Movie Review – The Incredible Hulk – Not Bad. Not MCU Good. Watch it and move on to better things…

 

Movie Review - The Incredible Hulk
Poor little Edward Norton. He’s cute; he can act, and he really tried. He just didn’t do MCU-level work. Or maybe it was the script. Mark Rufflalo is da HULK. #SorryNotSorry

I finally finished watching The Incredible Hulk last night. The big fight scene with The Abomination is awful. Looks terribly fake and is surprisingly boring. I wanted to skip the whole scene. My idea of a great Peetime is a terrible action sequence. #DontBoreMe

I expect better from the MCU. But then, this Hulk came out the same year as Iron Man 1, which was pretty much improvised by Robert Downey Jr and was a “Marvel’, almost a fluke, in how RIGHT they got a superhero film. MCU owes him EVERYTHING. He showed them the way. The path to enlightenment!

The Incredible Hulk is an okay movie. But OK is not acceptable in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Honestly. The Incredible Hulk is a better movie than I expected after avoiding it for ten years, but it doesn’t FEEL like the MCU, except for the Stark bonus scene just before the credits.

I can’t believe I finally watched this. I felt like I needed to turn in my Geek Card all this time, so I did it. It’s NOT awful, okay?

It’s a far sight better than that previous “abominable’ Hulk attempt, but Edward Norton, cute as he is in the role of Humble Banner, is NO Mark Ruffalo. Where is the fun, the humor, the clever world-building?

Arg. Trying to not get all HULKY in my anger with this piffling film. See this only it you’re an MCU completist. And for the very last scene (or just find it on You Tube). Really. If not for that final ten seconds, I’d never know this was a part of the greatest film franchise in history.

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: I added the 1st one now, at just before the half hour mark — a great time to go. I’ll be adding 2 more soon. Captain’s honor!

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

Rated (PG-13) for sequences of intense action violence, some frightening sci-fi images and brief suggestive content
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Superhero

Movie Review – Iron Man – Genius, Philanthropist, etc who started it all

Why Hulk is a Big Weenie and Loki Isn’t

Endgame Pee Planning from Rudd, Ruffalo & RunPee

The Matrix After 20 Years – A Retrospective: A Different Kind of Hero, a New Kind of Science Fiction

The MatrixThe year was 1999 and all any sci-fi fan could think about was: finally, another Star Wars movie. Had Phantom Menace come out in the age of social media it would have been, well, pretty much what we’re seeing with Avengers: Endgame right now.

But, I remember reading an article online — I don’t recall the source — that essentially said: if you think The Matrix is just a sci-fi appetizer to watch while you wait for the The Phantom Menace main course, then think again; this year of 1999 will be known forever as the movies that came out before The Matrix, and the movies that came out after The Matrix. #Truth

Remember the first scene of the movie — Trinity, stylishly clad in black leather, alone in a dilapidated room, typing on a computer. Contrast was everywhere: Trinity’s sleek appearance with the grungy room; her calm demeanor while being handcuffed with the nervousness of the police officers; and then, with the ease of a video game character playing in god-mode, she struck.

The Trinity character was instantly elevated to the level of superhero, then seconds later she was running scared for her life. We had no idea, but these men in bland suits were on another level completely.

Then, the payphone rang and Trinity sprinted to answer it — before being crushed by a massive truck.

What Just Happened?

In medias res (in the middle of things) hasn’t been done better, before or since.

The movie doesn’t relent for a moment. The audience is left as stupefied as the main character, wondering what is the Matrix, until Morpheus finally explains it to Neo: the Matrix is a prison, for your mind.

There’s a risk to building expectations in a movie plot, because it isn’t enough to meet those expectations; they must be exceeded. More often than not, stories let us down when the veil is lifted. You know those movies that succeed because you remember the titles: Inception, Blade Runner, Minority Report, Sixth Sense…The Matrix. Movies that don’t exceed their own expectations litter the movie timeline, like irrationals between the integers.

All the story elements of The Matrix had been explored, to one degree or another, by previous stories. It’s nearly impossible to come up with a meaningful trope that wasn’t worn ragged by the time the Greeks got around a campfire.  But, all through my adolescence and early adulthood every superhero story left me slightly dissatisfied. Something was missing, but I didn’t know what.

A great superhero movie needs a suitable balance between hero and villain. The vast majority of these stories end with the hero winning, because the heroes want it more…usually because they are fighting for something bigger than themselves. The villain usually fights for their own ends.

The closest these stories ever came to satisfaction was when the superhero discovered and accepted who they were, and let go of perceived limitations. But these limitations always centered on physicality or some superpower.

And then we watched Neo die. The unmistakable hero of the story lay dead on the hallway floor,  simultaneously dead in the chair holding his real physical body.

We’ve seen this before. This isn’t new.

What was new: Neo awoke/metamorphosized into a new state of understanding. He wasn’t faster, or stronger than before — he showed those traits of speed and strength already. Only now he had knowledge (gnosis) of everything in The Matrix. He was The One.

Neo distractedly fought Agent Smith, gazing in wonder at the surroundings he truly saw for the first time. There was no fight left to fight. Neo stepped through the doors of perception and saw infinity. This was the hero I was waiting for.

Analysis of Inception

Movie Review – Inception (No Spoilers)

60 Movies Standing Up To The Test Of Time

Movie Review – John Wick 1

Movie Review – Captive State

Movie Review - Captive StateCaptive State had a good idea of dropping the movie goer right into an alien invasion. The aliens have been in control of earth for years and are known as “legislators.” They control the law and humans.

Okay, great idea up to that point. It’s a dandy way to start a movie. I like the idea of seeing how the humans and aliens basically have to work together. That’s where the greatness ends. The mere idea of it. The execution was retched, absolutely discombobulated and confusing.

It’s really an hour and a half give or take of humans passing messages and traveling from one secret location to another secret location. I honestly didn’t even know the characters names until I got home and looked them up on IMDB.

One of my biggest gripes is John Goodman. I’ve loved that guy since the beginning of Roseanne. He is a staple in the strong male actors category. Did he have bills to pay? Why in the world did he take this role? The character was written so poorly that even the great Goodman couldn’t bring life to the role. Sad face.

The only reason I’m not giving this movie an F is because the sets were done really well. They immersed you into a bleak, poverty stricken world that oozed with desperation and hopelessness. Good job there.

Another positive note was that while doing my job I have to sit through the credits to tell you wonderful people if there is anything extra. Happily they were only four minutes long. I thought to myself, “Wow, those credits were really short. Woohoo for that!” Most movies run at least 7 minutes, sometimes longer. I figured out why as I was falling asleep last night trying to forget this movie. The credits are so short that no one wanted to take credit for this farce of a movie. I chuckled to myself as I fell into a peaceful sleep that luckily contained no part of this movie in my dreams.

Treat yourself to a wonderful movie and get out of the house for a while. You deserve it! I just wouldn’t pick this one.

Grade: D+

About The Peetimes: I only submitted 2 Peetimes due to the fact that this was a really hard movie to follow. I chose scenes that were fairly easy to summarize.

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

Rated (PG-13) for sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief language and drug material
Genres: Sci-Fi, Thriller

Movie Review – Captain Marvel – A Pretty Good Origin Story

Movie Review - Captain MarvelI’ve seen Captain Marvel twice now, and can honestly say I enjoyed it more the second time around. With my initial impressions I gave the movie a B. I’m bumping it up to a B+ now.

As a big Marvel Cinematic Universe fan, I think the most useful rating is to place it along with all the other 20+ MCU movies. Personally, I don’t dislike any of the movies, so the worst ones are still decent. But there are clearly the best of the best, the really good ones, and just good groupings.

In no particular order, I’d say the best of the MCU best are:

Avengers (the first one), Infinity War, GotG, GotG2, Thor: Ragnarok, Civil War, and Age of Ultron.

You’ll notice that all of these are ensemble movies, and none of them are an origin story, unless you consider that the first Avengers movie is a quasi-origin story for the ensemble.

When I look over that list, I can’t say that Captain Marvel can bump any of the top tier of MCU movies out, but it’s close…very close.

How Was Brie Larson as Captain Marvel?

I think Brie Larson did an adequate job with her character, but it’s going to take time to see if she can really “own” the role of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel. However, the action scenes lacked a certain physical presence I think the role requires. Personally, I wish they had chosen Blake Lively for the role. She has the snarkiness — and definitely the physical presence —  to express Captain Marvel. I hope in time Brie can show us she was the right choice, but for now, I think the jury is still out. Let’s see how she measures up when she’s grouped with the other Avengers going forward.

The humor in Captain Marvel is good. It’s nothing like either of the Guardians movies, or Ragnarok, but there are still plenty of good laughs to be had.

I love the way the story gives us not only Captain Marvel’s origin, but also Fury’s. That was deftly handled.

What I liked most about the movie was the theme of the story. (Which I can’t really get into without mentioning spoilers.  Click on the spoiler tag below only if you’ve seen the film.)

Captain Marvel Spoilers

Click here to read further: spoilers
Without coming across as preachy, the story deftly explores how important it is to always question one’s allegiances.

Early in the movie Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) says, “Know your enemy. It might just be you.” We later learn the statement is literally true, when Marvel discovers she’s fighting on the wrong side of an unjust war.

There is a scene early in the movie that foreshadows Marvel’s change of allegiance, when Agent Coulson lowers his weapon and allows Fury and Marvel to escape. That not only sets the stage for putting Coulson on Fury’s map as his “one good eye” (a line from the original Avengers) but in a conversation shortly after that, Fury tells Marvel that what Coulson did –listening to his gut — is a hard thing to do, but that’s what makes us human.

MCU movies have also explored this idea with Captain America. He starts out as the dedicated patriot, and evolves into a fugitive from the very same authority that created him.

I personally find it ironic that society/authority/governments continually preach loyalty and patriotism. Essentially encouraging citizens to offer robotic support, while the computers we create are becoming more adept at questioning, understanding, and adapting. What makes us human — humanity — may soon be the purview of our creations.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: Overall, all 3 Peetimes are pretty good. I would recommend the 1st Peetime over the others. It’s very easy to get caught up on what happened. The 3rd Peetime is almost as good, but includes a little humor. The 2nd Peetime is almost all dialog so it has a longer than average synopsis.

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

Rated (PG-13) for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive language
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Superhero,

Movie Review – Alita: Battle Angel – Lighter, more Enjoyable than Ghost in the Shell

 

Movie Review - Alita: Battle AngelAlita: Battle Angel is a sort of YA version of Ghost in the Shell, and I’m not exactly thrilled to see the same thing re-done in so short a period of time. At least this one was more enjoyable, with better humor, more likable characters, and a universe that might be more interesting to explore if a sequel happens. And let it be clear: a sequel isn’t just hinted at in Alita. A sequel is guaranteed, if the movie’s ending is to be understood. It’s a cliffhanger, ya’ll. You should know this going in.

What’s good? [pullquote]The animation is seamless, and the battling Alita herself looks great, giant eyes and all. The Uncanny Valley is not even an issue here: “cute” bypasses the Valley entirely.[/pullquote] And cute Alita is. So is her boyfriend. And her ‘dad.’ It’s not a depressing film, unlike Ghost in the Shell, so it’s got that going for it.

I’m not even sure what else to say about this film because I wasn’t as impressed as I wanted to be. I saw a special early showing that was entirely sold out (my seat was in the literal front row, lending the 3D glasses a terrible viewpoint).

Clearly, the anime excitement and interest was there for this series, even if the presentation wasn’t as freshly new as I’d hoped. Also, while Rosa Salazar is adorable as Alita, she’s no Scarlett Johansson.

What is it about waifish cyborg girls and a future of augmented human bodies? Are we just our brains?[pullquote position=”right”] Can a brain-in-a-jar still be human? These are questions our progeny will have to address, and it comes up fruitfully here.[/pullquote]

I’m giving Alita a good B grade — it’s worth seeing on the big screen, and there’s potential for a decent franchise here. I smiled and laughed, and wanted to know more about the air city above the space elevator.[pullquote] Is the Earth used up? Is humanity lost and debased? And, ultimately, can a few good people influence the course of the future?[/pullquote] According to Margaret Mead, that’s all that ever can. Alita: Battle Angel seems to think we can too.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: Here are 3 Peetimes of 3 minutes, nicely spaced apart. The 2nd and 3rd Peetimes are better. There’s a lot of action in Alita, so you’ll want to pick a Peetime to not miss the better scenes.

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

Rated (PG-13) for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
Genres: Action, Romance, Sci-Fi

Movie Review – Ghost in the Shell

 

Quiz – Scarlett Johansson – Not Just a Pretty Face

What is Animated versus Live Action in Alita – Battle Angel

Movie Review – Mortal Engines

Movie Review – The Terminator

Movie Review – Justice League (RunPee Jilly’s POV)

 

 

 

Movie Review – Glass

Movie Review - GlassGlass is one of those movies the fans love and the rest of the world does not. My theater was packed with die-hard Shyamalan fans. There were laughs, and applause throughout the movie. I polled a few fans as they were leaving and it was unanimous; they loved it. And for that, I give the movie a B+.

I’ll begin my own personal review by saying, I was really wowed by the first two movies in the trilogy. M. Night Shyamalan always does an excellent job of developing characters, and his exposition is the best in the business. Just by inserting a well-placed piece of dialog, or one small scene, can reveal volumes about the character.

What do you do when your three lead characters (with giant personalities) have already had their own movie, and now share the screen for a final showdown? That was done well in the Marvel Universe, but fell a little short in Glass.

Honestly, I wanted more Beast and less Glass. Watching James McAvoy change personalities was wonderful. How could you ever be bored watching a one man show up with 23 different characters?

There was so much exposition packed into this movie that at times I was a little frustrated. The dialog was very good, with no wasted words or protracted gibberish. The plot was obvious, thanks to the 95 or so trailers that hit the media a few weeks ago, but the film still managed to throw in a few surprises and twists.

The ending left me totally unsatisfied; I expected one of those scenes that leaves your jaw on the floor, and your knees weak, but all I felt was a bit confused, with one big WTF.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: This was a very difficult movie for Peetimes. The action and suspense was just about non-stop, and every scene led into another equally important plot development. I recommend the 2nd Peetime, because after that there’s no other opportunity to squeeze in a 4 minute break.

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

Rated (PG-13) for violence including some bloody images, thematic elements, and language
Genres: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Movie Review – Split

Quiz – M. Night Shyamalan Movies

Quiz – M. Night Shyamalan & his Cameo Roles

Quiz – Samuel L. Jackson and his Mother “Frakking” Movies

Quiz – Classic and New Bruce Willis Movies

Theme Song from Flash Gordon – Queen Video & Lyrics

flash gordon 1980 movie and lyrics
I’m sure there will be another Flash Gordon reboot before too long.

FLASH! Ah-ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…

Okay, you probably know this strange little song, even if you’re too young to have ever seen Flash Gordon on the big screen. (I’m actually too young to remember if I did or not, but this isn’t the point.)

The point is that Queen was so versatile they could create hugely memorable tracks specifically for almost any movie  genre. They made an entire album for the 1986 cult Sean Connery film Highlander (genre: medieval fantasy), and the iconic theme song for a 1980 science fiction adventure set in the distant future (Flash Gordon). Not only did movie producers co-opt existing Queen songs left/right/everywhere you turn, but also convinced Queen to write ones specifically for them.

[pullquote]Flash Gordon is definitely one of the weirder songs in their oeuvre, and we are talking about a band where “weird’ is a positive feature. [/pullquote](Do you even know what a Scaramouch is?)

The Wikipedia gives this account:

There are two versions of the song. The album version (“Flash’s Theme“) is in fact the start to the movie, with all the dialogue from the first scene. The single version contains dialogue cut from various parts of the movie, most memorably, Brian Blessed’s character exclaiming “Gordon’s alive?!” This version was also included on the Greatest Hits compilation from 1981.

Flash is sung as a duet between Freddie Mercury and Brian May, with Roger Taylor adding the high harmonies. May plays all of the instruments except for the rhythm section.

It’s a fun tune, even if the only words you know are the the refrain (sing with with me: FLASH! AH-AHHHH). Here’s a video incorporating the band and the Flash Gordon movie, and the lyrics are further below in case you’d like to learn the actual stanzas.

Flash’s Theme Lyrics
(Song by Queen)


Flash! Ah-ah
Savior of the universe
Flash! Ah-ah
He’ll save everyone of us
Flash! Ah-ah
He’s a miracle
Flash! Ah-ah

King of the impossible
He’s for every one of us
Stand for every one of us
He saves with a mighty hand
Every man, every woman
Every child, it’s the mighty Flash

(What do you mean Flash Gordon approaching?
(Open fire! All weapons!)
(Dispatch war rocket Ajax to bring back his body)
Flash! Ah-ah
(Gordon’s alive!)

Flash! Ah-ah
He’ll save every one of us

Just a man with a man’s courage
You know he’s nothing but a man
And he can never fail
No one but the pure at heart
May find the Golden Grail

Oh-oh, oh-oh
Flash…

(Songwriters: Brian Harold May, 1980. 
Flash’s Theme lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc)


I’d like to see the actual movie some day. Perhaps after a few beers, since I’m not sure a film like this would have aged well. Have  you seen it?[pullquote position=”right”] Is Flash Gordon good, classic, goofy, campy, cringe-worthy, or what? [/pullquote]Tell us in the comments below.

BTW, here’s everything you need to know about the timeline of Flash Gordon, from comics, to live action serials, animated cartoons, and various feature films. This is a long list, but if you are a Flash super-fan, Wikipedia made this entry just for you. 

What is a Scaramouch? The Meaning Behind Bohemian Rhapsody from Queen

 

A Stomping Good Time at the Tournament – Video and Lyrics to We Will Rock You from A Knight’s Tale

Don’t Stop Me Now – Video and Lyrics by Queen in Shaun of the Dead

Movie Review – Replicas

Movie Review - ReplicasThere are two movies coming out this week about dogs. One is A Dog’s Way Home. The other is Replicas, which has no dogs in it, but it is a dog.

Question: why does the saying, “This movie is a dog,” imply that a movie is bad, yet we also know this one: “A dog is a man’s best friend.” Someone ‘splain English to me, please. 🙂

I can’t criticize the actors because they had nothing useful to work with. [pullquote]Three minutes into the movie, and the dialog was already clumsy and heavy handed. The only good reason to watch this movie is for a film student to see how not to write dialog.[/pullquote]

It was strange that the CG for the computer displays — the 3D images seen when characters have the HUD on –were pretty snazzy, but then the robot CG was 15 years out of date. It was so jerky it looked like stop motion.

The only good thing I can say about Replicas is that the credits are 11 minutes long, making this only a 95 minute movie.

BTW, Keanu Reeves, if you’re reading this, my apologies.  I love your work. There’s nothing anyone could have done to save this miserable script. But I have to ask, “Did you lose a bet? Why on earth did you take this role?”

Grade: F

About The Peetimes: I have 2 Peetimes here. Both are fine, however, there is a crucial scene following the 2nd Peetime. The credits for this movie are 11 minutes long with no extras, so the movie is really only about 95 minutes.

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

Rated (PG-13) for thematic material, violence, disturbing images, some nudity and sexual references
Genres: Crime, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Quiz – Keanu Reeves And His Many Characters

Movie Review – John Wick 1

Movie Review – Escape Room – Surprisingly Lively, Clever, and Fun

 

Movie Review - Escape RoomEscape Room is one of those simple little movies that caught me by surprise. I didn’t see any trailers for it, and it looked like a low-grade horror film from the poster. Not the genre I tend to enjoy; I didn’t have any expectations going in.

Now I want to shout to everyone: SEE THIS FILM!

So. What I got was a tight little story that grabbed me by the nads from the first minute, and never them let go until the credits rolled. You grew to really care about each character. As each room got weirder and stranger, and more dangerous, the characters revealed their pasts and fears. We saw them learn to work as a team, and care when they each succumbed to their desperate situations.

Also, each room was more cool and bizarre than the last. Kudos to the writers and directors, making this story more gripping and exciting by the minute. I didn’t want to tear my eyes away to write down Peetimes, because I wanted to figure out each clue on my own. It was all there, if you paid enough attention. Unlike some films, it didn’t cheat.

Now I want to do a real Escape Room, and pick out my smartest five friends to help me get out. It takes a tribe, you know. Everyone has different skill sets.

Really, I haven’t been this surprised by a movie since A Quiet Place. And if my observations of the rest of the audience applies, everyone else was captivated too. When the little cliffhanger happened at the end, everyone filed out looking shell shocked, grumbling about how they needed to wait for the next film to discern the “real plot”.

I’m here to tell you the “plot” doesn’t matter. Sometimes rich people are bored and miserable…and that isn’t the point. The real narrative is about how this smart ensemble of random men and women learned to work together, suffer together, and sacrifice themselves in the cause of the greater good. Sometimes you can be super smart and just unlucky. Sometimes you can be a good person and still fail. And for some, things come together in a way where you feel vindicated for sticking things out by going “outside the box.”

And that’s really all I can say without spoiling the narrative. Go and enjoy. I think professional Escape Rooms will make a “killing” from this one. I know I’m going to do one soon.

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: I highly recommend the 1st Peetime, because it’s the least intense “scenario” in the film. Escape Room is super exciting, so all I could get was 2 Peetimes. Either will do, but don’t try leaving at any other point, or you’ll be LOST. Really.

UPDATE: I just added an Alert Peetime to warn off anyone who gets seizures from intense flashing lights.

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

A Quiet Place – RunPee Jilly’s Movie Review (with SPOILERS)

A Quiet Place 2 Announced

Movie Review – Us – Tons of Symbolism, Creepy, and a Great Time at the Movies

Movie Review – Bumblebee

Movie Review - BumblebeeI can’t say this movie met my expectations. Unfortunately, my expectations were pretty high, based on early reviews by critics that this was the fresh new face of a new take on the Transformers.

There’s a lot of good stuff in the movie. Most notably: Hailee Steinfeld as the lead character, Charlie Watson. She was a great choice for a tomboyish character who has gone through a traumatizing experience. She got as much out of her character as we could expect from any young actress. The faults I have are with the story, not her performance.

What I liked the most about the story is that they kept it small. This isn’t the “grand epic, fate of the planet is at stake” sort of movie. It’s just one Autobot trying to survive against two Decepticons.

What I disliked about the story is how forced it felt. There were numerous scenes that seemed crammed in just to have a payoff later, or even worse, provided no real substance to the movie.

For instance, the mean girls subplot was a complete waste. It’s enough that Charlie recently lost her father. To add the minor subplot of the mean girls there to hurt her did nothing to build the story.

My 6 year old niece was excited to see the movie with me. She watched attentively but seemed to get bored near the end. You can tell when a movie really grabs her, and this one didn’t.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: I have 3 nicely spaced Peetimes for this movie. I would recommend the middle one, because it’s fairly long and you can go over a little without getting lost. Only use the last Peetime if you think you can get back in 3 minutes. There’s an important scene that happens just as the Peetime ends.

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

Is Bumblebee a prequel or a reboot?