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 – 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. 🙂

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 – Motherless Brooklyn

 

Movie Review - Motherless BrooklynIt seems clear a lot of critics like this movie. I’ll go along with this to an extent — it’s clearly a labor of love for Edward Norton, who not only managed every aspect of the film and starred in it, but did some excellent research on the mental illness of Tourette’s Syndrome.

One of my early jobs involved working with the mentally ill, including those with Tourette’s, and Norton hit all the right notes. His character was whip-smart in spite of his disability. Lionel was aware of his affliction and apologized for his inappropriate outbursts. That his crew called him “Freakshow” was just a sign of the times in the 1950s, where it was acceptable to be casually cruel. It also served to underline the love between Frank (Bruce Willis’s character) and Lionel. Frank called the orphan under his wing “Brooklyn” — a much more affectionate term.

The Good Stuff

The historical period setting looked great too, although I’m not a fan of washed out bland palettes blended with noir. This was by no means a pretty film — and not intended to be — but two and a half hours of gritty, dreary grayness grated on my nerves.

What else can I add? Motherless Brooklyn was well-acted by everyone (although Alec Baldwin leaned a bit heavy on his SNL Trump act), well-written, and about a topic that absolutely bears both scrutiny and a relevance for our time.

It sounds like a great film, right?

Except. Except, yes, I was bored silly. I’m starting to find drama films less appealing than horror, and for me that’s saying a lot. I have a degree in Conservation Biology and am a staunch Humanist, so I feel deeply about the routine abuse of our peoples and planet by those in power. But I don’t want to wallow in a movie about it. I want my entertainment choices to lift me up, not drown me in despair.

If you want to feel sad about humanity’s mistreatment of marginalized people, this film will be right up your alley.

A fun time at the theater, it most certainly is not.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: I’ve got 3 Peetimes pretty well spaced out. The 1st and 2nd are really good, and the 3rd is your last chance to go before the final hour.

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

Rated (R) for language throughout including some sexual references, brief drug use, and violence
Genres: Crime, Drama, Noir

Movie Review – Harriet

Movie Review - HarrietAs many of you know, I am a fan of biopics. I said to myself, “Self, is Hollywood going to mess this story up?” But, surprisingly, they didn’t let me down. Harriet is a must-see for sure. Given that many people may not know the full story about Harriet Tubman, this movie does a good job with the golden nuggets about who she was and how she became one of the most renowedn conductors of the Underground Railroad.

While watching, I didn’t feel as if the scenes were over dramatic or over saturated with the use of the N-word. The drama, location, and subtle use of humor were blended nicely for such grim subject matter.

The actors did a great job! I can never get enough of Janelle Monáe.

Cynthia Erivo played an excellent Harriet, although many of us may still be partial to Cicely Tyson in that role in 1978. Cynthia also sang one of the songs on the soundtrack — Stand Up. It will raise the hairs on your skin. Speaking of the soundtrack, you might add this one to your musical playlist; it’s hella good.

A couple of quick things that resonated for me. There’s a part in the movie where Harriet makes up her mind to go back to rescue others. Marie, played by Janelle Monáe, teaches Harriet how to blend in and not look or sound like a slave. That scene validated what I tell the women I mentor all the time. Don’t dress like the job you have; dress like the job you want.

The last thing that was paramount in Harriet’s journey was her realizing what her journey was all about. She went back with one mission, but she quickly had to shift gears when she learned that wasn’t her mission at all. That was the moment her real transformation into a courageous, strong-minded, ingenious hero began.

There’s a lot more I can say about this movie but I’ll stop here for now. Feel free to share your thoughts below. I want to know what resonated with you about the movie.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: It wasn’t too difficult selecting Peetimes. This is a biopic about a well-known figure in American and Canadian history; therefore, sensitivity to the plot was imperative. There are 3 Peetimes. I recommend the 2nd Peetime.

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

Rated (PG-13) for thematic content throughout, violent material and language including racial epithets
Genres: Biography, Drama, History, True life story

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 – The Lighthouse

 

Movie Review - The LighthouseIt’s no secret I have issues with A24 productions. I have seen them all. I go in with an open mind — and every time but twice I’ve hated them. Spring Breakers and Tusk get a free pass; those entertained me.

When I saw the trailers for The Lighthouse, I was excited. It looked to be right up my alley — great cast, and the setting was set at what I’d call one of my happy places. (I’m a lighthouse lover.) Then in big letters I see it…A24 Productions. I internally groaned and thought to myself that just maybe I’d still like it, because what could go wrong with such a great concept?

I’m still laughing about how wrong I was.

I gave ‘It Comes at Night’ a scathing review, and had a lot of backlash from users on how badly I trashed it. I tried explaining to them that a review is a singular person’s thought on a movie. My opinion. Their opinion was different and that’s totally okay. So here it goes, enter my opinion, stage left.

I did not like this movie. At all. It has taken my number one spot of the worst movie ever made. It made my head hurt and I can still hear the blasted foghorn.

For starters, I couldn’t understand them. The accents used were so over the top that all I heard was gibberish. Enough said there.

My next complaint: the over-used masturbation scenes. Seriously? How many times did we need to see them doing this? Apparently a lot, because there are too many of those scenes. I’m a jaded person; I think I’ve seen every gross thing to come out of Hollywood, and never cringed the way I did last night. I felt dirty watching it and trust me, I’m not a prude. My blood pressure is starting to rise again.

I could pick this movie apart like a turkey on Thanksgiving, but I’m going to stop here. I conveyed my feelings well enough, I think. It was simply dreadful.

Thanks A24 for finally settling an ongoing internal battle. You will never lure me in again. Shout out to my boss — my wonderful brother — there isn’t enough money to get me to do another A24. I’m done.

Grade: F-

About The Peetimes: I have two Peetimes at 29 and 51 minutes. The middle Peetime is a very short ‘Alert Peetime’ containing graphic animal cruelty to a bird.

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

Rated (R) for sexual content, nudity, violence, disturbing images, and some language
Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Movie Review – The Current War

Movie Review - The Current WarUnless there’s some compelling reason you have for seeing this movie in the theater, I think it would make an excellent movie night at home when it’s streaming online, or on DVD.

The only negative thing I have to say about this movie is that the pacing goes way too fast. The scenes cut back and forth between settings way too fast. A long scene in this movie is probably only 3 minutes long, and there’s few of them.

I think this movie could have been much better if it were 30 (or even 45) minutes longer. I felt like I was watching a movie and not experiencing a movie — if that makes any sense.

The casting and acting were good, but not great. It was cool to see Dr. Strange and Spider-Man side by side for a few scenes. But honestly, I think the character of Mr. Insull was totally wasted on Tom Holland. Not that Tom did a bad job — there just wasn’t anything in the script for him to work with.

If there’s one place the movie totally fails, it’s that they focus on the main characters and plot at the expense of establishing just how profoundly impactful electric lights were to the common man.

Can you remember that feeling the first time you used a smartphone? Now take that and multiply by a billion. Humanity had lived forever in darkness, minus a candle or campfire, until the advent of electric lights. (Yes, there were oil lamps on streets in select cities, but even that was ultra new.)

Electric lights, along with the phonograph and telephone, were nothing short of the introduction of magic. They just scratched the surface of expressing that in the movie.

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: It was hard to get Peetimes for this movie because it cut from one short scene to another fairly consistently. Most of the longer scenes were too important, and full of dialog, to use as Peetimes. I have three Peetimes spaced through the movie. I can’t really say than any one of them is better or worse than the others.

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

Rated (PG-13) for some violent content and thematic elements
Genres: Biography, Drama, History

Movie Review – Lucy in the Sky

Movie Review - Lucy in the SkyThis was a pretty depressing movie. I left the theater and was so sad about so many things. It’s not a fun story and certainly not an uplifting one either.

I’m one of the movie goers that like to have fun and be carried away into a riveting or even just plain silly story. What Lucy in the Sky gave me was watching an absolutely brilliant, highly motivated woman spiral out of control and ruin her life’s goal.

Portman did a superb job. She encompassed this role with her entire being. She’s simply perfect.

I’m giving this movie an A because of her. Also, it was masterfully directed and had a simple beauty to many of the scenes. Certainly not because it left me feeling happy and alive. Just the opposite actually. This wasn’t my cup of tea, but I wasn’t the target audience.

To the viewers that do enjoy these truthful biopics, I’m pretty sure they nailed it.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: This movie was a slow starter. Really for the first hour you can catch yourself up if you need to step out of the theater. The last 30 minutes is when the true depth of the movie is shown.

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

Rated (R) for language and some sexual content
Genres: Drama, Sci-Fi

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 – Judy

Movie Review - JudyI was sitting in the theater watching Judy when I realized I’m the target audience. I grew up idolizing this gifted woman and was well aware of her continuous struggles to rid herself of the demons that seemed to dictate her life. So I feel most qualified to review this movie.

When you see Renee Zellweger’s interpretation of Judy Garland, you’ll see why everyone (that matters) is raving about her performance. Some people (who really don’t matter) are panning Renee’s performance as over-exaggerated and off-key.

I think perhaps these people didn’t grow up knowing the real Judy Garland — they only know Dorothy Gale. Renee’s gesticulations were spot on. And because Renee’s voice didn’t reflect the golden tones of a sixteen year old girl singing about rainbows and such, she was unduly criticized. Director Rupert Goold explained that during 1969, Judy’s voice was older, and the years had not been nice to her vocal cords, nor the rest of her body. In short, Renee nailed it. Move over Oscar #1, Mamma’s bringing home Oscar #2.

I have to say that in my theater the demographics were couples over sixty. I spoke with several couples who found, just as I did, that Renee’s interpretation was spot-on. I fear that movie-goers younger than fifty will not get the same enjoyment as the baby boomers will have. But this does not include folks under fifty who actually have very good cinematic taste.

In all respects, this is an excellent movie; well acted, directed, and written. Also, major kudos to the costume and makeup departments. I see an Oscar nod in their future. BTW, the ending alone is worth the price of a ticket.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: About midway through the movie I’ve given you a 5 minute break. You may want to take advantage of this Peetime, because it’s the last one, and there’s still about another half hour of the movie left.

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

Rated (PG-13) for substance abuse, thematic content, some strong language, and smoking
Genres: Biography, Drama, History, True life story