Movie Review – Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

 

Movie Review - Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindelwaldI don’t know what happened with this movie. It looked great from the trailers, and looked like the story would make sense. The film itself, though, was a big beautiful mess. I’m not even sure what I saw.

I’m essentially a Harry Potter expert. I’ve read the books dozens of times, seen the movies even more, visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and traveled to places filmed on location in both London and Scotland. I belong to a Harry Potter Meetup group, and have different wizard outfits, cobbled together over the years. I’ve made wands. Blah blah blah. All this to make it clear when I say I don’t understand Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. It’s a painful feeling.

It’s not even just me. I went with a fellow wizard friend, and he was disappointed and lost too. After the film, we tried to figure out what the movie was about, why the characters did the things they did, and were both just puzzled.

We saw the movie in IMAX at a select early screening with reserved tickets in a packed theater. Everyone there was a big HP fan, ready to have an exciting time. We started out applauding and cheering when different things occurred onscreen, like seeing Dumbledore, during the Hogwarts scene, when different creatures showed up, and when certain early secrets were revealed. However, as the movie wore on, the audience got more and more quiet. By the end, you could hear a pin drop. There was no final applause, which spoke volumes in its silence. People filed out with no fanfare or excitement. Basically, JK Rowling’s biggest fanbase seemed alienated.

I’ll probably see this a few more times in the theater — and it really is a pretty piece of work. I hope to figure out what the plot was about and why the characters did the things they did. I’m positive I’ll have better things to say about this film then. But in the meantime, I’ll say this: if I couldn’t follow the weird, convoluted, and very messy narrative told here, I doubt the casual fan will know what to make of it.

Grade: C

About The Peetimes: I attended a premier showing before the film officially opened. (I had to drink my hoarded Felix Felicis Potion to get this ticket.) While this is great news for RunPee fans, I will admit this was the hardest movie ever for me to get Peetimes. The film moves at a breakneck pace, with too many characters — many of whom were brand new and didn’t make any sense in the film. I added 2 Peetimes, in any case. The 1st is better, at 39 minutes in. The 2nd, at 1:16 will also serve. Neither of these scenes have any interesting action or fantastic beasts.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Review – Overlord

Movie Review - OverlordOverlord wasn’t bad; it wasn’t great but it definitely wasn’t bad. At moments it bordered on campy, and then would flow back into a shoot ’em up thriller. It reminded me of the video games my husband plays. It has that type of feel, not quite real, but with a storyline you hope ends up with the good guys winning.

The thing that jumped out at me the most was the blood and gore. They did a bang-up job on making things look really creepy. Once you get to see the supposed zombies, you’ll understand. The way they look — and for sure the way they move. That was impressive.

As long as I stay in the mindset of this being borderline campy, I enjoyed it. The first half of the movie really drew me in, but they kind of lost my attention towards the end. There was way too much time spent on loud explosions and useless gore. If they could have thrown in a little more story and less action I would have scored it better.

I don’t know that I’ll watch it again, but I at least don’t feel cheated out of my time and money. This movie might just make it into a date night movie category. The guys will enjoy the action and violence, and the girls will enjoy pretending to be scared and hiding in their dates’ necks. That’s a win-win situation.

Grade: C

About The Peetimes: This is an action-packed movie. I tried to choose Peetimes that kept you from missing any of the ‘wow’ moment scenes. I recommend using the 1st Peetime. The 2nd Peetime is short and involves some action.

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

Christene Johnson (RunPee Sis)

RunPee.com owes RunPee Sis a huge debt of gratitude. She sees any movie needed with no complaints and has done so for ten years (even basing Thanksgiving and Christmas family festivities around the seeing films). In 2015 Sis ran the entire RunPee enterprise herself, while RunPee Dan, Jilly and Mom went traipsing off to Europe. Sis is the spider in the web holding the RunPee family together — besides being a funny, well rounded person, and a joyous pleasure to be around. Her favorite films start and end with horror (which thank goodness she’s happy to see, since most of us don’t have the stomach for it) — but also likes silly comedies, sad dramas, and musicals of all types. If you’ve used a Peetime for a scary film, you probably have RunPee Sis to thank for it.

Favorite movie genre: Horror, horror, and more horror. The more disturbing, the better. Period.

Bio

Movie Review – The Grinch

 

Movie Review - The Grinch
Max the dog was cute. So was Fred the Reindeer. So, not a total loss.

It’s time to cease re-doing The Grinch. Full stop.

I can’t believe I was sucked into thinking this movie would add anything to the tale that wasn’t done perfectly already in the 1966 Xmas Special. What can I say, except to watch that perfect, iconic 26-minute version again, and to skip this bit of ‘meh.’. SKIP IT. YOU HEAR ME? It’s simply not good. Everything funny was shown in the trailer, and anything emotionally resonant still lies in that long ago Special that still holds up, after all this time.

If you want to feel touched by the Grinch’s heart growing three times, return to the original, and use that as your annual holiday touchstone. You’ll get misty-eyed, and walk away feeling good about life. Not so with this flick. This Grinch had great animated hair, and that’s all I can really say about it.

Moreso, egregiously, none of the genius grinchy musical numbers made it into this feature. It’s too bad, as I was ready to sing along with the audience. This was a just a big waste of time. I’m actually mad about it. STOP rebooting the Grinch, Hollywood! Is anybody listening?

The entire Cindy Lou Who subplot was a boring, meandering, meaningless misfire. Her “big” question for Santa underwhelmed, and her friends had no personality. What was the point of introducing them?

I honestly don’t know why the producers thought they could improve on the animated classic with this dreck. Even the lamented Jim Carrey live-action version was better, and that’s saying a lot.

I LOVE the classic Grinch story from Dr. Seuss, but can’t understand why this 2018 movie was necessary. Stick with the 1957 book or the 1966 TV special, and you’ll understand why this story is so important, so enduring. Loneliness and alienation are real concerns, and that first story offers hope for us all, even if we are sometimes humbugs where Christmas is concerned.

What did work in this film: Max the dog and Fred the reindeer. They had the most laughs from the young audience. As for the Grinch, not even Benedict Cumberbatch could make this film work.

Grade: D+

About The Peetimes: This is a short movie, and only 2 of the Peetimes are workable. The 1st one is really nice and long. The 2nd is fine too. Don’t use the 3rd Peetime if you don’t know the story of the Grinch — it’s just for emergencies.

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

The Grinch Who Keeps Stealing Christmas

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Review – The Girl in the Spider’s Web

 

Movie Review - The Girl in the Spider's WebIt’s a sad fact: sometimes a good book can make a not so good movie. Such is the case of The Girl in the Spider’s Web.

The pacing was frenetic, making the plot hard to follow. There were scenes that went by so quickly, I hardly had time to incorporate them into the movie in my brain. Most of these scenes were filled with gratuitous explosions or implausible car chases that hurt my brain.

I didn’t feel there was any chemistry between the characters, and in my heart of hearts, I don’t think the actors had fun in making this movie. I most certainly didn’t have fun watching it.

TGitSW could have been shot in black and white, and it wouldn’t have made a difference. There was very little color, except for a brilliantly red outfit worn by Camilla during a portion of the movie. And speaking of the red outfit: hats off to Sylvia Hoeks for running up a snow-covered hill while wearing six inch red stilettos. You go girl!

I’m assuming that the target audience are those who have read the book, which I have not. How well did the movie follow the book? Did the personalities of the book follow the personalities of the movie? I don’t know, because I haven’t read the book and probably never will.

I did find it interesting that the movie opened with a ‘Me Too’ moment, showing Lisbeth emasculating an abuser by hanging him from the ceiling, and tazing the creep ’til he literally peed his pants. The icing on the revenge cake was when Lisbeth mostly depleted his fortune by transferring funds into a private account for the wife. A lot of people would consider this scene worth the price of admission. I did! I believe that TGitSW would have been so much better if tazing psychotic husbands had been the plot of the movie.

My bottom line…….wait for the DVD.

Grade: D+

About The Peetimes: This movie was almost non-stop action, making it difficult to get good Peetimes — however, I managed to find 2 action scenes that were easily summed up.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Girl in the Spider’s Web. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

RunPee Mom is our emotional bedrock. Without her, RunPee never would have lasted a decade as an app (which is since the dawn of time in internet years). She’s our biggest cheerleader and an unending source of unconditional love. She works cheerfully and tirelessly, seeing any movie we ask of her, writing interesting reviews, and being our…well…MOM. Her genres of choice: kiddie flicks, animated movies, emotional dramas, historical features, war films, diverse biographies, and even dense, diabolically plotted thrillers. She knows more about famous and infamous figures in history than said figures probably knew about themselves. She’s the Quiz Manager for the RunPee.com blog, and Assistant Facebook Manager for our social media efforts. If you’ve interacted with someone on our Facebook page, you’ve most likely been given a virtual hug by RunPee Mom.

Movie Review – Nobody’s Fool

 

Movie Review - Nobody's FoolSuper funny movie. I laughed (as well as the whole audience) at least 100 times. Tiffany Haddish is hysterical; every one of her scenes were amazing.

If you’re looking for a raunchy and sweet comedy, look no more — check this one out.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: This is an easy movie to follow. The 2 Peetimes I entered will work equally well.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Nobody’s Fool. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Christene Johnson (RunPee Sis)

RunPee.com owes RunPee Sis a huge debt of gratitude. She sees any movie needed with no complaints and has done so for ten years (even basing Thanksgiving and Christmas family festivities around the seeing films). In 2015 Sis ran the entire RunPee enterprise herself, while RunPee Dan, Jilly and Mom went traipsing off to Europe. Sis is the spider in the web holding the RunPee family together — besides being a funny, well rounded person, and a joyous pleasure to be around. Her favorite films start and end with horror (which thank goodness she’s happy to see, since most of us don’t have the stomach for it) — but also likes silly comedies, sad dramas, and musicals of all types. If you’ve used a Peetime for a scary film, you probably have RunPee Sis to thank for it.

Favorite movie genre: Horror, horror, and more horror. The more disturbing, the better. Period.

Bio

Virgin Movie Review — Daddy’s Home

Sometimes you just feel like watching a dumb movie. That was my deal tonight — I wanted to see something I hadn’t seen before, and Daddy’s Home was on. And yep, it’s a silly inconsequential flick, but it was a mostly pleasant experience for an evening when you just want to relax and chill.

Will Ferrell is great at being a doofus, and Mark Wahlberg managed to evoke a bit of charm here and there, despite playing a complete asshat. I can’t complain much, as some of it was even clever…like the opening credits where the little girl’s holiday drawings illustrated how she gradually became less antagonistic to her step-father. That was a good use of exposition. I liked “random guy” Griff, who basically moved onto the couch of the family’s household, Tumor the wackadoodle ‘ugly-cute’ dog, the “scary” fourth-graders gag (that bit gave me a genuine laugh), and out-of-left-field stories from Ferrell’s creepy boss. I thought the kiddos were great little actors, and the wife got in some fun lines here and there.

That’s the good. There was also quite a bit of bad. The shtick of the battling fathers got old really fast, and by the middle of the movie I felt bored and restless. The plot needed to go somewhere besides Ferrell being a loser and Wahlberg being too cool for school. It seemed like Wahlberg’s character knew everybody, and everybody loved him: how very convenient. By the time the movie hit the Lakers scene, I was over the constant one-upping-ness and rote predictability of the plot. I don’t blame the actors here, who I think did what they could with what was written.

I don’t like cringe humor, and Daddy’s Home had that in spades. This would frankly never be the kind of film I’d pay to see in the theater, but it worked for a light bit of home entertainment.

Movie Grade: C

Movie Review – Daddy’s Home 2

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Review – Beautiful Boy

Movie Review - Beautiful BoyBeing a retired nurse, I feel qualified to recommend this movie to anyone going through recovery, or any friend or family member who’s trying desperately to stand by their side.

Beautiful Boy succeeds —  where so many other have have failed — in showing the insanity of addiction. Never, at any time, did I feel that the ‘powers that be’ had ‘Hollywooded’-up this incredible film. (My family can attest to the fact that I do go just a little berserk when Hollywood has to go and add some bling to a truly great piece of history. Don’t get me started on the upcoming movie, Mary Queen Of Scots.)

What this movie showed, with great detail and honesty, is the bleak underbelly of addiction. It seems that Felix van Groeningen knew exactly how to reach the audience without going over the top.

Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet both gave an Oscar-winning performance. If they gave an award for Best Onscreen Couple, these two actors would win hands down, for sure. Carell is a phenomenal actor that can make your sides split in one movie, then make your heart break in the next. Carell’s performance seemed to come from his very soul. Each facial expression was a reflection of his pain.

Chalamet did a spectacular job of showing the highs and lows of his character’s addiction. This pair had such incredible chemistry that it made us believe everything they were feeling, and everything they were saying to each other, in their many one-on-one conversations. And when you hear David singing Beautiful Boy to Nic, your heart will break. It’s definitely a five Kleenex moment.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: In a 2 hour movie, I like to get at least 3 Peetimes. Couldn’t do that in Beautiful Boy. The last half of the movie had so much drama and tension that should not be missed. If you do hear the call of nature, my suggestion is that you make a mad dash for the loo, and back to your seat in no longer than 2 minutes.

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

RunPee Mom is our emotional bedrock. Without her, RunPee never would have lasted a decade as an app (which is since the dawn of time in internet years). She’s our biggest cheerleader and an unending source of unconditional love. She works cheerfully and tirelessly, seeing any movie we ask of her, writing interesting reviews, and being our…well…MOM. Her genres of choice: kiddie flicks, animated movies, emotional dramas, historical features, war films, diverse biographies, and even dense, diabolically plotted thrillers. She knows more about famous and infamous figures in history than said figures probably knew about themselves. She’s the Quiz Manager for the RunPee.com blog, and Assistant Facebook Manager for our social media efforts. If you’ve interacted with someone on our Facebook page, you’ve most likely been given a virtual hug by RunPee Mom.

Movie Review – Suspiria

Movie Review - SuspiriaAs Suspiria ended, for the first time in my career, I didn’t have a clue as to what I had just seen. Fortunately, there was a very pleasant young man seated near me who helped shed some light on this confusing piece of work. He referred back to the original, telling me that this movie was very different from the first. Wait! What? Suspiria had been done before? Why?

Typically, I don’t research a movie ’till after I’ve done my review, because I want to go in without any preconceived notions. This time, however, that little practice really backfired on me.

So, to be fair, in this review, I’ll address the mechanics of the film, and then I’ll address the content.

Dakota Johnson really did steal the show. During the course of the movie, we see her change from a demure Mennonite to basically an evil witch. The change is so gradual, that by the end, you’ll wonder how this came to be. Tilda Swinton really rocked her three separate roles, and — not to give away any spoilers — in one of her roles you’ll be absolutely gobsmacked at her performance. Mia Goth, from A Cure For Wellness, showed us, once again, that she’s worthy of high praise.

The setting was artistically done; there’s constant rain or snow, and it’s not until the end of the movie that we see any sunshine. Perfect for this genre. The pacing of Suspiria is hard to define; there are moments of frenetic activity, followed by too many scenes of mind-numbing nothingness.

The English subtitles were (even though necessary) distracting. The thick German accents made it all but impossible to follow, then they threw in the many scenes filmed in cavernous rooms, with echoes distorting the dialog…and you end up with a big audio mess.

I do give kudos to the director, Luca Guadagnino, for pulling some mind-blowing emotions out of the actors — something he did beautifully in Call Me By Your Name.

As for how I feel about the content of Suspiria? Confused covers it nicely. The dance numbers were a pure delight to watch, but the many scenes of outright butchery and slaughter overwhelmed my senses to the point of disgust. It was as if the special effects department went way out their way to show the audience how well they do ‘carnage’. In that case, job well done, special effects people, job well done.

I struggled with what grade to give Suspiria. As has been my practice for the last ten years, I’ll grade according to the target audience. So that begs the question; who is the target audience? My best guess is the people who’ve seen the original. The nice young man I spoke of at the beginning of this diatribe had seen the original, and explained that the movie bore little resemblance to the reboot — but nevertheless would give it a favorable grade. Another audience member who had seen the original, and knew what he was walking into, gave it a decisive ‘A’. With all this in mind, I give Suspiria a B-.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: This was an insane movie for finding Peetimes. There were subtitles, thick German accents, and cavernous rooms that made echoes. This is the first time I’ve found a 12 minute Peetime, and it’s got an “Alert” rating, because that protracted scene was the worst kind of carnage I’ve ever seen in a movie.

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

RunPee Mom is our emotional bedrock. Without her, RunPee never would have lasted a decade as an app (which is since the dawn of time in internet years). She’s our biggest cheerleader and an unending source of unconditional love. She works cheerfully and tirelessly, seeing any movie we ask of her, writing interesting reviews, and being our…well…MOM. Her genres of choice: kiddie flicks, animated movies, emotional dramas, historical features, war films, diverse biographies, and even dense, diabolically plotted thrillers. She knows more about famous and infamous figures in history than said figures probably knew about themselves. She’s the Quiz Manager for the RunPee.com blog, and Assistant Facebook Manager for our social media efforts. If you’ve interacted with someone on our Facebook page, you’ve most likely been given a virtual hug by RunPee Mom.

Movie Review – The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Movie Review - The Nutcracker and the Four RealmsI’m giving Nutcracker and the Four Realms an A. It was simply stunning; an absolutely gorgeous film the entire family will love. The only reason it’s not an A+ is because the Sugar Plum Fairy was really awkward to watch. She’s played by the normally fantastic Keira Knightly, who is completely unrecognizable here. I have no idea why the director had her act in so annoying a fashion. And not the cool kind of annoying; just irritating. She was the only real blight in this otherwise glorious adventure fantasy.

Special kudos goes to the girl who played Clara, and the charming fellow as the Nutcracker himself. They had honest chemistry; their scenes together were sweet, funny, and amiable.

Morgan Freeman played his somewhat patented role of the kindly, yet slightly mysterious elder, and it worked well for the part. Hellen Mirren was less fortunate; she wasn’t given much to work with, and I found the “transition” scene a bit unlikely. It was as abrupt as a similar scene with Sugar Plum.

Basically, this is an extremely likable film, and everyone who loves the Christmas season will get a real kick out of it. The magnificent dresses, elaborate hair styles, the lush set designs, and fantastical landscapes were worth the ticket price right there, and seeing this in 3D was absolutely the way to go. Take my advice and see this on the best screen you can find. It’s so darn pretty, in every way.

In another note, there are, of course, some ballet scenes — it’s based on the iconic Nutcracker Suite, and the music should be familiar to anyone with ears. I remember attending an actual Nutcracker performance, as a child in New York City. The show I saw featured Mikhail Baryshnikov… which was a real treat. But honestly, I enjoyed this movie more. A ballet performance can get weary to a youngster, but this film was a very accessible way to follow the story. Just a great holiday experience, where you can relax, let go of stress, and enjoy all the pretty flowing by. Don’t wait for the DVD — see it now.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: I recommend using the 1st Peetime proactively if you can, since it’s a nice long one with nothing important happening for the plot. The other 2 Peetimes are perfectly acceptable, and you won’t miss the real action or plot development at all.

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

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Review – Bohemian Rhapsody

Movie Review - Bohemian RhapsodyTears — check

Racing heart — check

Goose pimples — check

Foot stomping good fun — check

A deeper appreciation for a beloved musician and band — double check.

I love Queen’s music; always have, but I’ll be honest: I knew nothing about the band members and their story, and I’m glad I didn’t, because it made this movie so much more enjoyable not knowing. (And I won’t ruin that for you in this review.)

Any discussion of this film must begin with Rami Malek’s outstanding performance as Freddie Mercury. For a role that relied so deeply on voice, it was his expressions — especially his eyes — that told the story. I could go on with platitudes and adjectives, but let’s just say, “He rocked it,” and move on.

The pacing was spot on. There was just enough of each dramatic scene to get the impact without dragging.

The director Bryan Singer (the guy who did the good X-Men movies) showed he can direct a movie to an emotional crescendo just as well — perhaps even better — than he can end with climatic action.

This is a movie with no room for improvement. I see a lot of movies and that’s not something I can often say.

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: RunPee Vera and I worked together on these Peetimes. I think we came up with four good options, nicely spaced out in the movie. And we worked extra hard to avoid the music montage scenes.

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

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.