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.