Endgame spoiler free review – We got what we needed!

Avengers Endgame. This isn’t what I wanted.

But it’s what we needed.

Wow. I could stop there and let the world infer whatever they want.

I won’t stop there. But I could…

This movie is pure fan service, with an exhilarating story and the conclusion to 11 years of the original Avengers. We get the satisfaction we wanted after The Decimation, not once, but twice. We get most of our heroes back. But at the same time we are losing some. Some seemingly permanently. We expected that. This is a war story, after all.

I will sorely miss these heroes.

The film hit me on every note. Endgame has gut-wrenching tragedy, hilarious comedy, intense action, heartfelt notes of love, scenes that enrage, and scenes that fans have prayed for.

This would be the perfect place to end the MCU. Of course, we know that is not what happens. I don’t want the last 11 years to be spoiled by future movies. So I am seriously contemplating whether this is the last MCU film I see. But then there is Spiderman: Far From Home coming up. I do want to see that. Honestly. I’ll probably look back on this article in a year or so and laugh at myself for thinking about not watching future Marvel movies.

This review was hard to write without spoilers. In fact, I wrote a whole plot synopsis before I wrote this spoiler-free review.

Overall, I think this film deserves a perfect A+, 100% score, even with the few flaws I noticed.

These parts that I call flaws: one I think is a glaring plothole/continuity error. The other might be a continuity error, but I’m sure it opens the door for something else. I have those thoughts in my second review, the one with tons of spoilers. So see the movie before you read that one.

So that’s it for me for the spoiler-free review! Can’t say anything specific here.

10/10

100%

Movie Review – Avengers: Endgame

Movie Review - Avengers: EndgameFew movies have delivered when the expectations were so sky high. While not flawless, there’s nothing about Avengers: Endgame that could warrant giving the movie anything other than an A+. And everyone in the RunPee Family agrees.

It’s powerful, poignant, funny, exciting, thrilling, and often all of those adjectives at once.

There’s nothing I can add to this review without hinting at spoilers, and we absolutely do not want to do that.

If you want to read more beyond this truncated review, then please click the links below:

Endgame spoiler free review – We got what we needed!

Avengers Endgame and a missing item [SPOILERS]

Avengers Endgame – A long breakdown to describe what you just saw (Massive Spoilers!)

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: As expected, this was a difficult movie to do Peetimes for. The last Peetime is at more than an hour from the end of the movie, and believe me, there’s nothing to be missed after the last Peetime. I recommend the 2nd Peetime. It involves characters talking about past events that we already know. The synopsis will take care of catching you up. The 3rd Peetime is also good, but involves some emotion. My suggestion is to use the 2nd Peetime, if you think you can make it another 2 hours to the end.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Avengers: Endgame. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Superhero,

Movie Review – The Curse of La Llorona – A Good Scary Time in the Conjuring Universe

Movie Review - The Curse of La LloronaThis premier was a happy moment and a sad moment for me. I’ve been anticipating this film for quite some time. The Conjuring Universe is my all-time favorite series of movies. Ever.

As a little girl, I read The Amityville Horror, and that is where I first discovered Ed and Lorraine Warren. I’ve followed their lives ever since and was ecstatic when The Conjuring came out. This has been a wonderful way to give them the limelight they deserved.

Sadly, last night, in her sleep, Lorraine Warren passed away. She lived to a ripe age of 92. I call that a successful life…a life that touched many people and will be surely missed. So as I sat in a beautiful Dolby theater, with my seat reclined, the woman on the screen left this world.

That’s a little chilling all by itself.

What was also chilling and creepy was The Curse of La Llorona. I tell you what — I got the chill bumps so many times that my legs looked like a Yeti on the way out. There were so many scenes that I jumped that I lost count.

I really like it when you can hear how much the movie is affecting the audience. I wasn’t the only one leaving with furry legs. I thought this one really vocal woman was going to have a heart attack. A good time was had by all.

They gave you a few glimpses into the rest of the movies: the way they wove them all together is really impressive. There is some great writing going on here. I’m looking forward to the next Annabelle, which is talked about in this movie.

There were even some funny moments; the delivery and timing of these lines were extremely well-placed.

My one and only complaint is that I kind of felt the little girl didn’t shine like she could have. Her role was a little flat. Other than that, I loved it.

This is odd…two weeks in a row, now my main complaints are the roles of the little girls. Pet Sematary did the same thing. This solidifies my thoughts on getting my granddaughter an agent. The acting world needs some fresh faces of the little girl kind.

In conclusion, if you’re a fan of James Wan and the creations he comes out with, see this movie. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: This was a really short, fast paced movie. I’ve decided on only 1 Peetime. I found a spot right in the middle that allows you plenty of time to use. Any point after this Peetime is a must-see.

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

Rated (R) for violence and terror
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Movie Review – Breakthrough – Not a breakthrough in faith-based films

Movie Review - BreakthroughI do Peetimes for most of the faith-based movies. The Christian production company “PureFlix” turns out some really good faith-based films. Woodlawn comes to mind as an excellent representation of such films. Breakthrough isn’t one of those films. This movie was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. This movie feels like a cheap attempt to grab some money over Easter Weekend.

The movie lacks decent production values, and I felt that the real life characters were not represented well. There was a lack of chemistry between the main cast members that could have brought the film up a notch or two.

Having been an ER nurse for a very long time, I’ve stood outside an examining room and heard the prayers and the pleas to God to let a loved one live, but to no avail. Often times, afterwards, the prayers turn to anger. My heart breaks for the loved ones who get no answer. Had I have witnessed a medical miracle such as the one we saw in Breakthrough, would it have changed my mind concerning the power of prayer? No. Having been a student of medicine, I know these ‘miracles’ can (and do) happen with medical intervention. It’s just science.

A very personal note: I did not want to see this movie.

The “all you need is prayer and faith, and all is right with the world again” theme has been a ‘thorn in my side’ (pun intended) for a better part of my life.

I’ll preface this review by telling you I’m the daughter of a Methodist minister. I grew up in the church, hardly ever missed Sunday School, and said my prayers every night.

Then Viet Nam happened.

My brother, Danny, two years older than me, was my best friend and confidant. When he left for Viet Nam, I prayed day and night that he’d come home safely. Then there were only eight days left before he came home. Oh, and by the way, it was only two weeks until Christmas. I was confident my prayers had been answered. Praise God: Danny’s coming home.

Then came the knock at the door. My brother was not coming home.

Why?

During my period of mourning that question was most often answered with the trite comment, ‘It was God’s will’ or ‘God needed another angel in heaven’. The message I took away from this tragedy was that it doesn’t matter how hard you pray or how deep your faith: no one is listening. Or, God had already made up his mind that this remarkable young man would die in a foreign country without his loved ones nearby. Neither answer brought me even the slightest bit of comfort.

Grade: D+

About The Peetimes: I have a recommended Peetime that gives you 4 minutes to get back to the theater — half way through the movie — and an Emergency Peetime giving you only 3 minutes, coming late in the movie. 

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

Rated (PG) for thematic content including peril
Genres: Biography, Drama, Religious

Movie Review – The Incredible Hulk – Not Bad. Not MCU Good. Watch it and move on to better things…

 

Movie Review - The Incredible Hulk
Poor little Edward Norton. He’s cute; he can act, and he really tried. He just didn’t do MCU-level work. Or maybe it was the script. Mark Rufflalo is da HULK. #SorryNotSorry

I finally finished watching The Incredible Hulk last night. The big fight scene with The Abomination is awful. Looks terribly fake and is surprisingly boring. I wanted to skip the whole scene. My idea of a great Peetime is a terrible action sequence. #DontBoreMe

I expect better from the MCU. But then, this Hulk came out the same year as Iron Man 1, which was pretty much improvised by Robert Downey Jr and was a “Marvel’, almost a fluke, in how RIGHT they got a superhero film. MCU owes him EVERYTHING. He showed them the way. The path to enlightenment!

The Incredible Hulk is an okay movie. But OK is not acceptable in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Honestly. The Incredible Hulk is a better movie than I expected after avoiding it for ten years, but it doesn’t FEEL like the MCU, except for the Stark bonus scene just before the credits.

I can’t believe I finally watched this. I felt like I needed to turn in my Geek Card all this time, so I did it. It’s NOT awful, okay?

It’s a far sight better than that previous “abominable’ Hulk attempt, but Edward Norton, cute as he is in the role of Humble Banner, is NO Mark Ruffalo. Where is the fun, the humor, the clever world-building?

Arg. Trying to not get all HULKY in my anger with this piffling film. See this only it you’re an MCU completist. And for the very last scene (or just find it on You Tube). Really. If not for that final ten seconds, I’d never know this was a part of the greatest film franchise in history.

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: I added the 1st one now, at just before the half hour mark — a great time to go. I’ll be adding 2 more soon. Captain’s honor!

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

Rated (PG-13) for sequences of intense action violence, some frightening sci-fi images and brief suggestive content
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Superhero

Movie Review – Iron Man – Genius, Philanthropist, etc who started it all

Why Hulk is a Big Weenie and Loki Isn’t

Endgame Pee Planning from Rudd, Ruffalo & RunPee

A Happy Shazam Review – A delightful time in the DC universe (for once)

zachary levi as shazam
Go in expecting fun and a lot of heart. Not your typical DC entry. Thankfully.

I’d heard from the rest of the RunPee Family that Shazam was a disappointing remake, even though I had big hopes DC would finally put out a fun, lithe, winsome feature, with a superhero I could have fun with (unlike Batman, Supes and the rest of the grim gang). Sadly, I waited an abnormally long time to see it. I typically see major genre films on opening night. I finally caught Shazam tonite. And I had a GREAT TIME.

Sure, the Shazam villain sucked

I’ll start with what wasn’t so great, since it’s only one lame thing: the bad guy. He wasn’t that interesting, and his seven deadly sins were just poorly-written/depicted fools.

But that didn’t matter

You know what? Most of the time, not even the nearly-perfect formula of the Marvel Cinematic Universe gets the villains right, especially in origin films. I’m kind of used to that.

So, in Shazam I could just get up and pee during the bad-guy scenes, and be burblingly present for what I really came for — the immense fun of young Billy Batson and his handicappable friend Freddy, figuring out how to be a superhero with little to no instruction. And their test recordings. And in finding a lair. A LAIR. (Preferably behind a waterfall, with seven bedrooms….hehehe. Where do I get one? There should be realtors doing this as a specialty.)

I loved that Shazam actually takes place in the DCEU, a world where these champions exist, and Freddy spends his entire young life making a study of them. It all ties in. He’s a great ‘chair guy’, so to speak, and a crucial component of Billy’s story. Freddy’s foreground/background nods to the Justice League are everywhere if you pay attention, and that somehow makes the darkness of those other DC flicks less despondent.

What did I want out of Shazam?

Just this: a fun DC movie that would make me happy, take me away from real-life worries for a few hours, and hopefully infuse a sense of joy into a franchise I gave up on long ago. And I got what I needed — an origin story that may not be as clever and heartfelt as MCU’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, but offered a new young hero who needed to learn heroing. You know: Billy Batson could take a bus to Queens and hang out with Peter Parker over some nice New York shwarma. I think those two young heroes would have a lot to commiserate on.

I wrote elsewhere what the anagram SHAZAM stands for, so I won’t repeat it here. And while I’m not sure the big red guy (um, not Santa, although he does make a great “cameo” in this Christmasy movie) really showed off the Wisdom and Stamina gifts, that’s okay. THE KID IS 14. Give him some time to work it out. Billy even came up with a decent catchphrase by the end.

Also, I noted a lot of nods to popular culture, including a great reference to Tom Hank’s classic Big. Remember the giant piano key scene? (I let out a loud whoop at that point, but the rest of the packed theater didn’t. Am I the only one old enough to have caught that reference? Whatever. DC did good.)

Here’s what I really want to say about Shazam:

I smiled the entire time. I  giggled; I clapped, I cheered. In essence, I had a great time at the movies. And that’s all I really want when I spend my time and money to watch some bit of magical make-believe: make me happier than when I walked in. Send me home like a kid on Christmas morning.

I’m not saying Shazam is as clever or thoughtful as a typical Marvel movie, but I do tend to grade the MCU on a curve. For DC to make me feel this good, I have to bump Shazam into the A range. I liked the characters, the foster family, the resolution (I don’t care if the plot didn’t make much sense rationally — I’m very forgiving with fantasy films); I liked Zackary Levi’s inspired goofy portrayal, and I absolutely freaked with joy at the last second cameo.

You know what? Here’s the thing: do you like gritty DC? Then maybe Shazam isn’t your cuppa. Personally, I can’t wait for a little more silly fun to jump start the Justice League Crew.

Movie Grade: A-

PS: Shazam was a Saturday morning TV kid’s show in the 70s. I enjoyed it then, but this remake is much more cool. The original show, along with their sister show Isis, played it straight. This Shazam is much, much, better. I think if I watched any of the old Shazam TV episodes, I’d be appalled. Times change, and not everything “nostalgic” ages well.

Is Shazam Part of the DC Universe or a Stand-Alone Film? How Shazam Could Fix the DCEU

Do you know what SHAZAM! Stands For?

Movie Review – Shazam! – Great for Tweens, Less So for Adults

Movie Review – Spider-Man Homecoming

Movie Review – After – Happy and Bittersweet Young Adult Romance

Movie Review - AfterI didn’t realize that this movie was based on fan fiction until after I saw it. That said, I don’t know how it stacks up against the book. I do intend on reading it now, because the story caught my attention.

It’s your typical young romance movie. There are happy moments and bittersweet moments.

I felt that it was really well done. The acting and chemistry between the two main characters was great, and the pace kept me interested the whole time.

I’m curious to hear from the book fans how they felt the movie was, so please leave a comment to let me know. Did this stand up to your expectations, or did it fall flat?

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: I opted for 2 Peetimes, both work well without disrupting the flow of the movie.

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

Rated (PG-13) for sexual content and some college partying
Genres: Drama, Romance

Movie Review – Little – Nothing “Big” but a pleasant enough film

Movie Review - LittleLittle was an extremely funny movie. There were a ton of laugh out loud moments that had the whole theater cackling.

It was very predictable, but still enjoyable to watch. The humor overshadowed the predictability. The movie doesn’t really have any standout moments, but I’d definitely recommend it if you’re just wanting some laughs.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: Both Peetimes will give you plenty of time to take care of business.

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

Rated (PG-13) for some suggestive content
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Movie Review – Missing Link – Fun, will appeal to all ages

Movie Review - Missing LinkLaika Animated Studios has given the fans another film to add to their collection of ‘Must See’ stop-motion movies.

Hiring Zach Galifianakis as the voice of Susan, the missing link, was a stroke of genius. Even though Susan is a large, frightening creature, Zach provided a voice that took away the fright, and replaced it with a calm, gentle, and innocent demeanor that makes us fall in love with the big guy.

Hugh Jackman and Zoe Saldana brought their ‘A’ game, bringing the two main human characters to life with just right amount of attitude, charisma, and love-ability.

The plot of Missing Link is for Susan to find his own kind of species, which takes him on a global search along with Lionel, a self-proclaimed explorer, and Adelina, a strong determined widow and former girlfriend of Lionel’s. Add all of this together, and you’ve got a fun-filled movie that will appeal to all ages.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: From opening credits to the end of the movie, is only 1 hour & 25 minutes, so I made a judgment call and felt that only 1 Peetime was needed.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Missing Link. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for action/peril and some mild rude humor
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Movie Review – Hellboy – Wow. So, so, so bad.

Movie Review - HellboyGoing into the movie I didn’t expect much. The trailer looked promising, so I gave the movie a pre-movie rating of 75/100 in the Peeple’s Poll in the RunPee app.

Right from the start the movie had problems. They launched directly into a voice-over narration — rarely a good choice. (I think Fellowship of the Ring is the only movie that ever really pulled this off.)

The first three minutes were dreadfully written, but it’s a historical scene that sets up the present day story, so I gave them a pass.

It didn’t get any better when we finally got to present day. It’s hard to pick out where this movie went wrong when everything is bad.

The Writing

The writer Andrew Cosby has only three writing credits, all TV shows, most notably as a series writer for A Town Called Eureka. Every scene in the movie is packed with dialog. The audience never gets a chance to engage in the story because the characters tell us everything, over and over. It was all tell, no show. There was humor, but most of it felt forced.

The Direction

Hellboy is directed by Neil Marshall, whose background, again, is mostly in TV. I have to wonder how this came to be. It seems to me that if you’re making a movie, then someone on the staff should have some experience making movies, because clearly, TV and movies aren’t the same thing.

The Acting

Wow, so bad on so many levels. To be fair, the dialog and direction didn’t give the actors anything to work with. There’s no telling how good the actors could be with the right material and direction…with the exception of Milla Jovovich, who, as much as it pains me to say, was worse than usual. I ran a quick analysis on her filmography from RottenTomatoes, and her 33 movies have an average critics’ score of 37%.

David Harbour portrays the titular Hellboy. I can’t be critical of his performance because, as I mentioned above, he had nothing to work with, but again, his background is largely in TV.

Ian McShane (American Gods, John Wick series, etc.) is outstanding in his particular character role — which is pretty much the same in everything he does — but it doesn’t make a dent in this poor script. Here’s a man with some gravitas and a heap of experience who just seemed to be reading his lines, wondering how he got himself into this role.

Special Effects

Kudos have to be given to the FX team. For better or for worse, I had to look away from the screen a dozen times, and wish I had looked away more. My wife had nightmares last night after seeing the movie. They didn’t hold back on the gore.

The best thing I can say about this movie is that everything is only consistently bad, but not horrible. (Except for Milla’s acting which was yeah, really bad. No joke…I think the Pig Man might have been the best actor in the movie.)

If you go see this movie, or have seen it, I sincerely hope you disagree with my assessment, but in the end I gave this movie a post-movie rating of 10/100 in the Peeple’s Poll. That’s the lowest rating I’ve ever given a movie.

On a positive note: my wife, who collaborated with me on the Peetimes, didn’t hate the movie. She gave it a “C”. But, she married me, which can’t say much about her judgement. 🙂

Grade: F-

About The Peetimes: We have 3 Peetimes for this movie that are nicely spaced out. We highly recommend the middle Peetime. It’s by far the longest and is easy to summarize. In fact, if you make it back in around 3 minutes you’ll hardly miss a thing.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Hellboy. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for strong bloody violence and gore throughout, and language
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Remake