Focus – movie review

focusGrade: C+

I’ve put off writing my review of this movie because I can’t think of anything to say. It’s one of those movies that doesn’t stand out as good or bad in any way.

The story is decent. I think they were trying to pull of an Inception-like effect, but with within cons instead of dreams within dreams. They didn’t fail miserably, but at the same time they didn’t really hit a home run either.

Will Smith was pretty much what you would expect. His character is flamboyant and confident — something Smith excels at. The rest of the cast was good, but again, no one stood out as remarkable, except for maybe Adrian Martinez “sidekick to the stars.” He did a fantastic job with a small role.

It isn’t like February through April have a lot of must see movies. You could do worse if you’re just in the mood for a night out and want to see a movie. Otherwise put this on your list of movies to see on DVD.

Whiplash – movie review

whiplashGrade: A

There’s no point in reviewing this movie. It’s as good as a movie is going to get. Great story, great acting — J.K. Simmons won an Oscar for best supporting actor, and great directing, oh yeah, the music doesn’t suck either. ūüôā

Kingsman: The Secret Service – movie review

kingsmanGrade: A

It isn’t often that a movie exceeds my expectations, but this one sure did. I was hoping for something good; I got something great.

There are no holes in this movie. The acting is better than good, there isn’t anything groundbreaking with the action, but I think they did an excellent job. Especially with the length of the fight scenes. They gave us enough to enjoy without dragging it out for too long.

The *evil plot* was one of the best in any spy movie ever. It was easy to understand and oddly compelling. I must admit I’ve had the same thoughts myself from time to time after watching cable news. ūüôā

If there was one thing I would criticize it would be the humor. There were lots of amusing scenes, but only a few downright LOL moments. But, on the other hand they didn’t try to create any LOL moments that missed.

Matthew Vaughn, the writer/director, deserves huge kudos for bringing the fun back to spy movies. I just want to know when the sequel is due.

Jupiter Ascending – movie review

Jupiter-AscendingGrade: C

It’s times like these that I really hate writing movie reviews. Jupiter Ascending is an archetypical story with a great deal of potential, but it falls short in so many ways. But I really appreciate that the Wachowski’s (writers/directors of The Matrix, V is for Vendetta, Cloud Atlas) always try and reach for making an epic movie. They don’t always succeed but when they do it more than makes up for their shortcomings.

The best part of the movie is the visuals. If you really want to see this movie then splurge and see it in 3D, because it’s really well done. From what I can tell the entire movie was shot in 3D, instead of just the CG scenes which some movies do. If you’re not crazy about 3D then this might be worth waiting for the DVD.

In my opinion the love story is the biggest disappointment. It’s presented as one of those love at first sight scenarios that just doesn’t work for me. Kudos to you if you enjoy that sort of love story. I want to see two characters developed as individuals so that I can feel them falling in love instead of being told they fall in love.

The action was good, especially the first chase scene. After that some of the fight scenes drag on a little longer than needed. In fact I used one of the middling action scenes as a Peetime because it’s just one long grab and go.

There wasn’t anything funny in the movie. I don’t even think they tried. But this is a Wachowski’s movie and I honestly can’t remember a funny scene in any movie they’ve ever done.

Project Almanac – movie review

project-almanacGrade: C-

This is a “found footage” made film, which I find enormously irritating. If you’re like me, in that respect, then you should stay away from this movie.

The movie isn’t bad but it doesn’t add anything to the time travel genre either. My advice is to take a pass and if you really want to see this movie then save the money and sign up for the DVD alert in the RunPee app.

Mortdecai – movie review

mordicaiGrade: D+

Mortdecai is evidence that an all star cast doesn’t necessarily translate into a great movie. I don’t think it’s the cast fault for the movie falling flat. It’s primarily due to the writing.

The only thing the writers had going for them was a thesaurus. The characters are all written and portrayed as caricatures of stereotypical character types. I think, I hope, that was done purposely. Whatever the motivation it didn’t translate well in the movie.

There were countless attempts at humor but they almost all fall flat, although I did laugh out loud at a few of Paul Bettany’s scenes.

This certainly isn’t the sort of movie I’d suggest rushing out to see in a theater. If you love these actors then my suggestion would be to save some money and rent the DVD.

Reminder: You can use the RunPee app’s “DVD Alert” feature to sign up to receive an email when this movie is released on DVD.

Spare Parts – movie review

SparePartsGrade: B

Initially I regarded this movie as predictable and a typical formula flick. However, it went a few steps beyond predictable.

George Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis and Marisa Tomei were very good and quite believable in their rolls, but the real stars were the four young actors that made up the science team.

[ Spoilers below ]

 

 

 

 

It’s no surprise that the team beats MIT, Virginia Tech and Cornell university. If they’d lost, well there’s not much of a story there and even the team winning isn’t the story. The story is HOW they won. That aspect of the movie is the real winner.

American Sniper – movie review

AmericanSniperGrade: A-

Just when I thought Bradley Cooper was a great actor he turns in a performance like this one and and makes me consider that he’s a *really* great actor. It seems like every movie I see him in he does something different and keeps doing it at a high level. There are many actors who can play a few roles really well, but not many that can perform with the diversity as Cooper does.

And to think he got his break as a bit character on *Alias*.

It’s really the acting that carries this movie. I thought the story was good, but not great. From what I can tell the “true” parts of the story were the best and most dramatic. I’d recommend looking up the real life man this movie is based on after you’ve seen it. He is truly inspiring.

2014 year in review

This has been the most financially successful year in RunPee history. I think we’re in good shape to be around for a long time to come. The biggest personal news is that I bought a house! RunPee HQ is now located in Swannanoa, North Carolina — just outside of Asheville.
View from office

Here’s a picture from the office/bedroom window at RunPee headquarters.

Here are some statistics about this year’s movies.

We added 161 new movies this year (a new record), up from 146 last year. That’s just over 3 movies a week. There is now a total of¬†840 total movies in the database.

The 161 movies account for¬†17,894 minutes of film for the year. That’s an average movie length of 1:51 — up by about one minute from last year. The five¬†longest movies this year were:¬†Interstellar (168 minutes),¬†Boyhood (165),¬†Transformers Age Of Extinction (164),¬†Exodus: Gods And Kings (150),¬†Gone Girl (149).

RunPee Mom (Ginger) saw the most movies this year. Here’s a breakdown of movies by person.

Mom: 64
Dan (me): 54
Sis: 35
Shanee: 8

This is the first year that Mom saw the most movies. Last year it was Sis, who is way down from last year. She’s going to have to work hard this year or I might need to find a new sister. ūüôā Shanee sees mostly the big blockbuster movies so that we’ll have Peetimes for the opening showing. This year she chipped in and added a handful of limited release movies.

Of the 161 movies 46 of them had extra scenes, during or after the end credits. That’s about 29% of the movies.

Our movie review grades were all over the map. I gave an A+ to 3 movies this year: The Equalizer,  The Theory of Everything, and The Imitation Game.  Six other movies got an A or A- grade: Lone Survivor, August: Osage County, Veronica Mars, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Birdman, Captain America The Winter Soldier, and Guardians Of The Galaxy. Five movies got a grade in the D range: Pompeii, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,  The Maze Runner, Sex Tape, and Into the Storm.

Sis gave only one movie an A+ and that was The Fluffy Movie¬†which really wasn’t a movie at all. She gave an A or A- to seven other movies:¬†Neighbors,¬†Tusk,¬†Dumb And Dumber To, ¬†Horrible Bosses 2, ¬†Annie,¬†The Gambler, and¬†This Is Where I Leave You. ¬†She gave four movies a grade in the D range:¬†Devil,s Due,¬†Oculus,¬†Innocence, and¬†Annabelle.¬†She gave an F- to one movie:¬†The Quiet Ones.

Sis and I were talking about movie grades last night and she commented that most of the movies that she’s looking forward to end up being horrible, and the movies that she dreads seeing end up really good. I think that’s very good evidence that she has poor taste in movies. ūüôā

Mom gave just one movie, Jersey Boys, an A+.  Ten other movies got either an A or A-: Nebraska, The Fault In Our Stars, St. Vincent, Nightcrawler, Muppets Most Wanted, 
How To Train Your Dragon 2, The Good Lie, The Judge, Kill The Messenger, and Big Hero 6.

Here are the most Popular movies on the RunPee app this past year.

62,687 – Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1
61,578 – X-Men: Days Of Future Past
54,745 – Interstellar
54,381 – The Fault in our Stars
51,949 – Guardians of the Galaxy
48,552 – Captain America: Winter Soldier
41,823 – The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
41,018 – Transformers: Age of Extinction
36,511 – Maleficent
35,593 – Spider Man 2

Here are the top 10 movies of 2014 (ticket sales USA)

40,791,915 – Guardians of the Galaxy
38,153,070 – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay
31,831,735 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
31,591,264 – The Lego Movie
30,078,318 – Transformers: Age of Extinction
29,584,231 – Maleficent
28,666,854 – X-Men: Days of Future Past
25,557,057 – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
24,901,797 – Big Hero 6
24,859,550 – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Here’s a breakdown of RunPee app usage by country:

1. United States (87.16%)
2. Canada (2.65%)
3. United Kingdom (2.15%)
4. Australia (1.92%)
5. Germany (0.63%)
6. Mexico (0.50%)
7. Singapore (0.36%)
8. Netherlands (0.30%)
9. New Zealand (0.23%)
10.Sweden (0.20%)

Notice that China isn’t in the top-10. I’m almost finished working on a new version of the RunPee app that is translated, Peetimes and all, into Chinese. I’ll be interested in seeing how that works out next year – fingers crossed.

Here’s an age breakdown of RunPee app users:

18-24: 27.50%
25-34: 33.50%
35-44: 15.50%
45-54: 12.50%
55-64: 5.50%
65+: 5.50%

45.85% of RunPee app users are female; 54.15% are male.

72% of RunPee app users are on iOS; 28% are Android.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is the most popular Android phone among RunPee users, followed by the Galaxy S4, and S3 — looks like Samsung has the Android market cornered.

I just added the 3D voting feature to the RunPee app where users can suggest to others if the 3D version of a movie is worth seeing. It will be interesting to see what the best 3D movies are next year.