Movie Review – Coco (RunPee Jilly’s POV)

This wildly beautiful animated film celebrates Latino culture, inter-generational family connections, one possible interpretation of the afterlife, and, most obviously, what the Day of the Dead is all about.

I’m not an expert on Mexican holidays, but it felt authentica. The animated humans were pretty adorable, and the Miguel/Hector interactions  stole my dark little heart. Then the perito…what can I say? He seemed firstly like a typical cutsie sidekick, but we get a little Scooby treat in the end.

Even the cast and plot held together — which in animated films can be hit or miss. Coco is on the level of Inside Out for me: giving me deeper things to think about, with a visual feast to sit back and enjoy.

The “real world” first act was only okay, (which brings the grade down from a perfect A+ score) – kind of like a Mexican Footloose – but once we let any semblance of reality go, crossing the bridge to the afterworld, things become fabuloso, wacky, quirky, and really, really fun.

New anthology films in this undead setting could start a whole new franchise. Like traipsing to a more colorful Narnia, we’d enjoy staying in the brightly festooned, colorful cities, teeming with glitzy skele-people and their bold, big lives-after-death. Nice place to visit, I think.

What this film does best of all (besides making me sob like a baby: be warned) lies in the pretty. It’s gorgeous. Every scene in the land of the dead is phenomenal.  Worth seeing in 3D, and definitely worth owning as a DVD, to play over and over again, no matter what your nationality, or afterlife belief.

Good, solid entertainment for anyone, at any age. This one reaches the ranks of the better animated movies (feel free to post those in the comments for discussion). Darkly beautiful: thanks, Pixar!

Movie Grade: A

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

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

Now DC has its own cinematic universe. That’s fine: I won’t turn down good entertainment. I’m a geek through and through, and NEED my sci fi fix to sleep well at night. But DC has a history of being either 1. Disappointing, or 2. Really and Truly Grim. Contrast this to Marvel and the Avengers, which engages me, making me happy. Life is tough enough; my entertainment choices should make me laugh and smile and feel better about being alive. Mostly, Marvel does just this.

So, DC. Specifically, The Justice League. I’m old enough to remember the original Saturday morning cartoons about the Justice League, AKA Super Friends. I liked it then, Wonder Twins and all. Now, I’m cautious. Ambivalent. Waiting to see where things go.

Here’s what I’m thinking: we had the earnestly serious but ultimately depressing Nolan-version Batman films. Health Ledger made those watchable. Then we had some rebooted Superman flicks that were also dark, which for Supes is simply unforgivable. Superman is about lightness, apple pie, and good vibes, and making the world a better place. See Superman in the 1980s, when it was done right. Ya with me?

The new Superman made him unbearably moody. I understand a broody Batman, who is admittedly an alcoholic, a loner, and just a breath away from being a supervillain himself.

Then DC brought them together in Batman vs Superman – more grimdark stuff – and Suicide Squad, which was…okay? Guardians of the Galaxy it wasn’t,  though it tried. It shot high, landed low.

Finally, DC hit a home run in Wonder Woman. YES! It was exactly what we, the long-suffering fans, hoped for. Fun, a tiny bit joyous, ambitiously pretty, and sprinkled with humor. It felt like Fantastic Beasts in the Harry Potter franchise and the first Captain America movie: all three take place roughly in the same timeframe.

This loooong lead in brings us to Justice League. Did it do the job, bring it, give us what the DCEU needed? Hmmmm, somewhat. It was definitely an ensemble piece with fun beats, good 70s tunes, and an amiable premise. However, the producers seemed in too big a hurry to catch up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s not earned. The MCU has a lot of groundwork and years on DC. When The Avengers came together, it was simpatico.

To explain: We “get” Diana Prince/the Wonder Woman. She carried Justice League on her lithe Amazonian back. We know her; we like her. She brings the action and the humor. She leads the team. I have no WW complaints.

The Batman? Hmmmm. Gloomy and underserved. I don’t have much to say on his role in JL, besides, “What the frak he was thinking to bring Supes back?” Oh, is that a spoiler? (Not if you watched the trailers.)

It’s been said here before: the problem with Superman is that he’s too powerful. You can only hurt him with Kryptonite. There’s not much else to say or do with this guy.

He also makes The Flash unfortunately redundant. Why have someone who can run fast when Superman can best him in speed?

But, speaking of The Flash himself: awesome. Admittedly, he owned most of this film’s humor, and the actor was up to the task. He’s clearly the DCEU version of Spiderman, and I want more. Gimme, gimme. I’ll be very happy to watch the standalone Flash film when it comes.

But then, there’s Cyborg. He’s a cipher, an Iron Man without the personality. I think he could have been better written. Next…

That leaves Aquaman. Superbly cast and executed — he needs his own origin movie. That’s all, mike drop, end of story. I loved the energy, the raw power he brought to the screen. What was frustrating: his character’s lack of mythological depth. What is the deal with Atlantis? What’s his relationship with Norway? Do fish obey him or what? Stuff was missing. In the meantime, I LOVED what we got, which was funny and engaging, both. DC needs to move up his movie in their queue, and drop the terrible pathos of Batman and Superman, who are frankly played out.

It’s not like you HAVE to pander to the fans, but in this case, give the Bat a break. Move on. Give us something fun and pretty and new. We want good storytelling, not another angsty reboot.

So, the JL movie was fine. A solid B, IMO. The villain was a bust, but hey; I’m used to that and have learned to ignore it. Steppenwolf was a low-rent Sauron from Lord of the Rings, but I frankly don’t care. Marvel has had its share of Macguffin villains (see Guardians of the Galaxy, my favorite MCU movie). So, I can forgive the Justice League baddie as a sucky ripoff, as long as the ensemble story works. Which it mostly does. (Oh, and the “Mother Boxes” — give me a break. Infinity Stones much? Come up with your own plot. Even Voldemort was original.)

Altogether, was Justice League good? Well. It was fine. Middle of the road; basically non-offensive superhero fare. See it in the theater, but don’t pay extra for IMAX or 3D. Joss Whedon’s involvement helped the banter significantly (you can really tell his lines in this – they stand out – mostly with The Flash, and Aquaman).

To sum: the best DCEU movie yet, coming in just a hair ahead of Wonder Woman (mainly because I loves me a good ensemble film). But, really, if I had to choose, I’d see Thor: Ragnarok again. That movie just slayed me, and I’ve seen it four times now.

Movie Grade: B

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Movie Review – Wonder

This is a cute little film with an important message about acceptance, tolerance, compassion, and friendship. It doesn’t try too hard, and rocks along rather gently for almost two hours. Normally I cry a lot during sad movies, and at heartwarming movies too, but this one didn’t toss any low blows at us (except possibly the dog part, but Wonder didn’t rub our noses in it, so to speak). Anyway, I didn’t cry, which was nice.

It does present a lot of stereotypical “heartstrings” moments, though. At times it plodded a bit, and I felt like the producers ran down a checklist of sad/uplifting scene points. The story was often workman-like, and often dull when it veered away from Auggie to land on Via, or anyone else. I’ll call it padding. I do understand about being the normal but “ignored” kid, and her tale will probably ring true to anyone growing up with a special needs sibling. So perhaps it’s a needed element.

Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson were fine, but rather wasted — Wonder doesn’t need star power in these kinds of fungible parent roles.

The movie shone most brightly when it focused on Auggie. Jacob Tremblay really made the most of his part, and I completely bought into him as a bright, funny kid with a severe facial deformity. But, as the other child said, you stop seeing his face as weird after a while. And that’s exactly as it should be.

The most difficult moment of the film showcased Julian’s parents: his mother was a piece of work. What happens when you call in the adults to meet the principle  — about your child being a bully — and get told the bully is acting appropriately? That they support their son being an a$$, because they feel the deformed child should not be around to disturb the normal kids? Even Julian, to his credit, was appalled at his parents’ attitude. People like this exist. It pissed me off, and the feeling is that it’s supposed to.

Finally, the “action piece” at the end could have gone very, very wrong, and I was afraid something terrible would happen, as is the wont in this kind of picture. Thankfully, no; I didn’t have to leave the theater bawling.

Lightweight fare, but a pleasant way to spend a few hours. Good family film — “tushie” jokes are as crass as it gets (in other words, it’s not crass at all). This is pure character cinema, with no action, and no plot beyond the premise of “deformed child makes friends in public school.”

Good, but not great. My suggestion is to wait for the DVD, unless you really enjoy these kinds of movies, relate to the premise, or are seeking something to take the whole family to for an easy evening out.

Movie Grade: B –

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

New Black Panther Trailer is Fantastic

I saw the new Black Panther trailer when I went to see Thor: Ragnarok, and it looks GORGEOUS. Sumptuous. Luxuriously detailed and kind of intense. Seriously, I could watch this preview all day: New Black Panther Trailer. Gimme, gimme!

Marvel sure knows how to create anticipation for their universe of movies. It’s all about the story, and the producers keep me wanting more, and wanting it now. I’m shocked to find I’m more into the MCU than the Star Wars films (I’m and a true geek who waited in line for hours back in 1978, to see Star Wars in the theater at least a dozen times).

Anyway. Go watch the trailer and enjoy!

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

RunPee Reviewed on You Tube (A Lot!)

We love seeing reviews of our fine and fun app on You Tube: We’ve Been Reviewed! We feel so grateful for the attention. RunPee is a small, family-run business. We see all the wide release movies each (and every) week, sit there with our clipboards and timers, to give you two or three times you can safely make a break for the bathroom. It’s a lot of work! And we don’t get to pee at all…so you can. 🙂

So, we love all these little videos people made. Take a look. Really cool. And really, thank you.

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

New Wolverine Takes Up Claws for Next Movie

Remember Laura, the little girl clone of Wolverine from the great X-Men film Logan? There is talk of a Logan spinoff to follow Laura’s story.  I don’t think that move would come as much of a surprise. They left the ending wide open with the new mutant kids going to Eden, and the actress made for a memorable breakout character in her sensitive, yet vicious feral child.

Stealing the show from Hugh Jackman? Wait, even harder – from Sir Patrick Stewart? What? Well, she did.

So, yeah — I do expect we will see more from this actress. The X-Men franchise hasn’t been reluctant to keep a good thing going (sometimes long after it stopped being good).

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Movie Review – The Hitman’s Bodyguard

*The Hitman’s Bodyguard* is really, really darn hysterical. The audience laughed out loud, frequently, as the relationship between Ryan Reynold’s and Samuel Jackson’s characters would ramp up, get deep, get ridiculous, and grow more affectionately abusive towards each other.

There are car chases (many) and foot races (also, many)…but the heart of the movie is between these two actors and their infectious chemistry. There’s some wonderful symbolism throughout (hint: look up the official name for a ‘group’ of crows), and a lot of stylized violence. The plot itself is kind of inconsequential: it’s just a vehicle to serve up some fantastic verbal interplay.

There’s also a great meta set-up to Jackson’s signature phrase…wait for it, by Reynolds. After that, all bets are off if you want to count how often that ‘special’ line is used.

Gary Oldman turned in a reliable performance as the villain, a hard act to pull off on the heels of Reynolds and Jackson. Salma Hayek was definitely over the top, but this is intentional; her performance is enjoyably wackadoodle.

What kept this review from a coveted A- grade was a slightly weary sense of repetition from the endless chase scenes. Some went on way too long, and there seemed to be a lot of filler padding out the runtime.

Frankly, I could just watch the leads play off each other all night, just bickering away.

Great date movie – or to just take yourself to, if you need some cheering up and laughter.

Movie Grade – B+

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Movie Review – Suburbicon

Ominous, paranoid, depraved, slow, violent, pessimistic, foreboding, and dark — both metaphorically and visually. Racist, and rather evil. None of the named characters are likable. If these traits sound like movie accolades to you, you’ll enjoy this film.

I didn’t. It was vile. If I wasn’t seeing it for work, I would have walked out. I felt grimy afterwards.

I was thinking it might be something like *Pleasantville*, another grim portrayal of mid-century bland suburbanite fantasies. *Pleasantville* at least was a good story. *Suburbicon* is the kind of film you’ll probably love or hate, depending on your tolerance for demented imagery and disturbing humor. There’s some deep stuff with the overtly racist storyline treated as an afterthought (interesting choice), framing the grisly hidden reality of the apparently squeaky-clean, whiter than white Lodges a few feet away, next door. I can see where the Coens were going with this, but they just didn’t get there satisfactorily. There’s no real payoff. At least the film is short.

I will give this a C+, which is more than I want to, because director George Clooney clearly had a vision for how he wanted to tell this story: he used a very stylized tone/color palette, with a restrained soundtrack, to accomplish a certain look and feel. It’s quirky in a vulgar way, and there are filmatic callbacks to the old Hitchcock films. Some of the camera work made me nauseous, and I’m sure that was intended. So there was this.

The acting? Oscar Issac has the best lines and energy, and the mostly listless film picks up some zing in his brief scenes.

Matt Damon does his role reasonably well, and so does Julianne Moore. Even if you can’t like them (or anyone else).

 

Movie Rating: C+

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Review – Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

This is a slow character tale about how the Wonder Woman comic came to be. While seemingly a superhero origin story, it’s really a drama about how an unconventional threesome bucked the odds of their time to create a gentle — and mostly uncomplicated — love story.

Was Wonder Woman a part of all this? She’s background and foreground simultaneously. It’s honestly not her film. It’s a true-ish tale of a man and two women, who have love amongst all three. Yes, even in our time, this is hard to understand and accept: imagine how it might have been more taboo in decades past, in the golden age of comic books. And now, in our ‘enlightened’ era, the topic still makes people uncomfortable.

Yet it’s not an uncomfortable film. It’s sweet. You root for the characters and want their happiness. It helps that they are super smart people, but they also have an emotional intelligence that doesn’t often accompany intellect alone.

It works as an historical piece, and fills in the gaps of anyone wondering WHERE exactly a superpowered woman took her place among such luminaries as Superman, Batman, The Flash, Captain America, and Aquaman. The film makes it clear that Wonder Woman was an aberration, and difficult for people to accept.

In our modern age, we have Xena, Buffy, River Tam, the Bionic Woman, Black Widow, Sarah Connor, Starbuck (the Kara Thrace version), female Terminators, and a whole lot of modern a$$ kicking women. But it had to start somewhere. Burning Wonder Woman comic books was a thing, in the day.

Movie Grade: B

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Review – Kingsman – The Golden Circle

As enjoyable as the first film, with some fine set pieces, original action, lots of humor, and good new characters. In particular, while dangerous ski gondola scenes have been done to death in James Bond films, the one here is fresh and exciting. Wheeee!

The “president” should be a pretty familiar stand-in for our times, and he had some cute stuff. Jeff Bridges was adroit in a too-brief run time, and Channing Tatum obviously relished playing Tequila. Julianne Moore — as Poppy — was, well, a strange choice. She played her scenes with vigor, but I thought she was miscast. She just has too serious/intellectual a look and persona about her, making the “adorable 50’s housewife” a bad fit.

There’s a role played by a certain famous person, as himself, that I won’t spoil — but I loved it. And he seemed to have a great time in this movie. Nice to see.

The Kingsmen from the previous film did a bang-up job (pun intended). I liked spending time with them again. Eggsy’s growing up.

Poppy Land, in the jungle ruins of Cambodia, is a great concept. It’s like a scene from *Pleasantville*, or the downtown in *Back to the Future*, complete with bowling alley, old time theater, vintage diner, and classic weiner truck — but totally empty, except for some henchmen. Quite uncanny-valley-like; creepy and good.

You’ll notice the main score track sounds very close to the Marvel Universe theme. It kept nagging at me, since this isn’t a Marvel movie. It turns out the composers are Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson, who also worked on Captain America – The Winter Solider, and the X-Men films. So, there ya go.

Was this violent? Yes, very. It’s hip, slick, and stylized…but a couple of moments still made me look away. Keep this in mind if you don’t like “comic gore”.

Lastly, the plot is bizarro. Just accept that. There are more sensible movies out there if you want. This is an enjoyable film to help you disconnect your mind for a while. Don’t take it too seriously; it’s intended for the fun, and that’s what it brings.

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.