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 first scene starts, as Agent H and T arrive at the Eiffel Tower. [Correction: there was a “3 Years ago” message onscreen that apparently appeared while I was writing notes.] After that, the 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 – Shaft

Movie Review - ShaftI loved Shaft, as did the entire audience based on the many, many times there was crazy laughter in the theater. I had a great time watching Sam do his thing.

I have not seen the first one, but I can guarantee that I’ll be streaming it this weekend. If it’s half as funny as this one I’ll be happy.

I enjoyed watching Jessie Usher as JJ. These two guys worked so well off of each other, the chemistry was fantastic. The characters were so different from each other, but melded in a way that makes the movie magic happen.

I can’t count the amount of times that I laughed at Jackson, whether it be his lines or just his facial expressions.

It’s got a lot of violence and graphic scenes, but it wasn’t over the top. What was most prevalent was how Jackson can use the ever so popular F-word. I’ve got a whole new arsenal of colorful retorts, now thanks to Shaft.

If this kind of movie appeals to you, I wholeheartedly recommend it. It was fun and a great time was had by all.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: I’m going to recommend the 2nd Peetime, there is a lot of dialog in it, but was easily summed up. The 1st Peetime was also easy to sum up but there is a really funny moment during the scene.

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

Rated (R) for pervasive language, violence, sexual content, some drug material and brief nudity
Genres: Action, Comedy, Crime, Remake

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 [email protected] 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 – Booksmart – Whipsmart Nerd High School Anthem

 

Movie Review - BooksmartBooksmart is more smart than bookish, featuring the quirky party-hearty hijinks of a girl duo with genuine chemistry. Moverover, Booksmart, for all its modern nods, felt exactly like a 1980s John Hughes film. I mean that as a compliment.

It’s zippy, amusing, pleasant, and sometimes clever. It’s also sometimes raunchy, but never in an obnoxious way.  Booksmart is a fun film with a great message of acceptance.

But is Booksmart only for girls?

Well, no. NO, no, and no, unless you consider The Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller only for boys. The two leads are gals — and one is an out gay, albeit absolutely inexperienced — but the cast is filled with many unexpectedly interesting characters, none of which are genuine asshats. It’s NOT a girl-power film. Molly and Amy — being bossy and shy respectively — just happen to be girls. No one finds it necessary to comment on it.

And no one gets tossed into lockers! No toilets swishies, underwear wedgies, or more than mild verbal taunts rear their ugly heads. Booksmart refreshingly features no genuinely mean-spirited bullying. Everyone is accepted as the weirdos we are all ultimately at heart: jocks, nerds, drama geeks, hot girls, druggies, manic pixies, artists, skate punks, whatever. I say refreshingly, since I hope high schools are so accepting of differences these days, even if they don’t want to hang out in the same clique. It’s a progressive message of hope.

Booksmart adds a grace note to the teen anthem pantheon — maybe becoming a sleepover ritual rewatch for young people.

What about that ending?

Nothing really gets resolved at the climax, but life isn’t usually neat like that. Even The Breakfast Club ended ambiguously. Here, we see — with wistful pain for us older folks — that intense high school bestie closeness is usually destined to fade with time. But you know what? The beauty of ‘what was’ can never be erased. (Karen and Betsy, I miss us.)

Do I miss high school? Was I a geek? You betcha, to both questions. And I cherish that time. In the midst of many dumb (and dumber) teen movies, this one’s a keeper.

Grade: A-

PS: As I finish this review, The Breakfast Club’s iconic Don’t You Forget About Me just started on the radio. Coincidence? Probably. But a GREAT ONE. [Fist pump in the air.]

About The Peetimes: This really cute movie has 3 good Peetimes. The 2nd, at 1:04, is the best, but you’ll be fine if you read the synopses for any of them. I tried to avoid the best humor or plot pivots.

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

Rated (R) for strong sexual content and language throughout, drug use and drinking – all involving teens
Genres: Comedy, teen movie

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 two 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 coincidence 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 – A Brutal Experience in Non-Stop Crying

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

Movie Review – The Hustle – Rewatch Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Instead

Movie Review - The HustleAh, The Hustle. It looked so winsome from the trailers. I like Rebel Wilson most of the time, and Anne Hathaway almost all the time. The promising premise: a comedy with two completely different brands of women, running high-stakes scams on rich men in Europe. I was excited to do the Peetimes for this film, expecting an evening of clever fun.

But then it entirely fell down in the execution, with a big old tiresome pratfall.

The Hustle was so very much like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, but a whole lot less amusing, and oftentimes outright silly. And honestly, I like silly movies when I’m in the mood for it, but The Hustle is the bad kind of silly. I even wrote in my notes (during the last Peetime) “More of the stupid continues for several minutes.”

I’m not saying this is a bad movie. It’s just relentlessly mediocre, often tiresome, frequently awkward, and not as funny as it should be. Sometimes I cringed at the lazy incompetence of the script. I don’t think I laughed out loud once, although I did smile here and there. The plot has a few minor payoffs that do work, especially in the beginning, but by the time the main con is underway, the fails start rolling in.

What else? The Hustle looks good, with sun-drenched sea-side location shots, luxurious outfits, and a boyishly cute male lead (Alex Sharp). There’s good pacing, and some snappy banter. If you want to watch Wilson and Hathaway bicker and snipe at each other for an hour and a half, this might be your film.

Personally, I’d rather re-watch Steve Martin in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I’d have to view it again to see how it holds up with the passage of the years, but that’s a film I have fond feelings for.

Grade: C-

About The Peetimes: This was an easy movie to find Peetimes. My 3 Peetimes are nicely spaced out, and equally good, although short. If you can hold out for the final Peetime at 1:07, it’s the best one with the least humor.

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

Rated (PG-13) for crude sexual content and language
Genres: Comedy, Caper/Heist

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Does It Better: A re-watch review, with comparisons to The Hustle

Quiz – Rebel Wilson – The Newest Funny Gal in Show Business

Movie Review – Long Shot

Movie Review - Long ShotThe only reason to see this movie is for the humor — and for that, there is there is plenty. However, this isn’t R-rated by accident. There’s some raunchy humor, and sometimes just plain raunch. If that’s not your style, then steer clear.

If you’re a political conservative, then be ready for some jabs at pretty much everything you hold dear. You’ve been warned. Although — I don’t want to give anything away — there is a little payback to liberals at one point.

The story is pretty much The American President with a gender swap between the main characters, and exchanging snappy dialog with raunchy humor.

The good thing is, the humor is pretty good, and there’s lots of it. The audience laughed out loud more times than I can count.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: We have 3 good Peetimes. I would recommend the 2nd Peetime, because it’s easy to summarize and has very little humor.

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

Rated (R) for strong sexual content, language throughout and some drug use
Genres: Comedy, Romance

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 – Little – Nothing “Big” but a pleasant enough film

Movie Review - LittleLittle was an extremely funny movie. There were a ton of laugh out loud moments that had the whole theater cackling.

It was very predictable, but still enjoyable to watch. The humor overshadowed the predictability. The movie doesn’t really have any standout moments, but I’d definitely recommend it if you’re just wanting some laughs.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: Both Peetimes will give you plenty of time to take care of business.

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

Rated (PG-13) for some suggestive content
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance