Movie Review – Gemini Man

 

Movie Review - Gemini ManNothing amazing, nothing awful. This is a stylish little film where every actor gives it their all and makes a nice 2 hour action excursion.

Here’s a Pro-Tip for audiences: wait for this to come out on streaming. While old and young Will Smith both look great ( I suspect they aged up one version and de-aged the other — meeting somewhere in the middle), they both look like super fit, handsome men. And both have his trademark humor.

Benedict Wong is a wonderful addition, proving he can be more than just a sidekick MCU wizard. More Wong, please, in better films? K, thx.

What else to say about Gemini Man?

The good guys and bad guys are all somewhat sympathetic. What price should freedom cost in our nation/world? This is for better minds than mine to decipher…although I lean on the side of the Hippocratic Oath: DO NO HARM.

I’m sure politicians would find me hopelessly naive. Even Sci Fi shows like Men in Black find it better to keep humanity in the dark in dark times.

Gemini Man, Overall:

So: there are MANY exciting films coming down the pike for the upcoming holiday Blockbuster season. Save your dough. The FX here are middlin’, and the story is fine…but not great. A good film to catch at home.

PERSONAL PLEA: Will!!! Smith!!! Please return to the Suicide Squad 2 fold. You can’t go wrong with Director James Gunn. Robbie and you were the only reasons the origin story even worked. Gemini has no franchise future. Go have fun being a super-person instead!

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: In a movie with this much action and surprises, it was hard to find good Peetimes, so use these and be quick. Here are 4 decent Peetimes with no crucial action and just a bit of exposition. The 2nd Peetime is much longer/better than the others, if that helps you decide which is best to use. This is not a long movie, but a lot happens.

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

Rated (PG-13) for violence and action throughout, and brief strong language
Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

Movie Review – Judy

Movie Review - JudyI was sitting in the theater watching Judy when I realized I’m the target audience. I grew up idolizing this gifted woman and was well aware of her continuous struggles to rid herself of the demons that seemed to dictate her life. So I feel most qualified to review this movie.

When you see Renee Zellweger’s interpretation of Judy Garland, you’ll see why everyone (that matters) is raving about her performance. Some people (who really don’t matter) are panning Renee’s performance as over-exaggerated and off-key.

I think perhaps these people didn’t grow up knowing the real Judy Garland — they only know Dorothy Gale. Renee’s gesticulations were spot on. And because Renee’s voice didn’t reflect the golden tones of a sixteen year old girl singing about rainbows and such, she was unduly criticized. Director Rupert Goold explained that during 1969, Judy’s voice was older, and the years had not been nice to her vocal cords, nor the rest of her body. In short, Renee nailed it. Move over Oscar #1, Mamma’s bringing home Oscar #2.

I have to say that in my theater the demographics were couples over sixty. I spoke with several couples who found, just as I did, that Renee’s interpretation was spot-on. I fear that movie-goers younger than fifty will not get the same enjoyment as the baby boomers will have. But this does not include folks under fifty who actually have very good cinematic taste.

In all respects, this is an excellent movie; well acted, directed, and written. Also, major kudos to the costume and makeup departments. I see an Oscar nod in their future. BTW, the ending alone is worth the price of a ticket.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: About midway through the movie I’ve given you a 5 minute break. You may want to take advantage of this Peetime, because it’s the last one, and there’s still about another half hour of the movie left.

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

Rated (PG-13) for substance abuse, thematic content, some strong language, and smoking
Genres: Biography, Drama, History, True life story

Movie Review – Joker

 

Movie Review - JokerI have a feeling a lot of people will really like this Joker movie. Personally, I don’t understand how this film can even come close to the DCEU and their best films. It’s not funny at all, like EVER, and doesn’t involve any of the Justice League members. I have to admit that we’ve had a lot of Jokers over the years that don’t give us much fun. I don’t even think I like any of the Jokers we’ve seen, except maybe Mark Hamill as the Joker in the animated Batman TV series.

Sometimes going back to the well works. I mean, look at Tom Holland against all the Spider-Men we’ve had in the last decade. We finally got a great one! Holland’s beloved, with good reason, after the other Spideys that had both great and awful qualities in the end. Which is a whole other conversation.

Another comparison: by Thor: Ragarok, Marvel finally figured how to handle The Mighty Thor (with great comedic timing). Right? This improved the entire MCU and gave Chris Hemsworth a new lease on super life.

So, what is the deal with the DC comics not being able to make consistently enjoyable films? The studio is all over the place, and fans aren’t sure what to expect. How does a delightful outing like Shazam fit in with the gritty Batman trilogy? And do all these Jokers fit within one continuity? I think we have to accept they don’t.

I’m looking forward to seeing James Gunn’s work on Suicide Squad 2 and hopefully, he’ll make it as amusing as Guardians of the Galaxy. But don’t expect Joker to be amusing at all. This film feels more like Logan , the X-Men standalone, (to which we gave an A+) than anything else. Or at least maybe that’s what this film tried to be. Joker is depressing, and deep, but filmed well, with a lot of care to the details.

Do you want a superhero/super-villains film? If you’re a huge Joker fan, I don’t think this is your film.  It just has nothing “super” in it. Really. It’s a dramatic movie, very traumatic, and more than a bit weird.

I initially gave Joker a C+, but today I upgraded it to a B-, for being a good drama that spins an unusual take on the iconic Joker role.

K, thx. Can we stop rebooting Jokers for a while now?

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: There is a lot of plot and character development here, making it hard to get Peetimes as the events unfold. I recommend the 2nd Peetime for a nice long break. Try to use it proactively in this 2 hour movie.

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

Rated (R) for strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images
Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller, DC

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Movie Review – Brittany Runs a Marathon

Movie Review - Brittany Runs a MarathonWhen I walked into the theater, I was expecting a trite piece of slapstick humor about some girl in NYC who just can’t seem to get her life in order, but still manages to find everlasting love. The previous sentence describes dozens, upon dozens, of previous movies that have come and gone without so much as a ripple in the Great Pond of Cinematic Goo.

I was wrong, so very, very wrong. I loved this movie. Brittany took us on a ride that was up and down and ever a little sideways at times, but boy what a ride it was. Watching our protagonist preparing for the NYC Marathon was an exercise not only of body, but also the brain and the heart.

Jillian Bell has become my new favorite actress and someday will walk the red carpet. Her range of emotions was spectacular; she made me laugh out loud a number of times, and also, at moments, brought me to the edge of tears.

Having lived across the river from NYC, and spending all my down time roaming the mean streets of the Big Apple, I enjoyed the sweeping cinematography provided by the great Seamus Tierney. The overhead scenes of the finish of the marathon was so beautifully done that it took my breath away.

I’m so pleased to give Brittany a solid A.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: This entertaining little movie provided two good Peetimes. The first Peetime gives you an extra half minute. The second Peetime is about 20 minutes later if you decide to not use #1.

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

Rated (R) for language throughout, sexuality and some drug material
Genres: Comedy, Drama

Movie Review – Ad Astra

 

Movie Review - Ad AstraThis is a very intense and thought provoking movie. I can’t write the review today, but I’ll give it a B grade for now. I saw in in IMAX, which I recommend for the best “space” experience, and for the constant extreme closeups on Brad Pitt’s face.

Suffice to say for now the film (which means To The Stars in Latin) is extremely low key and existential. And is sort of about God without being anything about God at all.

Much to add later. I’m sure future classes about philosophy will eat this movie for lunch and dinner.

D-Box Experience
You really feel the experience of the rocket ship at take off and some feeling of what it is like when they are weightless in space. For this movie, I would give the D-Box experience a 5 out of 10.  (Special thanks to Troy Borysko for the input.)

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: Although the movie is 2 hours, it was easy to find Peetimes. It’s a slow, contemplative film, with a lot of ‘scenery’ scenes, and closeups of Brad Pitt talking to himself. I recommend the 3rd Peetime at the halfway point — it’s a nice long break with nothing going on. A lot of people (like a dozen!) got up just before the climax and missed the best part of the film. So go proactively at the one-hour mark.

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

Rated (PG-13) for some violence and bloody images, and for brief strong language
Genres: Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Movie Review – Hustlers

Movie Review - HustlersI’m giving this movie an A for sure. I loved it. Watching these women do their thing was so much fun that I forgot I was working. All of the sudden a little thought popped into my head like, “Hey, aren’t you supposed to be watching for Peetimes?”

So yeah, what they were doing was wrong and illegal, but who am I to judge? I lead a very boring and mundane life on the right side of the law. These women were doing exactly what the little devil on my shoulder whispers in my ear. I of course don’t listen to him, but during Hustlers, I was able to live vicariously through these devilishly, devious women. It was a good time!

Let’s talk about J Lo really quick. Wow! She’s got a body on her that I am so envious of. She could work that pole like a pro. Nicely done, lady.

Everyone has been talking about Cardi B branching out into movies. Well, I gotta say for her first gig, she did great. She doesn’t have a very big part but her character was larger than life. I can see her building a reputation on the silver screen.

Hustlers will make the top of my list for chick flicks. Grab your girlfriends and make a night out of it. A great time will be had by all. Thinking about it, you could bring your boyfriends too; I’m sure they’d see a thing or two that would please them. Wink wink.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: Hustlers moves pretty quickly, luckily there are a lot of music montage scenes to choose Peetimes from. These 2 should work pretty well for you.

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

Rated (R) for pervasive sexual material, drug content, language and nudity
Genres: Comedy, Crime, Drama

Movie Review – Don’t Let Go

Movie Review - Don't Let GoMy personal opinion: I loved it. The movie starts off fast and keeps gaining momentum, hurtling us toward an incredible ending.

It’s action packed. The story was interesting and the acting was superb.

I don’t know why so many people are trashing it. I’ve read about thirty reviews talking about how this story has been done before. People are referencing Frequency; sure it’s similar, but helloooo?? Does anyone recall the 11 Halloween movies, or perhaps the 11 Friday the 13th movies? I can think of at least 5 Groundhog Day themed movies. My point is, there are so many movies, that finding a truly original script is becoming almost impossible.

(Unless you’re Quentin Tarantino. He’s original and prefect all the time, every time.)

I’m not going to say one word about the story development. I recommend trying to avoid seeing blurbs about the ending. The surprise of the finale is well worth the effort of avoiding any type of news covering Don’t Let Go.

I’m giving it a solid A. I was pleasantly surprised by it and hope you’ll enjoy it just us much as I did.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: I highly recommend the 1st Peetime. This movie bounces back and forth in time and it will confuse you, even if you look away for a second.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Don’t Let Go. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for violence, bloody images, and language
Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

Movie Review – Overcomer

Movie Review - OvercomerOvercomer is well done in the respect of the quality of production. The acting, directing, writing and pacing was on par for a ‘faith-based’ film. I have absolutely no problem with this movie except this:  who in the world thought Overcomer would be a catchy title? Almost any title would be better, like maybe, ‘Just Pray About It’, a phrase that was repeated ad infinitum during the movie.

The target audience will find this movie inspirational and uplifting. The Kendrick brothers certainly know how to reach out and touch their followers. Good for them.

Faith-based movies have a very specific audience. Those who want the message of their religion spread far and wide, and the Kendrick brothers figured out the best way to do that; at the movies. And it does seem to work.

Here at my home in Asheville, North Carolina, I know that when I’ve been assigned a faith-based movie to review, the theater will be packed. Again, good for the Kendrick brothers.

So after church Sunday, I recommend taking the family to enjoy Overcomer — despite the silly name.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: Each Peetime gives you the same amount of time to break, so let your bladder decide.

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

Rated (PG) for some thematic elements
Genres: Drama, religion

Movie Review – Blinded by the Light

Movie Review - Blinded by the LightRather than Blinded by the Light being a semi biographical movie about Bruce Springsteen, it was more a movie about race, struggle, bigotry, and cultural survival. But more than that, it was a movie about a father and son who could only hope to bridge the generation gap that threatened to tear the family apart.

The awesome music of The Boss provided much needed breaks from the intensity of the emotions onscreen, but also gave the audience a chance to breathe after some of the stressful scenes between Javed…and basically the rest of the world.

So, if you’re a fan of Bruce Springsteen, you must see this movie. It’s a great date flick, and some of the lyrics of his songs were well placed for effect. I’m most pleased to give Blinded by the Light a solid A.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: Blinded by the Light was so beautifully done that getting Peetimes was a challenge. Since it was mainly dialogue driven, trying to decide what was germane to the plot presented a bit of a dilemma. I did get 3 good Peetimes, 2 of which will give you extra half minutes.

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

Rated (PG-13) for thematic material and language including some ethnic slurs
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music

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Movie Review – Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Movie Review - Where'd You Go, BernadetteThis is a crazy hard movie to give a rating to. I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it. I was engaged with the story from beginning to end, but wasn’t moved by the resolution.

The characters were well defined and the actors did a great job — every one of them. Obviously, Cate Blanchett is amazing as always, but a shout out has to be given to Kristen Wiig for her nuanced performance of Audrey. And Emma Nelson, the young girl who played Bee, shows great promise.

My problem with the movie lies in the character of Bernadette; namely that she was projected as an elite architect. The problems Bernadette faces aren’t unique, and aren’t limited to only the most talented individuals in the world.

By presenting her and her husband as highly accomplished, former prep-school-attending, wealthy individuals makes it hard for the audience to relate. She could have just as easily been presented an average architect. It isn’t about the talent — it’s about the drive to create: two things that are independent of each other.

In my college days I was an avid, but average, basketball player. I could have earned a master’s degree in physics had I traded in my gym time for lab time. But I loved basketball, and can confidently say I got as much enjoyment and self fulfillment out of playing as any elite basketball player.

An interesting choice the creators took is in giving us Bernadette’s backstory via documentary format. Exposition about a character’s past can be difficult to handle. If it’s too subtle, viewers might miss clues and become lost, wondering why a character is acting in such-and-such a manner. If it’s too obvious, it becomes heavy-handed and feels like a cheat. The documentary was creatively integrated into the story, and split up organically into two separate viewings. Kudos to the writers.

Perhaps this motivated the writers’ choice to create Bernadette as an elite architect, worthy of a documentary, so they could use this form of exposition. Personally, I’d say their choice wasn’t worth making Bernadette unrelatable, but that’s only my opinion.

Maybe I’m the only one who cares about these things. You tell me. Do you think the story would have been better if Bernadette were more relatable?

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: I would recommend the 2nd Peetime. It takes place in the middle of some serious stuff, but during the Peetime nothing much happens. The first Peetime is okay, but not as good as the 2nd.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Where’d You Go, Bernadette. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for some strong language and drug material
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Mystery

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