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.

More Powerful Than You Could Possibly Imagine

Remember in A New Hope when Obi Wan said to Vader, “Strike me down and I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine”? As it turned out, Obi Wan didn’t become all powerful. He didn’t do much more than become the Jedi Whisperer. (Let go, Luke. Trust your feelings.)

Now that Luke has faded to the Force (after the events at the end of The Last Jedi) it appears he might be the all-powerful one. Or maybe he was the all powerful one. It’s all conjecture at this point, but here’s what we know think we know.

The Express reported that leaks for the upcoming Episode IX (December 20, 2019) indicate that Luke has the power to force choke a Star Destroyer. The question is, does this happen in the past, and we see it as a flashback (The only thing JJ Abrams loves more than lens flare is flashbacks)? Or does it happen in the timeline of Episode IX now that Luke is truly with the Force?

What is it with the Star Wars universe and sand?

There is evidence that this is a flashback  based on the book Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Legends of Luke Skywalker, which is part of the official Star Wars canon. One of the stories takes place shortly after the end of Return of the Jedi on Jakku — Rey’s old stomping grounds. A crew member aboard a Star Destroyer recalls seeing a hologram of Luke reach out. Shortly afterward, the ship crashed into Jakku. It’s implied the abandoned Star Destroyer we saw in The Force Awakens, the one that Rey frequently scavenged, was brought down by Luke nearly three decades earlier.

What’s clear: Disney and Abrams need to unite the fractured fanbase that’s disappointed with how impotent Luke has been portrayed thus far. Right now we’re left sifting through the sands, like an archaeologist looking for clues from the bones of long dead animals, trying to figure out where the story is going, and where it came from.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Star Trek 4 Movie News Updates

We’re actually not sure if Chris Pine is still boldly going. (Yes, this can be taken either way.)

As of this weekend, we now know a few new things about the uncertain status of the on-hiatus, as-yet-unnamed Star Trek 4 movie film. For people following the saga of the Kelvin Timeline Star Trek movies, both both Chrises walked out on the planned post-Star Trek Beyond film, due to breakdowns in salary negotiations with Paramount. Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth, to reprise James Kirk and George Kirk — James T’s father — respectively, were told their previously-agreed-to salaries would be dropped, after the disappointing box office returns of the 3rd aforementioned feature. The actors walked.

Here’s some Star Trek Movie News and Speculation, for your “continuing mission” pleasure: 

  • Chris Pine reported to Variety that he’s willing to reprise his character if salary talks reopen. (He’s also going to continue his role in the DC universe, so it’s not like he’s begging for work.)
  • At a Calgary Expo this weekend, Jennifer Morrison (James Kirk’s mother in the 2009 film), she interrupted panel moderator Garret Wang (Harry Kim from Star Trek: Voyager) to say George Kirk’s demise should be considered a “supposed death”. Hmmm. So maybe don’t count Hemsworth’s participation out just yet either. We assumed that Kirk Sr. would appear via flashback or time travel trickery, but in movie land, death is a relative thing.
  • Also, Morrison hopes to reprise her Momma Kirk role as well.
  • Karl Urban (playing Bones McCoy) reported to JoBlow that he’s confident ST 4 will occur.
  • Besides Urban, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, John Cho, and Simon Pegg are expected to sign on as the rest of the Enterprise bridge crew, minus Anton Yelchin (after his unfortunate death).
  • JJ Abrams, continuing as a producer for the Trek movies, announced Yelchin’s Chekov role won’t be recast.
  •  Danai Gurira (best known for her roles in The Walking Dead and as the Captain of the Black Panther‘s Guard in the MCU), is being eyed to snag a role in ST4. (As reported by Deadline.)
  • Simon Pegg (Scotty) was the first to announce (with JoBlow) that a woman — S.J. Clarkson — will direct ST4. That’s a gender first in a Trek movie. (Variety has the full story.)
  • Interestingly, Zachari Quinto (Spock), back in April, cautioned that more Trek movies should not be considered guaranteed. It seems the Vulcan’s words might have been prophetic. Things seem to be both steaming ahead and at a stalemate.

Stay tuned, Trek fans. At least Trek will definitely be continuing on TV, with the second season moving forward on both of CBS:ALL ACCESS’s two shows: Star Trek: Discovery (for good or ill), and the highly anticipated, upcoming new Jean Luc Picard series next Fall, starring Sir Patrick Stewart.

More news on Patrick Stewart’s new Star Trek show, below:

Sir Patrick Stewart Back as the Beloved Jean-Luc Picard in New Star Trek

Star Trek Characters We Will Probably See Again

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.

1st Captain Marvel Trailer Finally Drops

Yup. Captain Marvel falls right into this. If you’re old enough, you’ll find that amusing.

We’ve just seen the first trailer for Captain Marvel, in the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic  Universe…and it honestly doesn’t show much.  It lasts a little less than two minutes. It shows Brie Larson’s character (Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel) falling to the Earth, and then a variety of nano-scenes flash by. We see some super fast sequences, offering almost no solid clues for the story we’re so eager to see next March.

But, from my early thoughts, um…THIS is our hero, come to undo “The Snap’? Carol Danvers seems so…young, so inexperienced. Perhaps this is the point, in-universe, at this time. (The film is supposed to take place in the 90s, way before Nick Fury sends her that desperate pager call in Infinity War).

First trailers for the biggest blockbusters usually don’t provide much narrative, but I am sure I can pick this one apart enough for a quick post…so stop reading now if you are super sensitive to the mildest of spoilers.

THOUGHTS WHILE WATCHING THE CAPTAIN MARVEL TRAILER: “…She’s falling a long way. LOL, she hit a Blockbuster Video store. Nice in-joke (it’s a blockbuster movie), and also this is supposed to be the 90s, so that’s a good bit of iconic flashback.  And then there’s a mall scene…also very 80s-90s. I grew up in a mall myself. Nick Fury narrates: “Renegade soldier from above…space invasion”…Whut? Hey, Fury has two eyes! And I think that’s Phil  Coulson! Man, that went by too fast — I had to back it up three times to make sure who that was.  He hasn’t been in a Marvel film since The Avengers. Then there’s that ‘pager’ thing – Fury must have had it in his pocket for 30 years by the time Infinity Wars comes around…hmmm…it looks like a regular pager at this point, so I guess the super-tech follows later in the timeline. And, that’s kind of it. Besides Carol Danvers  decking an old woman. I’m sure that makes sense somehow.”

I asked RunPee Dan to take a look at the trailer, to see his thoughts. Dan: “It doesn’t answer much, but it looks good.” He also noticed that when Captain Marvel stands up from her fall into the Blockbuster Video store, there’s a good shot of her walking right past the “Action” section. Heh. Good catch, that!

Ultimately, I don’t expect this early trailer to provide the answers we’re seeking to resolve the  questions of Avengers: Infinity War. Probably only Avengers 4 — the as-yet-unnamed finale — will do that. (And it better!) This little preview gives us some hints, a teaser of possible directions. Notice the trailer doesn’t provide even one clue to Captain Marvel’s powers or skill set, except that she punches an old lady…so, yay?

Here’s the short trailer, for your viewing pleasure: 

 

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.

Almost 60 Movies Standing Up To The Test Of Time

Here’s  list of my favorite films, all of which are somewhere in the  A range, or a high B. I didn’t actually include everything I’ve ever given an A to on RunPee, because they were often graded according to the target audience, and aren’t actually my personal faves.

Sometimes I want to upgrade a film too, over time. Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them gets better on every viewing, for example. I want to move in the database from a B something to like an A-, or at least an A. I was colored at the time, by my wanting it to be more like the other Harry Potter films. Which is why rewatch reviews really come into their own — you can have time to let a film settle, and see what emerges in time.

It’s worth discussing about how we at RunPee grade movies. Each one of us staffers in this family is different. Like I’ve said before, I often use a curve within a movie franchise. Almost anything the Marvel Cinematic Universe does deserves an A (IMO), compared to movies otherwise in its genre (or out of it). But…that’s adding my highly idiosyncratic enjoyment factor.

Here’s a long list of my A range, and most favorite films over time: 

  1. Alien and Aliens
  2. Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back
  3. Terminator (The first and the second)
  4. Jurassic Park (Only the first)
  5. Titanic
  6. Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Arc
  7. Back to the Future (The first)
  8. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  9. The Breakfast Club
  10. Jaws (the first)
  11. Overboard (The original)
  12. A Fish Called Wanda
  13. Avatar
  14. The Matrix (The first)
  15. Harry Potter (I can’t really pick one from the eight movies we see. Each has their own style and merits…and together is one long story. For myself, I’d give the A+ to The Prisoner of Azkaban,  The Goblet of Fire, and maybe The Half Blood Prince.)
  16. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  17. Passengers (This one is controversial.  I loved it, my mother loved it, and RunPee Dan loved it. But a lot of people aggressively dislike the movie, for reasons I shouldn’t describe here if you haven’t seen the film)
  18. Star Trek (The Wrath of Khan and the Voyage Home. First Contact is great, might not be an A)
  19. Logan (OMG is this sad. But wonderful, too)
  20. The MCU (Like the Harry Potter films, Marvel’s Avenger superheroes have an intricately webbed series of stories. To pick out the A+ films is hard. I might only put Infinity Wars in that caliber. Maybe Thor: Ragnarok. However, the regular A films abound: Guardians of the Galaxy — one of my personal favorites, Black Panther, Iron Man 1, Avengers: Assemble, Avengers: Civil War,  and Spiderman: Homecoming)
  21. Finding Nemo
  22. The Shawshank Redemption
  23. The Firm
  24. The Fugitive
  25. Top Gun
  26. The Lord of the Rings (The entire LOTR series. Not the Hobbit films, unfortunately)
  27. Die Hard (The first)
  28. Lethal Weapon (the first)
  29. Predator
  30. ET: The Extra Terrestrial
  31. Rain Man
  32. 2001, A Space Odyssey
  33. Blade Runner (The first)
  34. The Shining (The original)
  35. So I Married An Axe-Murderer
  36. Inception
  37. Mamma Mia (The first)
  38. When Harry Met Sally
  39. Contact
  40. Apollo 13
  41. The Princess Bride
  42. Moonstruck
  43. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  44. Pitch Black (The first)
  45. The Wizard of Oz
  46.  Monty Python and The Holy Grail
  47. Airplane! (The first)
  48.  Ghostbusters (The first)
  49. Groundhog Day
  50.  Live and Let Die (Bond movies are so subjective! This one is perfect, in my opinion. Yours will probably be different)
  51. Pulp Fiction
  52. Shaun of the Dead
  53. Zombieland
  54.  The Sixth Sense
  55. Wayne’s World
  56. Thelma and Louise
  57. The Bourne  Identity
  58. Steel Magnolias
  59. The Little Mermaid
  60. ….

….Aaaand, I’m continuing this list right now. You might have an idea of what movies I consistently like: there’s a lot of sci-fi here, (almost) no horror movies, and very few old classics. For example, I never saw Citizen Kane — which is touted to be the best movie in in the universe . I should educate myself. (I did enjoy African Queen, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, and Some Like It Hot. Is that a good start?)

I’m going to hang out with RunPee Sis next month, and she will introduce me to some horror classics, and hug me when I get scared. So maybe things like Psycho and Silence of the Lambs will join the list.

Anyway: I know I missed some important movies. Got some in mind? Comments can be added below!

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.

Concert Review – The Movie Music of John Williams

I’m not a huge fan of live music, but I AM a movie lover. The best, most iconic movies are usually supported by an amazing soundtrack. Think of some of the top films of our time…now imagine them without a stirring score. Imagine the 1977 Star Wars without The Imperial March, or Luke Skywalker’s Theme.  Would it even be Star Wars? A great composition carries the viewer into new worlds, offering rousing emotional cues and magical movie moments.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that many of our A+ film lists are heavily weighted by one beloved composer: John Williams.

So when I heard San Diego would host a special summer concert of the music of John Williams, I was all over it, and off I went to the Jacobs Music Center in downtown San Diego. Was it great? Well…it should have been. Part of it was wonderful. The program was in two halves, starting with a sampler variety of films. And the second part? It was all Star Wars. I guess that shouldn’t come as a surprise.  😉

I think was did surprise me was the first half:  for some reason, the chosen themes weren’t the most well-known in their franchises. Yes, absolutely play the music from Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Superman, and Harry Potter! But how about the songs we best recognize and love? I don’t think The Last Crusade contains the most memorable Indiana score, nor the Lost World from the Jurassic Park series. I find those choices a little mystifying. Why not use the beloved Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter? And I don’t even recognize the movie title “BFG”…surely something from ET might have been a better choice from the child-oriented end of John Williams’ oeuvre.

At least the concert opened with a bang, using the Superman March from the original 1978 Superman. And the entire Star Wars second half of the program was as nostalgically transporting as any geek could hope.

Here’s the performance list from my July 18, 2018 concert (as worded from my program):

  • “Superman March” from Superman
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: “Harry’s Wondrous World”
  • Suite from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: “Bridge to the Past”
  • “A Child’s Tale” suite from The BFG
  • “Scherzo for Motorcycle” from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • “The Adventures of Indiana Jones” I.Swashbuckler (The Adventures of Mutt)
  • “Theme” from The Lost World

Intermission

  • Selection from Star Wars

The program info could have been written better. For example, I’d like to remember which songs from which Star Wars films were used, although I did recognize them all. A list might have been nice. 🙂

Overall, this was a fine experience, but not a great one. The musicians can’t be faulted — everything sounded like it was performed in the movies themselves. Conductor Sameer Patel was lively and probably superb, although I wouldn’t recognize one conductor’s work from another, to be honest. But from the selections chosen, I don’t think I’d pay $30 to see this again.

What I would do again, in a heartbeat, are those outdoor symphony performances of music played TO THE MOVIES. I’ve now seen several of the Harry Potter films performed that way, and most recently, Star Wars: A New Hope (<—–concert/movie review). If I’m lucky, that will become a habit.

 

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.