MPAA Rated – R
It’s 2:17 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Rudy Youngblood, Dalia Hernandez, Raoul Trujillo
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Touchstone Pictures
Kiddie Movie: Only for a history lesson that would give them nightmares.
Date Movie: Can she handle a heart being torn out of a chest?
Gratuitous Sex: Hinted and joked about.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots and lots of it.
Action: Lots of chasing and chasing.
Laughs: Mostly at the beginning of the movie.
Memorable Scene: From Stu Gotz: Ladies, if you think your childbirth was tough, it has nothing compared to Seven’s giving birth. Quit your bitchin’.
Memorable Quote: Because it was in some Mayan language, all I know is that it sounded cool, but according to Mel it meant “He’s fucked,” or something like that.
Directed By: Mel Gibson

I’m usually not a huge fan of films that I have to read, meaning those with subtitles, but I suppose lots of gratuitous violence, and lots of running through the jungle, and a nice story about a couple in love, well, it was able to get me through “Apocalypto.”

Now I’m not going to go too far into “Apocalypto” because we are working on an animated review of the movie for our “Stu & The Dude Reviewin’ the Movies for You!” area, but here’s a quick synopsis, as well as a quick “what I thought.”

Pretty much the story is about the time near the end of the Mayan civilization. Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) lives in a nice little jungle village, with his wife Seven (Dalia Hernandez), who is with child, and his son. They live in a happy village, until one day the mean and nasty Mayans who live at the giant temples come and raid their village. It seems it is sacrifice time at the Mayan temple, and you can bet those mean and nasty Mayans aren’t sacrificing their own folk. Jaguar hides his wife and son, promises he’ll be back, kicks some ass, but then gets captured. Maybe it was fate, or maybe just luck, but Jaguar finds himself getting away, on the run, and trying to elude those chasing him while still trying to get back and save his family before the rains come. Eventually Jaguar realizes that he needs to change from the hunted to the hunter, and uses the familiarity of the jungle he has been raised in to turn the tide.

Look, Mel Gibson and his baggage aside, “Apocalypto” gives a touching story of a husband/ father doing what he has to do in order to save his family, along with a boatload of gore, violence, chasing, and sure, you have to read things to truly understand what is going on in the movie. People get decapitated, have their hearts cut out, get eaten by a jaguar, get their brains bashed in, rapes are insinuated, and there’s a boatload of blood. There’s also a look at how a peaceful village, happy to have their place in the world, gets uprooted by the nasty tyrant. The film looks great, with the magnificence of the jungle, the bizarreness of a culture we only sometimes read about, and the devotion of a man to his family.

If you get squeamish at the site of blood, might I suggest you not see “Apocalypto,” even though it has a love story. But if you like action and brutality, mixed with some heroism, go see “Apocalypto,” even though you have to read during it. I did find the movie about 15 minutes too long. I suppose I could have done without so many of the “Oh, isn’t nature beautiful” shots. For me it’s 3 ½ stars out of 5.

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

Conspiracy Theory

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 2:15 Long
A Review by:
Stu Gotz

Conspiracy Theory
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Warner Bros.
Release Date: 1997
Kiddie Movie: Not really.
Date Movie: Bring them along!
Gratuitous Sex: Julia keeps her clothes on. Damn.
Gratuitous Violence: Some good killing and torture scenes.
Action: Lots of chases with blacked-out windowed sport utility vehicles and black helicopters.
Laughs: Some subtle spots.
Memorable Scene: Oddly enough, for such a good movie, not really.
Memorable Quote: You have to see the movie to understand it, but Jerry says “Alice – You can fit through there?”
Directed By: Richard Donner

(Editor’s Warning: Do you hate when people give away the ending of a movie, thus spoiling it for you? Well, if so, quit reading, and go see “Conspiracy Theory” based on the fact that Stu would have given it 4.5 stars except he feels the director, producer, or whoever had the final say, ruined the ending. With that, Stu gives it 3.5 out of 5 stars, and if you read the review and get pissed about ruining most of the surprises, don’t say I didn’t warn you! The Dude on the Right)

AAARRRGGG!!! This movie totally pissed me off! All was fine and this movie was well on its way to receiving 4.5 out of 5 stars from me until the last five or so minutes. In those last minutes I suspect Hollywood producer types whored this movie out and thereby lost a complete star from me.

“Conspiracy Theory” started off great, and the whole opening credits thing was done in a cool way too! In it we have Mel Gibson driving a cab through the streets of New York City, spouting off crazy theories about anything to his passengers as the intro credits are reflected off parts of his cab. I thought it was cool. Anyway, Mel plays Jerry Fletcher, a kooky, paranoid NYC cabby that makes “The X-Files” Fox Mulder credible. Well, crazy conspiracies are not the only problem that Jerry has, he thinks that somebody is out to get him. As the movie goes, we find out his his suspicions are not without merit and that, in fact, several unknown government agencies are keeping tabs on Jerry. But, are they really with the government?

Enter Patrick “Jean Luke Picard” Stewart, playing Dr. Jonas. Patrick does a great job of being the bad guy in this movie. Oops… Did I give too much away by telling you that Dr. Jonas was the bad guy? Sorry about that, I guess I probably shouldn’t mention that Jerry dies in the end. Oh shit! There I go again spouting theories! Sorry about that – just deal with it. And if you quit reading now and go see the movie, you’ll at least get one surprise perpetrated by me. Anyhow, Jerry is smitten with Alice Sutton, played by the lovely Julia Roberts, a NYC Justice Department Official and, well, this is getting boring.

OK, Jerry isn’t nuts – he was a brainwashed, highly trained killer, but doesn’t remember it. To ruin more of the movie for you, one of his missions was to kill Alice’s father but couldn’t because he fell in love with Alice the first time he saw her. Well, the bad guys are pissed, especially when Jerry was going to work with Alice’s father to expose them, so they kill the dad anyway, and while dad is dying he asks Jerry to watch out for his daughter. (This really isn’t part of the movie, just Jerry recollecting his memory to Alice). Well, Jerry ends up as a cabby, stalking and protecting Alice, but the bad guys have to find Jerry to see if he told anyone else what they had planned. By a strange twist of fate, Jerry ends up dragging Alice into his whole mess, they get chased, Jerry burns his apartment, they get chased some more, we find that the black helicopters are real, Jerry gets shot, the bad guy (Dr. Jonas) is dead, and as Jerry is helicoptered away we see him getting the electric paddles to try to revive him.

Did I ruin enough of this film yet? No? Well read on as to why I threw away one of the stars. So, as the helicopter is flying through the sky, you’re left wondering if Jerry is dead. Cut to the next scene – Alice is standing at Jerry’s grave where she leaves behind a memento that Jerry had given her. Woo hoo, Jerry’s dead! Now cut to the next scene – Alice is riding a horse, something she hasn’t done since her father’s death, and although we are sad that Jerry died, we are happy that Alice has fought the ghosts that haunted her and is getting on with her life. I loved it. I was set on 4 1/2 stars. I had a tear in my eye but a good feeling in my heart. “Come on, roll the credits and let me go home!” I thought. But the credits didn’t roll. No, instead of the standard rolling list of actors, best boy, grips, music, and the other stuff, a black sport utility type vehicle pulls up, Jerry scopes out Alice, Alice finds the memento she placed on Jerry’s grave pinned by the saddle, Alice smiles, and Jerry rides away in a sing-a-long with his government agents/chauffeurs.

Now I’m pissed. Why did they have to do it? Why couldn’t Jerry be dead? Is it too much to ask Hollywood to make a sad movie? Why must there always be happy endings? Life isn’t always happy so why should our movies be? AAARRRGGG!!!

Like I said, “Conspiracy Theory” was (was being the operative word) a great conspiracy/mystery movie, with a touch of action and just a hint of romance. Mel Gibson was a wonderfully believable, paranoid nut-ball, NYC cabby. I think Mel has always done a great job in his strictly action movies, but has had horrible luck in the romantic comedy department (“Maverick,” “Bird on a Wire”… Need I say more?). Well Mel’s luck has turned in this movie and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that the movie’s producer and director didn’t have an identity crisis on what they wanted this movie to be. They could have ruined this movie with the whole romance thing – an easy thing to do with the gorgeous Julia Roberts and the sexy Mel Gibson (did I just call another man sexy? Yikes!), but they didn’t. They could have ruined this movie by turning it into a totally cheese-ball action spy flick, but they didn’t. They could have ruined this movie with a cheesy, happy ending – that they did. “Conspiracy Theory” followed a simple good guy versus bad guy mystery that worked quite well, and although not of Hitchcock quality, it flowed and had you second guessing a lot of things at times. Had Jerry stayed dead it would have been 4 1/2 stars, but, Jerry lives, and for me that blew a perfectly good movie. That makes it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. Despite its ending “Conspiracy Theory” is a good movie, ’nuff said, and I’m Stu Gotz.