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Trainwreck – movie review

trainwreckGrade: A+

This movie just made my top three funniest movies ever! I laughed the entire time. Do you guys know how hard it is to take notes while wiping tears from your eyes? I’m going back to see it tomorrow just so I can catch the things I missed while working.

I usually get to the theater an hour before the show starts and was surprised to see the theater full already. It was packed. The movie began and it was a continual roar from the audience for the next two hours.

So I found out that Amy Schumer wrote this. I knew she was funny but I had no idea what she was capable of. Her writing and acting are stupendous. She’s one of my new favorites to watch. It wasn’t just her that was super funny. LeBron James. He’s a scene stealer. I laughed so hard during some of his scenes that I actually snorted. Who knew?

The whole cast seemed to be friends that had super charged chemistry. It just worked. This was the first movie ever that I laughed during a funeral scene. As did the rest of the audience, so I’m not heartless, or maybe I am but so was everyone else.

I really recommend seeing this movie. You’ll have a great time during the movie and a great time afterward talking about the funny lines. Hurry up, go!

Terminator Genisys – movie review

terminator-henisysGrade: B+

I’ve always been a big Terminator fan. It was the first movie that I went to see over and over again in the theater – and I had to drive 40 miles each way to see it. I’ve seen all the movies a dozen plus times, and watched the TV series twice. So, I know my Terminators.

I didn’t have super high expectations going in, because I know these things can go either way, but I enjoyed the movie more than I thought I would. What’s really surprising to me is that the story, and character development, was better than the action – not that the action was bad by any means.

Terminator movies are rife with tangled plot holes, such is the nature of time travel plots, but I think they did a great job of cutting through that and getting to the meat of the story. (I would have enjoyed the movie a whole lot more if the previews hadn’t spoiled just about every bleeping surprise in the movie.)

There wasn’t anything hilariously funny in the movie, but there were a number of well placed laughs and they weren’t forced at all. The way they mashed together the scenes from the original Terminator was enjoyable.

The dialog was very well done. When there was exposition they blew right through it without making it feel like a lecture. Best of all there were a number of really touching moments in the movie.

Perhaps the best part of the movie was the character development of the Guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Arnold gets to act in this movie, not in any long, drawn out, scenes, but in a few short scenes that he acts with only his expressions.

In case you didn’t know this movie is just the first of a three part series of Terminator movies. The next two are being filmed back-to-back and will be released in 2017 and 2018. Plus there is going to be another Terminator TV series that will inhabit the same timeline as the movies – like how “Agents of Shield” does with the Avengers movies.

This movie tells a complete story and can stand on its own, but there are definitely threads that can be detected that will be played out as the story evolves to a complete resolution in the third movie. I can honestly say that I’m very excited to see how they proceed based on the introduction the first installment provided.

Jurassic World movie references

jurrasic-worldNow that everyone has seen Jurassic World… You did see it, right? (It broke box office records so I’ll assume you did.) Let’s talk about the incredible number of movie references – some intentional, some perhaps not – in this movie.

Note: minor spoilers to follow.

Obviously the references to the original Jurassic Park were plentiful. Most are too obvious to point out, but a few worth mentioning:

  • A brief glimpse of a message – I can’t remember precisely what it said – on the rear-mounted video feed on the ball-pod that the brothers rode in was a reference to the view of the T-Rex in the side mirror with the message, “Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear.”
  • Claire using the flair to attract the T-Rex. Yes it’s obvious but worth mentioning.
  • A signpost pointing the way to the research center as a nod to the sign post that gets knocked down by Nedry when he’s trying to get away with the stolen eggs.

It would have been pure awesomeness if there were a scene with a half buried can of shaving cream in the ground. Who knows, maybe there was and someone will find it when the movie comes out of DVD.

As many references as there were to the original Jurassic Park there may have been more to random movies.

  • During the safety video by Jimmy Fallon he says, “For added protection each vehicle is surrounded by aluminum oxynitride glass, so tough it can stop a 50-caliber bullet.” Aluminum oxynitride is a real substance but such a specific mention in the movie must be a reference to Star Trek IV: The one with the Whales.
  • Remember the lab scene in Aliens where we see the face-huggers in those glass cylinders? The scene near the end of JW where Claire, Owen, and the brothers enter the research lab at the end of the movie is very similar with those vertebral columns in the glass cylinders and then they look at the reptiles under in the terrariums.
  • The scene where Claire’s assistant gets munched on by the birds, and then eaten by the Mosasauraus, is reminiscent of Jaws – I would wager this is just coincidental, but who knows since Spielberg directed Jurassic Park and Jaws.
  • The scene of the raptors chasing the vehicle driven by Claire near the end of the movie is quite similar to the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the nazis on motorcycles are chasing after the truck driven by Indy. Claire even sideswipes one of the raptors sending it crashing off the side of the road, just like Indy did to a motorcycle.

Did you notice any movie references that I missed?

Jurassic World – movie review

jurrasic-worldGrade: B+

I have mixed feelings about the movie. The story, and most of the characters, drag the movie down. I’d give that part of the movie a C-, at best.

Chris Pratt is definitely a bright spot. He’s perfectly cast for the roll of Owen — the raptor wrangler. He can be funny when he’s serious and likable when he wants to be.

Claire, played by Bryce Howard (Ron Howard’s daughter), was surprisingly good. I don’t want to give away anything so I’ll just say that I like what they did with her character.

I thought the least likable part of the movie was the two young brothers. Clearly the writers were trying to echo the characters of Timmy and Lex from the original Jurassic Park, but they came up way, way, short. Their entire story arc was useless.

The dinosaur action, which is what everyone is going to see, I’d give an A+. (Or should that be a Yay+?) It started awesome and got better as the movie went on. In my theater the audience applauded after two separate action scenes and again at the end of the movie.

What was lacking was good tension. Too often the story leaps into action without sufficient buildup. Thinking back to Jurassic Park, the tension was palpable because of the pauses between the action, not the action itself. They didn’t really capture that in this version.

I saw it in 2D, but the rest of the RunPee family saw it in IMAX 3D and thought it was worth every cent. After opening night there are 53 votes from RunPee users who saw the movie in 3D. 83% recommend seeing it in 3D.

If the story was better this could easily have been better than the original, but it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Entourage – movie review

EntourageI had absolutely no idea what Entourage was about. When I went to go see this movie I had just learned that there was a show of Entourage on television. What I’m getting at is I was a Entourage virgin and now I’m a fanatic. This movie was incredible. Today I will be working at getting every episode made and doing a marathon this weekend.

The point to my ramblings above is that even a person that hasn’t watched the show can enjoy the movie.

All of the characters had a depth that movies haven’t been giving us lately. One guy in particular stole the show. Jeremy Piven as Ari Gold was mesmerizing. When he was on screen, I was drooling. The presence that he has is the best I’ve ever seen in a movie. I might just become obsessed with this guy.

Spy – movie review

spyOnce again Melissa McCarthy has shown herself to be one of the best comedic actors if not the best, on screen screen today. I think Paul Figg took Melissa’s character in Heat, fleshed her out, made her funnier and more interesting .

And if you’re wondering, yes, Jason Stratham can be funny, very funny.

Spy will be the big comedy of the summer and maybe even the year.

Insidious: Chapter 3 – movie review

insidious-3Insidious: Chapter 3 was ahhh-mazing. I’m a horror movie fanatic, and this trilogy (so far?) is by far my favorite. It’s the only series, or even stand alone movie, that has something happening non-stop. There’s no dead spots, no pun intended, and you’re essentially on the edge of your seat the whole time. I jumped multiple times, one time in particular I might have uttered a few dirty words.

All of the actors in this movie I think were spot on. Lin Shaye was great, as always. Dermot Mulroney and Stefanie Scott played a great father daughter team as well, accentuating each other nicely. This Insidious was the only one of the three to not feature James Wan’s directing skills. I was a little worried about that, however Leigh Whannell did an outstanding job. He had some pretty big shoes to fill and I’d say he stepped up pretty nicely.

I highly recommend this series of movies, or just this movie, to anyone who loves a good horror flick. And I mean a genuinely good horror flick. You’ll leave the theater wanting more for sure and may even be left with a few spooky dreams. I honestly hope they continue making these movies, as they’re just too good to not keep going. Good job guys, A+!

Aloha – movie review

alohaGrade: C-

I love Bill Murray. That being said, I must believe that he took the roll of Carson Welsh because his little buddy from St. Vincent, Jaeden Lieberher, was also in Aloha.

As for the other big names, Bradley Cooper, Emma Watson and Rachel McAdams: they showed up, and spoke their lines, but I didn’t feel emotionally invested in any of them except for maybe John Karsinski who spoke no lines whatsoever. His character, Woody delivered the best scenes of the entire movie especially the scene between he and Bradly Cooper.

The other problem is the plot, which is convoluted and even a little silly at times. It was nice that the movie attempted to introduce some Hawaiian myths and customs, but viewed within the context of this movie, it was swallowed up by talks of spies, illegitimate children, villains out the destroy the world and of course relationships.

San Andreas – movie review

san-andreasGrade: B-

I’m a firm believer that movies should be judged based on their genre. It makes no sense to compare a movie like San Andreas with something like Pitch Perfect 2, right?

The action/disaster genre, or disaster porn as I like to call it, isn’t exactly known for its riveting plots, or soulful acting. They should deliver spectacle, in 3D, with seat shaking sound effects. Bonus if the actors can just deliver their lines loud enough to be heard over the destruction in the background. Am I right?

With that said I thought San Andreas delivered a decent punch. All too often disaster movies make an effort to develop characters and a secondary plot before getting to the good stuff, not so with San Andreas, which jumped into the action early, then paused to build the characters a little before another action scene.

The acting was perfectly adequate for this genre, perhaps even better than adequate. Dwayne Johnson isn’t going to win an Oscar but he deserves more credit than he gets. Personally I think there’s a bias toward good looking, larger than life men, like Dwayne Johnson, but let’s not get into that here.

Paul Giamatti was a good choice for the lead scientist. He brought the right amount of exposition and gravitas to the movie.

The one thing that could have been better is the humor. There was a little, but a few more laughs would have gone a long way to make the movie more enjoyable.

I saw it in IMAX, because it’s hard writing notes about peetimes while wearing those 3D glasses, but I’m going back today to watch it again, just for enjoyment, in 3D. RunPee Sis saw it last night in 3D and raved about it. She wasn’t very impressed with the acting or story, but loved the 3D effects. (I’ll update this review after I’ve seen it in 3D.)

In case you were unaware users can vote to recommend seeing a movie in 3D, or not, in the RunPee app — scroll to the bottom of the Peetime Screen and look for the 3D User Poll button. With only 10 votes cast thus far 9 of them recommend seeing it in 3D.

I didn’t love everything about the movie. I know I’m being nitpicky here but there were tiny little things that really distracted me. Like near the end, there’s a scene with characters in a skyscraper that is leaning on the building across the street. This building has already been through two gigantic earthquakes, and yet there’s an apple sitting on a table. All the while the characters are going on about blah, blah, blah all I could think is, “How on earth could an apple be sitting on that table after all this?” I know what you’re thinking: this guy needs therapy. Maybe you’re right, but I swear they put that apple there just to annoy me. 🙂

Oh, and FYI, that is NOT how you do CPR. Just saying, they should have had a paramedic around to advise them.

Poltergeist – movie review

poltergeistGrade: D+

They let me down. I had high hopes for Poltergeist. I figured this one would step away from the original enough to not cause us to compare them. I was wrong. Some of the same lines were used and they didn’t come out strong enough.

The acting fell flat. I almost got the feeling that Sam Rockwell didn’t want to be in the movie. He seemed like he was really forcing his lines out, which really sucks because I love him.

I don’t know, but maybe I’m being too critical because I was raised fearing the original Poltergeist. This one hasn’t got anything on the original.

I watched this in 3D and wasn’t impressed with the effects at all. I absolutely think it wasn’t worth the extra ticket price.