Guardians of the Galaxy Ex-Director James Gunn to Direct Suicide Squad 2

We are still Groot.

In a surprise move that, in hindsight, should not be so surprising, DC snapped up erstwhile Marvel director James Gunn.

The director who helmed the beloved Guardians of the Galaxy films was fired last July from GOTG Vol3 for offensive Twitter jokes posted over a decade ago, stirring up ire and confusion from legions of fans. The entire GOTG cast got involved, tweeting support for Gunn and asking Disney to reconsider their stance. One actor, Dave Bautista (Drax), stated he would quit the MCU if Marvel didn’t use Gunn’s script for Vol3.

It’s been an emotional road for fans since then. I was at the San Diego Comic Con the day Gunn was slated to speak, and it hit the entire convention like a blow. He didn’t appear at all, which made a lot of sense: this knee-jerk move most probably broke his heart. GOTG was his baby, and he made Marvel a lot of money. Gunn took a little-known cosmic corner of the Marvel Comics universe, one with a walking tree and a talking raccoon, and made a joyously exuberant space epic that even non-geeks adore.  He’s so intimately connected to his characters that he was brought in for Avengers: Infinity War to write all the Guardians’ lines, keeping the tone tied to the GOTG flicks.

Word is that Marvel, now owned by Disney, will still use Gunn’s script for the conclusion to his trilogy, but this hasn’t been confirmed. The feature was slated in the MCU roster for 2020, but is now considered on haitus. In other words, no one knows anything. There might not even BE a third Guardians film, after all is said and done.

Which leads us to the DC Extended Universe. Suicide Squad was intended to be DC’s equivalent to the MCU’s Guardians movies, with rollicking tunes and irreverent characters who are “something good, something bad: a little bit of both.” Unfortunately, SS really wasn’t very good, and became another dead end in DC’s bid to catch up with the MCU.

Gunn coming on board will change things. With the Wonderwoman films course correcting the entire franchise, and the anticipation awaiting December’s Aquaman film, this could be just the kick in the pants DC needed to compete for the hearts of fans. They certainly made a smart call to add Gunn to their universe.  He’s expected to bring to Suicide Squad 2 what he lent to the Guardians films: a freshness, good tunes, witty dialog, and a rousing sense of adventurous fun.

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.

Mark Ruffalo Spoils Avengers 4 Title – Or Does He?

My name is Mark Ruffalo, and I’m a Spoilaholic.

Mark Ruffalo, as Marvel’s Hulk, talks a lot — unlike the Hulk, actually. Ruffalo’s been known to accidentally drop many a spoiler on talk shows, followed by an “ooops” face, and usually an unsuccessful attempt to pass it off as a joke. It seems he just did it again, live with Jimmy Kimmel. Maybe.

Possible spoiler ahead…

Ruffalo clearly tells the entire audience the movie title for Avengers 4, which has been kept under heavy wraps since the title for Avengers Infinity War was released.  Director Kevin Feige previously announced the title itself was a spoiler, and that speaking it was verboten.

In the video, Ruffalo’s words are bleeped and blocked out, but fans pieced together what’s he’s saying anyway, and it seems to be “The Last Avenger”.  If true, it makes a nice bookend with Captain America: The First Avenger, especially with Chris Evans announcing he will be hanging up Cap’s mantle in Avengers 4.

This may or may not be the name of the movie, as the entertainment world is pretty aware of Ruffalo’s spoilerey reputation: the whole thing could just be a pre-planned joke on the audience, intended only for laughs.

Of course, Ruffalo isn’t the most loose-lipped member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He shares that special spot with young Tom Holland (Spiderman), in a little video moment I wrote about here.

Here’s the Ruffalo segment on Kimmel’s show. Do you think this is a legit spoiler, or a playful set-up? (Clearly the ending is meant as great fun…)

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.

TROOPS – A Star Wars Parody Does COPS

TROOPS is filmed live, on location. All suspects are guilty. Period.

I adore the Star Wars parody TROOPS,  featuring a cool and funny blend of the 80s television reality show COPS, with Star Wars: A New Hope. It’s got 10 minutes of cinematic-level goodness and is great fun. I’m super impressed with the visual quality of this tiny film. It looks like Star Wars! It even feels like Star Wars.

Storywise it’s also clever, presenting a  behind the scenes look at how some Extremely Competent Stormtroopers try locate the Empire’s missing droids…and then exactly what went down  at the Lars residence on Tatooine. (Remember Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru? Remember how we saw their charred corpses? Now you’ll know what happened. This version is now cannon to me.)

Owen and Beru play a nice part in the latter half of the video, although it doesn’t show them in the most flattering light. But then, the show COPS pretty much depicted humanity at their nadir, so it fits in perfectly.  And I loved the first Stormtrooper in this short.  He really thinks he’s the good guy here, bringing peace and order to the galaxy (with blasters).

I never watched COPS when it was on the air (I don’t like watching other people’s misery), but I really love COPS parodies, to a fault. There’s a few of them out there. I think TROOPS might not be the single funniest one, but it might be the most spot-on, and does fill in a gap in the Star Wars narrative  —  one you never knew existed. Remember that most of the SW saga plays from a certain point of view…

What do you think of TROOPS? Did you ever see the original show COPS? Are we showing our age here? 🙂

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.

Voldemort Will Funk You Up

That’s the Were-Wolf Fenrir Greyback getting his shoes shined. Who knew he could read?

I love the video of the Dark Lord Funk, a parody of Uptown Funk, and how it so cleverly sends up the Harry Potter mythos from the perspective of a hip and urban Voldemort. You have to view this one a few times, once for overall enjoyment, once to catch the rich visual humor, and a last time to listen to the excellent line replacements from the original tune.

There’s a TON of references to elements from all seven Potter novels. It’s a real hoot. (<—- Ha. See what I did there?) The video makers even created a moving copy of the Daily Prophet, complete with headlines seemingly ripped from The Deathly Hallows. View the paper firstly at 1:48, then see (at 2:30) this headline: Harry Potter Defies the Dark Funk. Make sure to look for the band logo  for Tom and The Riddles on the drum-set at 3:25. And at 3:54, catch a moment with Hogwarts caretaker Argus Filch.

Enjoy seeing Voldemort get his non-existent hair curled, while dancing with Bellatrix Lestrange, Werewolf Fenrir Greyback, and a small army of Death Eaters. The famous students of Dumbledore’s Army also appear, clearly taken aback by Voldy’s Power of Funk. “Albus sent ya, Hallelujah!”

Watch it through to the end, as there’s a tiny bonus scene with Voldemort wearing the Sorting Hat.

Did you watch the video yet? It’s more fun than a barrel of Dobbys.

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.

Welcome to the Spider-Verse

It doesn’t matter how much they switch up the mask: Spiderman still looks like Deadpool.

Captain Midnight makes some intelligent videos for superhero nerds like us.  In this one,  he talks about how the upcoming animated reboot of the Spiderman universe is both an exciting prospect and a scary one. We’ve had a lot of Spidermen in the modern era, which speaks to the enduring popularity and relatable personality of Peter Parker.

For what it’s worth,  some of those movie installments were pretty good (like SpiderMan 2), and others were stinky turds (like Spiderman 3).

Now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe hit a home-run with Homecoming, Sony (together with the non-MCU Marvel)  is eyeing the rest of their arachnoid stable with greedy eyes. In the trailer for Into the Spiderverse, we’re shown an older Peter Parker, a young new POC Spiderman, and a Gwen Stacey black-and-white version of Spidergirl. And it looks like a whole colony of superpowered spiderfolk check in.

Early perceptions from most comic-book fans are giddily positive. The film’s upcoming narrative seems to hew more closely to the comic book storylines than any of the live-action features did.

I like the idea of a grown man version of Peter Parker counseling a new super spider hero. In theory. We just had this kind of material  covered with Iron Man and the MCU’s Spidey. I assume the writers have something different in mind.

We still don’t know yet how this Peter will be written, but I hope he’s retained an overzealous enthusiasm for his freewheeling, freelancing, webslinging job. I’m tired of seeing beloved superheroes grow grim, moody, and morose with time. Please keep my Spidey fun!

One note: I have to say the animation for the film looks really darned cool.

So, is the Spiderverse more about cashing in on the MCU’s approval ratings, or adding a legit fresh, exciting take on Spiderpeople?

Watch this insightful video to develop your own spidey sense of how the upcoming Into The Spiderverse is shaping up.

 

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.

Crimes of Grindelwald Prequel Fan Film – The Greater Good

Wizards Albus Dumbledore and Gellart Grindelwald start their famous duel. Doesn’t young Albus look like the  young Professor X from the X-Men films?

Have you seen The Greater Good, a  17-minute fan film about Dumbledore and Grindelwald? Made before the first Fantastic Beasts movie was even a thing, this little wonder tells the story of what could have been the hour the two powerful  wizards broke off their previously intense and long-running relationship. It also features Albus Dumbledore’s little sister, Ariana, and the sad events that went down at the end of the boys’ world-traveling love affair. Aberforth, the other Dumbledore brother,  also plays a leading role.

The feature’s not bad. I’d even say it was really good, if the wand fight didn’t drag on so long. I’d also have liked to see some more scripted moments between the characters, and some backstory before the duel gets going. But it’s got decent filmatic qualities for a fan piece, a nice (and inexpensive) beach-side setting, good costumes, and acting that works for the story being told. A few of the special effects are cringe-worthy, but we should probably cut these amateur filmmakers some slack.

Albus, Aberforth, and Gellert look great. Ariana is way too old to fit in with the Harry Potter novelizations and her painting in the Deathly Hallows 2 movie, but I guess we can overlook this in honor of the greater good. 😉

Some people are going so far as to call this a Fantastic Beasts prequel. Take a look:

What do you think of this fan film short from the universe of Harry Potter? I for one am impressed that JK Rowling is confident enough in her creation to allow this one-off to stay alive for internet viewing.

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.

MoviePass Auto Re-enrollment for Select Users

MoviePass has had a rough go of it lately. No surprise when your business model is too good to be true. However, their latest move is stirring up controversy among their users  — or former users in some cases —  who have been auto re-enrolled in a new program.

According to Business Insider, former MoviePass holders recently discovered they had been re-enrolled in the service, which is expected to roll out a new plan Wednesday. Now users can see any three movies (within their new draconian limits of what is “available”) for $9.95 per month.

 

MoviePass users have until Thursday, October 4th to opt-out of the plan they were re-enrolled in.

Bottom Line: if you’re using MoviePass, be sure to keep an eye on your account and make sure you’re getting what you expect. Some users who tried to cancel their account ended up being auto re-enrolled, and charged for it.

Opinion:
I don’t envy anyone working for MoviePass customer support this week. I’m sure those employees are going to have some sort of contest to see who gets the worst abuse from a disgruntled user. I can empathize with them, because I’ve had to deal with my own share of unhappy users after adding Peecoins to RunPee. All of that aside, what MoviePass is doing shouldn’t be legal, and it’s a travesty that the politicians (both Dems and Reps) are too gutless to pass any sort of legislation to keep companies from doing this sort of thing.

For the vast majority of users, I don’t think there’s anything worth getting worked up about. They’ll either say, Yeah, this new deal is worth it, and stick with the auto-enrollment, or they’ll spend a few minutes and go back into the MoviePass app and opt out, again. But a small percentage of users won’t notice. The emails may get filtered out; they won’t notice the charges on their banking account; whatever — and they’ll end up paying for a service they thought they had dropped, month after month. And if they don’t know that they’re enrolled, they won’t be using the benefits. This is where I think MoviePass is doing nothing short of stealing.

What do you think?

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Notes on Final Trailer for Fantastic Beasts — The Crimes of Grindelwald

Newt and Jacob: the continuing bromance…

The final trailer for Fantastic Beasts 2 – The Crimes of Grindelwald has dropped, and there are more clues and a bunch of spoilers you might wish to avoid. I’m including the trailer link and my commentary about it below, so click away now if you’re trailer-spoiler-averse.

The trailer is 2 minutes and 23 seconds, and everything flips by very quickly:

My thoughts, as the RunPee Wizarding World Expert: 

  • Looks like Jude Law as young Dumbledore has a substantial role, more than the extended cameo that was feared. He looks right for the part. I’m glad.
  • “A safe house in Paris.” Now we know why much of this outing will be in France, as was announced during filming last year.  LOL: “It’s good to have a  place to go, you know, for a cup of tea.”
  • The line, “For love,” is placed on a shot of Tina. This makes sense for what we know about where her role is heading in the backstory (as mentioned in J.K. Rowling’s “monster fieldguide” version of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them).
  • Nagini! WTF. I don’t like what I’m seeing. I get that they’re trying to tie the old series in with the new, but I’m not a fan of major retconning like this. Can’t an animal just be an animal sometimes? Especially in a movie about ‘beasts’.
  • Maybe, maybe Johnny Depp will pull the role off. I think I just have to get over the loss of the cute and “charming rogue” version of Grindelwald we fans were presented with in both the Harry Potter novels and the films. This re-characterization is darker than he should be, and I can’t for the life of me understand why Albus Dumbledore was ever in love with him. Unless they retcon Dumbledore as more of a jerk than we’d been led to believe. Anyway, why do I think Depp might pull this off? His voice-over seems pretty good and his momentary scenes have a certain gravitas I didn’t see from this actor before.
  • Some flying car action! Where have we seen this before? I miss the Weasleys. Nice callback, though. Appropriate car.
  • HOGWARTS! Yes, please, can I have some more?
  • WHY IS THIS TRAILER SO HARD TO SEE? When I say it’s dark, it’s not just the subject matter. The director seems to like filming in dim light conditions.
  • There’s a beast, hard to make out. Oh, no, it’s something else. Where are the pretty critters???
  • There’s the Obscurial. We knew that was coming.
  • Nicolas Flamel! Such a pleasure. Great callback to the first HP film with the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone.
  • Hmm. Newt is a lot more grim, too. I hope there’s some humor in this film.
  • Jacob! There’s my man, and there’s the humor.
  • And a portkey, too! All the apparating got boring in FB1.
  • Some beasts at last. I hope we get more of that. And I want to go back in the suitcase where he keeps them.
  • Awww, Queenie is in pain. Hate that. Don’t you go hurting my girl.
  • Leta Lestrange gets the same line she had from the first trailer. I guess they considered that important enough to repeat.
  • Oh hey, Newt’s famous brother! He had a small mention in FB1, if you recall, something about being a war hero. I don’t know what wizarding war this refers to. I guess there’s always dark wizards to fight, in every generation. And there’s a cute bit of sibling rivalry to wrap up the preview.

So, that’s it! It’s not a second by second review, but close enough. I think there’s enough meat to chew here to keep us talking until the movie comes out, which will be on November 16th. I’m fortunate enough this time to catch a screening Nov 14th, so I’ll have Peetimes up early for everyone.

What do you think of the trailer?

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 – Small Foot

That guy is barefoot in the snow a lot. Just saying.

It is such a relief to watch a movie I can give an A+ rating to without hesitation! It was charming, warm-hearted (albeit set in a cold place!), engaging, funny, and surprisingly detailed. I especially loved the many interesting things to look at in the yeti village. I was never bored. I see a lot of movies for RunPee, and not being bored scores high in my book.

A couple of the songs were quite good, and the “Let It Lie” number by Common is a straight-up standout. That entire scene (the one with the Stone Keeper and Migo inside the mountain) was captivating.

Small Foot had some great elements of world-building, which is nice to see in an animated kid flick. The details of the yeti town, their mythology, the backstory…everything fit together seamlessly. I was really surprised how even small details (like why the ice cubes were chipped into spheres) came together later on.

The ‘short Yeti’ comic relief character was a bit tiresome, but that’s my only nit to pick. I’m sure the kiddos liked him well enough. The ‘dumb Thor’ Yeti made the geek in me smile. Mostly, the Yetis and their world were well drawn, the voice work was pleasant, and the climax and denouement actually came from a logical place in the narrative.

It’s also nice to see a movie with no villain. Sometimes watching a plot based around an obligatory ‘bad guy’ makes for tiresome viewing. Writers have to be more creative to do it this way.

There’s a great message about tolerance, without banging the audience over the head with it. I also liked that we saw humanity from an outside perspective, recognizing both the good and the evil inherent in our species. I’d hope that if we found other intelligent beings somewhere, we’d know enough to try communication before hostility.

Outstanding film.

Movie Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: Here are 3 Peetimes of various lengths. If you can manage the 1st one, you won’t have to rush and you miss very little. I was surprised how hard it was to find good Peetimes in this animated film — it’s a tightly woven tale with very little downtime. They put a lot of plot development and world building into this. I also didn’t want to place a Peetime during any of the musical numbers, since I figure if you’re watching this, you’d probably like to hear the songs. One note: if you decide to duck out during a song, do NOT leave when Common/The Stone Keeper does his number. It’s just that excellent.

One More Note: I liked Common’s song Let It Lie so much, I had to look it up for you.  It’s just as good on a second listen — gives me chills. DON’T PLAY if you haven’t seen the movie yet:  it’s got the film’s biggest spoilers in it. Otherwise, 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.

Movie Rewatch Review of X-Files – I Want To Believe

You’d think they do believe by now…

The X-Files now has nine television seasons, two movies, and two short-term TV revivals under their belt. This no-spoiler rewatch is for the second feature film,  I Want To Believe, taking place years (both in-universe and out) after the final run of original TV episodes, and before both revivals were even a concept.

(Is this making sense to you? If it’s gibberish, you might not want to bother entering the X-Files universe at this time. X-Files is the most complicated long-running popular entertainment franchise ever made.)

Like the first movie, Fight The Future, most of this takes place in way too much snow. (Just before the credits, you get a small warm payoff this time, so stick around through it.)

A few thoughts on I Want To Believe:

  • No humor. Bummer.
  • It’s mostly a stand alone feature. At least, the plot is. You still need to know the history between Mulder and Scully to appreciate who they are, their motivations, and what they want from each other.
  • It starts out pretty slow, and continues along at a dirge-like pace. The few action scenes we do get are pretty frenzied. Not sure what the director was thinking. Weirdly paced.
  • The plot was sad, depressing, dark, and distinctly unfun.
  • The characters were more pessimistic than usual. The whole reason this great show ran so long was on the strength of the Mulder-Scully dynamic and characterization. I realize they are older and more serious now, but that didn’t make for enjoyable viewing. It was like the director told them to tone down their natural chemistry.
  • Some parts were hard to see – either blurry, dimly lit, or both. Many things ran by too quickly to comprehend. Pay attention to the unusual dog mid-way through, or you’ll miss out on a big clue (and he’s super hard to see properly, even when I knew what to look for).
  • Mulder still has his den of posters (including the iconic titular one), tacked up dodgy newspaper clippings, and pencils stuck in the ceiling tiles (okay, that part was cute).
  • We do find out what happened with the relationship between Mulder and Scully after the series comes to that abrupt end. So that’s sort of satisfying.
  • It had a psychic/serial killer plot, not an alien cover-up one. There was no whiff of the “Mythology/Conspiracy Arc”, unlike in Fight The Future.
  • It was ultimately more about Scully and her religious themes, than Mulder and  his unexplained phenomena.
  • The movie was super creepy at the end. When I say it’s a “Monster of the Week” plot, here the monster is real, and unfortunately all too human. I don’t know how to say more without revealing a big spoiler about WHICH monster this movie references. It’s obvious by the climax. Brrrr. Feel free to put spoilers in the comments.
  • I liked this part the best: we’ve had about a baker’s dozen episodes before, dealing with the use of possible psychics to solve paranormal cases. The BEST part of I Want To Believe is when Scully actually references these guys by name: Luther Boggs (Beyond the Sea), Clyde Bruckman (Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose), and Gerry Schnauz (Unruhe). Those were stellar episodes that fall within the best episodes of any television show EVER done.  Want to watch something great ? Skip this movie and stream those episodes. Bring a hanky.

Here’s a short text exchange between RunPee founders Dan and Jill about I Want to Believe:

Jill: I just did a rewatch of the second X-Files movie. Remember that one?

Dan: I remember that it sucked.

Jill: Sure. That’s totally fine.  It was like a very long, very mediocre X-Files episode. I haven’t seen the second TV revival yet, but I hope they pick up with the William story and put that storyline to bed! Metaphorically (and literally works too).  😉

Dan: I don’t even know if I’ll see the second  revival, after watching the first one. It only had the one good episode with the Were-Monster.

Jill: Agreed. I really liked that one. The rest were meh, at best. It’s too bad.

Dan: Whatever.  I give up.

Jill: But I have some insights from I Want To Believe. I’ve decided that Mulder and Scully can’t quit each other, even though they are not good together. Mulder is a man who will do his thing, and place finding the truth above his relationship, every time. Always. He is a brilliant obsessive-compulsive. And she wants a real life, with the children and a picket fence…Mulder will never give her those things. But she just can’t quit him.

Dan: I can see that about their relationship.

Jill: My mother has already forgotten the entire plot of this movie, believe it or not. It’s weird; we just saw it last week.

Dan: It’s not a good movie, so I’m not surprised.

As you can see, I’m still a fan, even after being disappointed by most of the show’s follow-up. I’m doing a partial TV re-watch right now, introducing my mother to some of the series’ highlights (and having to try to explain most of it). I’m not even sure I remember where most of the dead end subplots ended up going…look up the “Chris Carter Effect” to understand this trope. This phenomenon went on to derail other great, dense shows like Lost and the reimagined Battlestar Galactica).

Ugh! In SPITE of that, it’s still one of the best television shows ever put to the small screen. If you get a chance, and have a lot of binging time available, start at the beginning and worth through the whole thing. Most of it is astoundingly gripping. Mulder and Scully are so much fun to watch that you never notice only two actors carry most of a decade of work between them.

Movie Grade for I Want to Believe: C

———————–

A little happiness to end this post: 
Here’s a quick vid about the Were-Monster, the most enjoyable revival episode. Yahoo Entertainment says this: ““Were-Monster” single-handedly justifies the show’s return after its decade-long hiatus.”

Really, the ep is a pure joy, with a lot of in-jokes for X-Files long-suffering fans:

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.