Movie Review – Men in Black: International

Movie Review - Men in Black: InternationalIt isn’t that there’s much wrong with MiB International so much as there isn’t anything right about it: the humor is middling; the pacing is choppy; and the plot/character development is bland.

I can’t complain about the acting. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson did good enough with what they had to work with, but Thor: Ragnorak this isn’t.

The biggest problem with MiB International is the pacing. There are long stretches that border on boring, sometimes wandering on the wrong side of the border. Right in the middle of the movie is the main chase scene that serves as the best Peetime in the movie. I’m certain that’s not what the creators had in mind.

There are elements of potential in the story. It feels like all the movie needed was a few more drafts of the script to give it the polish it needed. For instance there are continual references to Agent H’s (Hemsworth) character change since the opening scene of the movie….however, there’s never any resolution as to why this change happened.

Speaking of the opening scene, there was some real confusion in the order of time between the first few scenes of the movie. There’s no indication when the firsts scene starts, as Agent H and T arrive at the Eiffel Tower. [Correction: there was a “3 Years ago” message on screen that apparently appeared while I was writing notes.] After that scene cuts to another scene with “20 years ago” displayed on the screen. At the end of that we jump to the present. That seems simple enough until 3/4 of the way through the movie we discover that the opening scene took place 3 years in the past. I don’t want to imply that there’s a simple solution to how this should have been done, but it’s the job of the writers/director to tell a cohesive story, and they botched that in the first 5 minutes of the movie.

I think most fans of the MiB franchise will be disappointed. This installment is nowhere near as good is the first, or third, movie. The second MiB was pretty awful, save for some funny scenes. I’d say this fourth movie is better than that, but not by much.

Grade: C-

About The Peetimes: We have 4 good Peetimes here, but the 1st and last Peetimes are Emergency use only because they are so short. We recommend the 3rd Peetime. It’s right in the middle of the movie and only involves 1 long chase scene that isn’t particularly good.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Men in Black: International. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for sci-fi action, some language and suggestive material
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Sequel

What Makes Men In Black Tick? Looking Back on the MIB Series and Why It Works

Men In Black Theme Song – Forget Me Nots Remix – Will Smith Lyrics & Video

Want to be a MIB? A Satirical Review of the Original Men in Black (1997)

 

 

Movie Review – X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Movie Review - X-Men: Dark PhoenixThe X-Men Universe, produced by 20th Century Fox,  had a twenty year run. Now that it’s over, they should be applauded for the influence they’ve had on the superhero movie genre.

Fox movie assets are now owned by Disney. That means the X-Men can, at some point, be wrapped into the MCU with the Avengers.

Dark Phoenix was produced before the Disney purchase. It was intended to be a bridge between the previous X-Men Universe and a newly imagined X-Men Universe with a new and young generation of mutants. Instead it stands as an unintended swan song to the X-Men as we know them. Which makes it a shame it had to end with such an underwhelming effort.

The Dark Phoenix story is an absurd mess. Let’s start with the villain… Okay, I’m not even sure where to start with that. Never has a superhero villain been so poorly imagined. Vuk, played by Jessica Chastain, has barely more than a cameo role. You wouldn’t even know the villain’s name except it’s shown just once in a subtitle. Even Xavier himself refers to the villain as: that thing, that woman, I don’t know what.

And what do we know about that “spark/solar flair” thing? We get one line of exposition from Vuk: “It’s the spark that brought life to the universe and now goes around destroying planets, including my own.”

What? How does that even make sense? Lazy storytelling much?

Who’s the Villain, Really?

Maybe Vuk and this spark/thing aren’t really the villains. Maybe Jean Grey is the villain. Which could have worked brilliantly if they hadn’t introduced Vuk/spark in the first place. Take the entire alien storyline out and just build up Jean a little more. There’s plenty of material there for us to relate to in our everyday lives, as an “internal demon” takes over a loved one and how their family copes with it, and then reconciles their feelings.

That’s what the X-Men have always represented: family. But in Dark Phoenix they tried to have it both ways, which drowned all the potential this movie started out with.

Grade: D-

About The Peetimes: The movie is full short, choppy, scenes that made it difficult to get good Peetimes. The 2 best Peetimes are the 3rd and 4th. Both work well, but are only around 3 minutes long.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of X-Men: Dark Phoenix. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action including some gunplay, disturbing images, and brief strong language
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Every X-Men Film Explained

X-Men: Apocalypse (movie review)

X-Men: Days of Future Past – movie review

Movie review : X-Men First Class

Godzilla End Credits Song Remix By Serj Tankian

Blue Oyster Cult is probably most famous for their song Godzilla.  It’s a must if you want to set the mood for seeing Godzilla: King of the MonstersBut, better yet, give a listen to the remix by Serj Tankian that plays in the movie as the credits roll.

 

Godzilla Lyrics and Video from Blue Oyster Cult

Movie Review – Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Godzilla MovieMeme

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty darn proud of the #MovieMeme feature I added to the RunPee app in the previous update. It’s a work in progress that I would consider in beta for now, but you can still do an awful lot with it and have great fun sharing your work.

MovieMeme -- Godzilla

To access this feature in the RunPee app, just select any movie, which will take you to the Movie Info Screen. At the top of the screen you’ll see the movie poster. Just tap on that, and you can draw on the poster and/or add a text or meme to it.

The usability is still a little rough around the edges, but that will get ironed out in time. If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear your feedback. Just email me: support@runpee.com.

John Wick: Prince of Puppies

It’s also fun to just use your finger, or a stylus, to draw on the poster.

MovieMeme -- Aladdin

Or a combination of meme and drawing.

MovieMeme - Hellboy

MovieMeme

What’s New in the RunPee App Version 5.0 – Movie posters can can draw on, MCU Peetimes at a glance, and much more!

RunPee’s MovieMeme Designs – So easy, a “meme moron” like me can make one

Movie Review – Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Movie Review - Godzilla: King of the MonstersLet’s face it, no one watches porn for the plot. Two barely dressed women order pizza and minutes later a buff young man knocks on the door. You know what happens next.

Likewise, no one watches mega monster movies expecting Inception level plot twists. We watch to see monsters eff each other up and lay waste to a cities the way politicians lay waste to the truth. Based on that criteria, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is completely satisfying and ends with a “money shot” worth the price of admission.

My primary gripe of Godzilla 2014 was that there weren’t nearly enough Godzilla fight scenes. This sequel rectifies that in the first 30 minutes of the movie.

Leaving the theater last night, I was hovering in the B+/A- range grade for this movie. However, after a little thought, I’m backing off to a solid B, only because — while I just said we watch these movies for the monster fights — it should would be nice if the scenes between could prop the movie up, instead of drag it down.

I didn’t care if any of the characters lived or died, other than perhaps Madison, the daughter. Everyone else was as disposable as pizza toppings. In fact, I was sort of hoping Dr. Stanton, played by Bradley Whitford — the sarcastic smart ass from West Wing — would get killed, so he would stop delivering nothing but cheesy lines. Not that Bradley is to fault. He did his job wonderfully, but I suspect he was on-set begging with the writers to give him just one line that wasn’t purely for exposition or a smart ass comment.

I know I said at the beginning of this review that plot in a movie like this is completely irrelevant, but that’s not completely true. It is of vital importance to the rewatchability of a movie. Right now I have no interest in watching this movie again, unless it’s just to fast forward from one monster fight to another.

I realize that “rewatchability” is highly subjective. That being said, this movie lacked the playfulness of a movie like Pacific Rim

Movie Grade: B

Is Godzilla: King of the Monsters a Sequel to Kong: Skull Island?

Movie Review – Godzilla (2014) – This Godzilla Should Have Been Better

Movie Review of Kong – Skull Island

Rewatch Review – Godzilla (1998) – More overthinking than this film deserves

Summer is coming so is nostalgia

We are in the throes of the summer movie season and if you’re feeling a sense of déjà vu, you aren’t wrong.

Familiar characters, from Woody and Buzz, Spider-Man, John Wick, Aladdin, Jasmine, and the Genie, Simba and Nala and Godzilla are returning to the big screen, all vying for the summer box office prize.

Summer movies usually are released from May through August but in the last few years, with Marvel superheroes assembling in April, the hot movie season starts earlier than usual.

Many sportsbooks online are offering odds on which movie will earn the most on select weekends and/or the movie season, which means if you buy into summer beginning in April, the big winner is “Avengers: Endgame.”

If the sportsbook of your choice sticks with the traditional calendar, other movies have a chance to rise to the top.

The consensus is that film studios, facing pressure from streaming services, such as Netflix, are turning to proven characters or titles to boost their bottom lines.

Movies, such as “Toy Story,” “Fast & The Furious,” and “The Lion King” have a faithful and reliable audience. The characters are known quantities, so the industry is happy to tap into that nostalgia and its built-in audience. But that’s not to say studios have thrown in the towel on fresh ideas, for example, Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” and the Elton John biopic “Rocketman,” but they’ve made a choice to balance the two.

So will a familiar face or fresh one “win” or claim “we’re No. 2! we’re No. 2!”

“Aladdin” starring Will Smith made a strong case exceeding expectations over the Memorial Day weekend. The live-action remake of the Disney classic made more than $105 million domestically over the four-day weekend busting IMDB predictions. With Disney having more than a half-dozen movies in release during the summer, it is many times competing with itself.

Others making a run at the box office prize:

  • “The Lion King” (July 19 premiere; IMDB projected total box office: $720 million) – The photorealistic CGI remake of this Disney blockbuster with it star-power voice cast will again roar at the box office, likely finishing No. 2 behind “Endgame.” The heartfelt story of love, betrayal, and friendship has wide appeal and Disney already scored with the photorealistic retelling of “The Jungle Book,” so this is going to be a big winner.
  • “Toy Story 4” (June 21; $600 million) – This movie was unexpected since it wrapped so nicely with the toys finding a new home in “Toy Story 3.” Color us skeptical, but it’s Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen) and the absolute last one, so we’re in. Hanks suggests you bring Kleenex.
  • “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (July 2, $415 million) – The success of “Avengers: Endgame” and Spidey coming back from dust could make this movie BIG or uncover moviegoers’ superhero fatigue.
  • “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” (August 2, $295 million) – A familiar franchise without Disney ties (finally!) that’s trailer actually shows star Dwayne Johnson lassoing a helicopter and Jason Statham being, well, Jason Statham.
  • “Men in Black International” (June 14, $210 million) Chris Hemsworth dumps Thor’s cape for a black suit, teams with Tessa Thompson to fight aliens.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (May 30, $200 million) – The lizard rises from the sea to take on other monsters. Hooray!
  • “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” (opened May 17, $180 million so far) – Keanu Reeves continues to kick butt on screen and at the box office to become the highest grossing movie in the action franchise.

So, familiar faces are expected to bring box office boom this summer and summers to come. Other movies that have proven themselves in the past and now in the production pipeline for future release are “Roadhouse,” “Gremlins,” “The Thomas Crown Affair,” and “White Men Can’t Jump.” Everything old is new again.

Movie Review – Aladdin (2019) – A Live Action Remake, Good for the Target Audience

Movie Review - AladdinThe 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin is a difficult movie to review, because I’m not the target audience — that’s mainly young kids. Personally, I found the movie to be occasionally entertaining at best, and barely tolerable for the rest. There were a few laughs here and there, and rarely did the song and dance bits drag on too long.

If you’re a parent taking their kids to see this movie, then you could do worse.

Based on the audience reaction in my theater, (mostly kids under 16) it will be a hit. Three teenage girls sat in the back row and laughed throughout.

The plot is simple and clear enough that young children will be able to follow along, and if not, there’s enough singing, dancing, and action to entertain them.

Will Smith is one of the few actors with the charisma to perform the role of Genie. I think Will did fine, but he fell short of making it iconic. I’d give him a B+.

I only vaguely remember the plot of the Disney Aladdin from 1992. From what I recall this retelling is generally the same, except Jasmine’s character has been fleshed out more. It wouldn’t be misleading if they changed the title to “Jasmine” or at the very least, “Jasmine & Aladdin,” since it’s mainly about womens’ empowerment, like “Mulan”. What do you think?

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: I have 2 recommended Peetimes, both near the middle of the movie. The 1st of the Recommended Peetimes is a song/dance scene that young kids may enjoy, but it’s easy to summarize. The 2nd Recommended Peetime is all dialog. There’s a little humor, but not much. You choose which works best for you.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Aladdin. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for some action/peril
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Family, Remake

Rewatch Review – Disney’s Animated Aladdin (1992) – A Classic Film with Deeply Modern Flaws

Aladdin –  Animated vs Stage vs Live Action

A Whole New World – Aladdin Lyrics and Video (1992 Animated Version)

John Wick-Chapter 4 announced

John Wick: Parabellum unseated Avengers: Endgame as the number one box office draw this weekend. LionsGate studios rewarded fans with this text message: “You have served. You will be of service. John Wick: Chapter 4 is coming — May 21, 2021.”

Read the entire story at IndieWire.

‘John Wick 4’ Set for 2021 Release, But Don’t Expect a Happy Ending

Movie Review – John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum (Not as good as the first two)

Movie Review - John Wick: Chapter 3 - ParabellumI loved the first two John Wick movies, especially the first, which really brought new life to the action genre. But I found myself getting bored by the monotonous action in John Wick Parabellum.

I think the movie might have been better if it had been a little shorter. Many of the fight seems felt redundant.

Beyond that, the gravitas expressed by Keanu Reeves in the first movie just isn’t available in this story.

What was Good in John Wick Parabellum

The director (Chad Stahelski) works hard to break some new ground in each of his movies, and I think he accomplished that with the dog scenes in this version of John Wick. I’ve seen attack dogs in movies before, but nothing like this. Kudos to the dogs and their trainers. They earned the treats and then some.

John Wick: Prince of Puppies

Besides that, there were a few times I spotted errors in the choreography of the fight scenes. For instance, men would stand still after being punched by John Wick, while he turned his attention to another foe, before turning to shoot the first guy. It didn’t feel as tight and polished as the first two Wick movies.

The Unsung Heroes of Action Flicks

That said, going to see this movie in the theater is a good way to support the men and women who work hard to perfect their craft at making action movies like this. It’s hard and dangerous work, and they don’t get the glamour showered on the big name stars. They’re the blue collar workers of Hollywood and deserve a pat on the back — and some coin in their pocket — for their work, as the unsung heroes of John Wick, and all action films.

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: I found 3 good Peetimes. None of them involves any good John Wick action. I recommend the 2nd Peetime. It’s the longest, and right in the middle of the movie.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for pervasive strong violence, and some language
Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller

The Matrix After 20 Years – A Retrospective: A Different Kind of Hero, a New Kind of Science Fiction

Movie Review – John Wick 1

Interview with John Wick director Chad Stahelski – from stunt double to director

Remember the 1990s movie The Crow, staring Brandon Lee who was tragically shot on set during filming? In order to finish the movie, a young Chad Stahelski went from stunt double to actor double. Now here he is, decades later, as one of the brightest new directors in Hollywood.

Read the full interview at Yahoo.com.

Movie Review – John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum (Not as good as the first two)