The Devil’s Own

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:41 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Devil’s Own
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: 1997
Kiddie Movie: Not really. There’s no sex, but lots of gunfire and the story might get them bored.
Date Movie: Sure. Guys can talk about the kills and the girls can talk about how cute Brad Pitt is.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of quality kills, especially at the beginning.
Action: Some suspense moments, but no real car chases.
Laughs: A couple placed nicely.
Memorable Scene: Everyone but Brad and his buddy getting blown away in the big gunfight at the beginning of the movie.
Memorable Quote: When Brad comes in to Harrison’s house, Harrison Ford says “It’s good to have someone here that pees standing up.”
Directed By: Alan J Pakula

I’m was kinda worried going in to see “The Devil’s Own.” Yep, this was the movie where it seemed every entertainment show on TV and the entertainment magazines were having stories about the troubles on the set. Brad Pitt said this, Harrison Ford was having problems on the set, the story keeps changing, Sony’s suing Brad, Harrison’s pissed; you name it, it seems someone said it, and people had this movie doomed before the trailers even hit the theater. Then I saw the trailer and thought to myself that it sure doesn’t look that bad – maybe they all pulled it together and two of Hollywood’s premier actors made nice and made a great movie. Well, I don’t know if they made nice or not, but I do know they made a good movie – not great, but good none the less.

In its simplest term “The Devil’s Own” is about an Irish Republican Army dude, played by Brad Pitt, coming to America to score some cool weapons, in this case some stinger missiles. Harrison Ford meanwhile is playing an Irish cop on the streets of New York who has only shot his gun four times in his 23ish years on the force. He’s got his own problems with his partner, and the last thing he really needs is a criminal staying in his house, but he gets duped by an IRA supporting judge to let Pitt stay in his house, and in the end it turns into a clash between a cop and a criminal. Not always liking deep and meaningful story lines, I personally think they should have left the story at that – let’s have some quality kills, good guys versus bad guys, and maybe blow up some stuff. But no, they gave this film a meaning and maybe for some people that’s what they liked about it, but for me, it made the film a little slow at times.

So, where do all of these meanings and lessons to be learned come in? Well, it seems Frankie, the IRA dude played by Pitt, got to see his dad gunned down when he was a little boy. This turns him into one of the most wanted IRA members in the old country. You’ve got little Frankie growing up without a dad, becoming a great killer supporting his cause, and low and behold, you place Frankie, who has probably shot as many people as Rambo, in a house where dad’s got three daughters and his wife. Yep, you get the feeling dad, played by Harrison, always wanted a son, and now he’s got one, too bad for him it’s Frankie. Well, not to ruin a lot of things because the story does have some surprises, but some of the overblown messages permeating this movie for me were ones like – we can’t understand the fighting in Ireland because we’re not a part of it; if you’ve got a gun you should shoot people with it; even the best of cops are crooked; and people in Ireland don’t eat corned beef and cabbage.

Now I know that this movie wasn’t supposed to be just another action movie, it was supposed to teach us something, but I think the social messages were overblown for my tastes. Sure, put them in the movie, but don’t ram shove them down my throat with a plunger.

Now, getting past all of that stuff, “The Devil’s Own” is still a pretty decent movie played by two of the best actors out there. Harrison Ford plays the “torn between the good guy and bad guy” role perfectly. He comes off as the perfect family man, a great cop who has dedicated his life to protecting and serving rather than blowing away the bad guys, and just being an all around good guy. Brad Pitt, in total contrast, is the consummate bad guy, able to shoot anyone at the slightest sign of danger, able to ram his now good friend Harrison’s head into a window, and hell bent on getting those stinger missiles. Viscous and brutal meets Mr. Nice Guy – it’s a great plan but just sometimes drags a little.

You’ve got some action, some surprises, but some spots slow the movie to a crawl. If you like a movie that preaches more than it teaches, “The Devil’s Own” will be for you. If you’re looking for an action movie like the adds seem to show you might be a little disappointed.

It’s 2 1/2 stars out of 5 from me and that’s it for this one. I’m The Dude on the Right, L8R!!


MPAA Rated – R
It’s 2:22 Long
A Preview by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael García Bernal and Kôji Yakusho
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Paramount Vintage
Directed By: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

The trailer for “Babel” reminds me a little of “Syriana” where you get a bunch of different stories that somehow intertwine, and how no one seems to be able to understand each other. The trouble seems to start when Susan (Cate Blanchett) gets shot and her companion Richard (Brad Pitt) is having a hell of a time communicating to the people in the town that he needs help, needs to call the US Embassy, and then, somehow, this shooting turns into an international incident bringing even more people into the story.

I’m sure this is supposed to be put on the radar for some Oscar nominations, and it does look interesting, but “Syriana” was hard enough to follow without the language issue, now we’ve got intertwining stories where people can’t understand each other.

A renowned director and a good cast, so I suppose I’ll do my best to catch this one.

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

Burn After Reading

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:36 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Burn After Reading
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, J.K. Simmons
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Focus Features
Release Date: 2008
Kiddie Movie: For the love of your children, leave them at home.
Date Movie: If she likes espionage and is kind of kinky.
Gratuitous Sex: Talk, The Liberator, and a chair.
Gratuitous Violence: Someone carries a gun and it goes off, and I’m not talking about his wiener.
Action: Nope.
Laughs: Tons, once you get into it.
Memorable Scene: Harry might be a psychopathic killer!
Memorable Quote: Too many to quote.
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen

And just when you think Harry (George Clooney) is a bad guy in “Burn After Reading,” you just come to realize that he really just wants to make his wife, and maybe some other women, happy.

Such is part of the twisted tale of “Burn After Reading,” a movie from the Coen boys, that takes a little bit of time to get going, but once it kicks in, be ready to laugh, be ready to shriek, and be ready to wonder if a boob job is really worth keeping a government secret.

The basic premise is that Osborne Cox (John Malkovich), married to Katie (Tilda Swinton), works for the CIA, but rather than getting demoted, he decides to quit, much to the dismay of Katie. But Osborne has a plan, and in a weird twist of copying information from a computer, a CD with information that looks like super-secret spy information falls into the hands of Chad (Brad Pitt) and Linda (Frances McDormand). Chad and Linda are trainers at a local fitness center where Linda is obsessed with getting some plastic surgery to maintain her aging physique although she doesn’t have the cash, while Chad is just a dope, who is more fascinated in the game of having a super-secret spy CD, and if some money rolls his way, oh, what the hell?

So Chad and Linda begin their escapade to trade the CD back to Osborne, for a sizeable reward of course, but in the meantime events have been set in motion that will intertwine all of their lives, much to the confusement of the CIA superior dude, played by J.K. Simmons. It turns out that multiple people are sleeping with other people, some divorces are in play, and when government secrets are involved, as is the Russian consulate, things can get really weird, really fast, and as “Burn After Reading” ends up at its conclusion, well, you might wonder who you were really rooting for in this movie. That doesn’t matter because I think they all get what they deserve, except for maybe Chad, who got what he deserved only because he is a dope.

The thing with “Burn After Reading” is that as you are trying to get yourself through the first 30 minutes or so, you will probably be scratching your head quite a bit, wondering why, if he is sleeping with her, and she is looking for love on the internet, and he might be an alcoholic, well, how will these stories intertwine, but let me tell you, the Coen brothers do their best to weave a twisted tale of infidelity, government espionage, and sex furniture, into a fun-filled movie that if you let yourself go with it, and might just give you a laugh that will have that soda coming out of your nose if you take that drink at the wrong time.

I can understand people not liking “Burn After Reading,” but for me, I loved it. I didn’t 5 Star love it, because it did take a while to get moving, but Brad Pitt playing a dope was so spot on, the laugh I got with those in the theater that probably subscribe to magazines like Rolling Stone, Maxim, or Playboy was great, and as preposterous as most everything was in the movie, it just worked so well that I didn’t care once things started rolling. With all of that, and with a lot of weird laughter, I’m giving “Burn After Reading” 4 stars out of 5. It’s all adult fare, and fine, you can probably wait until the movie hits the DVD side, but I laughed a lot. Government espionage meets kinky sex. And Brad Pitt as a dope: If that intrigues you, you’ll probably like “Burn After Reading,” too.

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

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:47 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Curious Case
of Benjamin Button
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Paramount Pictures & Warner Bros.
Release Date: 2008
Kiddie Movie: They’d probably get tired and bored.
Date Movie: If she’s okay with a long movie.
Gratuitous Sex: There are suggestions. Hey, Benjamin does grow up, I mean young.
Gratuitous Violence: Benjamin does go through World War II, but nothing horrible.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: Quite a few one-liners keep things light-hearted.
Memorable Scene: Brad Pitt as an old, I mean young man.
Memorable Quote: “That’s the saddest story I ever heard.”
Directed By: David Fincher

For as long as I can remember after seeing the first trailer for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” I couldn’t figure out how they were going to have Brad Pitt “reverse” age. I mean, how do you start out as an old, full-sized man, and then end up as a little baby? The TV show “Mork & Mindy” pulled it off because, well, they were aliens, but the trailers showed an old man in the mirror looking sort of like Brad Pitt, and then Brad Pitt looking like, well, Brad Pitt. I must say that as the movie began, it finally made sense how Benjamin would age backwards, but then the ending just seemed wrong. Anyway, let’s get to the story.

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” opens with Daisy (Cate Blanchett) as an old, dying woman, in a hospital in New Orleans, just as Hurricane Katrina is bearing down on the gulf. Her daughter Caroline (Julia Ormond) is with her, and then Daisy has Caroline read from a diary and the story of Benjamin Buttons begins.

We learn of Benjamin’s birth, as a grotesque, old-looking baby, whose father leaves him on a doorstep to be raised by others at a home for old people, where, even though he’s kinda gross, the old people can relate. The problem is, instead of dying, the baby begins to grow up, but as he grows up in size and learns to speak and walk, he also reverses in physical appearance, looking younger and younger every day. As the story goes, Benjamin grows older as children do, realizing he likes girls (especially Daisy, who is too young for him because he, well, right now looks too old), wants to see the world, seeks adventure (finding it on a tug-boat that turns into a navy vessel, thereby giving Benjamin a sense of purpose, love and sex, and friendship), but always has a place in his heart for the old homestead, and Caroline. There finally comes a time when Benjamin and Caroline are the appropriate age, do the dirty deed, I mean make love, have a child amongst themselves, and life happily ever after, sort of.

Sure, I could give away a lot of the plot elements, like Benjamin having an affair with a lady who swims, who his father is, and how he dies (please, don’t bitch at me about giving away that he dies – it’s a story about the life of Benjamin Button – of course he dies), but what fun would that be? Actually, I so want to give away how he dies because I really didn’t like it, but maybe I’ll wait for the DVD review to give that away, and how I thought it was carried out wrong.

The thing is, I really liked “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” except for, well, how he died, and I’m torn if I should let that influence my rating. You see, it’s really a nice story and a curious take on life and growing old, the acting in the movie is fantastic across the board, and the effects of making Brad Pitt start as an old man and reverse age are utterly fantastic (ladies, you will easily remember how you fell in love with him during his “Thelma & Louise” phase, and I’m thinking Angelina Jolie is probably saying “You know, he has great potential to be a hot looking older dude!”). Some people are complaining the movie is too long (it clocks in at almost the three hour mark) but come on, you can’t squeeze 80 years of a person’s life in an hour and half, and really, it doesn’t play out that long. I sort of wish, though that more time would have been spent with Benjamin as an old man, or rather, I mean as a young man, I mean, when he was an old man but looked like a young man, although I suppose his true formative years were when he was an old man, I mean a young man, I mean when he was young but looked like an old man.

Visually the movie does deserve a trip to the movie theater, and I suppose, Benjamin’s death aside, it’s a great movie, so I’ll just leave my rating at a very solid 4 stars out of 5. The story is entertaining, the effects are fantastic, the acting is entertaining, and Brad Pitt sure has come a long way from his “I’m just a hot piece of ass” days. If you don’t see the movie in the theater, which I do recommend, put it high in your Netflix queue when it makes it to video.

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