Eagle Eye

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:57 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Eagle Eye
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Chiklis, Billy Bob Thornton
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Paramount Home Entertainment
Release Date: 2008
Kiddie Movie: It might make them never use their cell phone again.
Date Movie: She might cuddle with you for comfort or just roll her eyes.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: There’s a lot of people who die, but you don’t see it.
Action: There’s a lot of people who die, but you don’t see it.
Laughs: Only for the absurdity of some of the scenes.
Memorable Scene: Who knew Morse Code could save the world.
Memorable Quote: “We’re already in mid-shitstorm.”
Directed By: D.J. Caruso

While watching “Eagle Eye” I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a day, a few years ago, when a group of friends were getting liquored up, watching a bunch of movies, namely “I, Robot,” “War Games,” “The Italian Job,” and maybe even “Enemy of the State,” and said to each other, in an altered state, “Dudes, we could make a movie combining all of these,” and then, you know what, they did. I would toss in “Live Free or Die Hard,” only I believe that movie was probably already in development by the time “Eagle Eye” was being drafted, but hey, you can’t say that the “Eagle Eye” tunnel scene isn’t reminiscent of the “Live Free or Die Hard” tunnel scene, just substitute a helicopter for a military drone aircraft?

Okay, maybe the premise for the story of “Eagle Eye” wasn’t developed in my fictional universe, but it does takes a lot of premises from a bunch of different movies, with the end result that computers really only do what they are programmed to do. “I, Robot” had the three rules for robots; “Eagle Eye” has the Preamble and Constitution. In the end computers just want to be our friends, and look out for us.

In terms of story, for this one you get Jerry (Shia LaBeouf) and Rachel (Michelle Monaghan). They are ordinary people, in fairly ordinary lives, and then, somehow, their lives become intertwined by the voice of a woman who seems to need them to carry out some dastardly deed. The voice dictates to Jerry instructions that get him in a jam with the FBI and then helps him escape from the FBI, while the voice also turns Rachel into a distraught mother with the fear of her son being killed, thus dictating her actions. And as the movie goes along, Jerry and Rachel can’t seem to figure out how this voice seems to be able to control just about every technological part of their lives, from subway trains to street lights, from junkyard robots to power grids, and in the middle of it all, we start to see a plot developing, which we must suppose is some dastardly terrorist plot, but, ahh, other things are at work here.

And you know what, I’m not going to directly give away what is directly at work here, although I sort of already hinted at it, only to say that most every aspect of this movie is unbelievable in our world, yet somehow believable if the “ringleader” of this story turns out to be who she is.

So, here we go. If you want to totally escape reality, “Eagle Eye” should take you there, or maybe freak you out as to what might be possible in a few years. The weird thing is that I kind of liked it, in the same way I liked the movie “I, Robot,” and loved Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton) as the FBI guy who is flustered by technology. There are a lot of things blowing up, you might wonder if someone can really change stoplights at will, who knew that the baggage handling of an area could be so much fun if you aren’t being shot at, and if you live near some electric towers, you might think about moving.

As a Chicago person, in a little aside for this review, in the theater I was unsure if I saw it, but thanks to the DVD and slow-motion, at the beginning of the movie there is a helicopter shot of the Chicago El, St. James Catholic Church in Chicago (where I used to go to mass sometimes when I was in college), and Keating Hall, the “sports center” where I used to do a killer can-opener of the high-dive board in the pool at Illinois Institute of Technology, where, yes, I went to college, and also where all of this reviewing stuff began for me. I know it’s dorky, but for me it’s always cool to see things I am totally familiar with in a movie.

Anyway, “Eagle Eye” is an action-filled movie with tons of seemingly implausible scenarios, but get the DVD realizing this and you should have a good time on your couch, and sure, you might laugh when some things happen, but hey, that’s what movies are sometimes about. And as hard as this might be hard to believe, I was almost ready to give this movie a 4 star rating, until, in Hollywood fashion, the poignant ending I envisioned was changed into a feel-good ending, so I’m dropping it ½ star to 3 ½ stars out of 5 because someone else in this movie should be dead. With that, I was hoping, when watching the DVD, that the alternate ending it contained would be the one I was hoping for, but all it really did was sort of set up a sequel. Blah.

And speaking of the DVD, for the movie-geek crowd, the 2-disc version does have quite a few extras that are interesting if you love seeing how movies are made, especially mixing in seeing behind-the-scene things on location, a nicely detailed “Making of…” features, and a feature with the Director of Eagle Eye, D.J. Caruso, having a discussion with John Badham, the director of “War Games,” with how the movies are similar, yet different. I always love a fun gag-reel and the 2-disc version has it, and as usual, we can see (and be happy) that some scenes were deleted. You also get commentary stuff, if you want it, more scary stuff about your cell phone, and I’m just sad they didn’t have an “On Location…” for Chicago. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to like looking at my old church from above.

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

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

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

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Michael Douglas, Shia LeBeouf, Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan, Frank Langella
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Kiddie Movie: I don’t think they’ll get it, nor enjoy it.
Date Movie: My wife fell asleep during it.
Gratuitous Sex: I’d like to say it would have helped, but I doubt it.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Nah.
Memorable Scene: Nothing really.
Memorable Quote: None really.
Directed By: Oliver Stone
Cool Things About the Blu-ray The normal audio commentary stuff, conversation with the cast, and stuff that was left on the cutting room floor, among other stuff.

Yes, I will admit that I didn’t see the original “Wall Street,” at least I don’t think I did. I mean, that was 1987, I was just out of high school and wanting to be an engineer, so high finance was the furthest thing from my mind. What I do remember is that Michael Douglas was in it, and he was a bad man, and that is all. Yet here we are, 2011, I no longer want to be an engineer, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” is here, and as much as I want to be involved in high finance, and after even watching the movie, I think I cared even less about the movie franchise.

I do know that Shia LaBeouf is in this version. He’s Jake, a young whippersnapper on Wall Street, with desires of saving the world by helping a fusion energy source get funded, or something to that effect. He’s also in love, with Winnie (Carey Mulligan), who also happens to be Gordon Gekko’s daughter. Yup, that’s Gordon played again by Michael Douglas. Well, Gordon is getting out of jail for the bad stuff he did in the original movie, I guess, and as the firm Jake works at is on the brink of disaster, and his boss kills himself, Jake decides to enlist the help of Gordon, the old master, to set things right.

Gordon, of course, can’t easily be swayed, and what better way to get Gordon back into the picture than to try to get him and his estranged daughter back together, so there Jake is, trusting a snake like Gordon to help humanity, himself, and his daughter. And yup, you can guess it, Gordon is still up to his old tricks, even in this new, digital age that he isn’t very familiar with, but yup, there is some “awakening” by Gordon thanks to, well, I won’t spoil that.

Look, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” wants to play off of the market crash we just experienced, wants to have some heart and soul, and seems to want to send some kind of message, only I’m not sure what that message is, other than don’t trust Gordon Gekko. Michaell Dougles is great in his role, but I’m sorry Shia, you’ve’ already been typecast with the “Transformers” seriously so there isn’t any way I’m buying you as the go-getter Wall Street whippersnapper sometimes with a conscience, and sometimes without.

Sadly this movie seems like something just put together like “Hey, the markets collapsed, we need another ‘Wall Street’ movie to explain it all,” and in the end, I pretty much had forgotten most of it by the time the inevitable ending came about. I’ll give Michael Douglas a 3 star performance, dropped the movie some because Shia just is not the person for his role, and drop it a little more for the goofy “technology/internet” montages. With that it’s 2 stars out of 5 for “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” I really wanted more, and just didn’t get it.

The Blu-ray does have some extras that seem interesting enough, namely things like a conversation with Oliver Stone and the rest of the cast, some deleted scenes that are probably best deleted (but at least Oliver Stone might explain why since he also does some commentary for them), and some extra character analysis and Wall Street analysis. I was pretty bored with the movie, so I’m not going to lie and say I watched the extras because I didn’t, but I’m guessing that if you like the movie, well, they will give you some fun insight into the movie-making.

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