Movie Review – Escape Room

 

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 – Jilly’s Movie Review (with SPOILERS)

Movie Review – The Possession of Hannah Grace

Movie Review - The Possession of Hannah GraceHollywood pulled off another movie that actually had me a little bit afraid. I’ll say I was very tense during some scenes. That sure doesn’t happen very often anymore.

They did an incredible job of setting the tone of this horror flick. The ambiance was perfect; it kept you on the edge of your seat, wondering what was around the next dark corridor.

The special effects were awesome, right down to the noises that were made. I found myself cringing when I knew the super bad noise was going to happen again.

I also wanted to mention that this movie was almost entirely acted by Shay Mitchell. There were other actors, but the main focus of the movie was her and how she was dealing with this supernatural terror. She did a fantastic job — her role came to life onscreen. So if you’re a fan of the show Pretty Little Liars, I’d 100% recommend this movie to you. You’ll love what she does.

All in all, The Possession of Hannah Grace was a hit in my book. I enjoyed myself, just like I think you will.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: This was an incredibly short movie. I feel that only 1 Peetime was needed. After 45 minutes, there really isn’t a break in the build up or the finale that you’d want to miss.

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

Movie Review – Robin Hood

 

Movie Review - Robin HoodFirst off, I’m going to say this movie doesn’t deserve an involved review, but I’ll tackle it anyway. It’s bad. My theater was full last night, but when talking to others after the film ended, they weren’t impressed. It’s a disposable version of the old story, adding nothing to the tale. I’m scratching my head raw trying to ascertain who the target audience is, and why the powers that be bothered with yet another Robin Hood re-boot.

I’m giving this underwhelming flick a D+, since it’s sub-par in almost every way…except for the lush landscapes, the majestic castles seen from afar, and the detailed interior sets of the city of Nottingham. It’s got just enough pretty to engage the eye. Robin himself is also pretty, but why they insist on calling him “Rob” makes no sense. Rob. Really? Anyway, that’s where the + comes from: good sets. 😉

And here’s the thing — it’s a strange, strange film. The men had modern haircuts. The women had space-age futuristic hairstyles (see the “casino” scene, which was lifted right out of Star Wars). Their clothing bothered me too. Since when do medieval clergy or members of the police force wear stylishly cut leather jackets and dusters? Actually, maybe not so stylishly: they reminded me of the sorely lamented Members Only garments from the 80s. Whatever: they took me out of the narrative.

What I liked, besides the sets and scenery:

Friar Tuck was a hoot. He played the role in an unusual way, as a sort of spiritual seeker who is also an archetypal fool. I could watch a movie of his amusing Confessional sequences. He brings the only charm to the film.

The best Robin character moments are the scant scenes where Robin sucks up to the Sheriff — I hadn’t seen that angle before. They should have done more of that, paving the way for a new interpretation of a classic story.

I liked the poverty-stricken city-dwellers nailing up symbolic hoods all over town. That was cool — there was a ground swell of support for The Hood, expressed in the only way the populace could manage without being dragged off to the gallows.

The outlaws only move to Sherlock Forest at the very, very end. Disappointing. They are clearly setting up for a sequel no one wants, especially with the “new sheriff” business. But since I was waiting for the scenes with the Merry Men, I was glad the forest finally made a cameo. Nothing merry made this cut.

And…um. Looking over my notes, that’s all I’ve got for the good.

Some more observations before I wrap this forgettable film: They tried too hard to take themselves seriously as a medieval story, but undercut themselves with bothersome anachronistic details. Even the soundtrack was bizarre. It’s like the producers watched A Night’s Tale and Ladyhawk, and decided they could replicate those successes by slipping old and new into one film.

They failed. A Night’s Tale is one of the most enjoyable medieval tales in the business. I’d say you’re better off watching that one again, and stomping in the tourney stands along to We Will Rock You. And Ladyhawk is mostly straightforward, but features a strangely workable rock soundtrack, and the sublime Matt Broderick reprising his Ferris Bueller shtick in breaking the fourth wall and talking to the camera (or God — same thing).

I don’t want to waste any more time reviewing a sub-par movie, so I’ll wrap this up. This Robin Hood shouldn’t be on anyone’s playlist rotation. There’s barely any humor. The prisoner character (‘John” – acted by the reliable Jamie Foxx) did what he could in a lackadaisical script, but unfortunately came across like an Arabian superhero who could dodge arrows and survive brutal beatings without a scratch. I don’t like seeing people beat into a pulp, but there should be consequences if they are.

Then the climatic scenes where Robin fires five arrows at once that mysteriously all connect to a target…is he an Avenger, like Hawkeye, with heat-seeking rounds? How long does it take to master these skills? I thought Robin Hood was supposed to arrive with this talent, and not pull a sudden “Rocky” turn where a few days of training equals super mighty prowess. I know I’m overthinking this, but there’s nothing else in this film to distract me from the dismal minutia.

Here’s my suggestion. And I HATE to say this: just watch the Kevin Costner Robin Hood version again. That’s not a good movie either (understatement), but the lost and lamented Alan Rickman brings the funny, and is a sort-of engagingly demented rogue. Don’t get me started on this Sheriff. Evil for evil’s sake? I’m done.

What else? I need to see Men In Tights again, because I want to know if it STILL might be better than this. Can a spoof film be superior? I’d say yes, if they respect the source material, like The Princess Bride. For this Robin Hood, I appreciate they might have been going for a Lord of the Rings feel, blended with A Knight’s Tale, but it dropped like a dud grenade.

Lastly, the much ballyhooed line of, “If not now, who? If not not now, when?” came across strangely, like they suddenly decided to use a modern cozy homily as the crux of the narrative. Did Maid Marion coin this line? Why? Oh, gods, I don’t even care.

Grade: D+

About The Peetimes: The best Peetime is a nice long one; I recommend using that one proactively. All you will miss is a training montage. The 2nd and 3rd Peetimes give you a choice of missing some character dialog or an action scene, but neither add much to the plot, so select whichever your bladder needs.

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

Movie Review – The Girl in the Spider’s Web

 

Movie Review - The Girl in the Spider's WebIt’s a sad fact: sometimes a good book can make a not so good movie. Such is the case of The Girl in the Spider’s Web.

The pacing was frenetic, making the plot hard to follow. There were scenes that went by so quickly, I hardly had time to incorporate them into the movie in my brain. Most of these scenes were filled with gratuitous explosions or implausible car chases that hurt my brain.

I didn’t feel there was any chemistry between the characters, and in my heart of hearts, I don’t think the actors had fun in making this movie. I most certainly didn’t have fun watching it.

TGitSW could have been shot in black and white, and it wouldn’t have made a difference. There was very little color, except for a brilliantly red outfit worn by Camilla during a portion of the movie. And speaking of the red outfit: hats off to Sylvia Hoeks for running up a snow-covered hill while wearing six inch red stilettos. You go girl!

I’m assuming that the target audience are those who have read the book, which I have not. How well did the movie follow the book? Did the personalities of the book follow the personalities of the movie? I don’t know, because I haven’t read the book and probably never will.

I did find it interesting that the movie opened with a ‘Me Too’ moment, showing Lisbeth emasculating an abuser by hanging him from the ceiling, and tazing the creep ’til he literally peed his pants. The icing on the revenge cake was when Lisbeth mostly depleted his fortune by transferring funds into a private account for the wife. A lot of people would consider this scene worth the price of admission. I did! I believe that TGitSW would have been so much better if tazing psychotic husbands had been the plot of the movie.

My bottom line…….wait for the DVD.

Grade: D+

About The Peetimes: This movie was almost non-stop action, making it difficult to get good Peetimes — however, I managed to find 2 action scenes that were easily summed up.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Girl in the Spider’s Web. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Movie Review – Suspiria

Movie Review - SuspiriaAs Suspiria ended, for the first time in my career, I didn’t have a clue as to what I had just seen. Fortunately, there was a very pleasant young man seated near me who helped shed some light on this confusing piece of work. He referred back to the original, telling me that this movie was very different from the first. Wait! What? Suspiria had been done before? Why?

Typically, I don’t research a movie ’till after I’ve done my review, because I want to go in without any preconceived notions. This time, however, that little practice really backfired on me.

So, to be fair, in this review, I’ll address the mechanics of the film, and then I’ll address the content.

Dakota Johnson really did steal the show. During the course of the movie, we see her change from a demure Mennonite to basically an evil witch. The change is so gradual, that by the end, you’ll wonder how this came to be. Tilda Swinton really rocked her three separate roles, and — not to give away any spoilers — in one of her roles you’ll be absolutely gobsmacked at her performance. Mia Goth, from A Cure For Wellness, showed us, once again, that she’s worthy of high praise.

The setting was artistically done; there’s constant rain or snow, and it’s not until the end of the movie that we see any sunshine. Perfect for this genre. The pacing of Suspiria is hard to define; there are moments of frenetic activity, followed by too many scenes of mind-numbing nothingness.

The English subtitles were (even though necessary) distracting. The thick German accents made it all but impossible to follow, then they threw in the many scenes filmed in cavernous rooms, with echoes distorting the dialog…and you end up with a big audio mess.

I do give kudos to the director, Luca Guadagnino, for pulling some mind-blowing emotions out of the actors — something he did beautifully in Call Me By Your Name.

As for how I feel about the content of Suspiria? Confused covers it nicely. The dance numbers were a pure delight to watch, but the many scenes of outright butchery and slaughter overwhelmed my senses to the point of disgust. It was as if the special effects department went way out their way to show the audience how well they do ‘carnage’. In that case, job well done, special effects people, job well done.

I struggled with what grade to give Suspiria. As has been my practice for the last ten years, I’ll grade according to the target audience. So that begs the question; who is the target audience? My best guess is the people who’ve seen the original. The nice young man I spoke of at the beginning of this diatribe had seen the original, and explained that the movie bore little resemblance to the reboot — but nevertheless would give it a favorable grade. Another audience member who had seen the original, and knew what he was walking into, gave it a decisive ‘A’. With all this in mind, I give Suspiria a B-.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: This was an insane movie for finding Peetimes. There were subtitles, thick German accents, and cavernous rooms that made echoes. This is the first time I’ve found a 12 minute Peetime, and it’s got an “Alert” rating, because that protracted scene was the worst kind of carnage I’ve ever seen in a movie.

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

Movie Review – Hunter Killer

 

Movie Review - Hunter KillerIt’s movies like this that make me love my job. I went in expecting to be bored since this type of movie never appealed to me. After watching this one, I am going to take the weekend to watch Hunt For Red October and any other submarine movie I can find. My eyes were glued to the screen the entire time.

The action that happens is intense. The timing of what they need to accomplish is literally down to the wire. They have no room for error and it was awesome to see it come together.

Just watching how they navigate the submarine was enjoyable, and seriously stressful. The way they handle them, and the orders being given with a fraction of a second response needed. Phew, total intensity.

The acting was amazing. Gerard Butler is an intense guy already, now you throw him into this environment and he steps it up even more. My hats off to him. Impressive Mr. Butler, well played.

I would recommend this movie to anyone. There is something in it for every person out there. Really, I’m absolutely not trying to fluff this movie up; it does it all by itself. For a movie that is not my forte, it changed my mind and that is very hard to do. I am set in my ways and hate change. But this movie changed my mind from the get go and kept me entranced.

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: This movie is nonstop action and intrigue. Peetimes were extraordinarily hard to do. This is a movie where your eyes are glued to the screen from start to finish. The 3 times I chose will help, but be warned, this is a movie that never quits. No lulls at all.

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

Movie Review – Bad Times at the El Royale

 

Movie Review - Bad Times at the El RoyaleIs Bad Times at the El Royal an Oscar-worthy movie? Probably not. However, there were two performances that do stand out and is, in my opinion, worthy of at least an Oscar nod. Cynthia Erivo, as Darlene Sweet, and Lewis Pullman as Miles Miller, stole the show. Considering that Jeff Bridges always gives an Oscar-worthy performance lends validity to the above statement.

As for the movie itself, I was entertained by the plot, even though it was a bit confusing at times. Goddard employed the use of filming an event from different perspectives, and this could be distracting at times.

The set designer did a great job replicating an old motor lodge from the 1960’s. You could almost smell the mold and mildew of an old motel way past its prime.

Even though there was bloodletting, it wasn’t so ‘in your face’ that you risked upchucking the popcorn you just purchased at a prohibitive cost.

And finally, seeing the naked backside of Chris Hemsworth as he sauntered down to the ocean was worth the price of admission. Yeah, maybe that scene made up for any shortcomings in the rest of the movie.

Grade: A-

About The Peetimes: This is a fairly long movie, so I spaced the Peetimes out so I could throw in an emergency break near the end.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Bad Times at the El Royale. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Movie review: Game Night

We have a twofer review for you for Game Night! RunPee Jilly has  her review first, and RunPee Niece has her review below. Enjoy!

*****
Game Night took a satirish version of the caper standby and presented something really different. The comedic ensemble lent a sense of stylish fun to the proceedings, and nothing was as predictable as the previews made it look. The movie poster undersold the picture too — maybe the producers were afraid their movie would be a bomb. It’s hard to hit this mixed genre just right. It’s a good little sleeper hit.

There are some good questions to figure out along the ride. Who are the the good guys? What exactly is going on? What do you do after mistakenly wiping your blood all over the neighbor’s white lapdog?

In any case, this was a fresh, snarky, fun take on the “spoofy crime mystery”. If I visited an Escape Room with this much screwball excitement, I’d gladly pay double for giving me such a good time. Now I want to start a weekly Game Night posse of my own.

I have to give a special shoutout to the wacky cop neighbor (Jesse Plemons, as Gary), and especially his adorbs peak into the “basement of clues” (during the credits – so don’t leave)..pay close attention to everything tacked up on his ‘clues’ board. I had to smile. If pressed, I’d say Plemons unashamedly steals his scenes. We the viewers have to cringe a little bit; many of us all kind of know someone like this, and feel badly about how we treat them. Here, all ends well, letting us off the hook in a sense. The moral: be excellent to each other. (Gold stars if you’re old enough to catch that 80s movie reference.)

Movie Grade – B+

*****

Game Night was a fun movie to watch. There were more than a couple of laugh out loud moments that the entire theater shared in.

Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams were wonderful, as they always are, together and apart. The rest of the cast did a great job, too.

If you like action/comedy movies, or even just the featured actors, then you’ll enjoy this fast-paced flick.

Movie Grade – B+

Movie Review – Den of Thieves

I think Den Of Thieves tried hard to be a good tale. Basically, we see that the good guys and the bad guys are not so different, and act the same ways to get their jobs done. We feel sympathetic for both sides occasionally. But mostly, we see that everyone in this movie are jerks.

The big problem is that none of the characters are developed to the point that we even know their names, or care. There are minor sequences with Nick’s life, but honestly, those just make great Peetimes. I’m not sure why they bothered to show those scenes — they have nothing to do with the plot, and felt squashed in to give Gerard Butler something to do besides…shoot things. As of 2017, he’s our new B Movie action hero, right?

I like a good caper, mystery, or thriller, but this is NONE of those. I’d say to wait for the DVD if you must see it, but only bother if you want to see guns going BANG BANG BANG for the entire second hour. Really. BANG: by this time, any semblance of storytelling was abandoned. I got a headache from this movie. It’s shocking how so much time was wasted in such a long film, without developing anyone beyond “barely good guy,” and “barely bad guy.”

Even that premise sounds good, doesn’t it? It’s not. I wanted to go home after the the first hour mark passed. I thought about leaving and pretending I saw the end, I kid not. I’ve watched a LOT of movies for RunPee and put up with all kinds of plot disappointments. This was just abysmal.

Movie Grade – D

Movie Review – Happy Death Day

Movie Review - Happy Death DayI was really surprised with this movie. I thought it was going to be totally predictable and played out. They surprised me; it was really good. I loved how the same day would start over and over again. You’d think that it would get boring, but the way they kept switching things up kept you on the edge of your seat. I thought twice that I had figured out who the killer was, but they kept spinning a great story, and I was wrong both times. The ending was a surprise and really fun to watch. There was an underlying message to the movie; it wasn’t just a slasher flick. This would make a great date night movie.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: Two Peetimes were submitted for this movie. Both work equally well, but I’ll warn you, after the second Peetime you shouldn’t leave your seat. 

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

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