Film Review: “The Old Man & The Gun” (2018) Fox Searchlight

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I am a member of a club. A club that has enjoyed watching Robert Redford at every stage of his career. I’ve seen all his movies, many more than once. I’ve always adored him while enjoyed watching him onscreen and truly have always thought he didn’t get enough critical acclaim as an actor, but was tossed off as the ‘pretty boy’ for many years. For me, he has always been completely underrated and although he’s no longer the stunning young man he once was, he retains every bit of the star quality that blossomed sixty years ago earning every single wrinkle in his face which remains untouched by any markings of things done by many similar in age.

The Old Man & the Gun is a vehicle for Redford in the best sense of that term, a good story that showcases its leading man to best advantage, though not perfect in doing so for its supporting characters development along the way. Redford acquired the screen rights to this surprisingly true story and then brought it to director David Lowery, with whom he teamed with before.

Redford plays an unlikely character in Forrest Tucker, a gentleman bank robber, and a fairly good one at that. Though he’s been arrested sixteen times, he’s also managed to escape every single time. He is so unassuming that no one suspects him when he saunters into a bank about to ply his trade. But the film is really just about a man who doesn’t have many years left in his life and simply wishes to do what makes him happy. Robbing banks in the most polite way that he possibly can, without ever harming anyone, and pretty much always getting away with it, and finding time in-between to charm Jewel (Sissy Spacek). Redford is well supported by Casey Affleck as John Hunt, a police officer who is on the robbery detail and whom is completely determined to nab this guy and put him away for good. Waller (Tom Waits) and Teddy (Danny Glover) are Tucker’s partners in crime, though again, I wish their characters were just a bit more on the developed side. And while Spacek’s role as the widow who doesn’t approve of what he does, but also can’t help falling under his spell, is truly quite wonderful most especially in one specific scene when they are sitting opposite each other in a coffee-shop booth. His eyes are so alive it’s positively dazzling and she responds to this so perfectly. This goes far beyond an two actors reading lines. There is a magic here and the combination of her and Redford is just that, quite magical. If the rumours are true and this really ISN’T his last film, I would love to see them work together again.

For as slow as this film sometimes is, as it’s not perfect, especially if it was a ‘retirement film’, it still never me once had me checking my watch. This 90-minute film flies by, even with its slow pace. And again, it’s Redford – I’ll leave it at that.

Grade: C+
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Monday, September 24, 2018 ~ Courtesy of Fox Searchlight
“THE OLD MAN & THE GUN” IS OUT NATIONWIDE // WORLDWIDE RELEASE TO FOLLOW IN OCTOBER

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Film Review: “NIGHT SCHOOL” (2018) Universal

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As I was fortunate enough to see a bunch of movies this week – it also makes it hard to keep up and write full reviews on them all – so I did a quick Instagram posting on this one that I just copied on over. So since it’s coming into the busy time of year – I will get to every film I can, some full reviews will be here – some shorter ones on Instagram – so hey, why not give me a follow there also. peggyatthemovies -https://www.instagram.com/p/BoPgu8dFOD2/?taken-by=peggyatthemovies
Thanks all!

How I wish #NightSchool would have followed in the footsteps of #GirlsTrip as it’s from the same creators. It’s unfortunate as the first 30min of this movies are quite funny…but it relies completely on #KevinHart who plays the same role over and over with the same short man jokes and girlfriend who is out of his league that he has to impress to keep #MegalynEchikunwoke running throughout. Once we finally get #TiffanyHaddish and a pretty funny supporting cast including #TaranKillam #MaryLynnRajskub #BenSchwartz #AnneWinters #RobRiggle #RomanyMalco #JacobBatalon & #AlMadrigal there are a few more pick me up moments. I couldn’t help wanting more Haddish humour throughout the whole film and with a requisite dance off sequence now seemingly required in all comedies, and a gross out scene, I left feeling as though it was a half hearted attempt.
Grade: C-
Checkout all my movies reviews at peggyatthemovies.com or ventsmagazine.com
#movies #moviereviews #Universal #cinephile #instamovies #instareviews #moviegoer #screenings #cinephilecommunity #peggyatthemovies #rottentomatoes #cinephillia #comedy #filmisnotdead #comediesarenotdead

Film Review: “SMALLFOOT” (2018) – This WBA movie is good family fun – great soundtrack – but will it stand out in a crowd

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With this new addition from WBA (Warner Bros. Animation) to the animation game, this clever little spin on the BigFoot/Smallfoot switch-a-roo works fairly well in getting it’s message across. With an all-star voice over cast, that adds a wonderfully sequenced soundtrack with everyone from Channing Tatum, James Cordon, and Common & Zendaya adding their own spin of musical genres. “Smallfoot” cleverly inverts the point-of-view tale of how human and Yetis is to be told, but behind every animation movie, there is a message, and for me this one got a bit dark toned for a moment before it luckily lighted up into a nice, easily understood ending for the kids.

‘SMALLFOOT’ follows the tales of a clan of bigfoots living high up in the Himalayan mountains whose peaceful and orderly lives are disrupted when one of their own Migo (Channing Tatum), stumbles upon a a plane crash in the path of the young Yeti when he was flung off-course during gong target practice. See in Yeti mythology banging the gong raises the sun every day, to follow in his father Dorgle (Danny DeVito), footsteps. It means every morning he catapults himself headfirst towards a giant gong in order to wake the sun up. While investigating the airplane wreckage, Migo discovers a ‘smallfoot’ – a human – who is just as startled to come across the ‘mythical’ being as is the bigfoot itself. It isn’t just that these smallfoots (pssst smallfoots are humans 🙂 ) have thus far been the stuff of myth in fact, it’s that their very existence goes against the community’s long-held beliefs, which are literally set in stone and worn around the neck of the high and mighty Stonekeeper (Common). So as you can probably expect, that very individual is told to either rescind his account or face banishment from the community, but by bravely choosing the latter, opens up a whole new path of knowledge, understanding and enlightenment for his fellow 18-foot hairy denizens.

Lest you think that the movie ends up being too heavy-handed, I can reassure you that it never goes to dark for kids, or for that matter turn preachy. On the contrary, there are plenty of amusing details along the way – like how the fun-loving Migo is at first perfectly content to follow what is told, or the finding out about the S.E.S. (Smallfoot Evidentiary Society) a rebel band of Yetis led by the Stonekeeper’s own daughter Meechee (Zendaya), who assists Migo on his quest to find the Smallfoot and prove once and for all, they aren’t lying or delusional. or how Migo first runs into Percy, an animal TV show host whom is not only desperate to save his show and become famous, but he will become unlikely best buddies with Migo – who in his desperation for clicks tries to convince a fellow reporter to dress up in a Yeti costume so he can pretend to have captured one on camera.

So even though ‘Smallfoot’ never hits the gold standard of feature animations, there is plenty of fun and laughs to be had in this fable on lies and ‘myth-understandings’, as well as on mis-communication and the lack thereof. Like I said, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that its makers haven’t opted for just another superficially glossy piece of kids’ entertainment, and have instead decided to evolve the narrative in more complex and satisfying ways. I brought a 5 year old who loved it and completely understood all of it and that’s a big plus in kids movies today as not all have the younger kids in mind when made. It isn’t small or unambitious by any measure, and is in fact big on both entertainment and emotion, so you’ll find that there’s something for every member of the family – big or small – in this delightful celebration of wonder, discovery and truth.

Grade: C+
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Saturday, September 22, 2018 ~ Courtesy of Warner Bros.
“SMALLFOOT IS OUT NATIONWIDE FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 // WORLDWIDE RELEASE FOLLOWING IN OCTOBER 2018

Review: “A Simple Favor” – or is it simply an unfavorable one (2018) Lionsgate

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First things first, “A Simple Favor” is not really a mystery film, though it tries very hard, it seemed almost a spoof of a mystery. As much as the marketing would have you believe, and for those looking for the next Gone Girl or Girl on The Train, you might want to continue your search. The story here is far-fetched, overcooked and unravels in such a hasty-type way that it’s hard to treat much of it seriously. Director Paul Feig (best known for his comedy), is seemingly aware of the story’s inherent ridiculousness and keeps the film light and easily digestible, but the result is a weird hybrid of a comedy-mystery that doesn’t hit home with either genre completely and comes off spoof-like as there are whole bricks of time that you aren’t sure if a certain part was meant to be funny or dramatic, so the laughs are small.

The film, based on the novel by Darcey Bell, gives us neurotic Mommy Vlogger Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick,) a widowed mother to a young son. Her goody two-shoes personality makes her pariah amongst the other parents by being so overly perky that the sneers and snark given behind her back are viciou,s but quite true. But she’s also so desperate for human connection that she’s willing to befriend Emily Nelson (Blake Lively), the martini-guzzling fashion industry executive who is not exactly a hands-on mother to her son. We soon learn that martinis and playdates shouldn’t be mixed. Before long they become best friends, at least in Stephanie’s mind they are and when Emily disappears, Stephanie steps out of her shell to solve the mystery via her vlog. I kid you not.

Kendrick’s role is attuned to her goofy charms, though she always comes off as being more of a teenager than an adult. While on the other hand, Lively convincingly embodies the enigmatic nature of her character in a crucial supporting role. And then we have Henry Golding, who hot off his Crazy Rich Asians role, gets the rough end of the deal playing Emily’s husband Sean, a character who, while not entirely likeable, is cruelly used and manipulated by the two females throughout the film. Though I will say, his roles were so similarly played to me as in, not a huge range in the difference of the two characters.

To be honest, the only consistency between all the characters is that none of them are particularly likeable. They each make questionable decisions, are gratingly self-centered and become increasingly obnoxious as the film progresses with its dubious twists. By the end, you’ll be hard pressed to care about any of them. This is no more evident than in the film’s tacked on “where are they now?’ postscript that feels completely unnecessary and ill informed in assuming audiences care enough about the characters to know where they end up.

On the upside, Feig, who is more proficient in making fun films rather than serious ones, keeps the film feeling light and easy-going. The audience is teased with a stylish soundtrack filled with classy French music (seriously one of the best parts of this entire film is the soundtrack), and there are some funny scenes that incite light giggles rather than any laugh out loud bursts of humour. These meager positives don’t improve the narrative but at least they make it a little less painful to digest. Ultimately, ‘A Simple Favor’ spends two hours flipping between being a trash novel & a parody of one. As the end credits roll, I still didn’t know. And the whole blend of trying to switch between the ‘mystery’ and the ‘comedy’ got tiresome after a while. But hey, everyone tries to give the audience a good time.

Ultimately, It wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen and all the actors play roles they are typically type cast for. It was surprisingly unfunny, oddly kind of enjoyable, even as super far fetched as it was. It’s a strange blend of mystery and comedy that doesn’t gel into a cohesive whole. As a piece of entertainment, it’s entirely disposable, but I give it kudos for not being the same old recycled material we’ve all been seeing lately.

Grade: C+
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Tuesday, September 11, 2018 ~ Courtesy of Lionsgate
‘A SIMPLE FAVOR IS NOW PLAYING NATIONWIDE // Worldwide release to follow

A little slow down – but will be back..

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As some might have noticed, I’ve slowed down some on reviews as of late. Between dealing with a big medical issue and just trying to keep it all together etc.. it’s been hard to keep up with my usual schedule of movie-watching and writing.

So this is just a quick note to let everyone know that I’m still around, just not as much for a bit, but still reading everyone’s reviews as you know I enjoy that so much.. and I most definitely will be back for Oscar-season screenings and reviews. I just need a minute!

Cheers!
Peggy