Movie Review – Fifty Shades Freed

I’m not an old fan of the 50 Shades trilogy — in fact, this is the only movie in the series I watched. However, I can happily say I wasn’t lost at all, so first timers can pop in and enjoy it. It had a decent story, which I was not expecting, based on the big heavy “bondage” hype. By this, I mean there is a real plot, and good characters, and some actual jeopardy to move things along.

There was also a bit of humor and some personal growth, along with very luxurious “lifestyle” porn. Clearly, this is kind of a wish fulfillment fantasy film. It didn’t seem very realistic, but I understand that’s not important here. I’m just glad there was enough story between the sex scenes to make me care about the characters.

On another note, I think the entire cinema room was composed of women. There might have been one or two men, but the women were in full force, and clearly having a blast with their gal pals, giggling and chortling, getting into the spirit of things. Even during some sad/emotional scenes, they were laughing and cheering. I’m not sure I understood that, but at least they were having fun.

Movie Grade: B

Movie review: Game Night

We have a twofer review for you for Game Night! RunPee Jilly has  her review first, and RunPee Niece has her review below. Enjoy!

Game Night took a satirish version of the caper standby and presented something really different. The comedic ensemble lent a sense of stylish fun to the proceedings, and nothing was as predictable as the previews made it look. The movie poster undersold the picture too — maybe the producers were afraid their movie would be a bomb. It’s hard to hit this mixed genre just right. It’s a good little sleeper hit.

There are some good questions to figure out along the ride. Who are the the good guys? What exactly is going on? What do you do after mistakenly wiping your blood all over the neighbor’s white lapdog?

In any case, this was a fresh, snarky, fun take on the “spoofy crime mystery”. If I visited an Escape Room with this much screwball excitement, I’d gladly pay double for giving me such a good time. Now I want to start a weekly Game Night posse of my own.

I have to give a special shoutout to the wacky cop neighbor (Jesse Plemons, as Gary), and especially his adorbs peak into the “basement of clues” (during the credits – so don’t leave) close attention to everything tacked up on his ‘clues’ board. I had to smile. If pressed, I’d say Plemons unashamedly steals his scenes. We the viewers have to cringe a little bit; many of us all kind of know someone like this, and feel badly about how we treat them. Here, all ends well, letting us off the hook in a sense. The moral: be excellent to each other. (Gold stars if you’re old enough to catch that 80s movie reference.)

Movie Grade – B+


Game Night was a fun movie to watch. There were more than a couple of laugh out loud moments that the entire theater shared in.

Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams were wonderful, as they always are, together and apart. The rest of the cast did a great job, too.

If you like action/comedy movies, or even just the featured actors, then you’ll enjoy this fast-paced flick.

Movie Grade – B+

Movie review: Every Day

I’m giving this movie an A. It started slow and I was a little unsure…by about ten minutes in I thought I was going to hate it. I was very confused, and didn’t know where the movie was going. I was really wrong. They were just laying the groundwork for a phenomenal story. You won’t be disappointed.

Grade: A

Movie review: Sampson

It saddens me to have to give a movie about one of the greatest stories from the Bible such a poor grade, but Samson was so poorly made — I was compelled to give it a failing grade.

The direction was sub par, the pacing was tedious, and the acting was an insult to the actual characters. It really pains me to say that, because it was nice to see Lindsay Wagner and Rutger Hauer working again.

If you want to see Samson on the big screen you’d better hurry; this movie will not be in the theaters long.

Grade: D+

Movie review: Annihilation

This movie does a good job of creating an atmosphere of mystery. It feels like it’s going somewhere profound, but just ends up being bizarre and cliche.

This movie felt a lot like the movie Arrival. It builds mysteriously and there are lots of flashbacks. But where the ending of Arrival was, for me, completely unexpected, this one just felt like the ending to a low rent science fiction movie.

The unexpected meat of this movie is in the relationships and exploring why people choose to go on these missions. They should have explored that in greater depth, and just ignored the ending.

This movie is rated R for a good reason. There’s some very graphic scenes that will make anyone squirm in their seat. Note: if you don’t squirm in your seat you may want to consider taking a psychiatric evaluation. 🙂

I didn’t feel that Natalie Portman was the right choice for the lead role. I’m not saying she was bad, far from it, but something seemed to be lacking. Like she just wasn’t all that interested in the part.

Grade: B-

Movie review: Early Man

I grew up watching The Gumby Show and Davey And Goliath, as did my children so I’ve watched a lot of stop motion movies. When Nick Park’s Wallace And Gromit began back in the 90’s I was thrilled. So yes, I’m a fan of stop motion and Nick Park.

If you’re also a fan of Park, you won’t be disappointed with Early Man. His British humor kept me smiling throughout the movie and the story has a great plot; cavemen playing football. You just can’t go wrong with that formula.


Movie Review: Black Panther

The audience, on opening night, loved this movie. And all six showings were totally sold out, making me happy I bought my ticket earlier online over the weekend. But, yes, the audience was completely into the sense of celebration, dressed in traditional African attire, laughing, cheering, applauding, hooting, and generally having a great time. It makes me want to give Black Panther a higher grade. There’s nothing like a good party.

My A- is still a very good grade. But I honestly preferred the recent Thor: Ragnarok and Spiderman: Homecoming…those were better plotted stories, tightly woven with better heroes and villains, more sprightly humor, and people I cared about. This movie (an origin story that suffers by introducing an entire NATION of new characters) moved along so quickly that I was often lost, and didn’t get to know enough about anyone to care much about their fate. The title character himself, with so much else this movie had to accomplish, had surprisingly little to say or do. But…it was so damn pretty…

In my own review I have to be true to my personal opinion, and not what I think others thought of the movie. My thoughts are that this is a spectacularly gorgeous film. The cinematography, location shots, the CGI, the total aesthetic appeal — all was topnotch. There was an epic feel to the proceedings, decent humor (mostly from the scene-stealing Princess), and some standout female performances by the aforementioned Princess, the Queen, the Girlfriend, and the General. The women were the best part of the narrative.


Wait, of course, through the entire credits. This is a Marvel movie, after all. The final one provides a long-awaited payoff.

Movie Grade: A-

Movie review – Paddington 2

Rotten Tomatoes gives this movie a 100%, so that says it all. I will see Paddington 2 again with my great-great granddaughter, just so I can see the delight in her 5 year old face. Everyone, everyone needs to see this movie that can give us so much to smile about. Don’t we all need a warm smile in today’s world.

Grade: A

Movie review – All the Money in the World

From our New York Special Reviewer, Shani Ogilvie:

From the trailers, I expected it to be more suspenseful or action based, but instead it was a very conversational movie. I think the acting was good, but moviegoers can definitely wait for this to be released on DVD.

Grade: B-

Movie review – The Shape of Water

From our helpful and astute New York pinch-hitter, Shani Ogilvie:

The Shape of Water is a great mix of romance, comedy, and action. The characters in the movie were all non-stereotypical, and each added another layer to the overall theme of the movie. Definitely see this in theaters.

Grade: A