Movie Review – The Lion King

Movie Review - The Lion KingWe’ll have a movie review from Dana Simone, who is a Lion King aficionado, soon.

If you’re not a Lion King fan then I think you’ll find this version more enjoyable than the animated, based on more humor and the outstanding cinematography.

For my part, I feel a little numb because I effectively watched the movie three times today working on the Peetimes. And, until two nights ago, I hadn’t seen the animated Lion King since it first came out.

The CGI is outstanding. There wasn’t a single moment where I could tell that something wasn’t real. Of course the animal talking is unavoidably clumsy because they don’t have the anatomy to actually talk. But I didn’t find it distracting.

The script has been revised slightly to make it more contemporary and add a little more humor.

Speaking of humor: Seth Rogen, as the voice for Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as the voice for Timon, absolutely carried the movie. John Oliver as Zazu was a perfect choice; I just wish the writers had given him one five second rant to enjoy.

I’m bummed they didn’t bring back Whoopi Goldberg as the voice for Shenzi the hyena, but at least they had “the voice” as Mufasa: James Earl Jones.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: I would recommend either of the first two Peetimes.

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

Rated (PG) for sequences of violence and peril, and some thematic elements
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Drama, Remake

Movie Review – Crawl

Movie Review - CrawlDue to a terrible mistake made by myself on opening night, I had to go back today and watch Crawl all over again. It didn’t get any better the second time around.

I have lived in Florida for a number of years now and can empathize with the two characters in this movie. Yes, hurricanes suck and alligators are terrifying. Put dealing with those two things together and you got yourself the makings of a great movie. At least I thought so.

It was boring. Most of it takes place in the basement, and it’s just them moving around in the water trying not to get eaten. The subplot of the father and daughter trying to reconcile hurt feelings felt tedious to me. There was no chemistry between them and I honestly didn’t care if they made it out alive.

The only thing I did enjoy were the sound effects. The gators sounded cool and when they would chomp down on body parts it was even cooler.

There was one moment when the entire crowd laughed. Exactly as the movie ends and the credits begin, they play, “See You Later, Alligator,” by Bill Haley.

This would make a great way to spend a rainy evening on the couch; my recommendation is to wait for the DVD.

Grade: C-

About The Peetimes: Crawl is a super short movie, so I only submitted 1 Peetime. It’s well placed during a moment that was easy to sum up, and gives you plenty of time to run and pee.

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

Rated (R) for bloody creature violence, and brief language
Genres: Action, Adventure, Horror

Movie Review – Spider-Man: Far from Home – Fun, but a little underwhelming

 

Movie Review - Spider-Man: Far from HomeI liked Spider-Man: Far From Home. I liked it a lot. But I didn’t love it, and that surprised me.

I adore Tom Holland‘s version of Spider-Man, and think he’s the best Peter Parker ever done, no question. (Notice how this sidesteps Miles Morales‘ stunning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse quite nicely.) And every appearance by MCU’s Spider-Man, from Civil War to Endgame, sparkled with wit and verve.

I rewatched Spider-Man: Homecoming to get ready for Spidey’s ‘European Vacation’. I was again taken with how absolutely lovely, charming, funny, and exciting Peter Parker’s first solo outing was. (With one of Marvel’s better villains, to boot.)

Far From Home was enjoyable, but not up to the level I expected. Some nits to pick (with spoilers for Avengers: Endgame):

– Ned wasn’t The Chair Guy this time. He was mostly sidelined. Ned had funny lines, but was no longer Spider-Man’s sidekick. Making him foolish — and a damsel in distress, even — didn’t sit right.

– Peter was too low-key. I get that he’s been through a lot, and mourns Iron-Man like a father, but EVERYONE in the post-post-post Snap world (yes, there were three Snaps, remember?) is suffering. His friends seemed fine. I would have written Spidey as his usual irrepressible self who’d get sad when reminders of Tony Stark hit him out of nowhere. Grief is like that: you’re grooving along until you get a gut-punch reminder.

– There wasn’t enough care and attention paid to how Earth is handling the new reality: billions of people returning to life five years later. Yes, it was alluded to a few times, but I expected more. And Europe seemed to truck on with no problems at all. Even seeing some of the homelessness and ruin in the background would have helped keep the sense of continuity alive. The MCU usually provides better world-building than that.

– I missed the fun rock and pop music that made Homecoming so fun. (We did get one rock hit underscoring a poignant/funny moment, but I won’t spoil it.)

– And another nit: Spider-Man is the only A-List hero left on Earth? After 23 movies packed with super beings, I can’t buy that.

So, Where Were the Other Avengers?

As said, in-movie:

Dead:

Not mentioned, but should be around for Fury to call upon:

  • Professor Hulk
  • War Machine (who’s basically an Iron Man already)
  • Ant-Man
  • Wasp
  • Scarlet Witch (who should be able to wipe the floor with anyone)
  • Valkyrie, Korg, and a whole city of Asgardians
  • Black Panther, Shuri, and a whole country of Wakandans
  • Falcon (AKA new Cap)
  • The Winter Soldier/White Wolf
  • Hawkeye (I presume he returned to retirement…)
  • Pepper Potts-Stark is at least name-dropped (apparently she doesn’t want to use her Iron Suit any more than Peter does, for the same reason)
  • Lots of minor heroes could also be asked to ‘step up’…this could be a whole article. Which I’ll probably write, if there’s interest.

Again, those are mostly nits. But there’s one big problem, and for that I have to give Spider-Man FFH a B grade. That’s hard to do, since I loved a lot of it. I am a huge MCU fan, a Tom Holland-as-Spidey fan…and I really do think this is the best genre movie out right now (not including the Endgame re-release). But since we at RunPee tend to grade the Marvel Cinematic Universe on a curve, I’d have to rank this as a “middle tier” movie. MAN, I hate saying this.

It might have been that all the major plot points of FFH were spoiled for me, but I normally love anything the MCU does, so that shouldn’t have mattered.

Where Spider-Man: Far From Home Faltered

The single biggest problem is the bad guys are kind of an underwhelming/overwhelming mess. They are huge; they are CGI; they have no personality or motivation whatsoever…or even facial expressions. How is that supposed to be fun to watch? It doesn’t matter that that part doesn’t matter (have to be vague), but it made every fight with The Elementals boring. They felt more like the worst kind of bad guys done in the DC Universe (on the level of Incubus or Steppenwolf, or all the other villains no one remembers).

MCU has the occasional villain problem, but nothing as bad as these guys.

The point is, it doesn’t matter that the Elementals are [redacted for spoilers]: they still got too much screen time. They brought the movie down. Watching European landmarks get destroyed isn’t entertaining by itself. Even Godzilla has a personality.

Notice I’m not mentioning Mysterio. Or the promised Multi-Verse. I can’t go into any of this without spoilers, and this review is already too long. Suffice to say if Iron Man had a love child with Dr. Strange, you’d kind of get Mysterio. The trippy, psychedelic stuff was the best part of the action. It’s too bad they couldn’t get Dr. Strange on the phone. I’ll stop there.

Overall, How’s Spider-Man: Far From Home?

I’m making a bigger deal out of the Villain Problem than I meant to. Far From Home is still a super fun film, with laughs, school trip shenanigans, great on-location scenery, emotional moments, and a fun class reunion with Peter Parker’s (conveniently) co-blipped pals. And Happy Hogan stole every scene from Peter, which I didn’t expect. Tony Stark’s absence was keenly felt, but his character still managed to permeate the story, and even drew one of the best laughs.

So, yeah, absolutely see the 23rd movie officially closing out the Infinity Saga. It’s the last MCU film we’re getting this year. (We don’t yet know when Phase 4 will begin.) Far From Home really has some great moments and a lot of heart, so go and enjoy yourselves, Elementals be damned. 🙂

PS: The extra scenes over the credits are AWESOME. The implication are pretty big (for one of them) and pretty cool (for the other).

PPS: Also, in the background at near the end of the movie, there’s a building mural Peter swings slowly by that reads: “We can’t wait to show you what happens next!” Clearly that’s a message about Phase 4 from the MCU. Nice nod.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: I have 3 good Peetimes, spaced out nicely through the movie.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Spider-Man: Far from Home. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Superhero, MCU

Life on Earth After Avengers: Endgame (Post-post Snap)

Movie Review – Spider-Man Homecoming

The entire MCU Movie Order – Several Options for your pre-Avengers Endgame Watch or Rewatch

Stan Lee – His Favorite Marvel Characters

Marvel Phase 4 Predictions – Some MCU Sure-Fire Guesses

 

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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Ranking the Chucky Movies – From a True Horror Fan

Movie Review – Yesterday

Movie Review - YesterdayThe only reason I didn’t give Yesterday an A+ is that, at least for now, I don’t think it’s as good as Love Actually both written by Richard Curtis — and both are very similar.

Yesterday checks all the boxes for a great film: it’s terribly well acted; the pacing rolls along with the right amount of ups and downs; the protagonist is challenged, and responds without resorting to cliche; and it has plenty of humor without trying too hard.

This is the product of a masterful writer who takes his time crafting a great story.

I don’t want to spoil it, in case you haven’t seen the movie yet, but I believe the penultimate scene, prior to the big concert, is one of the more poignant scenes in any movie. I still can’t stop thinking about the “what if’s.”

Yeah, I can’t wait to see this movie again.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: I have three good Peetimes for you. I’d recommend the 2nd one since it’s around the middle of the movie and doesn’t have any humor or plot/character development. The timing for the 2nd and 3rd Peetimes may be just a little bit off since the power went out during my showing. Yes, seriously, the power went out for, I don’t know, about 12 seconds.

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

Rated (PG-13) for suggestive content and language
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Music

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Love, Actually and Christmas Is All Around (That “Festering Turd of a Record”)

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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

The Conjuring – movie review

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

Movie Review – The Nun

 

Movie Review – Anna

Movie Review - AnnaIt appears that Luc Besson has fallen into the trap that has been the downfall of many a director; if it worked before, they’ll do it again, and oftentimes the end result is a disaster.

Anna is not a disaster of a movie: the pacing was well done; but the writing, acting, and directing was a disappointment. Helen Mirren’s role as a Russian spy was almost comically performed by this award-winning actor. Nothing about the character was believable, and the Russian accent sounded like a parody of itself. The rest of the cast also gave sub-par performances; however none of them would be considered ‘award winning’ actors, so I didn’t hold them to the same standards I’d set for Ms. Mirren.

A few minutes into the movie I realized I’d seen this before, except with the title “La Femme Nikita”, another spy movie, written by Luc Besson. Oh, and the movie Point of No Return, the American version starring Bridget Fonda, was also written by Besson. La Femme was an extraordinary movie, Point of No Return was acceptable…but Anna fell short.

The biggest problem I had with Anna were the flashbacks, and flash forwards. It was a bit like a Christopher Nolan movie, where time is not linear — a bit irritating, and sometimes, a bit confusing. Also, the incredulous fight scenes (of which there are many) where Anna kicks the butts of a gang of nefarious men wearing outfits straight out of Victoria’s Secret (with stilettos) was way over the top. Each fight scene looked more like something out of a Stephen Seagal movie.

I didn’t hate Anna, but my recommendation is to wait for the DVD.

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: This was a hard action movie with only a few breaks from the chaos, making it just a little difficult to get good Peetimes. I was able to include an Emergency Peetime coming near the end of the movie.

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

Rated (R) for strong violence, language, and some sexual content
Genres: Action, Thriller

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 – Toy Story 4

Movie Review - Toy Story 4Vera and I saw the movie together and collaborated on the Peetimes. We agreed that Toy Story 4 deserves an A. It has everything you could want: fun action for the kids, plenty of humor, especially with the two new toys Bunny and Ducky — voiced by Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key respectively — and a really well thought out villain, if you can call Gabby a villain.

I found this movie to be a pleasure to watch. In many ways it’s more real than most of the “real” movies today. Everyone knows that things will “work out” in the end, but there was really uncertainty in what the characters would decide to do.

This is Pixar at its finest.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: Toy Story 4 is packed with action, and plot development, and jumps between short scenes of different groups of toys. That makes it difficult to find Peetimes. All of the Peetimes are decent, but short. The 2nd Peetime is recommended because it’s the longest, almost 4 minutes long.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Toy Story 4. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (G)
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

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