Movie Review – Hellboy – Wow. So, so, so bad.

Movie Review - HellboyGoing into the movie I didn’t expect much. The trailer looked promising, so I gave the movie a pre-movie rating of 75/100 in the Peeple’s Poll in the RunPee app.

Right from the start the movie had problems. They launched directly into a voice-over narration — rarely a good choice. (I think Fellowship of the Ring is the only movie that ever really pulled this off.)

The first three minutes were dreadfully written, but it’s a historical scene that sets up the present day story, so I gave them a pass.

It didn’t get any better when we finally got to present day. It’s hard to pick out where this movie went wrong when everything is bad.

The Writing

The writer Andrew Cosby has only three writing credits, all TV shows, most notably as a series writer for A Town Called Eureka. Every scene in the movie is packed with dialog. The audience never gets a chance to engage in the story because the characters tell us everything, over and over. It was all tell, no show. There was humor, but most of it felt forced.

The Direction

Hellboy is directed by Neil Marshall, whose background, again, is mostly in TV. I have to wonder how this came to be. It seems to me that if you’re making a movie, then someone on the staff should have some experience making movies, because clearly, TV and movies aren’t the same thing.

The Acting

Wow, so bad on so many levels. To be fair, the dialog and direction didn’t give the actors anything to work with. There’s no telling how good the actors could be with the right material and direction…with the exception of Milla Jovovich, who, as much as it pains me to say, was worse than usual. I ran a quick analysis on her filmography from RottenTomatoes, and her 33 movies have an average critics’ score of 37%.

David Harbour portrays the titular Hellboy. I can’t be critical of his performance because, as I mentioned above, he had nothing to work with, but again, his background is largely in TV.

Ian McShane (American Gods, John Wick series, etc.) is outstanding in his particular character role — which is pretty much the same in everything he does — but it doesn’t make a dent in this poor script. Here’s a man with some gravitas and a heap of experience who just seemed to be reading his lines, wondering how he got himself into this role.

Special Effects

Kudos have to be given to the FX team. For better or for worse, I had to look away from the screen a dozen times, and wish I had looked away more. My wife had nightmares last night after seeing the movie. They didn’t hold back on the gore.

The best thing I can say about this movie is that everything is only consistently bad, but not horrible. (Except for Milla’s acting which was yeah, really bad. No joke…I think the Pig Man might have been the best actor in the movie.)

If you go see this movie, or have seen it, I sincerely hope you disagree with my assessment, but in the end I gave this movie a post-movie rating of 10/100 in the Peeple’s Poll. That’s the lowest rating I’ve ever given a movie.

On a positive note: my wife, who collaborated with me on the Peetimes, didn’t hate the movie. She gave it a “C”. But, she married me, which can’t say much about her judgement. 🙂

Grade: F-

About The Peetimes: We have 3 Peetimes for this movie that are nicely spaced out. We highly recommend the middle Peetime. It’s by far the longest and is easy to summarize. In fact, if you make it back in around 3 minutes you’ll hardly miss a thing.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Hellboy. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for strong bloody violence and gore throughout, and language
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Remake

Movie Review – Dumbo – A live action remake your kids will enjoy

Movie Review - DumboIf you have a toddler, Dumbo is one of the few movies in the theater now that is specifically for your child. It’s PG-rated, so your kid won’t come home and ask you questions you don’t know how to answer. If you are worried about animal mistreatment with the circus background, by the end of the movie, they did mention no animals should be kept captive.

I was born and raised in China, and watching the original 1941 Dumbo with my dad is a piece of heartwarming memory from my early childhood. I was around 5 when I first watched it on a VideoCD. It was called “小飞象”  — Little flying Elephant — in Chinese. Yes, VCDs did exist.  🙂

Walking into the theater, I didn’t have an expectation. But as I was watching it, I was that 5-year-old girl again. The story has been changed here and there to fit the live action, but the spirit has not been changed at all. As far as I’m concerned, this movie brings back almost the same feelings I experienced over two decades ago. I’d call that a successful remake.

But for adults who don’t have any emotional connections to the original piece, this movie is probably going to be clicheic and pre-mature for you. It’s a remake that tries to be true to the original piece, so it’s still head to toe a 1940s style kids’ story. Unless, of course, you just like the idea of a cute little flying elephant.

Now here’s something extra for those who have watched the TV show West World: does the little girl in Dumbo remind you of anyone? 😉

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: We have a really good (recommended) Peetime right about the middle of the movie. Try to use that if you can. The last Peetime is okay, but you’ll miss a nice father-daughter scene. The 1st Peetime is only for Emergencies, because it’s short and is immediately followed by a scene that shouldn’t be missed, especially by children.

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

Rated (PG) for peril/action, some thematic elements, and brief mild language
Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Remake, Reboot, Sequel

Movie Review – Once Upon A Deadpool

 

Movie Review - Once Upon A DeadpoolThe Deadpool Before Christmas was hard to grade. I had to wonder if it’s better than the original Deadpool 2, if it added anything impressive to the canon, and if it’s worth spending your cash on what amounts to a re-tread of the same movie you saw last summer.

For real Deadpool fans, this is a must-see limited edition special event. Even for Princess Bride fans, you’ve got to get yourself out to see the painstakingly recreated bedroom for Fred Savage’s character, and to listen to him telling off Deadpool over the course of the film.

Also, Savage really wants to “fight” Matt Damon. As in REALLY REALLY, although it might not be “fight” so much as “f@ck”…if you’ve seen the Sarah Silverman parody song about Matt Damon, followed by the segue about Ben Affleck, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you’re old enough to permit some cussing in your humor, go look for it. Otherwise, ask your parents for some help.

The added Princess Bride footage was swell, from opening scene til the penultimate extra where Fred is finally permitted to go home. I wish there was more. The entire last third of the film had me waiting impatiently for new footage. My thought is that by then, the producers didn’t want to cut into the flow of the actual Deadpool story, but screw that — I came for more of the new wacky goodness.

One thing I found disappointing was how seamless the dirty language was. Instead of hearing some cool, really bizarre dubs, I barely noticed this was PG-13. I figured Deadpool would insert fun weirdo ‘curses’, like “you dirty hamburger monkey” for PG-13 friendly curses (shit and bitch are apparently okay, ya’ll), but, again, I didn’t notice the lack of the really R rated words. The ONLY fun cussing scene is the above-mentioned Matt Damon sequence with Deadpool bleeping out “fight.” Try not to run and pee then!

Also fun were a couple of scenes where certain body parts were pixellated. One in particular was super-maxi handy, since eyeball bleach can be hard to come by.

I also noticed a few neat things I missed on my previous DP2 viewing. One is all the insistence on DP’s part that he’s in a Marvel film. Also, as he talks to Juggernaut: “The sun is getting really low, big guy,” which is a certain someone’s sweet way to talk down The Hulk in another franchise. And, the dial we keep seeing Deadpool use “goes up to 11”, as we’re told in another old classic film: This Is Spinal Tap.

So, yeah. A few gory/graphic moments were cut, and some barely cleaner language was inserted, but this is absolutely the same DP2 you saw before, with 15 minutes of Princess Bride mashup interspersed.

Some people complained this was just a cash-grab by Fox and Marvel, but it’s still a unique way to re-package old material…plus Ryan Reynolds insisted a portion of the proceeds go to a “Fudge Cancer” charity…so you can feel good plopping out your money for this particular grab.

One last point: all the amazing cameos from the original DP2 are still in play. Dan’s first review of DP2 lists them all, so I’m not going to retread that — I just linked to his review. Sound good?

Last, last, last note: DO NOT LEAVE UNTIL IT SEEMS LIKE THE LIGHTS WILL BE COMING BACK UP. You’ll kick yourself if you miss the final cameo. Trust.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: Don’t use the original Deadpool 2 Peetime information. This PG-13 special has an extra 15 minutes of story footage, and a new extra scene after the credits. This version has different Cue times. In certain places I listed NEW scenes, in case you don’t want to hit the bathroom for those. The 2nd Peetime was recommended in the original Deadpool 2, but I removed that because it has a NEW scene in it. I listed the 1st Peetime as recommended instead, because it was easy to sum up and gives you an extra minute if you need it. Try to use it proactively! 🙂

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Once Upon A Deadpool. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Movie Review – The Grinch (2018)

 

Movie Review - The Grinch
Max the dog was cute. So was Fred the Reindeer. So, not a total loss.

It’s time to cease re-doing The Grinch. Full stop.

I can’t believe I was sucked into thinking this movie would add anything to the tale that wasn’t done perfectly already in the 1966 Xmas Special. What can I say, except to watch that perfect, iconic 26-minute version again, and to skip this bit of ‘meh.’. SKIP IT. YOU HEAR ME? It’s simply not good. Everything funny was shown in the trailer, and anything emotionally resonant still lies in that long ago Special that still holds up, after all this time.

If you want to feel touched by the Grinch’s heart growing three times, return to the original, and use that as your annual holiday touchstone. You’ll get misty-eyed, and walk away feeling good about life. Not so with this flick. This Grinch had great animated hair, and that’s all I can really say about it.

Moreso, egregiously, none of the genius grinchy musical numbers made it into this feature. It’s too bad, as I was ready to sing along with the audience. This was a just a big waste of time. I’m actually mad about it. STOP rebooting the Grinch, Hollywood! Is anybody listening?

The entire Cindy Lou Who subplot was a boring, meandering, meaningless misfire. Her “big” question for Santa underwhelmed, and her friends had no personality. What was the point of introducing them?

I honestly don’t know why the producers thought they could improve on the animated classic with this dreck. Even the lamented Jim Carrey live-action version was better, and that’s saying a lot.

I LOVE the classic Grinch story from Dr. Seuss, but can’t understand why this 2018 movie was necessary. Stick with the 1957 book or the 1966 TV special, and you’ll understand why this story is so important, so enduring. Loneliness and alienation are real concerns, and that first story offers hope for us all, even if we are sometimes humbugs where Christmas is concerned.

What did work in this film: Max the dog and Fred the reindeer. They had the most laughs from the young audience. As for the Grinch, not even Benedict Cumberbatch could make this film work.

Grade: D+

About The Peetimes: This is a short movie, and only 2 of the Peetimes are workable. The 1st one is really nice and long. The 2nd is fine too. Don’t use the 3rd Peetime if you don’t know the story of the Grinch — it’s just for emergencies.

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

The Grinch Who Keeps Stealing Christmas

Movie Review — Superfly (2018)

 Superfly is a very talky movie, interspersed with people shooting each other, and lots of blood blossoming on fancy white outfits. There’s not a single character to root for — everyone is corrupt, either selling drugs or profiteering off those selling the drugs.

[pullquote]There are, however, some great outfits, good hair, a fine soundtrack, and an interesting updated version of the old 1970s Blaxploitation films.[/pullquote]

I’ll say this before bed tonite: if you like the black drug culture genre, or gangster movies in general, you’ll appreciate this modern reboot and the very attractive people in it.

_____________________________

UPDATE: Thursday June 21:

Here are some thoughts from a friend who knows more about those 70s blaxploitation films than I.

Volunteer RunPee photographer Ola Sojobi says: “Yeah, I liked Superfly. It was a fun, action-packed gangster movie set in Atlanta, so there was the fun of an organized crime movie with an insight to Atlanta culture added on top of it. The characters were more compelling than I expected of a Superfly reboot, and the actors portrayed them well.” [pullquote position=”right”]Sojobi goes on to say, “I’m not saying it was Oscar-winning character or plot development, but overall, I think it was as good a time as one would have watching most any other gangster film.”[/pullquote]

As for me: I thought it would be campy, snappy/silly fun, and stylish. I got the stylish parts right. But it was also about a LOT of cocaine, many bricks of it, with characters snorting it, and some soft porn-ish shower sex (that’s a Peetime, if you don’t  like sex scenes, BTW), and one extremely creepy machine that one character goes into, screaming, until the nightmarish ‘suction sounds’ come on, and viscous red fluids comes snaking out, through some tubes and into a vat. I think he’s been rendered alive into various components.

My thinking: WTF did I just see?

I can’t unsee this, and it’s been literally keeping me awake for three nights now. Between my insomnia and weak stomach for violence, I want to say I hated this mean-spirited movie from start to finish.

On that, Sojobi adds,”Every gangster movie has to have at least one gnarly scene like that. Sort of like the horse head in the Godfather, maybe?”

As we try to grade movies by the target audience, I could see people approved of the rebooted Superfly. So I will give it a B-, add my violence-trigger caveats, and leave it at that. Now you get to choose. Please give this movie your poll ratings on the app.

NOTE: That blood vat torture scene is NOT a Peetime, since it’s at the very end in an R rated movie that had been uniformly violent throughout – do you think it requires a “Questionable Content Alert”, even so? That’s a new thing we are adding to the next RunPee update, out very soon.

__________

Here are the originals of the 70s Superfly films:

RunPee Meta: 

I’ve given you 3 Peetimes: 2 have simple conversation that’s easy to sum up, and one has 5 minutes of steamy shower sex and no plot. Choose according to your interests. 

Where the Cast from the Original Overboard is Now

When I saw the original Overboard in 1987, I was delighted with its wit and charm. It had a lightness, a sense of playful adventure, and a sweetly romantic conclusion. It made me laugh. It made me happy. Although the plot was implausible — and vaguely sexist even for the 80s — I was willing to overlook that in favor of the likability factor. There was an adorable chemistry between real-life, then-couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russel.

Hawn did an especially bang-up job playing three distinct periods of character growth (her rich, petulant brat persona was an especial treat). Russel’s character also grew (from overgrown man-child to almost-responsible adult), but Hawn owned this film.

The three children almost stole the show themselves. That can be a real trick. Kid roles can torpedo an otherwise good story by being too cutesy, whiny, or obnoxiously precocious.  [pullquote]Here, the director made sure everything worked. For a small and implausible movie like this, that’s kind of rare. Call it a minor cult classic. [/pullquote]

I still play Overboard whenever I need a little pick me up, placing it into a small category of flicks I can replay over and over as the years go by. It’s a great “background movie” too. So, light and inconsequential as it is, it’s a personal favorite. When I realized a new Overboard was in the works, I was nervous. Reboots do that to me. Understanding it’s a gender-flipped version helped a little. (It worked for Ghostbusters, which may not have been great, but was light on its feet and was worlds better than Ghostbusters 2.) [pullquote position=”right”]The new Overboard might not come close to bettering the original, but it could at least it might not suck. “Not Awful” has become an acceptable new category in this age of remakes, reboots, sequels, prequels, sagas, and long-term franchise building.[/pullquote]

The new actors for the new Overboard seem cute enough – although I’m curious why Kate Hudson (Hawn’s real-life and look-alike actress daughter) didn’t take up her mother’s role. We’ll see if the new guys have any chemistry, and if the story has enough grounding to stand up in today’s era.

In the meantime, what exactly did happen with the original cast?

Wikepedia’s 1987 Overboard entry lists the actors’ names, but apparently the kiddos didn’t go on to do much after this: only Jared Rushton, as Charlie Proffit (one of the twins), saw enough action to fill a filmography list.

Besides Hawk and Russel — who are STILL headlining major roles (as early as 2017’s Snatched and Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2),  mainly the late, award-winning Roddy McDowall, and still-acting Edward Herrmann, Katherine Helmond, and popular character-actor Michael G. Hagerty continue to make a “splash” (pardon the pun). Here’s a You Tube video detailing where the original cast sailed off to (sorry again):