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displays — the 3D images seen when characters have the HUD on –were pretty snazzy, but then the robot CG was 15 years out of date.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.

The Clues in Escape Room Worked

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/room.”

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?

Movie Review – Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story I’m certainly not disappointed. I think this one was better than the other new Star Wars movies, except for Rogue One.

I’m impressed that they managed to hit all of the important back story elements to Han’s character, without it feeling forced or cheesy.

My only complaint is that the story dragged on a bit, in places. Some of the action scenes were longer than necessary. Specifically, the exit from the mining colony into doing the Kessel Run scene. This is the equivalent of seeing Captain Kirk pass the Kobayashi Maru test in Star Trek 2009. Only this scene just went on and on, and was more like a cheap amusement ride. And then the solution wasn’t really anything Han did. It was a team effort.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: Three good Peetimes we have. Yes. 🙂

I would recommend the 2nd Peetime over the others. The synopsis is a quick and easy read. My priority was to make sure none of the important references from the original Star Wars movies are in any of the Peetimes, then try not to have any humor or good action. I think I managed on all 3 fronts. 

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Solo: A Star Wars Story. (What we mean by Anything Extra)

Buy the movie from Amazon.com on DVD or Blu Ray

Movie Review – Interstellar

Movie Review - InterstellarMy one word review would be: disappointed.

I think Christopher Nolan tried too hard to make a modern day 2001 A Space Odyssey. The ships looked much like 2001. There were long, drawn out scenes of docking. The robot TARS simultaneously pays homage to HAL and the monolith. And of course the visuals throughout the movie echo back to 2001.

The best thing I can say about the movie is the acting is top notch. Matthew McConaughey was excellent, and I thought Mackenzie Foy, the young daughter, was fantastic in every scene.

I have a big problem with Anne Hathaway’s role. Her acting was, as usual, superb, but her role was completely wasted on her talents. For such a long movie, there was surprisingly little time devoted to giving her character, Amelia, any meat. Amelia was either giving technical dialog, devoid of emotion, or frantically reacting to something. There wasn’t any time for play and bonding between the characters.

I’m tempted to give this movie a much worse rating, but the acting pulls it out of the gutter.

One more thing: stop playing blaringly loud music over dialog. There were numerous times I had no idea what the actors were saying. It was distracting all the way through the movie.

Grade: C+

Upon further review..
It’s been a few years since I posted the original review, and I’ve seen it a few more times since then. I still don’t love the movie, but I’ve warmed up to it a little. I’d bump the grade up to a solid B, maybe even B+. It is, for me, an easy movie to rewatch because it’s so beautifully filmed, and the music is outstanding, even though my original observation that the music plays too loudly over the dialog still holds.

About The Peetimes: I would recommend that you use the 1st Peetime. #1 is a perfect Peetime. There’s no character development, action, or plot development. #2 has some dramatic scenes, but they are easy to sum up. #3 has one long tension building scene but you’ll be back before it reaches the climax..

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

Buy the movie from Amazon.com on DVD or Blu Ray

Movie Review – Transformers: The Last Knight

Movie Review - Transformers: The Last KnightI love me some good old action-filled, giant robot bashing, planet crushing movies as much as anyone, but this a real yawner.

There was nothing new to see in the fight scenes with the bots. There are a bunch of characters that we are told we should care about, but don’t. The first hour of the movie cuts back and forth between too many plot lines, and never really settles down to tell a coherent story.

I know this is going to fall on deaf ears, but I wish Michael Bay would embrace the idea of telling smaller stories, just every now and then. Does every story have to trump the previous one in the threat to the planet Earth? I’m sure Bay would say, “Yes,” but for once couldn’t we have a small story? Just a few Transformers, or even one, with something that builds some character. Take the little orphan girl and her bff Transformer that was “all the family she ever had.” That could have made a great movie. Just a little orphan girl and a Transformer, bonding and having adventures. But all Michael Bay knows how to do is make overly contrived action epics. Such a shame. There are so many interesting stories that could be told that would enhance these action epics.

I just wish this franchise could transform into something worth watching.

Grade: D

About The Peetimes: I would recommend that you use the 2nd or 3rd Peetime. The first is short and has a fair bit of detail.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Transformers: The Last Knight. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Buy the movie from Amazon.com on DVD or Blu Ray

Is Bumblebee a prequel or a reboot?

Movie Review – Bumblebee

Review: Transformers – Revenge of the Fallen

Movie Review – Power Rangers

Movie Review - Power Rangers I’m giving Power Rangers an ‘A’ for one reason only: the audience. At my theater, the audience was very involved with the movie. They clapped, cheered, booed, and laughed themselves silly. This was the first showing for the movie at my theater, and I was stunned at the long line waiting to get seated. The demographics of the waiting movie-goers was evenly split, male and female, and three fourths of the audience was between 20 to 30 years of age.

So when you take a look at Rotten Tomatoes and see that the critics gave Power Rangers a 47, and the audience gave it an 82, it validates my personal grading system of addressing only the target audience.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: Even though this was a two hour movie, I was able to get only two Peetimes. The first hour was loaded with plot and character development. The two Peetimes are close together, one at 1:03 and the next at 1:18, so let your bladder decide which one is best for you.

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

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

Buy the movie from Amazon.com on DVD or Blu Ray

Movie Review – Passengers

Grade: A+

I am exhausted from a long, late night movie, so I will be short and sweet tonite. Mainly, I want to say: SEE THIS FILM. I never give an A+ rating, and this movie deserves it.

Chris Pratt is a treasure; Jennifer Lawrence brings her A-game, and this movie is a pure delightful mix of romance, science fiction, adventure, and just…beauty. It was hard to find Peetimes, since each moment was a pleasure and a joy.

I saw this film in a rear corner, in a mediocre room, with a small screen and tinny sounds, and it still knocked my socks off. I swear; I cannot find my socks. See this in a great theater, with 3D, with good sound…I will get out to see this properly again as soon as possible. FANTASTIC.

UPDATE: I just saw this film again, in 3D. I recommend the 3D version, even though it wasn’t filmed with that in mind, simply because this movie is so beautiful. On a 3D screen, the space scenes really made me feel like I was there, which is a sort of wish-fulfillment for my geeky soul. The glasses didn’t make anything noticeably darker. It just made everything in space prettier.

NEW NOTE: It seems that if you loved Gravity, you may not like Passengers. And vice-versa. You can tell where I fall on this spectrum. To those berating Jim’s big decision, I ask you – what would YOU have done in his situation? Sometimes I think the critics judge too harshly, without taking human nature into account. In any case, this film is a lot more like The Martian than Gravity, or any of those other uber-serious sci fi films.

Movie Review – Arrival

Movie Review - ArrivalI think Arrival is the best science fiction movie in years. Personally, I would have to go back to Edge of Tomorrow to find one almost as good. Not that these two movies are remotely alike. Arrival is more related to Contact — with Jodi Foster.

The pacing and twists of the movie strongly resembles a good M. Night Shylamalan movie. It builds slowly, and many times the characters, especially Amy Adams, whisper their lines. It’s a very subdued performance.

There is little or no excitement in the movie. It’s almost entirely cerebral.

This is one of those rare movies that must be seen twice to appreciate. It’s almost more enjoyable the second time through when you understand exactly what’s going on.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: This movie relies heavily on subtle visual cues. There are no unimportant scenes, but I managed to find a few peetimes that are decent.

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

Rated (PG-13) for brief strong language
Genres: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Buy the movie from Amazon.com on DVD or Blu Ray

Movie Review – The Martian

Movie Review - The MartianMatt Damon is at the top of his game. It’s an enormous challenge to ask an actor to spend so much of the movie acting in a vacuum (no pun intended), with few opportunities to interact with other characters. Matt’s charm and charisma make every scene he’s in shine.

Some critics commented that this movie is “One big promotional campaign for NASA.” (Like that’s a bad thing.) You won’t just be entertained; you’ll be educated. And by all means, take your adolescent kids to see it. They’ll certainly learn something, and hopefully be inspired to come home and do more research on the various topics covered in the movie.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: My focus was to have Peetimes with as few scenes as possible with Watney (Matt Damon) in them. The scenes that Watney are in are mostly montages, with little or no dialog. #1 A good Peetime. There’s an important story development, but it mostly involves long stretches of Watney driving and digging. #2 You should leave as soon as the above line is spoken. Nothing else important is said during their conversation. A new character is introduced right at the end of this Peetime. #3 A good Peetime with little dialogue to miss. This is mostly a process scene that leads into an increase in tension. #4 There’s no dialog during this Peetime, but it’s also only 3 minutes long, and important action happens shortly afterward.

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

Buy the movie from Amazon.com on DVD or Blu Ray