REVIEW: “I FEEL PRETTY” (2018) STX ENTERTAINMENT

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When the trailer for “I Feel Pretty” first dropped, some people expressed concerns that the storyline and main character were in fact more harmful than helpful to the body positivity/shaming movement. All due to the fact that Amy Schumer is a blonde, white, able-bodied woman of average weight and build. If her body is considered ‘comedic’ then what hope is there for the rest of us? Well… that was the trailer… so until all these naysayers see the actual movie, honestly just sit down. Because it’s really nothing like that. In fact I’d go with it being a rather poignant truth about real life and a pointed comedy. An almost a modern twist of the ‘Ugly Duckling‘ fable.

In “I Feel Pretty” – Amy Schumer stars as Renee Bennett, an “average” (by society’s standards at least), woman who feels trapped and saddened by her appearance. In fact, her insecurities dig so deeply into every aspect of her life that they keep her from pursuing relationships and enjoying spending time with her two best friends Jane (Busy Philips) and Vivian (Aidy Bryant). But perhaps most devastatingly of all, that disdain she feels for her appearance, well it prevents her from chasing her dream job. So instead of working within the palatial 5th Avenue offices of top beauty brand LeClaire, she is stuck in a basement workspace in dingy building off an alleyway, working on the ‘online’ forgotten section of the company’s website with one pretty non-verbal and sometimes pants-less workmate, Mason (Adrian Martinez).

Like so many of us do in real life, Renee attempts to fix her life by changing her appearance. She heads into a SoulCycle spin class to do just this, but after taking not one, but two falls off her bike (the second one being the ‘magical one’), she awakens from a blackout to find out that she is now drop dead stunningly gorgeous. Or at least, she thinks she is. To the audience – and everybody in her life – she looks exactly the same as she always did – and unlike other make-over movies from years gone by, we are never actually given that glimpse of the person Renee thinks she has transformed into. Which is actually a stroke of genius because it truly makes this a film of it’s own in this sense. We don’t need to know what she thinks she see’s – it’s the fact the only she can see that makes this character truly shine. And shine she does.

Schumer is her best hilarious self here, but don’t think she is the only one. Michelle Williams as Avery LeClare, comes through in what can only be described as a perfect mockery of what is surely a played upon caricature of Ivanka Trump, and she is comedy revelation with her whispery, annoying voice that no one can take seriously. The always and still so beautiful, Lauren Hutton as Lily LeClare is perfect symmetry. In any other film Avery would have been the oh-so-pretty adversary Renee has to triumphant over to succeed. However, this film just does that exact opposite of what you think it will do and cares nothing for the tired female stereotypes that we are so used to and think of and so this movie goes in a very different direction. Not to be left out are the guys of this movie. Rory Scovel as Ethan, who meets Renee at the dry cleaners in a scene that will have you rolling in your seat, and leads into way more hilarity and love, along with hunky Grant LeClare (Tom Hopper), Avery’s brother and almost crush of Renee’s – add the man-factor to this fun film.

But the crux of this movie is that Renee’s body and appearance are never the butt of the final joke. In her scenes with Emily Ratajkowski’s character, Mallory, a model she meets at the gym, the joke is always on society itself and the way in which women with different bodies are so differently treated. There’s no denying that two these women have very different body shapes – one which is universally celebrated as perfection and one which is not. All these scenes do is hold a magnifying glass up to how they are both treated – and the jokes pretty much write themselves. In this case, all you can do is laugh. It is treading this perfect line between humour, physical comedy and body positivity that the brilliance behind “I Feel Pretty” really shines. Some of Schumer’s best moments come from the scenes where she is just let loose on her own, to be her own Schumer-self.

To sum it up – the film is cute, sweet & funny – all the while sending strong message dealing with how one looks and self-esteem is judged in our society. It will also leave you with some emotion that you didn’t see coming at you because it can be a bit of a roller-coaster when you sit through a movie that has you laughing one moment, and then tearing up the next. I think co-star Aidy Bryant, might have said it best when she wrote on her Instagram account. “I’m very proud to be in a movie tells the story of someone who believes confidence is directly tied to looks but learns that confidence comes from within. It’s a movie I wish I could have seen when I was 14.” Yep.

Grade: B
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Monday, April 16, 2018 ~ Courtesy of STX Entertainment
“I FEEL PRETTY” will be released nationwide Friday, April 20, 2018 // Worldwide release May 2018

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IG REVIEWS: “BLOCKERS” & “A QUIET PLACE”

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Yes.Yes.. Yes.. I am still without a computer – so quickly while I have access to one – thought I’d post up my short Instagram reviews here of the two films I saw last week.

BLOCKERS:
I was truly surprised to find myself and the screening audience liking #Blockers . You never know what your going to get with a comedy – especially when #SethRogan has a hand in it. It can go horribly frat-boy not funny, or you can actually have some good laughs with only a few of pre-requisite frat-boy thrown in.
The plot is surprisingly simple. Julie #KathrynNewton Kayla #GeraldineViswanathan and Sam #GideonAdlon – three high schools best friends, make the dreaded-by-all-parents, sex pact to lose their virginity on prom night.
But of course, not if their parent’s can stop it. #JohnCena does a fun turn here as Mitchell, along with #LeslieMann as Lisa, rounding up with our third parent #IkeBarinholtz as Hunter. Mann, whom I swear plays the same role with what I’m thinking is the same wardrobe, in all of her films, is always fun so hey..why fix it when it’s not broken..right!
The standouts for me though are Barinholtz and his daughter Kayla (Viswanathan) and her prom date ‘The Chef’ played #MilesRobbins have some of best scenes of the movie and best storyline for me.
Yes, they the film has the requisite ‘drama’ moment, but it too, is well done and plays good into the storyline.
All in all its good time with an appropriate run time for what it does.
Grade: B
@pegsatthemovies

Media review screening – courtesy of #UniversalStudios

A QUIET PLACE:
#AQuietPlace is a slow burn of a suspense thriller. Partially written, directed and also one of the producers is #JohnKrasinski – starring alongside wife #EmilyBlunt – the film starts you off at an almost agonizingly slow pace, piece by piece, building you up to describe life in the oh-so-quiet-place.

The plot is very simply “written” using that term loosely if you want to use it at all since..let’s be real..not a lot of writing involved in this one. But what there is is actual acting as in order to convey what is going on here, it has to all be done with emotion and sign language. #MillicentSimmonds is excellent here as the oldest daughter, along with #NoahJupe, they carry a huge bulk of this film and really do justice to their performances.
We never do find out how, why, or what happened to make ‘A Quiet Place’ so quiet, as the trailer actually seems to give more pretense into this than the film – but it is truly a chilling good suspenseful thriller with a final scene that will knock your socks off.
I recommend it to anyone looking for a chilling good time!
Grade: B-
@pegsatthemovies

Review screening – courtesy of LAFTV meetup

#movies #moviegoers #lovemyscreenings #moviereviews #peggyatthemovies #cinephile #cinephilecommunity #thriller #filmgoers

IG REVIEW: “READY PLAYER ONE” (2018) Warner Bros.

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Hey all –

Just a quick update – I’ve had major computer issues – as in my computer has gone to it’s final resting point. I tried to save it, but alas, it just couldn’t happen – good news is, a new computer is on order!! Yipee!!! But won’t be here till middle of April. In the meantime – please.. check out my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peggyatthemovies/ as I’ve posted my #READYPLAYERONE review there. And give a follow while you’re at it as I love to do quick one-offs of reviews there also. And for right now, that’s as good as it gets.

Happy Easter to all..

Peggy

Reviews at https://www.instagram.com/peggyatthemovies/ – temporarily while computer being fixed!!! please check them out!!

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Hey all –

Just a quick update – I’ve had major computer issues – as in my computer has gone to it’s final resting point. I tried to save it, but alas, it just couldn’t happen. The hard drive took a nose-dive. :/ So my full length reviews just haven’t been able to be done.. but please.. check out my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peggyatthemovies/ in the meantime because I am posting up some shorter, quick reviews of movies that’s I’ve gone to screenings of like #LeanOnPete, #TombRaider and #PacificRimUprising with upcoming screenings next week of #ReadyPlayerOne and #TheLastMovieStar.

As soon as I can either, get a new hard drive installed and hope it works, or get a new computer – I will be reviewing at my instagram!! So please, give a follow and a look-see over there. Much Appreciated!

Peggy

REVIEW: “LOVE SIMON” (2018) 20th Century Fox

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What a wonderful teen angst movie Love, Simon is. Simply put, it reminded me of my teen years watching John Hughes films and I just felt like this is something he would have made had he ever done a film of the challenges of a teen coming out. Our storyline focuses on Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) and his one ‘big ass secret’ that no one in the world but him knows. As he is not the type of flamboyant, gay guy obsessed with musicals etc, he is just an average high school teenage boy with a seemingly picture perfect suburban family. He has a sister Nora (Talitha Bateman), whom he actually admits to liking, a very picture-perfect pretty mom Emily (Jennifer Garner), and the I-just-get-better-looking-with-age- Josh Duhamel as his dad Nick. He has his circle of best friends in Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) Leah (Katherine Langford) whom have known each other all throughout their childhood, and along with new addition Abby Suso (Alexandra Shipp) rounding out their little clique, they are just your average high school teens..or so it seems. They go to a fairly average high school with a rather funny, hammy-over the top, trying to hard to be cool, Vice Principal Worth (Tony Hale) as I don’t really remember any Vice Principal in the history of Vice Principal’s ever being, but hey, it’s a movie after all.

The story focuses on Nick’s coming out – or more the fact that he’s not done so. He has however, started emailing someone named ‘Blue’ who is also a ‘hidden’ gay student at high school. They found each other on “Creek Secrets”, the local school gossip site where Blue does a coming out, in a sense. He reveals he’s gay, but not who he actually is. Nick responds to this with his own fake moniker “Jacques”. Unfortunately the whole secret emailing starts to get really messy when fellow classmate Martin (Logan Miller), the school’s somewhat nerdy dimwit, stumbles upon the email exchange. It’s with this that he proceeds to blackmail Nick into manipulating all sorta of social situations so that he can ‘get with’ Abby, whom he wants in a big way. This whole thing goes terribly wrong and you guessed it – Nick is outed by Martin in the worst way possible.

Even with the dramatic outing – can you sometimes feel the movie is a bit homogenized? Sure you can – but it’s also sweet and likable. As someone who has many gay friends and knowing sometimes the total and complete trauma they’ve undergone in coming our and how many have never been fully accepted by family or friends – they did make that all on the more simplistic side of things with having supportive parents and friends and of course a magical ending of Nick finally meeting his ‘Blue’ and everyone living happily ever after. But even with those few nitpicks, and that’s all they are is nitpicks – I still highly enjoyed myself and ran the gamut of emotions of laughing, tearing up, smiling & being happy for them all. Jennfier Garner & Josh Duhamel are really wonderful here as the parents and the whole cast of teens are highly likable and do a completely believable take on these characters. From me to you, take the family, take your friends, take everyone as it’s a wonderful film for teens and adults alike.

Grade: B
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Tuesday, February 22, 2018 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
LOVE, SIMON will be out in theaters Nationwide on Friday, March 16, 2018 // U.K. and Worldwide release to follow starting in April

REVIEW: GRINGO (2018) STX Entertainment / Amazon Studios

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Over the past few years, Nash Edgerton has bounced – possibly literally – between being a top-notch stuntman and a career as a burgeoning director. After a stack of shorts and a 2008 feature The Square, co-written with his more famous sibling Joel, he now steps things up with “GRINGO”, a comedy-thriller-esque type movie that looks sharp in the trailers.

With brother Joel Edgerton on board as one of the co-leads, Richard Rusk – alongside Charlize Theron as his co-conspirator Elaine Markinson and David Oyelowo as the trusty but naive, Harold Soyinka what you have here is a south-of-the-border caper with blood, guns and medical marijuana. As the film opens, crooked business partners Richard and Elaine – post-boardroom bonk – get a call from their Harold, screaming that he’s been kidnapped in Mexico.

That’s just the start – or rather the mid-point – of a twisty amoral adventure where no one is to be trusted and most are to be feared or so they like you to be – but you’re not. Flashing back and forth, the film fleshes things out..sort of. In the process of ditching their Chicago pharmaceutical firm to a conglomerate, Richard and Elaine are looking to cut ties with one of their more shady partners in the business of manufacturing medical marijuana.

Harold, the only good guy amid this nest of ever growing scumbags, and yes, even his wife Bonnie – played by Thandie Newton – is doing the dirty on him with no less that his own boss and supposed friend, Richard. Harold gets wind that he’s going to be out of a job and this is when he realises that his employers couldn’t care less about the fact he has been kidnapped, he sets out to turn the tables. But little is straightforward in a dense plot that also ropes in Amanda Seyfried and Harry Treadaway as tourists and Sharlto Copley as a mercenary with a conscience.
Double-crosses, cases of mistaken identity… just trying to keep up and make sense of what’s going on at this point, leaves you out of sorts with a plot that really isn’t going anywhere. The script is guilty of trying way to hard, to go into sub-Tarantino area – and completely not succeeding in this endeavour.

Performances vary: Theron’s foul-mouthed act wears thin very fast and honestly, I thought she would be a lot funnier than she was, Edgerton passes you by again, not speaking in his own voice (I’m really so very over this Joel), but Copley provides a few live wire moments. Oyelowo isn’t known for his comedic turns and you will see why here with a mostly blah performance with one or two ha! ha! moments by him. While it’s a pity talents like Seyfried and Treadaway are just a weird almost background note here, as their characters almost seem as if they were given something to do, they would be funny. This is one of those films where the trailer shows you all the fun, best moments of a film that’s not terrible, but very easy to forget.

Grade: C-
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Friday, February 23, 2018 ~ Courtesy of STX Entertainment
GRINGO will be release nationwide & UK on Friday, March 9, 2018 ~ Worldwide release throughout Mar/Apr

7 DAYS OF OSCAR COUNTDOWN ~ DAY 7 ~ BEST PICTURE

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It’s HERE!! The Holy Grail of all Holy Grail’s aka High Holy Day otherwise known as ‘THE OSCARS’. And for the last time this year – I give who I think will win – and what my pick would be – as those two choices sometimes differ.

BEST PICTURE
NOMINEES

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges and Marco Morabito, Producers
While this was a sweet film and a good coming of age story, it was also long, slow & plodding. A great speech at the end does not a great movie make.

DARKEST HOUR
Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten and Douglas Urbanski, Producers
Again, one of those more drawn out pictures but with a twist. I learned things from it. I understood more about what happened at Dunkirk here than I did the actual picture called ‘Dunkirk’ – that shows a lot to me and while I won’t give it a win, it was good.

DUNKIRK
Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
So – another war movie with an attempted storyline to make it more watchable. And mind you, it was watchable, but it was also lacking a lot.

GET OUT ~ POSSIBLE UPSET #2
Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr. and Jordan Peele, Producers
I get confused by this film somewhat. Not the message behind it, that I got thank you very much. Where I am confused is they made it out to be some scary horror picture when it’s not. It’s suspenseful at times, and more of a comedy than it’s given credit for. I mean the best friend is hysterical. As Jordan Peele himself says, he sat down to write a horror movie, not a statement movie, so with that I can’t be behind it as just a horror movie. It most definitely has a chance of an upset due to that statement behind it though.

LADY BIRD
Scott Rudin, Eli Bush and Evelyn O’Neill, Producers
Again, a wonderfully sweet yet strong teen angst movie. I can probably relate to this one more having once been a teen girl who did many of the strange things done here. It’s real people – we do this. And while I loved that part of it, it didn’t resonate as ‘great’ to me. Sorry Greta – but please keep doing movies!

PHANTOM THREAD
JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison and Daniel Lupi, Producers
I am still trying to figure this one all out. Do I like it..do I love it.. do I hate it.. it’s a tough one – but I do know this – it’s not a best picture win for me.

THE POST
Amy Pascal, Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers
Sure it’s examplary what Katharine Graham did being the first woman publisher and of a major paper such as The Washington Post no less. But there is also parts of this story that because it’s a movie, they pass up on. Like the fact that she was friends with many politicians and some think that’s how she got her stories. No matter what the what there.. it still wasn’t a great drama at times just boring. A no win for me.

THE SHAPE OF WATER ~ POSSIBLE UPSET #1
Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale, Producers
I almost don’t know where to begin with the next two films on this list. First, thank you Fox Searchlight for bringing this amazing film to us and going outside the box. If someone had told me before seeing this movie, ‘oh it’s about a deaf, mute girl who falls in love with a fish-man, you’ll love it’ – I probably would have rolled my eyes and just went ‘uh huh’ – instead I didn’t know what it was about at all and I loved every single minute of it. And yes, I will cheer if it wins because it’s a stunning piece of work.

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI ~ MY PICK/WINNER
Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and Martin McDonagh, Producers
Which brings me to this movie. The day I saw this, I had actually a cram-packed schedule of a screening of another movie in 70mm at 11am, work and then this screening. I could have, and almost did, skip this one because the initial 70mm movie that I saw in the morning, were scheduled for the same time. Thank goodness I didn’t. I walked out of Three Billboards absolutely speechless. I knew I had just seen the Best Picture. As I ran into the people leaving the other film on the lot, I was asked if I liked the movie. I told them I thought it should win best picture and they all looked at me crazy like as I was forgetting – they had all just seen the other movie. I told each and every one of them to see this one. I know some don’t like it, you’ve got your reasons and that’s fine, but I love it and my reasons will hopefully add up to Oscar gold.