Across the Universe

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s ?;?? Long
A Preview by:
The Dude on the Right

Across the Universe
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood, Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Revolution Studios
Directed By: Julie Taymor
Produced By: Matthew Gross, Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd

When The Dude on the Left and I were at a movie one of the trailers for “Across the Universe” came on, pretty much the artsy and dancing one that didn’t tell a damn thing about the story. He leaned over and pretty much said “There is no way in hell I’m seeing that movie.” Sure, even if he had seen the trailer that sort of tells the story, he still wouldn’t have any interest, but I might catch it depending what else opens.

From the better trailer we see “Across the Universe” is a musical, psychedelic kind of film set in the 1960’s. Jude (Jim Sturgess) comes to the good old United States and what else will make a dude crazy? Well, love of course. He falls for Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), but it’s the time of Vietnam so what better way to introduce a musical than by being peace activists.

The movie does look interesting, I suppose, but not really my (and definitely not The Dude on the Left’s) cup of tea. Watch the trailer and you will probably know if it might be your cup of tea.

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


MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:02 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, Jim Sturgess, Laurence Fishburne
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Kiddie Movie: Only if you to turn them into degenerate gamblers.
Date Movie: If she likes to gamble in Vegas and doesn’t just go there for the shows.
Gratuitous Sex: Ben and Jill get it on, but sadly it’s PG-13 so her arms cover her boobs. The group also meets in a strip club, but the girls have pasties on.
Gratuitous Violence: Some some beating up of people.
Action: Our heroes do find themselves running from casino goons through the belly of a casino.
Laughs: A chuckle here and there.
Memorable Scene: All I’ll say is the look on a dude’s face at the end of the movie.
Memorable Quote: Micky to Ben: “I love a parade, don’t you?
Directed By: Robert Luketic
Produced By: Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, Kevin Spacey

That’s it. I’m draining my bank account and heading to Vegas. Yup, I can count, too. Oh wait, they have that crazy facial recognition software now, don’t they? And, oh yea, I like to have a cocktail or ten while at the blackjack table. And, oh yea, they worked in teams. You know what, I guess I should scrap that idea and just go back to the lottery. “21” though, a movie loosely based on a group of MIT students who made a lot of dough in casinos by counting cards at the blackjack tables, is a lot of fun, if not somewhat preposterous.

In the movie we get Ben (Jim Sturgess), a student at MIT who wants to go to Harvard Medical School, only he ain’t got the money, and he’s banking on getting a free ride scholarship. When his professor, Micky (Kevin Spacey), notices that Ben is a math wiz, he figures Ben would make a good fit into his team of kids who take weekend trips to Las Vegas beating the casinos at their own game. At first Ben is hesitant, but since his dream-girl from afar, Jill (Kate Bosworth), is part of the team, Ben finds himself wrapped into a world he never came close to dreaming about (you see, Ben was the typical nerd at MIT, hanging out with his two, typical nerd friends, concentrating on school and a robot project instead of hitting on girls). Things are going well as Ben finds he is great at running a table, Micky loves him because he’s making him loads of easy money, but then, you can guess, the lifestyle starts to get to Ben’s head, he starts to gamble instead of remember the rules, and forgets that as easy as Micky can make his life in college, he can also make it miserable. Then of course there is Cole (Laurence Fishburne), a loss specialist for the casinos, hot on the trail of our college kids, realizing exactly what they are up to and probably happy because it means he gets to beat up somebody.

“21,” being the Hollywood take of the actual story, of course changes a whole bunch of things about the story, but it’s probably better because the actual story, while fascinating, would be pretty boring on the big screen. At its core, though, is the basic concept of using a team to gaining the upper hand at the tables, though I’m doubting any of the original team members found themselves running through the casino kitchen trying to get away from casino goons.

Jim Sturgess does a nice job of developing the nerdy Ben into a flashy Vegas high-roller, Kate Bosworth just needs to be on the screen to make me happy (although an R-rated version with her naked would be better), and Kevin Spacey is great in that “I am holier than thou so you will listen to me or be crushed” role. Some of the flashy effects make the film look better on the big screen, and the ending was “Hollywood calculated” for me, but if you’ve got an afternoon free and ever thought you could beat a casino at blackjack, the movie pretty much shows you that you have no chance, so go ahead and split that pair of tens even though the dealer has a nine showing (I’ve seen it done – the dude won both hands). It’s 3 ½ stars out of 5 for “21.”

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