Movie Review – Midsommar

Movie Review - MidsommarMidsommer is a mind blower. It starts slow but it picks up steam  — and not just a little steam, but a lot. It is probably one of the most explicit movies I’ve ever watched.

I went in expecting not to like it, because it seems I’ve hated every A24 production I’ve ever seen. They fully redeemed themselves with this one.

I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I saw. RunPee Mom went with me and there was not a silent moment on the way home. We were both able to shed light on each other with the things we noticed. This is a great movie to see with a group of friends; you’ll be able to talk about it for hours.

It’s very artistic. I’ll be honest: I don’t usually like those types. I’m more of a comedy or horror movie fan. Scare me and make me laugh, but don’t make me think too hard. That’s what I have to do in life — just entertain me please. Midsommar gets a free pass. I was entertained and shocked.

The way they filmed it made me think I was tripping on the intense drugs they were using. The cinematography was amazing. One word comes to mind: psychedelic.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: Of the 2 Peetimes, I recommend the 2nd. It’s really the last moment in the movie that could be summed up without leaving you in the total dark. Side note: During the last 45ish minutes, there is a lot of nudity; full frontals of men and intense sex scenes. It is explicit.

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

Rated (R) for disturbing ritualistic violence and grisly images, strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language
Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery

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Movie Review – Annabelle Comes Home

Movie Review - Annabelle Comes HomeI enjoyed Annabelle enough to garner a solid B+. I was hoping for a perfect A, but wasn’t blown away.

It’s a good movie. There were several times I had chill bumps over my entire body and the audience seemed to share my feelings. I heard a bunch of screams and I was lucky enough to be in a lively theater. (I love hearing people talk to the screen.)

I’m wondering if they are going to keep this franchise going. They have the perfect in with the daughter Judy. She has the same talent as her mother — Lorraine Warren. I’d like to see more of this elusive doll. There is something fascinating about Annabelle that draws me in.

This weekend we have plans to go back and see it as a family. Yes, we are taking the grandchild, because that’s how we roll. Our amazing Savannah is going to be turned into Annabelle. She will be a perfect recreation of this ever-so-popular doll.

It’s a fun film I will recommend. They were able to weave in plenty of humor, which is why it stood out. When you can be scared to the point of jumping, and in the very next moment you laugh, that’s a job well done.

Enjoy yourselves, and if you see a little Annabelle running around the theater, fret not, it’s just Savannah…or is it?

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: There are 2 great Peetimes to use. I highly recommend the 2nd one since there is absolutely no dialog.

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

Rated (R) for horror violence and terror
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Sequel

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Movie Review – Child’s Play

Movie Review - Child's PlayChild’s Play was creepily funny. There was an even mix of horror and humor which kept the pacing at full force.

I’m halfway in love with the movie. I liked how they stayed away from the original’s back story. Here it’s no psychotic killer transferred into the doll through voodoo magic.

Instead, they use today’s technology. This Chucky was simply the product of a disgruntled employee who was able to reprogram Chucky’s smart chip before leaving. A few new lines of code…tweaking with his settings….and viola, a doll with the ability to learn evil. And boy oh boy, Chucky is a star student.

Chucky is rated R purely for the gore. There is no nudity or sex; just gratuitous gore. There are also a few scenes where a kitty cat doesn’t fare so well. His nine lives were all used up.

I would be rating this a respectable B but there is one huge issue; the casting choice for Andy’s mom. Aubrey Plaza is terrific in her normal raunchy roles, but in this flick all she accomplished was showing us exactly how to be a crappy mother. She did everything wrong, and I couldn’t get past seeing her in her past roles. There was no motherly feeling from her. Two-foot tall Chucky did a much better job watching out for Andy than she did.

All in all, it was a decent film. There were a few editing mistakes I caught, but the campiness made up for it. It’ll make a great date night movie or a really great way to psychologically keep your kids from asking for dolls ever again.

I quickly want to touch base on that. Yes it’s rated R, however, in my theater there were a number of children with their parents. Kids today are exposed to much more than in my day. People may frown at me for saying this but I’d totally take my granddaughter — she’d be yelling at the screen the whole time. She’s our strange Wednesday Adams little girl and would eat this film for breakfast.

Oh yeah, one last thing. Luke Skywalker was awesome. Well…Mark Hamill…he’s forever gonna be Luke to me. I bet he had some Jedi-sized fun doing Chucky’s voice.

Enjoy folks, and have a great time.

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: Chucky is a super short film; it’s almost over before you realize it. I chose to submit only 1 Peetime. It’s right before all of the main action starts. At any point after this Peetime, I would have had to spoil stuff. So hopefully, the 1 Peetime will work out for you.

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

Rated (R) for bloody horror violence, and language throughout
Genres: Horror

Movie Review – The Dead Don’t Die

 

Movie Review - The Dead Don't DieDead Don’t Die as super low budget movie is somewhat cute, but nothing really good. Don’t see it in the theaters: its a good one to wait for streaming. Save your theater money now for the better movies.

There was one cool idea — zombies are attracted to what interested them most while alive. The same thing was done better in Shaun of the Dead though.

It could become a cult favorite later – it was a Cannes Indie darling. Probably from all the cameos.

There was a lot of good quiet interplay charisma between Bill Murray and Adam Driver, and the unusual direction was cool. That worked. The over-stuffed cameos were wasted though.

I was overall quite disappointed, and the cinema room was empty to boot. I might bump this up to a B- minus later. The humor was there, but it was the quiet kind.

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: This movie was both easy to make Peetimes for and hard. Easy because there are many meaningless dialog scenes, and hard because the film is packed with cameos. I did the best I could to keep the best scenes — between Bill Murray and Adam Driver — out of the Peetimes. It’s a short movie so I only made 2 Peetimes. FYI, there are no End Credit extras and the credits themselves only ran 30 seconds. The app won’t accept that, so it says 1 minute.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Dead Don’t Die. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for zombie violence/gore, and for language
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Zombie

Movie Review – Brightburn – An Ingenious Anti Superman Film

Movie Review - BrightburnLast night I was thoroughly entertained. Brightburn has something for everyone. There is horror, science fiction, humor, drama, suspense — the list goes on and on.

The special effects garnered most of my applause. There were sequences I’ve never seen done before. One scene in particular was a literal jaw dropper. I won’t spoil anything for you, but you’ll know the moment I’m talking about once you see the movie — which I highly recommend doing. One word of warning: it’s graphic. If you have a weak stomach, you may want to cover your eyes.

The casting was done perfectly. Normally, while watching a movie there are a few characters I could care less about. You know the ones I’m talking about — the ones with no spark. I can honestly say that doesn’t happen in this movie. It felt super cohesive and everyone’s onscreen chemistry was out of this world.

The way the story unfolds is really refreshing. They don’t follow your typical outline we’ve become so used to. It’s not predictable, you’re fed little pieces here and there and the outcome is unexpected.

So, is Brightburn anything like Superman?

You are most definitely led down a Superman like path. The resemblance is there but boy, that feeling ends.

I don’t know about you, but personally I’m tired of superhero movies. I’m not a big fan of them, but this one is more my speed. We know the boy has super powers; it’s how he chooses to use them that is tickling my fancy. Yes, I’m one of those folks that’s usually rooting for the bad guy. I know they never win, but my hope will never die. Brightburn stoked my fires of hope. Good doesn’t always prevail…sometimes evil comes waltzing in and steals the show.

I really hope there are more Brightburn films to come. The writers and the director worked magic — they had me spellbound. Great job, everyone! I left the theater very pleased.

Grade: A-

About The Peetimes: This was a really short movie and moved fast. I chose only 1 Peetime to keep you from missing anything in the last half of the movie. It’s full of nonstop action and critical developments.

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

Rated (R) for horror violence/bloody images, and language
Genres: Horror, Sci-Fi

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Movie Review – The Intruder

Movie Review - The IntruderThe Intruder was a decent film. The story has been done before and was really predictable, but the performance that Dennis Quaid gave made it enjoyable to watch.

He really brought his character to life. That was fun. Basically, this was Cold Creek Manor all over again with Quaid as the bad guy, instead of the new homeowner. He just switched roles. I found his performance in this one a lot better than Cold Creek Manor. I think being a bad guy suits him.

I’m considering this movie as a great way to spend an evening in, curled up on the couch, watching it on the television. I don’t feel that it had enough presence to compensate for ticket prices.

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: 2 Peetimes were submitted. They are equally good choices to use, easy to sum up, and I avoided any of the action/suspense moments.

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

Rated (PG-13) for violence, terror, some sexuality, language and thematic elements
Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery

Movie Review – The Curse of La Llorona – A Good Scary Time in the Conjuring Universe

Movie Review - The Curse of La LloronaThis premier was a happy moment and a sad moment for me. I’ve been anticipating this film for quite some time. The Conjuring Universe is my all-time favorite series of movies. Ever.

As a little girl, I read The Amityville Horror, and that is where I first discovered Ed and Lorraine Warren. I’ve followed their lives ever since and was ecstatic when The Conjuring came out. This has been a wonderful way to give them the limelight they deserved.

Sadly, last night, in her sleep, Lorraine Warren passed away. She lived to a ripe age of 92. I call that a successful life…a life that touched many people and will be surely missed. So as I sat in a beautiful Dolby theater, with my seat reclined, the woman on the screen left this world.

That’s a little chilling all by itself.

What was also chilling and creepy was The Curse of La Llorona. I tell you what — I got the chill bumps so many times that my legs looked like a Yeti on the way out. There were so many scenes that I jumped that I lost count.

I really like it when you can hear how much the movie is affecting the audience. I wasn’t the only one leaving with furry legs. I thought this one really vocal woman was going to have a heart attack. A good time was had by all.

They gave you a few glimpses into the rest of the movies: the way they wove them all together is really impressive. There is some great writing going on here. I’m looking forward to the next Annabelle, which is talked about in this movie.

There were even some funny moments; the delivery and timing of these lines were extremely well-placed.

My one and only complaint is that I kind of felt the little girl didn’t shine like she could have. Her role was a little flat. Other than that, I loved it.

This is odd…two weeks in a row, now my main complaints are the roles of the little girls. Pet Sematary did the same thing. This solidifies my thoughts on getting my granddaughter an agent. The acting world needs some fresh faces of the little girl kind.

In conclusion, if you’re a fan of James Wan and the creations he comes out with, see this movie. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: This was a really short, fast paced movie. I’ve decided on only 1 Peetime. I found a spot right in the middle that allows you plenty of time to use. Any point after this Peetime is a must-see.

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

Rated (R) for violence and terror
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

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Movie Review – Pet Sematary – A Worthy Adaptation

Movie Review - Pet SemataryThe newest adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, Pet Sematary, was a solid remake. Thirty years after the original release, the makers attempted to revive their cult classic film. That’s a huge undertaking, and an enormous gamble, considering the die-hard fans of the original. To please or not to please — that is the question.

They took a chance and drastically changed the plot…and it worked! I loved what they changed up and was very satisfied they didn’t shame the original.

From the trailers, I had two major red flags go off. These differences were huge to me, and made me cringe in fear of a total flop.

First and foremost, the cat. The original Church exemplified terror. He was a majestic British Short Hair that is, and always will be, iconic. I was scandalized that they were using a fluffy, long haired Maine Coon. What?! This in my mind was going to be a CATastrophe! So there I was, sitting the theater waiting for my disappointment to build, and low and behold, Church 2.0 won me over. This cat worked it on the catwalk; his performance was CATaclysmic. Well done. I was wrong.

My second gripe was Jud’s role. When I saw and heard John Lithgow in the trailer, I thought to myself, “Lithgow’s got some Munster-sized shoes to fill.” To me, no one could replace Fred Gwynne. He 100% owns that part in Hollywood History. So again, I’m sitting there waiting for the disappointment. Happily, because of the drastic plot changes, Lithgow pulled it off. He melded perfectly into the film. Almost. They fleshed his character out more so than the original, and that was an enjoyable addition. My one complaint: the essence that was lacking in his role was a result of a directing issue.

So I am now two for two on my fears being squashed. Kind of like a kitty cat on a heavily traveled road. Squish. I love it when movies prove me wrong.

There are a few minor issues that I’m going to throw in real quick. Jete Laurence as Ellie Creed had a very big part to fill. Her presence just wasn’t strong enough. She was okay, but I could see the possibilities, I felt she came in just under the bar the rest of the movie set.

Amy Seimetz as Rachel Creed also slightly bothered me. However, after a long discussion with RunPee Mom, we deduced it wasn’t her fault. The character itself isn’t endearing, and we’re saying that about Denise Crosby’s portrayal too. Rachel comes across as weak and needy, but that’s how she was written. So technically, Seimetz pulled her part off. I’m a very strong-willed person and I don’t like it when women are portrayed that way, but here, it worked.

I like ending my reviews on a positive note, so let’s praise Jason Clarke: he was awesome as Louis Creed. His performance was phenomenal, as was little Hugo Lavoie. He did a dandy job as Gage. I’m sad I didn’t hear “No fair,” or “Now I wanna play with youuuu,” but he was still fabulous.

Now that the cat’s out of the bag about what I thought, I’ll end by saying, “Great job! I was not disappointed.”

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: This is a pretty short movie. 2 Peetimes were picked, and they both allow you plenty of time.

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

Rated (R) for horror violence, bloody images, and some language
Genres: Horror, Thriller

Movie Review – Us – Tons of Symbolism, Creepy, and a Great Time at the Movies

Movie Review - UsI’m by no means a lover of horror movies anymore, but when Jordan Peele writes one, you can’t help but wonder what it will be like. His freshman movie, Get Out, was creepy enough to motivate me to see more from him. Us didn’t let me down. It’s a little hard to write specifics about the movie without giving away spoilers, because there’s so much to say, due to Director Peele’s love for symbolism and thought-provoking cliffhangers.

Let me start with a little framework. Director Peele stated in interviews that the idea of this movie came from various iconic horror-based inspirations, but the 1960 Twilight Zone episode entitled Mirror Image, where Vera Miles encountered her own doppelganger in a bus terminal, sent his imagination over the top.

The movie begins with a few sentences on the screen, pointing out that there are miles and miles of tunnels and secret passageways underneath cities in America, of which some have no purpose at all. At first, when I read that I wondered if the theater had put the wrong movie on. The next scene didn’t do much for immediately confirming that I was watching the right film given that the time setting was 1986, and a very old television was playing a “Hands Across America” infomercial inviting people to take part in the hand-holding (thus, a tethering which you’ll see resurface as symbolism) around the USA, to raise money to fight hunger and homelessness.

The movie is extremely scary and creepy. Jordan does a good job setting up each scene, especially when the black doppelganger family arrived in the driveway. Director Peele took his time before revealing the family, I’m sure, to increase the suspense and wow factor.

In the meantime, the scenes played out with a little humor from the father Gabe, going from suburban sweet-talking with reason, as he’s a little naive to what’s going on, to straight up hood trash-talking. On the other hand, the mom Ade has a very good idea that something terrible is about to happen. That’ll make more sense as the plot thickens, and at the end of the movie (wink).

There’s a lot of killing, with blood flying and gushing everywhere. If you have a weak stomach for blood, cover your eyes, but don’t keep them shut, as the movie is not filled with massive narrative scripting as much as visuals and sound effects. Jordan Peele used Michael Abels again to do the music, which is the same man Jordan found on YouTube to do the music for Get Out.

The acting was very good by all the characters. Shout-out to Lupita Nyong’o who plays the mom, Ade. She needs an award nomination for the dual role she played — exceptional job, and that spooky voice she created for her doppelganger made her even scarier. Now, let me point out a few things I noticed about the movie that you may have missed, or you should look for when you see it a second time. You have to see it 2 or 3 times because you’ll discover something new every time you see it.

These notes aren’t true spoilers, but if you want to go into the film with no foreknowledge at all, you might want to stop reading here, and return after you’ve seen it. But I think these notes will help your first-time viewing enjoyment, so this will have to be your call:

1. The rabbits appear again in this movie just like in Get Out. Also, I noticed that the rabbits were mainly just white with only a few brown or black ones mirroring America, or some of the many environments we work and live in. Other rabbit sightings: the daughter’s t-shirt; when the homeless guy was taken into the ambulance, he looked to be wearing a rabbit’s foot around his neck; and the doll the young Ade played with was a white rabbit.

2. Don’t miss that deer on the wall of the fun house; it reminded me of the deer at the beginning of Get Out.

3. The signal to move when the doppelganger family stood in the driveway was the Wakanda arms pose from the movie Black Panther.

4. The counselor and the parents thought the daughter was suffering from PTSD.

5. There was a subtle spider doppelganger in the vacation home.

6. The son, nor the mom, had rhythm when the song I Got 5 On It was playing in the car on the road trip. Hmmm (remember I said this when you watch).

7. Jeremiah 11:11 “I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape” appeared as a reference several times: on the homeless man’s sign in 1986, during the present day when he got put into the ambulance, and then as the son Jason noticed the time was 11:11 at the vacation house, just before the doppelgangers arrived.

8. The name of the fun house in 1986 when young Ade entered was called Vision Quest, but in present-day of the movie when Momma Ade entered it was called Merlin’s Nest Hall.

9. Jason’s mask is red, like the doppelgangers’ clothing. More importantly, why does he have a mask in the first place? (Remember I said this, too.)

10. Jason growled like his doppelganger when he and his sister entered the neighbor’s house. Very questionable, or just a little touch of humor? (Remember this.)

11. Momma Ade and her doppelganger, Red, never seemed tethered like the others, as they didn’t have synchronized movements like some of the other copycat pairs. (And again, remember I said this…)

12. The scene of Momma Ade crying reminds you of the Get Out movie character Chris Washington, crying before he was sunk in the chair by the teaspoon-stirring Virginia.
13.  Jordan Peele has been making a cameo appearance in both his movies that no on would notice.  He does the voice of what sounds like a dying rabbit in Get Out and in Us.
14. While there were no extra scenes before or during the credits, Jordan Peele did list the doppelgänger cast names in a unique way.  He listed the human cast name in regular color, then he put the doppelgänger name right to it in red…which is what color they all wore…and the lead doppelgänger name is Red.

Lastly, I’ll mention those gold fabric scissors. I think they represent the act of cutting the ties or the tether between the two pairs. We often are our own worst enemy (as the movie subtitle states) and sometimes we need to sever that tether in order to escape what oppresses us.

I also agree with another theory that Peele portrays the doppelgangers as a means for him to continue to explore ‘double consciousness’ — W.E.B Du Bois’ influential race theory of how Blacks see themselves two-fold: as themselves, and as themselves through their oppressor’s eyes. Hence, the beginning of the movie with the long camera shot of the white rabbit’s eye staring at us.

Okay, I told you there was much to say without giving away spoilers, only tips to pay attention to as you watch. Hopefully, you enjoy it as much as I did. I’m headed to see it again tonight. Let me know your thoughts below.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: Oh my! I’m still shaking in my seat. It was difficult to find Peetimes. The plot didn’t let up much or long enough for anyone to leave their seat and not miss a good part, or one of the many symbolic references. I recommend the 3rd Peetime — it’s the longest.

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

Rated (R) for violence/terror, and language
Genres: Horror, Thriller

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Movie Review – Greta – Less Teeth, Still A Good Bite

Movie Review - GretaGreta didn’t have the teeth of some more memorable thrillers, such as A Quiet Place or Get Out, but it did have a good bite.

The first half of the movie was loaded with dramatic exposition, and the last half was the payoff, giving us one heck of a quirky ending. I loved it! I was entertained throughout the movie, and never bored.

The angelic Chloe Grace Moritz and the magnificent Isabella Huppert played off each other’s great performance beautifully. Hopefully, Isabella Huppert will spend a little more time in America, gracing our silver screens.

If you love a good jump scare, take time this weekend and check out Greta.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: Greta is a tightly wound movie, making it hard to find a good 4 minute down-time. I highly recommend the 1st Peetime over the 2nd, which I only included as an emergency option.

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

Rated (R) for some violence and disturbing images
Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery

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