Movie Review – The Art of Self-Defense

Movie Review - The Art of Self-DefenseThe Art of Self Defense blew me away. These are my favorite moments in the RunPee Universe. When RunPee Dan asked me to do this movie, I thought to myself, “Great; he’s punishing me for something.” Well ha ha, jokes on you, big brother. Little sister loved it.

The story itself was so well told that I never got bored, and was seriously surprised on a few of the scenes. I didn’t see that coming; it hits like a freight train right to the throat. Or like a punch from the foot. I’m dying right now. When you see the movie, you’ll get how funny it felt.

Back to the Art of Self Defense review:

The story has a terrific message. It’s something I feel every man, woman or child should see that’s ever been subjected to bullying. (Not like a small child though, because there is full frontal nudity of the male type.)

There is hope in all situations — it comes down to how you you see things and react to them. Do you roll over and take it, or do you stand up and foot-punch the world? In every one of us there is the power to achieve what needs to be achieved.

There is a particular line from the movie that Jessie’s character says, it goes a little something like this…

“I want to be what intimidates me.”

Pause, let it sink in. Wow, that’s a powerful line. It stopped me in my tracks; I wrote it down to ponder later. He spoke that line in such a way that the impact is still felt. It’s forever embedded into my brain — way to go, Eisenberg.

Jessie Eisenberg was a perfect choice for this role. I can’t think of one other actor that could have done it better. His timing and delivery was magical. Alessandro Nivola, who plays the Sensei, was evenly matched with Jessie. Those two worked together like peanut butter and jelly. Their chemistry was simply delicious.

So in summary for The Art of Self Defense:

This dark and somewhat creepy movie ends up being one of the feel-good movies of the year in my book. I loved it and would love to recommend it to you.

Please leave me some comments; I’m super curious to see what other people think of it.

Just to kind of back my love for this film, I watched it with two other movie reviewers. These guys were hard-core, who write for major publications. They both back it too. So you have three reviewers from different walks of life saying the same thing. See it — you won’t walk out disappointed. Thanks for reading, folks.

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: I recommend the 1st Peetime; there was humor that you’ll miss, but it was easy to summarize. The 2nd Peetime is great, but beware of running over the time on that one. A big reveal happens directly following that Peetime.

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

Rated (R) for violence, sexual content, graphic nudity and language
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Sport

Movie Review – Stuber

Avengers: Endgame Re-Release Extra Footage Explained

Warning – Avengers Endgame is not going to be Peetime friendly

Movie Review – The Lion King (2019)

Movie Review - The Lion KingIf you’re not a Lion King fan, then I think you’ll find the 2019  live action (CGI, really) version more enjoyable than the animated one, based on more humor and the outstanding cinematography.

For my part, I feel a little numb because I effectively watched the movie three times today working on the Peetimes. And, until two nights ago, I hadn’t seen the animated Lion King since it first came out in the 90s.

The CGI is outstanding. There wasn’t a single moment where I could tell that something wasn’t real. Of course, the animal talking is unavoidably clumsy because animals don’t have the anatomy to actually talk. But I didn’t find it distracting.

The script has been revised slightly to make it more contemporary and add a little more humor. And the voice cast is top-shelf.

Speaking of humor: Seth Rogen, as the voice for Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as the voice for Timon, absolutely carried the movie. John Oliver as Zazu was a perfect choice; I just wish the writers had given him one five second rant to enjoy.

I’m bummed they didn’t bring back Whoopi Goldberg for Shenzi the hyena, but at least they had “the voice” as Mufasa: James Earl Jones.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: I would recommend either of the first two Peetimes.

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

Rated (PG) for sequences of violence and peril, and some thematic elements
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Drama, Remake

The Lion King – Rewatch Review of the Animated Classic

Character voices for Lion King

Lion King: Animated vs Broadway vs Live Action

The Lion King – Can Disney Remake a Masterpiece?

 

Movie Review – Crawl

Movie Review - CrawlDue to a terrible mistake made by myself on opening night, I had to go back today and watch Crawl all over again. It didn’t get any better the second time around.

I have lived in Florida for a number of years now and can empathize with the two characters in this movie. Yes, hurricanes suck and alligators are terrifying. Put dealing with those two things together and you got yourself the makings of a great movie. At least I thought so.

It was boring. Most of it takes place in the basement, and it’s just them moving around in the water trying not to get eaten. The subplot of the father and daughter trying to reconcile hurt feelings felt tedious to me. There was no chemistry between them and I honestly didn’t care if they made it out alive.

The only thing I did enjoy were the sound effects. The gators sounded cool and when they would chomp down on body parts it was even cooler.

There was one moment when the entire crowd laughed. Exactly as the movie ends and the credits begin, they play, “See You Later, Alligator,” by Bill Haley.

This would make a great way to spend a rainy evening on the couch; my recommendation is to wait for the DVD.

Grade: C-

About The Peetimes: Crawl is a super short movie, so I only submitted 1 Peetime. It’s well placed during a moment that was easy to sum up, and gives you plenty of time to run and pee.

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

Rated (R) for bloody creature violence, and brief language
Genres: Action, Adventure, Horror

Movie Review – Stuber

Movie Review - StuberAfter you watch Stuber, you’ll never look at your Uber driver the same way again. I’m a Uber consumer and could totally relate to this action comedy completely.

Big burly LAPD Cop Vic Manning (Dave Bautista) has an unusual day after he has lasik surgery. Vic has been working on a drug case for a while, tracking the main suspect (Oka Tadjo) aggressively. After Vic’s surgery, his daughter Nicole (Natalie Morales) takes him home, and he gets a tip about Tedjo. Vic attempts to drive himself, and basically demolishes a couple of blocks in his neighborhood. So he summons an Uber (Uber Pool, I might add) to take him to follow the case lead. Calm, friendly, OCD, sporting goods store worker by day, night Uber driver Stu arrives for duty.

This movie is funny and entertaining! Annoying at times though, because Stu is so mellow, but somewhat of a pussycat. He screams like a little baby during the grossly violent scenes. At one point, Vic says something like, “Take this gun — it’s a baby gun — it allows you to fire while crying.” LOL! All the actors did okay in their roles; nothing noteworthy; so don’t go in with overly high expectations despite the two lead characters.

Warning: while you may want to take the children, there’s excessive sex, nudity, violence, gore and profanity.

Definitely go see this movie for comedic relief after a long day. The laughter will be good medicine for your soul. Then sign up for Uber…and don’t forget to rate the driver “five stars” if you have an amazing adventure or learn a few things about “adulting” along the way.

Grade: C

Stuber vs Uber – Welcome to the Ratings Game, in Real Life

About The Peetimes: The movie has a lot of humor, so I’ve tried to not put Peetimes where there might be a gut-busting funny scene.

I would recommend the 2nd Peetime, which has no action and only a little humor.

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

Rated (R) for violence and language throughout, some sexual references and brief graphic nudity
Genres: Action, Comedy

Movie Review – Spider-Man: Far from Home – Fun, but a little underwhelming

 

Movie Review - Spider-Man: Far from HomeI liked Spider-Man: Far From Home. I liked it a lot. But I didn’t love it, and that surprised me.

I adore Tom Holland‘s version of Spider-Man, and think he’s the best Peter Parker ever done, no question. (Notice how this sidesteps Miles Morales‘ stunning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse quite nicely.) And every appearance by MCU’s Spider-Man, from Civil War to Endgame, sparkled with wit and verve.

I rewatched Spider-Man: Homecoming to get ready for Spidey’s ‘European Vacation’. I was again taken with how absolutely lovely, charming, funny, and exciting Peter Parker’s first solo outing was. (With one of Marvel’s better villains, to boot.)

Far From Home was enjoyable, but not up to the level I expected. Some nits to pick (with spoilers for Avengers: Endgame):

– Ned wasn’t The Chair Guy this time. He was mostly sidelined. Ned had funny lines, but was no longer Spider-Man’s sidekick. Making him foolish — and a damsel in distress, even — didn’t sit right.

– Peter was too low-key. I get that he’s been through a lot, and mourns Iron-Man like a father, but EVERYONE in the post-post-post Snap world (yes, there were three Snaps, remember?) is suffering. His friends seemed fine. I would have written Spidey as his usual irrepressible self who’d get sad when reminders of Tony Stark hit him out of nowhere. Grief is like that: you’re grooving along until you get a gut-punch reminder.

– There wasn’t enough care and attention paid to how Earth is handling the new reality: billions of people returning to life five years later. Yes, it was alluded to a few times, but I expected more. And Europe seemed to truck on with no problems at all. Even seeing some of the homelessness and ruin in the background would have helped keep the sense of continuity alive. The MCU usually provides better world-building than that.

– I missed the fun rock and pop music that made Homecoming so fun. (We did get one rock hit underscoring a poignant/funny moment, but I won’t spoil it.)

– And another nit: Spider-Man is the only A-List hero left on Earth? After 23 movies packed with super beings, I can’t buy that.

So, Where Were the Other Avengers?

As said, in-movie:

Dead:

Not mentioned, but should be around for Fury to call upon:

  • Professor Hulk
  • War Machine (who’s basically an Iron Man already)
  • Ant-Man
  • Wasp
  • Scarlet Witch (who should be able to wipe the floor with anyone)
  • Valkyrie, Korg, and a whole city of Asgardians
  • Black Panther, Shuri, and a whole country of Wakandans
  • Falcon (AKA new Cap)
  • The Winter Soldier/White Wolf
  • Hawkeye (I presume he returned to retirement…)
  • Pepper Potts-Stark is at least name-dropped (apparently she doesn’t want to use her Iron Suit any more than Peter does, for the same reason)
  • Lots of minor heroes could also be asked to ‘step up’…this could be a whole article. Which I’ll probably write, if there’s interest.

Again, those are mostly nits. But there’s one big problem, and for that I have to give Spider-Man FFH a B grade. That’s hard to do, since I loved a lot of it. I am a huge MCU fan, a Tom Holland-as-Spidey fan…and I really do think this is the best genre movie out right now (not including the Endgame re-release). But since we at RunPee tend to grade the Marvel Cinematic Universe on a curve, I’d have to rank this as a “middle tier” movie. MAN, I hate saying this.

It might have been that all the major plot points of FFH were spoiled for me, but I normally love anything the MCU does, so that shouldn’t have mattered.

Where Spider-Man: Far From Home Faltered

The single biggest problem is the bad guys are kind of an underwhelming/overwhelming mess. They are huge; they are CGI; they have no personality or motivation whatsoever…or even facial expressions. How is that supposed to be fun to watch? It doesn’t matter that that part doesn’t matter (have to be vague), but it made every fight with The Elementals boring. They felt more like the worst kind of bad guys done in the DC Universe (on the level of Incubus or Steppenwolf, or all the other villains no one remembers).

MCU has the occasional villain problem, but nothing as bad as these guys.

The point is, it doesn’t matter that the Elementals are [redacted for spoilers]: they still got too much screen time. They brought the movie down. Watching European landmarks get destroyed isn’t entertaining by itself. Even Godzilla has a personality.

Notice I’m not mentioning Mysterio. Or the promised Multi-Verse. I can’t go into any of this without spoilers, and this review is already too long. Suffice to say if Iron Man had a love child with Dr. Strange, you’d kind of get Mysterio. The trippy, psychedelic stuff was the best part of the action. It’s too bad they couldn’t get Dr. Strange on the phone. I’ll stop there.

Overall, How’s Spider-Man: Far From Home?

I’m making a bigger deal out of the Villain Problem than I meant to. Far From Home is still a super fun film, with laughs, school trip shenanigans, great on-location scenery, emotional moments, and a fun class reunion with Peter Parker’s (conveniently) co-blipped pals. And Happy Hogan stole every scene from Peter, which I didn’t expect. Tony Stark’s absence was keenly felt, but his character still managed to permeate the story, and even drew one of the best laughs.

So, yeah, absolutely see the 23rd movie officially closing out the Infinity Saga. It’s the last MCU film we’re getting this year. (We don’t yet know when Phase 4 will begin.) Far From Home really has some great moments and a lot of heart, so go and enjoy yourselves, Elementals be damned. 🙂

PS: The extra scenes over the credits are AWESOME. The implication are pretty big (for one of them) and pretty cool (for the other).

PPS: Also, in the background at near the end of the movie, there’s a building mural Peter swings slowly by that reads: “We can’t wait to show you what happens next!” Clearly that’s a message about Phase 4 from the MCU. Nice nod.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: I have 3 good Peetimes, spaced out nicely through the movie.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Spider-Man: Far from Home. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

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

Life on Earth After Avengers: Endgame (Post-post Snap)

Movie Review – Spider-Man Homecoming

The entire MCU Movie Order – Several Options for your pre-Avengers Endgame Watch or Rewatch

Stan Lee – His Favorite Marvel Characters

Marvel Phase 4 Predictions – Some MCU Sure-Fire Guesses

 

Movie Review – Midsommar

Movie Review - MidsommarMidsommer is a mind blower. It starts slow but it picks up steam  — and not just a little steam, but a lot. It is probably one of the most explicit movies I’ve ever watched.

I went in expecting not to like it, because it seems I’ve hated every A24 production I’ve ever seen. They fully redeemed themselves with this one.

I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I saw. RunPee Mom went with me and there was not a silent moment on the way home. We were both able to shed light on each other with the things we noticed. This is a great movie to see with a group of friends; you’ll be able to talk about it for hours.

It’s very artistic. I’ll be honest: I don’t usually like those types. I’m more of a comedy or horror movie fan. Scare me and make me laugh, but don’t make me think too hard. That’s what I have to do in life — just entertain me please. Midsommar gets a free pass. I was entertained and shocked.

The way they filmed it made me think I was tripping on the intense drugs they were using. The cinematography was amazing. One word comes to mind: psychedelic.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: Of the 2 Peetimes, I recommend the 2nd. It’s really the last moment in the movie that could be summed up without leaving you in the total dark. Side note: During the last 45ish minutes, there is a lot of nudity; full frontals of men and intense sex scenes. It is explicit.

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

Rated (R) for disturbing ritualistic violence and grisly images, strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language
Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery

19 Entry-Level Horror Movies for the Squeamish

Movie Review – The Curse of La Llorona – A Good Scary Time in the Conjuring Universe

Ranking the Chucky Movies – From a True Horror Fan

The Conjuring Universe Explained

Our featured guest writer #RunPeeNick discusses the in-universe history of The Conjuring movie series – enjoy! 

With 2 mainline movies and 5 spin-off movies filling out the Conjuring Universe, no one would blame you for getting lost in Annabelle’s eyes… I mean getting lost in slight confusion. Obviously there are spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen these movies, then read at your own risk. But either way, we are going to start with the one thing that connects them all — the Warrens.

The Conjuring is where we start. Here we meet Ed and Lorraine Warren. Ed and Lorraine are paranormal investigators who just so happen to have a room in their house filled with haunted/cursed items. This is essentially the thing that holds this universe together. In the room we can find Annabelle, among many other things that all help connect this universe. But let’s talk about Lorraine. 

Lorraine is a clairvoyant, meaning she can perceive events in the future beyond sensory contact. This may not exactly make sense, but if you watch just the first Conjuring you’ll understand what it means. With that said, all you need to know is that when Lorraine helps with a case, a little bit of the case becomes a part of her. So this is where we get into The Nun. In The Conjuring 2 the Warrens, and Lorraine in particular, are haunted by the Nun. But how did the nun get there?

Let’s go back to 1952, when the movie The Nun takes place (and let’s use a few spark notes.) Basically an abbey is haunted, and three people go in to try to find out what’s going on. The abbey is haunted by the nun named Valak, who just so happens to be a demon from hell. Valak the demon managed to possess a nun that killed herself so Valak could take the body for itself. So, long story short, a portal to hell was opened and that’s how she got there to begin– with but at the end of the movie when the good guys manage to close the portal, Valak possesses 1 of the 3 good guys (a man known as Frenchie).

So Valak is now on the move inside of Frenchie. Now, we jump back to The Conjuring where we see when Ed and Lorraine are giving a lecture. They show a video of Frenchie having an exorcism performed on him, where by no accident Ed and Lorraine Warren are there to help. Obviously they didn’t know he came with so much baggage, but Lorraine happens to touch Frenchie and now Valak has attached itself to Lorraine. This is how Valak is present in The Conjuring 2. 

Now with one big baddie out of the way, let talk about the next: Annabelle. How did Annabelle come to be? Simple. When young Annabelle Mullins loses her life to a tragic accident, her parents start praying to whoever will listen and bring her back. Little did they know they prayed to the wrong people. The demon ended up getting permission to move into the Annabelle doll and decided to turn things up to 11. As it turns out, a demon was pretending to be their little girl in order to get a soul from them. 

Years later, when an orphanage stays at the Mullins place, the demon takes ahold of one girl named Janice. By the end of Annabelle Creation, we see that Janice, still possessed, managed to escape the orphanage and eventually got adopted. Sounds like a happy ending, except for the fact that Janice grows up under the name Annabelle and joins a satanic cult. Eventually grown-up Janice (now Annabelle) goes and kills her adoptive parents with her boyfriend, and eventually herself. And on top of that, it turns out the Annabelle doll is still possessed. We see this happen in the first Annabelle movie. 

So in the first Annabelle movie we follow the Form family, as their neighbors just so happened to be the adopted parents of Janice. Of course the Forms have a doll collection which includes the possessed Annabelle doll. The Annabelle doll does her thing and eventually gets another soul, and the demon is satisfied. Until we get back to The Conjuring, where we see that the girls who got the Annabelle doll next invited a demon to live in the doll once again.

So at this point the Warrens obtain and contain the possessed Annabelle doll. 

Now with Annabelle, we get to the newest installment in the series, Annabelle Comes Home. This one takes place in between The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 and explains that the Annabelle doll is a beacon for demons. Which would explain how one can come and go so frequently with this franchise. With the next movie planned being The Conjuring 3, all you need to know is Annabelle is contained and possessed very much still. Valak has been banished but probably not completely, and we might see some Easter eggs from The Curse of La Llorona

And with that said, that’s basically the confusing winding road of the Conjuring Universe explained. There are a few minor details, like how Father Perez from Annabelle shows up in The Curse of La Llorona, making that movie tie in loosely with the Conjuring Universe, but that’s about it. And these movies, quite frankly, like to add additional bits every chance they get, but also retcon some details or forget to explain something every now and again. Or maybe it’s just that I didn’t understand. Who knows? But I now have explained all of this, and honestly I might’ve gone insane. 🙂

Bio: My name is Nick and I got an undying love for movies and the process of making them. I love horror, comedy, action, and all movies in between. If you have any questions you can reach me @LightCameraNick on Twitter.

Movie Review – Annabelle Comes Home

Movie Review – The Conjuring

Movie Review – The Curse of La Llorona – A Good Scary Time in the Conjuring Universe

 

Movie Review – Yesterday

Movie Review - YesterdayThe only reason I didn’t give Yesterday an A+ is that, at least for now, I don’t think it’s as good as Love Actually both written by Richard Curtis — and both are very similar.

Yesterday checks all the boxes for a great film: it’s terribly well acted; the pacing rolls along with the right amount of ups and downs; the protagonist is challenged, and responds without resorting to cliche; and it has plenty of humor without trying too hard.

This is the product of a masterful writer who takes his time crafting a great story.

I don’t want to spoil it, in case you haven’t seen the movie yet, but I believe the penultimate scene, prior to the big concert, is one of the more poignant scenes in any movie. I still can’t stop thinking about the “what if’s.”

Yeah, I can’t wait to see this movie again.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: I have three good Peetimes for you. I’d recommend the 2nd one since it’s around the middle of the movie and doesn’t have any humor or plot/character development. The timing for the 2nd and 3rd Peetimes may be just a little bit off since the power went out during my showing. Yes, seriously, the power went out for, I don’t know, about 12 seconds.

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

Rated (PG-13) for suggestive content and language
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Music

Movie Review – Rocketman

Love, Actually and Christmas Is All Around (That “Festering Turd of a Record”)

Movie Review – Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen Will Rock You

Movie Review – Annabelle Comes Home

Movie Review - Annabelle Comes HomeI enjoyed Annabelle enough to garner a solid B+. I was hoping for a perfect A, but wasn’t blown away.

It’s a good movie. There were several times I had chill bumps over my entire body and the audience seemed to share my feelings. I heard a bunch of screams and I was lucky enough to be in a lively theater. (I love hearing people talk to the screen.)

I’m wondering if they are going to keep this franchise going. They have the perfect in with the daughter Judy. She has the same talent as her mother — Lorraine Warren. I’d like to see more of this elusive doll. There is something fascinating about Annabelle that draws me in.

This weekend we have plans to go back and see it as a family. Yes, we are taking the grandchild, because that’s how we roll. Our amazing Savannah is going to be turned into Annabelle. She will be a perfect recreation of this ever-so-popular doll.

It’s a fun film I will recommend. They were able to weave in plenty of humor, which is why it stood out. When you can be scared to the point of jumping, and in the very next moment you laugh, that’s a job well done.

Enjoy yourselves, and if you see a little Annabelle running around the theater, fret not, it’s just Savannah…or is it?

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: There are 2 great Peetimes to use. I highly recommend the 2nd one since there is absolutely no dialog.

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

Rated (R) for horror violence and terror
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Sequel

The Conjuring – movie review

Movie Review – The Curse of La Llorona – A Good Scary Time in the Conjuring Universe

Movie Review – The Nun

 

Movie Review – Anna

Movie Review - AnnaIt appears that Luc Besson has fallen into the trap that has been the downfall of many a director; if it worked before, they’ll do it again, and oftentimes the end result is a disaster.

Anna is not a disaster of a movie: the pacing was well done; but the writing, acting, and directing was a disappointment. Helen Mirren’s role as a Russian spy was almost comically performed by this award-winning actor. Nothing about the character was believable, and the Russian accent sounded like a parody of itself. The rest of the cast also gave sub-par performances; however none of them would be considered ‘award winning’ actors, so I didn’t hold them to the same standards I’d set for Ms. Mirren.

A few minutes into the movie I realized I’d seen this before, except with the title “La Femme Nikita”, another spy movie, written by Luc Besson. Oh, and the movie Point of No Return, the American version starring Bridget Fonda, was also written by Besson. La Femme was an extraordinary movie, Point of No Return was acceptable…but Anna fell short.

The biggest problem I had with Anna were the flashbacks, and flash forwards. It was a bit like a Christopher Nolan movie, where time is not linear — a bit irritating, and sometimes, a bit confusing. Also, the incredulous fight scenes (of which there are many) where Anna kicks the butts of a gang of nefarious men wearing outfits straight out of Victoria’s Secret (with stilettos) was way over the top. Each fight scene looked more like something out of a Stephen Seagal movie.

I didn’t hate Anna, but my recommendation is to wait for the DVD.

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: This was a hard action movie with only a few breaks from the chaos, making it just a little difficult to get good Peetimes. I was able to include an Emergency Peetime coming near the end of the movie.

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

Rated (R) for strong violence, language, and some sexual content
Genres: Action, Thriller