Eye of the Beholder

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

Eye of the Beholder
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ashley Judd, Ewan McGregor, k.d. lang
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Destination Films
Release Date: 1999
Kiddie Movie: No way.
Date Movie: She might get a little scared, or might thing you’re a stalker.
Gratuitous Sex: There’s some.
Gratuitous Violence: Some quality kills.
Action: Not too much on the action side.
Laughs: Only at things that didn’t make sense.
Memorable Scene: Ashley Judd (Joanna) stabbing a dude.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: Stephen Elliott

There are many ways to go for realism in a film. Sometimes you try to get shootings to look real. Sometimes you try to get acting to seem real. And sometimes you try to get scenery to look real. Now this might not make sense to anyone who hasn’t seen a Chicago police car, but I just had to chuckle as I was watching “Eye of the Beholder” when The Eye (yea, no name really, just “The Eye”) (Ewan McGregor) and Joanna (Ashley Judd) ended up in Chicago. Other than the fact that there aren’t many cobblestone streets, who told the filmmakers that the police cars had red stripes on them? I saw the Chicago rollers and there they were, painted in red instead of the blue that every person who has seen any other movie with Chicago coppers, from a film like “The Blues Brothers” to “The Fugitive,” would know. It was at this point that “Eye of the Beholder” just took a downturn from “Ehh” to “wait for cable.”

So, in “Eye of the Beholder” you have The Eye, a spy dude with a couple of screws loose because he lost his daughter who is, well, spying, on Joanna and her latest conquest. She’s not playing with a full deck either as she sort of has the black widow thing going. You know, using men for their love (and money) and then killing them. Well, after seeing Joanna and hearing voices from his lost daughter, The Eye basically bails on his spy career and turns into a stalker, trailing Joanna across the continental United States and ending up in Alaska. We get to see The Eye using his high-tech spy things to catch her words, her actions, her falling in love, and her finally seeming to have a happy life with a blind dude until The Eye messes that up. But he thinks that he is meant for her, she doesn’t really know him until it’s too late, and, well, the movie doesn’t have a happy ending except to have you going “That’s it?” At least that’s what the lady in back of me said as the credits started to roll.

There were lots of problems with “Eye of the Beholder” and none of them had to do with the acting of McGregor nor Judd. McGregor is in a roll right after the Star Wars flick, maybe so he doesn’t fall into the “Mark Hamill Syndrome.” He’s a good enough actor, playing the messed in the head spy who can’t help but try to help Joanna, but the role is stuck in a story that really ends up making little sense. Ashley Judd, still one of my favoritist actresses lately, is great as the disturbed man-killer, really just looking for someone to love her and not see her for what she is, and does her role well. But the problem comes in the story, especially on the The Eye side. Yea, he’s great at being a detective, but he’s a little, as my mom might nicely say, loony. His co-workers know this, but they don’t do anything except maybe enable him. And when he finally snaps, well, even with all the spy gear and the spy agency he works for, well, they can’t find him, which I find odd because he always wears the dingy red coat and looks disheveled. At first he seemed like a great spy, but by the end he just made me laugh, especially with his shrine of snow-globes, and his final inability to tell Joanna just who he is.

So, McGregor was good and Ashley, I’m happy to say, is a great actress with a great body and isn’t afraid to show it. But the rest of the movie, well, it was good until you realize that The Eye is basically a stalker with cool spy shit.

So, as I checked my watch during the movie I was deciding to give “Eye of the Beholder” 2 ½ stars, then came the Chicago roller’s blunder and I just can’t handle that. At least get the color right. As much as McGregor was good, as much as Judd was good (and she got naked too), I just couldn’t get over the red coloring on the Chicago cop cars and the story just seemed really dumb after that. I really hate giving this rating for an Ashley Judd movie, but it’s 1 ½ stars for “Eye of the Beholder.” It was a movie with a lot, and I mean a lot of potential, but at least give me a little bit of realism, or at least find out what color the cop cars are.

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

Down With Love

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:41 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Down With Love
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, David Hyde Pierce, Sarah Paulson, Tony Randall, Peter Spruyt
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: 2003
Kiddie Movie: Little girls might like it, but there’s still some sex things that might be better for teens.
Date Movie: She’ll drag you along and still not like it.
Gratuitous Sex: There’s a remake of a famous talking on the phone scene from the “Pillow Talk” days, but this one is pretty dirty.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Nah.
Memorable Scene: Nah.
Memorable Quote: Nah.
Directed By: Peyton Reed

Alright, I’m not one to know exactly what people think when they chose a film to be in, but you have to wonder if Ewan McGregor longed for his “Moulin Rouge” days and Renee Zellweger longed for her “Chicago” days, looking at “Down With Love” and saying “I get to sing again. Great! Oh, by the way, what’s the story about?” It’s not that “Down With Love” is a horrible film, and I can like a romantic comedy with the best of them, but after revealing the giant plot twist, and giving an ending that would have really showed the empowering of women, the movie went back to being a cookie-cutter romance and finished exactly how you would think it would.

Pretty much here’s how the story goes. Zellweger plays Barbara Novak. She’s just written a book telling women how to control their man. McGregor plays Catcher Block, a womanizing writer able to woo women at a single look. Novak is set to have an interview with Block, but Block keeps blowing her off opting for romantic rendezvous with a variety of women. As such, Novak finds out why Catcher keeps missing their appointments and vows not to speak with him. Catcher’s problem, and that of most of the male population, is that Barbara’s book, titled ‘Down With Love’, is becoming a big hit and women are now starting to withhold sex from their men.

Catcher now knows that the only way to recharge his sex life is to prove the book a fraud, that women can’t live without love, and the only way to do this is to get Barbara to fall in love. Since Barbara has never actually met Catcher, he decides to give himself the name “Zip Martin,” pose as an astronaut, and woo Barbara, and woo he does. Wining and dining, theatre and ballgames, Catcher is doing his best to get Barbara to fall in love with Zip. Yea, yea, yea, in the meantime Catcher is really falling in love with Barbara. Will Barbara find out Catcher’s plan before he can expose her? Will Catcher give up his plan to write the expose because he loves Barbara? Will there be some convoluted plot twist that could have led to a great ending? Will the filmmakers not end the movie at that great ending point and instead keep the movie going with Catcher groveling for Barbara to forgive him? It is for the last question that I just gave up on the movie and dropped it a star.

They say “Down With Love” is supposed to bring back the sex comedies that were present in the 60’s, specifically the movie “Pillow Talk.” The people making the movie seemed to have forgotten to do the math. Let’s see, “Pillow Talk” came out around 1960. Let’s say that most of the people who saw the movie were older than 20. Well, that makes most of the people who could relate to the movie over 60. I’m just guessing that for the most part your typical romantic comedy audience is a female (dragging her boyfriend kicking and screaming), between the ages of 20 to 45. How many of them have seen the movie “Pillow Talk”, let alone know it exists? So, I’m thinking a marketing plan of “Bringing back the sex comedies of the 60’s” really doesn’t relate. What does relate is a good romantic comedy, specifically the comedy part. That’s what gets one dudette to go see it, have her tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and all of a sudden you’ve got a hit. There just doesn’t seem to be a reason for anyone to tell two friends to see this movie.

The story fell short, sure McGregor and Zellweger looked the role of the 60’s movie star, but other than some people who haven’t remodeled their kitchens in forty years, who wants to see a romantic comedy set in the 60’s? The bright spot in this movie was the neurotic Peter (David Hyde Pierce), who seemed to be the only comic relief in a movie that really didn’t have potential for any else. Oh well.

Had the movie ended where I thought it should have, I would have stretched and given “Down With Love” 2 ½ stars, but with the cookie-cutter ending I’m knocking this one down to 1 ½ stars out of 5. It just falls short on too many levels.

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

Angels & Demons

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:15 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Angels & Demons
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Kiddie Movie: There’s a lot of violence and they’d just be confused. Leave them at home.
Date Movie: My BFF enjoyed it, so I say bring them along.
Gratuitous Sex: Robert Langdon stays celibate, and keeps his clothes on, too.
Gratuitous Violence: Some people get burned, shot, drowned, etc., so yea
Action: There’s a lot of running and chasing.
Laughs: A chuckles here and there.
Memorable Scene: I still like the puzzle solving, and would love to visit the Vatican archives.
Memorable Quote: Nothing really.
Directed By: Ron Howard

I still can’t figure out what all of the hubbub was about that the Catholic Church originally brought up because my take on “Angels & Demons” is that the church might have their problems, but most of the problems in this movie are caused by a rogue priest, or maybe a couple of rogue priests, much like the problems in any religion, so Catholicism bashing aside, is the movie any good? You betcha!

“Angels & Demons” is actually a book that was released before “The Da Vinci Code,” but for the movie they shift it to being after the movie you probably saw, and you know what, you get the same kind of problem-solving, good looking girl, let’s try and save a life or two, and let’s get to the root of this problem to save something, kind of flick that you found in that Da Vinci film. And like that Da Vinci film, don’t try to hard to understand all of the story, just enjoy the ride.

Pretty much “Angels & Demons” involves a supposed plot from a group called The Illuminati (yea, you might also remember them from the Lara Kroft: Tomb Raider movie – I guess they get around, don’t they?). In any case, the Pope is dead, the Cardinals are getting ready to elect a new Pope, some Cardinal dudes get kidnapped, and a super-duper energy source also gets stolen. It seems that The Illuminati are pissed, looking for revenge on the Catholic Church for some atrocities years earlier, and to get their revenge, and fulfill an ancient prophesy, they are going to kill the four Cardinal dudes and then blow up The Vatican. Enter Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks). Sure, the Church is still pissed at Langdon for the whole “Jesus had siblings” thing from the previous movie, but they need the best, especially since there are only a few hours to get the puzzles solved, so in comes Bob, and with the help of Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer), the scientist who can stop the anti-matter bomb from exploding, well, it’s a race across Rome to find the places the Cardinals are set to be killed, and also find the anti-matter bomb.

Along for the ride are some police dudes, all in conflict with each other because the Swiss Guards don’t like the Roman police, etc., but keeping everyone together is the good Camerlengo (Ewan McGregor). The Camerlengo, kind of the person in charge in between Popes, seems to have it all together, but maybe something is up with him as well.

Look, like “The Da Vinci Code,” “Angels & Demons” is just a fun ride at the movies where I don’t think you are supposed to understand everything, just sit back and have a little fun while your brain gets confused, and like “The Da Vinci” code, most critics are bashing it, but not this one, I’m like the movie for exactly what it is – just a fun romp with some clues to solve so that the good people can be saved.

Tom Hanks does his normal, steady self in the Langdon role, although I liked him better with the hair in the Da Vinci film, Ayelet Zurer is good enough as the easy-on-the-eyes dudette who tags along for the ride, and Ewan McGregor is fine in his role as the Camerlengo. You do get a good chunk of violence in this movie as the Cardinals do end up dying in some pretty gruesome ways, but hey, the movie is about a sinister society, hell-bent on getting revenge on the Catholic Church.

I say, much like you did for “The Da Vinci Code”, ignore all of the critics except me and go see “Angels & Demons.” Yup, the story is kind of preposterous, you might see the ending coming even if you haven’t read the book, and you might have some fun. What you probably won’t get is coming out of the movie thinking the church is a bunch of anti-science, old-school farts who don’t care about the current world we live in. For me it’s 3 ½ stars out of 5. Go ahead and see it, and don’t worry if you don’t understand what anti-matter really is, it doesn’t matter that much to the plot other than it will explode if it touches real matter.

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

Big Fish

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:50 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Big Fish
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Alison Lohman, Helena Bonham Carter, Robert Guillaume, Matthew McGrory, Steve Buscemi, Danny DeVito
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Columbia Pictures.
Release Date: 2003
Kiddie Movie: The stories are cute, but they might start to get bored.
Date Movie: It’s alright for the both of you.
Gratuitous Sex: There is a butt shot you really probably don’t want to see.
Gratuitous Violence: Not really.
Action: Ehh.
Laughs: Some.
Memorable Scene: The twins are fun to watch.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stands out.
Directed By: Tim Burton

Maybe it was just that I couldn’t get wrapped up in the characters, but there was a point during “Big Fish” where, sure, the stories being told seemed mostly unbelievable yet entertaining, but I just didn’t care anymore. I guess I’ll try to explain this a little better in my review. Let’s go…
“Big Fish” gives us Will Bloom (Billy Crudup). His father, Ed (the older played by Albert Finney, the younger by Obi-Wan Kenobi, oops, I mean Ewan McGregor) has been telling these seemingly tall tales about his lives adventures to anyone who would listen, and Will is finally sick of it, especially when Ed makes himself the center of attention at Will’s wedding by retelling the tale of how Ed was fishing when Will was born. The story is more involved than that, but Will is sick of it because, well, Will knows it isn’t true, that Ed, being a traveling salesman, was just out of town when he was born. It is with this knowledge, knowing that Ed’s most famous story is false, that Will assumes every other tale his father has told him is a lie also. Now that Ed is dying, Will just wants to find out how his Dad really lived his life.

And so “Big Fish” switches from scenes with Will in the present coupled with flashbacks detailing the stories his father has told throughout the years. A couple of the stories go as follow: One involves how this giant named Karl (Matthew McGrory) came to town one day and started eating sheep and livestock. Ed goes to confront the giant, to convince him to leave town, and they become friends and leave together. Along the way they split up for a spell leaving Ed to discover this seemingly fictional town that has you wondering if Ed had an untimely demise, that this place could be heaven, and that as Ed leaves the town, he comes back to life because it wasn’t yet his time to visit there. So Ed hooks back up with Karl, and the both of them end up at the circus. Karl gets hired by Amos Calloway (Danny DeVito), the ringleader at the circus who also might be a werewolf, and Ed goes off to find the love of his life, Sandra (the elder played by Jessica Lange, the younger by Alison Lohman). Okay, I think you get the point that Ed’s stories seem far-fetched, and if that doesn’t make you think so, there’s also the story of Ed parachuting into China to steal some plans to the power-plant only to find conjoined at the hip twins, Ping and Jing, with two bodies and only two legs, so he gets their help to escape China and helps them join the circus with Karl and Amos. You can see how Will has trouble believing his dad’s stories of his life.

And so the story goes on, eventually Ed ends up on his deathbed in the hospital, when Dr. Bennett (Robert Guillaume) puts things into perspective for Will.

Yes, it is a touching story about a son trying to connect with his father, and it has the wackiness and attention to detail that you would expect with Tim Burton directing, but about halfway through the movie, I just didn’t care about the stories that the young Ed was telling. I guess I’ll just leave the review there giving it 2 ½ stars out of 5. If you’re looking for a quirky matinee, go ahead and see “Big Fish.”

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

Brassed Off

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:47 Long
A Review by:
– Stu Gotz

Brassed Off
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Pete Postlethwaite, Tara Fitzgerald, Ewan McGregor, Stephen Tompkinson
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Miramax
Release Date: 1996
Kiddie Movie: See “Date movie.”
Date Movie: Why waste more good money by bringing someone else along.
Gratuitous Sex: Would have made this movie more bearable.
Gratuitous Violence: No.
Action: No.
Laughs: No.
Memorable Scene: A financially troubled miner, whose wife has left him, is forced to make extra money by being a clown (with really big shoes). His depression grows too great so he hangs himself. In the hospital you see him being rolled in on a gurney with his big clown shoes sticking up. I almost pissed myself with laughter.
Memorable Quote: “Would you like to come up for some coffee?” Reply “I don’t drink coffee.” Response “I didn’t have any coffee anyway.”
Directed By: Mark Herman

“Easily the first great film of 1997!” Huh?!? What??? What movie did the critic from NBC-TV go see? It certainly could not have been the snooze fest of a movie that I saw. All I can think is that the “Brassed Off” promotions people put “Two Thumbs Up!” the bum holes of some critics to get such high praise.

I’m told that the movie’s title, “Brassed Off”, is British slang for “Pissed Off.” Well, quite honestly, I’m pissed off that I had to sit awake through this whole movie. Let me tell you, it was a tough battle to fight off the “head nods,” but I managed to make it through the whole “slow, not making a clear point, cliché” of a movie. This movie did have a lot of potential because it did touch upon so many emotional subjects, and there- in lies the problem I had with “Brassed Off.” – It just “touches” upon the character issues. Just as you, the audience, gets interested in a story line, the movie takes off in another direction, and that really brassed me off. This could have been a movie that made a dramatic point about how the closing of a coal mine can emotionally and financially affect the community surrounding it, and furthermore it could have showed how politics, both nationally and locally, enter into such situations. And you know, “Brassed Off” could have even followed one of two love lines: That of love growing or that of love dying. It does show all of that, but not with as great of detail or success that I would have liked. Instead the movie focuses far too much time on how a simple town band loosely holds together the community during it’s time of strife. Let’s be realistic, who is really gonna go off and toot a horn when their marriage and job are on the line, yet the movie chooses this fruitless story line and again does it with poor detail.

“Brassed Off” was an ambitious movie that tried to drive too may points home in too short of a time and therefore failed on all fronts. I really can’t recommend you spending your money to see this movie and seriously doubt that you would be able to even if you wanted to. “Brassed Off” was scheduled for a very limited release in LA and New York on May 23rd, and from there I fear it won’t get too far because I’m sure most people and “blue-collar” critics like myself would agree that this was a movie that tried and failed. I can only give “Brassed Off” 1 1/2 out of 5 stars.

I kinda feel real bad that I had to basically trash this movie, but I really thought it sucked! – Maybe I’m just an unsophisticated dolt. I’m sure that a lot of people may like this movie, but if you’re not sure if you want to go see it, ask yourself the following question:

Question: If I were to walk into a lounge (not a bar, pub, or crack house) would I order:

(a) A pint of Bass Ale
(b) A glass of ’77 Merlot
(c) A MGD Light in a bottle
(d) I wouldn’t be caught dead in a lounge!

If you choose the Bass Ale, this might be a movie you’d understand, but not necessarily like. If you’d go for the vintage wine, then this is definitely a movie you would see and probably tell your friends you loved, but deep down you really couldn’t understand it (you pretentious asshole). If you’re like me you would have gone for the Macro Brewed Beer, then I’d hazard a guess and say you’re not really gonna like this movie. Lastly, if you wouldn’t be caught dead in a place as classy as a lounge, then by all means save your money and don’t be caught dead in a theater showing Miramax’s newest release “Brassed Off.” ’nuff said.


MPAA Rated – PG
It’s 1:51 Long
A Blu-ray Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: Twentieth Century FoxHome Entertainment
Kiddie Movie: Maybe girls who want to fly, but it’s kind of slow.
Date Movie: My BFF fell asleep.
Gratuitous Sex: There are undertones of Amelia being a lesbian but it turns out she is a hussy. Sadly there isn’t too much hussy-dom
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: There is a chuckle or two.
Memorable Scene: Sadly it’s on the “Deleted Scenes” section of the Blu-ray.
Memorable Quote: “You missed it, though. It’s over there.”
Directed By: Mira Nair
Cool Thinks About the DVD: The Blu-ray extras give some in-depth looks at the making of, and are probably a better synopsis of the movie without sitting through the nearly two hour movie.

As I was watching the extras on the Blu-ray of “Amelia” there was a deleted scene that I liked. I thought it encompassed the spirit of Amelia Earhart, it was short, to the point, and funny, and there it was, on the “Deleted Scene” portion of the Blu-ray. I guess such is my end liking of “Amelia.” Let’s get to the story, first.

“Amelia” doesn’t give many people what they might want from an a movie about Amelia Earhart (played by Hilary Swank), namely the crazy theories as to what really ended up happening to Amelia. Sure, there is the ending, recreating the extent of what people seem to know, and it’s pretty simple in the end run, but this movie is really about the life of Amelia, her passion for flying, her love life, and some of the issues a woman might have, being strong-willed in the time when flying was supposed to be mostly for men. The problem is that the movie was so over the place, trying to tell so much of her story that for the most part I was just bored and wondered how they were going to bring the movie back to its core – Amelia Earhart. The movie at times would shift to more about George Putnam (Richard Gere), her husband, than Amelia, then it would shift to Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor), the dude she had a fling with, and then you would learn something else about Amelia. As my BFF said to me as we were watching it, “This movie is just all over the place.”

The thing is, I wanted to like “Amelia,” I really did. It was one of those movies that when it came to the theaters I thought it would have been a nice to see on the big screen, I think both Hilary Swank and Richard Gere can be great on screen, so I was somewhat excited when I popped the Blu-ray into the player at the dude-pad and snuggled with my BFF, but when she fell asleep, and I kept looking at the counter on the Blu-ray player, I knew there was trouble. It was like the movie couldn’t figure if it wanted to be a straight biopic, if it wanted to be a nice period piece, or if it wanted to just look beautiful (and it did, so I will say, that for the beautifulness of the scenery, it’s a good film), but in the end my BFF had it right, the movie was just all over the place, and for me it didn’t stick to its core, what I thought would have really made the movie, and that was the spirit brought by Amelia Earhart, in the deleted scene “Arrival in Wales.”

I guess if you are looking for a movie that looks beautiful I would recommend “Amelia,” and it does give some looks at the life of the aviatrix, and it is a safe movie, being only rated PG, but things are slow, so be ready for it, and maybe you’ll like the movie more than I did. 1 ½ stars out of 5 stars for “Amelia.”

As far as extras, there are quite a few, many that actually give a better look at the life of Amelia Earhart more than the actual “making” of the movie, and like I said, there is one deleted scene, “Arrival in Wales,” that I thought was perfect, told the story, showed the spunk, and had the rest of the movie kept to the core of that scene, I think I would have loved the film.

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