Welcome to the Punch

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:39 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Welcome to the Punch
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: James McAvoy, Mark Strong
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: IFC Films
Released On: July 23, 2013
Kiddie Movie: Please put them to bed – there’s a lot of violence.
Date Movie: She might snuggle.
Gratuitous Sex: More would have helped.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of guys who can’t seem to hit anything with their automatic weapons.
Action: It’s got some chasing.
Laughs: Not really.
Memorable Scene: The slow-motion, guns blazing, kidnapping scene was pretty cool.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stood out.
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Cool Things on the Blu-Ray: It’s got the “Making of…” for you film buffs.

Oh, how I wanted to like “Welcome to the Punch” a lot more than I did. How I really wanted to. Alright, before I give my final analysis, let’s get to the story a bit.

In “Welcome to the Punch” we get Max (James McAvoy). He’s a cop. Okay, he’s technically a detective, but who’s really countin?. We also get Jacob (Mark Strong). He’s a thief who robs banks. No, not your corner bank with a few bucks in it but the major money locations, with enough cash to live off of in a nice lifestyle for the rest of your life. Opening with Jacob in the middle of what is supposed to be his last run, his money-maker as it would be, his “I can retire from this life of crime now and live in a nice retreat in Iceland” kind of heist, he is almost taken down by Max, and during the ensuing fight Jacob get the upper hand, and instead of just shooting Max in the head, Jacob shoots Max in the leg, leaving Max to a life of guilt and gimpiness. So, Jacob gets away and is living a relaxing life, Max is trying to get through his demons, and then, wouldn’t you know it, Jacob’s son ends up living a life of crime, ends up shot, caught by the cops, and now dad has to come and break him out of the hospital.

Yup, you know what that means! Max is now going to get his chance to get his bad guy and get the demons out of his head! So, of course, Jacob comes back, Max is hot on his trail, but what kind of movie would that be? It could have developed into a great “cat and mouse” kind of flick, but nope, the movie folks decide to throw in some conspiracy crap, some government corruption, and a backend storyline about gun-running, or some stuff like that, and of course somehow Max and Jacob find themselves in the middle of it all, and although not becoming the best of friends, their life courses intertwine in their own quests to find the truth about what is really going on with Jacob’s son.

Here’s the thing… For the most part I was enjoying the movie, at least until it became all cookie-cutter on me with the story and some of the action sequences. Sure, there was a lot of low-talking by bad guys complete in nighttime scenes when all bad things happen, and there were an awful lot of bad guys with automatic weapons who really needed some time at a shooting range because, most of the time, these guys couldn’t shoot the broad side of a barn if they were standing ten feet in front of it. And, oh yea, I wondered how Max even still had a job what with his bad leg and mental issues. And, oh yea yea, I was close to wondering why no one really cared the lady cop was missing for the longest time. In the end, though, I was okay with most of that. It was really the “government officials are corrupt and now the bad guy and good guy need to team together to save the world, or at least get revenge” story that annoyed me.

The movie is good-looking, well shot with some great scenes (and yes, complete with the obligatory, slow-motion, show bullet come out the chamber, and here’s the bullet hitting the bad guy complete with blood splatter), and even the acting is good, but all of the Ridley Scott goodness gets lost in the not-really-original story.

The Ridley Scott goodness gets the movie 4 stars, the cookie-cutter story 1 star, so I suppose I’ll average everything together and add ½ star because I’m in a good mood.

With that it’s 3 stars out of 5 for “Welcome to the Punch.” So much potential lost in a story anyone could come up with.

The Blu-ray has a bunch of interviews, and a nice “Making-of” featurette, but unless you are an avid film buff looking for some artsy insight into the character development, you’ll probably skip it.

A decent rental none-the-less – enjoy it for the basic-ness that the movie is.

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

X-Men: First Class

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:12 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right


X-Men: First Class
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Release Date: 2011
Kiddie Movie: I’d send them to bed. It can get a little intense.
Date Movie: If she generally likes comic book movies.
Gratuitous Sex: Hinted at, but nothing gratuitous, although Mystique is painted naked.
Gratuitous Violence: It get’s pretty brutal, though not bloody.
Action: Lots of action going on.
Laughs: A couple of good chuckles.
Memorable Scene: Magneto lifting a submarine.
Memorable Quote: I don’t want to ruin it, but it’s during a cameo.
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn

I’ve generally been a fan of the X-Men series of movies and thought they’ve done a good job keeping the stories moving along, but there was a hint of trepidation when I heard they were making a “prequel” kind of film, namely “X-Men: First Class.” I mean, how can you have an X-Men movie without Jean-Luc, I mean, Patrick Stewart, but there it was coming to my local gigaplex, and somehow I couldn’t find the time to make the theater.  After watching the Blu-ray, I really wish I had made the time.

Let’s get to the movie.

“X-Men: First Class” starts at the beginning.  Well, I’m not sure about the beginning, but we get introduced to younger Erik Lehnsherr, who would eventually become Magneto, at a Nazi Concentration camp, and the twisted Dr. Klaus Schmidt/Sebastian Shaw (An outstanding Kevin Bacon in a bad guy role).  It is there that young Erik’s psyche begins to take shape, his distrust for government folks, and desire to put humans in their place.  We are also introduced to a younger Charles Xavier, learning of his abilities and developing his first mutant relationship, with a young Raven who would become Mystique.

We then movie time-travel to the early 1960’s and find that Sebastian Shaw is building his own mutant army, hell-bent on pretty much destroying the human race in favor of mutants.  How? By manipulating the Russians and Americans into a nuclear war, of course.  Meanwhile, Erik (Michael Fassbender) is hot on Sebastian’s tail, seeking revenge for some concentration camp atrocities, and Charles (James McAvoy) is getting a reputation for his research into evolution and the possibility of mutants, as well as being a ladies man. Enter Moira (Rose Byrne). She’s with the feds, investigating potential problems with government folks and nuclear war.

Eventually the paths of everyone meet, Charles and Erik get recruited by Moira to stop Sebastian, and the personalities and destinies of Charles and Erik unfold with Charles wanting to do good, but Erik, although becoming friends with Charles, seeks his path of getting his revenge and building his army for a war against the humans.  In the meantime we are introduced to a group of mutants who join the ranks, some bad mutants affiliated with Sebastian who, of course, split to Magneto’s side in the end, and just general mutant showing-offedness in finally stopping Sebastian from his dastardly deed.

Here’s the thing with “X-Men: First Class”… I’m almost happy it ended up as a prequel rather than the first in the series.  It was way enjoyable watching the characters grow, understanding now how their personalities developed, seeing how Mystique ended up on Magneto’s side, and as it occurred to me at the end of the movie, after not realizing Charles was walking the entire time, it was good to see how Charles ended up in a wheelchair.  A very fine X-Men movie, indeed!

Now, as to why I was disappointed in not seeing this movie in the theater? Simply because this is a movie with blow-away effects and some beautiful scenery, that lends itself to your being engrossed in it, in a theater, with the sound blasting around you, and watching Magneto “lift” a submarine out of the water probably played out tons better in super-giant size. Sure, your home theater can do a decent job, but for the best effect this was a movie that should have been seen on the real, big screen.

So, for a great film about the beginnings of the X-Men, and I’ll be honest, I don’t know if it was generally true to the comics, but I don’t really care because it did work for me, I’m giving “X-Men: First Class” 4 ½ stars out of 5.  There were a couple of hiccup spots, maybe a little too much “here’s how this came about” stuff, but all in all a super-solid movie to make you appreciate your X-Men favorites even more.

Now, as far as the Blu-ray is concerned, it’s loaded with extras.  “Children of the Atom” gives you pretty much everything about how the movie was made, in various parts so if you don’t care about the make-up and just care about the effects, sure you can watch only that, but if you want to really understand how “X-Men: First Class” was made, from beginning to end, grab a bucket of popcorn and a soda and enjoy.  The “Cerebro: Mutant Tracker” is kind of cool, especially if you are looking for refreshers on all of the mutants, or quick summaries of who they are, as you select mutants as they fly by on the screen and get video clips from the movies they were in, and a nice summary chart.  The deleted and extended scenes are nice, but I’m glad they were left on the cutting room floor, and you can also watch the movie in “X Marks the Spot Viewing Mode,” sort of an extra blown commentary track that gives behind the scene scenes as the movie plays out.

All in all a fabulous Blu-ray – I just wish I had a full-blown screening room to watch it in!

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

Becoming Jane

MPAA Rated – PG
It’s 2:00 Long
A Preview by:
The Dude on the Right

Becoming Jane
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: Miramax
Directed By: Julian Jarrold

Sometimes I have no problem with the girly-type film, hell I liked “Nancy Drew,” but other than the fact Anne Hathaway is in this film I have no real desire to see it. Supposedly it’s about Jane Austen before she became famous, and how she developed her style because of the things that happened around her.

Look, I’m not saying it doesn’t look like a decent film, it does look like some fun for young girls, but I really don’t like period pieces set across the pond. Take the girls to see “Becoming Jane,” I’ll probably be catching “Rush Hour 3.”

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


MPAA Rated – R
It’s 2:10 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Keira Knightley, James McAvoy
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Focus Features
Directed By: Joe Wright

From the best I can tell and from the synopsis I read that just seemed confusing, in the end it looks like a movie about he loves her, her loves he, she loves he, she frames he, he can’t see her, she feels bad the rest of her life while he tries to find her for the rest of his life.

As a fan of Keira Knightley I do want to see this movie, but I worry that since it is in the art-house side of December the movie might not make it to my gigaplex. In an artsy way this movie looks great, and in a sexual way this movie looks great, I just hope it might open near me, although this one might be better in the privacy of my own home.

It’s movie award time, and this movie is looking to try to snag a nomination or two, and since most nominating folks aren’t snobbish about sex, this movie might have chance.

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