The Beach

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:53 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Beach
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tilda Swinton, Virginie Ledoyen, Robert Carlisle
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Kiddie Movie: Not at all.
Date Movie: I saw two couples leave in the middle – leave her at home.
Gratuitous Sex: Sex and nudity and I’m still only giving it 1 1/2 star.
Gratuitous Violence: People get shot and some shark wounds.
Action: Some chasing.
Laughs: The movie.
Memorable Scene: The shark wounds.
Memorable Quote: “We’re in dope heaven!”
Directed By: Danny Boyle

Because I’m usually pretty easy to please, if you put some quality violence, some nice gore, a hot lady or two (getting naked is a plus), and the potential for a good movie, well, everything can suck and I’ll still give it a decent rating. “The Beach” had all of that, but I just can’t get past the scene where Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio) goes nuts. It was at that point that I saw two couples leave the movie, and I wanted to also except I had to see where it would all end up. It ended up with a commercial for Macintosh.

I don’t know, ever since “Titanic” it seems like I’ve seen DiCaprio trying to get out of the teenage heart-throb persona that it gave him. There were the stories of his bar hopping in L.A., there was his role in “Celebrity,” and now there is “The Beach.” As Richard, he narrates his way into Bangkok, where he seems to intentionally over-emphasize the “kok” part when he says it, finding himself sick of home and looking for adventure. Shacking up in a bug-infested hotel, one room next to him holds the hot Francoise (Virginie Ledoyen) while the opposite room holds the psychotic Daffy (Robert Carlisle). While sharing a joint through the wall partition, Daffy tells Richard of this beautiful island paradise, with the coolest beach and the best pot. As Richard’s fate has it, the next day there is a map on his door to the island, Daffy went totally wacky, and Richard asks Francoise and her boyfriend if they want to try and find the island. They go along.

So, yea, they find the island paradise, half inhabited by pot-growing folk ready to kill anyone who invades their plantation, the other half inhabited by a commune of hippie-folk, seemingly self-sufficient until someone makes a run to the mainland when the necessities of home become more important than the beautiful beach. Well, Richard falls for Francoise (there’s a surprise – who wouldn’t?), she falls for him, they get naked in the lagoon, and all is well until a group of folks who Richard slipped a copy of the map to try to show up. Richard is sent to a twisted solitary confinement waiting for them to arrive so he can steal the map back, and in the meantime, well, goes insane.

I suspended my disbelief about the movie up until this point because it was a movie, but when Richard finds himself hallucinatingly traipsing through the jungle after the enemy, my suspension of reality turned to “when is this going to end?”

DiCaprio does a decent job as the thrill-seeking Richard, Ledoven is hot and gets naked, you’ve got a couple of gruesome shark bites, and some folks get gunned down. The movie had potential, but seemed to overdue it on the shock value instead of keeping a little bit of realism. My main case in point on this was Daffy’s suicide. The story was that Daffy slit his wrists, his guts, or maybe his neck. Fine, the dude killed himself, but the room, with blood everywhere, and I mean everywhere, looked like his body exploded rather than just a suicide. Maybe a hopped-up-on-drugs suicide can splatter blood all over a room, what do I know, but it just bothered me.

So, with that, I say wait for cable on this one, even with the blood, gore, sex, nudity, and potential for a good story. It just doesn’t go there. 1 ½ star out of 5.

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

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:47 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Curious Case
of Benjamin Button
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Paramount Pictures & Warner Bros.
Release Date: 2008
Kiddie Movie: They’d probably get tired and bored.
Date Movie: If she’s okay with a long movie.
Gratuitous Sex: There are suggestions. Hey, Benjamin does grow up, I mean young.
Gratuitous Violence: Benjamin does go through World War II, but nothing horrible.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: Quite a few one-liners keep things light-hearted.
Memorable Scene: Brad Pitt as an old, I mean young man.
Memorable Quote: “That’s the saddest story I ever heard.”
Directed By: David Fincher

For as long as I can remember after seeing the first trailer for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” I couldn’t figure out how they were going to have Brad Pitt “reverse” age. I mean, how do you start out as an old, full-sized man, and then end up as a little baby? The TV show “Mork & Mindy” pulled it off because, well, they were aliens, but the trailers showed an old man in the mirror looking sort of like Brad Pitt, and then Brad Pitt looking like, well, Brad Pitt. I must say that as the movie began, it finally made sense how Benjamin would age backwards, but then the ending just seemed wrong. Anyway, let’s get to the story.

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” opens with Daisy (Cate Blanchett) as an old, dying woman, in a hospital in New Orleans, just as Hurricane Katrina is bearing down on the gulf. Her daughter Caroline (Julia Ormond) is with her, and then Daisy has Caroline read from a diary and the story of Benjamin Buttons begins.

We learn of Benjamin’s birth, as a grotesque, old-looking baby, whose father leaves him on a doorstep to be raised by others at a home for old people, where, even though he’s kinda gross, the old people can relate. The problem is, instead of dying, the baby begins to grow up, but as he grows up in size and learns to speak and walk, he also reverses in physical appearance, looking younger and younger every day. As the story goes, Benjamin grows older as children do, realizing he likes girls (especially Daisy, who is too young for him because he, well, right now looks too old), wants to see the world, seeks adventure (finding it on a tug-boat that turns into a navy vessel, thereby giving Benjamin a sense of purpose, love and sex, and friendship), but always has a place in his heart for the old homestead, and Caroline. There finally comes a time when Benjamin and Caroline are the appropriate age, do the dirty deed, I mean make love, have a child amongst themselves, and life happily ever after, sort of.

Sure, I could give away a lot of the plot elements, like Benjamin having an affair with a lady who swims, who his father is, and how he dies (please, don’t bitch at me about giving away that he dies – it’s a story about the life of Benjamin Button – of course he dies), but what fun would that be? Actually, I so want to give away how he dies because I really didn’t like it, but maybe I’ll wait for the DVD review to give that away, and how I thought it was carried out wrong.

The thing is, I really liked “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” except for, well, how he died, and I’m torn if I should let that influence my rating. You see, it’s really a nice story and a curious take on life and growing old, the acting in the movie is fantastic across the board, and the effects of making Brad Pitt start as an old man and reverse age are utterly fantastic (ladies, you will easily remember how you fell in love with him during his “Thelma & Louise” phase, and I’m thinking Angelina Jolie is probably saying “You know, he has great potential to be a hot looking older dude!”). Some people are complaining the movie is too long (it clocks in at almost the three hour mark) but come on, you can’t squeeze 80 years of a person’s life in an hour and half, and really, it doesn’t play out that long. I sort of wish, though that more time would have been spent with Benjamin as an old man, or rather, I mean as a young man, I mean, when he was an old man but looked like a young man, although I suppose his true formative years were when he was an old man, I mean a young man, I mean when he was young but looked like an old man.

Visually the movie does deserve a trip to the movie theater, and I suppose, Benjamin’s death aside, it’s a great movie, so I’ll just leave my rating at a very solid 4 stars out of 5. The story is entertaining, the effects are fantastic, the acting is entertaining, and Brad Pitt sure has come a long way from his “I’m just a hot piece of ass” days. If you don’t see the movie in the theater, which I do recommend, put it high in your Netflix queue when it makes it to video.

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

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

MPAA Rated – PG
It’s 2:23 Long
A Preview by:
The Dude on the Right

The Chronicles of Narnia:
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Georgie Henley, William Moseley, Skandar Keynes, Anna Popplewell, Tilda Swinton
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: Disney Pictures
Release Date: 2005
Directed By: Andrew Adamson

I’m pretty sure I have never read anything by C.S. Lewis, let alone recalling him as a classic, but supposedly he is an acclaimed author, and this movie, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” is based on his classic novel. Fine. I have no idea what any of that really means, but the trailer does show a magical adventure movie about four kids sent to a weird house.

So the four kids end up in this weird house with this weird professor dude, and they are pretty bored except for playing hide-and-seek. One of them opens up this wardrobe while trying to hide, and low and behold finds this weird world where animals talk and life seems grand, although it isn’t. It seems some evil witch is keeping things perpetually cold, even winter-like, and it’s up to the kids to join together with the animals to get rid of the witch.

The movie looks good, but it’s only shot at a blockbuster is that Potter-mania has died down and the kids are ready for another adventure because “Goblet of Fire” opens a mere three weeks prior.

I can’t say I’m excited about this film, but then again, it’s not really meant for me. I does look like a good one for the kids who enjoy adventure stories and talking animals.

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