Movie Review – Black Panther

Opening night at Black Panther felt like a celebration. All six showings at my cinema were totally sold out that night, and continued to sell out through the weekend. But, yes, the audience was ecstatic, completely into the event, 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 much about anyone. The title character himself, with so much else this movie had to accomplish, had surprisingly little to say or do. The actual Black Panther had more action in Captain America: Civil War.

However, Black Panther 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 Shuri), and 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 movie stinger provides a long-awaited payoff.

Updated Note: With Avengers: Infinity Wars coming out this week, and Black Panther STILL in theaters, this is the first time we’ve had two MCU movies playing at once! I might make my movie day a double feature…

Movie Grade: A-

A Black Perspective on Marvel’s Black Panther

Black Panther’s Wakanda Fashion in the Real World

Read More Marvel Movie Features on RunPee.com

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

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

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Movie review – Insidious: The Last Key

The Insidious franchise took a very difficult, yet ingenious approach to movie-making. Others have tried, and failed, to create a series of screenplays with a backwards timeline. Meaning, the first movie took place long after this last installment. With that said, they really did do a good job.

Elise Rainier, played by Lin Shaye, did a killer job portraying a heartfelt woman with a twisted past, while still keeping it together. As always, she did not disappoint. She lived up to all my expectations, and being an *Insidious* follower from the beginning, that was hard to accomplish.

For horror fans, this franchise is always going to give you what you’re looking for. Sit back and enjoy; be ready to jump a few times, and then laugh at yourself for jumping. I know I did.

Grade: B+

Movie Rewatch – Jurassic Park

It’s been a long time since the first Jurassic Park graced our theaters, but it’s still the best. The CGI effects have vastly improved since 1993, but the story is what matters most — and the original still brings back the happy tears and goosebumps I felt back then, seeing beloved dinosaurs come to life. I loved Dr. Grant, Dr. Sattler, Dr. Malcolm, and Gameskeeper Muldoon.

Almost everything in this movie is perfect. I know all the lines, and still use them in current conversation. Here are an offhand few: “Must go faster”, “Clever girl”, “Spared no expense”, “Life finds a way”, “I’m fairly alarmed here”, “Dodgson, Dodgson, we’ve got Dodgson here!”, “We’re back in the car, again”, “They’re flocking this way”, and, of course: “Welcome to Jurassic Park”.

The score from John Williams doesn’t fail to make me shiver, just a bit, every time. (BTW, how does he do it? I can name a dozen major movie themes he’s done over my lifetime that have become instantly recognizable and are completely original).

Now, in 2018, I’ve seen the newer Jurassic World three times. It’s a visual feast, with the ever-lovable Chris Pratt, amazing effects, and a nice story that harkens back to the first film (thankfully, since the immediate sequels are of varying quality). But it still lacks the (carnivorous) meat the original served up. Sometimes you can keep a story going, and even do a good job, but lack the spark of the first time. Jurassic Park delivered then, and still does now. When you see those impact tremors in the cup of water, you remember how a simple visual shorthand can become iconic.

Grade: A+

Read our review of Jurassic World

Just for fun…watch the Honest Trailers video of Jurassic Park. Even these guys love the first and best dinosaur film in the series.  

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Movie review: Star Trek 2009

Like every other Star Trek fan, I was on pins-and-needles waiting to see if this reboot took off. Boy did it. While not flawless, it packed a powerful punch. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve watched this movie, usually in the background while I’m working on something around the house. But when the scene about Kirk’s solution to the Kobayashi Maru plays, or when the Enterprise warps into the atmosphere of Titan, I put down what I’m doing and pay attention. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Beyond the obvious thrill ride, I was more than pleased with the new cast and how they personified their roles. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto nailed it, but Karl Urban took his vision of Bones McCoy to a whole new level.

As awesome as this movie was, I have to say “Red Matter” is the most ridiculous plot device anyone’s ever conceived of. It’s a total MacGuffin. But they used it to awesome effect, so I’m not going to trash the writers about it. Just, you know…try harder next time. Please.

NOTE: Spoiler alert for the next two *Star Trek* movies: they didn’t try harder. See: Khan’s blood. 🙂

Grade: A

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Movie review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

It’s hard to fathom that it’s only been 3 1/2 years since the first *Hunger Games* came out on the big screen. It feels like it was much longer than that, but the saga is finished and they went out on a high note.

The fans who read the books all know how the story ends, which I would guess represents a large percentage of the people — mostly young girls — who were in the theater. Even so, there was a lot of applauding, and sighs, as the story wrapped up. It feels complete.

Jennifer Lawrence was, as expected, awesome. I’m guessing that the hardest thing about playing the character of Katniss is that she is so consistently in a fog of depression, angst, uncertainty — whatever you want to call it. But, there are a few moments here and there when Jennifer Lawrence really gets to show off her skills, and give Katniss some real depth. She had a few of those moments in MJ2 that really stand out. (I’m not going to say which. You’ll know them when you see them.)

Grade: B+

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Movie review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I can safely say that SW:TFA is the 3rd best *Star Wars* movie in the franchise. And let’s be clear: it would take a miracle for JJ Abrams to create something better than *A New Hope* or *Empire Strikes Back*.

This is easily the funniest movie in the franchise. Almost (but not every) funny moment revolves around Harrison Ford.

The movie isn’t without its flaws, but those flaws are minor, and of course this is *Star Wars*, so I’m being overly critical.

A few good things to report: BB-8 — the spherical droid — is cute, without being overly cute. JJ is mature enough as a story teller to avoid crap like Jar Jar Binks. All of the fight scenes, whether hand-to-hand, sword-to-sword, or fighter-to-fighter are good, and some are great, but none drag on longer than they need to. There’s never one of those, “OMG, would someone kill someone here so we can move on with the story” type of fights.

The acting was spot on. The casting of Daisy Ridley, as Rey, and John Boyega, as Finn, are marvelous. I’m really looking forward to seeing their characters develop, as the saga continues.

Grade: A-

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Movie review: The Revenant

All the elements needed for an outstanding movie are present in *Revenant*: top notch directing, superb acting, and an excellent screenplay. Having seen all the Oscar-nominated movies this year, I can say with all confidence that *Revenant* should win for each category in which it’s nominated.

If DiCaprio doesn’t win Best Actor this time around, there’s something terribly wrong in the Academy universe.

Note: There IS something terribly wrong in the Academy universe, but hopefully DiCaprio will win Best Actor anyway.

Grade: A+