There are two movies coming out this week about dogs. One is A Dog’s Way Home. The other is Replicas, which has no dogs in it, but it is a dog.
Question: why does the saying, “This movie is a dog,” imply that a movie is bad, yet we also know this one: “A dog is a man’s best friend.” Someone ‘splain English to me, please. 🙂
I can’t criticize the actors because they had nothing useful to work with. [pullquote]Three minutes into the movie, and the dialog was already clumsy and heavy handed. The only good reason to watch this movie is for a film student to see how not to write dialog.[/pullquote]
It was strange that the CG for the computer displays — the 3D images seen when characters have the HUD on –were pretty snazzy, but then the robot CG was 15 years out of date. It was so jerky it looked like stop motion.
The only good thing I can say about Replicas is that the credits are 11 minutes long, making this only a 95 minute movie.
BTW, Keanu Reeves, if you’re reading this, my apologies. I love your work. There’s nothing anyone could have done to save this miserable script. But I have to ask, “Did you lose a bet? Why on earth did you take this role?”
About The Peetimes:I have 2 Peetimes here. Both are fine, however, there is a crucial scene following the 2nd Peetime. The credits for this movie are 11 minutes long with no extras, so the movie is really only about 95 minutes.
What do we mean by a Peetime Cue when we add them to the RunPee app? There takes a certain type of finesse and a small learning curve to using Peetimes properly. Over the years we’ve distilled it to a science. (Some would say it’s an art…)
Contrary to what some might think, when the built-tin Timer vibrates, this isn’t the time to get up for the loo.
This Timer is merely alerting you to some phrase or on-screen title card (like a date or place, such as Cairo, Egypt, 1923)…giving you a heads up of about a minute or two that you’re to look/listen for the actual Cue to leave your seat and hurry out. (Read about what a Peetime actually is, if you’re unsure.)
How We Choose a Good Peetime Cue
The first rule for us in creating Peetime Cues is: don’t use a cue that’s a spoiler.
For instance, we’d never have a spoiler like, “When Jack dies.” Because, duhhh.
That much is obvious, but there are other spoilers that are easy to slip through. For example, in The Spiderverse movie I had a Cue that was dialog between Peter B Parker and Spiderman Noir. I couldn’t exactly put their names in the Cue, because some people may not be aware that there are multiple Spidermen in the movie.
Fortunately, the dialog was distinctive (and amusing ) enough that I could list the dialog without attributing it. Here’s our actual Cue:
“It’s a long story.”
(2 second montage)
“Maybe not that long.”
My favorite Cues are those that have simple, but memorable lines. There was a great one in Bumblebee: “I once stole a Mallomar.” That’s unique. That’s going to stick with you.
Sometimes we have Cues that are visual events. Like in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, “When the SUV crashes into the river.” That’s distinctive, but a tiny bit of a spoiler, because if you read the Cues before the movie, you would know that the chase scene ends with the SUV taking a plunge. However, I was willing to overlook that, because that scene was also in the movie trailer. Sometimes we just make a judgement call like that, to give you a few extra moments to jump up and not miss the beginning of something important to come.
Here’s another current example:
Dearest (RunPee Mom) and I were watching a movie last night — Split — which she did the Peetimes for. I try to make a habit of checking the Peetimes in the app, just to see what other family members chose. Her Cue for the 1st Peetime was:
When Barry says to Casey, “Your shirt is soiled; just take it off.”
It sounds like a good Cue and all, but the line is spoken very softly, and almost unnoticeable. I was listening for it and completely missed it.
In these instances, when we have a line of dialogue that doesn’t really pop out, we try adding a little context to it. Something like a visual cue, or extending the dialog a little. In this particular case, I would have added the previous line of dialog: “You have a crumb on your shirt. Take it off. Just take it off.” Or included a visual cue: “Barry sits on the bed with Casey and says, ‘You have a crumb…'”
I think a good example of this is from Aquaman. Here’s the Cue:
Aquaman unrolls the map and says, “This is our next stop.”
We’re always happiest when we have a Cue that is memorable and definitive. We don’t want our fans sitting in the theater wondering, “Was that the Cue?” When we’ve given you three or five minutes to go, we try to make this as easy as possible for you to know what to do. Makes sense? Let us know if we can improve!
Now, as to determining a good Peetime, or supplying different choices of Peetime Meta (descriptions of the type of Peetime), those are entirely different stories. 🙂
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has a great cast of voice actors. Here’s a breakdown of the actors, and movies where you might have seen them before. (Slighty spoilery; all links are to RunPee’s reviews)
Peter Parker is voiced by Chris Pine.
This is the first Spiderman we meet when the movie opens.
Chris Pine has numerous leading roles, probably most notably as Captain James T. Kirk in the recentStar Trek movies, but also Wonder Woman, etc.
Peter B. Parker is voiced by Jake Johnson. If you remember, Jake was in Jurassic World as the geek working in the operations center. He had a small part, but did a lot with it. He’s also in a really good movie called Safety Not Guaranteed. If you haven’t seen it, put it on your list. You can thank me later.
Miles Morales is voiced by 23 year old Shameik Moore.
Shameik has landed a few roles here and there, but this is his first blockbuster role, and he kills it.
Gwen Stacy is voiced by Hailee Steinfeld.
December 2018 has been a good month for Hailee. Not only is she the voice for Gwen, but also plays the lead in Bumblebee. Oh, and she turned 22 on December 11th. Go Hailee! Thumbs up from RunPee!
Uncle Aaron is voiced by Mahershala Ali.
Mahershala played Remy Danton on House of Cards, and was Dr. Don Shirley in Green Book, and has a part in the upcoming Alita: Battle Angel as Vector.
Jefferson Davis is voiced by Brian Tyree Henry.
Brian has many roles here and there, most notably in Hotel Artemisas Honolulu, and is in the 2020 release of King Kong vs Godzilla.
Aunt May is voiced by Lily Tomlin.
Lily has been around a good long while. We’d be here a long time if I tried to list just half of her roles.
Rio Morales (Miles’ mother) is voiced by Luna Lauren Velez.
Luna has a role in Dexter as Lt. Maria LaGuerta and the show Oz as Dr. Gloria Nathan.
Spider-Ham is voiced by John Mulaney.
John has done many things, but most of his work is as a writer for SNL.
Peni Parker is voiced by Kimiko Glenn.
You may know Kimiko from Orange Is the New Black
as Brook Soso.
Spider-Man Noir is voiced by Nicolas Cage.
He’s been in movies, a LOT of them, but you may not know that he was cast as Superman in an unmade movie directed by Tim Burton. I’m really not sure the world is ready for that. Okay…after these past few years I guess we probably are. I mean, how much worse can things get?
Searched high and low
but could not find
an image of Doc Ock
Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. Kingpin, is voiced by Liev Schreiber.
Liev is as great an actor as his name is odd. He was Victor Creed in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and did a fantastic job as Marty Baron in the Oscar winning movie Spotlight.
Prequel or reboot. Or, soft-reboot — whatever that is. Just where does Bumblebee fit in the Transformers universe?
Officially, Bumblebee is a prequel, set in 1987. But when you watch the movie you better wear your best retcon glasses, because there’s a lot that just can’t fit with the story we already know. For instance: in the first 2007 Transformers,Sector 7 discovers the existence of Transformers (from the Beagle 2 Rover camera footage three years earlier). So, there’s that. And obviously, there’s no reference to Bumblebee’s 20 years of experience here on Earth.
[pullquote]The news is that Paramount and Hasbro would like to build a shared cinematic universe around Transformers, G.I. Joe, and maybe even pull in the Micronauts and Visionaries.[/pullquote]
This is an ongoing issue that all franchises face. It’s very easy for them to collapse under their own limitations. I’m not sure why anyone is even debating the issue. It isn’t like all the Transformer movies up to now aren’t already forgettable. Just sweep them under the rug and start over.
All of the previous Transformer movies clearly tried to be gigantic ensemble high-stakes epics. (That’s what Michael Bay does.) [pullquote position=”right”]What Marvel taught us is it’s best to lead up to that ensemble epic with a few stories that build the foundation first.[/pullquote]
Maybe they are taking the same approach with Bumblebee, to start small and build up to an epic. We’re on-board.
I can’t say this movie met my expectations. Unfortunately, my expectations were pretty high, based on early reviews by critics that this was the fresh new face of a new take on the Transformers.
There’s a lot of good stuff in the movie. Most notably: Hailee Steinfeld as the lead character, Charlie Watson. She was a great choice for a tomboyish character who has gone through a traumatizing experience. She got as much out of her character as we could expect from any young actress. The faults I have are with the story, not her performance.
What I liked the most about the story is that they kept it small. This isn’t the “grand epic, fate of the planet is at stake” sort of movie. It’s just one Autobot trying to survive against two Decepticons.
What I disliked about the story is how forced it felt. There were numerous scenes that seemed crammed in just to have a payoff later, or even worse, provided no real substance to the movie.
For instance, the mean girls subplot was a complete waste. It’s enough that Charlie recently lost her father. To add the minor subplot of the mean girls there to hurt her did nothing to build the story.
My 6 year old niece was excited to see the movie with me. She watched attentively but seemed to get bored near the end. You can tell when a movie really grabs her, and this one didn’t.
About The Peetimes:I have 3 nicely spaced Peetimes for this movie. I would recommend the middle one, because it’s fairly long and you can go over a little without getting lost. Only use the last Peetime if you think you can get back in 3 minutes. There’s an important scene that happens just as the Peetime ends.
What does DC have to do to shake off the feeling that it’s the poor man’s Marvel?
For starters: make better movies.
I’m not saying Aquaman is bad. Far from it. It’s a decent movie despite being as predictable as it is visually appealing. But it’s no better than the first Thor movie. Which would be fine if Aquaman came out a decade ago. Unfortunately, Marvel beat them to the punch. DC is trying to find their feet while Marvel is breaking Olympic records.
Here’s my best guess why Aquaman doesn’t soar: it just doesn’t know what it wants to be. It’s an origin story for sure, but not much of one. For such a long movie, the origin of Aquaman only comes up in a few brief flashbacks and only one of them — when he’s a young boy — really works.
There’s a little romance, which is fine, but the timing of the scenes are completely wrong.
Then there’s a few scenes that feel like they were stolen from a National Treasure sequel.
The worst part of all of this is the inclusion of Black Manta. I don’t know why the writers felt compelled to throw this character into the story, because it only drags the plot beneath the waves.
All of this happens in the middle third of the movie, robbing the plot of any real dramatic weight when it needs it the most.
It looks like the creative decision makers behind the DC movies heard the criticism about their previous movies being too dark, and decided to “lighten things up a bit.” All I can say is it’s just not that easy. The audience needs a feeling of impending doom so the story grabs them, but there’s also a time and place for the distractions that make a story memorable.
That’s why DC movies are like a mixed salad of moments while Marvel serves a complex meal, where each serving is meant to compliment the others.
About The Peetimes:We have 4 good Peetimes. We recommend the 2nd and 3rd over the others. The 2nd Peetime is a chase scene — pretty — but nothing you haven’t seen in previous scenes. The 3rd is mostly a music montage, followed by a transitional plot that’s easy to summarize.
I’m not a Harry Potter fan. Don’t get me wrong; I like the stories. I think they are rich and compelling. But I’ve never read the books — it’s on the list — and I personally wouldn’t bother seeing any of the movies on opening weekend if it wasn’t my job.
I’m only setting the stage for where this review is coming from, because a movie review, or any review for that matter, isn’t about the thing being reviewed, it’s about the relationship between the writer and the object of the critique. If you share something in common with the reviewer, then perhaps you’ll share a similar relationship with the object of comment.
What I liked Grindelwald is a great villain. He’s a freedom fighter. Not out for personal aggrandizement, at least not yet, but for the betterment of all. He’s only a villain because the Ministry — the centralized power — says he is. Honestly, if I were a wizard listening to him speak, I’d be on his side too. We’ll maybe not on his side, but definitely opposed to the Ministry.
JK Rowling consistently projects an air of self importance on the Ministry, who ends up as an obstacle to the heroes and is always lead by a bunch of incompetent sycophants. If she consciously writes that as a reflection of her own government, then I wonder what she must think of the US government…
[pullquote position=”right”]OMG, I just realized: Trump is Dolores Umbridge. Sadly, the world makes a little more sense.[/pullquote]
Rowling weaves a rich tapestry of characters and conflict over a framework of a masterfully created fantasy world. It’s not flawless, but so nearly so, that I’d feel it next to sacrilege to mention any trivial shortcomings. Let’s just say no one alive does it better. (Something I wouldn’t have been able to say just last week. #StanLeeRIP)
What I didn’t like
There are a LOT of characters and it’s hard to keep everyone, along with their relationships, straight. But it doesn’t help at all when so many lines are squashed under background noise or run over by music. Did the director/editors not listen to the dialog? Maybe they didn’t notice how unintelligible so many lines were because they were privy to the script, and just mentally filled in the auditory blanks. I was in a theater with state of the art Dolby sound and at least half a dozen times I had to wonder what on Earth a character said.
I really wish I had rewatched the first Fantastic Beasts before seeing The Crimes of Grindelwald because I spent most of the movie lost trying to remember what exactly was going on in the character relationships: wait, she likes him, and he likes her, but something happened — I can’t remember what, and why are those two characters looking at each other like that? Is there something going on between them that… oh, right, now I remember… wait, no that was the other girl who… Screw it. I give up. Just show some more fantastic beasts.
So yeah, warm up for CoG by rewatching the first FB.
Tears — check. Racing heart — check. Goose pimples — check. Foot stomping good fun — check. A deeper appreciation for a beloved musician and band — double check.
I love Queen’s music; always have, but I’ll be honest: I knew nothing about the band members and their story, and I’m glad I didn’t, because it made this movie so much more enjoyable not knowing. (And I won’t ruin that for you in this review.)
Any discussion of this film must begin with Rami Malek’s outstanding performance as Freddie Mercury. For a role that relied so deeply on voice, it was his expressions — especially his eyes — that told the story. I could go on with platitudes and adjectives, but let’s just say, “He rocked it,” and move on.
The pacing was spot on. There was just enough of each dramatic scene to get the impact without dragging.
The director Bryan Singer (the guy who did the good X-Men movies) showed he can direct a movie to an emotional crescendo just as well — perhaps even better — than he can end with climatic action.
This is a movie with no room for improvement. I see a lot of movies and that’s not something I can often say.
About The Peetimes:RunPee Vera and I worked together on these Peetimes. I think we came up with four good options, nicely spaced out in the movie. And we worked extra hard to avoid the music montage scenes.