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!!!

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!!!

Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams

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

Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Stevie Nicks, Dave Stewart, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Reese Witherspoon
MPAA Rated: Unrated
Released By: Virgil Films
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Kiddie Movie: Only if they are a super-serious musician and wonder how a song gets made.
Date Movie: If she’s a Stevie Nicks’ fan.
Gratuitous Sex: Um, no.
Gratuitous Violence: Um, no.
Action: Um, no.
Laughs: There’s a couple of chuckles.
Memorable Scene: I really liked the video from Italy.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stands out.
Directed By: Stevie Nicks and Dave Stewart
Produced By: Paul Boyd, Dave Stewart

Back in 2011 Stevie Nicks released an album called “In Your Dreams.” I guess I should have been paying a little more attention to Ms. Nicks because, with the online release of the documentary “Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams” available exclusively on iTunes, I was introduced to a batch of music that was awesome to listen to, and now that I know a lot more about the history of all of the songs, a lot more meaningful.

In any case, it seems that when Stevie Nicks was making “In Your Dreams” in collaboration with Dave Stewart, yes, that Dave Stewart also known by most people as “That guy in the Eurythmics,” they decided to film a documentary about the creation of the record, as Dave Stewart is also an established documentarian. It was Stevie’s first studio album in about ten years, and it’s obvious from the onset that Dave and Stevie have great chemistry in putting music together, but the addition of the movie footage adds to an insight into the creative process of both of them, and the fun that can be had in putting an album together.

The film pretty much goes through the tracks on the album with a little storytelling of how the songs came to be, mostly through Stevie’s poetry writing and the growth of those poems into music, and the inspiration of many of the songs as they came to her. Along the way there is reflective insight into her past with Fleetwood Mac, some looks at Dave Stewart looking back a bit on his history in Eurythmics, and we also get a glimpse into the personalities in Stevie’s life as various other folks fill the world of song creating, namely the likes of Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham, producer Glen Ballard, and Reese Witherspoon who offers Stevie and Dave a place to stay.

“Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams” doesn’t seem to try to do anything out of the ordinary other than tell the simple tale of how Stevie makes a record, and for that it achieves exactly what it is shooting for. If you are a Stevie Nicks fan I would say that this is a definite must watch, and for anyone curious how songs transition from a blurb on a piece of paper to finished product, the film is a case study in music creation and the various driving forces in crafting a finished song. There is a touching look at Stevie’s visit to injured Veterans, her look at the destruction in New Orleans, and just a lot of Stevie Nicks returning to classic Stevie Nicks mode that her fans know and love.

For doing exactly what this documentary is trying to accomplish, and doing it in a way that is entertaining and will keep a casual fan interested throughout, I’m giving “Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams” 4 stars out of 5. A must for the uber Stevie fan, and a nice watch for anyone who loves songwriting.

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

Lincoln

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:30 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Lincoln
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Dreamworks Studios
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Kiddie Movie: A lot of talking. Probably boring for most kids.
Date Movie: More if she likes politics.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: There is some war violence.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: Abraham Lincoln has some great stories.
Memorable Scene: The scene in the theater when Lincoln gets shot.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stands out.
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Cool things on the Blu-ray: One of the better feature packages with the “Making of,” a nice look at the authenticity, and all of them about the right length without dragging out the uselessness.

First, an admission. When I heard there was going to be a movie called “Lincoln,” I have to admit that I thought it was going to be a biopic, kind of giving us a look into the entire life of Abraham Lincoln. I also admit that I didn’t pay too much attention to the movie, or press, when it was in the theaters, other than hearing it was a really good film, and that Daniel Day-Lewis was incredible in it. Then I watched the Blu-ray, and I finally understand what all of the hubbub was about.

Let’s get to the film.

Now, my first assumption about the movie was wrong – “Lincoln” is not a biopic, but rather a snapshot of a period of Abraham Lincoln’s life, concentrating on the end of his life, and his determination to get the 13th Amendment passed before the end of the Civil War would occur. This was important due to the reasoning for the war and the Emancipation Proclamation, and Lincoln’s fear that should the war end, any slaves that were free might have to go back to being slaves. It’s also not so much about Lincoln, but rather about the politics at the time, with the President being the focal point. Sure, there is some insight into his life, his relationship with Mary Todd (Sally Field), and his two sons, Tad (Gulliver McGrath) and Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), but if you are a fan of political theater, this movie portrays it in all of its grandeur and bickering.

Yes, there is infighting and distrust among Lincoln’s cabinet; Yes, there is a real look at how blacks were pictured in the world at the time; Yes, politics hasn’t changed much in all of these years. And yes, “Lincoln” is a great film, with some of the best performances by all actors, and the brilliant thing Steven Spielberg did with the movie was keep the movie buttoned to the end period in Lincoln’s life so that the movie could stay focused and not lead the viewer in a variety of directions throughout Lincoln’s life that might confuse the end result.

The other brilliant thing – The scene in the theater when Lincoln gets shot. I’ll leave it at that.

If you are looking for an action-packed Civil War movie, this isn’t it, but if you are looking for acting at its finest (Tommy Lee Jones was also incredible), a sad look that politics hasn’t changed in all of this time, and a movie that deserves its accolades, “Lincoln” is it. I will warn you, however, that it is a movie about two and half hours long and there is a lot of talking, so just sit back and enjoy the goodness. It’s 4 ½ stars out of 5.

For a rental or purchase, if you are a fan of the movie, as I was, there is a good chance you will actually get sucked into the extras as part of the Blu-ray, especially on the combo pack. The extra features are nicely done, concise, and cover most everything you would want from how Steven Spielberg came about to making the movie, a well-done but not too technical look at how they kept things authentic, and as a fan of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, it was also a nice, little insight into the mastery of John Williams.

Of many of the Blu-ray packages I have seen, “Lincoln” is one of the best mostly because it doesn’t bog things down with deleted scenes that were best deleted, bad “outtakes” we don’t care about, or filler. A great film, well done extras, and oh hell, I’ll add the half a star and give the Blu-ray combo pack 5 stars out of 5.

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

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipettes

DVD Rated – Unrated
It’s 1:05 Long
A Review by:
Stu Gotz

Alvin and the Chipmunks:
The Chipettes
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Avlin, Simon, Theodore, Brittany, Jeanette, Eleanor, and Dave
MPAA Rated: Unrated, but it’s for kids.
Released By: Paramount Home Entertainment
Kiddie Movie: It’s definitely for them.
Date Movie: Only if she’s the mother of your children.
Gratuitous Sex: Umm, no.
Gratuitous Violence: Cartoonish.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Mostly for the kids.
Memorable Scene: None.
Memorable Quote: None.
Cool Things About the DVD: It’s really just set for the six episodes which is actually probably perfect for kids anyway.

When The Dude on the Right handed me a copy of “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipettes” I gave him a raised eyebrow look. Before I could follow my look with a rude comment, the Dude cut me off and said, “Maybe have your kids watch it and tell me what they think?” So that is exactly what I did. Later that day I popped the movie into Mama Gotz’s in-headrest car DVD player (Hmm… How come she gets all the cool stuff, and I drive a truck?) and let the kids have at it on the way to and from Tae Kwon Do practice.

So what did the Little Gotz’s think of “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipettes?” I’ll get to that later. First let me tell you a little about the DVD. The DVD is 6 episodes of the mid-80’s TV show “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” For this special six-pack of special episodes, three female chipmunks mirror Alvin and the boys, with similar personality, dress, and body attributes. Brittany is like Alvin and Jeanette is… Well… Does anyone really know any of the chipmunks besides Alvin? There is a smart chipmunk chick and a chubbier one, the girl’s misadventures coincide with the boy’s misadventures, and if you’ve seen one episode, well, you’ve seen them all. Predictable mayhem occurs. Dave almost looses his wits and by episode’s end, all is well (just like in Star Trek).

So who the heck is this movie for, and why now? I think most people can recall the squeaky-voiced cartoon from the 80’s era of upturned-collared Polo shirts? For those who can’t, the Chipmunks have actually been around since the late 1950’s. Yes, they did exist before that Earl guy made the movie with them. Anyway, the squeaky boys are back (again), and this time they are joined by equally annoying-for-adults female chipmunks. Why? Personally I think it’s to cash in on the whole High School Musical, Hanna Montana, and iCarly craze. Right now kids, starting at far too young of an age in my opinion, are totally hooked on the High School Musical craze and such. This is all fine where and when it is age appropriate, but let me ask you, do you want your 6 or 7 year old coming home singing the Vacation song and wanting to dress like a tart? Not me! So maybe “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipettes” could be a more age appropriate DVD title to turn your youngerl kids on to.

They key to this though is will little kids like it?? The first day I had “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipettes” in Mama Gotz’s car DVD player our littlest one wanted to bring it into the house and keep on watching it when the car ride was over. I think that’s a good sign. After about a week I again asked the Gotz’ boys what they thought about “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipettes.” The 4 going on 5 year old gave me a double finger gesture. No he didn’t flip me the “bird.” He extended his thumbs, but I think that is a copyrighted gesture so I can’t quote him on that. Our oldest boy, now six, said he liked it a lot, though I did notice he tended to watch the episodes and pressed scene skip when the chipmunk music videos came on.

The bottom line, a.k.a. is it worth your money? As an adult I can deal with the chipmunks in small doses, such as I am. My 5 & 6 year olds both liked the episodes, but split their vote on the music videos with the younger Gotz liking everything. I think “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipettes” is a great age-appropriate alternative to the High School Musical and Montana stuff that is on TV, and in my opinion, also turning girls into tarts and boys into, well, not football players, so for me “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipettes” is money well spent. 4 stars out of 5.
I’m Stu Gotz. ‘nuff said.