MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:11 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, Anika Noni Rose, Keith Robinson, Jennifer Hudson
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Dreamworks SKG / Paramount Pictures
Release Date: 2006
Kiddie Movie: Only those that like singing.
Date Movie: It’s more for the dudettes.
Gratuitous Sex: Mostly gyrations.
Gratuitous Violence: Detroit is kind of scary in the early 70’s, but nothing gratuitous.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Eddie Murphy has some funny scenes.
Memorable Scene: Jennifer Hudson singing “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” nearly brought down the theater.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stood out.
Directed By: Bill Condon

“Dreamgirls” is a big screen adaptation of a Broadway musical, but then you may already know that. And this is going to sound maybe a little strange, but it is the “being a musical” aspect of the movie that I didn’t like. First the story…

Deena (Beyoncé Knowles), Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose), and Effie (Jennifer Hudson) are a struggling singing act, The Dreamettes, in Detroit looking for their big break. At a talent competition they lose, and yet they still win. This is because Jimmy Early (Eddie Murphy), a showman in the likes of James Brown, loses his back-up singers when they are sick of his cheating on his wife with them, and slick car salesman, music manager wannabe Curtis (Jamie Foxx), convinces Jimmy that the trio he “manages” would be a perfect fit. At first the girls are reluctant, they don’t want to be back-up singers, especially Effie, but they cave at the prospect of getting their foot in the door. Little do they realize that the door they are entering is the corrupt world of music in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s.

Effie has her sights on Curtis, and at first things are going swimmingly for them. Curtis, meanwhile, quickly realizes how the business of music works, complete with payola, and he at first thinks he has Jimmy on the fast track to stardom all until a spotlight show in front of batch of white folk in Florida shows him a new path, that his back-up singers should be their own group, with Deena fronting “The Dreams,” contrary to Effie’s dream.

You see, Effie’s problem is she is the best singer in the group, a fabulous front-woman, only she is on the heavy side, and Curtis knows that Effie won’t “sell” the group. Nope, Deena is the hottie, with a voice generic enough for pop radio. Effie, still being suckered in with Curtis’ promise of her doing some solo material, sticks with the group for a while until something sidetracks her progress. Curtis and the other girls in the group are tired of Effie’s moodiness and always feeling under the weather, so Curtis boots her out of the group and now he is hooking up with Deena. The group changes to “Deena Jones and The Dreams” (sure, you could throw the parallels at Diana Ross and The Supremes, complete with Deena sporting the giant hair in the disco era), on the path to super-stardom, while Effie is back in the real world, trying to find a job, and get on with her life with her child, Magic (Mariah Wilson).

Some tragedy strikes, Effie and her brother/songwriter C.C. (Keith Robinson) get screwed over by Curtis one last time, but Deena sets things straight and there is a lovely reunion of all of the members of “The Dreams.”


Here’s what I really liked about the movie: It was a great story, showing how corrupt radio was back in the sixties and seventies, how songs got stolen left and right, and until you paid the people to get your song on the radio, you were never going to make it. Curtis turns being a scumbag car salesman into an art form in the music industry, and although there might be some personal feelings for the women in his life, namely Effie and Deena, in the end for him it is about money and image. Effie gets some redemption, Deena fixes her backstabbing ways, and Jimmy’s flipping from showman to sap-man back to showman is great. The songs were great, Jennifer Hudson has probably parlayed her “American Idol” stint into a hell of a lot more than a singing career because she was fantastic as Effie, and Eddie Murphy showed that given the right role, he is still fantastic.

Here’s what I didn’t like about he movie: This will be hard to explain, but as I said in the open it was the “being a musical” aspect of the movie that I didn’t like. How do I explain this? Okay, “Dreamgirls” centers on the girl group “The Dreamettes,” later “The Dreams,” and even later “Deena Jones and The Dreams.” Also there was Jimmy “Thunder” Early and his act. For the most part, especially for the first half-ish or so of the movie, all of the musical numbers centered around a musical performance, whether it was “The Dreamettes” performance at the talent contest, Jimmy Early’s bringing the girls into his band, and even Effie rehearsing a song where she tells Curtis she loves him. The rest of the story was done without the songs telling the story, or somehow it was better masked in the background. The movie flowed well, all until Effie wanted to quit the band when Curtis made Deena the lead singer, and they all bust into “Family”, singing to convince Effie to stay. As nice as the songs were, it was the musical numbers that didn’t fit in with a “performance” that I hated, thought they halted the telling of the story, and tossed me back from a great story with great music into “this would be great if I were seeing it on Broadway, but it just doesn’t work for me on the big screen.” And yes, as much as I thought Jennifer Hudson was most fantastic singing “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” it brought me back to “musical-dom.”

Unlike “Grease,” which for me is still one of the few musicals that worked on the movie screen, I think mostly because it starts as a musical and stays one throughout (it’s not about them being musicians), “Dreamgirls” starts as a movie with an intriguing story to tell, with songs filtering in as musical performances. Then, midway, all of sudden it seems to switch back to “this is a musical and your going to have to wait about three or four minutes for Effie’s friends to sing to her to convince her to stay with the group.”

Okay, that probably didn’t explain why I didn’t like the movie as much at the end as I did when the movie started, but I tried. Here’s the other weird thing I found in the movie, and that was as solid as Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy were, and as good as Beyoncé did trying to play the diva, it was Jamie “I want to be a singer” Foxx that seemed a little lost at times. As the slick manager/salesman he was fine, but every time he was in one of those musical numbers he seemed discombobulated.

I did like “Dreamgirls,” but make sure you set yourself to remember it is a musical and there will be times everyone starts singing in a scene that has nothing to do about singing. In the end I give it 3 ½ stars out of 5.

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

Any Given Sunday

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 2:42 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Any Given Sundy
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Warner Bros.
Kiddie Movie: Nope. Very adult story line.
Date Movie: You make her watch football every Sunday, do you think you should force her to watch any more?
Gratuitous Sex: Some.
Gratuitous Violence: It’s about football – there’s some violence.
Action: It’s about football – there’s some action.
Laughs: A chuckle here and there.
Memorable Scene: Nothing sticks out.
Memorable Quote: Nothing sticks out.
Directed By: Oliver Stone

This may sound petty, but the main problem I had with “Any Given Sunday” was the fact that the football action sequences sucked. The story was alright, Jamie Foxx did a great job as the coming-of-age quarterback, and when does Al Pacino ever give a bad performance? But even though Oliver Stone is Oliver Stone, and maybe it wasn’t his intention to have cool football sequences, going to a football movie I want to see some good football. “Any Given Sunday” didn’t have good football.

The story kinda goes like this: Al Pacino plays a weathered coach, Tony D’Amato, brought up when football was history, for players, owners, and fans. The owner died and left the team in the hands of his daughter, played by Cameron Diaz, who believes the coach’s thinking is old and is hurting the team.

When coach loses his star quarterback, Cap (Dennis Quaid) to an injury and the youngin, Willie Beaman (Foxx) takes charge, you can feel the changing of the guard from old-time football to new-time football, and it’s too bad. But there is hope because Willie quickly learns that as much as football is about him, there is no “I” in “team” and without his team his life is shit. And who helps him open his eyes, you guessed it, Tony.

The story is kind of simple and shows how dirty and profit-driven sports has become, how it isn’t about the players at times (the painkillers and bad medical advice) but at times is still about the players (the painkillers and bad medical advice – kind of along the “what else am I going to do with my life, coach?” mentality). And it’s a good story, although kind of long, and that helps carry the movie, because, like I said, the action sequences went for an artsy feel instead of making you feel the hard-hitting sport that is football.

So this review is short. “Any Given Sunday” had a lot of potential, and a lot of that potential rested in the hands of Pacino, Foxx, and Stone. As a story and as an acting lot the movie was good. But it is a football movie, and with that comes one expectation – great football scenes. I wanted to feel the action. I wanted to cringe when players got hit. I wanted it to be better than “Inside Football” on HBO. I didn’t want a long, drawn-out, artsy shot of a football spiral coming at me. I got the spiral. That disappointed me and with that disappointment comes a 3 ½ stars out of 5.

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


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

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Tom Cruise, Jada Pinkett Smith
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: DreamWorks / Paramount Pictures
Release Date: 2004
Kiddie Movie: Please leave them at home, unlike the one dad in the theater who had a balling 8 year old on his hands as he was leaving in the middle of the movie.
Date Movie: Bring her along, she might find Tom Cruise not so dreamy this time.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of people get killed.
Action: There’s some running and chasing going on.
Laughs: There’s quite a few good lines.
Memorable Scene: When real estate deal #1 falls on the cab and when Vincent pretends he is a government dude over the taxi CB.
Memorable Quote: Max, to real estate deal #1 on the roof of his cab: “My man, you alright?”
Directed By: Michael Mann

Tom Cruise as the bad guy. There’s a tricky option because women probably won’t want to go and see Tom Cruise being the bad guy, let alone with grey hair, and dudes won’t want to go because, well, it’s Tom Cruise. Dudes and Dudettes, don’t go see this movie because of Tom Cruise, even though he does a great job as the bad guy, go and see this movie because this is the movie that takes Jamie Foxx to that next level on the acting scale.

Tom Cruise is Vincent. He gets hired to kill people. Jamie Foxx is Max. He drives a cab. For his first fare we are introduced to Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith), and we find that true, Max is a cabbie, but yes, he has his sights set on his own limo company, and seems to have a good plan. He’s also a good talker and listener and even gets Annie’s number. Then we meet Vincent, Max’s second fare. Here we find that Max is great at knowing exactly how long it will take to get somewhere. Vincent is impressed with this feat, as well as the cleanliness of Max’s cab, and we also find that Vincent has five places to go, for real estate deals he tells Max, and Max agrees to six or seven hundred dollars to drive Vincent around for the night (technically a no-no in the cabbie world, I finally realize what the “Not For Hire” means on a cab). Luckily for Max, Vincent’s first deal falls out of the window and onto Max’s cab, probably the only reason Max makes it out alive. If you don’t understand this, as you’re watching the movie, listen for the part where one detective brings up another murder case involving a cabbie who goes on a murder rampage and then kills himself. This was probably Max’s initial fate, but with a dead guy on a cab, it’s now time to improvise.

Now it’s a long night in Los Angeles, as Max now knows the fate of each of Vincent’s “real estate deals,” and he’s in a pickle of being murdered, or letting people who are probably bad in their own right, get murdered. In the meantime, we get fantastic conversation between Max and Vincent, especially as the truth of Max’s limo dreams come to light in a fantastic visit to Vincent’s mother. Trust me, this will all make sense as the movie plays out.

Everyone is praising Michael Mann for the great cinematic look of Los Angeles at night, and I do agree, except for one thing. My plea for directors and cinematographers: GET RID OF THE DAMN STEADICAM SHOTS! I understand that as a cab is driving along it hits bumps and bounces around. If I’m in a cab, that’s fine, I can deal with it, but in a movie theater it just makes me nauseous because my seat’s not moving. The same thing when running after people – please bring back the camera on the railroad track thing. Alright, enough of my cinematographic critiquing.

“Collateral” is a great psychological thriller, and Cruise does a great job as the bad guy, in a way because he is sort of likeable. But the key in this movie is Foxx. His portrayal of Max is fantastic. With him driving Annie around, we know he is hitting on her, but his stories to her play off like reality. We see the shear terror when he finds out what he is in for, and his confusion in trying to figure out how to get out of this mess without any innocent people getting killed. Nothing against Tom Cruise in his role, but I think a lot of other actors could have pulled off being Vincent. For me this one is about Jamie Foxx (who also stars as Ray Charles in the upcoming movie “Ray,” which already has Oscar buzz around it).

Sure, this movie gets overblown at times, namely at the nightclub scene and the subway chase, and sure, it’s pretty easy to see the ending of the film, but if you’ve see enough movies, endings usually aren’t a surprise. This, however, is a movie full of tension, with a lot of great lines, and fabulous performances by Cruise, Foxx, and the jazz club owner, Daniel (Barry Shabaka Henley). Hell, even Jada Pinkett Smith was great as the unsure of herself prosecutor.

After leaving “Collateral” I couldn’t help but remember a scene in “Fight Club,” well, kinda remember. There’s a scene where Tyler puts a gun to a guys head, asks him what his dream in life was, asks him why he wasn’t pursuing his dream, then took his driver’s license saying he would be back later and he better be following that dream or he will kill him. He explains that as afraid that man was with a gun to his head, he will wake up the next day on a track to fulfill his dreams. In a weird way, Vincent does the same for Max, as he angrily questions “What the fuck are you still driving a cab?” At that point Vincent and Max’s lives change, and it would have never happened had the first “real estate” deal not landed on Max’s cab.

A great film, but get rid of the jittery scenes. Don’t be afraid about Tom Cruise, he has shown he can tackle any role while you still site there going “Hey, that’s Tom Cruise.” This movie becomes a little bit more, thanks to Mr. Foxx. It’s 4 ½ stars out of 5. Bring the date for the evening show, buy the popcorn and soda-pop, and sit back.

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


MPAA Rated – R
It’s 2:39 Long
A Preview by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Mario Van Peebles, Jon Voight
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: 12/25/2001
Directed By: Michael Mann
Produced By: Jon Peters

Who would have thought Will Smith could play Mohammed Ali? Not I. But as I watch the trailers for this movie it looks like Will can pull this off, and can pull this off is such a way that it will be one hell of a film and one hell of a performance that might just make us forget he ever signed up for “Wild, Wild, West.”

Will Smith is playing Mohammed Ali, from his younger days to his older days, and okay, he’s not a spitting image for Ali, but he’s sure damn close. From the things I hear and the trailers I see, well, this has the potential to be the defining film in Will Smith’s career. It looks like a total winner, it’s coming out at Christmas, and the movie has Oscar buzz written all over it.

You’ll probably go and see this movie even if you don’t think Ali is the greatest.

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