family, so now it’s personal. Why? Why go with this lazy plot-line? Why not ratchet up the action? Why not throw in some double-cross? Blah!

In the not-ready-for-prime-time-role as leading action man we get Kellen Lutz as Jake, yes, Kellen of “Twilight” fame, and although he has the looks of a potential action guy, his acting seems stuck in Twilight. Then there is Mickey Rourke, fresh from awesomeness in “The Wrestler” and even being a kick-ass bad guy in “Iron Man 2,” and here he is in a role with a bad accent, in what almost seems like a toss-off role with a bad guy who doesn’t seem that sinister. Then there is the fact that as a Marine/Spy/FBI guy, Jake is an idiot. He doesn’t seem to know his room is bugged, he gets himself drugged, and he doesn’t realize they have internet in Indonesia. What kind of spy-guy is this?

I did, however, like Ario Bayu in the role of Lieutenant Hashim, well, at least he until he was relegated to “saving my family,” but without him to hold this movie together, I would have been tossing and turning at night to go with only one or maybe two stars.

It’s got some decent action, though I suppose budget constraints kept things a little tamer than they could have been, and for an evening of watching something because you’ve seen most of the other movies, “Java Heat” isn’t bad. I’ll split this right in the middle and give the attempt at a decent action thriller 2 ½ stars out of 5. A better actor for the lead, maybe a better budget, and I could have gone a little higher, but there was too much bad for Ario Bayu to bring up that much much.

As far as the Blu-ray, it’s got the “Making of…” featurette where we learn Kellen has hopes of being the next, big action franchise star. I don’t think this movie helps him on his quest, however, that and the fact that his acting in this movie is stiff. He almost needed to quit trying so hard and have a little fun. And not let his character be so stupid.

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

Frankenstein’s Army

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:24 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Frankenstein’s Army
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Karel Roden, Joshua Sasse, Robert Gwilym, Alexander Mercury
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Dark Sky Films / MPI Media Group
Blu-ray Release Date: September 10, 2013
Kiddie Movie: It’s got a lot of gore. Best send them to bed without the pending nightmares.
Date Movie: Only if she is a fan of campy horror films.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of blood and cutting of human skulls.
Action: The zombots are pretty slow. Nah.
Laughs: It’s got some “over-the-top” chuckles in the horror kind of way.
Memorable Scene: I loved Propellerhead.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stood out.
Directed By: Richard Raaphorst
On the Blu-ray: It’s got a “Making of…” featurette, and quick clips of the zombots so you don’t have to re-find them on the Blu-ray.

Remember the movie “Edward Scissorhands?” You know the movie, with Johnny Depp playing Edward, and he has scissors for hands. Remember how Edward was nice, tried to be good, and all-around tried to help people? Remember how you secretly thought, “I wish Edward was a bad-ass, and would go around killing people with those hands!” Okay, maybe you didn’t wish that, but all I could think about during “Frankenstein’s Army” was that this movie has taken the concept of “scissors as hands” to an entirely new level.

It’s the end of World War II and a group of Russian solders are making their way through Germany when they stumble upon a decimated village. In their investigating further they begin to come across monsters, “zombots” as it would be, looking part human with industrial objects for body parts, i.e. drills, machetes, propellers, and just, well, the most bizarre killing machines one can imagine.

Further stumbling by our “documentarian” (the movie is shot as a “found footage” film) leads us to the lab of Viktor, who, it seems, has come across Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s journals, has found out how to meld soldiers with machines, and has been ordered by Hitler to make an army of killing zombots. We learn how Viktor does it (turns out you don’t really need to be delicate for brain surgery after all), and all along the way gruesomeness is encountered as the zombots are made for one thing, and one thing only, and that’s for killing, well, all except the cute, little one with a teddy bear attached to a woman’s head, a.k.a., Teddy Bear Woman.

Here’s the thing. I loved the concept of the movie, the campiness of the idea, and the potential for gruesome fighting scenes, but somewhere things seemed to get sidetracked. First there is the fact that the setup in getting to the actual zombots seems to take forever, which isn’t good for a movie that’s only 84 minutes long. There’s a lot of the soldiers trudging through the countryside, finding the village, and finally getting to the decimation of the soldiers. Also, and maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of “found footage” kinds of films, you know, those movies like “The Blair Witch Project” where someone finds a movie camera with footage of something bad that happens, but the jittery nature of the movie really annoyed me, and I also felt the movie could have benefitted so much more from a real camera shoot, allowing us to get a true “picture” of the twisted nature of the army of killing zombots. Lastly, and I know this is just a weird technicality on my part, but it seemed like the soldiers sure seemed to have an endless supply of bullets as they were trying to kill the zombots, especially with this being World War II weaponry.

The thing that saved the movie, though, is the utter campiness of the film, with the zombots being awesome, and me just wishing there were more of them, or maybe a scene out in the open with a squadron of these killing “machines” wiping out a squadron of lowly troops, but alas, most of the fun of the movie takes place in the dungeons and labs of Viktor.

For me if they lost the “found footage” concept, and had a full-on battle, this could have been an easy 5 star movie, but in the end I was nearly bored for the first third, and wishing for more for the rest of the film. I would leave the movie at around 2 stars, but the zombots are worth about a star and a half so I’ll end up at 3 ½ stars. I guess I just finished the movie wanting more.

The Blu-ray has a “Making of…” feature, which is nice and all but would mostly be for the uber-fan, and I was disappointed in the “Creature Spots” feature which was just short clips from the actual film of some of the creatures, i.e., Propellerhead and Teddy Bear Woman, and no real insight into the creatures or design of them. I’m sure there were some budgetary constraints, but maybe a little more than just a quick film clip of the zombot would have been nice.

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

Koch

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

Koch
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ed Koch, and others.
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: Zeitgeist Films
Released On: August 27, 2013
Kiddie Movie: They’d be bored unless they want to be Mayor someday.
Date Movie: Only if she likes documentaries.
Gratuitous Sex: Nothing gratuitious, but there is discussion about the AIDS epidemic.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Some of the commentary.
Memorable Scene: For whaterver reason I like when Ed Koch is driving through Times Square and say…
Memorable Quote: “I’ve never been to a Red Lobster.”
Directed By: Neil Barsky

Released August 27th on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Playstation, Xbox, YouTube, Google, Cable VOD, and DVD

Love him or hate him, Ed Koch left a legacy in New York that changed much of how some things were done in the city, and of course, left many questions as to just how much he played the corruption game to maintain power. The documentary “Koch” doesn’t give a ton of answers to questions about the man, but it does give a fairly balanced look at the good he accomplished, as well as not shy away from the scandal and seeming “old-school” attitude that plagued what could have been a man everyone could love.

The documentary begins showing Ed Koch in his early days, more liberal in his attitude, and we can begin to see the shift to more of a mix of business than liberalism, although it would seem if helping people could make a buck, and keep people loving him, he was all for it. There are a ton of clips of life back in New York City in the 70’s to the late 80’s, helping to show how he kept working the system, as he says “It’s theatrics. Everyone has a role.” And he seemed to know what his role was even to his death in February of 2013, throwing his support and endorsements to whomever he seemed to like, much to the dismay of some of them.

If there is anything about Ed Koch it is that the man didn’t hold back an opinion, even if it seemed to cross a line or two, and the documentary doesn’t sugarcoat his opinion. A great example of this is during a family gathering we hear him talking about the proposed mosque to be built near the site of the World Trade Center attacks. He’s got his opinion, and you’re not likely to change it, even with some seeming rational comparisons.

There are some nice moments in the film, showing a side where even setting up his gravesite we see a form a narcissism, but I suppose for the role that was needed in New York City when he took over, that narcissism was necessary to get things done. We see instances where he appears racist, sexist, and homophobic, but as one man explained in the movie, “He’s not a racist; He’s an opportunist, and that’s worse than being racist.” I don’t know about it being worse, but the documentary did show that he was able to shift a view on a dime if it seemed like it would keep him in power. And liked.

There are things I forgot about Ed Koch, and not being from New York City he’s not as an iconic figure in my life as a Mayor Daley in Chicago. They both have their faults, but if there is one thing true to both of them it is that they love their City with all of their soul.

You almost feel bad when, while watching the documentary, the corruption scandals hit, because you want to believe he had nothing to do with them, and those around him tarnished any good he accomplished. Such is politics, though, and I think Ed Koch knew this. What he did know, or at least wanted to make sure people knew, is that he loved New York City, loved its people (I’m guessing at least most of them), and loved the United States. How do I know this? Because he wrote it on his tombstone.

I balanced look at Ed Koch is how I would portray “Koch,” and I didn’t really fade as I was watching it, especially as it took me back to those late 70’s and 80’s, and vaguely remembering stories of a mayor that rode the subway. It’s 4 stars out of 5 for “Koch.” If you want a fair look at the man, it’s probably worth the hour and a half of your time.

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

To The Wonder

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

To The Wonder
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ben Afleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Release Date: August 6, 2013
Kiddie Movie: They’d be bored. Send them to bed.
Date Movie: They’d also be bored. Send them to bed.
Gratuitous Sex: It’s got some.
Gratuitous Violence: Neil and Marina get in some fights.
Action: Nope.
Laughs: Nope.
Memorable Scene: Only memorable because there was so much of it: The frolicking.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: Terrence Malick
On the Blu-Ray: You get some “Making of…”, Actors stuff, dancing stuff, and some other extras.

As I was watching “To The Wonder,” all I could keep thinking was that had Neil (Ben Affleck) just bought some furniture for his house, maybe he wouldn’t have had all of the problems with his new love, Marina (Olga Kurylenko). Okay, I was also trying to think of something nice to say about the film.

I guess I’ll start with the story…

For “To The Wonder” we get Neil. He’s in France and meets a beautiful woman, Marina, and her daughter. They fall in love, and what does Marina do? Of course she pulls up stakes and moves to Oklahoma. Yes, the wonders of Paris to Oklahoma. Does anyone actually think the couple would have a chance at succeeding? As the movie plays out we get to see a happy couple, a couple who isn’t so happy, a happy couple, a couple who isn’t so happy, a dude going to work and testing soil or something, a couple who isn’t so happy, and a priest who seems confused. Oh, yea, did I mention there is also a priest, Father Quintana (Javier Bardem), who seems to have lost his faith and is somehow part of the movie, but doesn’t seem to play that big a role?

Yes, the movie is about love and all of its factors, but it’s also a movie that seems to show there is no chance at love, at least for the two main characters, and it’s an artsy film about love, with a lot of Marina frolicking through the fields of Oklahoma, a lot of Marina dancing around in ballet moves, even Rachel McAdams as Jane, Neil’s old girlfriend, coming into the picture and she’s spinning and frolicking. All along it also seems like a great role for Ben Affleck as he seemed to have relatively few lines to learn with most of the commentary by Marina in French (Yup, that means you’ll also spend a lot of the movie reading it), as well as Father Quintana commentarying in Spanish (again, more reading for you, the viewer).

Yes, there are people who will like this movie, just not me, and definitely not my wife as, when it ended, she pretty much wanted to give it zero stars for wasting her time. Me, I’m not so critical, seeing some of the artsy ways the movie was working, but even for me, and I can normally try to appreciate an art-house type of film, even this one had me saying things like “Again with the dancing,” and while looking at the interior of Neil’s place wondering why he just doesn’t let Marina do some shopping for some furniture. There are other, better movies about love, I would give this one about 2 stars, but I’ll average things with my wife and end up with 1 star out of 5 for “To The Wonder.” I guess the key if you will like the movie is knowing what to expect, so if you expect frolicking, talking, and reading (unless you understand French and Spanish), you might like it, but for most everyone else you might just wonder how Ben Affleck became involved.

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