Movie Review – The Little Mermaid

 

Movie Review - The Little MermaidI am consumed by a move this weekend and will have to flesh this review out for real in bits and pieces.

To start off, the 1989 original Disney animated classic The Little Mermaid is in the cinemas and you should absolutely catch it while you can. Take the entire family. The Danish version of Hans Christian Anderson’s tragic story doesn’t rear its head at all, so you’ll be safe.

The Little Mermaid is my absolute favorite animated Disney movie that manages somehow to offend almost no one.

I know there are issues with the upcoming live action remake, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

And the songs are among the best the studio ever made. I know them all by heart. When I take my sister to see this again on Sunday we’ll have a hard time not singing along, out loud. Unless everyone sings them too — then we’ll belt them along with the rest.

Although the sea scenes are luscious, especially within the limited animated style of the time, it’s the fun and gentle humor that I love so much. If you’re a fan of Finding Nemo, this undersea adventure should also be on your must-watch list.

Lastly, for now, Ursula the Sea Witch is one of Disney’s best villains. Might be their best ever. I have to think on that.

GO SEE THIS IN THE THEATERS NOW. And you might be introducing a ‘whole new world’ to an old classic. (To mix my princess movie metaphors).

Now I’ve got to pack, but I’ve definitely got more to say.

#UnderTheSea

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: This animated classic is being re-released in theaters Friday. All 3 Peetimes are good. Make SURE to use them, so you don’t miss the outstanding iconic songs in this wonderful musical.

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

Rated (G) Some scenes are a little *fishy*.
Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy

Movie Review – The Angry Birds Movie 2

Movie Review - The Angry Birds Movie 2I’m not sure just who’s the target audience here. The kiddies will love the action and slap stick humor, sorta like the Looney Tunes cartoons of long ago, but that stuff never gets old. Does it?

The adults who became addicted to this mindless little app will also flock (pun intended) to AB2. There’s plenty of ‘adult humor’ to keep them laughing.

Taking the kiddies to see Angry Birds 2 will be a nice treat for making it through the first day back at school.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: Just a heads up; at my theater a short animated clip was shown before the actual movie. The clip lasts approximately 4 minutes.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Angry Birds Movie 2. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for rude humor and action
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

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 – Toy Story 4

Movie Review - Toy Story 4Vera and I saw the movie together and collaborated on the Peetimes. We agreed that Toy Story 4 deserves an A. It has everything you could want: fun action for the kids, plenty of humor, especially with the two new toys Bunny and Ducky — voiced by Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key respectively — and a really well thought out villain, if you can call Gabby a villain.

I found this movie to be a pleasure to watch. In many ways it’s more real than most of the “real” movies today. Everyone knows that things will “work out” in the end, but there was really uncertainty in what the characters would decide to do.

This is Pixar at its finest.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: Toy Story 4 is packed with action, and plot development, and jumps between short scenes of different groups of toys. That makes it difficult to find Peetimes. All of the Peetimes are decent, but short. The 2nd Peetime is recommended because it’s the longest, almost 4 minutes long.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Toy Story 4. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (G)
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Movie Review – The Secret Life of Pets 2

 

Movie Review - The Secret Life of PetsSo here is what I hope: The Secret Life of Pets becomes its own universe, much like the Minions, and we can continue to enjoy the antics of Max, Duke and Snowball. There’s so much story left to tell about these citified critters who can’t stop getting into mischief. And now with the addition of Liam, the new kid on the block, there’s so much potential for crazy action and crazy love.

Much credit goes to the writer, Brian Lynch. He fleshed out the characters to the point that they’re very real to us, and that’s what a great movie needs: someone to care about.

The plot of the movie was, although not original, how do city dwellers fare in the great outdoors? We’ve seen this trope played out in television (Green Acres), and movies (City Slickers), and it never gets old. Heck, I’ve been a part of this trope when I graduated from my rural middle school with a student population of 35 kids, to a city high school with a population of over 400. Those first few months were both comical and embarrassing, much like Max’s first few days on the farm.

I whole-heartedly recommend this movie for the entire family, and if you’re not satisfied, feel free to email me at [email protected] and I’ll give back to you the 90 minutes spent watching it.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes:

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

Rated (PG) for some action and rude humor
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Movie Review – The Secret Life Of Pets

Movie Review – Minions

Despicable Me 2 – movie review

Movie Review – Pokemon Detective Pikachu

Movie Review - Pokemon Detective PikachuPokemon Detective Pikachu is a strange little movie. It’s beautifully done, and a great send up of the Poke-Verse…while also being a mad-cap whodunnit story, albeit one that fizzles a bit. But whether you’ll enjoy this outing depends on your relationship to this particular pop-culture gaming phenomenon.

If you know your Pokemon, you’ll revel in the seamless imagery of beloved creatures, smile a whole lot, laugh at their charm, and marvel at the delight of seeing your favorites come to life. Pikachu himself is a scene-stealer. You can’t beat the engaging Ryan Reynolds as the voice of anything; he gives the pint-sized yellow electric mouse a frenzied, fit-for-the-kids Deadpool sort of energy. This isn’t how I pictured my Pikachu sounding, but Reynolds makes it work with style.

Is the story-line coherent? Barely. It comes together well enough in the end. But that’s not the point. This is a great wish fulfillment film for fans.

If you’re NOT a Pokemon buff, you might want to give Pokemon Detective Pikachu a pass. Most of the pleasure derives from seeing favorites like Charazid, Bulbasaurus (so freaking cute!), Squirtle, Ditto, Eevee, Charmander, Jigglypuff — and even useless old Magicarp — interact with their humans in the real world.

If your eyes glazed over in that last sentence, Pokemon Detective Pikachu will assuredly go over your head. It’s still a cute time at the movies, but it won’t make sense. The story doesn’t stop to explain who or what Pokemon are about — it just tosses you into this world and hopes you’ll swim.

However, kids will take to this movie like a Psyduck to water just for the amazingly creative critters and their antics. They’ll definitely want to start catching Pokemon if they’re new to the game. Be warned: it’s incredibly addictive, but if you can get them playing Pokemon Go, they’ll also get a lot of exercise as a bonus.

As for adults, I still recommend playing Pokemon Go. Chasing Mons took over my life at a particularly rough point, giving me a way to climb out of a sad little hole. I still have a tremendous fondness for the entire enterprise…seeing these guys on the big screen filled my heart with happy little beats.

I didn’t care that the plot was a bit loose, or that the humans were a bit dull, because I had a good time on the journey. Bill Nighy did what he could with the material, and I normally am a HUGE Nighy fan, but he couldn’t elevate the actual plot. Again, not the point. You either bought your ticket to see cute Pokemon scamper in the real world, or because you wanted to hear Ryan Reynolds voicing the iconic Pikachu. In those areas, Pokemon Detective Pikachu delivers nicely.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: I recommend the 2nd Peetime. The plot is straightforward, and I assume anyone who goes see it is there for the Pokemons. So I tried to avoid cool Pokemon scenes in the Peetimes.

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

Rated (PG) for action/peril, some rude and suggestive humor, and thematic elements
Genres: Action, Adventure, Animation

Movie Review – UglyDolls – Best for toddlers, but a good message for all children


Movie Review - UglyDollsUgly Dolls is 87 minutes of bright color, almost constant motion, and singing — so much singing — which will make your toddler dizzy with delight. Parents will need to go to the nearest Starbucks for a jolt of caffeine before driving home.

The theme of the movie — learning to love yourself for who you are — is easily understood by the parents and kids over 6. However, the younger set, all the way down to the ‘still in diapers’ stage, won’t care, because they’ll be glued to the movement and color on the screen.

The songs all had messages in their lyrics, albeit with mixed messages. One sings about how if you’re ugly you’re not worthy of love; another has a happier message telling the listener that being ‘different’ only means you are “special.”

Again, it doesn’t matter — toddlers like sounds, not words. For all they care, the Ugly Dolls could be singing about tax reform, as long as it’s loud and strident.

Parents, here’s my suggestion: wait for the video. For under five dollars you can rent this movie and avoid the cost of tickets and the gold plated popcorn. And here’s the bonus; you can sleep through it.

Grade: C-

About The Peetimes: There’s so much color/action/song going on in this short film that I had to use one of the songs as a Peetime. Since the movie is only 87 minutes long, I felt that one Peetime, coming near the midway point in the story, should be adequate.

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

Rated (PG) for thematic elements and brief action
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Movie Review – Missing Link – Fun, will appeal to all ages

Movie Review - Missing LinkLaika Animated Studios has given the fans another film to add to their collection of ‘Must See’ stop-motion movies.

Hiring Zach Galifianakis as the voice of Susan, the missing link, was a stroke of genius. Even though Susan is a large, frightening creature, Zach provided a voice that took away the fright, and replaced it with a calm, gentle, and innocent demeanor that makes us fall in love with the big guy.

Hugh Jackman and Zoe Saldana brought their ‘A’ game, bringing the two main human characters to life with just right amount of attitude, charisma, and love-ability.

The plot of Missing Link is for Susan to find his own kind of species, which takes him on a global search along with Lionel, a self-proclaimed explorer, and Adelina, a strong determined widow and former girlfriend of Lionel’s. Add all of this together, and you’ve got a fun-filled movie that will appeal to all ages.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: From opening credits to the end of the movie, is only 1 hour & 25 minutes, so I made a judgment call and felt that only 1 Peetime was needed.

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

Rated (PG) for action/peril and some mild rude humor
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Movie Review – Wonder Park

Movie Review - Wonder ParkI’ve just spent half an hour reading several different reviews for Wonder Park and I just have to laugh, maybe hysterically laugh, at the verbosity spewed forth by the well paid critics.

It’s a toddler movie! Children care nothing about the movie’s conceptual resemblance to Inside Out. And a visual and aural cacophony of frenzied action sequences, is exactly what delights your children.  Loud sounds, and plenty of moving color and light, keep their attention. And the parents aren’t really watching the movie, they have their entertainment right there in their hands. The mother next to me played Solitaire all through the movie. They don’t care either.

All that being said, I enjoyed Wonder Park just fine. Children under eight — and old women with spotty short term memories — will have fun.

I felt that the animation was well done and there were a few catchy little songs that were pleasant. This film won’t win any Oscars, but who cares, the Oscars are dying anyway.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: This was a short movie filled with plenty of action and dialog, making it just a little difficult getting good Peetimes. I have 2, spaced almost 20 minutes apart, and both will serve you well — so let your bladder decide.

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

Rated (PG) for some mild thematic elements and action
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Movie Review – The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

 

Movie Review - The Lego Movie 2: The Second PartWhat a charming, amusing, engaging, but ultimately fluffy bit of fun The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is. It’s right up there with the enjoyment level of the original Lego film and The Lego Batman Movie, although perhaps a little less sensibly told, narratively, than either.

The story rambles all over the place, with most scenes serving as adorable kiddie sight gags and adulty-level Easter Eggs. Nothing really important happens. ([pullquote]Remember — DUPLOS are the big bad now, so you have to go with that level of absurdly subversive cuteness. Somehow it works. Let your cynicism go.[/pullquote])

I wish there had been more of the kind of Master Builder moments we saw originally — which is kind of what the Lego phenomenon (“Kragle” aside) is about. I think there was one split-second where Lucy has a callback to her Master Building skills, and it’s instantly glossed over. However, note that Master Wrecking is now a thing. The double decker couch does make a return appearance…so yay there. 🙂

[pullquote position=”right”]There’s ultimately a fantastic message in Lego 2, about how your point of view informs your reality. [/pullquote]It’s a timely enough truism for all ages, whether you are a President in charge of the world, or a young kid just wanting to be included.

What else? We don’t get enough Unikitty (NEED MOAR kitty!), MetalBeard, or Benny the Spaceman…although Lucy, Emmet, and Batman do quite well for themselves. Chris Pratt carries off a dual role with his usual big-hearted goofy aplomb. (Most of the runtime showcases Pratt’s two characters talking to each other. It works, but takes away from the initial engaging ensemble appeal.)

There’s also a TON of fantastic minor voice cameos, illustrating how excited many celebrities were to have even a tiny bit to contribute to the Lego spotlight.

Also, if you like science fiction — and especially time travel movies — there’s a little nod to everything notable in that realm of film iconography. [pullquote]Pay close attention, and listen to every throw-away line.[/pullquote] (Example: even Hot Tub Time Machine has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shoutout, and that’s digging deep into adorkable movie randomness.)

You can tell Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, and Elizabeth Banks — with the welcome addition of Tiffany Haddish — had a GREAT time filming their sequel. They clearly went all in. According to Chris Prat’s latest tweets, he’s thrilled with Lego 2. While Pratt seems legit thrilled with everything in life (he kind of IS Emmet), this is a worthwhile movie event for everyone.

I have no complaints (besides a couple of minor nits to pick, already mentioned), and had an “Awesome” time at the movies.

I even went to the Lego store next-door to my AMC theater immediately afterward, and picked up a mini-figure of Emmet, because I now kind of love him. (And then lost an hour wandering around and fantasizing about assembling Lego Deathstars, Hogwarts Castles, Millennium Falcons, and Jurassic Park set-pieces, but apparently that’s a hobby for the rich. Yikes. It makes me understand the whole “Kragel” business — if I spend that kind of money and time on something, nobody better not mess with it.)

[pullquote position=”right”]Well recommended, and see the 3D version if you can. Great for adults and children alike, although you’ll be a bit lost if you haven’t seen The Lego Movie 1 (“the first part”).[/pullquote]

PS: You don’t need to see Lego Batman to understand Lego 2 (Batman’s solo films is passed off with a toss-away line). And you can ignore The Lego Ninjago Movie entirely. Trust.

PPS: This song is gonna get stuck  inside your head. 

Grade: A-

About The Peetimes: I have 3 decent Peetimes up now and am trying to see if I can squeeze out a better one somewhere. This movie is FULL of Easter Eggs and humor, and it was nearly impossible to find a span of 3 minutes that we’d consider a great Peetime. I had to see this film twice last night. I’m going over my notes to see if I can tweak these to make them better. So far, the 1st Peetime is the best.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for mild action and rude humor
Genres: Action, Adventure, Animation

DVD at Amazon.com

Blue Ray at Amazon.com

Are the Four Lego Movies Sequels, Prequels, or Stand-Alone Films?

The Cast of Voices for The Lego Movie 2 – The Second Part

The Lego Movie 2 – Video and Lyrics to Catchy Song (This is song is gonna get stuck inside your head)

Chris Pratt and the Lego Cast go to Space Camp

Lego Movie 2 Holiday Short – Christmas is Awesome

Movie Review – The LEGO Batman Movie – One of the BEST Batman films, ever

Everything is Awesome – Video and Lyrics to The Lego Movie Theme Song

Movie Review – The LEGO Movie