Movie Review – Tangled

 

Movie Review - TangledI’m only 3/4 of the way through my first viewing of Tangled (yes, my 1st time) and I love it already so much I’m willing to give it an A+. Of course, they could screw it up during the climax and I’ll have to change my review, but so far I’m completely delighted.

Tangled: beautifully animated, very funny, and packs in a lot of adventure. I’m stingy with my A grades, and give almost nothing an A+, so this is a good endorsement from us at RunPee.

Great Characters

There’s a handsome Han Solo type of rogue. Which…yay! And of course there are amusing animal sidekicks. What’s cool is that both the horse and chameleon have a ton of attitude, which Disney doesn’t usually do. Actually, their “men” aren’t usually ‘jerks with a heart of gold’, except for Flynn here, and  Naveen in The Princess and the Frog. So this is kind of a treat. Ahem.

I smiled a lot, especially with the Snuggly Duck ruffians singing about their dreams. Really. What could be more cute than that scene?

This movie made me happy.

A Great Villain

Then there’s Gothel, the ‘wicked’ adoptive mother. She’s an awesome villain. Her songs are totally fun, and she’s actually nice to Rapunzel. She really is. She’s affectionate, goes out of her way to get Rapunzel a birthday gift, and gives the girl a decent life (albeit as a complete prisoner) with games, books, paints, a great kitchen, craft supplies, a lot of leeway for doodling all over the walls…pretty much anything one can do inside a nicely appointed tower.

Gothel’s not evil so much as selfish…but not completely unrelatable. She’s not about riches or power. She just wants to stay young and live. Ursula from The Little Mermaid is still my favorite Disney villain, but Gothel is surprisingly interesting. I liked her better than Scar from The Lion King, and he was previously my second favorite Disney villain. Good job, Tangled!

Tangled, Overall

I’ll be watching the last part of this movie tomorrow (I have to see Ad Astra tonight to get Peetimes) and really hope Tangled’s climax doesn’t let me down. I’ll be back soon to let you know if this is truly an A+ film.

UPDATE After Finishing Tangled: I’ll keep the A+. It met up with my expectations, even though I thought they could have wrapped up Mother Gothel’s story a little less gruesomely.  Put her in prison or something, like the Stabbington brothers, who were, you know, actually evil. I did love the return of the ‘dreamer’ ruffians, though. See? Some people are redeemable. (I really would like Disney to stop with the bad parent theme, like they did with Brave.)

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: This Disney classic was re-released in theaters this Friday. When I do Peetimes for Disney Princess films, I do my best to avoid any songs, which is what most fans want to see. Some exposition or mild plot scenes are chosen instead, but are well-summarized in the synopses. Tangled has 3 good Peetimes, so you won’t be lost when you get back from the toilet. Pick any.

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

Rated (PG) for brief mild violence
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Musical, Romance

Movie Review – The Little Mermaid

The Lion King – Rewatch Review of the Animated Classic

Movie Review – Beauty and the Beast

Movie Review – Beauty and the Beast

 

Movie Review - Beauty and the BeastWithout any doubt, the 1991 animated Beauty & The Beast is considered among the best of the Disney Princess movies, or any of the the Disney films. It’s from the period known as The Disney Renaissance that started with The Little Mermaid, and ran through most of the 90s. (I think it concluded with The Princess & The Frog.) This was an era that brought a faded Disney empire back into the hearts of people who love stories of adventure, and of Princesses.

Four of the best Princesses came from this creative Disney restart: Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, and Nala (she may be ‘only’ a lion but as mate of the King, she’s royalty). In several RunPee Polls over the years, Belle’s always got the top spot as everyone’s favorite Princess.

So I want to give this beloved film an A+, but I just can’t, and that’s why I’ve been dragging my heels to write this review. I finally just decided to give my thoughts and say Beauty & The Beast misses that “plus” by a hair…and it’s not the hair of Belle or The Beast that brought it down.

What’s great in Beauty & The Beast:

Belle is a great role model — she loves books and adventure stories, and isn’t afraid to try to protect the ones she loves. She’s spirited and speaks her mind intelligently.

Belle’s also very nice to the furniture, which is a big deal if you know this classic tale.  😉

The Beast has a meaningful transformation that takes a good slow time to develop (the seasons change over the course of the film). He’s delightfully grumpy for quite a while, and his path to compassion feels largely earned. The two will probably make a good couple, and the message of “seeing beyond surface appearances” is profound enough.

What drags Belle’s movie down:

No, my main beef with Beauty & The Beast lies with Gaston. (Also, with the wolf scene, but I’ll get to that later.) Gaston is simply a bore. And not in the love-to-hate way. His character sucks life from the screen. Gaston’s little sidekick is intensely annoying (again, not in the good way). All the villagers seem like the world’s stupidest morons — from the first song Belle, through to the end with The Mob Song. I don’t understand how this village can possibly even function, given their apparent level of credulity and ignorance.

At least in The Lion King (who has a great main villain), the hyenas — also depicted as intellectually challenged — are amusing in their henchmen evilness. They also don’t just blindly follow whoever talked the loudest.

Anyway, all the scenes at the castle are simply gold, and if the movie focused more on the title characters and said furniture, we’d have a perfect film. Cogsworth and Lumiere aren’t quite Pumba and Timon, but come close. And that doggy footstool deserves a special mention: what a delightful idea!

There’s enough story to be told in the main narrative without manufacturing the Gaston side plot.

To be fair, I know they were trying to show that the “good looking” guy was a big jerk, while the scary, hairy Beast has a heart of gold, but the movie spent too much time with Gaston, his motley crew, and the idiots with the pitchforks. Either spend less time away from the castle, or make the other parts better. Too much creative time is squandered.

What about the wolves?

I did say I was going to mention the wolf scene. For one thing, it makes a great Peetime, since no one is seeing Beauty & The Beast for the action. But I also don’t understand Disney’s problem with wolves. Wolves don’t attack people. They especially don’t attack people riding giant Belgian Draft Horses like Philippe. I happen to like wolves and support their reintroduction to the wild, and was vastly disappointed with Disney maintaining their ‘wolves are evil’ stance in the 2017 live action Beauty & The Beast.

You know who gangs up on people like that in real life? Other people. They could have made the remake with a band of outlaws and moved away from the whole wolf thing… This is a personal peeve, and I won’t take marks from the film for it, but I do think it’s worth mentioning.

The animated classic, overall:

Had Beauty & The Beast been solid throughout, with an interesting villain and henchmen, it would be an easy A+ film. The Little Mermaid and The Lion King handle this effortlessly. The castle scenes are so fun and compelling, though, that I’ll say Beauty is probably the third best pre-Pixar Disney Princess movie, coming in with a high A score.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: The Disney classic is being re released to theaters on Friday. It was hard to make Peetimes, since I assume people want to see the songs in this 1991 classic, and there are a lot of them. I also didn’t want to have you miss the romantic parts. I chose 2 Peetimes during the silly villager songs, and one during an action scene, leaving you free to enjoy the best parts of the film.

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

Rated (G) N/A
Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy

Movie Review – Beauty and The Beast (live action version)

Movie Review – The Little Mermaid

The Lion King – Rewatch Review of the Animated Classic

Rewatch Review – Disney’s Animated Aladdin (1992) – A Classic Film with Deeply Modern Flaws

Movie Review – The Goldfinch

 

Movie Review - The GoldfinchDisclaimer; I did not read the 800+ page Pulitzer Prize winning novel. I should have.

Not having read the book, I don’t know how closely the movie followed it, but I did read an article that director John Crowley took great pains to remain faithful to the book. Plus, the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes — 74 — is a pretty good indicator that the fans did approve of the movie.

Okay, so I didn’t read the book, but saw the movie, blah, blah blah. How did I feel about The Goldfinch?

Ansel Elgort did a fine job portraying the adult Theo. And he certainly did look like a Manhattan preppy. Nicole Kidman, as Theo’s guardian after the death of his mother, honestly could have been played by just about any other actor. Her character had no meat on her bones.

A Couple of Issues with The Goldfinch

Here’s one problem I encountered with the movie: the two actors playing Theo’s love interests, Willa Fitzgerald and Ashley Cummings, looked just enough alike to confuse me. And what with the flow of the movie that went forward and backward throughout the film, it kinda messed with my head. I really didn’t like that.

I was entertained on a fairly consistent level, and enjoyed the twists and turns that kept the pace going. Biggest complaint: it was about half an hour too long and it wasn’t even a Marvel movie.

I give The Goldfinch a B-.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: This movie was slow paced, making it fairly easy to get 3 Peetimes due to the length of the movie – 2 & 1/2 hours. I had a problem with my timer half way through the film, so the last Peetime may be off by a minute or less. So, sorry if this creates any confusion.

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

Rated (R) for drug use and language
Genres: Drama

Avengers: Endgame Re-Release Extra Footage Explained

Movie Review – Blinded by the Light

Movie Review – Downton Abbey

Movie Review - Downton AbbeyAt the premier, everyone in the audience clearly enjoyed themselves. A lot. People laughed so much I could barely get Peetimes. And the entire room was so sold out that I had to sit in the very front row, on the edge.

All this is to say I need to see the film again. The sound was poor in my room, my seat was awful, and I missed a lot of what was going on — and I’m a HUGE Downton Abbey fan — one who did an entire series rewatch last month to prepare (six seasons’ worth).

So, yeah, I really didn’t get to enjoy this the way the rest of the die hard fans did. For some reason, I also didn’t get my free Downtown Abbey premier snowglobe. I was just lucky to get a seat, even though I bought my ticket hours early. Don’t underestimate Abbey fans!

From audience reaction, this was a very satisfying return to the original 2011 TV show. People laughed throughout, loudly, and applauded twice.

In between the bad seat and poor sound, and trying to find Peetimes for two hours, I didn’t enjoy this the way I’d hoped.

But in spite of this, there were many good things in the Downton Abbey movie:

  •  The costumes were fabulous. We didn’t get to see as much of the Abbey as I’d have liked, though. Too many characters to wedge in there to bother with much scenery! 😉
  • The cast looked great. No one really aged, and the actors slipped right back into their characters. Even Lord Grantham’s dog made an appearance.
  • Thomas Barrow got some romantic attention! This was hinted at in the trailers and was nice to see played out.
  • Daisy’s story was sewn up.
  • Mr. Mosley stole the show, as usual.
  • Mr. Carson and Mrs. Carson/Hughes were as lovely as always.
  • No more Bates/Anna issues. YAY!
  • The Crawley family showed up, although they were kind of shunted to the side. Tom Branson had the most play time, with Lady Mary and Lady Edith getting some attention here and there.
  • Maggie Smith, as the Dowager Countess, was THE BEST, as always. I could just watch her do the sarcastic, acidic Grandmama for hours.
  • The movie felt mostly like a long episode of the TV show, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Call it a two-hour Christmas Special episode.
  • There’s lot’s of room for sequels.

I’ll be seeing this again when it’s officially released. Although I really want my snowglobe. 😉

Grade: A-

About The Peetimes: I was at the premiere…but let me say this was one of the most difficult movies ever to get Peetimes for. The cast is HUGE and each scene cuts quickly from different subplots through the entire thing. I’m going to assume most fans want to see the fun interactions between our main characters, and less of the ‘plot’ the film is hung on. Try to use the 1st or 2nd Peetimes.

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

Rated (PG) for thematic elements, some suggestive material, and language
Genres: Drama

What Downton Abbey is About, and How to Binge Watch It

Movie Review – The Peanut Butter Falcon

Where did this genius idea come from?

Movie Review – Hustlers

Movie Review - HustlersI’m giving this movie an A for sure. I loved it. Watching these women do their thing was so much fun that I forgot I was working. All of the sudden a little thought popped into my head like, “Hey, aren’t you supposed to be watching for Peetimes?”

So yeah, what they were doing was wrong and illegal, but who am I to judge? I lead a very boring and mundane life on the right side of the law. These women were doing exactly what the little devil on my shoulder whispers in my ear. I of course don’t listen to him, but during Hustlers, I was able to live vicariously through these devilishly, devious women. It was a good time!

Let’s talk about J Lo really quick. Wow! She’s got a body on her that I am so envious of. She could work that pole like a pro. Nicely done, lady.

Everyone has been talking about Cardi B branching out into movies. Well, I gotta say for her first gig, she did great. She doesn’t have a very big part but her character was larger than life. I can see her building a reputation on the silver screen.

Hustlers will make the top of my list for chick flicks. Grab your girlfriends and make a night out of it. A great time will be had by all. Thinking about it, you could bring your boyfriends too; I’m sure they’d see a thing or two that would please them. Wink wink.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: Hustlers moves pretty quickly, luckily there are a lot of music montage scenes to choose Peetimes from. These 2 should work pretty well for you.

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

Rated (R) for pervasive sexual material, drug content, language and nudity
Genres: Comedy, Crime, Drama

Movie Review – The Little Mermaid

 

Movie Review - The Little MermaidI am consumed by a move this weekend and will have to flesh this review out for real in bits and pieces.

To start off, the 1989 original Disney animated classic The Little Mermaid is in the cinemas and you should absolutely catch it while you can. Take the entire family. The Danish version of Hans Christian Anderson’s tragic story doesn’t rear its head at all, so you’ll be safe.

The Little Mermaid is my absolute favorite animated Disney movie that manages somehow to offend almost no one.

I know there are issues with the upcoming live action remake, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

And the songs are among the best the studio ever made. I know them all by heart. When I take my sister to see this again on Sunday we’ll have a hard time not singing along, out loud. Unless everyone sings them too — then we’ll belt them along with the rest.

Although the sea scenes are luscious, especially within the limited animated style of the time, it’s the fun and gentle humor that I love so much. If you’re a fan of Finding Nemo, this undersea adventure should also be on your must-watch list.

Lastly, for now, Ursula the Sea Witch is one of Disney’s best villains. Might be their best ever. I have to think on that.

GO SEE THIS IN THE THEATERS NOW. And you might be introducing a ‘whole new world’ to an old classic. (To mix my princess movie metaphors).

#UnderTheSea

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: This animated classic is being re-released in theaters Friday. All 3 Peetimes are good. Make SURE to use them, so you don’t miss the outstanding iconic songs in this wonderful musical.

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

Rated (G) Some scenes are a little *fishy*.
Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy

Movie Review – It Chapter Two

 

Movie Review - It Chapter TwoI’ve got so much to say about It Chapter Two, I’m not usually one for long reviews, but this one calls for it. Here we go…

Let’s start off on a positive note.

The beginning absolutely captivated me. I loved how each of the Losers were contacted and asked to come back to Derry. Then we were given glimpses into each of the Losers lives as adults. I really liked that. Eddie’s moment was absolutely hilarious; he grew up to have an intense love of profanity. Bill had grown up to be about what I had expected him to be; it was Beverly’s life that troubled me. I won’t give that away. Richie (Bill Hader) in my opinion stole the spot for funniest character. His sarcastic negativity was priceless. Ben was a bit of a shock, I didn’t see his adult story coming. Let’s just say, “Hot!”

The movie then gathers even more of my attention. The Losers are all now back in Derry. Watching the interaction and reactions of the friends was perfectly done. Mike gathered them all together and his revelations are intensely brought to light.

The Best Part of the Plot

It comes down to the fact that each of the Losers have to find a token of their childhood to sacrifice during a ritual that Mike researched and wants to perform. I won’t say anymore about that. I’m trying to avoid spoilers.

During this shift of the movie, it takes on a surreal feel. Each Loser has “their” thing they are searching for. They are individually done and I thought that was a fabulous way to do it. I chose to not use any of those scenes for Peetimes, as the plot development and character development was at maximum velocity here.

Now we transition into them working together to solve this age-long problem called Pennywise. This was masterfully done, with the exception of Mike and Beverly (Isaiah Mustafa and Jessica Chastain).

Where IT: Chapter 2 Let Me Down

Here’s my first gripe: Isaiah, in my opinion, didn’t have a very strong screen presence. It’s like his expression never changed. He’s a great actor, but I didn’t like him in this. Second gripe: Jessica Chastain is also another great actress, but in It Chapter Two, she didn’t bring the strength and tenacity that young Bev brought (Sophia Lillis). There was no pop to her and I was really looking forward to seeing her rip It up.

Here’s my final gripe….Pennywise. I need to skirt around this as to avoid spoilers, dangit — this is hard to say. Pennywise didn’t drool enough for me; he didn’t use his clipped high pitched speaking tone enough, arrgg… It let me down. This is absolutely not on Skarsgard: his acting was impeccable. It was the writing that faltered here. I’m not crazy about how they portrayed him. That’s all I can say right now.

Now that I’ve got my three gripes out of the way, I can officially say I still loved It 2. The gripes are easy enough to overlook because the positives totally outweigh the negatives. The film had some amazing effects, brutal sounds and hilarious moments. It Chapter Two is certainly good, but didn’t quite do the perfect execution to rate an A.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: It Chapter Two is packed with action, with almost no lulls. I hope that these 3 Peetimes will help you get thorough this monstrously long movie. (Seriously, check your Peetimes on the RunPee app, and tell everyone you know — this film is almost 3 hours long!)

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

Rated (R) for disturbing violent content and bloody images throughout, pervasive language, and some crude sexual material
Genres: Horror, Clowns (duh)

All the Problems with the Movie It

Who is Who in IT – Chapter 2

Movie Review – Ready or Not

Movie Review – The Matrix

 

Movie Review - The MatrixAfter reading RunPee Dan’s amazing retrospective on “The Matrix After 20 Years“, I’m a little intimidated to try and pen my own review. He’s RunPee’s resident Matrix EXPERT. And I don’t say that lightly. Uber. Fan.

I especially get nervous trying to do justice to classic A+ level films. But I do have a few things to say, and here we go…

I’m packing for a move and might add more later. Suffice to say: this movie was a total mind-f#ck when it came out in 1999…and still is. The only really dated aspects are the corded phones and noisy modem (if you’re old enough, you KNOW this sound and it’s still as jarring as it was back then).

If you’re seeing The Matrix for the first time, remember this was the first film to attempt anything like this. At all. It’s a game changer that subsequent dystopian sci-fi films emulated to varying degrees over the years. “Inception“, for one, got it right. And then quite a few missed the boat more or less, like “Looper” which is a decent movie itself, but doesn’t come close to The Matrix.

(Funnily enough, both Inception and Looper featured one of the the same actors).

Why The Matrix is Still so Good

The difference is STYLE. And terrific direction, color palette, intelligent writing, and actors who couldn’t be better suited — both in the casting department, with each actor going balls to the wall in to the new world they had to sell.

Keanu even gets to say “Whoa,” and it doesn’t seem like fan pandering. It IS a WHOA moment.

the-matrix-bullet-time-keanu-reeves
Bring it.

Not to mention The Matrix sports a fabulous soundtrack, and effects that hold up extremely well. I just rewatched this yesterday to get Peetimes, since The Matrix is enjoying a theater revival. It’s still spectacular in look, feel, and story.

(Little realized fact: Most of the effects were done realistically with real actors in wires, and the 360 degree use of physical cameras to create the “Bullet Time” effect we take for granted now. I’m a huge fan of truly realistic physical effects in a modern age of CGI Everything.)

the-matrix-trinit-carry-anne-moss
Practical effects shot on wires. Trinity can still kick your butt.

This is how to make a movie. I can only hope the Watchoskis are up to the 2020 fourquel after all this time. Some crucial threads are left unresolved, so I’m fine with bringing the original cast back, dead or alive. (In Sci-Fi, death is relative.)

Deeper than The Usual Sci-Fi Flick

I’m not even going to handle the intense philosophies presented in the Matrix Trilogy — Philosophy professors wrote many books and teach actual courses just on this.

Enough for now. This will get you started. Also, if you hurry, this will be your only time to catch The Matrix on the big screen after two decades, so go get on it. Our three good Peetimes on the RunPee app will help you remember what scenes NOT to miss.

Free. Your. Mind.

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: We just noticed The Matrix was released on a limited basis, so we added Peetimes now. Keep in mind this is a seriously intense mind-bending movie that you have to pay close attention to. All 3 Peetimes are really good. The last time to go is at 1 hour into the 2 hour film, so make sure to empty your bladder proactively, especially if this is your 1st time watching the film. (Or if it’s been a while.) #TheMatrixHasYou

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

Rated (R) for sci-fi violence and brief language
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Dystopia

The Matrix After 20 Years – A Retrospective: A Different Kind of Hero, a New Kind of Science Fiction

Analysis of Inception

Movie Review – Looper

 

Movie Review – Don’t Let Go

Movie Review - Don't Let GoMy personal opinion: I loved it. The movie starts off fast and keeps gaining momentum, hurtling us toward an incredible ending.

It’s action packed. The story was interesting and the acting was superb.

I don’t know why so many people are trashing it. I’ve read about thirty reviews talking about how this story has been done before. People are referencing Frequency; sure it’s similar, but helloooo?? Does anyone recall the 11 Halloween movies, or perhaps the 11 Friday the 13th movies? I can think of at least 5 Groundhog Day themed movies. My point is, there are so many movies, that finding a truly original script is becoming almost impossible.

(Unless you’re Quentin Tarantino. He’s original and prefect all the time, every time.)

I’m not going to say one word about the story development. I recommend trying to avoid seeing blurbs about the ending. The surprise of the finale is well worth the effort of avoiding any type of news covering Don’t Let Go.

I’m giving it a solid A. I was pleasantly surprised by it and hope you’ll enjoy it just us much as I did.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: I highly recommend the 1st Peetime. This movie bounces back and forth in time and it will confuse you, even if you look away for a second.

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

Rated (R) for violence, bloody images, and language
Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

Movie Review – Overcomer

Movie Review - OvercomerOvercomer is well done in the respect of the quality of production. The acting, directing, writing and pacing was on par for a ‘faith-based’ film. I have absolutely no problem with this movie except this:  who in the world thought Overcomer would be a catchy title? Almost any title would be better, like maybe, ‘Just Pray About It’, a phrase that was repeated ad infinitum during the movie.

The target audience will find this movie inspirational and uplifting. The Kendrick brothers certainly know how to reach out and touch their followers. Good for them.

Faith-based movies have a very specific audience. Those who want the message of their religion spread far and wide, and the Kendrick brothers figured out the best way to do that; at the movies. And it does seem to work.

Here at my home in Asheville, North Carolina, I know that when I’ve been assigned a faith-based movie to review, the theater will be packed. Again, good for the Kendrick brothers.

So after church Sunday, I recommend taking the family to enjoy Overcomer — despite the silly name.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: Each Peetime gives you the same amount of time to break, so let your bladder decide.

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

Rated (PG) for some thematic elements
Genres: Drama, religion