MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:30 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Dreamworks Studios
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Kiddie Movie: A lot of talking. Probably boring for most kids.
Date Movie: More if she likes politics.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: There is some war violence.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: Abraham Lincoln has some great stories.
Memorable Scene: The scene in the theater when Lincoln gets shot.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stands out.
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Cool things on the Blu-ray: One of the better feature packages with the “Making of,” a nice look at the authenticity, and all of them about the right length without dragging out the uselessness.

First, an admission. When I heard there was going to be a movie called “Lincoln,” I have to admit that I thought it was going to be a biopic, kind of giving us a look into the entire life of Abraham Lincoln. I also admit that I didn’t pay too much attention to the movie, or press, when it was in the theaters, other than hearing it was a really good film, and that Daniel Day-Lewis was incredible in it. Then I watched the Blu-ray, and I finally understand what all of the hubbub was about.

Let’s get to the film.

Now, my first assumption about the movie was wrong – “Lincoln” is not a biopic, but rather a snapshot of a period of Abraham Lincoln’s life, concentrating on the end of his life, and his determination to get the 13th Amendment passed before the end of the Civil War would occur. This was important due to the reasoning for the war and the Emancipation Proclamation, and Lincoln’s fear that should the war end, any slaves that were free might have to go back to being slaves. It’s also not so much about Lincoln, but rather about the politics at the time, with the President being the focal point. Sure, there is some insight into his life, his relationship with Mary Todd (Sally Field), and his two sons, Tad (Gulliver McGrath) and Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), but if you are a fan of political theater, this movie portrays it in all of its grandeur and bickering.

Yes, there is infighting and distrust among Lincoln’s cabinet; Yes, there is a real look at how blacks were pictured in the world at the time; Yes, politics hasn’t changed much in all of these years. And yes, “Lincoln” is a great film, with some of the best performances by all actors, and the brilliant thing Steven Spielberg did with the movie was keep the movie buttoned to the end period in Lincoln’s life so that the movie could stay focused and not lead the viewer in a variety of directions throughout Lincoln’s life that might confuse the end result.

The other brilliant thing – The scene in the theater when Lincoln gets shot. I’ll leave it at that.

If you are looking for an action-packed Civil War movie, this isn’t it, but if you are looking for acting at its finest (Tommy Lee Jones was also incredible), a sad look that politics hasn’t changed in all of this time, and a movie that deserves its accolades, “Lincoln” is it. I will warn you, however, that it is a movie about two and half hours long and there is a lot of talking, so just sit back and enjoy the goodness. It’s 4 ½ stars out of 5.

For a rental or purchase, if you are a fan of the movie, as I was, there is a good chance you will actually get sucked into the extras as part of the Blu-ray, especially on the combo pack. The extra features are nicely done, concise, and cover most everything you would want from how Steven Spielberg came about to making the movie, a well-done but not too technical look at how they kept things authentic, and as a fan of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, it was also a nice, little insight into the mastery of John Williams.

Of many of the Blu-ray packages I have seen, “Lincoln” is one of the best mostly because it doesn’t bog things down with deleted scenes that were best deleted, bad “outtakes” we don’t care about, or filler. A great film, well done extras, and oh hell, I’ll add the half a star and give the Blu-ray combo pack 5 stars out of 5.

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

War Horse

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:26 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

War Horse
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, A Lot of Horses
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Kiddie Movie: Not too young even if they like horses, most of the story revolves around WWI after all.
Date Movie: My wife liked it and snuggled. It’s a winner.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: You do get some war scenes that showed the brutalness of trench warfare.
Action: The horse runs a lot.
Laughs: A few chuckles.
Memorable Scene: The scene where Joey ends up entangled in barbed wire started brutal and ended beautifullly, and all I could kept thinking about during it was the song Belleau Wood” from Garth Brooks.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stood out.
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Cool things about the Blu-ray: Lots of extras on how the film was made makes the combo pack a film-lover’s dream, especially since it skips the usually useless stuff like deleted scenes and a gag reel.

I was a little worried when my wife and I started watching “War Horse” because, after about the first five minutes, as they were setting up the relationship between Joey (the horse) and Albert (Jeremy Irvine), my wife turns to me and says sarcastically, “Oh, this is riveting.” I could tell she was bored, and there was over two hours of the movie left to go.  Thankfully things got much better.

“War Horse” takes us back to the early 1900’s, as World War I was about to break, horses were used to plow the fields, and you read books made out of paper by candlelight.  Young Albert sees a horse being born, and although not the greatest build of a work horse, there is a bond formed between Joey and Albert, much like most people would form to their pet dog, but the war is now here, and in those days horses were used for everything, from transporting troops and the wounded, to pulling the giant cannons, and the best horses were rounded up for use in the war. Joey was now gone, on his way to war, and Albert was sad.

So, we get the story of Joey, a horse that doesn’t look like the strongest but has the heart of a thousand horses and touches lots of life’s in many way.  We see Joey in battle, developing bond with a giant of a horse that most everyone thinks is stronger, helping a young girl discover life, yet all the while never forgetting Albert.

Okay, fine, “War Horse” is much more that that, as intertwined with the story of Joey is the family bond Albert has back home on the farm, a look at a young little girl and her grandfather, a glimpse of the brutality of trench warfare, and how an animal can make friends out of enemies, if only for a few minutes.  Yup, the “This is riveting” had turned into a wonderful story.

Wonderfully shot and what turns out to be a fantastic story, “War Horse” is the kind of movie that is probably better seen on the big screen to envelop you, but will do fine on your big screen, and will allow you to get weepy in the privacy of your own home (Yup, the ending is a tear-jerker in many ways).  So, get through the first five minutes of unrivetting-ness, and enjoy this 4 ½ our of 5 star movie in all of its horse splendor.

Now, Blu-ray wise, if you get the 4-disc combo pack, you get extras to keep you busy for hours, and if you have any interest in how an Academy Award winning Director constructs a movie, this is the combo pack for you. Among other features, you get “War Horse: The Journey Home” which gives you a round-table format of discussions about the film, the characters, and how things went from seeing a play and thinking it would make a great film to ending up on the big screen. Then there is “A Filmmaking Journey” which gives you a detailed look at Steven Spielberg’s creative process, while “Editing and Scoring” dictates how the film is put together. There isn’t the standard “Deleted Scenes” nor “Gag Reel,” which is probably better since generally those just add easy extras to a release, but if you ever just wanted to be that guy in the background of a shot, you get “An Extra’s Point of View,” a nice look at being, well, an extra on a film. Lastly, take the film with you because you also get the copy for your portable device. This combo pack is why you buy a combo pack.

A great story, a great film, and a worthwhile batch of extras when you buy the whole set, I am a little sad I didn’t see the movie on the gloriousness of the big screen, but snuggling on the couch and the both of you getting a little weepy with a great movie does have a niceness about it.

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

A.I. Artificial Intelligence

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:25 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O’Connor, Sam Robards, William Hurt
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Warner Bros/Dreamworks Pictures
Kiddie Movie: Leave them at home.
Date Movie: She might get weepy.
Gratuitous Sex: Lots of innuendos and talk.
Gratuitous Violence: Robots get disintegrated.
Action: Not really but some chase scenes.
Laughs: Thanks to Teddy.
Memorable Scene: When David find The Blue Fairy. They should have left the film there.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Produced By: Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg, Bonnie Curtis

I said in my preview that “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” looked to be a great family film. I’ll tell you what, leave most of the family at home because this ain’t no “E.T.”

“A.I.” is a great showing of filmmaking, and you would think that combining the likes of great filmmakers like Stanley Kubrick, who started the development of this film, and Steven Spielberg who is, well, Steven Spielberg, that this film couldn’t go wrong. For me it went wrong, I guess, because Stanley Kubrick isn’t Steven Spielberg and Steven Spielberg isn’t Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick had a knack for turning a nightmare into a twisted reality, Spielberg is best at making a dream a reality, and this movie would have been better as a nightmare or as a dream, but not both which seems to be what Spielberg ended up trying to do.

In “A.I.” we get a future where you just can’t get pregnant willy-nilly. Robots have become commonplace, especially for sex, but our robot maker thinks that the next best thing is to make a child who can love, basically a child for all of the families that can’t have a child. He develops David (Haley Joel Osment) and gives him to the first test-family, Monica (Frances O’Connor) and Henry (Sam Robards), a family whose own son is in frozen hibernation until a cure can be found for his illness. At first Monica is skeptical, but eventually she activates David to be able to love. She begins to love David, even though he is a robot, but then, low and behold, her son gets a cure and now Martin, Monica and Henry’s biological son, comes home. Yea, you can guess, things get a little tense as Martin and David vie for attention, but Martin has the upper hand because he is human and can figure how to manipulate a robot.

After a few things go wrong on the David front, well, Monica decides it’s time for David to go, but she won’t return him to his builders for fear he might get destroyed. So she leaves him to fend for himself in the forest. It is here, after finding Gigolo Joe (Jude Law) – he’s a sex robot on the run, that David starts to see what he is, but he wants to be a real boy, like in the Pinocchio story which Martin made Monica read to them, and begins his quest to find the Blue Fairy. Not to give anything more away, well, let’s leave the story at that.

But here’s the problem – “A.I” deals with dreams and nightmares, and a movie trying to be both. I think this movie needed to be a nightmare to work, instead, Spielberg tried to turn it into a dream.

Why do I say that? I guess because, in the end, this movie shows that David would always be a robot and that is the nightmare, while Spielberg tries to make it a dream instead. David finds Gigolo Joe, who, in a way, is a much smarter robot than David, and is introduced into a world of sex and no answers. David finds a dark world, still searching how to be a real boy so he can really be loved by Monica, and sadly, even thinking he found it, well, he can’t find it (not like in the other robot movie “Bicentennial Man”, where eventually the robot finds a way to grow old). No, in this movie, we get a robot trapped in hell, in a nightmare, and given a way out, which, and no, I didn’t know Stanley Kubrick, didn’t like most of his films but appreciated his filmmaking, but would like to think he would have left David trapped in his nightmare instead of giving him a way out. David’s a robot. Yes, one that can love, but in the end one that can’t truly be loved. That’s how I think things are. But that can’t be the way for a nice, PG-13, bring most of the family movie, yet you will get, yes, a thought provoking movie, but in the end a nice, PG-13, bring most of the family movie that you shouldn’t bring most of the family to see.

For the younger ones the only cute thing is the super toy called Teddy, basically a teddy bear who can interact with its owner. Scarily, I think Spielberg should have really taken “A.I.” to the next level, yes, an “R” level, where David gets to experience decadence, where David gets to experience real hate, where David is really trapped in a nightmare, and where dreams don’t come true. Even for real boys dreams don’t come true – that, I think, is the reality.

I know a lot of critics are giving high praises to this film but I just can’t. I heard one ten-ish year old dude leaving the theater saying he gave it 2 stars, I heard a mom say she liked it although thought the ending was dumb, but the audience didn’t really applaud (the trailer for “Harry Potter” got more of a reaction), so I’m giving “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” 2 ½ stars out of 5. I think it would have been a better movie as David’s nightmare than David’s dream.

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