Movie Review – Playing with Fire

Movie Review - Playing with FireI give high marks to this movie for the recognition it gives to the first responders out there risking their lives for us. And to show our younger generation that not all heroes wear spandex.

Playing with Fire itself is a decent movie. I think the target audience is the kiddies between six and twelve who’ll enjoy the bathroom humor, watching things get set on fire, and things crashing.

Parents will have a few laugh out loud moments, especially when John Leguizamo is reciting quotes from history. I especially liked Keegan Michael Key’s character, who showed a surprising range of emotions.

I did have one, ‘what were they thinking?’ moment when John Cena’s character was out in the woods taking a dump, while holding a three-year-old little girl in front of him. Really! Granted, he did have pine fronds covering his parts — but why would anyone think this was funny, and better yet — why was it even needed? I could almost feel the uncomfortableness coming from the adults in the audience. No one was laughing. Poor little Zoey; it seems she was only included in the cast for the bathroom humor.

Despite that one scene, I’m giving Playing with Fire a solid B.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: This was an easy film for Peetimes, even though there’s plenty of action. I included a 3rd Peetime as an Emergency, since it comes so near the end of the movie, but it will save you from long bathroom lines after the film.

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

Rated (PG) for rude humor, some suggestive material and mild peril
Genres: Comedy, Family

Movie Review – Last Christmas

Movie Review - Last ChristmasThis movie caters to a particular audience because it’s almost a textbook for its genre — rom-com. If you enjoy this genre, this movie will press all your buttons.

By “textbook,” I don’t mean this is a dull movie. On the contrary, it’s packed with sarcastic British humor. You will laugh at least once.

I don’t want to say the plot is not important to this genre in general, but let’s face it; it’s just not. The story pretty much follows the same structure from a grand scheme for rom-com. I mean, the name is self-explanatory — it’s a love story that will make you laugh along the way.

The nickname of this genre should be “painkiller”. It’s supposed to make you feel better afterward, and that’s exactly what this movie does. You will walk out of the theater feeling healed and brain-washed by George Micheal’s “Last Christmas”.

Oh yes, and the actors and actresses did a good job; the directing was adequate, the pacing was about right, and… “the lighting was crap”. You will get it. πŸ™‚

Grade: B

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

Rated (PG-13) for language and sexual content
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

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

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 – Jexi

Movie Review - JexiJexi had me laughing from the beginning and it really never stopped. I went to see this movie hoping to take a break from reality and just laugh for a while. I got what I wanted.

This movie isn’t an award-winner, but it wasn’t made to be. This was made for pure entertainment through outrageously acted humor. Some of it’s crass, some of it is silly, and some of it really hits home with today’s world.

Jexi herself was awesome. She had some of the funniest lines. To a certain extent I wouldn’t mind having one myself. Rose Byrne’s voice was perfect. I adore her. The shining stars of this movie were definitively Adam Devine and Michael Pena. Those two guys are funny.

Not much else can be said about Jexi — it’s hilarious. If you want hilarious, I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: The outrageously funny lines never stop. I did find a 4 minute chunk that had only a few laughs, so I’m recommending you use the 2nd Peetime. The 1st Peetime is for Emergencies only. It’s easy to summarize, but has a super funny conversation.

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

Rated (R) for strong/crude sexual content and language throughout, some drug use and graphic nudity
Genres: Comedy

Movie Review – The Addams Family

Movie Review - The Addams FamilyMost of my followers know that when reviewing an animated movie, I rate it according to the response of the target audience.

Having taken my six year old great granddaughter to see The Addams Family tonight, I can report that I’ve reached out to the target audience, and she reported to me that it deserves an A, and also a million ‘likes’. There was plenty of young laughter from the audience, and even a little older laughter.

What is my own personal review of this film? I did laugh out loud a few times and chuckled a few times, but my personal joy was seeing how my great granddaughter responded, and all the other kiddies in the audience. That’s enough for me.

The Addams Family first appeared on television when I was a sophomore in high school. I thought it was funny then, and I still think it’s funny even today.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: This was a very short movie which really only needed one Peetime. However, I included an emergency break only 10 minutes before the end in case the tiny bladders can’t hold it for one more minute.

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

Rated (PG) for macabre and suggestive humor, and some action
Genres: Animation, Comedy, Family

Movie Review – Brittany Runs a Marathon

Movie Review - Brittany Runs a MarathonWhen I walked into the theater, I was expecting a trite piece of slapstick humor about some girl in NYC who just can’t seem to get her life in order, but still manages to find everlasting love. The previous sentence describes dozens, upon dozens, of previous movies that have come and gone without so much as a ripple in the Great Pond of Cinematic Goo.

I was wrong, so very, very wrong. I loved this movie. Brittany took us on a ride that was up and down and ever a little sideways at times, but boy what a ride it was. Watching our protagonist preparing for the NYC Marathon was an exercise not only of body, but also the brain and the heart.

Jillian Bell has become my new favorite actress and someday will walk the red carpet. Her range of emotions was spectacular; she made me laugh out loud a number of times, and also, at moments, brought me to the edge of tears.

Having lived across the river from NYC, and spending all my down time roaming the mean streets of the Big Apple, I enjoyed the sweeping cinematography provided by the great Seamus Tierney. The overhead scenes of the finish of the marathon was so beautifully done that it took my breath away.

I’m so pleased to give Brittany a solid A.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: This entertaining little movie provided two good Peetimes. The first Peetime gives you an extra half minute. The second Peetime is about 20 minutes later if you decide to not use #1.

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

Rated (R) for language throughout, sexuality and some drug material
Genres: Comedy, Drama

First View Movie Review – The Princess and the Frog

 

Movie Review - The Princess and the FrogThe Princess and the Frog is a suitably good and modern take on the “Princess” theme, with a jazzy little soundtrack and some true comedic moments. But is it moving? Inspiring? Maybe. Tiana, the Princess in question, is a good role model, with a solid work ethic.

Which makes me think…Tiana has a job. She works. Do any of the other Disney Princesses work at all, ever? Even the ones that aren’t royalty to start with seem to do…nothing. Belle, for example, apparently reads all day, to the amazement of the drooling illiterates around her. Cinderella worked hard, basically as a slave, but I wouldn’t call what she did a job.

Aladdin at least has a profession: petty thief. Most Princes only seemed to ride around the country, looking for sleeping Princesses to kiss. But, you know, this review should be about Tiana. πŸ™‚

Tiana wants to own a jazz club in New Orleans, which is a nice achievable goal. She works at least two jobs to get to her dream, and her parents aren’t abusive, so it’s not like there’s an evil stepmother in the picture, for once.

Which leads to the villain: the Voodoo guy. He has no motivation in the plot except to be evil for evil’s sake, and he really drags the film down. His stuff is so boring I can’t be bothered to look up his name. I know it’s hard to make a good villain, but when Disney hits it out of the park (as with Ursula or Scar) magic happens. We start to care about the story.

In The Princess and the Frog, I only cared about the actual ‘frog’ sections, which are definitely delightful. The swamp scenes with the firefly and alligator are super fun, and emphasize the solid narrative message that looks can be deceiving. Prince Naveen is even quite ‘charming’ in his selfishness, and he has a nice arc with Tiana, who brooks no foolishness. Good for her.

But there’s the redneck scene, which is a kind of throwback to the stereotypical storytelling I’d expect from Old Disney, dragging the movie down. Ugh. (And that’s why their sequence makes a great Peetime, having nothing to do with the plot and offering very awkward humor.)

So…I’d call this a middling Princess film. I was pleasantly surprised how Disney incorporated a lower class American heroine that wasn’t in love with a man because he was attractive and royal. And I liked how Naveen was sort of a brat, who grew to love Tiana for her personality, not for her beauty.

Altogether, The Princess and the Frog is a nice movie that showcases a young woman of color in a way that never feels racist: her story is not about skin at all, unless you count the green froggy kind.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: If you can hold off for the Recommended 2nd Peetime at 51 minutes, you won’t miss any songs, and the scene in question is really quite dumb. We also provided an early Peetime at 40 minutes in case you really need it (it includes a minor song).

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

Rated (G) none
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

New Disney Princess Celebrates Racial Diversity

Movie Review – Abominable

 

Movie Review - AbominableWell, here I sit at my computer, absolutely gritting my teeth….again.

Here at RunPee, I am the animated film expert. I can qualify that statement by telling you I’ve been watching animated films for more than half a century. I kinda know what kids like and don’t like.

Abominable is a kid’s movie. It’s as simple as that. One critic wrote that the plot of Abominable was ‘childish’, like that’s a bad thing. Those critics that gushed over the likes of Les Miserables and The English Patient are now panning Abominable. Not cool; not cool at all.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest and am no longer gritting my teeth, I’ll review this film the way it should be reviewed; from a kid’s point of view.

Abominable is an absolute delight. Keeping in mind that little kids respond to sound, color and movement, this sweet film satisfies all three requirements. The sound of violins fill the movie, the color was exquisite, and the action was very much child friendly. So there, my criteria was met in all respects.

Some critics claim that the story was boring, and the theme was over used. The story was anything but boring; it hit on sadness over the loss of someone dear to them, the importance of family values, and eventually healing from the loss. And as far as the theme being over used; no child will ever tire of seeing plush toys coming to life.

I loved Abominable and will be taking my great-granddaughter to see it tomorrow. You do the same.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: This was an easy movie for Peetimes. The 2nd Peetime gives you an extra 30 seconds that you should put to use, because the movie continues for another 35 minutes and shouldn’t be missed.

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

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

Movie Review – SmallFoot

Movie Review – Tangled

 

Movie Review - TangledI’m only 3/4 of the way through my first viewing of Tangled (yes, my 1st time) and I love it already so much I’m willing to give it an A+. Of course, they could screw it up during the climax and I’ll have to change my review, but so far I’m completely delighted.

Tangled: beautifully animated, very funny, and packs in a lot of adventure. I’m stingy with my A grades, and give almost nothing an A+, so this is a good endorsement from us at RunPee.

Great Characters

There’s a handsome Han Solo type of rogue. Which…yay! And of course there are amusing animal sidekicks. What’s cool is that both the horse and chameleon have a ton of attitude, which Disney doesn’t usually do. Actually, their “men” aren’t usually ‘jerks with a heart of gold’, except for Flynn here, andΒ  Naveen in The Princess and the Frog. So this is kind of a treat. Ahem.

I smiled a lot, especially with the Snuggly Duck ruffians singing about their dreams. Really. What could be more cute than that scene?

This movie made me happy.

A Great Villain

Then there’s Gothel, the ‘wicked’ adoptive mother. She’s an awesome villain. Her songs are totally fun, and she’s actually nice to Rapunzel. She really is. She’s affectionate, goes out of her way to get Rapunzel a birthday gift, and gives the girl a decent life (albeit as a complete prisoner) with games, books, paints, a great kitchen, craft supplies, a lot of leeway for doodling all over the walls…pretty much anything one can do inside a nicely appointed tower.

Gothel’s not evil so much as selfish…but not completely unrelatable. She’s not about riches or power. She just wants to stay young and live. Ursula from The Little Mermaid is still my favorite Disney villain, but Gothel is surprisingly interesting. I liked her better than Scar from The Lion King, and he was previously my second favorite Disney villain. Good job, Tangled!

And a Disney Easter Egg or Two

I find one in the movie Tangled: a stylized depiction of Snow White’s Poisoned Apple painting on a stairway balustrade in Rapunzel’s Tower. Easy to miss, but it’s there.

Also, Rapunzel and Flynn show up at the Coronation scene in Frozen, which is pretty cool. Her hair is still short and brown. Disney doesn’t want to be a shared universe, but now that Pixar/Marvel have been absorbed by the Mouse, things are changing.

Tangled, Overall

I’ll be watching the last part of this movie tomorrow (I have to see Ad Astra tonight to get Peetimes) and really hope Tangled’s climax doesn’t let me down. I’ll be back soon to let you know if this is truly an A+ film.

UPDATE After Finishing Tangled: I’ll keep the A+. It met up with my expectations, even though I thought they could have wrapped up Mother Gothel’s story a little less gruesomely.Β  Put her in prison or something, like the Stabbington brothers, who were, you know, actually evil. I did love the return of the ‘dreamer’ ruffians, though. See? Some people are redeemable. (I really would like Disney to stop with the bad parent theme, like they did with Brave.)

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: This Disney classic was re-released in theaters this Friday. When I do Peetimes for Disney Princess films, I do my best to avoid any songs, which is what most fans want to see. Some exposition or mild plot scenes are chosen instead, but are well-summarized in the synopses. Tangled has 3 good Peetimes, so you won’t be lost when you get back from the toilet. Pick any.

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

Rated (PG) for brief mild violence
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Musical, Romance

Movie Review – The Little Mermaid

The Lion King – Rewatch Review of the Animated Classic

Movie Review – Beauty and the Beast