The Aviator

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:50 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Aviator
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, Gwen Stefani, Alan Alda, Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Miramax
Kiddie Movie: Leave them at home.
Date Movie: It’s good for couples.
Gratuitous Sex: You get some, but it’s PG-13 sex.
Gratuitous Violence: No violence.
Action: A great crash sequence.
Laughs: There’s a few.
Memorable Scene: When Howard’s plane crashes into Beverly Hills, and Leonardo feeling up Kate.
Memorable Quote: None stand out.
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

I really don’t remember Howard Hughes, just heard some weird stories about the man, so I don’t know how true to life “The Aviator” is, but as a movie, it’s fantastic, but sometimes a little slow/long.

Let’s get to it…

In another Academy Awardable role, we get Leonardo DiCaprio whom I call one of the luckiest men alive. Why? Because in his role as Howard Hughes, he gets to feel up Kate Beckinsale who plays Ava Gardner, and I consider Kate as one of the best looking women alive. But enough of my jealousy, Leonardo, and quite honestly everyone in this movie is fantastic.

Well, “The Aviator” gives us this take on the life of Howard Hughes. We begin with an opening shot of a young Hughes being scrubbed clean by his mother, who enhances his spelling skills making sure he knows to stay away from houses with words like cholera and quarantine on their doors. We can surmise from this that maybe his germ-phobia developed because of his mother, but what do I know. Now shift to Howard a little older, blowing his riches on his first movie “Hell’s Angels,” which at first became the laughing stock of Hollywood because of how much Howard spent on the film and his directing style, but when the finished product proved amazing, Howard became a film icon. But the movie also introduced us to Howard’s other love, his love for airplanes.

And so, we shift the story away from Howard Hughes the filmmaker, now we see Howard Hughes the businessman in the aircraft industry, and we really start to see Howard becoming the germ-phobic eccentric that sadly became as much of his legacy as his movie and business practices. On the aircraft side we see Howard as the visionary, testing his designers to design what he sees in his mind, and he’s not afraid to test the designs himself, we also see Howard recognizing the opportunity of the industry as he acquires TWA and seeks to dethrone the politically connected Pan Am.

We also get Howard Hughes the ladies man, and this is where director Martin Scorsese shows his talent in picking the right people for roles because as the glamorous Jean Harlow Scorsese tapped Gwen Stefani, relatively unknown on the Hollywood screen, but she pulled off Harlow nicely. For the woman who was able to bring Howard out of totally losing his mind for a little bit, Scorsese gives us Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner. You already know how I feel about Kate, and in this role she is just as stunning as ever. But nothing against these lovely ladies, the one who really steals the show is Cate Blanchett as the feisty Katherine Hepburn. I don’t really know if she got the accent right, but even if not, she was perfect in my mind.

Yes, “The Aviator” gives us filmmaking at it’s best, and we really wouldn’t expect any less from Scorsese, but the movie is a tad long, tapping the over 2 ½ hour mark. Sadly, this did come into play for me and that will knock it down a little in the rating. The thing is I don’t really know why it seemed to play long, it was just that at one point the movie dragged a little, I looked at my watch and it said we were only about 50 minutes into the movie, and from that point on it just seemed a little long.

So, wrapping up, “The Aviator” for me is a fantastic film that just didn’t hold me fixated on the movie for the 2 ½ hours. I’ll only dock it half a star and still give it 4 ½ stars out of 5 just for the airplane scenes and Leonardo being able to slide his hand down the front of Kate Beckinsale’s dress. Everything else in the film just adds to that.

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!!!

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!!!