Movie Review – Glass

Movie Review - GlassGlass is one of those movies that the fans love and the rest of the world does not. My theater was packed with die hard Shyamalan fans. There were laughs, and applause throughout the movie. I polled a few fans as they were leaving and it was unanimous; they loved it. And for that, I give the movie an A-.

I’ll begin my own personal review by saying, I was really wowed by the first two movies in the trilogy. Shyamalan always does an excellent job of developing the characters and his exposition is the best in the business. Just by inserting a well placed piece of dialog or one small scene can reveal volumes about the character.

What do you do when your 3 lead characters, with giant personalities, have already had their own movie, and now they’ll share the screen for a final showdown. That was done well in the Marvel Universe, but fell a little short in Glass. Honestly, I wanted more Beast and less Glass. Watching McAvoy change personalities was wonderful. How could you ever be bored watching a one man show with 23 different characters?

There was so much exposition packed into this movie that at times I was a little frustrated. The dialog was very good with no wasted words or protracted gibberish. The plot was obvious thanks to the 95 or so trailers that hit the media a few weeks ago, but still managed to throw in a few surprises and twists.

The ending left me totally unsatisfied; I expected one of those scenes that leaves your jaw on the floor, and your knees weak, but all I felt was a bit confused, and one big WTF.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: This was a very difficult movie for Peetimes. The action and suspense was just about non-stop and every scene led into another equally important plot development. I recommend the 2nd Peetime because after that there’s no other opportunity to squeeze in a four minute break.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Glass. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for violence including some bloody images, thematic elements, and language
Genres: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Virgin Movie Review – 21 Jump Street

jonah hill and channing tatum as cops in high school for 21 jump street
They could have called this Prom Cops and I’d probably have seen it sooner.

21 Jump Street is a sweet little film that flew under my radar until last night. When my mother DVRed it (and subsequent sequel 22 Jump Street) to her TV for our movie night, I was confused. Wasn’t this a TV show? A cop procedural?

She promised me it was definitely a movie and probably funny, so I agreed to watch it and make my notes for a virgin movie review. When I saw it had Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in it, I felt a whole lot better about sitting through it.

21 Jump Street is actually not a cop procedural, although it’s certainly bookended as one. It’s more like a John Hughes teen angst comedy, with enough cop buddy-hood to keep things a little more grown-up. And yes, upon due investigation, this is a sort of remake/reinvisioned-sequel to the 1987 TV show of the same name. (Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a movie is a continued story or a reboot, but ultimately it doesn’t matter here.)

Was it funny? I’d say I smiled a whole lot throughout and even LOLed a few times. The constant meta-references to Tatum looking too old to be in high school landed well, as did the other funny self-aware bits, like when the police chief tells our guys he’s resurrecting an obsolete, defunct 80s undercover program. Which, yes, that’s exactly what’s happening in-story and outside the confines of 21 Jump Street. When the drama class director says, “And that’s the end of the second act,” it really was the end of the film’s second act. For a fluff movie deriving laughs from a fish-out-of-water high school scenario, I found the meta humor more sophisticated than expected in this kind of genre.

Self-aware joking aside, this movie had a lovely twist in it that I didn’t see coming. I expected things to more or less continue the old school hierarchies seen in the first three minutes, before Hill and Tatum’s characters entered the police academy.

If you haven’t seen 21 Jump Street (the movie, not the TV show), then you might want to stop reading here because I’m going to spoil the twist. Actually, it’s not a twist so much as the entire premise of the show, and I’m surprised I didn’t realize this going in. It made for a pleasant first time viewing to not know, so if you are a complete newbie to this like I was, go away now and come back later.  😉

Spoilers ahead!

When we learn the two boys accidentally took on each other’s fake names, I was prepared for a lot of cringe humor (which I cordially dislike). What I got instead was how Hill’s dweeby persona actually suited him in the brave new world of what is/isn’t cool at school seven years later…and how Tatum’s dim-witted turn as a kid enrolled in advanced placement classes actually leveled him up, to the point he could crack jokes about KNO3 (potassium nitrate), and learn to jail-break a phone with his new-found friendly, accepting nerd friends. It was nice to see a movie where role reversals don’t depend on being desperately out of one’s element. (Haha, I just made a joke about elements, and wasn’t even trying. See? The film even made me smarter.)

Here’s the cute 21 Jump Street scene about KNO3 (it’s about a minute long):

Also, there’s this bit of rocket fun if you add sugar to potassium nitrate. What’s not to love about chemistry? Also, don’t go out now and blow your fool hands off:

Hill and Tatum have some good chemistry together, which looks like it surprised them as much as the viewer. It was all very playful, like two big puppies wrestling. At the prom.

Now that our next Jump Street sees the “brothers” leaving high school and entering college undercover in 22 Jump Street, I’m looking forward to tonight’s film.

Movie Grade: B

A Discussion on Buddy Cop Movies

Movie Review – A Dog’s Way Home

 

Movie Review - A Dog's Way HomeA solid B film where I cried six times, including within the opening three minutes. That’s got to be some kind of record. I wrote down how many times I cried as I jotted down notes for Peetimes (and my male companion cried three times, so it’s not just a girl thing).

In any case, I really don’t like movies that make me cry and try to avoid them, but since I saw the previous year’s A Dog’s Purpose, I felt I should see the ‘sequel.’ (A Dog’s Journey is not technically a sequel, but this is intended to a be part two of a dog trilogy in a shared universe.)

In any case, I’ve been referring to this as “The Dog Movie” — and that’s exactly what you get. There are a few people, some cats, and lots of pretty scenery, but for the most part you’re in the mind of a young part-pit pup who’s got a single-minded goal to play “Go Home”…a long, scary, and thrill-filled “game” that takes her over two and a half years, and 400 exhausting miles.

Bella’s not the world’s smartest dog, but she’s loving, loyal, and committed to reuniting with her human. I’m not going to give anything away, and while you probably can guess how it ends, a few things happen along the way that will surprise you.

For one thing, an almost unrecognizable Edward James Olmos has a couple of emotionally distressing scenes, and those will probably upset children.

Speaking of which: there were some little kids in my theater, and they were restive at times, because things get gripping and tense frequently. I don’t recommend letting your children see this alone, to be honest; you might get them back scared and crying. There’s a scene that’s even frightening for adults: I was legitimately freaking out watching a confused Bella try to cross that six lane interstate into Denver.

There were some weird filming liberties here and there, like a brief bit showing a moose (there are none in Colorado…but since this was filmed in British Columbia, we’ll just let that go). And the CGI animals were badly done, jarring me out of a few scenes where fake critters interacted with real ones.

Bella the dog was thankfully a real animal, and she did a fine job carrying the story on her canine shoulders. Bryce Dallas Howard narrated Bella’s thoughts, and was pleasing enough in an earnest way. Bella meets a lot of nice people along her journey, and I loved the bookend scenes with the disabled vets. No one really stood out though, which was appropriate in this kind of flick. The writer did a great job having the POV center almost entirely on Bella.

In the end, A Dog’s Way Home is a mostly-harmless fluff film that dog lovers will appreciate. You’ll forgive me though, for saying the Disney classic Incredible Journey from 1963 is still the best version of this kind of tale.

PS: These kinds of things do happen with animals. I had a beloved dog escape from my dog-sitter in Arizona and make it across the desert by himself to San Diego, CA. He arrived in a few weeks, with bloody paws and a lot of hunger, but he did make it, and we were reunited.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: I have 3 Peetimes, and recommend the 1st if you can pop out early. Pay attention to the Peetime meta in this film and you’ll be okay with the second 2. (This movie is a series of repetitive travel scenes, intercut with emotional vignettes you won’t want to miss.)

Animal Abuse Alert: This movie has intense scenes of animals in peril. Children and animal lovers will find a lot of this movie disturbing — too many scenes to make them all into Alerts.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of A Dog’s Way Home. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for thematic elements, some peril and language
Genres: Adventure, Family

Is A Dog’s Way Home a Sequel to A Dog’s Purpose?

Movie Review – A Dog’s Purpose

Movie Review – The Upside

Movie Review - The UpsideThe Upside was a mixture of heart and humor. (Pun intended.) Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston were superb together. The dynamics that developed between the two characters were so well acted that I didn’t want the movie to end. I just wanted to keep seeing these two guys growing and learning together.

The laughs don’t stop. I saw the show in a sold out theater and the crowd was loving it. I’m sure there were even more laughs than I heard, but the crowd was roaring in a few spots, making it hard to hear the following lines.

Humor: check!

It’s also touching. Both characters are working on their own personal demons from polar opposite positions. It’s all about how the two very different men help each other.

Touching: check!

I’m used to seeing Kevin Hart play in comedies that — let’s say — lack a certain depth, which is fine; he’s good at that. Hart shines in this movie in a way he never has before.

So yes, Kevin can pull off emotional and sincere characters too. He’s great at that. I want to see him push it even further and see what happens. I think we’d all be pleasantly surprised.

As for Bryan Cranston, he’s always amazing. His talent shined here, even with only being able to use his face for comedic purposes — he hit it out of the park.

I would recommend this movie to friends and family without hesitation. I read a few reviews on The Upside and saw some pretty nasty ones, which shocked me. I think my brain works on a different wavelength than those critics. I feel that if I laugh, don’t get bored, and walk away happy, then I’ll give it a great review!!

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: It was extremely hard finding a few moments where I wasn’t laughing. I chose these 3 after throwing out 3 others, because I simply couldn’t make it through typing them without laughing hysterically.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Upside. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for suggestive content and drug use
Genres: Comedy, Drama

Movie Review – Replicas

Movie Review - ReplicasThere are two movies coming out this week about dogs. One is A Dog’s Way Home. The other is Replicas, which has no dogs in it, but it is a dog.

Question: why does the saying, “This movie is a dog,” imply that a movie is bad, yet we also know this one: “A dog is a man’s best friend.” Someone ‘splain English to me, please. 🙂

I can’t criticize the actors because they had nothing useful to work with. Three minutes into the movie, and the dialog was already clumsy and heavy handed. The only good reason to watch this movie is for a film student to see how not to write dialog.

It was strange that the CG for the computer displays — the 3D images seen when characters have the HUD on –were pretty snazzy, but then the robot CG was 15 years out of date. It was so jerky it looked like stop motion.

The only good thing I can say about Replicas is that the credits are 11 minutes long, making this only a 95 minute movie.

BTW, Keanu Reeves, if you’re reading this, my apologies.  I love your work. There’s nothing anyone could have done to save this miserable script. But I have to ask, “Did you lose a bet? Why on earth did you take this role?”

Grade: F

About The Peetimes: I have 2 Peetimes here. Both are fine, however, there is a crucial scene following the 2nd Peetime. The credits for this movie are 11 minutes long with no extras, so the movie is really only about 95 minutes.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Replicas. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for thematic material, violence, disturbing images, some nudity and sexual references
Genres: Crime, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Quiz – Keanu Reeves And His Many Characters

Movie Review – John Wick 1

Fact verses Fiction – Mary Queen Of Scots

historical painting of the real mary queen of scots
Off with her head! (Ouch; too soon?)

I have read at least 10 books on Mary Queen of Scots, watched every documentary about her, and spent a great deal of time in Edinburgh retracing the steps of this mighty woman.

When the movie  Mary Queen of Scots was released, I knew Hollywood wasn’t going to go for accuracy; that’s just not what they do. I was prepared for some outlandish story, like maybe, Elizabeth and Mary would meet, embrace, form a two-girl show and play on Broadway. However, I was pleased to see that Hollywood only monkeyed with the whole face -to-face meeting thing, but it still worked.

Here are a few inconsistencies I noticed in 2018’s film Mary Queen of Scots:


 

  • Mary didn’t speak with a Scottish accent. Having been raised in the French Court, she spoke with a French accent.
  • Mary had hazel/brown eyes, but didn’t you love looking at Saoirse’s beautiful blue eyes?
  • The Scottish court was not as diverse as the movie implies. There were very few Africans or Asians in 16th century England, let alone in the nobility.
  • There was not a room full of male advisers when Liz signed Mary’s death warrant. The warrant was slipped in with dozens of other papers the Queen was signing at her leisure. Elizabeth was like so many other ‘business people’ that when handed a stack of papers to sign, by the time you’re near the bottom, you’ve forgotten your own name.
  • James Hepburn was a rapist, a murderer, and a real scourge on society. Even though some historians claim the marriage between Queen Mary and Bothwell was consensual, only the bride and groom know for sure. The fact that Bothwell turned tail and ran from Carberry Hill, while his little bride was surrounded by men who wished her harm, speaks volumes about his character.
  • At the beginning of the movie, a manor purporting to be Holyrood Palace was not the real Holyrood Palace.

 

There were a few other goofs, but who cares? It was a great movie.

Quiz – Mary Queen of Scots

Movie Review – Mary Queen of Scots

Quiz – Queen Elizabeth l and Mary Queen of Scots

Download the RunPee App free at Android or for iPhone

 

Movie Review – If Beale Street Could Talk

 

Movie Review - If Beale Street Could TalkIf you question what it means to be in love and not just love someone, If Beale Street Could Talk will truly give you clarity. This movie defines love while defying the odds. I was very enthralled in the plot of this movie, because every scene with Fonny and Tish seem to be intense in a quiet, subtle kind of way. The way that they looked at each other was like they were speaking without uttering one word or sound.

You know when you hear the phrase “life happens?” That’s exactly what happens to these childhood BFFs/high school sweethearts. This plot is not your normal black guy/black girl/white racist cop with his underroos in a knot. This story actually lays out how the racism affected two families, a pregnant 19-year-old, and a dreaming fiancee in such a way that everyone will empathize with the couple. Pay attention though, because the movie starts with Fonny in jail, and the scenes bounce between his life with Tish before he got there, and her jail visits. The love story is well laid out about the two naive young adults. I will say that I was drawn to Tish, because she seem to have a serious look all the time, as if she was unsure or not confident. I thought there was going to be an emotional explosion in some way to release her inner uncertainty…to no avail, though.

It was ironic that Tish and her family, along with Fonny’s dad, did all the fighting to try to free Fonny. Fonny’s mother and sisters were the epitome of bougie. They did not approve of Tish or her “low life” family. As soon as they walked in Tish’s mom’s house, I knew Fonny’s female relatives were a bunch of bible thumping, judgmental, and conceited women. Don’t worry though: Tish and her “female brigade” told off the Hunt women, to the point they left Tish’s house crying…looking for holy water to sprinkle on the door post on the way out…figuratively speaking. LOL!

I gave it a solid B for the good acting, especially Regina King (she never fails), the numerous comedic moments to lighten the mood, and the somewhat unique story twist, despite that the ending left you with a few unanswered questions.

I hope you enjoy this review. My theater attendees (mostly whites) sure did, so much so that they stayed afterward, discussing the movie. Walk in confused about love, but you’ll walk out love struck, and yearning to love everyone with just a little more intention.

TTFN (Ta Ta For Now), DanaSimone!

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: There are 3 Peetimes in this movie. Several of the scenes had no dialogue or did not yield to the importance of the plot so it was easy determining the Peetimes. I would use the 1st or 3rd one for sure but do not get sidetracked, come straight back as the plot thickens a little after each Peetime.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of If Beale Street Could Talk. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for language and some sexual content
Genres: Crime, Drama, Romance

Full List for the 2019 76th Annual Golden Globes Nominees

Download the RunPee App free at Android or for iPhone

Movie Review – On the Basis of Sex

 

Movie Review - On the Basis of SexI’m a little overwhelmed with work this weekend, but plan to give this absolutely breathtaking movie a full review over the next few days. In the meantime: I smiled, I cried, I cheered, and was honestly surprised at how great an experience this was. I’m shocked it’s still in limited release at this point. I expect it will go wide soon enough.

No lie here: the entire audience was rapt. They wept, they applauded thrice, and even gave a standing ovation at the end. I did too, and I don’t even like political movies. I was happy to see such a wonderful moment in history illustrated so beautifully. On The Basis Of Sex reminded me of of Apollo 13, one of my all-time favorite movies. It’s the kind of tale you’d think Hollywood made up, because we’re not normally allowed to have nice things in real life. 🙂

There are no special effects or amazing scenery/costumery, so you can certainly wait for this to come out on streaming options — but hey: it’s worth paying for, if you’re lucky enough to have it come out in your area. My theater was sold out the first night, and then was packed the next morning as early as 10:30 AM. I think people want to see amazing moments in history, and witness the amazing people who fought to give us the freedoms we take for granted…and to also, thankfully, experience a real happy ending.

I can’t put enough pluses on this A+ film. Trust: awards will be won.

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: I have 3 Peetimes up right now and might have a 4th later. From the 3 available, all are fine. Try to use the 1st one proactively if you can. The 3rd sets up the emotional atmosphere for the climax, so absolutely use it if you have to, so you won’t miss the intense scenes that follow.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of On the Basis of Sex. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

On The Basis Of Sex – What Was True and What Was Fiction?

Movie Review – Escape Room

 

Movie Review - Escape RoomEscape Room is one of those simple little movies that caught me by surprise. I didn’t see any trailers for it, and it looked like a low-grade horror film from the poster. Not the genre I tend to enjoy; I didn’t have any expectations going in.

Now I want to shout to everyone: SEE THIS FILM!

So. What I got was a tight little story that grabbed me by the nads from the first minute, and never them let go until the credits rolled. You grew to really care about each character. As each room got weirder and stranger, and more dangerous, the characters revealed their pasts and fears. We saw them learn to work as a team, and care when they each succumbed to their desperate situations.

Also, each room was more cool and bizarre than the last. Kudos to the writers and directors, making this story more gripping and exciting by the minute. I didn’t want to tear my eyes away to write down Peetimes, because I wanted to figure out each clue on my own. It was all there, if you paid enough attention. Unlike some films, it didn’t cheat.

Now I want to do a real Escape Room, and pick out my smartest five friends to help me get out. It takes a tribe, you know. Everyone has different skill sets.

Really, I haven’t been this surprised by a movie since A Quiet Place. And if my observations of the rest of the audience applies, everyone else was captivated too. When the little cliffhanger happened at the end, everyone filed out looking shell shocked, grumbling about how they needed to wait for the next film to discern the “real plot”.

I’m here to tell you the “plot” doesn’t matter. Sometimes rich people are bored and miserable…and that isn’t the point. The real narrative is about how this smart ensemble of random men and women learned to work together, suffer together, and sacrifice themselves in the cause of the greater good. Sometimes you can be super smart and just unlucky. Sometimes you can be a good person and still fail. And for some, things come together in a way where you feel vindicated for sticking things out by going “outside the box.”

And that’s really all I can say without spoiling the narrative. Go and enjoy. I think professional Escape Rooms will make a “killing” from this one. I know I’m going to do one soon.

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: I highly recommend the 1st Peetime, because it’s the least intense “scenario” in the film. Escape Room is super exciting, so all I could get was 2 Peetimes. Either will do, but don’t try leaving at any other point, or you’ll be LOST. Really.

UPDATE: I just added an Alert Peetime to warn off anyone who gets seizures from intense flashing lights.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Escape Room. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

A Quiet Place – Jilly’s Movie Review (with SPOILERS)

Ring in the New Year With Harry and Sally

when harry met sally is a perfect news years even film
Harry, meeting Sally again, just in time. Darn it, there’s something in my eye. 😉

I know there’s more than one movie associated with New Year’s Eve than When Harry Met Sally, but at the moment I can’t think of anything better. And on a re-watch, it still stands up beautifully through time. Ever meet someone you can’t stand at one point in your life, but grow on you through time? That’s kind of the lovely premise at work between Harry and Sally.

It happens with movies too. All the time, especially in the business of RunPee (we’ve seen around 1500 movies over the last ten years): I’ll see something I wasn’t impressed with, then it will come around my radar later, and I’ll be surprised at how good that film really is. Sometimes it’s something nuts, like Monty Python’s Holy Grail (once I memorized the lines, things took on a whole new world of fun), or something with action or sci-fi (like Pacific Rim or Independence Day). Sometimes I’m too young to appreciate a great movie, like I finally noticed on this year’s rewatch of Jaws and Rocky. If you haven’t seen those in a while, give them another watch. There are moments in each that are pure gold, never completely replicated since.

But it’s New Year’s Eve, so back to Harry & Sally. They took most of a lifetime to become ready for each other.  Their enmity was almost instant as they left college to begin their adult lives. They kept bumping into each other, with a visceral reaction every time. That should have told them something right there. Even bad chemistry is chemistry. Eventually they worked it into friendship, then screwed that up because the timing with people is rarely right, and finally we’ve got the scene at the very end with Harry tearing across New York City to be there for his obvious life partner before the clock hits midnight.

I always tear up a bit at the end. Those crazy kids. I love the bookend ‘interviews’ with the couples. It’s a sweet little film.

If you’re not heading out on the town to drink and dance (and hopefully not drive), consider sticking When Harry Met Sally back in the DVD player.

We’re running a poll on Best New Year’s Eve movies on Twitter right now. Get your vote in this week, or wait to see how the results turn out. And to you and your family, have a safe and joyous New Year! Auld Lang Syne — whatever that means. Sally tells us it’s something about old friends. Awwwww.

Movie Rewatch — Jaws

A Novice Rocky Review

Best Non-Christmas Christmas Movies