Entering the X-Files – The Pilot Episode

The X-Files Pilot still one of the better long-running television pilots out there. Quintessentially set in the early 90s, it holds up well. Scully is an adorable skeptic, still bright-eyed and bushy tailed — so eager to please — with a sweet face still bearing traces of baby fat. Mulder starts out almost exactly as he finishes, tossing his new partner a half assed joke in greeting:”Welcome to the FBI’s most unwanted.” He knows she’s been sent down to his basement to dubunk him, and has his I Want To Believe Poster posted proudly behind his desk, surrounded by conspiracy theory news clippings and marked-up maps.

(Get used to this being Mulder’s domain. Scully only perches on things for the next few years. It does improve for her much later, when she gets a desk of her own. And on a side note, Mulder doesn’t get a bed until the two-parter ep Dreamland, so it’s an equal opportunity level of bodily discomfort.)  🙂

In spite of this preliminarily  lopsided pilot powershow, the two exude instant charisma, and the minor ‘abduction’  story needs thankfully little exposition. It’s got a self contained plot (is it about alien abductions, or driven by some other supernatural condition? It doesn’t matter), and it concludes in a satisfying place.  But the plot isn’t the main show, thankfully.

The real reason to watch the pilot is to play close attention to the dynamics of Gillian Anserson and David Duchovny as Scully and Mulder, respectively. Right away, their mutual charisma bounces between them with a crackling electricity, whether they’re bickering in their office, or laughing at each other in darkness, drenched in the road — where a big red spray can X marks the spot. It’s a good moment. I don’t want to be too specific. Just watch it.

Were they abducted too? Why did they lose time? It’s actually par for the course that we never know. Get used to this in this series, and you’ll be fine. The show is about its two leads, and how they almost, but quite, prove the evidence of aliens and the supernatural.

If you find this coy cat and mouse overly-plotting, stick it out anyway, at least until seasons 5 or 7. The Chis Carter Effect doesn’t set in til then. This is a great show to keep up, because the two leads sparkle even after all this time, and the frequent Monster of the Week episodes are often the best things ever seen on television.

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 – Hell Fest

Hell Fest was a total cliche. It was very predictable, yet it was enjoyable to watch. The idea of being in a very public place where murders are going on, but unnoticed, was a great idea.

I embrace everything Halloween. This holiday is hands-down my favorite time of the year. I have been known to travel hundreds of miles just to attend a good haunted house or maze. So when I saw the premise of this movie, I was totally stoked.

I’m happy to report that I wasn’t completely disappointed. Let’s face it — there are a lot of really bad horror flicks — really too many to count. This one comes in above the terribles, but below the classics. Let’s call it the Goldilocks of horror movies. The acting was pretty good, but where its decent grade comes from is the setting. They did a great job there. As I was watching the movie, I was thinking to myself that I would love to go there. I know it’s fake, but I wish it were real.

I’m going to research and see if I can find anything as creative as this to attend. The ending — and I’m talking about the final five seconds of the movie  — were pretty chilling. I really liked how they wrapped it up. That right there was a plus, because usually it’s the very end of a horror movie that screws them up. I’m going to recommend this movie; it’s not the best but it will definitely get you in the Halloween spirit.

Grade: C+

About these PeetimesThis was a really short movie. I still put in 2 Peetimes, just in case. I’m leaning towards the 1st Peetime as your best option. As with any movie, that intense feeling has built at the time of my 2nd Peetime. If you use that one, the spell they have cast over you would be broken.

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. 

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.

Fun Details You Didn’t Notice from the Halloween Trailer

Bringing the story back to its roots.

The new Halloween movie returns to its roots. Yeah! It cleans up the timeline — ignoring the iffy sequels and remakes.  Almost entirely. Right on!

It’s full of visual metaphors and clues reminding you of the original movie, and promising what may come. Will we see hints of chilling thrills, and a great concluding narrative — instead of continuity-breaking and random plot twists, or mere pandering slasher gore?

Learn many small details about this year’s exciting Halloween trailer, starring a strong-seeming Jamie Lee Curtis, bringing vengeance and the pain to her old nemesis Michael Myers.

Enjoy this seven-minute video that picks apart every minute and taunted promise of fun, for this good-looking, exciting finale of the 1978 classic!

Halloween 2nd Trailer Released, Curtis to Whip Some Psycho Butt!

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.

Halloween 2nd Trailer Released, Curtis to Whip Some Psycho Butt!

“Michaelllllllllll. Michaelllll….I’m coming for you!”

Halloween is coming — in more ways than one. We at RunPee couldn’t be more excited for Jamie Lee Curtis, after all this time (since 1978!), to scare HER psycho boogeyman Mike Meyers, and whup his deranged butt for once and for all. Some people just shouldn’t be allowed to go to prison, allowing for the potential of evil to arise again. (And I’m an unashamed tree-hugger who normally hates the death penalty.)

So, go Jamie go, take this mother down.  Terrorize him! It’s like Terminator 2: Judgement Day, but for an older woman, with nothing on her mind but preventing more atrocities. 

Off my soapbox now; sorry about that. I hope this movie is as good as it looks.  The 2nd trailer seems like a bit of awesome. Even the 1st trailer was good, but this one is a lot more intense. Enjoy, and get excited: 

Looking forward to Halloween? Will it be worthy, or just a sequel cash grab? We think Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role speaks for a possibility of quality.

Fun Details You Didn’t Notice from the Halloween 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.

All Predator Movies, Rated

I like their hair. It’s like college football player hair. Am I the only one who notices this?

There’s a glut of Predator movies in the franchise now, starting with the classic  Predator of 1987 with Arnold Schwarzenegger, through ’til just this week, with The Predator. Since almost each film has basically the same name (except Requiem), it can be confusing to recall which was released when, with what storyline. Also, each storyline has more or less the same profile: Predators hunt people (or other Aliens), and said people use big military-grade guns to fight back. There’s a lot of green florescent blood along the way, and infrared vision.

So it can be tough to mentally track which movie is which. Here’s a quick summary of each Predator and Predator-adjacent film, in production order: 

  1. Predator — 1987: The original franchise starter with Arnold. He really sold it, and this is a great movie, deserving an A grade. The secondary characters were solid, the backstory was involving, the climax gripped me, and there were some great one liners and quotes.
  2. Predator 2 — 1990: Danny Glover took over the reigns for this one, and it was…meh. I didn’t like all the gang violence; very unappealing. More sci-fi, less gangster dynamics, please. The ending, however, with Glover on the Predator ship, and the Predator honor code, was really great. I would’ve like more of that, more alien world-building. (There’s also the blink and you’ll miss it scene with an “Alien Zenomorph” skull on the ship…which started the whole AvP furor, culminating in the next two movies, for better or for worse.) I tried re-watching  Predator 2 a few years back, but had to turn it off because of the unpleasantly grisly LA gang storyline. For some reason, I’m okay with Predator violence, but not people against people. (The Wikipedia offers this tidbit, so I’m not the only one who thought this was a bit much: “Due to excessive violence, Predator 2 was the first film to be given the newly instituted NC-17 rating in the United States.”) Maybe give this a C grade?
  3. Aliens Vs Predators (AvP) — 2004: The first AvP film was fine. Not great, not awful. I’d say it was mildly enjoyable, and I liked the hunt’s setting in the buried pyramid/temple. This is also memorable for having a woman be the main fighting character, the alliance between human and Predator, and the ending as a call back to the previously established Predator honor code. B-
  4. AvP: Requiem — 2007:  An abomination of a movie that should be taken behind the shed and shot. I have nothing, NOTHING good to say about this film, and just thinking about it makes me nauseous. I had a boyfriend once who thought this was the best Predator flick ever, and, years later, I’m still WTF? It didn’t work out between us, so maybe you can predict the future of relationships with whether they liked Requiem.  Heh: you only think I’m joking. F-
  5. Predators — 2010: I absolutely forgot this one when I wrote my review of The Predator (2018) this week. Someone had to remind me Predators existed, and then a few things filtered back. All I really recall was that it started with human characters falling in the sky, there were the expected hunting/shooting shenanigans, and that I kind of liked this one. I’d give it a provisional B grade, until I can see it again.
  6. The Predator — 2018: I’d say this is the second-best film in the franchise, although I’d need to rewatch the previous Predators again to see which I thought had the better narrative. I did find this one fun, amusing, and even delightful at times, which is a weird way to describe a movie devoted to brutal killing games. This flick has some world building that I appreciated, although I do admit it wasn’t what it could have been. I can’t say much more without adding spoilers. I did adore the introduction of the Predator Dogs. More like this. B+

Some General Predator Notes:

What all of the films lacked, 1987 Arnold version aside, were great characters. I can’t remember anyone’s names. Even their faces blend together. The Predators themselves had more personal development, I think. I wouldn’t  even mind seeing a Predator film from the Predator viewpoint — just for variety — but that probably won’t happen.

Given that, I’d ask to see a real trilogy developed, with continuing characters and a larger/more detailed universe. It could start with The Predator and build from there. I’m not sure why each film tells a small story with fungible characters — there’s only so many ways to string people up in trees, with a lot of dark shootouts, and have nothing of lasting importance actually occur by the end. With six movies, it’s too bad that all we get are isolated incidents with faceless characters. I might be barking up the wrong tree in my hopes: the films are intended to be a rousing, fun, shoot-em-up time.

But they could be so much more.

Also on RunPee: 

Movie Review — The Predator

 

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 Predator

This was the best Predator movie besides the very first with Arnold in 1987. The Predator did a great job revitalizing the franchise in a way that the subsequent ones (from the middling Predator 2 sequel through the two AvP disasters) didn’t. If you loved the classic Predator original, you’ll have a good time with this one.

(UPDATED NOTE: I totally forgot there is another Predator film out there.  That one, called Predators, was actually pretty good if I recall, although I honestly don’t remember much about the specifics. That one came out in 2010. I’ll need to re-watch it.)

This movie moves along really fast, mostly in the darkness of one night, and never gave us any characters whose names I could recall. I had to check  IMDB to write the Peetimes, so I could say “Quinn” and “Rory”, instead of using the placeholders from my notes that said “main guy”, “science girl”, and “son with Aspergers”.

I do have to say the kid did a nice job, and his Asperger’s Syndrome was handled fairly well, which can be hard to do in cinema (I’m sensitive to this kind of thing). And “Main Guy” reminded me of a young Michael Biehn from Terminator and Aliens (I expect this is no coincidence). The difference is that those films, in their even shorter run times, gave us indelible character moments AND action. More on this below.

Other notes: while the violence was frequent and over-the-top, it wasn’t the gross-out kind. It didn’t feel gratuitous, as a lot of R-rated films are these days. The violence was extreme, but somehow appropriate. These aliens are brutal hunters, but not sadistic. I’d place this one on the level of the first film in that respect.

The humor was a constant, just like the action. I liked that this film didn’t take itself so seriously. The ‘crazy’ military guys were a hoot; the audience clapped and laughed and had a great time. Unfortunately, the sound was a bit garbled. A lot of the lines were dropped and/or mumbled. I want to see this again without having to write notes for Peetimes, and maybe I’ll be in a room with better sound: I wanted to hear all the jokes.

The action was inspired and fun. I’d have liked to see some moments of rest, where both characters and audience get a breather between shoot-em-up set pieces. In most great epics, a sure hand at the directorial helm knows to give us those beats, and I feel this was lacking here. However, this was a such a good time at the cinema, and it was such a relief to have a good Predator movie again, that I can’t help but be a bit ecstatic about enjoying The Predator.

Also, the Predator “dogs” are simply awesome. Great concept. However, I kind of feel an entire plotline with the remaining dog was left on the editing floor. We got to see said pup for a final second in the background — and out of focus! — in the denouement, but his part of the story felt unfinished. If this franchise picks up with this crew again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that Predator dog trained as a heroic character in the ensemble.

My first instinct was to give this an A-. I usually leave a good film on a bit of a high, and then downgrade things as I deconstruct them for my review. This is what’s happening now. If the characters were truly memorable — if I cared when they died — this would be an easy A. If I recalled anyone’s name, or if there was even a hint of world-building, it’d have stuck with the A-.

B+ is still a fine rating, but the writers should have taken a page from the outstanding Marvel Cinematic Universe films and given us some heart, some really meaningful narrative moments…and there’d be something pretty great to build on. As it was, the big ‘revelation’ felt random, underwhelming, and a tad silly.

One last note: There’s a nice moment of beauty at the end, when the sun finally rises and Main Guy (okay, “Quinn”) takes a little ride outside the spaceship’s shields. (It’s not a spoiler in a sci fi/alien movie to say there’s a spaceship here.) It’s short, but that’s my favorite scene, with the symbolic element of a new dawn, a new era, arising for humanity. I’m not even sure this was intended as more than a little neato set-piece in a rousing death-match feature, but I dug it.

PS: I was expecting an Arnold cameo. Nope. Aw, shucks.

Movie Grade: B-

About the Peetimes:  Well, then. You get your money’s worth of action and humor here, and that made finding Peetimes very hard. I found one at around 30 minutes, one at 45 minutes, and one an hour in. Pick any, but definitely USE ONE. The movie gets long and the action keeps speeding up, to the point where even the die hard fans get a bit lost in the final hour, without paying strict attention to everything. Advice: *you don’t want to be squirming around at the end*. I’ve done my best to summarize what happens, and none of the best Predator stuff you came for will be missed at all. 

Also on RunPee.com:  Each Predator Movie, Rated

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.

The Predator final trailer

I was underwhelmed after I saw the first few trailers for the latest installment in the Predator universe — however, this latest trailer shows the tone of the movie to be more humorous, with good fun action, than the previous trailers did.

Here’s why I’m the most excited about this movie: it’s written and directed by Shane Black. If that name sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because he’s as big a name in the action genre business as there is. Check out his writing credits: Lethal Weapon I, II, and III; The Last Boy Scout; The Long Kiss Goodnight, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; Iron Man 3; Nice Guys, etc. He’s also the writer/director for the upcoming Doc Savage, starring Dwayne  (The Rock) Johnson.

If you’ve seen any of those movies you know that this guy writes action as well as anyone, but his dialog is what sets his movies apart.

And oh yeah, he was part of the cast of the original Predator movie as Hawkins — he died early.

So strap in, this movie is going to be a fun ride.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Movie Review – Slender Man

Over a year. Seriously, I have been waiting for this movie for over a year now. With the amount of material available on the internet about Slender Man it should have provided the writers and makers of this movie infinite ideas. The final cut was lacking in almost every aspect.

It starts off okay. Not great, but I could envision it picking up. What I ended up seeing was a disjointed movie that lacked depth and continuity.

Take for instance, in my second Peetime: the scene starts at school. Wren and Hallie are fighting over going to check on Chloe. Hallie refuses to go and the girls walk away from each other in a huff.

Now this is where it ticks me off. The very next scene is the two girls, at night, walking up to Chloe’s house. That’s a big leap. How did they get to that point? We go from fighting over it, to doing it hours later. Maybe editing? Perhaps they filmed a scene that explains how they overcame their differences. But nope, that wasn’t in the movie and it just bothered me, a lot. The movie is peppered with these small annoyances. So many in fact, that I couldn’t enjoy it.

I took my daughter and granddaughter with me to see this movie; what I’m about to tell you should sum up my feelings. They both fell asleep. A horror movie put a five year old to sleep. That says something right there, folks.

My advice — wait for the DVD. At least that way you’re only out a few bucks.

Grade:  D+

About the Peetimes:
Two Peetimes will work well since the movie is so short. Just to give you a heads up: at the theater there was a warning sign, telling people about a 30 second sequence that has a lot of bright flashing lights that may cause seizures. It was near the beginning of the movie, and they were right. It was bright.

Movie Review – The Meg

I’m mulling over The Meg. It was a ton (er, rather, several tons) of fun, but after having viewed the original Jaws this week, my expectations are a bit high. I also have high expectations for movies with dinosaurs and other ‘real’ animals (as opposed to ‘monsters’).

Megalodon was a real shark, and an ancient one, and it’s not totally inconceivable that there could be a thermal inversion layer under the Marianas Trench with a “lost world” of prehistoric creatures roaming around. It’s been said we know more about the moon than what’s deep in our own oceans.

In fact, the brief dive under the Thermocline is the best, most beautiful, and stirring part of the movie. It wasn’t goofy, like many later scenes; in fact, it was almost like seeing Pandora, from Avatar. It was a magical glimpse of a place I would have happily watched through an entire movie. That early part, with the submersible rescue, is the best act of the film, laden with all the adventure, heroism, action, suspense, and scares I hoped for.

I loved the top of the line undersea rig too: it had a spiffy science-fiction feel. More of that would have been welcome too: like a space station, or moments of life on an underwater planet. So there was some wonderful stuff to play with, had the story chosen such routes.

Once the Megalodon follows our heroes to the colder, more modern ocean, everything got a bit more staid…and eventually silly. I didn’t mind if the entire film was comedic — honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from this one, whether straight up horror or camp — but I got mental whiplash from trying to follow what genre The Meg wanted to settle on.

Were any of the characters good? Um. Hmmmm. Jason Statham did about as well as any actor leading an adventure genre, but with less of the grace and humor I would expect from Vin Diesel or The Rock. He had the in-joke name of Jonas, but his is the only name I recall out of any of the other characters. The little girl was a good child actor, but I can’t say anyone else even tried.

The scariest scene for me: when the Meg starts to SWALLOW the plastic canister. I’m not going to say more about this, in case you haven’t seen the film yet, but that had me pretty gripped/grossed out. And then there’s the early moment when the Meg bites the sea station. This shark is fast, mean, and incredibly ungainly. Ugly and vicious.

But still, the movie is no adrenaline  joyride. By the time The Meg ended I was kind of tired, instead of happy, or jazzed, or excited. After the disappointment of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, I didn’t really know what to feel. I wanted wondrousness, and to be moved — or at least feel my pulse pound — and saw a couple glimpses of what could have been. I’ll stick with a B- for now, but I’ll think on it. It might not be worth more than a C+.

However, maybe it’s best to not think on this movie at all, and let it be lightly fun, instead of grand or thoughtful. There’s always the original Jaws for the best of this kind of summer blockbuster fare.

Movie Grade: B-

About the Peetimes: We have 3 good Peetimes. Each has pros and cons, but I’d recommend the 1st over the others. There’s no action until after the Peetime ends.

Related: 

Movie Rewatch Review — Jaws

Meet the Real Meg

RunPee’s Original Infographics: Meg 1 and Meg 2

Why Avatar Was Such a Good Idea

Best Scenes From Jaws and Why They Work

Things You Didn’t Know About Jaws/Things Wrong with Jaws

Best Quotes from Jaws

Jaws: Honest Trailers

 

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.