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

Movie Review – Yesterday

Movie Review – Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen Will Rock You

Movie Review – Rocketman

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

The Top Six Richard Linklater Movies Ever Made

Movie Review – Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

11 Raunchy Comedies You Should Watch Now

Movie Review – 47 Meters Down: Uncaged

Movie Review - 47 Meters Down: UncagedI watched a lot of shark movies recently to get ready for 47 Meters Down 2. Almost all of them were a good time. Plus, I really liked the original 47 Meters Down. But this sequel is dreadful.

I can’t even begin to tell you just how bad this movie is.

Basically, the undersea premise could have been a grand adventure — an Indiana Jones type film with blind albino cave sharks, patrolling an ancient submerged city, full of secrets and buried treasure.

Instead, it’s just dumb. Boring. Mindless and stupefying. The main redeeming feature: it was short. Why did movie this happen? Who thought this was a good idea? WHY WHY WHY WTF…arg.

Yeah. I think it’s the worst flick I’ve seen in years. (And I watch a lot of movies for RunPee.)

I’ll make an effort to review this rotten film in more detail tomorrow (maybe), but with any luck it won’t matter, since you won’t see it anyway.

Seriously. PASS.

Grade: D-

About The Peetimes: This is a short movie with a lot of action. I have 1 good Peetimes early on, and 1 good for Emergencies later. Since there’s nothing during the credits, you can run out as soon as the credits roll.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for creature related violence and terror, some bloody images and brief rude gestures
Genres: Adventure, Drama, Horror

Pro-Tip — SEE ANY OF THESE SHARK MOVIES INSTEAD: 

First-View Movie Review – 47 Meters Down (2017)

Deep Blue Sea – First View Movie Review (With YouTube Clips)

The Shallows – First View Movie Review (2016)

Movie Rewatch – Jaws – Still A Fantastic Blockbuster

Movie Review – The Meg

Newie Review – The Reef – Low Budget, Decent, Non Campy Shark Movie

Movie Review – Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable

Movie Review – The Farewell

Movie Review - The FarewellI loved this movie. It was full of emotions and love and laughs; it really has a little bit of everything.

Awkwafina is really proving herself as a very worthy actress. I’ve seen her in many different types of roles now and she has rocked everyone of them.

I’m not usually a fan of movies where subtitles are so prominent, but this one flowed in such a way that I was able to keep up, and it didn’t feel like I was missing the onscreen action.

I’d recommend this one. It was fun stepping outside of my customs and traditions, and watching how other people live their lives with their customs and traditions.

That’s another reason this movie was so awesome: Billi is feeling both sides. She spent a majority of her life in the states, but she hasn’t forgot how her life was in China.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: This was a tough movie to do. It’s almost entirely in Chinese, so there’s a lot of subtitle reading going on. I strongly urge you to use the 1st Peetime — the 2nd Peetime is a glimpse inside the father and uncle’s way of thinking. It’s a pretty powerful scene, but honestly, the whole movie is.

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

Rated (PG) for thematic material, brief language and some smoking
Genres: Comedy, Drama

Movie Review – The Art of Racing in the Rain

Movie Review - The Art of Racing in the RainThe Art of Racing in the Rain is yet another animal flick to tug at your heart strings. Are you a dog lover? If you answer yes, then this movie will not only tug at your heart strings, but will rip them out of your chest and wrap them around your windpipe.

One man in my theater was sobbing so hard, he was having a difficult time breathing. It kinda scared me for a second, but my eyes quickly went back to the screen.

The production quality of the movie was good and I have absolutely nothing negative to say about ‘Art’. I read the book when it first came out, being a big fan of Garth Steine. I realized then that if it were made into a movie, Kleenex stock would rise dramatically. The movie followed the book very well.

A lot of critics have panned it for the saccharine dialog, but hey, Hollywood loves ‘Sweet & Low’. Why is saccharine a bad thing? Everybody needs a good cry every once in a while. (It cleans out the tear ducts.)

The movie is about a dog who wants to die because he once saw on television that when a dog dies he returns to Earth as a human. More than anything, Enzo wanted to race in the rain someday. I enjoyed Kevin Costner as the voice of Enzo. Maybe Kevin will return to Earth as a dog.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering; did I cry? No. Why, you ask? Besides being just a bit hard-hearted [according to any one of my four husbands], I have an uncanny ability to separate reality from fiction.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: This movie was evenly paced, making it easy to get 2 good Peetimes. Both give you 4 minutes to break, so let your bladder decided.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Art of Racing in the Rain. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for thematic material
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Tear-Jerker

Is A Dog’s Way Home a Sequel to A Dog’s Purpose?

Each Dog Death in A Dog’s Journey

Movie Review – A Dog’s Journey – Manipulatively Emotional, But The Least Heart-Rending of the Dog Trilogy

 

Movie Review – The Kitchen

Movie Review - The KitchenAndrea Berloff did a fantastic job writing and directing the Kitchen. There are no wasted scenes in this tightly edited film. Everything follows from one step to the next. The characters are very well defined, and evolve during the movie for obvious reasons.

The three actors — Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss — headlining this movie were fantastic. Each totally sold their characters as fearful timid women to begin with, that became powerful confident women later…and in McCarthy’s case oscillated back and forth a few times, all with good reason.

The plot isn’t as predictable as the trailers might suggest. There’s a few enjoyable twists and turns I didn’t expect.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: This movie is very well edited. There were lots of Peetime options early in the movie to select from, but were all very short. I  recommend the 2nd Peetime. It’s near the middle of the movie and doesn’t have much dialog. The 3rd Peetime is for Emergencies only. There’s a big plot development, but it’s the only describable scene in the last 3rd of the movie to pick from.

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

Rated (R) for violence, language throughout and some sexual content
Genres: Action, Crime, Drama

Where is “Hell’s Kitchen” and how did it get the name?

The Essential Tarantino – What to watch before Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Movie Review – The Art of Self-Defense

Movie Review – Brian Banks

 

Movie Review - Brian BanksI really love movies based on a true story. I’m always curious to see how the storyline will play out, and if it seems grossly embellished or not. Brian Banks is relatable and “reel” on so many levels.

Yes, this movie can be categorized into the files of the “MeToo Movement” for sure, but with a little twist, and intense and valid emotions throughout the whole movie.

The actors were very good, and I’m a huge fan of Morgan Freeman. Freeman is not one of the main characters; he is a catalyst to the transformation of Brian Banks. Morgan is never bad; he’s like the godfather of movies. He shows up and shows out at the most opportune moments.

Was He Like the Real Brian Banks?

I watched interviews with the real Brian Banks before going to see the onscreen depiction, just to be able to validate whether Aldis Hodge (Brain Banks) gave us a top notch reflection of the real guy.

And Aldis did. His movements, diction, and emotions were on target. Now, I’m not sure about seeing Aldis in another movie involving him in jail though, which comes out December 2019. I clutched my pearls with confusion when I saw the trailer for Clemency immediately before the Brian Banks Movie started. I thought Brian Banks had begun, and that I missed the cue to start my timer. LOL! But I digress…

The pace was good for one hour and 39 minutes. The use of flashback scenes were very effective, especially toward the end when Brian was waiting to hear the judge’s decision. All the critical moments in his life flashed before him as he awaited yet another moment that would change his life.

An Insightful Film

What I found very insightful was how the director explored the dynamics behind criminal law. He peeled a lot of the onion back to reveal crucial case law, how attorneys collaborate, and why some things are presented in the courtroom or not.

I especially liked that, because I know I sometimes ask myself, “Self, why didn’t they say this?” “Why wasn’t that important?” or “What in the heck was the judge thinking?”

So pay attention to the law narrative. I also liked how there were lots of plot pieces, but the director pretty much flushed them all out to the end;he didn’t leave me hanging.

Everyone had a connection to Brian’s struggle directly or indirectly, including his workout partner. Ultimately, I was tuned in to see if the plot was realistic and believable for such an event that happened to teenagers. And I was elated that the plot made you think and get watery-eyed; not frown and question the likelihood of the tragedy.

The use of light was very emotional; reminded me of an epiphany at its best. Another thing that resonated was the “tether.” The tether took me back to Jordan Peele’s movie Us. I admired how the director ended the movie at the exact location where the movie and Brian Bank’s dreams started.

Check it out for yourself, and take your teenagers, because when they know better, they will certainly do better. We have to teach/show our children how to stop and think about the “what ifs” on a daily basis, thus to matriculate through life without becoming a part of the existing societal problems — instead becoming an intelligent, good-natured, ethical citizen that’s part of the solutions.

(By the way, for those that may be running late, there were 24 minutes of previews in my showing.)

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: It wasn’t difficult selecting Peetimes, given this is a biopic, and I knew a little about the back story — which gave me some perspective. I recommend the 1st Peetime.

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

Rated (PG-13) for thematic content and related images, and for language
Genres: Biography, Drama, Sport, True life story

Movie Review – Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable

Movie Review – Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

Movie Review – Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

Movie Review - Once Upon a Time ... in HollywoodOnce Upon a Time… in Hollywood is, without question, the least enjoyable movie I’ve ever given an A+ to.

The writing and directing are some of Tarantino’s best. The acting was as good as you’ll see. Leonardo DiCaprio was at his best, which let’s face it: is the best ever. Brad Pitt was fantastic. My only mark against Pitt in this movie is that his character isn’t much of a stretch from many other roles he’s played.

To be fair, there were a few scenes, here and there, where I saw DiCaprio’s character from Wolf of Wall Street.

However, even though the movie gets high marks all around, I didn’t love it. I’m certainly impressed by the acting and craftsmanship on display. I just found the setting disinteresting. It’s the 70s, for crying out loud. They thought neon was amazing. If there’s a decade that needs to be flushed down a time toilet, it’s that one.

However, I can hardly knock a movie for that, now can I?

Spoilers to come if you want them:

Click to read spoilers.

Going into the movie, all I knew about Manson was that he lead a cult, or something like that, and his followers killed some people. I didn’t know who, or why.

By the end of the movie I understood the reason for the movie title: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. Tarantino winds the story around two characters Rick and Cliff, played by DiCaprio and Pitt, with Sharon Tate and the Manson clan in the background. He does this so well I didn’t realize the ending was fictitious until the credits were about to roll.

“Wait, they killed someone, right? … Ohhh, ‘Once Upon a Time…'” I get it now. That much was brilliant. This is how Hollywood wishes things had turned out.

I guess I should go read up on the real events of the story, but I don’t think it ends well in reality. Maybe it’s best to just roll with Tarantino’s fictitious version. I’m pretty sure I’ll sleep better.

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: There are 4 good Peetimes, nicely spaced out through the movie. Any one of the 3 will work for you, but I suggest the 2nd one, since it is the longest and has a very short synopsis.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for language throughout, some strong graphic violence, drug use, and sexual references
Genres: Comedy, Drama

The Essential Tarantino – What to watch before Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Movie Review – The Art of Self-Defense

The Wolf of Wall Street – movie review

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?