The Da Vinci Code

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:28 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Da Vinci Code
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina, Jean Reno
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: 2006
Kiddie Movie: Nope, it’s a little brutal and too confusing for them.
Date Movie: It’s good for the both of you.
Gratuitous Sex: A couple of butts and something in the shadows.
Gratuitous Violence: Nothing gratuitous, but it’s got some.
Action: Lots of chases.
Laughs: A couple of cute chuckles.
Memorable Scene: Sophie can’t walk on water.
Memorable Quote: Not really a quote, but I did like the answer to open the wacky map cylinder thing.
Directed By: Ron Howard

From reading everything out there, it almost seems that you could probably count the critics who liked “The Da Vinci Code” with the fingers on both hands. Well, I’m starting the toes because I liked the movie. Let’s get to it…
“The Da Vinci Code” is the screen adaptation of the book of the same name that you would think, from the number of books sold, everyone in the world has read. Well, I didn’t, so I didn’t know exactly what the secret of the book was about, but thanks to every critic assuming everyone has read the book, by the time I went to see the movie I already knew the story. I suppose I might as well ruin the movie as well, at least sort of.

It seems there is a death at The Louvre (that’s a famous art museum in Paris, for those of you who really live under a rock). But it’s not a normal death, nope; this dude was shot and then somehow was able to leave all kinds of clues all over the museum giving some hint as to the secret of his killer. Enter Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks). He’s a dude who studies symbols and their various meanings, and it seems our dead dude had all kinds of symbols associated with him. So he’s at The Louvre checking out the dead body, with Captain Fache (Jean Reno), and enters Sophie (Audrey Tautou). She warns Robert he is in danger, grave danger in fact (and in the famous words of Col. Jessep, “Is there any other kind?”), that he can’t trust the good Captain, and now the race is on to figure out the clues, only it seems the clues don’t really lead to the killer, but to a secret the Catholic Church has been hiding since the beginning of the Catholic Church. It seems that since the 300’s there has been a war going on within the church. On the one side are the normal church people we know and love, only they have been trying to eliminate the secret that has been covered up, thereby not having it ever be exposed and thereby not having to worry about the church as we know it being destroyed. On the other side are those that know the truth: That Jesus wasn’t really all that special, just a man with good ideas, and that he married Mary Magdalene and she had a kid after Jesus’ crucifixion. So, for the last 1700+ years church folks have been trying to eradicate both those who might be descendents of Jesus, as well as any clue that might suggest this, while the other folks have been working to protect the secret so that when the time was right, the secret would be revealed. Only Sir Leigh Teabing (Ian McKellen) has his own plan – he’s tired of waiting for the truth to come out so he hatches a plan to speed up the process, and it involves some killings, some running, some chasing, and using his good buddy Robert to figure out the secret to finding the map to Mary’s tomb.

Alright, that might sound confusing, but who the hell cares? It’s a story from a fictional novel that way too many people are raising a huff about, although they didn’t seem to raise as much of a huff when the book was on the best seller list. Anyway, religion aside, this is a story about trying to find a treasure map, and that’s where the fun comes in. We start with some cryptic clues, and those lead to more cryptic clues, and we hope the good guys are able to find the treasure and save the day before the bad guys, and we can usually assume one of the seeming good guys is really a bad guy, win. All along our heroes learn things about themselves, and there might even be some lessons for us in the theater audience to ponder. In the end, that’s what “The Da Vinci Code” gives us, and yes, the good guys win.

I will admit that the movie is about ½ hour too long, but my butt didn’t get sore so I wasn’t thinking about it too much, it was just that some of the extended scenes lasted too long. Tom Hanks was great as Robert, and I really didn’t give a crap about his hair. Audrey Tautou is very beautiful, and it wasn’t really a surprise the ending they left her with, and Ian McKellen was great as the nutty history dude. Hell, for that matter, Paul Bettany was great as the misguided “Silas.”

Look, if you want a movie that will entertain you a bit and can realize it’s a movie based on a fictional book, you will probably be okay seeing the movie. Also, if you sometimes question some things about your religion, you will still probably be okay with this movie. If you take every word of the Bible as fact, and can’t enjoy a story that contradicts any of that, you will probably hate “The Da Vinci Code.” Me, I think most religions are full of secrets that the higher-ups think shouldn’t be exposed for whatever reason, I think this is also the case with most governments, and fictional stories like “The Da Vinci Code” are great when they exploit this. Me, I’m still hoping that someone will go and take over for that poor knight who has been protecting the cup Jesus drank out of (a different version of The Holy Grail than in “The Da Vinci Code”), and also wonder in what warehouse The Arc of the Covenant is stored. Now I’ve also got to worry that a certain lady finds a man so that the blood lineage of Jesus will continue on. Such are movies.

It’s 4 stars out of 5 for “The Da Vinci Code.”

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

Couples Retreat

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:47 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Couples Retreat
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Faizon Love, Kristen Davis, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Jean Reno, Jim McMahon
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Universal Pictures
Release Date: 2009
Kiddie Movie: It’s mostly adult conversation. Get a sitter.
Date Movie: It’s got hot hunks for her and bikini clad women for you. It’s couples night!
Gratuitous Sex: A lot of suggested and talk, but still keeping it PG-13.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Lots from start to finish.
Memorable Scene: I keep coming back to “Dave’s” son in the home improvement store.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stands out.
Directed By: Peter Billingsley

Maybe I’m a stupid critic, but sometimes I think movies are made with the sole intention of bringing at least a little bit of a smile to the person who forks over their hard-earned money, and somehow I can enjoy those movies for exactly what they are. They aren’t made for “artistic” reasons, they aren’t supposed to spotlight the acting talents of the cast, and they aren’t supposed to invoke deep thoughts of the meaning of life or break new ground, and I believe “Couples Retreat” is one of those movies, with cheesiness, a slight cringe factor, a peeing child, and enough eye candy for both the dudes and dudette. So, critics be damned, I enjoyed the movie for what I wanted – a nice trip to the theater with my BFF where we could hold hands, laugh a little, and come out of the theater both going “That was kind of funny.”

Here’s the story…

Four couples are having four different “couple” issues. You’ve got Couple Number A: Dave (Vince Vaughn) and Ronnie (Malin Akerman) who have a couple of kids, Ronnie wants to do some home remodeling, and Dave gets to play a lot of Guitar Hero, or Rock Band (I always get them confused) because he is a sales rep. Then there is Couple Number B: Jason (Jason Bateman) and Cynthia (Kristen Bell), who are having relationship issues thanks to an inability to make a baby. Joey (Jon Favreau) and Lucy (Kristin Davis) were married right out of high school, have a teenage daughter who wears too little clothes, and are just waiting for their daughter to move out of the house so they can get divorced as Couple Number C. And finally you get newly divorced Shane (Faizon Love) hooking up with the youngster, Trudy (Kali Hawk), and Shane just can’t keep up, in the Couple Number D category.

Well, Jason and Cynthia decide that they want to make their marriage work and what better way to do it than by taking a trip to Bora Bora with their friends so that the two of them can work on their marriage while the others just have good time. The surprise comes when the resort people tell everyone that if they don’t all partake in the “couple’s therapy” session that they will just be sent home.

So our couples suck it up and all of them begin to realize their relationships have issues, even if they weren’t out in the open before, and wouldn’t you know it, thanks to some bonding, they all realize how they should work things out.

Look, like I wrote in that opening paragraph, “Couples Retreat” isn’t a cinematic masterpiece, and hell, even though it was filmed in Bora Bora, I think that was for the filmmakers to be able to write-off a trip to Bora Bora because the movie could have been filmed at any “tropical” local for the same scenery, but what “Couples Retreat” is is a funny look at married friends, and sure, some of the “situations” are over-the-top and dorky, but really, what are you expecting from a trailer that shows a yoga instructor pretty much having “over-the-clothes” sex with the women?

I like Vince Vaughn, and in his “every man” shlubness we tend to like he is just as good in his role as Dave. Somehow I totally bought the fact that Jason and Cynthia would put together a PowerPoint sales presentation to convince their friends to come to Eden with them, and, well, I pretty much liked everyone in their roles. The jokes were simple, the movie didn’t get too preachy on “how” to have a good marriage, and you’ve got to love little kids. It’s 3 ½ stars out of 5 for “Couples Retreat.” It’s nothing groundbreaking – just a fun time for both of you at the movie, or at least to snuggle on your couch when it makes it to DVD.

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