Movie Review – The House With A Clock In Its Walls

I wish this film was better. It started out lively, with some nice funky humor for a while. There were good production values throughout. Unfortunately, the story went downhill fast at the middle mark, and became a dreadful muddle by the end. I watched the children in the theater to make sure it wasn’t just me, and yup…the kids were bouncing around, completely bored, even during the climax. Bummer.

Here’s my thinking: it’s not Harry Potter, folks. Don’t toss your money away to see this in the theater. The kid is decent enough (he gives the erratic script a real go), but he’s hampered by the adult actors at every turn, and sadly, the work of the other children as well. The “Turby” stuff went nowhere — a pity.

Jack Black has a few good moments in the beginning, but this isn’t his best work (although there’s few movies he’s impressed me in, granted — Jumanji 2 being the exception). Why is this man getting work? His comedic timing is just strange. That works, somewhat, in the early stages of this wacky, kiddie horror house movie. Then the plot gets…well…”stupid” (that’s the only word that fits), as the story ineffectually tries to escalate the jeopardy. The “stupid ball” is passed around a lot in the finale.

Between the increasingly weird script and missed narrative opportunities, I can only say, “WTF were the writers thinking? Who greenlit this garbage? And why was a chair the best character?”

Even Cate Blanchett couldn’t elevate the lackluster material presented. How did she decide to throw her lot in with this? Did she hope to become the next Professor McGonagle? (Harry Potter reference, again, but Blanchett must’ve badly misjudged this.)

I really, really don’t know what happened here. It’s ultimately a movie mess that started out quite nicely. I’m grading it in the (low) C range and not worse, because it looked pretty, and had early potential with the surreal atmosphere,  incessant ticking clocks, and creepy toys. There was enough goodwill to carry the audience for part of the show. But by the time the pumpkins started puking,  I had to give up. Give this film a firm pass. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Movie Grade: C-

About the Peetimes: Here are 3 good, long Peetimes, spaced well thru the film. This was easy to get Peetimes for, since a lot of the exposition is either repeated, or provides plot points that kind of peter out, storywise. 

Movie Review – Doctor Strange

Weird, weird, weird. Yes, in a film pointedly titled Strange, this is very bizarre stuff.

I haven’t seen the character in comic book media, but I imagine it took until our current technology to make all this mental scat look so good, so pretty, on film. Folding cities, broken mirror landscapes, characters running up and down against the laws of physics. This is stuff you’ve seen before, but it’s very cleanly done here. If you’re reminded fondly of The Matrix and Inception (and even Ant-Man’s foray into the quantum realm), then you won’t have trouble understanding the technology/sorcery of this movie.

Impressively, that isn’t the weird stuff.

What IS strange is the story. It is about protecting the psychic world, and that’s heady stuff. I wish it had been clever, though. It is still only about running around and fighting, ultimately…just with magical energy swords. I was hoping there would be a little more about your mind creating your reality, but nope.

So, here we go. Bennedict Cumberbatch channels Harrison Ford in a gruff American accent, weaving his Marvel origin tale from overbearing egoist to psychic world protector. Fine and good. But…why? I had to ask myself, with over two hours of world bending magical displays, why we needed to see this. Why be introduced to yet another Marvel heavyweight, when the MCU is already so cluttered? Why we needed a super strange reality that makes Asgard look tame, just when things are already so complicated, with an overloaded boat of new and old Avengers already on the scene?

In the final moments of the film, in a throwaway line, I got my answer. I’m sure you’ll see it, if you’ve been keeping up with the big Marvel arc. But I guess we can now get on with things.

Was it good? Cumberbatch tried his best to not make this silly, even in an outlandish outfit (I DID like his adorably helpful cape), with crazy-ass lines. The MCU now has actual sorcerers, yeah. Tilda Swinton did her fey thing and carried it off, for the most part. Chiwetel Ejiofor re-did his Operative gig from Serenity, and it was…okay. He’s usually so much better.

Mostly, somehow, it all felt very tired. Another origin story. Another reluctant hero called into service. And some really bizarre fight scenes that would have been thrilling if they didn’t go on, and on, and on….again and again and again. It’s like the movie was in love with its own magical conceit.

The mid-credits scene was very nicely done, quite straightforward and charming, and I wish the rest of the movie had been like that. I’m just tired of big effects and origins and new heroes, and diddling around with backstory. I’ll be old by the time the MCU gets everyone they want on board.

The comic book fans will probably be pleased with how Dr Strange performed. It WAS pretty.

Here’s my advice: you need to see this on the big screen, preferably in 3D, to appreciate the mind bending visual torrent. Don’t see this in a second run theater. If you have a really good television, wait for the DVD. But if you aren’t a huge fan of the MCU, or Beneditch Cumberbatch, you might want to skip this completely. I could tell you the relevance of the entire endeavor in one phrase (except I won’t, because that would be a spoiler).

Grade: C+

About the Peetimes: This movie is full of plot and character development, making it difficult to find decent Peetimes. I recommend the 2nd Peetime, because it’s mostly the beginning of an action scene, so you won’t miss anything important. 

18 Groundhog Day Type Movies – the ultimate list

“There is no way that this winter is ever going to end as long as this groundhog keeps seeing his shadow. I don’t see any other way out. He’s got to be stopped. And I have to stop him.”

Groundhog Day is February 2nd in the US, and it’s a truly bizarre national holiday. The premise: a large rodent might/might not see its shadow, predicting when spring will or won’t come. How does one celebrate this, unless they live in Punxatawny, PA?

Punxatawny relates to the classic Bill Murray vehicle Groundhog Day, wherein his character (named Phil, just like the Groundhog) has to repeat Feb 2nd every day. EVERYDAY, for what might be thousands of years (pay attention to the film and ask yourself how long it would take to master his many skills).

Phil escapes the time loop only when certain conditions are met. We assume this, because it’s never stated why he finally moves on to the next day. However, the repeating day motif is not new to this movie, and in each instance, time repeats indefinitely until the protagonist finds a way out. The movie in question isn’t even the first film or TV show to feature this theme.

That makes it really fun each year. We at RunPee get to pick a rewatch of something with a distinct “Groundhog theme” every year in Feb. There’s an interesting lineage to view.

Let’s take a look at who has used this theme, in order by year: 

  1. Cause and Effect (TV ep, Star Trek, the Next Generation) 1992 — NOTE: Air date before Groundhog Day. Was this the first to do it? Here’s how it starts…right before the teaser ends we get this indelible image: Picard yelling for all hands to abandon the Enterprise. Then it explodes. And keeps on exploding. From there, the mystery never lets up on this superb storytelling.
  2. Groundhog Day — Feature Film — 1993 : When I Iived that year in the UK, this  first-run movie saved my sanity. For real. Long story.
  3. Been There, Done That (TV ep, Xena: Warrior Princess) 1997 : This show could do no wrong in my eyes during it’s 7-year run. It’s only natural that Xena’s version is funnier than EVERYTHING else on this list. Plus, we’ve got Romeo and Juliette being dorks,  a laundry list of reasons why Xena didn’t bite Gabrielle (lol), a name drop of Hercules (and Sinbad), and an adorable cameo by Karl Urban as Cupid. A top ten Xena ep anyone can enjoy.
  4. Run, Lola, Run — Feature Film —  1998
  5. Back and Back and Back to the Future (TV ep, Farscape) 1999: set in the mostly benighted season one of an otherwise stellar Sci-Fi show, Back and Back is notable for Crichton’s trying to change the timeline in small ways (breaking Zhan’s sacred mask on purpose, instead of letting time inevitably play out).
  6. Monday (TV ep, The X-Files) 1999: You don’t think there’s a mystery trope left examined in the X-Files 9 year run? Look again. Notable: a guest actor is at the center of the plot, with Mulder and Scully mostly in reaction mode…and it STILL works. A standout during a mostly experimental season.
  7. Life Serial (TV ep, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) 2001 : In Buffy’s sixth season, “real life” was the scary big bad. Shudders! This episode was a needed dash of fun. The “Trio” are nerdy doofuses with too much power and no real direction. I love everything in this season, and this is a highlight.
  8. Deja vu All Over Again (TV ep, Charmed) 2008
  9. Mystery Spot (TV ep, Supernatural) — 2008
  10.  Source Code –Feature Film– 2011
  11. Edge of Tomorrow <— Our review –Feature Film — (Tom Cruise/Emily Blunt film) 2014 : Exciting, well-acted, and with a gripping jeopardy premise, Cruise and Blunt take what could have been a two-hour slog of repeating action into something believably exciting in a fresh take on an alien takeover plot. Highly Recommended! Every time they ‘”level up” you want to cheer!
  12. Looper — Feature Film — 2012:- In a future where time travel is a thing, not everyone has the best intentions!
  13. Hell is Other People  (The Vampire Diaries) — 2016
  14. Before I Fall — Feature Film — 2017: Another mystery that must be solved before time moves on.
  15. Happy Death Day — Feature Film — 2017: Imagine relieving your death, over and over? Want to try? Neither do we.
  16. Hot Mess Time Machine (TV ep, The Mindy Project) — 2017
  17. Naked — (Netflicks show) — 2017 – YAY! A new one to check out!
  18. Dr. Strange — Feature Film — 2017: I don’t know if this should be included, so I’ll toss it up and let you decide. At the end of the film, Strange wears down his enemy using an infinite time loop of destruction. He could stop it at any point, so it’s not like the other plots. Does this count?

 At RunPee HQ we’ve been steadily collecting movies and TV episodes with Groundhog themes, and make a point to choose at least one each year to rewatch on Groundhog Day. I mean, hey: what else are you going to do to as a family to celebrate how vermin might predict spring?

So, did we miss something? We’re always looking to add new shows to celebrate on this obscure, yet infinitely geeky holiday. I’m sure this fascinating well of plots hasn’t dried out just yet. The recent and finely wrought Edge of Tomorrow indicates there are still ideas to be mined.

Star Wars A New Hope – Symphony & Movie

The Force is with them.

This week I was treated to an outdoor, live symphony in San Diego (at the Embarcadero Marina Park South, August 18, 2018) playing to a large screen-film showing of Star Wars: A New Hope.  To say it was spellbinding would be an understatement.

I haven’t seen A New Hope (just called Star Wars, back in the day) on the large screen since the original trilogy’s Special Editions came out in 1997. With the San Diego Symphony Bayside Nights offering monstrous screen outdoor movies set to a live orchestral soundtrack, people have started  flocking to these events in droves. It was as packed last night as it was to their Harry Potter versions last year. And the Star Wars audience was surprisingly into the spirit of the story.

Where did you dig UP this old fossil?

While the audience wasn’t dressed in costume like the Harry Potter symphony goers were ( I was one of the attendees in Hogwarts robes), it was clear people were more-than-normally excited. People laughed at almost every line C-3P0 said, applauded when Han Solo first appeared, shouted AWWWW when Porkins died,  cheered as the Death Star blew up, and gave a standing ovation after the rousing credit themes finished. Besides all the clapping, hooting, cheering, and laughing around me, one nearby attendee amused audiences during the Intermission by roaring like Chewbacca. He was quite good. I can’t even come close.  🙂

Strike me down and I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. (From a certain point of view.)

It’s hard to describe how amazing it is to watch a beloved movie set to live music. When I could tear my eyes from the screen, I was impressed to see how many string instruments Williams’ score used. He was also heavy on the brass, and light on percussion…although when drums or other percussive instruments were used, they were to magical effect. Nothing sweeps you right along like the Star Wars theme.

After the orchestra members took a bow, it was a matter of inching through the cattle-like foot gates, and waiting an hour to exit the car from the Downtown Hilton parking garage, during which my enthusiasm waned a bit (I recommend Uber for things like this). But John Williams’ iconic score still resounded in my brain. I considered what other movies could inspire enough audiences take the jump from ignoring a “boring” orchestral event, to packing the outdoor grandstand seats and champagne lawn tables for fine arts versions of pop culture immersion.

The Harry Potter movies are a clear success in this format, with eight movies, plus the new Fantastic Beasts versions to choose from. And I suspect they can give it a go for the lineup of other Star Wars films. Other movie franchises with powerfully memorable scores include Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Superman, ET, and possibly Close Encounters. If I’m leaning heavily on John Williams films, that should be no kind of symphonic surprise. But there are certainly other composers lending themselves to this kind of treatment. Think about The Lord of the Rings saga or Titanic. If there are other movie franchises whose tune you can easily identify offhand, that’s a place to start. And if said movie comes with a fanatical following, well, there you go.

I’m excited for the next time I can hit the symphony for a fabulous science fiction or fantasy film super-experience. It will have to be an annual event!

As a re-watch, of course I give Star Wars an A+, film-wise. Seeing it on the large screen with a superb live orchestra takes the film to new heights. If there was a super-grade above A+ for the live musical option, I’d give it.

Great seats. The Force was clearly with me that night!

 

About the Peetimes:

I didn’t even need to use my Peetimes; the event included an intermission. However, since everyone else in the audience used this intermission as well, clogging up the toilet lines, I should have checked the app anyway. We do have Peetimes for A New Hope listed in the RunPee app, even though RunPee didn’t remotely exist yet, as a sort of retro-cool flashback feature. For fun, you can scroll through the movies on the RunPee app, and peek at what we did.

 

RIP Mjölnir: Who Can Lift Thor’s Hammer?

RIP, Meow-meow.

Who could pick up Mjölnir, beloved Hammer of Thor, God of Thunder? Who is considered worthy? What does worthy even mean in this context?

This topic is no longer relevant, post-Infinity War, but lists are fun, but the immensity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe lends itself to fun lists. So…who besides Thor was able to wield the late, sorely-missed hammer? (And, by the way, the new Axe of Thor, Stormbreaker, doesn’t come with a ‘mighty-only’ caveat. So we assume anyone can lift that one, and not just Thor and Teenage Groot.)

Those lifting Thor’s Hammer (from the movies alone, not the comic books):

  1. Thor: Mostly he can lift his own darn weapon, but sometimes he couldn’t. There was a time he wasn’t worthy, remember — he was a spoiled Asguardian godling in the first Thor film. But hey, Stan Lee couldn’t move it either, not even with a truck (in a cute cameo scene, below).
  2. Odin: Mjölnir was his before it was Thor’s. So yeah.
  3. Captain America: Well, actually, this one is a bit dodgy. In Age of Ultron, Cap barely budged it. But it was still the coolest scene in Avengers 2, when all the heroes gave it a wack. Plus, check out the expression on Thor’s face when Cap moves it by a hair. Of all the Avengers heroes, The Captain would seem to come closest to worthiness. Keep in mind that ‘worthy’ is a squirrely term. It could mean all manner of things. Is being true, honest, and pure? Being very nice? I’d have to rewatch the first Thor and catch what Odin said about it, because I’m not sure what makes Thor psychologically unique among all his great and stalwart friends.
  4. Vision: Again from Ultron, the moment the sentient robot/infinity stone wielder casually hands it to Thor is worth the price of admission alone. Why could The Vision do this, besides offering a great payback to the prior set-up? Can an artificial lifeform be considered pure? Was it his combination of absolute youth and infinite knowledge? As a combination of Ultron, Jarvis, Stark, and Banner…um, no…I don’t have anywhere to go with this. Maybe the hammer no more registered Vision as a person than if an elevator lifted the hammer from one floor to another. Vision fans, give me something to go on here.
  5. Hela: From Thor: Ragnarok. Why Thor’s evil sister was “worthy” makes no sense, but she crushed that weapon like a plastic party favor. Maybe you just need to be in Thor’s lineage. Or her evil was so pure the hammer deemed that worthy in itself. Her smooshing of Mjölnir is a neat image, but it all falls apart if you think about it.
  6. I’m going to go on a limb and say Eitri, also from Ragnarok. That’s the Giant Dwarf who forged the thing. It’s hard to forge something you can’t move. But I wasn’t there, so what do I know?

Random Observation: This doesn’t relate to Mjölnir…but Thor, God of Thunder? Thunder? Thunder is just a sound. Lightning is what Thor’s specialty is about. I guess God of Lightning doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely. Whatever. But we do know, as Odin scolded, that Thor is not the God of Hammers.

Here are some of Mjölnir’s best clips: 

The classic party scene from Avengers: Age of Ultron

Vision’s big ‘hammer-time’ scene —

Hela has a little fun —

In one of my favorite deleted scenes, Thor reminisces to Korg about his lost and lamented weapon —

And in our introduction to Mjölnir, the clip where everyone in New Mexico tries to get that hammer from its crater —

Sorry YA movies that never finished their franchises

Where fighting becomes foreplay!

I’m the member of the RunPee family who LOVES the YA (young adult) Dystopian/Fantasy genre. Harry Potter is still an obsession for me (and I’m 50). I re-read The Hunger Games every year, and watch the franchise even more. I even think Twilight was decent, although The Host was better.

So, what’s the deal with this post-millennial spaghetti-on-the-wall approach to YA series? Do the studios really think every dystopian and fantasy series is worthy of the full big screen treatment? And if they do put out an origin story on spec, do they care about following through with the series? And what happens when the young actors age out of their roles?

Am I just barking down a well, here? Woof, woof — does anyone care ?

I ask right now because I just watched The Darkest Minds (2018). It was…okay. Was it good enough to follow through to the end of the franchise? I’d probably say no. I’ve been burned a lot recently.

Here’s a list of YA series that will probably never see completion, for better or worse:

A Wrinkle In Time (2018) — This was just awful; totally incomprehensible. The company spent some money on it, but somewhere along the way it devolved into a hot mess. I don’t expect any of the sequels will be forthcoming.

A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) — There are so many childish books in this series that kind of sucked — I lost interest early on while reading them. How many of these books came out? I can’t say. I couldn’t be interested enough to watch any of them onscreen. Remarkably juvenile writing, IMO. (Looking it up, three movies of the 13 books actually made it to the theaters.)

Maze Runner (2014-2018) — I recently rewatched Maze Runner, and I have my opinion — it’s an okay version of an actually quite decent book. The sequel was middling, and the third film was frankly awful. Is there more to come? Do I care? This is ridiculous. Nothing made any sense in the 3rd film, and my Peetimes probably reflected this.

Divergent (2014-16) — I’m not sure how many books made it through to the screen. Three? Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant? All I have to say is that the first movie hewed close enough to the book to be worthwhile, and things fell apart quickly after that. I think I turned off Insurgent halfway through, and certainly didn’t bother with the third. Is there more? Do I care? (Note: Ascendant is supposed to follow soon as a TV series, but Shailene Woodley isn’t bothering to appear.)

The Chronicles of Narnia (2005-10) — This one hurts. As a child, waaaay before I picked up The Lord of the Rings (best book ever penned), this was my absolute favorite novel series in the world. In the universe! I believed if I had enough faith, when I died that I’d go to Narnia. I even had a special role — I was a forest nymph. My best friend and I made up stories about our lives in a magical meadow in Narnia…and as grownups, we re-met to hold our hands and hold our breath, trembling with excitement, and watch The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe on the big screen. And you know what? It was kind of lame. Prince Caspian was about the same, while my favorite book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, was only a little bit better. Not better enough to save the series. If they ever do The Silver Chair, they’re going to have to hire newer, younger actors in a sort of soft reboot. Oh, well. I’ll always have The Lord of the Rings to rewatch.

The Golden Compass (2007) — to be honest, I tried to read the book and stopped pretty early in. I would love to give this series the full shake, but it seemed so…well, dark. It’s called His Dark Materials, so I guess that is to be expected. From the photos and the trailer, it looks really pretty, but it flew so far under the radar that I kind of can’t be bothered. One case where riding a super cool polar bear just isn’t enough.

I am Number Four (2011) — I did like this movie. I like the science fantasy aspects, and the story was well supported by both cast and narrative. Not enough to save it, however. Next.

Eragon (2006) — I didn’t bother with this one, so I’d love to hear if anyone enjoyed it. Dragons and fantasy sounds right up my alley, but all reviews say this was the pits, and there’s no news for keeping the saga going.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians (2010 and 2013) — These were pretty good! So why the silence? Good novels, decent films…and crickets. I would have stayed with this one. Bummer.

The Black Cauldron (1985) — Well, hmph. The Chronicles of Prydain is an underrated classic, and I’d love for some studio to try this again. The seven-novel YA series was my second youthful favorite adventure tale after the The Chronicles of Narnia, and since this one kickstarted so long ago, a reboot might do well. I mean, they did this one in the 80s! I doubt anyone has anything to hold against this poor attempt to get Taran’s saga going. Disney owns it, and they might be ready to option it again. Please, somebody give this excellent series a fair chance.

Vampire Academy (2014) — This sounds great on paper, sort of like a Harry Potter/Buffy match up. I’d watch that. Except somehow this was so bad I’d never even heard of it. Someone must have really screwed the pooch to mangle a really cool premise like this.

Ender’s Game (2013) — This one is truly a bad deal for us all. The book is magnificent. It was only a middling movie. You could watch it, and even sort of enjoy it, but Orson Scott Card’s literary masterpiece didn’t manage to move people in the theater. Maybe they can reboot it sometime and get the entire series done right. Or better yet, leave it be. Just re-read the novels.

The Mortal Instruments (2013) — Another one that slipped under my radar. There’s six books in this one, and people say the novels are fine. That doesn’t mean it translated well to the cinema, since it slid quietly into dust.

There’s more. I can delve further into the failed classics and promising franchises, but it’s frankly too depressing to keep going. Feel free to discuss what I missed and what I’m wrong about in the comments.

As for me, I’ll still keep the flame burning. I’m a believer in the genre, and I know there’s some good ones yet to emerge. Besides, someone has to watch these films and get the Peetimes for RunPee. 🙂

Related: 

Movie Review – The Darkest Minds

Movie Review – A Wrinkle In Time

Movie Review – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Movie Review – The Mockingjay, Part 2

Movie Review – Maze Runner, The Death Cure

Movie Review – Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Movie Review – The Vampire Academy

Movie Review – Twilight Eclipse

Movie Review – Twilight New Moon

Movie Review – Twilight Breaking Dawn, Part 2

Comic Con Releases Grim but Exciting Trailer for Fantastic Beasts — The Crimes of Grindelwald

The new trailer for JK Rowling’s Wizarding World was released to great excitement at the 2018 San Diego Comic Con. I didn’t manage to make it into the panel where it was released (SDCC is no joke, folks), but I was nearby at the convention center, and eventually got a look. I’m happy to say the preview’s got a bit of everything in it. Wizards, witches, critters large and small, heroes and villains, and lots of world building.

While Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald definitely sports that signature dark look from the latter Harry Potter films, there seems to be a little light and humor here and there. There’s hints of the majestic beauty that keeps legions of fans begging for glimpses of a world with magic in it.

Let me get this out of the way: the trailer is full of spoilers. If you don’t want to know anything that happened after the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, you might want to move along now. And as we ramp up to the holiday movie season, you’ll have to look away and hum whenever this preview comes up in the theaters (it can be done. I did it for The Last Jedi, and before that, Logan).

For everyone else, here it is. My thoughts are below and contain said spoiler items from the trailer: 

Okay, if you’ve plunged in, you saw all kinds of interesting stuff ahead. We start off with a return (YAY) to Hogwarts, and a revisit of the protective Ridikulus Spell against Boggarts. We see Newt as a young student, with his fear of a desk job. A bearded Jude Law steps in as our third Dumbledore, who’s already a Hogwarts teacher at this point. (For Protection Against the Dark Arts, it seems, which is weird. I though he taught Transfigurations?) Further, he’s not using The Elder Wand, so this helps place the movie more clearly in the Wizarding timeline.

Newt Scamander seems to have the New York crew back from his first movie. (Remember when we weren’t even sure Newt would return as the protagonist?) Adorable Muggle Jacob looks like he’s got his memory back, and the Niffler makes an appearance, begging for shiny objects.

One extremely charming appearance in the trailer: Nicolas Flamel is in the movie! AWESOME. You’d have to remember Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to get this callback (HP and the Philosopher’s Stone for UK fans; the original title). Anyway, its the person whom the titalar “stone” refers. I am giddy. 😉

We also see Johnny Depp managed to hold onto his role, as controversial as that choice was at the time, and hopefully he’s got a better handle on where to take this character.

And somehow or other — this was teased at the end of the first Fantastic Beasts with a single ashy wisp escaping — Credence survived his apparent explosion. He looks like he’s got a better grip on his powers. Not a good thing. Maybe.

In the ambivalent section, Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz) shows up. Is she as bad as her surname (and Queenie’s telepathy) fears? Could she be so awful if she was once so close to shy and sweet Newt? It’s hard to tell from the preview. She seems to hold some affection for her old friend.

Overall, the trailer is brisk and a bit gloomy. I understand Grindelwald is known as the most powerful dark wizard of his generation (a bit before Voldemort’s time), but Grindelwald was portrayed with more mischievous humor in the Harry Potter flashbacks. I hate to see that lost. This prequel series features grownups, but that doesn’t have to mean it’s a joyless affair.

Here’s the 17 minute Fantastic Beasts panel from Comic Con, if you’ve got the time to kick back and enjoy. And again, here be spoilers:

Also, on RunPee.com: 

Movie Review – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Movie Review – Teen Titans Go!

I’ll try to stay away from spoilers, but let it be said of Teen Titans Go To The Movies! that there are hilarious references to the Marvel universe, along with a multitude of other jabs toward superheroes in general.
The plot was typical of most animated movies about the good, the bad, and the ridiculous. Lots of bathroom humor that kept the kiddies laughing in their seats, while keeping the adults entertained as well.
This is a great movie to get the kids out of the house, out of the heat, and out of parents hair for an afternoon.

Movie Review – Sorry to Bother You

From our wonderfully insightful San Diego RunPee newbie correspondant Ola Sojobi:

“I absolutely loved this movie. The whole setting is beautifully surreal, while the message hits in real ways on several levels. It’s a rollercoaster ride, where the steep drop seems to keep getting steeper, instead of leveling out.

The twist will send you reeling and shift the tone of the whole movie, but then keep hitting you with on-brand real metaphors and deeper meaning. The ride never ends. I expected to love this movie, and I was not disappointed.”

— Ola Sojobi likes psychological thrillers and irreverent indie films. And also likes to see 4DX movies.

Movie Grade: A

Peetime Data: This was a difficult movie to get Peetimes for, because the scenes are often short, and the rare filler scenes are usually sandwiched between very interesting/funny scenes. Nonetheless, there are the three I could scrape out.

Dinosaurs and Mead in San Diego: Bronto Brewery

Where can you have a serious sword fight  beneath the skeleton of a T-Rex, drinking handcrafted mead from ancient recipes, play geeky games, and watch classic sci-fi movies? That would be the Bronto Brew Meadery in San Diego.

The owners are certified geeks, just like their patrons, and if that sounds like you, then you’re invited to come in until, like Cheers, “Everybody knows your name.”

Deanna Giwlt, Dan Gwilt, and Ryan Gwilt created Bronto Brew Meadery exactly two years ago (with a celebratory anniversary coming up), with the intention of using a Jurassic Park theme. There’s a T-Rex family in the entry, a giant nest of Brontosaur eggs inside, ancient vinesrcreeping in, dino prints and the sense of entering a long-abandoned Mesozoic-sourced lab when you sit inside to order your mead.

Mead — honey wine, at it’s most distilled point — is what they do. It’s ALL they do. And they do it very, very well. Something for all tastes – some are like a hoppy IPA brew, a sweet wine, a heady cider,  fruit-forward vino, or a rich red port.

I was lucky enough to get a behind the scenes tour of the Bronto Brew Meadery with my photographer Ola Sojoba. We saw the entire process, starting with massive vats of honey, to small production bottles of such rarities as Stegosaurus Blood (ask for it and they might make more. It’s, shall we say, deeply red and wonderfully rich). My favorite is the classic, however, the Pure Bronto. This tastes exactly like I would expect a classic mead to be: a brew that Nordic gods like Thor,  or heroes like Beowulf, or kings like Theoden, are used to serving in their golden halls.

Deanna is especially nerdy, in a good way, about her dinosaur-themed establishment. They welcome nerds, geeks, and “normals” of all stripes, with a full array of giant screen movies, a towering stack of games, regular D&D events, special dragon goblets to rent, and a giant jenga. And swords.

During our tour, Sojoba and I were treated to a full “Pterodactyl Flight” and a game of Exploding Kittens (which is weirder than it sounds, and it certainly sounds strange enough).  Deanna and I also took up swords and hacked the holy hell out of each other, while the men cringed and hovered protectively. We plan a rematch soon. Avast!

Because this of the week leading up to the newest Jurassic World movie (JW 2: Fallen Kingdom), we were excited to attend the movie rewatch, projected huge dino-sized on the wall. Starting with Jurassic Park Classic (the best; still holds up), we moved on to The Lost World (also pretty good). Coming up is the woe- begotten lame JP III (it has a campy value, I guess), and the nicely thrilling, recently revitalized Jurassic World 1 (do not underestimate the value of Chris Pratt). This will probably be a annual event. 

All FREE, of course. You don’t even have to buy a brew, although, heck, you should give it a try. I’ve had many meads in my day, and these guys are the real deal. Cloudy and rich, just like they enjoyed it in the Middle Ages.

The tour was really involved. We saw big vats of organic honey. Those were fermented into a “must” with special yeast, with the addition of either hops, of flowers, or sweet fruits, to create a lovely flight of surprisingly different colors/tastes. If it’s your first visit, we recommend trying a flight, starting with the Pure Bronto, and asking for the rest by mentioning your interest in hoppy, floral, or sweet tastes. Most names have some kind of dino-relation in the title, which is only appropriate. It’s a good time at a good price.

Deanna said she chose the title Bronto because there were not a lot of mead, beer, or coffee places with dinosaurs in the titles. She said, “Dinosaurs stand out and draw attention to them.” When they go to the farmer’s markets, the first thing they see is the T-Rex , and that people crave dinosaurs. She said even introverts feel inspired to talk it about and ask about their mead. These people become regulars for gaming nights, socializing over board games.

What’s also nice is that mead is gluten free. So people worried about whether they can drink the classic beverages are safe. It’s an historical drink that no one has to stress about.

July 21 is the national natural Mead Anniversary, and Bronto is very excited about preparing for this event, showing FREE large screen movies having to do when the era mead was popular.

August 1 will showcase a HUGE event  as their Mead Day, where children, dogs and adults all will be welcome. Homemade necklace pendents and earrings (priced at $12) will be available to purchase. Teeshirts cost $20, with two priced at $30.

Information will be be updated on their Facebook page, and incluce all the info on their regular games and fun events. I’ll keep fan apprised here as well.

What kind of new dinosaur decor should we expect from the Bronto Brew? We’re told there will be more vines and some ‘aging’ decor, to make it clear this is from the Isla Nublad era, around where the science fell into ruin. We likee. Last time I visited, the vines started showing up and the scene was set for a decayed trip to Jurassic Park. Very nice. More jungle ambiance and dino murals are expected soon.

The original look of biolab coats and lab hazard signs are up and ready to go.

Deanna said that she grew up with The Land Before Time, the Flintstones, Puff the Magic Dragon, and that even the Power Rangers had dragons! With the new binge-popular shows like Game of Thrones, plus the revitalized Jurassic movies, this is the perfect time to bring dinosaurs back to popular consciousness.

So what dino themed mead drinks can you choose from? Ask for these:

  • Pure Bronto- the house Mead, a perfect meady blend
  • Stegosaurus Blood – deeply fruit and dry – a select small batch
  • Velicoberry – fruity dry
  • Citrodon – beery fun
  • Hibiscus Berry – floral beer-like taste
  • Cretaceous Bloom – a nice sour
  • Achilobactor
  • Hoposaurus – A sweet IPA beer version of mead

The tap masters have a full array of choices to pull together different mead  cocktails — choices to make all patrons happy, putting their favorites into unusual blends.  These guys are seriously creative, and in love with their unusual product. Ask for the mixologic options

Deanna concludes, “Jurassic Park is using science and tech to bring back something ancient and fun – and we love it.”

Look for Part Two of this series on Bronto Brew Meadery, where we take you from honey vat to finished treat, postedaboutt Mead Day. RunPee will update you on on what FREE mead-themed movies will be posted to get you in the mood.

All images by Ola Sojoba, Owned by RunPee.com – all to be added ASAP  (traveling in Mexico right now and it’s a challenge). 

Hours of Operation

Friday: 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Saturday: 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Bronto Mead
9235 Trade Place, D, San Diego, CA 92126
(619) 796 – 3096