Movie Review – Charlie’s Angels

Movie Review - Charlie's AngelsCharlie’s Angels wasn’t that bad. I’ve never been a fan of the franchise, but I personally liked this one the best.

Kristen Stewart was pretty darn good. Normally all I see is Bella Swan, but not once during this did I see her that way. She really had a spark to her.

The plot was pretty predictable, but the acting made up for it. There were some funny moments and little things passed around that gave you the essence of humor, not the slapstick in your face kind.

There were a few twists that I didn’t see coming and that pleased me. All in all, it was decent. I would probably list this as a “curl up on the couch and watch” kind of movie, but I did see it in Dolby Surround and it sounded great. So if you’re really into how this movie sounds and feels, check out the Dolby version.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes:  Two good Peetimes, nicely spaced apart. 

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

Rated (PG-13) for action/violence, language and some suggestive material
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy

The Essential Kristen Stewart

Movie Review – Midway

Movie Review - MidwaySorry to say: this movie doesn’t live up to the true events it attempts to depict. Unless you feel you must see the battle events on the big screen, this movie is better suited to DVD/streaming…in 2 or 3 months when it’s available.

To be sure, there’s plenty of explosions, bombs dropping, explosions, aerial dog fights, explosions, plane crashes, explosions,… 😉 That aspect of the movie doesn’t fail, except that it honestly gets a little redundant. (I wonder how many minutes of the movie were focused on closeups of Dick Best as he dive bombed — too many for sure.)

Where the movie falls short of it’s target, is in character development. And I mean all of it. There wasn’t a single character that had any sort of depth.

MIDWAY: between a bad movie and a horrible movie.Historically, I know the US Navy winning the Battle of Midway wasn’t just one miracle, it was several miracles. In the movie they tell us that, but we never really feel it. The story just doesn’t connect the dots in the way it should have. I’m not saying this is easy, but with a budget like this movie had there’s no excuse for not having a better script.

Grade: D+

About The Peetimes: I managed to find 4 good Peetimes and would recommend the 3rd one. There are no battle scenes in any of the Peetimes.

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

Rated (PG-13) for sequences of war violence and related images, language and smoking
Genres: Action, Drama, History

Movie Review – The Aeronauts

Movie Review - The AeronautsThis was a nice way to spend an hour and (nearly) three quarters. Lots of lovely visuals, chemistry between the cast, and a few thrills thrown in for good measure.

I’m not sure how much of the visuals are CGI, but a good proportion of them are. Nothing in London is taller than the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster. (Big Ben for you non-pedants!) The air is quite clear, and there wasn’t one aeroplane, so there couldn’t be much live footage. Also the actual ballooning was done in the Midlands so they wouldn’t accidentally splash down in the Thames. Still, it was all very pretty and nicely done.

The cast seemed to work well together, but then Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne proved they can work together on The Theory Of Everything.

One slight niggle is that Himesh Patel seems to have a lot of presence in the publicity but his actual screen time is quite low, perchance a case of cashing in on the success of Yesterday?

The thrills come from the fact that it is a (partly true) story of the early days of aviation meteorology, when they didn’t know how atmospheric pressure, temperature, and content varied when you went so far up, but I’ll say no more on that subject.

It deserves to be seen at least once on the big screen to appreciate the visuals, but it will have a longer life as a passably pleasing way of passing a wet Sunday afternoon.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: This movie has some stunning scenery, and a lot of it. I did my best to avoid the pretty bits in the Peetimes.

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

Rated (PG-13) for some peril and thematic elements
Genres: Action, Adventure, Biography

Movie Review – Arctic Dogs

Movie Review - Arctic DogsI just saw a headline that questioned if a child under five should see Arctic Dogs, due to rude humor and lots of action. My question is; would children over five want to see this film? It’s not a boring movie by any means. I truly enjoyed it, but it seems that the generation, of which my six year old great granddaughter is a member, is getting more sophisticated in their viewing preferences. My point is, anyone –even those under five will like this film — it provides lots of color and movement, and that’s what the kiddies, and some adults, like.

I was happy to see the movie touched on global warming, a subject children should be made aware of as early as possible. Arctic Dogs did a fine job teaching perseverance in the face of adversity — you know, like a fat walrus, with the voice of John Cleese — trying to melt the Arctic. Our little white hero Swifty showed if you want something bad enough, like being a Top Dog, no sacrifice was too large to make. Good for him.

Jeremy Renner did a fine job giving personality to Swifty, and Heidi Klum was excellent as Jade, Swifty’s love interest. And doesn’t John Cleese make the perfect gentleman villain? But James Franco’s character Lemmy just grated on my nerves.

Arctic Dogs will win no awards, but it’s still a fun little movie.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: This is a short movie needing only 2 Peetimes. Let your bladder decide which is best for you.

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

Rated (PG) for some mild action and rude humor
Genres: Action, Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy

The Cast of Voices for Arctic Dogs

Official Movie Review – Terminator: Dark Fate

Movie Review - Terminator: Dark FateAll things considered, I’d say Terminator: Dark Fate is a worthy successor to the 1991 Terminator 2. After 28 years, 3 other Terminator movies — plus a TV show — it’s hard to think of Dark Fate as the 3rd movie in a trilogy, but that’s where it belongs.

Dark Fate had the potential to be an A, even A+ movie. The bones are there, but the flesh has a few too many blemishes. However, I think it earned a good B+ grade.

The action scenes won’t disappoint; they come early and often, and really pack a punch. If anything, there was too much action early, because by the end it feels a little anticlimactic.

Hands down, the best thing about this movie is Mackenzie Davis as Grace. She steals every scene she’s in — which is most of the movie. Her action scenes are creative, and she has the physique to make her character believable.

Kudos to the writers for giving Sarah Connor’s character a great return. Her character arc from the end of T2 to now works, and Linda Hamilton rocks the gritty, sarcastic attitude of her aged character.

My single biggest complaint is that the new character of Dani Ramos has some problems. After seeing the movie with my wife and mother, we all agreed she was the weak link. Upon further consideration, I don’t think it’s the actress’s (Natalia Reyes) fault. The writing for her character was caught in a conflict that just wasn’t going to work well. I’ll get to that in more depth below in the spoilers section.

Spoilers For Terminator Dark Fate Below
I’m including this in the spoilers section because I’m not 100% sure everyone knows Arnold Schwarzenegger is in this movie. First, I want to point out that I love the direction the writers took Arnold’s Terminator character. I was expecting something fresh and got it. Arnold’s scenes with Sarah were pure gold. It’s really cool to see them come full circle.

Here’s the conundrum the writers created for the character Dani: as the story develops, the audience is lead to believe, mainly due to dialog by Sarah Connor, that Dani is the “new Sarah” and that she’ll give birth to the leader of the resistance. However, as we later discover, Dani is the leader of the resistance herself.

In a perfect world, when the twist is revealed, the writers want the audience to think: Gee, I didn’t see that coming, but now that you think about it, the clues were right there.

That’s a tricky plot twist to pull off, and quite a challenge for the writers to undertake. I think they at least deserve kudos for trying. And I’m not saying they failed miserably. They just didn’t do a great job.

The problem: if they make Dani’s character appear strong and competent,  it will be obvious she’s the resistance leader. Therefore, they have to hide those attributes. At the same time, if they don’t make Dani appear strong and confident, then when the twist is revealed, it feels unrealistic.

Early in the movie we see Dani as the leader of her household, inspiring her brother, giving her father chores to do. It’s simple, but it shows she knows how to manage. When she and her brother arrive at the factory where they work and discover that her brother’s job has been replaced by a robot, she tells her brother to do her job…while she goes and complains to the manager. She ignores her superiors along the way, who advise her it’s not her place to question management. That’s another subtle nod to her confidence and “take charge” style.

After that point, she does nothing but cry over the loved ones she lost, and continually puts herself at needless risk as she questions (and sometimes ignores) Grace’s  guidance.

But it could have gone another way. The writers could have chosen to skip the twist at the end, in favor of jumping all over it from the very start. Make it obvious that Dani is a natural leader right from the beginning and never let up.

When Sarah Connor shows up and assumes — because Dani is a woman and the resistance sent her a protector back in time — that Dani is the womb of the future, then Dani can turn the tables on Sarah, and point out that times have changed, and women don’t need to just be vessels anymore.

I get it; writers like to be subtle — especially good writers — but it’s not always the best choice. I think on this occasion, setting up a conflict between Dani and Sarah as the same (but different) would have worked better.

One twist I did like about this story is that Judgement Day isn’t caused by Skynet.  It’s a completely different AI — created for the same basic objective — that becomes the downfall of civilization.

Essentially…saying that one way or another, an AI apocalypse is inevitable. 

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: This movie is really packed with action, but I made sure none of the Peetimes contained action scenes. Of the 3 Peetimes, I would recommend the 2nd one. It’s near the middle of the movie and nothing important happens. The 3rd Peetime isn’t bad, but it’s definitely the worst of the bunch. There are a few good one-liners that you’ll miss.

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

Rated (R) for violence throughout, language and brief nudity
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Read Rob Williams’ Terminator review: Grade A.

Movie Review – Black and Blue

Movie Review - Black and BlueThis movie pokes at your value system quite a bit. Most of us are all too familiar with stories about dirty cops. This story is no different, but how it plays out onscreen is rather appealing because of Tyrese Gibson, Naomie Harris, Mike Colter, and of course, the city of Katrina recovering in New Orleans.

It’s definitely another movie where cops look bad. I’m sure this rookie story happens more often than we realize. (A young adult trying to make the best of their “next” life by becoming a public servant.) The problem is this rookie decides this life has the perception of being bad, and she has a good heart…oxymoron for sure. The director did a good job of showing the grim life the rookie lived through and the one she’s trying to fit into.

Hence, the title referring to the rookie being Black in the a new world of Blue.

Alicia West was faced with conflicting choices between her race and her career. She wanted her cake and to eat it too. Unfortunately, in the life she came from, she found herself truly on the outside looking in. There’s a street saying that goes, once you go black, you’ll never go back. But in this story, once you go blue, da’ hood is through with you.

This movie reminded me of one thing my momma use to always tell me growing up. Don’t burn your bridges, because one day you might need to cross back over. And that’s exactly what Alicia West faced.

After you watch Black and Blue, hopefully, you will be reminded that no matter who you are or what you do; always do the right thing, for the right reasons.

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: It wasn’t difficult selecting Peetimes. The storyline is obvious. Plus, there were scenes that dragged a little and contained uneventful dialogue. I would recommend the 1st Peetime. The 2nd and 3rd Peetime are very close together, and there is nothing after those two scenes that can be missed as the climax of the movie builds. The 2nd Peetime is longer, but contains a little more meat than the 3rd, which is short, but very easy to summarize. You decide.

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

Rated (R) for violence and language
Genres: Action, Crime, Drama

Movie Review by RunPee Rob – Terminator: Dark Fate

Movie Review - Terminator: Dark FateI went into this film with mixed feelings. The original landed in the mid 80s with barely a ripple. A relatively small budget film by a new director, with not a well known cast. But it took off.

The early 90s saw T2 launched with a lot of ballyhoo and fuss — and it worked! The new cinematic technology really helped drive the story — apparently James Cameron was considering using a claymation technique for the T-1000. (Can you imagine Arnie vs Wallace and Gromit?)

The current millennium’s offerings seemed to be less successful, maybe due to the absence of James Cameron. Who knows, but personally, I wasn’t sold on the third installment, and still haven’t seen the fourth and fifth ones!

Then the latest episode was announced. Cameron is writing and producing. Arnie is back. As is Linda Hamilton. (Maybe it’s because we’re a similar age, but I think she still looks stunning!).

There are some new faces to keep things fresh. Gabriel Luna is easily a match for Robert Patrick as a soulless automaton. The big problem was always going to be: does it work? James Cameron said it was the rightful third episode and the others could be ignored…so will it slot into the world created in the first two films?

The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Not only does it fit in, but it does so very smoothly. It is a matter of a few minutes worth of exposition, and you can sit back and enjoy the new story without worrying about loose ends.

And what a story it is! It rattles along at a fair old clip pretty much from the first few frames. There are slower sections where characters new and old are explored, their relationships examined, with even a few laughs, but this is undoubtedly an action movie! Fights, chases, explosions, all over the place.

In short, a well thought out and executed thrill ride.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: I worked hard to avoid the amazing action scenes in any of these Peetimes. Anytime my pulse dropped below 100bpm felt like a good time to run and pee. Note from Dan Gardner (RunPee CEO) These Peetimes are from a newly christened Peep: Rob Williams, from the UK. Terminator: Dark Fate is released in the UK one week earlier than here in the USA, so Rob was able to get Peetimes for us. I’ve worked with Rob for a few weeks, training him on how we do things, but this is his first “live run.” From what I can tell he did a bang-up job. I hope you agree. 

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

Rated (R) for violence throughout, language and brief nudity
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Movie Review – Zombieland: Double Tap

Movie Review - Zombieland: Double TapZombieland: Double Tap wasn’t great, but it was better than I expected and certainly satisfying.

I’m happy to say that Double Tap avoids the typical disappointment from sequels that were added on to a successful movie as a money grab. #ZL2 has the same charm and wit as the original. I’m not saying it was as good as the original, but only because the original Zombieland had, well, originality. What can you say? Zombieland created the zomedy genre.

The introduction of new characters was, for the most part, fun. Without giving anything away, I think some were used just enough, while others fortunately only had a few short scenes.

Here’s what I really enjoyed: the plot for Double Tap is mostly about creating humor. However, in little pieces here and there small details are added about characters that really make a difference later. Double Tap isn’t a complex story by any means — that’s not the sort of story this aspires to be. Kudos to the writers (Dave Callaham, Rhett Reese, and Paul Wernick) for keeping the humor coming while weaving these new details into a great payoff, without resorting to cheap cliches.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: ZL2 is a short movie, but I have 2 good Peetimes. The 1st one is longer, but so is the synopsis. I’d recommend the 2nd Peetime. Neither has any action to speak of, but are immediately followed by action scenes, so don’t be late.

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

Rated (R) for bloody violence, language throughout, some drug and sexual content
Genres: Action, Comedy, Horror, Zombie

Movie Review – Gemini Man

 

Movie Review - Gemini ManNothing amazing, nothing awful. This is a stylish little film where every actor gives it their all and makes a nice 2 hour action excursion.

Here’s a Pro-Tip for audiences: wait for this to come out on streaming. While old and young Will Smith both look great ( I suspect they aged up one version and de-aged the other — meeting somewhere in the middle), they both look like super fit, handsome men. And both have his trademark humor.

Benedict Wong is a wonderful addition, proving he can be more than just a sidekick MCU wizard. More Wong, please, in better films? K, thx.

What else to say about Gemini Man?

The good guys and bad guys are all somewhat sympathetic. What price should freedom cost in our nation/world? This is for better minds than mine to decipher…although I lean on the side of the Hippocratic Oath: DO NO HARM.

I’m sure politicians would find me hopelessly naive. Even Sci Fi shows like Men in Black find it better to keep humanity in the dark in dark times.

Gemini Man, Overall:

So: there are MANY exciting films coming down the pike for the upcoming holiday Blockbuster season. Save your dough. The FX here are middlin’, and the story is fine…but not great. A good film to catch at home.

PERSONAL PLEA: Will!!! Smith!!! Please return to the Suicide Squad 2 fold. You can’t go wrong with Director James Gunn. Robbie and you were the only reasons the origin story even worked. Gemini has no franchise future. Go have fun being a super-person instead!

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: In a movie with this much action and surprises, it was hard to find good Peetimes, so use these and be quick. Here are 4 decent Peetimes with no crucial action and just a bit of exposition. The 2nd Peetime is much longer/better than the others, if that helps you decide which is best to use. This is not a long movie, but a lot happens.

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

Rated (PG-13) for violence and action throughout, and brief strong language
Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

Movie Review – Rambo: Last Blood

Movie Review - Rambo: Last BloodFirst off; if you’re a fan of all the other Rambo movies, you are going to love Last Blood. He does some major damage to the bad guys, and isn’t this why these movies have so much appeal? The violence in this film was so very graphic, that I did have to turn my head and look away a couple of times. But again, isn’t this why we continue to go back to see John Rambo do his thing? He has certainly perfected the art of killing in some very creative ways.

Even though this Rambo is as predictable as all the other movies, I still enjoyed it it. Just as Stallone was able to bring the original Rocky back for each of the movies, he brought the essence of the first Rambo back to complete this bloody saga. It was fun to see Stallone still able to look and act as menacing today as he did in 1982.

The pacing was very good. There were no protracted dialog-driven scenes, and better yet, no unnecessary love scenes. I can’t really comment on the writing, because most of the time I couldn’t understand what Sylvester was saying. He is much better at shooting than speaking.

So, if maybe you’ve had a frustrating week and need to blow off a little steam, just head for you’re local theater, buy your ticket for Rambo: Last Blood, get a good seat, and live vicariously through the last 20 minutes of this movie. You’ll be a new person walking out of the theater.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: There was a great deal of plot and character development in the 1st 1/2 of the movie, and a great deal of action in the last 1/2 of the movie, making it a little difficult to find a down time long enough for a Peetime. Fortunately, just about 1/2 way through the movie, there was 4&1/2 minutes of exposition that could be missed, since it was easily summed up in the synopsis.

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

Rated (R) for strong graphic violence,grisly images, drug use and language
Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller