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

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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

Movie Review – Gravity

Movie Review - GravityI enjoyed Gravity, but didn’t love it. I’m not going to grade the movie on its scientific accuracy because if I did, it would get a D, at best. Instead I’ll only consider the story aspects.

My biggest beef with Gravity is the character development. The movie is only 90 minutes long, which doesn’t leave enough time for both action scenes and character development. The struggles and challenges that Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) goes through leads to the character breaking down. But we don’t know anything about her inner turmoil until after the fact. I think if they had made the movie another 30 minutes longer, and included something of Ryan’s past, then the audience could have felt the emotional experience as well.

Basically, the movie was in 3D but the emotional content was in 1D.

That said, the 3D excitement was riveting, and certainly worth seeing.

As I mentioned, there are a lot of scientific inaccuracies. Instead of reviewing that myself, I’ll just give you a link to a good overview of some of the things they got wrong in the movie. Most of these can be forgiven, because the story needed to assume certain things in order for it to work.

Note: the article below is full of spoilers.

http://science.time.com/2013/10/01/what-gravity-gets-right-and-wrong-about-space/

RunPee Wife was less than impressed with the movie. Jilly’s review would read something like this: Sandra Bullock breathes heavy; there are lots of electronic buzzing and dinging noises. Things blow up in space. Nothing else happens. The end.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: There’s not a lot of downtime in this movie. RunPee Wife agrees that the Peetime I found is about as good as it’s going to get...

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

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

Movie Review – Man of Steel

Movie Review - Man of SteelMan of Steel is a fast-paced visual feast that is supported by great actors. Even when the premise feels a bit flimsy, the actors convincingly sell the story to the audience.

Much of the film is told in flashbacks, when Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) is a boy/teen, giving the audience a window into how difficult it was for Clark to fit into rural Kansas society, due to his super-human powers.

As an adult, this Superman starts off as a man who is forced to live on the fringes of society, giving the movie a darker, edgier feel than any previous Superman movies. When a strange UFO is found frozen in ice, Clark meets Lois Lane (Amy Adams), and together they work to save humanity from “monster” General Zod, who ruthlessly hunts down Clark Kent, better known to Zod as Kal-El. B+

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: I would try to use the first pee time, if possible. Once General Zod arrives on Earth, the pace really picks up and the story becomes quite intense. Peetime #2 contains a crucial plot development, but it is easy to sum up in case you use this peetime.

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

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

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

Movie Review – The Avengers

Movie Review - The AvengersFantastic movie. There was never a dull moment. The movie was 2 hours and 13 minutes — without the credits — and you’ll wish it was an hour longer. Joss Whedon managed to pack in a great deal of character development with all the action, without making it seem forced.

The action was as good as it gets. Best of all, there was plenty of humor throughout the movie with lots of chuckles, a few good laughs, and one TYHBARWL moment (Throw Your Head Back And Roar With Laughter ).

You will not be disappointed.

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: I would recommend the second peetime at 56 minutes in. It’s an important plot scene but is fairly easy to sum up. The last peetime isn’t great but it is the very last opportunity you’ll have. Non-stop action after that.

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

Rated (PG-13) for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

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

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

Movie Review - Iron ManThis is the movie that started it all for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it still holds up after all this time. In fact, knowing the character arc of Tony Stark (at least up to the end of Infinity War) makes this first movie even better. Not many franchises can say that.

Those doubts about Iron Man, so long ago, put to rest

One of the few criticisms the MCU has had over the years is that many of their villains have been rather cardboardy. That has been said of this first Iron Man, but I tend to disagree. First, they didn’t try to set up an ongoing villain. They created one that was a one-and-done, which works best for an origin story.

Secondly, they made up for it with the misdirection. We think we know who the villain is going to be — then we get a 180. For a first time movie viewing it worked really well. The humor, the pathos…it WORKS. Robert Downey Jr single-handedly improvised his way into something brand new in the superhero genre — and created the entire foundation of MCU greatness. Just ask the box office for Avengers: Endgame, and ten year’s worth of rabid fans.

I remember when I first saw previews for this movie. My first thought was: Robert Downey Jr., as a superhero? Seriously? This must be some sort of joke.

Little did we know what was to come. No one could have done Iron Man better, or set up what’s become the world’s most exciting continuous franchise. No one else comes close.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: The first Iron Man movie predates RunPee — by about one year. We added these Peetimes retrospectively, just to create continuity with all the other MCU movies.

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

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