John Wick-Chapter 4 announced

John Wick: Parabellum unseated Avengers: Endgame as the number one box office draw this weekend. LionsGate studios rewarded fans with this text message: “You have served. You will be of service. John Wick: Chapter 4 is coming — May 21, 2021.”

Read the entire story at IndieWire.

‘John Wick 4’ Set for 2021 Release, But Don’t Expect a Happy Ending

Each Dog Death in A Dog’s Journey

As the member of the RunPee Family subjected to this “family-friendly” horror-series of doggy deaths and near-deaths that I lovingly/dismissively term The Dog Trilogy, I thought I’d recount the ways that “Bailey” — the St Bernard mix that survives the end of A Dog’s Purpose — dies repeatedly in A Dog’s Journey. (This isn’t a spoiler, BTW: it’s the entire film’s premise, picking up right where A Dog’s Purpose ends off.)

a dogs way home by w bruce cameron
It’s sort of a sequel and definitely a reboot.

Note: A Dog’s Way Home  is part of this trilogy, but isn’t about Bailey — it’s considered part of a shared universe of the unbreakable bonds of love for dogs and their people.

 

Warning – Spoilers Ahead for A Dog’s Journey

I’ll start by saying I refuse to rewatch A Dog’s Purpose to list the very frequent and often gruesome deaths Bailey experiences there. Honestly, why anyone thought that was supposed to be uplifting and inspiring enough to make two more similarly-themed films mystifies me. But, as I wrote about them elsewhere (follow the links above), I won’t go into that.

Bear with me as I recount Bailey and his kinder, gentler deaths in A Dog’s Journey — the finale and cherry on the cake of this manipulatively sentimental/cathartic dog celluloid extravaganza.

How Often Does Bailey Die in A Dog’s Journey?

Well, only four times on this outing…with all indications the poor canine soul finally ends his long existence. At last he deserves to cross the Rainbow Bridge to live forever with his best friend Ethan.

  1. Bailey as Bailey, the St. Bernard Mix — Pleasingly, he lives a long life with his (now older) man Ethan, played by Dennis Quaid. He’s gently euthanized in Ethan’s arms after falling ill to (presumably) cancer. Unfortunately, he’s tasked with ‘saving’ granddaughter CJ, prompting a new series of reincarnations.
  2. Bailey as Molly, the Beagle. She dies in a harrowing car wreck as CJ, now a teenager, is rear-ended by a vicious ex-boyfriend.
  3. Bailey as Big Dog, the Mastiff-Mix. Not much time is spent with Big Dog, who peacefully wanders off to die in the woods, after a long and peaceful life in a rural countryside with Joe.
  4. Bailey as Max, the Yorkie. Max dies a natural death after a long and happy life with adult CJ. This ending is the best-case scenario we hope for with any beloved pet. It’s apparently the fulfillment of Bailey’s ‘purpose’ and ‘journey’.

Along the way, the dog is menaced by scary things like a horse-kicking, being put down in an overcrowded dog shelter,  running alone in city streets and getting run over (but not hit), and most heart-wrenching: getting nearly strangled when his leash gets caught in an elevator going up. (That last one really had me panicking.)

But to be honest, this movie lets the audience off most easily of the three films. I only cried a few times, even though I was prepared, bringing tissues and a stern message to myself not to blubber.

Should you see this movie?

Sure, if you’re an adult and don’t mind a few tears. But think twice about taking the kids if they’re sensitive and love dogs. The canine poop humor won’t make up for the amount of trauma the film subjects them to. Read a lot of other reviews before sending them off alone with ticket money.

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

Movie Review – A Dog’s Purpose – A Brutal Experience in Non-Stop Crying

Movie Review – A Dog’s Way Home – A Brutal Experience for Dog Lovers

Movie Review – A Dog’s Journey – Manipulatively Emotional, But The Least Heart-Rending of the Dog Trilogy

Are We Sure These Wick Movies Aren’t Another Version Of The Matrix?

John Wick: Prince of Puppies
Created in the RunPee app using #MovieMeme. Just tap on the movie poster (located on the Movie Info Screen) and have fun making your own movie memes.

I’ve gotta say, I disagree with RunPee Dan’s John Wick 3 review on Parabellum. Some of what he says holds true with the choreography and perhaps the length of the film.  But I didn’t get bored with the action.

Very light, vague John Wick Parabellum spoilers lie ahead…

The end of the second Wick movie set the tone for this one, and I feel we got what was teased. EVERYONE is after this man and his bounty.

The action is intense and has plenty of humor mixed in. Especially from Sofia’s attack dogs.

But then here’s where The Matrix seeps in.

Neo…I mean John Wick…is on a mission to clear his Excommunicado with the High Table.

The High Table is determined to clear the board of what they perceive as weakness. The Man that sits above the table is inclined to give The One…I mean Wick…his chance at redemption — at a cost.

And Morpheus…I mean, The King…seems to be setting up the next chapter, with a fair bit of visual humor at the end of the film.

Loyalty and betrayal, determination and doubt.

“If you want peace, prepare for war.”

The Baba Yaga is coming, Parabellum.

Movie Grade: B+

The Matrix After 20 Years – A Retrospective: A Different Kind of Hero, a New Kind of Science Fiction

Movie Review – John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum (Not as good as the first two)

Movie Review – John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum (Not as good as the first two)

Movie Review – A Dog’s Journey – Manipulatively Emotional, But The Least Heart-Rending of the Dog Trilogy

Movie Review - A Dog's JourneyI’m relieved to say this heartrending three-movie schmaltz-fest is over. I did the Peetimes for each movie in the semi-trilogy, and was relieved that A Dog’s Journey made me cry the least. By which I mean I cried only three or four times, and these were little teary moments, not the big gulping ugly cries I endured in A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Way Home. (Links go to my reviews. Yes, I’m a masochist and saw all three.)

I was prepared, though. I brought tissues! This marks the first time in ten years of RunPee movie-going that I preemptively (one fan said I should call it ‘pee-emptively’) came prepared to cry. So, if you’re curious, YES, the dog dies in this movie.

Many times. Confused? Read on.

A Dog’s Purpose

In A Dog’s Purpose, Bailey the dog dies and reincarnates. A LOT. I cried a river for  about hours. It was brutal.

A Dog’s Way Home

In A Dog’s Way Home, it’s no longer about Bailey or reincarnation (it’s actually a remake of The Incredible Journey), but the film is considered Bailey-adjacent. Call it a Shared Universe.

That doesn’t let you off the emotional hook, though. All kinds of fresh torture awaits the sensitive dog lover, most tellingly in a devastating scene with Edward James Olmos as a homeless vet who dies alone in the wilderness…with the titular dog chained to his body, a few feet too far from the river to drink. FOR DAYS. Imagine taking your kids to this. Or rather, don’t.

There’s also a scene where the dog gets hit by a car trying to cross a busy freeway…and just lies there…consider this a PSA. I was twitching during that entire sequence, and I think everyone else was too. If you’re a sensitive sort, you can skip the middle movie entirely and just focus on Bailey’s bookend films.

A Dog’s Journey

Which brings us back to A Dog’s Journey. Or, rather, the end of his journey. I’m telling you these things so you’ll be prepared. This isn’t a spoiler — even under the best conditions, dogs don’t live much longer than a decade. This last flick returns to the theme of reincarnation, but somehow is a lot easier on the heart-strings overall. I have to wonder if writer W. Bruce Cameron took pity on his audience and eased up on the heartbreak on purpose.

Should you see a A Dog’s Journey?

Ultimately, A Dog’s Journey is actually a good movie to take your kids to (although you’ll have to explain a few things about dog souls and the Rainbow Bridge).

I’m pleased to say this film is a good evening out — more sentimental than sad. I don’t have a headache from crying, and feel reasonably stable. Can’t expect more than that, right? I mean, it’s a DOG MOVIE. Are there any movies about pets that aren’t tear-jerkers? Even John Wick lost it when his dog was [redacted]. Is it a cooincidence that John Wick Chapter 3 came out today as well…?

Overall, A Dog’s Journey was nicely filmed. The acting (aside from the reliable Quaid) wasn’t very exciting, but the movie is well paced, looks good, and delivers some affably low-key doggy humor. No canine actors were in mortal peril this time, unlike in the first film. The dogs do great work, especially “Molly” — but then, I have a soft spot for beagles.

If you love dogs — and why would you see this kind of thing if you don’t? — you’ll know you’re being emotionally manipulated, but the tale’s more sweet than tragic. Thankfully.

Grade: B-

PS: As per your requests, we are adding an Alert Warning to the Peetimes this film on the RunPee app re: traumatizing dog moments. (But at this point we’re pretty sure you know this about W. Bruce Cameron and his canine oeuvre. This film is the gentlest of the three. Relatively speaking.)

About The Peetimes: This was a fairly simple film to get Peetimes for. Here are 3 evenly spaced Peetimes that don’t feature any big emotional moments or plot points.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of A Dog’s Journey. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for thematic content, some peril and rude humor
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Drama

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

Movie Review – A Dog’s Purpose

Movie Review – A Dog’s Way Home

Movie Review – John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum (Not as good as the first two)

Movie Review - John Wick: Chapter 3 - ParabellumI loved the first two John Wick movies, especially the first, which really brought new life to the action genre. But I found myself getting bored by the monotonous action in John Wick Parabellum.

I think the movie might have been better if it had been a little shorter. Many of the fight seems felt redundant.

Beyond that, the gravitas expressed by Keanu Reeves in the first movie just isn’t available in this story.

What was Good in John Wick Parabellum

The director (Chad Stahelski) works hard to break some new ground in each of his movies, and I think he accomplished that with the dog scenes in this version of John Wick. I’ve seen attack dogs in movies before, but nothing like this. Kudos to the dogs and their trainers. They earned the treats and then some.

John Wick: Prince of Puppies

Besides that, there were a few times I spotted errors in the choreography of the fight scenes. For instance, men would stand still after being punched by John Wick, while he turned his attention to another foe, before turning to shoot the first guy. It didn’t feel as tight and polished as the first two Wick movies.

The Unsung Heroes of Action Flicks

That said, going to see this movie in the theater is a good way to support the men and women who work hard to perfect their craft at making action movies like this. It’s hard and dangerous work, and they don’t get the glamour showered on the big name stars. They’re the blue collar workers of Hollywood and deserve a pat on the back — and some coin in their pocket — for their work, as the unsung heroes of John Wick, and all action films.

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: I found 3 good Peetimes. None of them involves any good John Wick action. I recommend the 2nd Peetime. It’s the longest, and right in the middle of the movie.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for pervasive strong violence, and some language
Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller

The Matrix After 20 Years – A Retrospective: A Different Kind of Hero, a New Kind of Science Fiction

Movie Review – John Wick 1

Is Godzilla: King of the Monsters a Sequel to Kong: Skull Island?

The trailers for the new Godzilla movie have been amazing, but the marketing campaign isn’t the clearest.  What’s there to know besides the fact that awesome-looking monsters are going to destroy things for our entertainment?  

For the true movie lover? Plenty. Here are the connections they aren’t advertising.

There’s a Monster Universe.

Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers created what they are calling the Monsterverse.  Godzilla, King Kong, and some recognizable others are part of this universe.

Godzilla – King of the Monsters is a sequel to Kong – Skull Island.  Sort of.

For unknown reasons, Warner Brothers is not advertising the new movie as a sequel to Godzilla (2014), the first movie in the Monsterverse.  Kong – Skull Island is the second movie in the Monsterverse. It features a cut-scene at the end of the credits where the main characters are told Kong is not the only monster, and then shown archival footage of ancient cave drawings of Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and a battle between King Ghidorah and Godzilla. 

The ultimate Godzilla movie is coming next year.

A fourth Monsterverse movie, Godzilla vs. Kong, has been announced for 2020.  I know. I can’t wait either.

Be sure to use the RunPee app for all your monster movie Peetimes, including the upcoming Child’s Play and Annabelle Comes Home. You can also follow us on Twitter @RunPee or on Facebook for the latest movie news.  

Read for more about Godzilla by Golden Man, on his blog Etched in Gold:

All My Questions Answered About the New Godzilla Movie

RunPee’s posts on Godzilla and King Kong:

Godzilla – movie review

Movie Review of Kong: Skull Island

How RunPee Began – A Retrospective on Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong

Natalia Alianovna Romanoff – AKA Black Widow – Original Avenger (spoilers)

Warning: Endgame spoilers begin right away. See the movie first! Black Widow

Natlianovna Romanoff, better known in the U.S. as Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow, Avenger, Agent of SHIELD, and former KGB Assassin. These are the only known occupations of this founding member of the Avengers.

Romanoff’s Early Life

Born in 1984s Soviet Russia, Natasha’s early life remains a relative mystery. It is known she was recruited into the KGBs Red Room Academy, where she received training in spycraft, including combat with and without weapons.

According to leaked SHIELD/HYDRA documents, leaked by Agent Romanoff herself during the fall of SHIELD and the destruction of the Triskelion, the late Director of SHIELD (Nicholas J. Fury) took notice of the master assassin in the mid-late 1990s. At this point, Agent Clint Barton was dispatched to locate and terminate Natasha, code-named Black Widow. Agent Barton persuaded Director Fury to recruit and facilitate her defection from the Soviet Union.

Code Name Black Widow as an Avenger

Black Widow’s activities pre-defection paint her as a clear enemy of the U.S., but her loyalty post-defection clouds the initial analysis. Her membership among the Avengers — indeed —  her presence as a Founder of the group of heroes, solidify her status as an ally for most.

Romanoff was instrumental in the destruction of SHIELD and exposure of HYDRA. She was a part of the Avenger’s failed counter-operation to stop Ultron’s destruction of Sokovia, and as a result, an initial signer of the Sokovia Accords,  regulating the activities of so called “enhanced” individuals, primarily the Avengers themselves.

While obeying the new Accords and helping track down and stop the illegal activities of Steve Rogers/Captain America, Romanoff broke rank and betrayed the task force, ultimately becoming a fugitive, disappearing from intelligence agency sight.

While on the run, the Black Widow continued vigilante operations with Captain America, resurfacing in Wakanda during the first battle with the alien Thanos. For the next five years after The Decimation, Romanoff became the leader of what remained of the Avengers, no longer counted as a fugitive.

Black Widow Post Snap – AKA The Decimation

Finally, according to sources close to the Avengers, during the successful mission to return The Decimated, Natasha Romanoff sacrificed herself on an alien planet, in a time before our own, in order to obtain a necessary piece of equipment to reverse the decimation.

The Black Widow was not able to fight in the Battle of the Returned at the destroyed Avengers facility. Romanoff is survived only by her team of heroes.

A memorial service is to be scheduled in the days following the private funeral of her fellow Avenger Tony Stark.

RIP Natalia Alianovna Romanoff, 1984-April 26, 2023/2014.

Movie Review – Avengers Infinity War – An Unrivaled Marvel Epic

Endgame spoiler free review – We got what we needed!

Endgame Peetimes – RunPee vs the World

Avengers Cameo – That random kid in Endgame is someone we’ve seen before

Avengers: Endgame – What was that hammer sound in the credits?

Did you stay to the very bitter end of Endgame? There’s some speculation about what that hammer sound was at the end of the credits in Avengers: Endgame. Is it something we’ll find out in an upcoming movie? Could be. But that hammering-on-metal audio clip sure does sound a lot like this scene from Iron Man 1 — the MCU movie that kicked everything off eleven years ago. What do you think?

Starting this weekend, the trailer for Spiderman: Far From Home plays after the end credits of Endgame. However, I’m not sure if the hammer sound extra will still be played near the end of the credits.

Update: As of Thursday (May 9th) RunPee Jilly heard the hammer sound at the end of the credits, but didn’t see the Far From Home trailer. Can anyone confirm?

Movie Review – Avengers: Endgame

Avengers Cameo – That random kid in Endgame is someone we’ve seen before

Warning – Avengers Endgame is not going to be Peetime friendly

How Captain Marvel Stole Shazam’s Name

shazam movie posterIt’s no surprise that Captain Marvel and Shazam! both had movies released within weeks of each other this year.  Despite being from separate comic universes, the two superheroes have always been inextricably linked by a connection with their name.

Shazam was the original Captain Marvel?!

The DC Comics character Shazam was originally known as Captain Marvel.  He started out as a Fawcett Comics character in 1940 and was the most popular superhero at the time.  In 1953, DC filed a lawsuit against Fawcett claiming Captain Marvel was basically just a version of Superman.  In 1972, Fawcett sold the character rights to Captain Marvel to DC.

Shazam’s search for a name

However, Marvel Comics was already using the copyrighted name Captain Marvel by then for their own original character.  (Note:  At this point, Captain Marvel was still male and not the Carol Danvers of the later era.)  So DC began marketing the character using the copyrighted phrase “Shazam!”, which is what protagonist Billy Batson says to change into a superhero and vice versa.  Many consumers assumed this was the name of the character.

When DC relaunched the title in 2011, they officially named the character Shazam!  There is a running gag in the new movie Shazam! about what to call the main character, which is a sly reference to his history of name changes.  Plus the title Captain Sparkle Fingers probably didn’t test well with audiences.

If you love superheroes, be sure to download the RunPee app.  Kevin Feige has said there will be no time to pee during Avengers: Endgame, but we’ve got your back.  We already have Peetimes and a review available.  You can also follow us on Twitter @RunPee for the latest movie news.

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

Captain Marvel vs the Internet Trolls – A Common New Film Controversy

Marvel Phase 4 Predictions – Some MCU Sure-Fire Guesses

RIP Star Wars Hero Chewbacca – Peter Mayhew is Dead

I was born in 1978.  I have never known a world without Peter Mayhew.  Until now.  I have never met the man.  I know very little about him personally.  What I do know is the joy he brought me throughout my life via his portrayal of the beloved Star Wars character Chewbacca.

I read an essay once about a writer taking her young daughter to an art exhibit and the little girl asking, “Who made this?  I have to talk to her.”  The author was pleased her daughter had made the connection between magic in the art and magic in the artist.  And so one must assume that Mayhew had a spark of magic, playfulness, joy, and creativity to be able to embody Han Solo’s furry buddy.

Some actors try to distance themselves from their most popular role (*ahem* Shatner), but from all the pictures I’ve seen on social media in the past day or so, Peter Mayhew truly enjoyed and embraced his association with/as the world’s most famous wookie.  As Luke reminds us in the trailer for episode IX, “No one’s ever really gone.”  We will always have Mayhew’s iconic performances to remember him by.

Yet it’s hard not to feel like the universe is a little less magic now.