MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:32 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Gene Simmons, Kristen Wiig
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Release Date: 2009
Kiddie Movie: Put them to bed.
Date Movie: My BFF liked it, so go ahead and watch it with her.
Gratuitous Sex: Lots of talk but clothes are kept on.
Gratuitous Violence: A dude loses a testicle.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Lots of chuckles.
Memorable Scene: Every scene with Ben Affleck
Memorable Quote: Nothing sticks out.
Directed By: Mike Judge

Who knew Gene Simmons was such a great actor? Okay, maybe not great, but as scheister lawyer Joe Adler, I loved him. The movie is “Extract,” and you are definitely getting this Blu-ray for the movie because the extras, well, let’s get to that at the end.

Here’s the story…

Jason Bateman is Joel. From his youth he has been fascinated with “extracts,” you know, things like vanilla that your grandmother would use in baking. Turns out that Joel is also a chemistry wiz and developed special versions that, well, I didn’t really understand it, but they are better extracts used in baking than most extracts. But, that’s not important right now. What is important is that Joel has turned his knowledge into a business, owning and running a bottling plant for his extracts, being married to Suzie (Kristen Wiig), and have a best friend in Dean (Ben Affleck). But things at an extract plant can get a little hairy, especially when you don’t always have the most intelligent or dedicated workforce, and especially when things aren’t the greatest in your love life, as is the case with Joel, and you have recently hired the hottie Cindy (Mila Kunis).

So, Joel wrestles with whether or not he should sleep with Cindy, he hedges this by seeing if Suzie will be faithful while in the company of a new pool boy, and finally, Joel’s big payday might be ruined because one of his employees has hired said scheister lawyer, Joe Adler, and might just drive the company into bankruptcy. Things are rough in the extract business, and Joel knows it.

Look, “Extract” is a Mike Judge film, and as such develops itself into a quirky look at the workplace. “Office Space” had Mike analyzing people in the corporate office, this movie has the folks in an extract processing plant, and it has its moments that I think most anyone can understand and/or relate to. The weird thing about this movie is that it takes many strange turns, from the thievery aspect of the drifter Cindy, to the setting up your wife to cheat on you aspect, to a dude getting a testicle blown off in a freak plant accident, and I think the place that “Extract” lost a little character is almost trying to have too many tentacles in the movie instead of just maintaining the focus on what could have been the funniest of aspects, namely Step getting his ball shot off and hiring Joe Adler as a lawyer.

I have to say that I’m kind of happy that I didn’t catch the movie in the theater, I think I would have been disappointed, but as a DVD I think it’s a nice little comedy that takes a funny look at a food processing plant. For that, it’s 3 out of 5 stars, especially if you enjoy the Mike Judge type of humor.

Now, as far as the Blu-ray, or the DVD for that fact, don’t even worry about the extras. I mean, there’s a little clip about how Mike Judge goes about putting a movie together that is nice enough, but the “Blu-ray” extras, namely the deleted scene and extended scene, aren’t worth it at all. You’re getting this movie on Blu-ray only because, well, you own a Blu-ray player.

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

Ghosts of the Abyss

MPAA Rated – G
It’s 1:00 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Ghosts of the Abyss
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: James Cameron, Bill Paxton, and documentary crew.
MPAA Rated: G
Released By: Walt Disney Studio Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Kiddie Movie: They might like Jake and Elwood.
Date Movie: It’s not a snuggle movie, but if she likes a good documentary, watch it with her on the couch.
Gratuitous Sex: Umm, no.
Gratuitous Violence: Umm, no.
Action: Some suspense.
Laughs: It’s got some cute moments, especially the prank on James Cameron.
Memorable Scene: Saving Elwood!
Memorable Quote: Nothing stands out.
Directed By: James Cameron
Cool Things about the DVDs: The 3 Disc Blu-ray gives you the 3-D version, the standard Blu-ray, and a normal DVD. The extra featurettes are fun because they are kept short and sweet and to the point.

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect with “Ghosts of the Abyss.” I vaguely remember when it hit the theaters and being a fan of the movie “Titanic,” I thought it might be an interesting watch, but I never made it to the theater to catch it. With the chance to catch the documentary at home now that it’s been digitally remastered, I was bummed I didn’t have a 3-D TV to watch the Blu-ray 3-D version, but the standard Blu-ray was good enough to see some awesomeness of the Titanic, and combined with James Cameron’s telling stories and using his filmmaking genius to superimpose the real world on the decaying wreckage, he crafts a documentary that tells the last hours of the Titanic and of the world that was taking place on the ship before the disaster struck.

Gone is the fictitious story of Jack and Rose, and in its place are two new stars, Jake and Elwood, the little robot cameras used for much of the filming of the documentary, at least undersea, and even though one might think “Oh wow, I saw it all during “Titanic,” it is very interesting seeing the footage put together and at times, truly think about the actions of the passengers and crew on that fateful night.  The documentary follows Jim and the crew, along with Bill Paxton who is along for the ride, on going deep into the Titanic with their little robot “stars,” and does a good job at showing many of the dangers involved in missions to the bottom of the sea. Sure, you won’t see tag lines of “Strap yourself in for wild ride!” for “Ghosts of the Titanic,” but there is some suspense and some action as well, as even I was nervous for the boys trying to secure the submersibles when the arrived back up top to find thrashing seas, and who won’t get a kick when Jim won’t leave Elwood behind as the little guy gets stuck inside Titanic.

Just as exciting as the documentary itself with its visual splendor, I was equally fascinated with the extras on the Blu-ray version, with the “Reflections from the Deep” featurette containing six, well-constructed stories of the “making” of the movie, none of which are too long to bore you but give enough to entertain, and who doesn’t like a good prank, and we find that even James Cameron isn’t exempt from some silly shenanigans.

“Ghosts of the Abyss” is a nice little documentary package about the Titanic. No, not about the movie, but about the ship, and for some beautiful visuals and interesting storytelling as James Cameron is able to do, it’s a solid 4 stars out of 5 for this little documentary, and the extra featurettes aren’t too shabby either.

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

Confessions of a Shopaholic

MPAA Rated – PG
It’s 1:45 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Confessions of a Shopaholic
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Isla Fisher, Krysten Ritter, Joan Cusack, John Goodman, John Lithgow, Kristin Scott Thomas, Fred Armisen, Leslie Bibb, Lynn Redgrave
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: Touchstone Home Entertainment
Release Date: 2009
Kiddie Movie: Good for tween girls.
Date Movie: My BFF didn’t care for it that much.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Some cute moments.
Memorable Scene: Nothing stands out.
Memorable Quote: Nah.
Directed By: PJ Hogan
Cool Things About the Blu-ray: There are some “nothing special” leftovers in the blooper and deleted scene areas. Other than that, the Blu-ray specials mostly are devoted to the fashion stuff with a look at Patricia Field and the green scarf.

I do my best to be objective when watching movies that really aren’t meant for me, so instead of watching “Confessions of a Shopaholic” by myself, I snuggled with my BFF on the couch to get a woman’s opinion while watching the DVD, especially since she likes shopping. I guess to start this review the easiest thing to say is the movie wasn’t really meant for her, either. Let’s get to the story…

Isla Fisher is Becky Bloomwood. She likes to shop. Now I don’t just mean she goes “La, la, la. That looks nice, I think I’ll buy it!”, nope, I’m talking obsessive, must get the best, must get the first, must use up every ounce of credit card I have to the point I can’t pay the bills but still want to shop, shop. Becky, by chance, is also a writer, and she would really like to write for a fashion magazine, but instead she finds herself writing about finance, brought on by her love, and need for possession, of this green scarf.

So now Becky has money troubles because of her addiction to shopping, she is constantly being hounded by a collection dude, she isn’t really writing for the magazine she wants to but loves the attention, and wouldn’t you know it, she also falls in love with her boss at the finance magazine place. Ah, life is so complicated!

Alas, “Confessions of a Shopaholic” is a romantic comedy, so you know what that means? Yup, romance and comedy, only for this movie most of it is on the PG level, hence the PG rating, so really, in my adult realm, I found the movie mostly in the cute category, nothing to write home about, and really nothing to snuggle for with my BFF as we watched it, and we both kind of agreed that this movie is probably better suited for the teen girl crowd, who likes to look at fashion, wishes she could buy it, and would find Hugh Dancy, Becky’s boss, dreamy.

Look, I know I’m not the target audience anyway, but the movie sticks a little too much to the cutesy script, which I guess is okay for the tween girls, but as adorable and as funny as Isla Fisher can be, the movie just fell flat for both me and my BFF most of the time. As such, I can’t give it more than 2 stars out of 5, but for your tween girl who dreams about high fashion, she might find it fun.

As far as the Blu-ray DVD, I wish I could say the extras were another reason to get the Blu-ray, but unless you are a total fashion obsessed person, or what some music videos there isn’t a reason for the Blu-ray other than the picture. I mean, you get a little insight into the fashion sense of Patricia Field, some analysis of the green scarf that plays a big role in the movie, and some music videos, but even the standard DVD extras, the bloopers and deleted scenes, just seem to be thrown in for good measure.

Get it for your teenage daughter who likes fashion and impress on her the fact that yes, you can spend too much money on clothes, otherwise, the movie leaves a lot to be desired.

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

City of Ember

MPAA Rated – PG
It’s 2:03 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

City of Ember
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Harry Treadaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Murray, Saoirse Ronan
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Release Date: 2008
Kiddie Movie: It’s probably better for them, at least the little bit older ones.
Date Movie: My BFF woke up and hated it. Umm, I’ll state this as iffy.
Gratuitous Sex: None.
Gratuitous Violence: A giant rat/anemone eats people.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Nah.
Memorable Scene: At the end, wouldn’t Ember be further underground?
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: Gil Kenan

The DVD I had, and from what I’ve read, doesn’t really have anything extra, so unless you love the story, this isn’t a DVD to buy.

I watched “City of Ember” with my BFF, and after it was over, well, we both kind of agreed on the rating of the film. 2 1/2ish stars out of 5. Then my BFF woke up the next morning and all hell broke loose in her final analysis. I suppose we’ll just start with the story.
“City of Ember” is based on a book by Jeanne Duprau, and I’m guessing the book explains things maybe just a little better because the movie left a lot to be answered. In any case, the movie starts explaining that for reasons unknown to us viewers, Earth is in disarray, and to save humanity, the brightest minds got together and built an underground city called Ember. The bright minds of the day figured that 200 years would be enough for the Earth to heal itself, and to signify this time, well, they made a box, with a timer, that in 200 years would open to let the current Mayor of Ember figure out how to get the citizens of Ember back to the surface of Earth. Little did “The Builders” know that government corruption, stupidity, and the lack of learning and science might be a detriment 200 years later.

You see, sometime before the 200 year mark, the box with the instructions on how to get out of Ember disappeared, but the problem is that the city was only designed to last for 200 years, and now that Ember has passed their bicentennial, well, things are going bad. For starters, the generator that provides power for the city is giving out, and no one really knows how to fix it. And to top that off, the food storage areas are nearly depleted, although most of the residents don’t realize that starving will be the name of the day soon. Enter Mayor Cole (Bill Murray). He’s a bloated government blow-hard, only looking out for himself. And also enter Doon (Harry Treadaway), who thinks he can fix the generator. And lastly enter Lina (Saoirse Ronan), who is the link to the old box. Mayor Cole doesn’t give a damn about the citizens, but Doon and Lina are friends, and when Lina comes across the box to save them, both her and Doon piece together the puzzle that The Builders left them, and through perils of a giant rat that has somehow mated with a sea anemone, and the fact that Mayor Cole just wants his food, Doon and Lina realize that the only hope for the people of Ember is to find a way out of Ember, and somehow they have the key.

And, yup, Doon and Lina eventually figure out the key to get out of Ember, and somehow a rock they throw down a hole finds its way to Doon’s dad, and Ember is saved, or at least so we think.

Okay. Look, “City of Ember” is a nice movie, and I really wanted to like it more, but for the most part there were too many topics unanswered, which sadly is probably because you can’t always take a novel and turn it into a movie. The story just kind of drags on and on until we get to the eventual ending, which, even so, is kind of, well, unanswered. I mean, we don’t know why Earth is in utter turmoil, so much so that scientists have exiled a group of people to a “perfect” city; We don’t know why the secret box ended up in the home of the yarn lady; We don’t know why mutant animals are in and around Ember; And thanks to my BFF, we don’t know how water can flow up-hill.

Part of me did like the movie, the adventure the kids eventually took was entertaining, but through it all even with the nice acting of Harry Treadaway, Saoirse Rona, Bill Murray, and Tim Robbins (as Loris Harrow – Doon’s dad), the movie just didn’t grip me like I thought the potential was there.

And, oh yea, the morning after watching the movie, my BFF began her over-analysis, which actually held up in my scientific mind. First off, as Doon and Lina were in their little canoe, escaping the city, flowing way downhill in the river and water, well, the staircase they had to climb was way too short for the depth that the city was supposedly in. Also, there was no explanation for the rat/anemone monster. And also, also, sure, maybe it was fate, but what the hell are the odds that a rock thrown from the Earth’s surface, down a dirt hole, would find itself in the hands of Loris? And, oh yea, yea, what kind of moron can’t figure out the kids are hiding behind the wall? My BFF woke up the next morning and decided her 2 ½ star rating was way too generous, that the movie had too many holes and was utterly preposterous. Now she decided the movie only deserved ½ star , or maybe 1 star, tops.

The worst part, as an engineer, I had to agree with her about the river/water thing, because as much as Ember is underground, a walking path to the Earth’s surface, complete with mutant monsters and peril, would have made a lot more sense than water being able to flow, supposedly, uphill.

I will admit that I have rambled, and “City of Ember” is a movie you can actually watch with your kids, if they are around 8 to 12, but in the end the movie had so much more potential and probably blew its load as a series of films by trying to fit too much in one episode, and after waking up the next morning, and listening to the analysis of my BFF, I have to only give “City of Ember” 1 ½ star out of 5. The potential was there, the acting was mostly there, but the thing that was missing was anything dealing with logic.

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