Movie review: Aliens

This is, hands down, the best science fiction action movie of all time. There’s nothing more that need be said.

I don’t think anyone gives Carrie Henn, who plays Newt, enough credit for delivering, what I think, is the best child performance ever. She simply nailed it. And then never, ever, appeared in another film ever.

James Cameron isn’t mentioned often enough as one of the greatest directors of all time. He swings for the fences and repeatedly knocks them out of the park. And he takes huge risks as well.

Grade: A+

Movie review: Wonder Woman

I think this is easily the best of the Justice League series so far. (Not that that bar has been set very high.) What this movie has going for it is great casting. Gal Gadot as Diana/WW and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor have really good chemistry together. There were plenty of humorous and touching scenes between them.

It’s also refreshing to see a super hero movie where the main character is innocent and hopeful, and especially not filled with angst.

The story was predictable, but I’m not going to hold that against anyone because so many super hero origin stories have been told recently – there’s not many untraveled roads left to explore.

I wasn’t particularly impressed with the fight scenes. The moves and slow motion felt cartoony.

Grade: B

Movie review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Definitely one of the better Avenger movies, and I would say it’s easily the best *Spider-Man* of the bunch. This is a much lighter film than its predecessors. There was laughter throughout the movie, with a few really hilarious moments.

The acting was superb. Tom Holland, as the Spider-Man, was delightful. Michael Keaton (Vulture) brought a depth to his character that was both likable and terrorizing.

The story had some predictability to it, but this *is* an origins tale. We’ve seen so many of these — even several *Spider-Man* origins — that it’s hard to do something fresh and still take the time to develop a worthy villain.

I think the problem with all the previous *Spider-Man* movies was that he was alone in his universe, as the only superhero – a problem created by *Sony* owning the movie rights. Now that Spider-Man is wrapped up in the Avenger’s universe, he can be the kid we want to see grow up, instead of instantly having to be “the man.”

In this installment, Peter Parker is 15. I hope we get to see at least two more solo Spider-Man movies with him in high school, exploring smaller adventures in his neighborhood, instead of constantly trying to save the city or planet.

Grade: A-

Movie Review – Justice League (RunPee Dan’s POV)

I enjoyed the movie. Not a lot, but enough. There was some decent humor — most of which revolves around Barry Allen/Flash. The action/fight scenes were fine. A few awesome moments here and there.

The actors all did a good job. I’d say Ezra Miller, as Flash, stood out as the best. Ray Fisher, as Cyborg, was good, but his character is so basically unemotional that it’s hard to mess it up. Jason Momoa, as Aquaman, was almost great. He brings some power, and not just the physical type, and he handled few humorous scenes well.

That being said, there’s a LOT that I don’t like about the movie.

First, why is DC in such a hurry to create the Justice League? I can understand that the studio/producers probably feel like they’re light years behind Marvel, but who cares? They have all the time in the world. There were five stand alone(ish) MCU movies before we got to the first Avengers. But the DC team just skipped over at least three standalone movies: the origin of The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. Each one of those could have been a movie by themselves. Plus, a few more to introduce the mythology in the DC universe. Oh well.

My biggest gripe is that the villain is honestly plain horrible in this movie. Basically, he’s a big bad god type thing, bent on destruction. There’s absolutely no lead in. And all I could think after seeing the one minute of exposition of the villain’s origin was, “Hello, Lord of the Rings much?” Really, he’s a big bad thing bent on total domination, because he has united these three boxes. And after the three armies of Amazons, Atlantians, and men defeat him, they divide up the three boxes so they can’t be reunited again.

Besides all that, the villain is basically a prop for our heroes to crush, after an appropriate amount of struggle.

My last gripe is a potential spoiler. So scroll if you want to read more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Superman is the single worst superhero ever. He’s just too strong. Once he enters the fight at the end, it’s like playtime for him. Where’s the fun in that?

Movie Review – Murder on the Orient Express

The beauty of this movie lies in the scenery and videography; definitely not in the story.

I went in as one of those people who had heard of the story, but never read the book, nor watched any of the previous versions. I didn’t care for the investigation, the characters, or especially the outcome. The only thing that I did find mildly interesting is the commentary on how best to serve justice.

I saw the movie on a huge IMAX screen, and it was worth it. Even though almost all of the exterior shots are CGI it was beautifully done. Not as beautiful as something like *Life of Pi*, but picturesque nevertheless.

I can’t imagine how anyone would want to see this movie if they knew going in *who did it.* I certainly wouldn’t. But if you’re a fan of the story, then sure, give it a watch on the big screen. Otherwise, wait for the DVD.

Movie Grade – C

Movie Review: Thor 3 – Ragnarok (Dan’s POV)

Sometimes you leave the theater loving a movie, but after giving it a little thought it starts to diminish. Other movies don’t make an immediate impact, but after some thought, and rewatching, becomes a favorite. I think Thor: Ragnarok will be one of the few films that accomplishes both. I enjoyed the movie throughout, and walked out impressed, and I think this will be one of the most enjoyable MCU movies over time. Right up there with the first Guardians.

What sticks out most is the humor. It starts off funny, and just gets better and better. And I never felt that the humor was forced.

It looked like all the actors had a good time making this movie. I feel that special recognition should be given to the writers and director. The character of Thor has come a long way since the first Thor movie. While not perfect, there’s a really good growth arc that came out in the writing, directing, and of course, the acting by Chris Hemsworth.

What really stood out was how well the actors used expressions to add depth to the story. It shows a maturity of direction that is rarely seen in action movies these days.

Lastly, and I don’t want to spoil anything, but the story comes around full circle in a beautiful way. Of course the good guys are going to win in the end. But it’s so much more meaningful when it comes with a price. Kudos to the writers for creating a story that’s easy to follow yet isn’t entirely predictable.

Movie Grade : A

Here’s more! Read Jilly’s review of Thor: Ragnarok

Thor 3’s Deleted, One-Off, and Blooper Scenes

And our Thor 2 – The Dark World Rewatch Review

Movie Review – Geostorm

The only reason I would give this movie a C- is because the production values are decent; otherwise this movie falls flat in every respect.

The acting is forgettable. It’s hard to completely fault the actors, because the script they had to work with just doesn’t have any zing to it.

The plot was ridiculous. I guess the only good thing to say about the plot is that it’s easy to follow. But then again, why bother with a plot at all? This movie is the *Sharknado* of weather movies, but it tries to come off as something plausible, which is an insult to anyone with a brain.

As for the CGI: that was really good. There just wasn’t enough of it. If you saw the trailer for this movie then you got all the best parts.

Okay, now I’m going to be a little nit picky here. I understand that most science fiction films require at least a little bit of a suspension of disbelief. For instance, there’s no way to freeze an ocean wave just as it breaks, because, you know, ocean water is salty and so it doesn’t work that way. But whatever; it looks cool, so let’s go with it. What really annoys me is when they do stupid things that they don’t need to. Right in the beginning of the movie we see our main character in a space shuttle. At one point he unbuckles his seat belt and floats up to the window to look at the space station. The only problem is we can hear, and see, that the shuttle engines are still firing. So, the shuttle would be accelerating, and therefore he wouldn’t be able to float. He would still be pressed back into his seat. That sort of mistake is tiny, but it’s like making a grammatical error on your resume. Common, it’s really simple: get the basic stuff right.

*Geostorm* is a low-rent *Armageddon* without the humor, and *Deep Impact* without any impact. Wait for the DVD on this one.

Rating: C-

Meet the RunPee family

family_danDan – that’s me – had the idea for the app back in 2005 after seeing the movie King Kong. It was a super long movie, but I never got up to run and pee. By the end of the movie I was in agony – but I stayed until the end. As I left the theater, my wife Jill and I thought, “We should tell those people that it would be a good idea to run and pee during that scene with the gigantic bugs. It’s a pointless, gross, scene and you’ll be able to enjoy the end of the movie in comfort if you do run and pee.”

Of course I didn’t say anything because I’m not that outgoing, but it did get Jill and I talking about how great it would be to have a website for that. We thought, “You know, we make a website that told people the best times to run and pee during a movie. If we did, what we should call it?” Two weeks later I registered the domain RunPee.com.

Fast forward to today and I’m the guy who does all the coding to make the Android and iOS apps work, manage the website and social media. (You can read more about the history of RunPee here.)

Today I live in Orlando, Florida in a largish house with my wife, mother, sister, and her husband and daughter. Every Friday we head out to see movies so that we can update the database. We are all very surprised by the success and feel honored to be able to do something to help people enjoy their movie going experience just a little more. (Even though it pretty much ruins our movie going experience.)

I see most of the blockbuster/action movies such as The Avengers, Star Trek, The Hobbit. People often ask me, “What was the hardest movie to find Peetimes for?” That’s an easy answer: Inception. I’ve never had to see a movie twice to get good peetimes but I had to see Inception 3 times before I understood it enough to be able to pick out decent Peetimes.

These days I’m still working as a freelance software developer. But now that RunPee is a paid app, I’m making enough money to cut back on work and devote more time to writing. Currently I’m working on a trilogy of books called Zombie Revelations. I expect to publish all three books simultaneously.

I’m an avid sports fan and enjoy working out while watching the Lakers, Cowboys, Patriots, Arizona Wildcats and especially the Alabama Crimson Tide. #RollTide. I went to school at the University of Arizona for a spell, and majored in Mathematics and Astronomy. I dropped out my junior year to go teach at Space Camp for a while. Then decided I would like to be a massage therapist, so I did that for a few years. Then eventually I went back to school at Northern Arizona University, where I studied Philosophy and History. I spent my senior year of college at Swansea University in Wales. When I returned to the USA, I didn’t have enough money to go back to school, so I accepted a job doing HTML/Javascript – back in 2000. From there I just fell into becoming a software developer, without ever intending to.

You can contact me – dan@RunPee.com – if you have any questions for me.

 

I owe a huge debt to family_sisRunPee Sis – Christene – because without her we wouldn’t have Peetimes for any of the horror movies. 🙂

When she’s not watching movies she’s reading books on the Kindle that I bought her. Her favorite authors are Dean Koontz and Stephen King.

 

 

 

 

family_mom

RunPee Mom, or Dearest, as I call her – after the Mommy Dearest skits from SNL. She takes care of most of the animated/kiddy movies. It’s a tough job because she has to try and think, “What would kids not want to miss during this movie?” That might be a different thing than what adults might not want to miss.

When she’s not watching movies, she’s in her room working on crafts of all types. She makes blankets and pillows, and decoupages boxes and all sorts of things. Her craft room is stacked high with boxes of buttons and fabrics and little doodads. I’m afraid to go in there. 🙂

She’s also a big history buff. If you have time to kill, then ask her a question about the American Civil War, The Tutors Dynasty, the wives of Henry VIII, the Russian Revolution, et al. We have lots of fun conversations, and she has helped immensely in shaping the story that I’m working on.

 

 

 

Movie Review – Rogue One : A Star Wars Story

Grade: A-

There’s a lot to like about this movie. The humor, particularly from K-2SO, or K-2 as he’s more often referred to, is outstanding. I have to say, K-2 really carried the movie. It’s not going to happen, but I would love to see a movie with him as the main character. He’s that entertaining.

They did a great job of propping up “A New Hope” with various sayings, cameos, and scenes. That just makes me love both movies even more. And the end of the movie is just awesome.

I wasn’t crazy about the first 30 minutes of the movie, give or take. The scenes are short, and skip back and forth from one planet to another, setting up characters and plots. It just felt too disjointed to me, but eventually it settles down and the pacing improves.

There’s no question that this is a fine addition to the Star Wars universe.

3D Notes from RunPee Wife: Don’t spend your extra money on the 3D version of this film. It doesn’t add anything, or bring you into the universe in the way a good 3D film can…here, it only makes the images darker. Everyone talks about how pretty this movie is; don’t let the glasses bring that down. I actually took the glasses off a few times so I could see the scenes better. Will watch this again in 2D.

Later Note: the 2D version is cleaner and brighter, and improves the viewing experience a lot. The film graininess is intentional, as part of the war mood they were evoking. This movie also gets better every time you see it, storywise.

X-Men: Apocalypse (movie review)

MV5BMjU1ODM1MzYxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTA4NDE2ODE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_Grade: B

It’s always a struggle to rate and review movies like this. I’m going to take the easy way out and judge it against the other X-Men movies.

“Apocalypse” is way better than “The Last Stand”–universally believed to be the worst in the franchise. But, I don’t think it was quite as good as “First Class” or “Days of Future Past”–considered to stand together at the top of the list.

I’m going to put “Apocalypse” right below the top tier along with the the original X-Men and “United.”

There was a touch of humor in the movie, but nothing hilarious. Still, it’s WAY more humorous than the DC movies–not saying much–but not quite as humorous as most Marvel movies.

The action was good, but not spectacular. Maybe I’m just superheroed out, but it’s increasingly difficult for any action movie to impress me.

The acting and directing were both top notch. That leaves us with story and characters. So, here’s the problem: we all know they’re going to defeat the bad guy in the end. That means the only way we can really care is if there’s some sacrifice and there really wasn’t one. Certainly nothing that balances out their victory.

I think that’s the major problem with all superhero movies these days. The cast of characters just keeps growing. They really need to cull the teams and let some characters die off every now and then. That goes for the Avengers as well.

Basically, I liked it. It was an enjoyable two hours. But I didn’t love it.

Additionally, I saw the movie in 2D, so I can’t speak directly about how good it did, or didn’t look, in 3D but I didn’t see anything in the movie that made me wish to see it in 3D. The 3D ratings by RunPee users is currently at about 33%. That’s the lowest of any movie this year. Even lower than Gods of Egypt. (Kind of odd that two of the worst 3D ratings in the past year are for movies about Egyptian gods.)