Preview Movie Review – Bad CGI Sharks

bad cgi sharks
The lead shark looks better than anything in Jaws 2, actually.

RunPee was fortunate enough to secure a screener movie to review during our infamous, annual Shark Binge (which consists of just me, but I do this every year in the summer until even I get sharked out.)

Bad CGI Sharks is a strange beast (pun incidental). In spite of the “bad” name, the production values are solid, the on-location settings work, and the acting is frequently amusing. Even “Diane” — the main shark (when she’s not blitzing out in the computer lab) — looks pretty good, as she serenely swims through the air in the city. Diane’s CGI was far, far above the likes of Jaws 2, which I’m fairly sure had a bigger budget.

It’s Shark Diane’s cracked-out hench-sharks that lends the title its name. These sharks are cartoon-ish, meant as comic relief. I don’t understand their point, though, since they aren’t either funny or remotely menacing. I must have  missed something, so I passed this screener on to RunPee Sis — who’s RunPee’s resident Scream Queen — for her expert opinion.

Plot

What plot?

Okay, I’ll try again. Um. Sharks swim through the air in a city and attack people in their bedrooms. Often in their underwear. That’s all fun.

What I didn’t get is why the climax had to be on the beach. Granted, not even the main guys knew why they HAD to hit the beach, so I guess that’s just baked into the plot. Sharks have to be on beaches, right? Maybe the sharks themselves felt they needed to return to the sea in some obscure way, even though they knew they were digital.

Oh, and right. Yes, they knew they weren’t real. They were self-aware AI CGI sharks, created by the characters for the screenplay “SHARKS OUTTA WATER” the (twin?) boys were writing.

And their creations came alive.

A freaky deaky Frankenstein’s shark allegory is what we have here.

I wish it was just funnier. The trailer is GREAT, but it contains all the jokes that work. I hate when that happens. The trailer is hysterical, but better than the movie.

If you do nothing else here, watch this ingenuously funny 2 minute trailer: 

Character Development

There are the two brothers Jason and Mathew (using their actors’ own names) who are as different as can be, but get along sometimes: long enough to infrequently collaborate on their shark movie. And then get together long enough to realize their screenplay sharks ARE OUT THERE, eating people.

Still with me?

My favorite character was the computer tech, from whom Shark Diane demanded all kinds of weird upgrades. Said tech doesn’t have much to do, but when she starts corpsing (losing character) on the phone to the boys, I crack the hell up.

I mean, her character was supposed to be rattled and scared — the mean old air shark is right there in her office, ready to eat her — but it’s fine if the actress just lost it anyway, and that bit was left in in the script for fun.

It’s the best moment. Her lines are too ridiculous to not start a sort of crazed gurgling: “The digital shark has become self aware! How come the shark is aware?” <—–something like that. I giggled too. That was pretty fresh.

bad cgi sharks title sharks outta water
The Meta-film within the film is contained in this highly technical notebook.

Oh, and then there’s the ‘narrator’, played by Matteo Molinari as Bernardo. Or was he a kind of lunatic Greek Chorus? Meta-wise, he could have been the Script Editor. Whatever Bernardo was, his over the top antics were intentionally weirder than weird, and ironically made the film work better than expected.

Bernardo also gives us an entertaining Intermission segment, but don’t use that as a Peetime. It’s ludicrous, but in the good way. Me likee.

Bad CGI Sharks, Overall

I can’t decide whether Bad CGI Sharks fulfills its niche. Or what the niche really is. Is this comedy, horror, or film camp? I’m going with the latter — a straight up camp parody. And until I hear from RunPee Sis to back this up or not, I’m going to stick with “Intentionally Terrible”. On that basis, let’s say this is a proper C film, with a + tacked on for some great moments of wacky goodness.

Probably best seen stoned. Or if you appreciate amazingly awful flicks as an art form in itself.

Movie Grade: C+ 

Movie Review – 47 Meters Down: Uncaged

Movie Rewatch – Jaws – Still A Fantastic Blockbuster

First View Movie Review – Jaws 2

Movie Review – The Meg

Movie Review – The Hustle – Rewatch Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Instead

Movie Review - The HustleAh, The Hustle. It looked so winsome from the trailers. I like Rebel Wilson most of the time, and Anne Hathaway almost all the time. The promising premise: a comedy with two completely different brands of women, running high-stakes scams on rich men in Europe. I was excited to do the Peetimes for this film, expecting an evening of clever fun.

But then it entirely fell down in the execution, with a big old tiresome pratfall.

The Hustle was so very much like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, but a whole lot less amusing, and oftentimes outright silly. And honestly, I like silly movies when I’m in the mood for it, but The Hustle is the bad kind of silly. I even wrote in my notes (during the last Peetime) “More of the stupid continues for several minutes.”

I’m not saying this is a bad movie. It’s just relentlessly mediocre, often tiresome, frequently awkward, and not as funny as it should be. Sometimes I cringed at the lazy incompetence of the script. I don’t think I laughed out loud once, although I did smile here and there. The plot has a few minor payoffs that do work, especially in the beginning, but by the time the main con is underway, the fails start rolling in.

What else? The Hustle looks good, with sun-drenched sea-side location shots, luxurious outfits, and a boyishly cute male lead (Alex Sharp). There’s good pacing, and some snappy banter. If you want to watch Wilson and Hathaway bicker and snipe at each other for an hour and a half, this might be your film.

Personally, I’d rather re-watch Steve Martin in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I’d have to view it again to see how it holds up with the passage of the years, but that’s a film I have fond feelings for.

Grade: C-

About The Peetimes: This was an easy movie to find Peetimes. My 3 Peetimes are nicely spaced out, and equally good, although short. If you can hold out for the final Peetime at 1:07, it’s the best one with the least humor.

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

Rated (PG-13) for crude sexual content and language
Genres: Comedy, Caper/Heist

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Does It Better: A re-watch review, with comparisons to The Hustle

Quiz – Rebel Wilson – The Newest Funny Gal in Show Business

In Da Club by 50 Cent – Video & Lyrics from the Happy Death Day 2U Trailer

happy death day 2 U is a horror sequel
Hey, it’s your birthday…again!

Happy Death Day is the most funny and outright cute horror film I’ve ever seen. It’s not scary at all (although the school mascot baby mask is genuinely hideous to behold.) I can’t believe I waited this long to watch it the first time. I wanted to get caught up on my Groundhog Day themed movies, and heard Happy Death Day 2U was coming along soon. I made the time, and just loved it. I can’t wait for the sequel this week!

In the meantime, this is the trailer song for both movies. I was definitely bummed In Da Club didn’t make it into the actual film. (Her ‘real’ birthday ringtone is much more annoying. I’ll add the link for that song below, just to illustrate the difference.) So this film does fall under the Misleading Trailers category, at least musically. Maybe In Da Club will make it into the sequel. I’ll know in two days.

Here’s the video and lyrics from In Da Club:


 

In Da Club (Happy Birthday Song) [EXPLICIT]

(Song by 50 Cent)

Go, go, go, go go, go, go, shawty
It’s your birthday
We gon’ party like it’s yo birthday
We gon’ sip Bacardi like it’s your birthday
And you know we don’t give a fuck
It’s not your birthday!

You can find me in the club, bottle full of bub
Look mami I got the X if you into taking drugs
I’m into having sex, I ain’t into making love
So come give me a hug if you into to getting rubbed

You can find me in the club, bottle full of bub
Look mami I got the X if you into taking drugs
I’m into having sex, I ain’t into making love
So come give me a hug if you into to getting rubbed

When I pull out up front, you see the Benz on dubs
When I roll twenty deep, it’s twenty knives in the club
Niggas heard I fuck with Dre, now they want to show me love
When you sell like Eminem, and the hoes they want to fuck
But homie ain’t nothing change hold down, G’s up
I see Xzibit in the Cutt that nigga roll that weed up
If you watch how I move you’ll mistake me for a player or pimp
Been hit wit a few shells but I don’t walk wit a limp
In the hood then the ladies saying “50 you hot”
They like me, I want them to love me like they love ‘Pac
But holla in New York them niggas’ll tell ya I’m loco
And the plan is to put the rap game in a choke hold
I’m feelin’ focused man, my money on my mind
I got a mill out the deal and I’m still on the grind
Now shawty said she feeling my style, she feeling my flow
Her girlfriend want to get bi and they ready to go
You can find me in the club, bottle full of bub

Look mami I got the X if you into taking drugs
I’m into having sex, I ain’t into making love
So come give me a hug if you into to getting rubbed

You can find me in the club, bottle full of bub
Look mami I got the X if you into taking drugs
I’m into having sex, I ain’t into making love
So come give me a hug if you into to getting rubbed

My flow, my show brought me the dough
That bought me all my fancy things
My crib, my cars, my pools, my jewels
Look, nigga, I came up and I ain’t changed

And you should love it, way more then you hate it
Nigga you mad? I thought that you’d be happy I made it
I’m that cat by the bar toasting to the good life
You that fagot ass nigga trying to pull me back right?
When my junk get to pumping in the club it’s on
I wink my eye at ya bitch, if she smiles she gone
If the roof on fire, let the motherfucker burn
If you talking bout money homie, I ain’t concerned
I’m a tell you what Banks told me cause go ‘head switch the style up
If the niggas hate then let ’em hate
Watch the money pile up
Or we go upside there wit a bottle of bub
You know where we fucking be

You can find me in the club, bottle full of bub
Look mami I got the X if you into taking drugs
I’m into having sex, I ain’t into making love
So come give me a hug if you into to getting rubbed

You can find me in the club, bottle full of bub
Look mami I got the X if you into taking drugs
I’m into having sex, I ain’t into making love
So come give me a hug if you into to getting rubbed

Don’t try to act like you ain’t know where we been either, nigga
In the club all the time, nigga, so it’s a problem pop off, nigga, G-Unit!

(Songwriters: Curtis James Jackson / Michael A Elizondo / Andre Romell Young
In Da Club lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management. 2003.)


And here’s the world’s most irritating and somewhat creepy birthday ringtone, which we hear in the film, every morning when Tree wakes back up: 

Happy Death Day – Every “Day” We Watch, and Rewatch (Spoilers)

Happy Death Day – All the Clues to the Killer (SPOILERS)

20 Groundhog Day Type Movies – The Ultimate Repeating Day Film List

Movie Review – The Prodigy – No Chemistry, No Creativity

Movie Review - The ProdigyThe Prodigy was really disappointing. I’ve seen better movies at Billy Bob’s Drive-In Theater.

This is another movie that did a wonderful job of making the trailer look too good to pass up. They got me hook, line and sinker. I was really excited waiting for the movie, then it started. Ten minutes into it, I was bored. I found myself wondering if I blew out the candles at home. So fast forward to the end of the movie, and I was really scared. I was really scared my house was burning to the ground due to candle negligence.

I didn’t see any chemistry between Taylor Schilling and Peter Mooney. None at all; if you’re going to be acting as husband and wife, you need to show us a little something. Schilling to me, came across as Piper from Orange Is The New Black. Same character — just better hair and makeup.

The one upside was Jackson Robert Scott. He played the little boy Miles. He did a really good job of being creepy as all get out. If that were my child, to the wolves with him!

The story has been done before; it’s very similar to Shocker. Don’t get me wrong —The Prodigy isn’t in the same league as Wes Craven’s thriller — but it’s in the same universe. I’m gonna wrap this up by recommending you wait for the DVD.

Grade: C-

About The Peetimes: The Prodigy is a very short movie — 87 minutes, if you exclude the credits. I decided to give you only 1 Peetime — the best one. The only other possible Peetime would have made you miss out on the build-up for the finale.

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

Rated (R) for violence, disturbing and bloody images, a sexual reference and brief graphic nudity
Genres: Horror, Thriller

Movie Review – Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

 

Movie Review - Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindelwaldI don’t know what happened with this movie. It looked great from the trailers, and seemed like the story would make sense. The film itself, though, was a big beautiful mess. I’m not even sure what I saw.

I’m essentially a Harry Potter expert. I’ve read the books dozens of times, seen the movies even more, visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and traveled to places filmed on location in both London and Scotland. I belong to a Harry Potter Meetup group, and have different wizard outfits, cobbled together over the years. I’ve made wands. Blah blah blah. All this to make it clear when I say I don’t understand Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. It’s a painful feeling.

It’s not even just me. I went with a fellow wizard friend, and he was disappointed and lost too. After the film, we tried to figure out what the movie was about, why the characters did the things they did, and were both just puzzled.

I saw the movie in IMAX at a select early screening with reserved tickets in a packed theater. Everyone there was a big HP fan, ready to have an exciting time. The audience started out applauding and cheering when different things occurred onscreen, like seeing Dumbledore, during the Hogwarts scene, when different creatures showed up, and when certain early secrets were revealed. However, as the movie wore on, the audience got more and more quiet. By the end, you could hear a pin drop. There was no final applause, which spoke volumes in its silence. People filed out with no fanfare or excitement. Basically, JK Rowling’s biggest fanbase seemed alienated.

I’ll probably see this a few more times in the theater — and it really is a pretty piece of work. I hope to figure out what the plot was about and why the characters did the things they did. I’m positive I’ll have better things to say about this film then. But in the meantime, I’ll say this: if I couldn’t follow the weird, convoluted, and very messy narrative told here, I doubt the casual fan will know what to make of it.

UPDATED OPINION: I saw this a second time and have a somewhat different review and grade for it in mind. I ‘m thinking a solid B now. My first experience was spent taking an intense amount of notes for RunPee and I missed a lot of what transpired. This is the kind of film you really can’t be distracted for. (Don’t make Peetimes kids, if you like movies!) I enjoyed my second viewing, but still stand by my original take — this sequel is problematic.

Grade: B (Updated)

About The Peetimes: I attended a premier showing before the film officially opened. (I had to drink my hoarded Felix Felicis Potion to get this ticket.) While this is great news for RunPee fans, I will admit this was the hardest movie ever for me to get Peetimes. The film moves at a breakneck pace, with too many characters — many of whom were brand new and didn’t make any sense in the film. I added 2 Peetimes, in any case. The 1st is better, at 39 minutes in. The 2nd, at 1:16 will also serve. Neither of these scenes have any interesting action or fantastic beasts.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Why Fantastic Beasts 2 is not so Fantastic

Movie Review – Kin

Personally, I didn’t like this movie. I was expecting some sci-fi action and a futuristic dystopia…and what I got was a boring gangster film. Seriously, not my gig. I would have walked out if I didn’t have to cover it for RunPee. I’m actually mad at this film: it presented itself as a young-adult/sci-fi/dystopian film. Which it wasn’t. It was a street gang type movie with a futuristic gun in the mix.

It’s well made, so I’ll give it a B – for competence. But it seriously pissed me off; the only sci fi elements happened in the last five minutes — and the only reason we got that at all was clearly to set up a sequel. I don’t expect this sequel will ever happen, like many YA franchises that fizzled out.

What I can say is the actors really did give it a go: they were all in for the ride. The father, in particular, was extremely spot on for the character’s prickly yet loving (and perhaps borderline abusive) persona. This competency should be no surprise, as Dennis Quaid played the part.

A surprisingly amazing Zoe Kravits stole the show out from everyone in her role as Milly, the stripper girl. She made every scene of hers keenly watchable with her sympathetic and amusing character. This young actress is someone to watch as she matures into future roles. I know she plays a large part in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts film, and I look forward to seeing how she handles her Slytherin role outside of the classrooms at Hogwarts.

Will this go on to become a franchise? I honestly don’t think so, even though the denouement of the film was devoted to setting up the next installment. I see almost all the YA dystopian films for RunPee, and very few of them will be the next Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or even Twilight. I count this one as a non-starter, along with so many others in this category. And because most of the film had nothing to do with science fiction or a dystopian future, it’s kind of a conundrum as to who this film is targeted toward.

Grade:  B-

About the Peetimes: Kin was an easy movie to get Peetimes for — there is a lot of downtime in between the hyper violent gangster scenes. I have 3 Peetimes for you, nicely spaced apart. I do recommend the first Peetime at 31 minutes, if you can manage your bladder for it.

Related on RunPee: 

Sad, Sorry YA Book Series That Never Completed Their Movie Franchises – Here’s a list of Young Adult series that will probably never see completion, for better or worse

Movie Review – The Darkest Minds – Yet another Young Adult Dystopian film that feels a lot like many others that came out of last decade’s love affair with young people who are either 1. the Chosen Ones or who have 2. Superpowers. 

Mega-fake-ladon – How Discovery Channel Deceives People for Viewership

Nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to what people can be deceived into believing. But in my humble opinion, it is criminal for a media company, or anyone, to knowingly deceive people just to get views. Please watch the Vox.com video (below), but please don’t watch Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. The Discovery Channel needs to learn what it’s like to get bitten by the public for their lies.

How do you feel about shows like this? I’d like to read your comments.

Movie Review – Hotel Artemis

This is one stylish mess. It’s got the noir notes, the off-kilter sensibilities, and a big muddled stew of a plot. Let me mull on this review a bit.

Movie Grade: C+

Alrighty. After due thought, I still think Hotel Artemis is trying for something it just didn’t reach. But I’ve got a sense it might grow into a minor cult favorite with time. [pullquote]The acting is very good (Jodie Foster never disappoints), the idea of a secret hospital for criminals in the near-future is intriguing, and the water riot is a great framing element. [/pullquote] There’s a noir-ish Blade Runner sensibility to the endeavor. I liked seeing Dave Bautista in a new role, and he really did a bang up job, proving that his fun work in Guardians of the Galaxy wasn’t a fluke. Jeff Goldblum plays the persona he’s marketed for himself with flair, but I wish he’d had more screentime.

Where this movie falls apart is in the sloppy narrative (there’s just not much story being told), and the relative lack of action in something being touted as as action film. Misleading trailers is a particular pet peeve with us at RunPee. (Rather than marketing something in a certain way just to get butts in the seats, wouldn’t it be nice to have the studios do service to their films by preparing audiences…ah, forget it. That’s probably never going to happen.)

Fine acting aside, the flashback scenes with Foster are unexpectedly weak. We saw the same sequence several times and didn’t get much payoff. Actually, most of the subplots didn’t work at all.  I’m not sure backstory is necessary to this kind of experimental film. It’s the concept that’s most interesting, encapsulated in Foster’s great line that it’s “Just another Wednesday” at the Hotel Artemis…where every night is a slice of life (and death) from the criminal underbelly of the City of Angels.

I think if people go into this with a sort of artsy mindset, the good things will be enough to carry the audience along.

One last note. Scriptwise, this would make a great play. It seems practically made for the theater, with one major set location, the small-scale jeopardy, and a very confined cast of characters who do a lot of talking (and not much else).

———-

New Movie Grade: B- (Taking away the expectation of an action/adventure flick definitely raises what’s compelling about about the concept of this kind of movie experience.)

———-

Runpee Meta: This movie moves along quickly and is somewhat confusing, making finding Peetimes a challenge. I’ve given you a long one and a short one. Both are before the mayhem to follow, so you won’t miss any action scenes when you step out. 

Movie Review – Hereditary

Hereditary wasn’t terrible. I was really on the fence about seeing this movie. The trailers made it look really good but I’ve been burned by that so many times I’ve lost count.

I’m not a fan of A24 — the company that released the movie. I haven’t liked a single one of their movies. So I felt almost compelled to see this movie and prove myself wrong. Maybe they can make a movie I like?

They pretty much made me eat my words on this movie. It was decent. The acting was great, the story was really intense and the mood almost makes you shiver. I felt it could have been slightly shorter, but I see why they did it. They were creating the right mood. It worked. I don’t know if everyone will like this movie, but it was worth the price of my ticket.

Movie Grade: B-

Movie Review – Adrift

Adrift is both more and less than I expected. I expected long, languid scenes of a sailboat floating aimlessly at sea; I expected storms; I expected frequent stretches where Tami (Shailene Woodley) learns to sail. Those bits were in there. [pullquote]What I didn’t expect: the absence of any kind of compelling narrative in what should have been a gripping tale of survival, guts, and grit.[/pullquote]

I’m not putting it down lightly. It looked like a fantastic movie from the trailers. I personally like  disaster stories, and will hang in there for extended stretches of silence if the action, plot, or characterization is good enough.

Or even if the scenery is good enough.

Making ocean scenes pretty should be an easy task, but everything in Adrift was fraught with glare. That might have been a creative choice to impart a sense of peril, but I feel it’s just a missed opportunity. Instead of offering a great cinematic experience, it comes across like a documentary. Worse, a cheap one.

I wondered previously if Woodley was seasoned enough to carry an entire movie — and in fact almost an entirely silent one — on her back. The answer shown here is: no, she can’t, at least not yet. [pullquote position=”right”]Emily Blunt would have knocked it out of the park. (In fact, in the recently fantastic  A Quiet Place, Blunt did just that — with less dialog.)[/pullquote]

I think the non-linear storytelling device hampers any attempt to build tension, stamping the movie with the cardinal sin of being boring. Adrift should have been told in a straightforward manner, starting with Tami meeting Richard, getting to know him, talking about their journey, and setting off towards disaster. Instead, we start in the immediate aftermath of the event. From then on, the story shuffles between three different timelines. Every time things start to build any emotional resonance, the direction cuts to somewhere else.

I’m not saying every movie has to follow a linear narrative, but what Adrift attempted to do didn’t work. If you are going for an artsy route, you need the right directorial experience, with high-caliber actors to pull it off.

In any case, it made finding Peetimes pretty easy: there really was only one scene where you can’t hop out to the bathroom.

This film is apparently based on a true story, and maybe there just wasn’t enough meat in the sandwich…but you know you’re in trouble when a short movie like this still feels too long.

Movie Grade: C-

SPOILER TO FOLLOW:

 

 

I think the choice of having there be a surprise twist felt cheap. I expected the character of Richard to be a co-starring role, not an almost silent phantom. All their lines together were probably in the trailers, leading me to think that they would work together to get out of their mess – him via talking her through it, her by learning from his commands. Instead, we have a sort of Life of Pi/Fight Club/The 6th Sense scenario going on. Those movies are top notch and earned their endings. This one just sort of…happened. Since I had no investment in anything onscreen by then, the big reveal felt pointless.

———-

Here are links to the true-life book Adrift was based on, plus A Quiet Place, which we can’t say enough good things about: 

RunPee Review of A Quiet Place (with Spoilers)

RunPee Review of A Quiet Place, No Spoilers