Movies that simply stand out – well worth your cinema ticket money. We recommend you definitely use our recommended Peetimes for movies this good, so you don’t miss the most important scenes.

Movie Review – Logan

    Grade: A+
    Dan writes: I just watched the movie, so I’ll think about it some more before I write a full review. Until then, I can easily say that this is by far the best X-Man movie. (Not that that is a high bar to clear.) The story, dialog, acting, pacing, and fighting were all extraordinary.
    You can probably tell from the credits that this is an emotional movie. I’m man enough to admit that I cried more than once. And the ending… Yeah, I’m getting misty just thinking about it.
    Jill, RunPee Wife here: With Dan in Hong Kong, I’ll expand on the Logan review.
    So. The X-Man franchise has been wildly inconsistent. Some of the films in the series were dreadful (hey there, Last Stand and Apocalypse). And some were extremely competent and enjoyable (X-Man 2, plus First Class and Days of Future Past). The original X-Man movie was genre-defining, giving us a live-action superhero ensemble with real storytelling. It provided a mold for future superhero films to follow. There was nothing really like it before. And, we got our first taste of Wolverine, and the world fell instantly in love with the brutal, endearing character.
    …And then…there were the Wolverine stand-alone films, which were problematic. The first one was stricken from cannon. Not sure if the second was similarly disowned. But Hugh Jackman so owned the iconic role that really, no one should be surprised they went in for thirds.
    The difference this time is astounding. Logan is a perfect movie. It’s character-driven, a drama. The stakes are thankfully small, and so is the focus. It doesn’t even feel like a superhero flick – it takes more cues from Westerns (Unforgiven springs to mind, and Lonesome Dove; Shane is specifically homaged). It’s also a traveling buddy film, with Jackman and the always fantastic Patrick Stewart playing brilliantly off each other. Lastly, it is a movie about family – even with such three damaged individuals as Wolverine, Professor X, and newcomer Laura. I completely bought into Laura: she embodies the feral child we would expect on learning her background. Her fierceness was bold and exciting – violently gleeful – and also deeply realized. Kudos to this young actress  – she completely holds her own against the two grizzled veterans.
    Where Logan succeeds the most is in execution of a sunset arc for a really broken character – a man who has sometimes been a hero, and sometimes just a wild thing. You feel the real emotional weight of this movie, from the first three minutes, to the final moments; nothing that ultimately happens here should come as a shock to fans.
Amazingly though, even non-fans can jump right in, with no prior X-Man knowledge. That is a rare thing. Try taking a newbie to an Avengers film (and I love the Avengers). I saw Logan with a Muggle, and she cried right along with me. Which is also to say: bring tissues. There’s humor here, and some very cute moments, but this isn’t a happy film. It is an ending. And I don’t know where this will fit into X-Man cannon – since they established time-travel is a thing, anything can be changed – but neither do I care. Logan is just right, where and as it is.
    Thank you, Hugh Jackman, for providing the universe with an unforgettable character, and having the integrity to not sell your arc short in the end. And thank you, too, for publicly admitting you love the RunPee app. We love you right back.

Movie Review – Passengers

Grade: A+

I am exhausted from a long, late night movie, so I will be short and sweet tonite. Mainly, I want to say: SEE THIS FILM. I never give an A+ rating, and this movie deserves it.

Chris Pratt is a treasure; Jennifer Lawrence brings her A-game, and this movie is a pure delightful mix of romance, science fiction, adventure, and just…beauty. It was hard to find Peetimes, since each moment was a pleasure and a joy.

I saw this film in a rear corner, in a mediocre room, with a small screen and tinny sounds, and it still knocked my socks off. I swear; I cannot find my socks. See this in a great theater, with 3D, with good sound…I will get out to see this properly again as soon as possible. FANTASTIC.

UPDATE: I just saw this film again, in 3D. I recommend the 3D version, even though it wasn’t filmed with that in mind, simply because this movie is so beautiful. On a 3D screen, the space scenes really made me feel like I was there, which is a sort of wish-fulfillment for my geeky soul. The glasses didn’t make anything noticeably darker. It just made everything in space prettier.

NEW NOTE: It seems that if you loved Gravity, you may not like Passengers. And vice-versa. You can tell where I fall on this spectrum. To those berating Jim’s big decision, I ask you – what would YOU have done in his situation? Sometimes I think the critics judge too harshly, without taking human nature into account. In any case, this film is a lot more like The Martian than Gravity, or any of those other uber-serious sci fi films.

Movie Review – Rogue One : A Star Wars Story

Grade: A-

There’s a lot to like about this movie. The humor, particularly from K-2SO, or K-2 as he’s more often referred to, is outstanding. I have to say, K-2 really carried the movie. It’s not going to happen, but I would love to see a movie with him as the main character. He’s that entertaining.

They did a great job of propping up “A New Hope” with various sayings, cameos, and scenes. That just makes me love both movies even more. And the end of the movie is just awesome.

I wasn’t crazy about the first 30 minutes of the movie, give or take. The scenes are short, and skip back and forth from one planet to another, setting up characters and plots. It just felt too disjointed to me, but eventually it settles down and the pacing improves.

There’s no question that this is a fine addition to the Star Wars universe.

3D Notes from RunPee Wife: Don’t spend your extra money on the 3D version of this film. It doesn’t add anything, or bring you into the universe in the way a good 3D film can…here, it only makes the images darker. Everyone talks about how pretty this movie is; don’t let the glasses bring that down. I actually took the glasses off a few times so I could see the scenes better. Will watch this again in 2D.

Later Note: the 2D version is cleaner and brighter, and improves the viewing experience a lot. The film graininess is intentional, as part of the war mood they were evoking. This movie also gets better every time you see it, storywise.

Deadpool – movie review

deadpoolGrade: A

Not only is Deadpool a hilarious movie, it also works as and amazingly accurate barometer for gauging relationships. For instance, it can be scientifically proven that the number of times a married man laughs during this movie is inversely proportional to how much their mother-in-law likes them.

Conversely, married women will find that the number of times they laugh during this movie is directly proportional to how much their husbands love them.

And of course if you have impressionable children you can base your parenting skills on whether or not you took them with you to see this movie. In a word: DON’T. However, if you do then please make a video of the questions they ask you when it’s over and post that to YouTube. That could be as funny as the movie itself.

Now, this is a very subjective comment, but I didn’t find the movie to be gratuitously violent or gross. Of course there are the obligatory slow motion head shots, a slight dismemberment, and a few beheadings, but they are all tastefully done. All in all I’d say it’s no more graphic than your average violent movie from the 80’s. I’m not saying the violence doesn’t deserve an R-rating–it does–but violence or not, the language would warrant an R-rating and then some.

I thought the acting was… Who cares? This is Deadpool. It’s funny. That’s all you need to know.

For those Firefly fans out there, it was awesome to see Morena Baccarin get a really nice role. She was wonderful, but I couldn’t help but think somewhere Malcolm Reynolds is watching this saying, “Inara, please. If you’re going to talk like that I’m going to ask Niska to cut both ears off next time.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie review

st-tfaGrade: A-

I can safely say that SW:TFA is the 3rd best Star Wars movie in the franchise. And let’s be clear, it would take a miracle for JJ Abrams to create something better than New Hope or Empire Strikes Back.

This is easily the funniest movie in the franchise. Almost, but not every, funny moment revolves around Harrison Ford.

The movie isn’t without its flaws, but those flaws are minor, and of course this is Star Wars, so I’m being overly critical.

A few good things to report: BB-8–the spherical droid–is cute, without being overly cute. JJ is mature enough as a story teller to avoid crap like Jar Jar Binks. All of the fight scenes, whether hand-to-hand, sword-to-sword, or fighter-to-fighter are good, and some are great, but none drag on longer than they need to. There’s never one of those, “OMG, would someone kill someone here so we can move on with the story,” fights.

The acting was spot on. The casting of Daisy Ridley, as Rey, and John Boyega, as Finn, are marvelous. I’m really looking forward to seeing their characters develop as the saga continues.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – movie review

MIGrade: A

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation delivers everything you can ask for in an action movie. Most importantly the action is top notch. There is a great variety of scenes, from a motorcycle chase to underwater excitement. Best of all not all the best action scenes are shown in the previews, at least not the previews I saw. In fact, nearly every scene in the previews happen in the first half of the movie. It’s a real treat when the previews don’t give away spoilers.

There are plenty of laughable moments, from chuckles to laughing out loud. And no, it’s not just Simon Pegg who gets the laughs. Everyone gets in on the act without it feeling forced.

The story is twisty, primarily because of the new character, Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa, who has uncertain loyalties. It made finding peetimes a challenge because there’s a lot of story development between the action scenes.

The music really stood out. The Mission Impossible theme is awesome adding it as a theme to orchestral composition really worked.

The only slight complaint I can offer is that the exposition is sometimes forced. There are a few scenes that huge chunks of plot are dumped. That’s somewhat unavoidable in a movie with as much going on as this one.

By all means go see this in a theater, IMAX if possible. By the way, RunPee Mom saw this with me and LOVED IT, and she hasn’t seen any of the first four Mission Impossible movies.

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 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.