Movie Review – Men in Black: International

Movie Review - Men in Black: InternationalIt isn’t that there’s much wrong with MiB International so much as there isn’t anything right about it: the humor is middling; the pacing is choppy; and the plot/character development is bland.

I can’t complain about the acting. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson did good enough with what they had to work with, but Thor: Ragnorak this isn’t.

The biggest problem with MiB International is the pacing. There are long stretches that border on boring, sometimes wandering on the wrong side of the border. Right in the middle of the movie is the main chase scene that serves as the best Peetime in the movie. I’m certain that’s not what the creators had in mind.

There are elements of potential in the story. It feels like all the movie needed was a few more drafts of the script to give it the polish it needed. For instance there are continual references to Agent H’s (Hemsworth) character change since the opening scene of the movie….however, there’s never any resolution as to why this change happened.

Speaking of the opening scene, there was some real confusion in the order of time between the first few scenes of the movie. There’s no indication when the firsts scene starts, as Agent H and T arrive at the Eiffel Tower. [Correction: there was a “3 Years ago” message on screen that apparently appeared while I was writing notes.] After that scene cuts to another scene with “20 years ago” displayed on the screen. At the end of that we jump to the present. That seems simple enough until 3/4 of the way through the movie we discover that the opening scene took place 3 years in the past. I don’t want to imply that there’s a simple solution to how this should have been done, but it’s the job of the writers/director to tell a cohesive story, and they botched that in the first 5 minutes of the movie.

I think most fans of the MiB franchise will be disappointed. This installment is nowhere near as good is the first, or third, movie. The second MiB was pretty awful, save for some funny scenes. I’d say this fourth movie is better than that, but not by much.

Grade: C-

About The Peetimes: We have 4 good Peetimes here, but the 1st and last Peetimes are Emergency use only because they are so short. We recommend the 3rd Peetime. It’s right in the middle of the movie and only involves 1 long chase scene that isn’t particularly good.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Men in Black: International. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for sci-fi action, some language and suggestive material
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Sequel

What Makes Men In Black Tick? Looking Back on the MIB Series and Why It Works

Men In Black Theme Song – Forget Me Nots Remix – Will Smith Lyrics & Video

Want to be a MIB? A Satirical Review of the Original Men in Black (1997)

 

 

Movie Review – The Secret Life of Pets 2

 

Movie Review - The Secret Life of PetsSo here is what I hope: The Secret Life of Pets becomes its own universe, much like the Minions, and we can continue to enjoy the antics of Max, Duke and Snowball. There’s so much story left to tell about these citified critters who can’t stop getting into mischief. And now with the addition of Liam, the new kid on the block, there’s so much potential for crazy action and crazy love.

Much credit goes to the writer, Brian Lynch. He fleshed out the characters to the point that they’re very real to us, and that’s what a great movie needs: someone to care about.

The plot of the movie was, although not original, how do city dwellers fare in the great outdoors? We’ve seen this trope played out in television (Green Acres), and movies (City Slickers), and it never gets old. Heck, I’ve been a part of this trope when I graduated from my rural middle school with a student population of 35 kids, to a city high school with a population of over 400. Those first few months were both comical and embarrassing, much like Max’s first few days on the farm.

I whole-heartedly recommend this movie for the entire family, and if you’re not satisfied, feel free to email me at blahblahblah@blahblah.com and I’ll give back to you the 90 minutes spent watching it.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes:

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

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

Movie Review – The Secret Life Of Pets

Movie Review – Minions

Despicable Me 2 – movie review

Movie Review – X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Movie Review - X-Men: Dark PhoenixThe X-Men Universe, produced by 20th Century Fox,  had a twenty year run. Now that it’s over, they should be applauded for the influence they’ve had on the superhero movie genre.

Fox movie assets are now owned by Disney. That means the X-Men can, at some point, be wrapped into the MCU with the Avengers.

Dark Phoenix was produced before the Disney purchase. It was intended to be a bridge between the previous X-Men Universe and a newly imagined X-Men Universe with a new and young generation of mutants. Instead it stands as an unintended swan song to the X-Men as we know them. Which makes it a shame it had to end with such an underwhelming effort.

The Dark Phoenix story is an absurd mess. Let’s start with the villain… Okay, I’m not even sure where to start with that. Never has a superhero villain been so poorly imagined. Vuk, played by Jessica Chastain, has barely more than a cameo role. You wouldn’t even know the villain’s name except it’s shown just once in a subtitle. Even Xavier himself refers to the villain as: that thing, that woman, I don’t know what.

And what do we know about that “spark/solar flair” thing? We get one line of exposition from Vuk: “It’s the spark that brought life to the universe and now goes around destroying planets, including my own.”

What? How does that even make sense? Lazy storytelling much?

Who’s the Villain, Really?

Maybe Vuk and this spark/thing aren’t really the villains. Maybe Jean Grey is the villain. Which could have worked brilliantly if they hadn’t introduced Vuk/spark in the first place. Take the entire alien storyline out and just build up Jean a little more. There’s plenty of material there for us to relate to in our everyday lives, as an “internal demon” takes over a loved one and how their family copes with it, and then reconciles their feelings.

That’s what the X-Men have always represented: family. But in Dark Phoenix they tried to have it both ways, which drowned all the potential this movie started out with.

Grade: D-

About The Peetimes: The movie is full short, choppy, scenes that made it difficult to get good Peetimes. The 2 best Peetimes are the 3rd and 4th. Both work well, but are only around 3 minutes long.

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

Rated (PG-13) for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action including some gunplay, disturbing images, and brief strong language
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Every X-Men Film Explained

X-Men: Apocalypse (movie review)

X-Men: Days of Future Past – movie review

Movie review : X-Men First Class

Movie Review – Aladdin (2019) – A Live Action Remake, Good for the Target Audience

Movie Review - AladdinThe 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin is a difficult movie to review, because I’m not the target audience — that’s mainly young kids. Personally, I found the movie to be occasionally entertaining at best, and barely tolerable for the rest. There were a few laughs here and there, and rarely did the song and dance bits drag on too long.

If you’re a parent taking their kids to see this movie, then you could do worse.

Based on the audience reaction in my theater, (mostly kids under 16) it will be a hit. Three teenage girls sat in the back row and laughed throughout.

The plot is simple and clear enough that young children will be able to follow along, and if not, there’s enough singing, dancing, and action to entertain them.

Will Smith is one of the few actors with the charisma to perform the role of Genie. I think Will did fine, but he fell short of making it iconic. I’d give him a B+.

I only vaguely remember the plot of the Disney Aladdin from 1992. From what I recall this retelling is generally the same, except Jasmine’s character has been fleshed out more. It wouldn’t be misleading if they changed the title to “Jasmine” or at the very least, “Jasmine & Aladdin,” since it’s mainly about womens’ empowerment, like “Mulan”. What do you think?

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: I have 2 recommended Peetimes, both near the middle of the movie. The 1st of the Recommended Peetimes is a song/dance scene that young kids may enjoy, but it’s easy to summarize. The 2nd Recommended Peetime is all dialog. There’s a little humor, but not much. You choose which works best for you.

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

Rated (PG) for some action/peril
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Family, Remake

Rewatch Review – Disney’s Animated Aladdin (1992) – A Classic Film with Deeply Modern Flaws

Aladdin –  Animated vs Stage vs Live Action

A Whole New World – Aladdin Lyrics and Video (1992 Animated Version)

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 – Pokemon Detective Pikachu

Movie Review - Pokemon Detective PikachuPokemon Detective Pikachu is a strange little movie. It’s beautifully done, and a great send up of the Poke-Verse…while also being a mad-cap whodunnit story, albeit one that fizzles a bit. But whether you’ll enjoy this outing depends on your relationship to this particular pop-culture gaming phenomenon.

If you know your Pokemon, you’ll revel in the seamless imagery of beloved creatures, smile a whole lot, laugh at their charm, and marvel at the delight of seeing your favorites come to life. Pikachu himself is a scene-stealer. You can’t beat the engaging Ryan Reynolds as the voice of anything; he gives the pint-sized yellow electric mouse a frenzied, fit-for-the-kids Deadpool sort of energy. This isn’t how I pictured my Pikachu sounding, but Reynolds makes it work with style.

Is the story-line coherent? Barely. It comes together well enough in the end. But that’s not the point. This is a great wish fulfillment film for fans.

If you’re NOT a Pokemon buff, you might want to give Pokemon Detective Pikachu a pass. Most of the pleasure derives from seeing favorites like Charazid, Bulbasaurus (so freaking cute!), Squirtle, Ditto, Eevee, Charmander, Jigglypuff — and even useless old Magicarp — interact with their humans in the real world.

If your eyes glazed over in that last sentence, Pokemon Detective Pikachu will assuredly go over your head. It’s still a cute time at the movies, but it won’t make sense. The story doesn’t stop to explain who or what Pokemon are about — it just tosses you into this world and hopes you’ll swim.

However, kids will take to this movie like a Psyduck to water just for the amazingly creative critters and their antics. They’ll definitely want to start catching Pokemon if they’re new to the game. Be warned: it’s incredibly addictive, but if you can get them playing Pokemon Go, they’ll also get a lot of exercise as a bonus.

As for adults, I still recommend playing Pokemon Go. Chasing Mons took over my life at a particularly rough point, giving me a way to climb out of a sad little hole. I still have a tremendous fondness for the entire enterprise…seeing these guys on the big screen filled my heart with happy little beats.

I didn’t care that the plot was a bit loose, or that the humans were a bit dull, because I had a good time on the journey. Bill Nighy did what he could with the material, and I normally am a HUGE Nighy fan, but he couldn’t elevate the actual plot. Again, not the point. You either bought your ticket to see cute Pokemon scamper in the real world, or because you wanted to hear Ryan Reynolds voicing the iconic Pikachu. In those areas, Pokemon Detective Pikachu delivers nicely.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: I recommend the 2nd Peetime. The plot is straightforward, and I assume anyone who goes see it is there for the Pokemons. So I tried to avoid cool Pokemon scenes in the Peetimes.

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

Rated (PG) for action/peril, some rude and suggestive humor, and thematic elements
Genres: Action, Adventure, Animation

Movie Review – UglyDolls – Best for toddlers, but a good message for all children


Movie Review - UglyDollsUgly Dolls is 87 minutes of bright color, almost constant motion, and singing — so much singing — which will make your toddler dizzy with delight. Parents will need to go to the nearest Starbucks for a jolt of caffeine before driving home.

The theme of the movie — learning to love yourself for who you are — is easily understood by the parents and kids over 6. However, the younger set, all the way down to the ‘still in diapers’ stage, won’t care, because they’ll be glued to the movement and color on the screen.

The songs all had messages in their lyrics, albeit with mixed messages. One sings about how if you’re ugly you’re not worthy of love; another has a happier message telling the listener that being ‘different’ only means you are “special.”

Again, it doesn’t matter — toddlers like sounds, not words. For all they care, the Ugly Dolls could be singing about tax reform, as long as it’s loud and strident.

Parents, here’s my suggestion: wait for the video. For under five dollars you can rent this movie and avoid the cost of tickets and the gold plated popcorn. And here’s the bonus; you can sleep through it.

Grade: C-

About The Peetimes: There’s so much color/action/song going on in this short film that I had to use one of the songs as a Peetime. Since the movie is only 87 minutes long, I felt that one Peetime, coming near the midway point in the story, should be adequate.

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

Rated (PG) for thematic elements and brief action
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

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:

Avengers Endgame Song and Lyrics to Supersonic Rocketship

Life on Earth After Avengers: Endgame (Post-post Snap)

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 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

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