Sophia Grace & Rosie’s Royal Adventure

MPAA Rated – G
It’s 1:10 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

Sophia Grace & Rosie’s Royal Adventure
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Sophia Grace Brownlee, Rosie McClelland, Amy Louis Wilson, Anna Skellem, Margaret Clunie
MPAA Rated: G
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Distributed By: Warner Bros. Home Video
Kiddie Movie: It’s really who this movie is for, or fans of Ellen.
Date Movie: Only if it’s your husband, and he’s watching it with the kids.
Gratuitous Sex: Um, no.
Gratuitous Violence: Some slapstick.
Action: Some running.
Laughs: Cute laughs.
Memorable Scene: Rosie’s use of her last wish, and Sophia Grace questioning her reasoning.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stood out.
Directed By: Brian Levant
Cool things about the Blu-ray: You can learn about pink, and sing along with the girls.

In the world of “You will get exactly what you’d expect” and “cookie-cutter movie,” I bring you “Sophia Grace & Rosie’s Royal Adventure.” And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

First the back-story, and you can skip this paragraph if you already know who this duo is. Sophia Grace Brownlee and Rosie McClelland became famous for having a video of them singing and dancing to Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” go viral. Ellen DeGeneres, never one to shy away from having an Internet sensation on her show, invited them on, they sang and danced, and the Ellen fans loved her. Seeing gold, and because the girls are uber-cute, Ellen kept having them as guests, with Sophia Grace doing most of the boisterous talking while Rosie was just adorable. Then Ellen realized “Let’s have them be correspondents!” and the pair started doing red-carpet reporting, and you would thing the rest was history.

Of course not. Let’s make a movie!

So we get the girls in a fictional movie where, as correspondents for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, they head to Switzelvania to cover the coronation of the new queen. Under the watch of Phyllis Bundt (Amy Louise Wilson), the girls head over on their flight, Phyllis, of course, loses the girls and ends up on her own adventure to get back together with them, and the girls find themselves sneaking into the castle.

At the castle the girls, instead of just being correspondents, are mistaken for nieces for the princesses, and decide to just roll with it. As fakers they get to individually meet the princesses and realize things are a mess in Switzelvania. There’s Princess Imogen (Anna Skellem) who is obsessed with herself, another who is a ditz, and Abigail (Margaret Clunie), the shy one who likes to dress up as a super hero. The girls quickly realize that the best choice is Abigail, but she is far from Queen material, and their new quest is to give her a crash-course in manners and poise.

And hilarity ensues.

Oh, and did I mention there is a magical duck that grants Rosie three wishes?

I know I should say “Spoiler alert,” but if you can’t realize that our heroes save the day, that Abigail becomes Queen after Rosie uses her magic duck, and that Phyllis ends up with a hunk, you do not really understand the meaning of “cookie-cutter” as I mentioned in the opening of this review.

Look, this movie wasn’t made to bring any Academy Award nods, although I’m one to give an award to the duck, but really it’s just a nice, fun movie for fans of Sophia Grace and Rosie, with a cute, happily ever after story, and the girls get to sing and dance. If the movie was being promoted as something fantastic and a must-see I would probably give it 2 stars in terms of originality and acting, maybe even less, but the movie is really being set up as what it is, you will get exactly what you expect if you know who the girls are, and for that I’m going to add a star for 3 stars out of 5. Not the greatest of films, I would have liked a little more originality, but the girls are their adorable selves, and the right princess does become Queen. Get it knowing exactly what you are going to get.

As far as the extras on the Blu-ray combo pack mostly it’s about the singing and dancing department with a featurette of the songs in the movie, and I learned a lot about pink, but for the most part the extras aren’t anything uber-special.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!


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

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: The voices of: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Craig Berguson
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: Disney / Pixar
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Kiddie Movie: Most definitely, especially the girls.
Date Movie: Good for snuggling with your honey, or for some quality family time.
Gratuitous Sex: It’s Disney/Pixar – come on.
Gratuitous Violence: Cartoon-style.
Action: Some chasing and a little scariness.
Laughs: The triplets are very mischievous.
Memorable Scene: I liked when we found out what happened to the triplets when they at the magic cake.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stands out.
Directed By: Mark Andres, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell
Cool things about the Blu-ray: The Ultimate Collector’s Edition has tons of extras, some techinical, some related to story-telling, and some related to the look of the movie. There is also the 3-D version of the Blu-ray, an extra disc of Blu-ray extras, a DVD version, and a Digital Copy for you to take on the go.

I know Pixar movies are generally good for the entire family, and sure, many a times they are more boy friendly than girl, but girls, you have now received your Pixar treatment, and it is great. Here’s the thing, though. Whereas many of the “boy friendly” movies end up with “objects” relating the stories of life, for example, “Cars,” “Toy Story,” and “Monsters Inc.,” for the girls we get “Brave,” a wonderful tale that the boys might enjoy but a mother and daughter should love together, and instead of something girly, say a flower patch or cute horses in the lead roles of the characters, for this one we go back to human characters, (Okay, there is a divergence into the lore of a bear, and a Momma Bear as it would be, but let’s move on,) yet maintaining that Pixar cartoony goodness.

Let’s get to the story.

We are in the Highland of Scotland, back at a time when bows and arrows, swords, and clubs were the weapons of choice and castles were the line of defense. Enter Merida, the daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor, and her three little, mischievous brothers. Merida is a free spirit, wanting to determine her own fate, but her Mom has her own beliefs on how Merida should live her life. So, while Merida is teaching herself to shoot arrows and ride horses, Elinor is trying her best to instill being the Princess Merida is supposed to be, and eventually take a husband from the other clans as is the custom and tradition. As the suitors line up and Merida begins to enter full rebellion mode, Mom is none too pleased, Merida and Elinor have a big fight, Merida thinks she has found a path to get her way thanks to a witch, and, of course, Merida learns a huge lesson that she should never trust a witch, especially when Merida herself is in the throws of anger.

As it goes, thanks to Merida’s desire to find her own destiny, we get to learn the full story of Mor’du the Bear who is responsible for Fergus having a peg leg, both Merida and Elinor get to learn about the bonds of mother and daughter, and as this is a Pixar/Disney movie, everyone lives happily ever after.

As a story goes, “Brave” is a nice little tale about the challenges a mother and daughter face, and how sometimes it takes both sides to bend a bit to see the love of the other. It’s also a Pixar film, and that means fun, which it has tons of. The animation is awesome, especially the detail that they are now able to do in terms of scenery, shading, color, and just making the movie look fantasticker than when we were blown away by “Toy Story,” so combine the great story and the great animation and we easily remember why, whenever there is a Pixar movie coming out, we are excited. Like I said before, however, this is a story really geared for the girls. I’m not saying the boys won’t like it as it does have lots of action and a fun brawl between the clans, but whereas the boys and dads could relate to the togetherness of “Cars,” there’s much more of a motherly love bond between Elinor and Merida and the mischievous boys are just that – mischievous. It’s a solid 4 stars out of 5 for “Brave.”

Now, as far as the Blu-ray offering the Ultimate Collector’s Edition gives you tons of extras to keep you learning new things for hours. Me, being the tech dork that I am, I wanted more of extras like “Wonder Moss” and “Brawl in the Hall,” two of the more technical extras, but if you want to know how the Pixar team researched all things Scotland, there are lots of featurettes like “Brave Old World” and “Merida & Elinor.” You also get looks into the various animals involved in the movie, explanations of some of the more mystical aspects to the film, a look at scenes that were shortened, changed, or eliminated, and your commentary-type stuff. And as this is a Pixar movie, there is a cute little short called “La Luna” about how the moon changes shape, and a longer look at “The Legend of Mor’du,” the bear that eventually brings the movie full-circle.

Tons of extras, a 3-D Blu-ray if you’ve got the TV for it, a Digital Copy so the kids can take it on-the-go, and the “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” shows how a nicely packaged Blu-ray can be well worth the extras instead of just throwing useless things in the set just for the sake of being there.

All in all a lot of fun with a lot of the extras you would expect and the “Brave” set is another feather in the cap of the Pixar legacy.

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

Machine Gun Preacher

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 2:09 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Machine Gun Preacher
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainmnet
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Kiddie Movie: Lots of brutal violence – send them to bed!
Date Movie: She might get frightened and hold you.
Gratuitous Sex: There’s some getting it on but this one is R for the violence.
Gratuitous Violence: Did I mention the brutal violence yet?
Action: Not really any action in this one, just gunfights.
Laughs: Nope.
Memorable Scene: When the little boy shows Sam he might be going down the wrong life road at his orphanage.
Memorable Quote: Lynn to Sam: “Now get off your butt, stop your crying, and build it again.”
Directed By: Marc Forster
Cool things about the Blu-ray: Nothing, really. There is a weirdly added “Making the Music” feature, and a short segement with MarcForster explaining how he made the movie.

When “Machine Gun Preacher” was hitting theaters I heard a couple of interviews, heard the synopsis, and heard a couple of people on the radio that liked the movie, especially Gerard Butler’s portrayal of Sam Childers, and sort of wanted to see the movie for myself even if most of the normal reviewers weren’t so kind. It came and went out of the theater, and I missed the chance on the big screen so when the Blu-ray showed up for me to review, I was excited to see it – My wife, not so much. Violent movies aren’t really her cup of tea, so I watched “Machine Gun Preacher” on my own, and most critics be damned, me, I really liked it.

Let’s get to the story…

The movie is based on the life of Sam Childers, a man whose life was heading down the wrong path, filled with drugs, alcohol, and biker gangs, and a wife, Lynn (Michelle Monaghan in the movie), who started as a stripper but then found God. Sam’s (in the movie played by Gerard Butler) life is about to explode in total badness until he, too, finds God while attending church with his wife. He also hears the story of life in the Africa, how they need help with even the most basic of necessities, and finds himself first in Uganda with the missionaries, building homes for the refugees, but Sudan is calling him, and against the advice of many he travels to the land run by Joseph Kony and the LRA, finding a world of unspeakable horror, and feels he is called to build an orphanage in direct competition with the atrocities of Kony and his men, and with the help of his wife, founding and running the Angels of East Africa organization.

There isn’t a lot very pretty about this movie, only that no matter where they are, no matter the atrocities around them, sometimes the joy of children can bring light to the darkest days. It gives a brutal look, and I mean brutal, at the atrocities occurring in the Sudan, as well as intertwines a movie about a man, Sam, who is torn between his life in the safety of the United States with his wife and daughter or trying to help the innocents of a nation, and as we see the movie progress, he doesn’t do that well on the home front for awhile, but thankfully Lynn is a strong woman and Sam figures it out.

We hear the horror stories of things going on in the Sudan, but you won’t see most of it on TV, although you might see a viral video about it, and sure, “Machine Gun Preacher” is a movie adaptation of Sam Childers’ life and the brutalities happening in the Sudan, and maybe I’m totally wrong, but most of it seems scarily true to form, from villages being burned to the ground (including the people inside), and the journey of one man on his own quest for redemption.

I found Gerard Butler awesome in his role, delicately working the transformation from biker gang dude to, well, still a dude with a mean streak but now using it for good. A nurse warns him that Joseph Kony started recruiting his followers in much the same way Sam was starting to do, but thankfully the children help keep Sam on the path of being a better man.

I really liked the movie, so much so I give it 4 stars out of 5. There is a lot of brutal violence, but then again, a movie telling of the atrocities in the Sudan couldn’t really portray the story without it.

Blu-ray and DVD-wise there is an extra about “Making the Music” for “Machine Gun Preacher”, which I found an odd addition, especially since I’m thinking there aren’t too many people getting this movie for the music, and even on the Blu-ray there isn’t much else, just an added extra with Marc Forster, the Producer/Director of the movie, who pretty much tells you everything you would think of about the making of the movie.  Get this Blu-ray for how awesome it looks, even the violence, on your big screen, and to appreciate the acting of Gerard Butler a little more.

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

War Horse

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:26 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

War Horse
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, A Lot of Horses
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Kiddie Movie: Not too young even if they like horses, most of the story revolves around WWI after all.
Date Movie: My wife liked it and snuggled. It’s a winner.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: You do get some war scenes that showed the brutalness of trench warfare.
Action: The horse runs a lot.
Laughs: A few chuckles.
Memorable Scene: The scene where Joey ends up entangled in barbed wire started brutal and ended beautifullly, and all I could kept thinking about during it was the song Belleau Wood” from Garth Brooks.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stood out.
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Cool things about the Blu-ray: Lots of extras on how the film was made makes the combo pack a film-lover’s dream, especially since it skips the usually useless stuff like deleted scenes and a gag reel.

I was a little worried when my wife and I started watching “War Horse” because, after about the first five minutes, as they were setting up the relationship between Joey (the horse) and Albert (Jeremy Irvine), my wife turns to me and says sarcastically, “Oh, this is riveting.” I could tell she was bored, and there was over two hours of the movie left to go.  Thankfully things got much better.

“War Horse” takes us back to the early 1900’s, as World War I was about to break, horses were used to plow the fields, and you read books made out of paper by candlelight.  Young Albert sees a horse being born, and although not the greatest build of a work horse, there is a bond formed between Joey and Albert, much like most people would form to their pet dog, but the war is now here, and in those days horses were used for everything, from transporting troops and the wounded, to pulling the giant cannons, and the best horses were rounded up for use in the war. Joey was now gone, on his way to war, and Albert was sad.

So, we get the story of Joey, a horse that doesn’t look like the strongest but has the heart of a thousand horses and touches lots of life’s in many way.  We see Joey in battle, developing bond with a giant of a horse that most everyone thinks is stronger, helping a young girl discover life, yet all the while never forgetting Albert.

Okay, fine, “War Horse” is much more that that, as intertwined with the story of Joey is the family bond Albert has back home on the farm, a look at a young little girl and her grandfather, a glimpse of the brutality of trench warfare, and how an animal can make friends out of enemies, if only for a few minutes.  Yup, the “This is riveting” had turned into a wonderful story.

Wonderfully shot and what turns out to be a fantastic story, “War Horse” is the kind of movie that is probably better seen on the big screen to envelop you, but will do fine on your big screen, and will allow you to get weepy in the privacy of your own home (Yup, the ending is a tear-jerker in many ways).  So, get through the first five minutes of unrivetting-ness, and enjoy this 4 ½ our of 5 star movie in all of its horse splendor.

Now, Blu-ray wise, if you get the 4-disc combo pack, you get extras to keep you busy for hours, and if you have any interest in how an Academy Award winning Director constructs a movie, this is the combo pack for you. Among other features, you get “War Horse: The Journey Home” which gives you a round-table format of discussions about the film, the characters, and how things went from seeing a play and thinking it would make a great film to ending up on the big screen. Then there is “A Filmmaking Journey” which gives you a detailed look at Steven Spielberg’s creative process, while “Editing and Scoring” dictates how the film is put together. There isn’t the standard “Deleted Scenes” nor “Gag Reel,” which is probably better since generally those just add easy extras to a release, but if you ever just wanted to be that guy in the background of a shot, you get “An Extra’s Point of View,” a nice look at being, well, an extra on a film. Lastly, take the film with you because you also get the copy for your portable device. This combo pack is why you buy a combo pack.

A great story, a great film, and a worthwhile batch of extras when you buy the whole set, I am a little sad I didn’t see the movie on the gloriousness of the big screen, but snuggling on the couch and the both of you getting a little weepy with a great movie does have a niceness about it.

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

The Sitter

MPAA Rated – Unrated
It’s 1:22 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Sitter
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jonah Hill, Ari Graynor, Landry Bender, Kevin Hernandez, Max Records, Sam Rockewell
MPAA Rated: Unrated Version
Released By: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Release Date: March 20, 2012
Kiddie Movie: Definitely not. Send them to bed.
Date Movie: If she’s got a sick sense of humor. If she’s a Miss Goody-Two-Shoes she will think you are a pervert.
Gratuitous Sex: The movie opens with Noah giving oral homage to Marisa and explaining his technique, so I would say “Yes.”
Gratuitous Violence: Some gun play.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: It does have some funny moments, though mostly over the top.
Memorable Scene: Nothing stood out.
Memorable Quote: Nah.
Directed By: David Gordon Green
Cool things about the Blu-ray: Nothing reallly other than it looks good. The extras are pretty generic, and you get to see an alternate ending that would have sucked.

I have to say that my favorite babysitter movie of all time is “Adventures in Babysitting.” It was fun, it was a romp of kids through the mean streets of the city, it was slightly over the top at times, and it was fairly safe for kids even though it was rated PG-13.  After seeing “The Sitter” I have to say it didn’t eclipse “Adventures…” as my favorite babysitter movie, but it was mostly fun, it was a romp of kids through the main streets of the city, it was way, way, way over the top at times, but for the love of God, put the kids and teens to bed before you even think of watching this in front of them.  Then go ahead and have a laugh or two.

For “The Sitter” we get Jonah Hill as Noah, a slug living at home, looking for love, and good at oral sex.  We pretty much find all of this out in the first 5ish minutes of the film.  It seems like all he really wants in life is to have his divorced mom find a good man, get laid, and maybe be an astronomer.  As his life would have it, to facilitate his mom going on a date, Noah takes the gig of watching the neighbor’s kids comprised of the little girl, Blithe (Landry Bender), who likes to dress in beauty pageant clothes and just wants to go out clubbing, Slater (Max Records), who is having issues of keeping friends, and Rodrigo (Kevin Henrnadez), the adopted son of said family and a little terror. Of course the kids hate Noah, and of course Noah gets a call from his girlfriend want-a-be telling Noah he’ll get laid if he brings her some cocaine, so Noah is off in the family minivan, with kids in tow, in search of Karl (Sam Rockwell), the drug kingpin, and then to meet up with Marisa (Ari Graynor). And hilarity is supposed to ensue.

I say “supposed to” because although funny is some aspects, most of it just seems rehashed or telegraphed from a mile away.  And yes, here is the proverbial spoiler alert…  Do the kids try and run away? Rodrigo does. Is there some kid mayhem? Yup. Does Noah have to come up with money to pay back Karl so he doesn’t kill someone? You betcha. Will Noah and the kids end up in a bar none of them really belong in? What do you think?

Some of it is kind of funny, in a truly adult kind of way, but a lot of it just plods along until the eventual end of Noah with the right girl, and the kids loving their new babysitter.

Jonah Hill is well, Jonah Hill, I’m not really sure what is going on with the Marisa character, and go figure, kids just want to be understood.  Kinda funny, definitely not for anyone close to a kid’s age, and for me it’s 2 stars out of 5. Oh hell, make it 2 ½ for a “totally unnecessary to the plot” boob shot.

As far as the Blu-ray it’s got some standard fare that pretty much ends up just being filler, although I did watch the “Totally Irresponsible” unrated version and honestly can’t tell you what the difference was.  The rest of the extras are “Ehh.” The deleted scenes are pretty much better deleted, and the extended scenes would have made the movie drag a ton more. Some of the outtakes are kind of funny, but the “Gag Reel” really didn’t do much.  If you want there is a “Making of…” featurette which is fine and all, but really, you’re just getting the Blu-ray for raunchy fun.

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

The Big Year

MPAA Rated – PG
It’s 1:40 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Big Year
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Owen Wilson, Steve Martin, Jack Black
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Kiddie Movie: It’s safe for them, but not too funny.
Date Movie: My wife fell asleep, but thought the parts she was awake for were okay.
Gratuitous Sex: Some talk and hints but no one gets it on.
Gratuitous Violence: Just some slapstick, birding violence.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Chuckles.
Memorable Scene: There is a touching scene with Brad and his dad.
Memorable Quote: Nothing really.
Directed By: David Frankel
Cool Things About the Blu-ray: “The Bird Migration” featurette about the making of what kind of cool.

It’s a movie that has three, comedic powerhouses in the likes of Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson. It’s a movie that is ripe for making fun of a culture many might find odd – namely birding. It’s a movie that’s rated PG? Uh oh. It’s “The Big Year.”  Okay, maybe not that big of an “Uh oh,” but an “Uh oh,” none-the-less.

So, it turns out a “Big Year” in the birding world has to do with an informal competition among birders (people who like to spot birds), in trying to spot the most species of bird in a period of time.  For our movie, the lead Big Year-er is Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson).  For our movie we have two other main characters, Brad (Jack Black) and Stu (Steve Martin). Brad is in a dead-end, no fun job, Stu is the elder statesman of a company and looking to retire, and Kenny is a lost soul whose relationships always fall apart because he likes birds.

And so it’s a new year, and for a movie length we get to see our three birders travel the countryside in search of birds, and the competition is fierce.  Yup, things start out kind of calm, with the birders calling a magical phone number telling them where the next, magical sighting seems to be, and they all flock to the various locals. They are cordial, nice even, until it starts to come out that they are trying to get the Big Year record, currently held by Kenny.  Kenny, of course, doesn’t like this, and some trickery starts to happen.  And all along hilarity is supposed to ensue, or at least lessons about life.

Here’s the thing – I felt like “The Big Year” wanted so much to be like a mockumentary about birders, kind of like the movie “Best in Show,” but sadly it tried to keep things a little too nice, namely the PG rating, to push the funny to the next level, which is too bad because Wilson, Black, and Martin do their best to be their funny best – it’s just the movie can’t get there.

It’s not that I didn’t like “The Big Year,” because I sort of did, but I just wanted more.  It was a nice enough movie to hang out on a couch and relax for an evening, and it’s kid safe if you want them around, but don’t expect a lot of hilarity, just some chuckles along the way to find out who actually has the “big year.” 2 ½ stars out of 5.

As far as the Blu-ray, as a lot of birding is scenic-oriented, it looks beautiful, and is beautifully shot, so it will look great on your big-screen.  The deleted scenes are probably better off deleted, the gag reel isn’t that funny (I’m finding that most movie-people can’t put together a decent gag reel), but if you do want a nice explanation of how the movie was made, it does have a great featurette called “The Bird Migration” to help along.

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

In Time

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:49 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

In Time
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Released On: January 31, 2012
Kiddie Movie: Not too young, better send the little ones to bed.
Date Movie: It’s snuggleable, but she might find it stupid.
Gratuitous Sex: Justin and Amanda get it on, but she’s only in bra and panties. The PG-13 is in effect.
Gratuitous Violence: Some killings, but mostly people die when they’re out of time.
Action: Lots of chasing is going on.
Laughs: Nope.
Memorable Scene: Even though it was foreshadowed, it was nice to see Will get the bad guy.
Memorable Quote: Nothing really.
Directed By: Andrew Niccol
Cool things about the Blu-ray: The Blu-ray is pretty lean on extras, but the “The Minutes” featurette is a nice “documentary” of the fictional city and adds some insight into the characters.

It’s a futuristic world where you stop aging at age 25.  Now that sounds all great and swell except for a few things.  First off, what if your “I’m hot!” age is actually 35 and you find yourself stuck at the “I’m ugly” age of 25? Also, what if you’re into older men or women?  I mean, that girl you are hitting on may have actually been alive for 110 years, but she doesn’t look a day over, well, 25, so you’re S.O.L. And lastly, once you hit 25, you only have one more year to live unless, well, you can get someone to give you more of their time, you can figure out how to purchase more time, you steal someone else’s time, or, well, who cares because in any event you are constantly reminded of how much time you have left because there is this countdown clock embedded in your arm.

As we begin our movie-cal journey we enter at a time when Will (Justin Timberlake) has tripped into that stage of life after age 25 when you have to figure out how you can keep getting more time, and thus keep living (this concept isn’t as complicated as it sounds once you see the movie).  He’s got his mother whom he keeps giving time to so she can stick around, but unfortunately for Will he lives on the wrong side of the tracks, or time zone as it would be, where things are a little more rough and where inflation takes your time away quicker than you can get more (yes, you have to pay for things with hours of your life, i.e., a bus ride might cost you two hours of your life).  As Will’s life would have it there’s a tragedy with his mother that truly teaches him the value of time, and also a meeting with a stranger who is sick of having so much time.  When said stranger gives Will the time he has left (and it’s a lot of time), as well as explains to Will the corrupt world that leaves Will’s side of the tracks with less and less time, Will ends up accused of killing said stranger but takes it upon himself to expose the system of time is money, and share the wealth.

Okay, I know, the movie sounds a little preachy, and yes, when Will finds himself on the “right” side of the tracks he finds a rich man’s daughter (Amanda Seyfried) to fall in love with, but in the end, if you can get past some of the goofiness of the story and obvious foreshadowing of its progression, it’s not that bad in the entertainment side of two people on the run, robbing “time” banks, and spreading the wealth to the poor.

The movie looks great in that futuristic, “The Matrix,” “Gattaca,” kind of way, which makes sense with Andrew Niccol who also directed “Gattaca” as director, and sure, the chase scenes are a little contrived and simplistic, but for a nice, little “two people on the run but not totally guilty but still trying to do good for people” movie, with a villain who isn’t that villainous, it’s okay for a rental and maybe a snuggle on the couch.  Justin Timberlake is his likeable self but doesn’t break any real acting ground in this movie, which is sort of too bad because there are times that I find him a phenomenal actor (“The Social Network” and “Alpha Dog”), but other times it’s like he’s just in a movie that might sound cool (this one).  So, in the end, it’s 3 stars out of 5 for “In Time.” Don’t go expecting the world get past some of the goofiness, and just enjoy the ride.

The Blu-ray doesn’t have too many extras, really.  There are the obligatory deleted/extended scenes that really don’t add much, but I do have to say that if you do like the movie, even a tad, go ahead and watch “The Minutes” featurette.  Rather than a standard “making of” documentary, this feature is told from the perspective of the characters, giving a little more insight into the characters from their own point of view, and kind of helps explain some of the quirks in the movie that might have you scratching your head a little bit.

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

Annie Hall

MPAA Rated – PG
It’s 1:33 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Annie Hall
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Paul Simon
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: MGM Home Entertainment / Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Released On: January 24, 2012
Kiddie Movie: Lots of dry humor. Send them to bed.
Date Movie: If she likes dated movies with dated dialogue.
Gratuitous Sex: Lots of talk about it, and people in bed, but nothing gratuitous.
Gratuitous Violence: Nope.
Action: Nope.
Laughs: Ehh.
Memorable Scene: None.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: Woody Allen
Cool things about the Blu-ray: None.

I guess I’m just never going to be a fan of Woody Allen movies, at least that is all I can come up with after watching “Annie Hall.” It’s now out on Blu-ray, it’s a movie that Woody Allen won four Oscars for making, but when the credits rolled I just thought “Ehh.”

The basic story is that Alvy (Woody Allen) is a comedian in New York City, and supposedly a very good one at that, but when it comes to the ladies, well, he comes across more like, well, Woody Allen.  As we are introduced to Alvy we learn a little about his back-story, his family life (dysfunctional as most are), and eventually how he ends up meeting Annie (Diane Keaton).  She’s kind of goofy, wants to be a singer, and their relationship seems more like a train-wreck than a love story, especially with Alvy’s being mostly just a dorky comedian, and not seeming to understand how a relationship really works.

Low and behold, Annie get her chance to become a star thanks to Tony (Paul Simon), a record dude in L.A., and Annie, has to decide whether to pursue her dream in L.A., or stay with the neurotic Alvy.  She heads to the west coast, Alvy is distraught, he heads to L.A. to try and get her back, and hilarity is supposedly still supposed to be ensuing.

Now, I can understand the creativity in movies, even movies made at a time when I was like ten years old, but as I was watching “Annie Hall,” and yes, I know it’s from 1977, but it really seemed dated and doesn’t seem to hold up well, as some movies seem to be able to do.  Yes, the acting is good, and Diane Keaton is adorable, and if you grew up in that era you will probably love to revisit the movie if you enjoyed it in your youth, but for me I found the dialogue very dry and not that witty (although, I can see, how in 1977, it was risqué and edgy, and oddly enough rated PG (and yes, I know they didn’t have PG-13 back then, but other than the lack of nudity, a lot of the topics of conversation veered into Rish territory)).

If you are a Woody Allen fan this is probably a 5 star masterpiece, but for me it was 1 ½ stars of hour-and-a-half “Ehh.” I’ll average them together and give “Annie Hall” 3 stars out of 5.

As far as the Blu-ray, you’re getting it because you have a Blu-ray player, and pretty much nothing else as it doesn’t have squat as extras.

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

The Help

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:18 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Help
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Dreamworks / Walt Disney Studio
Release Date: December 6, 2011
Kiddie Movie: It’s pretty adult, especially some of the racial hatred.
Date Movie: It’s a dudette flick that I think dudes will secretely like.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: You don’t see it much, but you know it’s happening.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: There are a lot of chuckles.
Memorable Scene: The reveal of the pie given to Hilly.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stood out.
Directed By: Tate Taylor
Cool things about the Blu-ray: It’s not overblown with special features, just a nice look at real mades of Mississippi, and a a good look at how the film ended up being made.

Okay, I admit it, as I guy I had absolutely no desire to see “The Help” when it was in the theater, and even probably made fun of it during a podcast or two.  At the time I figured I was lucky to get out of seeing it as my schedule just didn’t fit going to see it with my wife, but then I saw the notice that it was coming out on Blu-ray, and knowing my wife would probably like to see it, I sucked up my man-card and got a copy to review.  Wouldn’t you know it, I really liked the movie, and as “womanly” as the movie might seem, it tells a fabulous story of a time when things were truly changing.

Enough reflecting.  “The Help” is a movie about the maids in Jackson, Mississippi, at a time in the 1960’s when racial issues were very much at the forefront of life, and the transition from treating these strong women like property to treating them like people finally started to occur.  The movie is based on the novel by Kathryn Socket, about a writer, Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone), who was perturbed by how the white women of the south were treating the help, especially Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard), who was fully of the sort that blacks should be separated from whites, so much so that she wanted a law that households have a separate bathroom for the blacks, or something crazy like that.  Skeeter decides that the stories of the maids needed to be told, only it was illegal to publically write the story, so she devises a plan to write a novel based on anonymous accounts of the maids she would interview.  In the meantime, throughout the movie, we are immersed into the lives of the various women, from the racist white women who seem to have blinders on as to the child raising ability of their maids, to the maids themselves, as they have to deal with the uppity employers, abusive husbands, and false arrests based on only a complaint by a white woman to the police.

But at the core of the movie is really how strong all of the maids tended to be, and how, even though they shouldn’t be treated differently, understood it happens, and work through it.  Nowhere does this story come more to light than with the life of Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer), who originally worked for Hilly, but when fired devised a plan to get back at Hilly, in a way that turns out to help maintain keep Hilly at bay when the book is released, and after being fired by Hilly, finds herself working for the societal outcast, Celia (Jessica Chastain), where they both end up understanding each other even though from different sides of the social spectrum.

There are parts of the movie that just seem downright a bummer, as it recalls how blacks were treated at the time, and how far we still, as a society have yet to go, but the bestness of the movie is how it shows that sometimes it isn’t a smart thing to mess with a smart woman, even if that woman is supposed to be “less” than you.

The acting in the movie is great, even though the movie is over two hours it flows nicely, and even as a guy, I really liked “The Help.”  So go ahead and get the movie, cheer on woman who deserve their triumph when the book is released during the film, and grin when you discover how Minny gets back at Hilly.

It’s 4 ½ stars out of 5 for “The Help.”

And as far as the Blu-ray is concerned, they don’t go crazy with the extras, but they are a nice little addition to the movie.  For a change there is actually a “deleted scenes” feature that has scenes I thought would still fit nicely in the movie, the “In Their Own Words: A Tribute to the Maids of Mississippi” feature is a well-done, not overblown “interview” with real maids of Mississippi,  and the “Making of…” feature didn’t go crazy with making it stuff, just giving nice, little blurbs of how some of the locations came to be, and how the movie ended up in the hands of little known Director, Tate Taylor, who did a great job with the film.

Not too crazy on the extras, which is nice, and a great movie, makes “The Help” a high recommendation from me.

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

The Help

Below is a little excerpt from the full review of “The Help” by The Dude on the Right. He really liked the movie, and recommends it for the both of you…

…Okay, I admit it, as I guy I had absolutely no desire to see “The Help” when it was in the theater, and even probably made fun of it during a podcast or two. At the time I figured I was lucky to get out of seeing it as my schedule just didn’t fit going to see it with my wife, but then I saw the notice that it was coming out on Blu-ray, and knowing my wife would probably like to see it, I sucked up my man-card and got a copy to review. Wouldn’t you know it, I really liked the movie, and as “womanly” as the movie might seem, it tells a fabulous story of a time when things were truly changing. …