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.

Movie Review – Kin

Personally, I didn’t like this movie. I was expecting some sci-fi action and a futuristic dystopia…and what I got was a boring gangster film. Seriously, not my gig. I would have walked out if I didn’t have to cover it for RunPee. I’m actually mad at this film: it presented itself as a young-adult/sci-fi/dystopian film. Which it wasn’t. It was a street gang type movie with a futuristic gun in the mix.

It’s well made, so I’ll give it a B – for competence. But it seriously pissed me off; the only sci fi elements happened in the last five minutes — and the only reason we got that at all was clearly to set up a sequel. I don’t expect this sequel will ever happen, like many YA franchises that fizzled out.

What I can say is the actors really did give it a go: they were all in for the ride. The father, in particular, was extremely spot on for the character’s prickly yet loving (and perhaps borderline abusive) persona. This competency should be no surprise, as Dennis Quaid played the part.

A surprisingly amazing Zoe Kravits stole the show out from everyone in her role as Milly, the stripper girl. She made every scene of hers keenly watchable with her sympathetic and amusing character. This young actress is someone to watch as she matures into future roles. I know she plays a large part in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts film, and I look forward to seeing how she handles her Slytherin role outside of the classrooms at Hogwarts.

Will this go on to become a franchise? I honestly don’t think so, even though the denouement of the film was devoted to setting up the next installment. I see almost all the YA dystopian films for RunPee, and very few of them will be the next Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or even Twilight. I count this one as a non-starter, along with so many others in this category. And because most of the film had nothing to do with science fiction or a dystopian future, it’s kind of a conundrum as to who this film is targeted toward.

Grade:  B-

About the Peetimes: Kin was an easy movie to get Peetimes for — there is a lot of downtime in between the hyper violent gangster scenes. I have 3 Peetimes for you, nicely spaced apart. I do recommend the first Peetime at 31 minutes, if you can manage your bladder for it.

Related on RunPee: 

Sad, Sorry YA Book Series That Never Completed Their Movie Franchises – Here’s a list of Young Adult series that will probably never see completion, for better or worse

Movie Review – The Darkest Minds – Yet another Young Adult Dystopian film that feels a lot like many others that came out of last decade’s love affair with young people who are either 1. the Chosen Ones or who have 2. Superpowers. 

Movie Review – The Happytime Murders

The Happytime Murders was a major disappointment. Here’s the lowdown on the plot: It’s a raunchy film noir style Muppet murder mystery. It takes place in a seedy Los Angeles, where muppets are viewed as second class citizens. With that storyline, I felt the possibilities for humor, surprises and gags were endless. Most every aspect fell flat on its muppet face. Yes, there were funny moments, but not enough to support a full length movie, and this one is super short. That’s sad.

By far one of the funniest scenes in the whole movie was released in the trailer. I hate when companies do that. If you’re expecting all of the humor to keep up with that scene, you’ll be sadly mistaken. The rest was second rate. The crude and vulgar humor got boring. It needed much more depth to grab me.

The one shining part of the movie was Maya Rudolph. She was awesome. By far my favorite part of the movie was a scene that she and Melissa McCarthy shared. It was great. I wish they would have put them in more scenes together. It was a magical moment — the rest I wish would have magically disappeared.

Also, just a reminder folks, this movie is rated R for a reason. In my theater, I counted 5 children under the age of 10. What? I take my granddaughter to a lot of movies but in no world EVER would I let her see this. One parent left the theater, and the rest spent the entire time with their hands over the young ones’ eyes. If you go, leave the kids at home.

Grade: D+

About the Peetimes: This was a very short movie. There are two Peetimes for you to choose from. This movie is really easy to keep up with, so even if you run over the times, you probably won’t miss anything you can’t catch up with.

Movie Review – A.X.L.

In all my years as Runpee Mom, I’ve never given a movie the lowest grade possible. Allow me to expound on why AXL took me to the desert wasteland of F-. Watching this ‘robot dog’ being brutalized by a series of nefarious characters hit me like a gut punch. The movie demanded that we not only fear the viciousness of this creation, but also find him loveable.

Well, that notion severely backfired. Seeing AXL being tortured in so many ways was heartbreaking. In my theater, a child of about six was so upset at seeing the ‘doggy’ being torched like a metal marshmallow, that the mother took him out of the theater. Other young children in the audience were obviously traumatized by most of the torture scenes. No child left the theater with a happy face; most looked shell shocked.

The treatment of AXL is only the tip of the iceberg. The acting was substandard, the directing was miserable, and the writing felt as if it were written by a first year creative writing student. Plot holes were standard, and some scenes were absolutely ridiculous.

The last scene indicated there could be a sequel. Will the next one be set in a POW camp filled with children? And yes, these places do exist.

Grade: F-

About the Peetimes: I found two good Peetimes. Both give you four minutes to break, so let your bladder decide.

Movie Review – Alpha

Alpha blew me away. This movie was amazing. There are a ton of points I want to make, but I’m going to hit upon the ones that I think may sway your decision to go see it, otherwise we’ll be here all day.

First up, there is violence against animals. If this bothers you, it might not be the movie for you. When people were hungry back then it wasn’t like they could call up Uber Eats and order a yummy buffalo for dinner. Nope — they had to think of very inventive ways to kill them. The teamwork involved in taking down a herd of buffalo was intense. There is violence.

Second, and I feel this is a big one: 20,000 years ago, they didn’t talk like we do. There is no English spoken, every moment of the movie is subtitled. Which is fine for us adults; not so much for a five year old. I took my granddaughter with me and she can’t read yet, so I would lean over and whisper to her what was going on. After about five minutes of doing this she leaned over and asked me how I know all of this, with wonder and amazement in her eyes (this really made me giggle). I explained to her everything they are saying is written up on the screen, and I was reading it. To which she replies, “Then just read it to me woman!” (She’s feisty.)

The movie captivated her; there were moments I thought she was going to fall out of her chair because she was leaning toward the screen so much. So, my point here is that unless you want to narrate this entire movie, don’t take a child that can’t read yet. They do a great job of explaining a lot through actions, but I can guarantee the kids will still be asking what’s happening, non-stop.

Lastly, I highly recommend spending the extra few bucks and seeing it in IMAX 3D. It’s well worth it. I can’t emphasize enough how beautiful it is.

Grade: A+

About the Peetimes: I stuck 2 Peetimes in there for you. I recommend the 2nd Peetime as your best bet. The 1st Peetime contains some information that you’ve previously learned, but it was in flashback form. I summed it up, but thinking on it, I would only use this as an Emergency Peetime.

Movie Review – Mile 22

Mile 22 fails on every level that an action movie can fail, and then makes up some new ways to fail.

But wait, there’s good news: the Russian government is the bad guys again. Yeah! (More on that later.)

This entire movie feels like the first 30 minutes of a much better movie. Meaning: they could have edited this movie down to 30 minutes, and then had an hour or more to finish the story in a more satisfying manner. Instead they end with a blatant to be continued feeling.

The Good
The fight scenes with Iko Uwais (The Raid I/II, SW: The Force Awakens) are the highlight of the action scenes, and are generally well filmed. Besides that, many of the fight scenes feel staged and out of place. Like times when you can’t help ask: why are they fighting hand to hand now; don’t they all have guns?

The Bad
Where to start? The dialog, especially by Mark Wahlberg’s character (James Silva), is at best hard to keep up, and oftentimes incomprehensible.

There are so many strange decisions made by the characters on both sides. I know that it’s hard to make a movie that doesn’t have a few questionable scenes, but there’s almost nothing but that in this movie. And of course there’s the one Lord of the Rings-sized sure do wish we had a helicopter handy plot hole.

I lost count how many times the screen displayed the biometrics of the characters during tense moments, as if to say: hey look, these characters are really cool because their heart rate doesn’t go up, even though people are shooting at them.

Wahlberg’s character is clearly the protagonist, but he’s fairly unlikable. He’s gruff, and monologues without end.

I’ll be astonished if there’s a sequel to this movie, even though the ending begs for one. The movie has only a 38% user approval rating and a 23% by critics. Both are super low. I can’t imagine anyone recommending this movie to a friend.

My suggestion would be to wait and see if maybe they do go ahead with a sequel, and if so, then you can watch this on DVD and then see how the story continues.

Movie Review – Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians is a beautifully done trip to Singapore with a gaggle of interesting people. Each main character gave us a guided tour into their lives, and how it shaped their future.

Even though we didn’t see or hear much of the back story of Piek Lin Goh (played by Awkwafina), she did have the best and funniest lines of the entire movie.

Even though CRA employed a plot some may say is overdone — rich guy/girl falls in love with the ‘guy/girl across the tracks — this sweet movie did it with a breath of fresh air. The directing was spot on, the acting was way above par, and the writing was creative. All this combined demands that I give CRA a solid B.

Grade: B

About the PeetimesI have 2 good Peetimes, one at 48 minutes and the other at 1:07. Both gives you 4 minutes to break, so let your bladder decide.

Movie Review – Slender Man

Over a year. Seriously, I have been waiting for this movie for over a year now. With the amount of material available on the internet about Slender Man it should have provided the writers and makers of this movie infinite ideas. The final cut was lacking in almost every aspect.

It starts off okay. Not great, but I could envision it picking up. What I ended up seeing was a disjointed movie that lacked depth and continuity.

Take for instance, in my second Peetime: the scene starts at school. Wren and Hallie are fighting over going to check on Chloe. Hallie refuses to go and the girls walk away from each other in a huff.

Now this is where it ticks me off. The very next scene is the two girls, at night, walking up to Chloe’s house. That’s a big leap. How did they get to that point? We go from fighting over it, to doing it hours later. Maybe editing? Perhaps they filmed a scene that explains how they overcame their differences. But nope, that wasn’t in the movie and it just bothered me, a lot. The movie is peppered with these small annoyances. So many in fact, that I couldn’t enjoy it.

I took my daughter and granddaughter with me to see this movie; what I’m about to tell you should sum up my feelings. They both fell asleep. A horror movie put a five year old to sleep. That says something right there, folks.

My advice — wait for the DVD. At least that way you’re only out a few bucks.

Grade:  D+

About the Peetimes:
Two Peetimes will work well since the movie is so short. Just to give you a heads up: at the theater there was a warning sign, telling people about a 30 second sequence that has a lot of bright flashing lights that may cause seizures. It was near the beginning of the movie, and they were right. It was bright.