Movie Review – A Boy. A Girl. A Dream

Review by RunPee Trainee Dana Simone! —

I rate this movie a C, because the dialogue is really slow throughout, and takes some time to build the plot.

I also thought the numerous dead spaces of no dialogue got a little boring, based upon the peoples’ faces in the theater audience. It also seemed as though the ending was a little abrupt, or left you hanging. My friend I was with actually said out loud, “Is that it?” when the credits began to run.

The movie was relatable though, in many ways: from the devastation of black people after hearing Trump won, from strong and independent women being hurt by their previous boyfriend, and the emotions one can have for not pursuing their dreams (due to setbacks and perceived limitations).

For you Omari Hardwick fans, Omari’s character is nothing like his role as Ghost on the TV show Power. In this movie, he is intentionally sensitive; he meditates, and he’s extremely close with his son. Oh, he doesn’t kill anyone in the movie either. LOL!

Cass’ soul needed Frida, and Frida needed Cass. Both of them were struggling with — shall I say — misplaced dreams. Pun intended. Frida’s role portrays her desperately seeking liberation from her boring job as an attorney, and her ex-boyfriend. It was ironic that Frida is an independent, well-established, beautiful woman that flies to LA alone, then meets Cass.

On the first meeting, she kisses him, accompanies him to a night club, rides in an Uber with him, then goes to (what she thought was) his house. All that is completely opposite behavior for independent women. There’s no way we are going anywhere with men at a first meeting, swap saliva, then travel across town without first Googling you, pulling a background report, checking the pedophilla database, and then discussing it with two of our sis-boos. I’m just saying!

But I think that was another meaning behind the movie…take chances when it feels right, deep down in your gut.

Overall, the movie makes you think, which is why there is all the dead space with no dialogue. If you walk out of this movie reinventing yourself, or recalibrating your goals and objectives, then the movie probably did its job — by getting you to realize why you should give birth to that dream of yours right now.”

Grade: C

About the PeetimesDanaSimone! is our awesome Chicago resident Peetime Trainee. This is one of the first movies that she has done “live” for RunPee. This is a job that takes some time to get comfortable with.

She writes that overall the Peetimes were easy: “The movie had many dead spots with no narrative —  just atmosphere.”

If you feel that there are better choices for Peetimes in the movie, we would love to hear from you (support@runpee.com).

Movie Review – Unbroken: Path to Redemption

I truly do enjoy faith-based movies, but Unbroken left me a little flat. The acting was pretty good,  and the directing was acceptable, however, since I didn’t read Laura Hillenbrand’s book Path To Redemption, I can’t comment on how closely the book was followed. It was interesting that Billy Graham’s grandson played his grand father (Billy Graham) in this movie, but his charisma is no match to his father’s.

I didn’t feel that the two main characters, Louis and Cynthia, had much chemistry together. I never really felt their passion for their religion, nor their passion for each other. Nor did the supporting cast offer up much for us to care about.

I was pleased that, once again, PTSD was addressed, even though at that particular time it was referred to as ‘shell-shocked’. Of recent, we’ve seen a number of movies addressing PTSD, and this is a good thing. A movie can give the public a visual of how devastating this condition is, and of course the more we know, the more we can help. History has shown us that, at least every generation or so, we will continue to be welcoming home our vets.

Grade: C

About the Peetimes: Unbroken is very much a drama driven movie, but does have periods of restraint that make for good Peetimes. I recommended the first Peetime, because it actually gives you slightly more than 4 minutes to break.

Movie Review – A Simple Favor

What a fabulous movie!! What I just watched surpassed many movies in my list of favorites. It’s probably hit the top three. I enjoyed this movie better than a day off from work with no bills to pay.

From the moment the movie started, I was hooked. The characters are so deep and odd that I fell in love with them all.

Let’s start with Anna Kendrick. Whaaaaaat? This is definitely a new type of role for her, and she was perfect. She nailed that part like a carpenter nails a board. Loved her! Her character arc in this film is drastic; she starts off as the perfect single mom and turns into someone I wouldn’t mess around with. She gets things done. You won’t be disappointed.

Next up, and hold your hats: Blake Lively. This one is going to get steamy. I watched her up there on that big screen, and just wanted to crawl right into it so I could be next to her. I’m a happily married grandmother, but I tell you what, I’d leave my husband in a hot second, kick old Ryan Reynolds to the curb, and live happily ever after with that perfect woman. Wow, she dominates the screen. I’m in love.

I didn’t know it was a book until it started, so I don’t know how it compares to that, but from how the crowd was reacting, they loved it. Numerous times, the entire theater was roaring with laughter. I’m going back tonight to see it again. This way I can enjoy the amazing Blake Lively without having to work at finding Peetimes. She shall have my undivided attention, just like I’m sure she’ll have your undivided attention.

Best movie this year. Grab your girlfriends and go have fun.

Grade: A+

About the Peetimes: I’m recommending you use either the 1st or 2nd Peetime. My 3rd Peetime contains a spoiler. Here’s the thing; the movie has a very big twist, and for those of you that haven’t read the book, it’ll be surprising — and I don’t want to ruin anyone’s good time. 

Movie Review – White Boy Rick

White Boy Rick was very well done. The acting and directing was superb. They were able to completely immerse the audience in that time and place.

Mathew McConaughey was awesome. He rocked this role, just like he always does. I’m pretty sure he can do anything.

I’ve never seen Richie Merritt in anything before, but this kid can act. He did an outstanding job.

Everything about the movie was wonderful, except that it was depressing as all get out. It was always dark and dreary. The streets were ugly with litter and rundown houses. I understand that it painted the picture of how their lives were, but I’m just not a fan of such bleakness.

The story behind how the FBI really screwed this kid is infuriating. But as I say that, the story behind how he was involved with the FBI is infuriating too. This kid’s life was wasted because of his father’s actions. He paid dearly for loving his father.

So, all in all, I’m giving this movie a B-. It’s a story about how drugs and crime can totally screw your life up. I wonder just how many movies about this type of stuff have been made. It’s a shame.

People will continue to make bad choices; that’s never going to change. So that means we’re going to keep seeing these true-life movies — there’s just too much inspiration in the world to not make them. So, does crime pay? If you ask Hollywood, it does.

Grade: B-

About the Peetimes: This was an easy movie to do Peetimes for. They both worked out really well, with good cue times and easy summaries.

Movie Review – Doctor Strange

Weird, weird, weird. Yes, in a film pointedly titled Strange, this is very bizarre stuff.

I haven’t seen the character in comic book media, but I imagine it took until our current technology to make all this mental scat look so good, so pretty, on film. Folding cities, broken mirror landscapes, characters running up and down against the laws of physics. This is stuff you’ve seen before, but it’s very cleanly done here. If you’re reminded fondly of The Matrix and Inception (and even Ant-Man’s foray into the quantum realm), then you won’t have trouble understanding the technology/sorcery of this movie.

Impressively, that isn’t the weird stuff.

What IS strange is the story. It is about protecting the psychic world, and that’s heady stuff. I wish it had been clever, though. It is still only about running around and fighting, ultimately…just with magical energy swords. I was hoping there would be a little more about your mind creating your reality, but nope.

So, here we go. Bennedict Cumberbatch channels Harrison Ford in a gruff American accent, weaving his Marvel origin tale from overbearing egoist to psychic world protector. Fine and good. But…why? I had to ask myself, with over two hours of world bending magical displays, why we needed to see this. Why be introduced to yet another Marvel heavyweight, when the MCU is already so cluttered? Why we needed a super strange reality that makes Asgard look tame, just when things are already so complicated, with an overloaded boat of new and old Avengers already on the scene?

In the final moments of the film, in a throwaway line, I got my answer. I’m sure you’ll see it, if you’ve been keeping up with the big Marvel arc. But I guess we can now get on with things.

Was it good? Cumberbatch tried his best to not make this silly, even in an outlandish outfit (I DID like his adorably helpful cape), with crazy-ass lines. The MCU now has actual sorcerers, yeah. Tilda Swinton did her fey thing and carried it off, for the most part. Chiwetel Ejiofor re-did his Operative gig from Serenity, and it was…okay. He’s usually so much better.

Mostly, somehow, it all felt very tired. Another origin story. Another reluctant hero called into service. And some really bizarre fight scenes that would have been thrilling if they didn’t go on, and on, and on….again and again and again. It’s like the movie was in love with its own magical conceit.

The mid-credits scene was very nicely done, quite straightforward and charming, and I wish the rest of the movie had been like that. I’m just tired of big effects and origins and new heroes, and diddling around with backstory. I’ll be old by the time the MCU gets everyone they want on board.

The comic book fans will probably be pleased with how Dr Strange performed. It WAS pretty.

Here’s my advice: you need to see this on the big screen, preferably in 3D, to appreciate the mind bending visual torrent. Don’t see this in a second run theater. If you have a really good television, wait for the DVD. But if you aren’t a huge fan of the MCU, or Beneditch Cumberbatch, you might want to skip this completely. I could tell you the relevance of the entire endeavor in one phrase (except I won’t, because that would be a spoiler).

Grade: C+

About the Peetimes: This movie is full of plot and character development, making it difficult to find decent Peetimes. I recommend the 2nd Peetime, because it’s mostly the beginning of an action scene, so you won’t miss anything important. 

Movie Review – Peppermint

Peppermint was a tough film to grade. It doesn’t suck. But it’s also not that great. Ultimately, if you want to see it, I’d suggest waiting for the DVD, or a streaming option. It’s a ‘heart warming revenge tale’ along the lines of many stories we’ve seen in this genre before. The only thing making this different is the avenging angel is female.

I’ve never seen a movie before where I rooted for the protagonist to die. I know grief, and I wanted Riley’s grieving to end. It would make more sense for the narrative to end that way, and it’s kind of insane that a scrawny protagonist can go up against 20 or so burly bad guys at a time and survive. So…go with it. Apparently, it only takes five years to pick up the deadly skills required to take on a massive drug ring and prevail. I would have liked to see her learning these skills. We don’t.

There are decent moments in Peppermint, and a few genuine surprises here and there. That doesn’t make it good. Jennifer Garner gave it her all, even if she wasn’t really believable in the role. When someone like The Arnold does this, I buy it. Plus, he’s got great one-liners to prop up the narrative. Garner, well…a lot of luck plays into her survival, and it’s so consistently depressing that I mentally checked out a few times. Don’t expect much humor, or interesting/unusual set-pieces. Bang, bang, bang. That’s what we get here.

Ultimately, it’s yet another movie setting itself up for a possible franchise. I’m tired of seeing this happen. If a movie is a success, then GREAT! Make a sequel. But don’t put the horse before the cart at the very end of a ho-hum story, making viewers feel they spent their money to set up a series that may or may not happen. That’s cheating.

This film came out in the late summer doldrums, which goes to show the studios didn’t have much faith in the story. The longer I review films for RunPee, the more I see this kind of thing. Oh well. Next!

Movie grade: C

About the Peetimes:  Peppermint has a ton of shoot-up action, to the point that getting a quiet Peetime was almost impossible. I had to find Peetimes, though, so it really doesn’t matter which you choose — all have action moments. I’ve summarized what you will miss in the synopsis in each one, so pick whichever time you need to run and pee, based on your bladder.

 

Movie Review – God Bless the Broken Road

Even though the critics panned God Bless The Broken Road, I did find a few redeeming qualities I’d like to share with you. The movie touches on a few issues, that sadly, are all too prevalent in our world today: we have the ‘war widow’ trying desperately to hold her world together without the support of a husband. And a child whose life has been turned upside down because war left her without her father, while her mother works odd hours in a diner.

This movie stresses the importance of faith, even when your world is falling down around you. I’m sure this message will resonate with many people in the audience. All that having been said, my criticism deals with the technical aspects of the movie. The acting was sub-par, with the exception of the race car owner played by Gary Grubbs, one of the best character actors in Hollywood. The pacing was excruciatingly slow, and the directing left much to be desired. Many times the camera lingered on the sad face of Amber, and left me thinking, ‘Okay, we get it; she’s sad.’ A three-second shot of her sad face is acceptable, but a fifteen-second shot of the sad face is annoying.

Parents can comfortably take their children to see this movie, and later discuss the message of faith. I give God Bless The Broken Road a C, because it was an average movie with an average story.

Grade: C

About the Peetimes: God Bless The Broken Road is a faith-based movie that’s more drama driven, with very little action. Getting 2 Peetimes was fairly easy. Each gives you 4 minutes to break, so let your bladder decide.

Movie Review – The Nun

Sit back, relax, and pull off your habit. It’s time for The Nun to have some fun. Seriously, I’ve been waiting for this movie since the day I was born. I felt it in my bones. The Conjuring Universe has consistently been one of the greatest franchises ever put to film. The amount of expectation for each new release is kind of like the feeling you get when you buy a new car. You sit there and take a deep breath in and smell the newness. They always give us something new, but still remain true to the ongoing saga. I’m in love with it.

The Nun is a prequel to the main Conjuring franchise, expanding on a character that was first mentioned in The Conjuring 2. The way that the makers tie all of these films together is so refreshing and new that I can’t praise them enough.

The setting of The Nun is awesome. It was filmed entirely in Romania. Visiting there has been on my bucket list for years. I felt like I was there. Now I really want to go. The Abbey that they were in was breathtakingly creepy and beautiful. I have no complaints about the movie. You’ll enjoy the many scream scenes. The makeup job on The Nun is spot on. There are a ton of jump out of your seat moments. The season of horror movies is just now starting, so I recommend this one to get your Halloween spirit into high gear.

Grade: A

About the Peetimes: The Nun is a really short movie. I 100% recommend the Peetime at the beginning of the movie. There is a 2nd Peetime listed later, but that should only be used for emergencies. 

Movie Review – The Little Stranger

Yuck. If I could get away with a one word review, that would be it. That’s it folks. Usually I can find some redeeming quality to a movie, but with this one I’ve been digging deep and still come up empty. Let me think on it a while and I’ll be back.

Seven hours and eleven minutes later: still nothing. However, I thought of more things I didn’t like.

Thirty-two hours and fifteen minutes later: ah-ha! The house was neat. Yes, that house was amazing. There are two positive sentences about the movie. (You see what I did there, right?) Two sentences, but about the same thing. My job here is done. Enough with the positives, let’s transition to why I hated it.

First, let’s talk about the main character, Dr Faraday. Domhnall Gleeson plays him; I’ve never seen him in anything so I can only judge him based on this performance. When he experiences happiness — one face. When he feels fear — same face. If he gets excited — same face. When he gets sad — again, same face. Since when did they hire statues to act?

The story itself was poorly told. When reading the synopsis for this sleeper, it sounded promising. What we were shown fell so short that I think the editing department hijacked the good scenes.

All in all, I don’t recommend this movie. Never, not once, will I ever repeat, “Hey, you should go check out The Little Stranger.”

Grade: D-

About the Peetimes: 2 Peetimes were submitted. The 1st Peetime is marked with a warning for sensitive viewers.

Movie Review – Searching

Rotten Tomatoes critics and audience-goers on average have given *Searching* a 92% and 97%, respectively.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a movie that takes place on a computer screen, but from the first scene to closing scene I was impressed.

The first few minutes of the movie are exquisite. We see photos and videos of Margot, the missing daughter, from her toddler years to her graduation from high school. Interspersed throughout the scene we see Margot’s mother (who is now deceased), and the obvious love she had for her daughter. The poignancy this scene evoked stayed with me throughout the movie.

Since I see so many movies, rarely am I completely surprised by the ending, however Searching presented a plot twist that most certainly will leave you thinking about this movie for some time.

Over this holiday weekend, I recommend taking the time to get out of the heat and into a nice cool theater to see an extraordinary movie.

Grade: A-

About the Peetimes: Searching is an intense movie, with most of it taking place on a computer screen. This made getting Peetimes a bit hard, because for a great deal of the movie there’s no dialog, just a montage of videos and photos going by quickly on the computer.