Category Archives: 1980’s

DAY 5 ~ COUNTDOWN TO THE OSCARS ~ BEST ACTOR

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Here we are – Day Five of my ‘SEVEN DAYS OF OSCARS’ countdown and we are at ‘Best Actor”. Once again I give who I think will win – and what my pick would be – as those two choices sometimes differ. The only thing I can add here is it is a crying shame that Jude Hill was not nominated in this category as that young man deserved to be here. But alas here we are – Will Smith might just be the winner here as he is so good in “King Richard.” But hot on his heels will be Andrew Garfield.

NOMINEES

JAVIER BARDEMBeing the Ricardos

As much as I love Javier – this isn’t his movie to win this award on.

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCHThe Power of the Dog

I remember a few weeks before this movie came out, one of those ‘know it all’ movie people told me they already knew who was going to win the Oscar and it was going to be Benedict. While I find him a good actor, I never find him able to pull off accents and that was again, my issue here – along with the fact being I never once believed he was a cowboy.

ANDREW GARFIELDtick, tick…BOOM! VERY POSSIBLE WINNER

Andrew is honestly in a tie with Will here – I know many that hope, wish and will lose sleep if he doesn’t. What he does do is manages to make this whole film work, as I honestly didn’t know much about Jonathan Larson before this film. Go for it Andrew – give us an upset.  

WILL SMITHKing Richard WINNER/MY PICK

The minute I saw Will Smith as Richard Williams, I couldn’t believe how he picked up the nuances of the man so well. Being an avid tennis fan for YEARS now, I’ve seen the man be exactly who is was in the film, in person. And they left a lot on the sidewalk as well. Granted Smith should’ve won for Ali – but this, this is his Oscar to win.

DENZEL WASHINGTONThe Tragedy of Macbeth

How do you ignore Denzel in anything? Answer is: you don’t. Though Macbeth in and of itself, is not an exciting play to watch – Denzel does give it his take. I just don’t think it’s going to be enough to walk away with the statue this year.

Thanks all for taking the time to give my countdown a read. Let me know your thoughts on if you agree or disagree with my picks. Don’t forget to give this page a follow or on twitter as well https://twitter.com/pegsatthemovies IG: https://www.instagram.com/peggyatthemovies/

TRIBECA 2021 REVIEW: “WOLFGANG” Disney+

Where do you start when talking of a man who literally put food on the map. Let’s put it this way, years ago, when things like cell phones, Instagram, and Twitter didn’t exist, restaurants were dramatically different as well. For those who could afford it, going out to dinner at fancy Los Angeles restaurant meant being served a multiple course melangerie of something along the lines of the oh-so-austere conventions of French cooking. The food might be wonderful, but it was also things people never really ate, especially Americans. And the very high-end gourmet restaurants such as L’Orangerie and L’Hermitage were stuffy, with waiters wearing tuxedos. So not only was “he” better dressed than you were, “he” (as yes, it was always a “he”), was always rude as well. “He” always looked down on you if by chance, you couldn’t pronounce the food on the menu precisely. That all changed with Wolfgang Puck.

Puck was 25 when he came to Los Angeles in 1975. At 14, he left his native Austria, where he had peeled potatoes in the back of hotel kitchens at a very early age to escape his abusive stepfather. Wolfgang went to serve as an apprentice cook in the south of France, and then in Paris as well, before coming to Los Angeles where he worked briefly in a DTLA restaurant before going to Ma Maison. Back then the owners of restaurants were the ‘Kings’ so to speak, and Patrick Terrail was just that, the owner/king of Ma Maison. But it wasn’t till Terrail was almost on the brink of bankruptcy that he let Wolfgang become head chef at Ma Maison and create his own menu, that the restaurant got put on the ‘map’ so to speak.

After years of giving it his all to get no credit whatsoever as again, owners were king and Terrail took credit for everything Puck was doing. So upon the advice of many, but mostly his girlfriend at the time, Barbara Lazaroff, Wolfgang pooled some money together with a lot of different partners chipping in what they could, took the plunge, and bought an old Russian-Armenian restaurant that had once been a private home right on a hill up-top the famed Sunset Blvd, and viola’ ~ Spago’s was born. Lazaroff became the interior designer and it was only because of lack of money that the ‘open kitchen’ was put forth and became their trademark ‘thing’. It became famous for it and and they served pizza no less from a true wood-burning oven, with fresh ingredients only as Wolfgang himself would get up early and go to the fish market. They had product picked up from a farm Wolfgang had found about 3 hours outside of the city, talk about straight off the farm, American’s in the city didn’t know what hit them. And everyone followed suit.

Spago’s was a magical place where you could ask and answer the question; what would it be like to have dinner with a big room of the most famous people in the world, and have a blast doing it, It was said that Sean Connery, Michael Caine, and Sidney Poitier had dinner together in the center table, and no one around them would leave. I wholeheartedly believe this. From Spago’s Wolfgang Puck went on to start Chinois in Santa Monica, the first ever ‘fusion’ restaurant of it’s kind. He of course became a media darling as well, going on every talk show, starting his own brand of soup and pizza and building an empire with his name on it and of course, doing every post Oscar’s Governors Ball dinner since 1994. This doesn’t come without a price, and not just the personal cost of losing your wife and not being as present in your children’s lives as they might have wanted, but the price being a workaholic who was a part of every single decision. This includes the one to leave the old location that made him famous on Sunset Blvd. behind and open a new Spagos in Beverly Hills, featuring a menu more close to his heart, of food he grew up with alongside his famous dishes. Of course it succeeded, because how could it not, he cooked with love and from passion, and that is one recipe that always works. Add in the fact that now Bryon Puck, his son, is following in his footsteps and becoming a chef, Wolfgang seems to be making up for lost time and there is no greater success than to see that of your child loving the same things you do. Puck also had son Cameron with Barbara and has remarried to Gelila Assefa with whom he had two additional sons Alexander and Oliver, and it was lovely to see them shown all together in a kitchen teaching and learning from their Masterchef father.

Adding in a personal note, I remember my first job as an Assistant to a Talent Agent in the late 90’s, I was fresh out of school, wanted to be in this world I found so fascinating. Our offices were at 9000 Sunset Blvd, right down the street from Spagos and the first time I ever went I was terrified, nervous, excited, everything all wrapped up into one thing and it was simply and truly .. magical. There was a energy, a life to it – like it was it’s own being – and the food was fantastic. I was always a fan of Anthony Bourdain as he taught us to travel and experience food, but without Wolfgang Puck cutting the path to making food and the chefs and their staff who work 12-15 hour days making it, and to tell us what food really is and can be, we might never have had the opportunity to get to know anyone else. With that, how can you not give mad respect to the master, the original, Wolfgang Puck.

“A”

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Tribeca Virtual screening of ‘Wolfgang’ ~ courtesy of ID-PR

“WOLFGANG” DEBUTS ON DISNEY+ FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2021

Tribeca 2021 Review: “No Man of God”

It’s hard to like a film about a serial killer as ‘like’ might just be too inappropriate a word to use. With that being said, “NO MAN OF GOD” is a familiar, yet still an intriguing look at the psychological tug-of-war so to speak, that went on between Ted Bundy (Luke Kirby) and FBI Agent Bill Hagmaier (Elijah Wood).

The film starts us in 1985, shortly after Bundy’s capture and conviction. The story told here is from a bit of a different perspective as the numerous others we have seen in the past, this one being from the view of analyst Agent Hagmaier, who is in the early days of what is now known as being a criminal profiler. Being an analyst in the early days meant going in and listening to hours upon hours of what Bundy did and how, in an attempt to learn more about the psyche of those who commit these heinous crimes. Most of what takes place is one on one, in an interrogation room with the religious Hagmaier being one of the few the Bundy will speak to.

This is essentially a movie about two people, and each gets almost equal focus. Wood plays Bill as the newbie who doesn’t really want to be there, but feels duty prone. Bundy, who was known for intensely disliking anyone in law enforcement or government, has turned down a TV special for $50,000, but Bill is convinced that he can be the one to get Bundy to open up. Bundy thinks the cops are all “liars in cheap suits.” and is playing them all hard at the end saying he has tantalizing tidbits to reveal about some unknown victims to avoid the death penalty. Despite numerous warnings like “when you get too close to a guy like this, you could lose your way,” Bill talks with Bundy year after year as his revolting in-detail, tales begin to overshadow into Bill’s home life. On the other hand, Kirby portrays Ted with a cool calculated indifference, an almost unnerving calm, that feels as though it reaches through the screen at you and carries a whole lot of intimidation along with it. As Bundy’s ‘friendship’ with Bill morphs into more, you begin to feel a layer of the almost filmy slime forming on your skin, the kind that makes you feel you need a shower. While I might be baffled a bit by the casting of Kirby though, as the impression was that Bundy had these beautiful blue eyes that made him so irresistible and helped lure in the women to him, it’s fair to also point out he could make his eyes almost black because yes, he was a very dark human being. Whichever it is, both acting portrayals here are top of the line, including the small supporting cast of Robert Patrick as Roger Depue, Bill’s boss, and Aleska Palladino as Carolyn Lieberman, Bundy’s death penalty lawyer who was rumoured to have been having a prison affair with him, though the film does clear this up once and for all.

Director Amber Sealy doesn’t take us into any new or unknown territory in ‘No Man of God’, it does give us probably the best acted and darkest Bundy to date. Oddly, I hope this is the last one as the obsession of serial killers being ‘all the rage’ of our society and the fame they achieve doing it, is not really something to be celebrated.

C+

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Tribeca Virtual screening ~ courtesy of KWPR

NO MAN OF GOD” OPENS IN THEATERS AUGUST 27,2021

REVIEW: “THE BEE GEES: HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART” (2020) HBO

“The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” is informative, entertaining, and heart wrenching as Director/Producer Frank Marshall reveals the band’s soul and the power dynamic that propelled them to superstardom. Probably the most heart breaking part is it’s being told mostly from the point of view of Barry Gibb, the last remaining Gibb brother.

The memories are wonderful moments here as we are taken through the Brothers Gibb early life in Australia. Contrary to what most thought myself included, the brothers were not Australian but born on the Isle of Man and their parents then immigrated from Manchester, England to Australia in the early 50’s where they started their singing trio consisting then of Barry, and twin brothers Maurice & Robin. Returning to the UK in 1967, the height of Beatles fame no less, the Australian producer Robert Stigwood with his insightful visionary eye signs The Bee Gees and we watch as they break into the UK charts after only five months. This leads to a string of hits as well as a massive touring schedule of the USA and Europe before rivalry between Robin and Barry caused the break-up of the band in 1969, the first of a few splits they have over the years.

We follow the story along with commentary from everyone from Eric Clapton, Mark Ronson, Nick Jonas, Chris Martin and Justin Timberlake sharing either first hand stories or how they were influenced. In the case of Nick Jonas, first hand knowledge of what it’s like to shoot to fame overnight in a band with your brothers and how it can affect not only each person individually, but the family dynamic as a whole. We see how the Brothers Gibb rise to the heights of stardom, only to fall dramatically down and get caught in the tidal wave of egos, drugs, drinking and then realize together they are much stronger than when solo. The comeback is monumental as we watch how they evolve to come to Miami, Florida and make famous the ‘Miami sound’ which takes off immediately in underground gay clubs. We are also introduced to younger brother Andy Gibb, whom they refer to as the ‘caboose on the end of the Gibb train of talented brothers’ and as we know, became very successful in his own right. All this leads into how a semi-famous TV star named John Travolta being signed to a million dollar three picture deal – an unheard of deal at that time and one of these pictures was to be ‘Saturday Night Fever‘. Moving along, the brothers go to the ‘Honky Chateau’ where Elton John had just finished recording his highly touted album of the same name and it’s there that the Bee Gees go on to create that magic that was the very successful Saturday Night Fever soundtrack on which every song was a major hit.

It all comes to a crashing halt thanks to their music being labeled ‘Disco’ – something the Bee Gees did not want to be labeled into any type of genre, and a guy named Steve Dahl starting a “Disco Sucks” campaign at Kaminsky Park after a baseball game. He called for everyone to bring their most hated Disco album and burn them along with hundreds of others. Basically it ended up being more of a racist, homophobic record and book burning which The Bee Gees got caught up in through no fault of their own all equaling the end of an era. It was also the night they announced that Andy Gibb would become an official Bee Gee brother – something that sadly never came to fruition as Andy would pass later that same year.

The last chapter here focuses on another rebirth of sorts for the trio as they ended up writing some top hit songs for the likes of Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross, Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton duet, Celine Dion and of course who can forget Barry Gibb’s duet with Barbra Streisand. Barry sums up their career perfectly in noting they never wanted a label put on them even though many tried, they just had different periods in their long career.

Andy Gibb – passed away from heart inflammation on March 10, 1988

Maurice Gibb – passed from complications from a surgery on Jan 20, 2003

Robin Gibb – passed from cancer on May 20, 2012

Barry Gibb is still alive and would rather have them all back and no hit songs.

Grade: A

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Review screening: Courtesy of 42 West and HBO

“THE BEE GEES: HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART” COMES TO HBO ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2020  

REVIEW: “THE NEST” (2020) IFC FILMS

As “THE NEST” opens we find ourselves in 1980’s upstate New York and watch “a day in the life” of the O’Hara’s, a seemingly pleasant family living a pleasant life. But this is writer-director Sean Durkin’s first feature film since the excellent and thought-provoking ‘MARCY MARTHA MAY MARLENE‘ in 2011, so we can well figure that all is not as first presented.

Jude Law stars as Rory O’Hara, a business man with big dreams – dreams far bigger than his work ethic parlays, though his wife Allison (Carrie Coon) might have a clue about. This husband and wife team couldn’t be more polar opposite. Where Rory is the charming big-talker salesman, Allison is a down-to-earth horse trainer who loves her life on her horse farm. Oona Roche plays her teenage daughter Samantha, and Charlie Shotwell is her younger half brother Benjamin. Durkin does a nice job with the family set-up in the first few minutes of the film. We get a sense of each, as well as the family dynamics. But clearly something is amiss as we pan to a shot of Rory sitting idly at his desk, and soon after he wakes up Allison with a cup of coffee and the announcement that they need to move to London because he just isn’t satisfied and has been offered a job back as a higher up in his old bosses trading company.

It’s hard here to pinpoint at times exactly whom the story is about as is it about Rory’s desperation to prove his business acumen as he reeks of desperation when he meets his old (now new again) boss Arthur (Michael Culkin). You see, Rory is a social climber, intent on keeping up with the Joneses and living way beyond his means. He’s even referred to as “Old British – New American” which somehow he takes it as a compliment, but we soon witness Rory as little more than a fast-talking salesman. Or is it about Allison clear unhappiness being stuck out in rural Surrey in one of those huge, cold and drafty 17th Century castle type places that you just know is haunted. But this isn’t a scary movie though they do give you a pause with one scene. It could also be about the kids as Benjamin is not adjusting well and Samantha might be adjusting too well. But this is a story of a families dimensions playing out in front of us. A restaurant scene featuring Allison, Rory, and his co-worker Steve (Adeel Akhtar) is brilliantly played, as we watch as Rory’s professional life slowly begins to crumble and unravel at a pace matching that of his family life.

The film is set in the 1980’s Reagan-Thatcher era, and 1980s music is a-plentiful including the Thompson Twins, the Cure, and many others which is a particular delight for me. Jude Law picked an excellent vehicle for himself here as he plays the role as if its his, and the same goes for Carrie Coon. Beware though as there are a difficult few scenes in the movie involving horses that you may find difficult to stomach – be prepared to look away.

All in all, you come to realize this could be a story about so many different aspects involving a family in crisis mode that it is really just about all of them and not just a single member. It’s classified as a Drama/Romance though I would truly hesitate by putting this in only two such categories as it’s definitely up to the viewer to define this. The ending is a bit abrupt, but it works in the line of the story telling here. Will it be a story for everyone, no it won’t, but none ever are.

Grade: B

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Review screening: Courtesy of IFC Films

“THE NEST” IS NOW PLAYING IN THEATERS (WHERE OPEN) & DRIVE-INS AND ON VOD.

PEGGY AT THE MOVIES – TV SHOWS TO CHECK OUT.. OR NOT – WEEK 5

And onto week #5 of quarantine TV watches rated by me.

First up:


We’re Here: HBO
Found this gem almost by accident and immediately fell head over heels for it. It’s real life about 3 drag queens who traverse small town America where they have residents from each town participate in a one night only drag show. It’s the storytelling behind each person and town that had me in tears at the end of both episodes that have aired. It’s a much needed watch for the close minded among us.
Grade: A


Tommy: CBS Network
TV diversity is so much bigger than film. But every once is a while comes a show that just doesn’t work as well & the characters feel forced..even with a stellar cast including #EdieFalco & #RussellGJones the storylines just fall flat.
Grade: C


Hollywood: NETFLIX
#RyanMurphy has a signature look to his shows and this one is no different. Set in late 1940’s its beautifully shot but it took me till eps 3 to figure out the difference #DavidCorenswet & #JakePicking – the middle eps. are great, but the finale is predictable & bland. Kudos #PattiLuPone #HollandTaylor & #DylanMcDermott for keeping it interesting.
Grade: C+ bordering B-


Atlanta’s Missing & Murdered: The Lost Children: HBO
A startlingly look at what happened to these children & the conviction of #WayneWilliams definitely deserves a watch as Atlanta’s new mayor #KeishaLanceBottoms takes the bold and might I add, right step in re-opening this investigation. It’s eye-opening & heart wrenching-and worth every minute of your time.
Grade: A

That’s a wrap on Peggy at the Movies TV recommendations week 5. Till next week..stay safe and sane.

#tvreviews #womencritic #instareviews #quarantineTV #coronaviruswatching #peggyatthemovies #Atlanta #Tommy #WereHere #Hollywood

PEGGY AT THE MOVIES – TV SHOWS TO CHECK OUT.. OR NOT – WEEK 4

Here we are – Week #4 of some quarantine TV watching. Four pretty good shows here ..all worth the watch.

Back to Life: SHOWTIME
On my last week of free Showtime trial and I found this little gem of a dramady..#DaisyHaggard wrote and plays the lead character in this dark comedy of a women trying to get back to life in a small English beach town where she grew up..after being in prison for 18 yrs for killing her best friend. But did she? Watch to find out.
Grade: B+



The Goldbergs: ABC Network
This fun wonderful comedy has been on for a few years now and has yet to get stale. The Goldberg family never fails to be cute, funny, send a message and make you love all the experiences down memory lane of what it was like to grow up in the 80’s. I love it every week.
Grade: A



McMillions: HBO
Who knew that the whole time my co-worker in the 90’s was trying to win the McDonald’s millions with just one missing piece, that it was rigged the whole time. This is a fascinating and sometimes funny look into what really went on behind the manipulation of McDonald’s Monopoly game.
Grade: B

Run: HBO
I’m only on episode 3 of this one written by the indomitable #PhoebeWallerBridge and includes a fantastic cast with #MerrittWever & #DomhnallGleason – it’s playing out as an intriguing story of what-if’s .
Grade: B

Well that’s at wrap on this weeks ‘Peggy at the Movies’ TV recommendations. Hope you all watch and enjoy and please always feel free to throw some recommendations my way. Till next week..stay safe and sane.

#tvreviews #womencritic #instareviews #quarantineTV #shutdown #coronaviruswatching #peggyatthemovies

REVIEW: “THE IRISHMAN” (2019) Netflix

“THE IRISHMAN”  is both a period piece and an almost historical type piece as you need to know a little history to understand the direction of the narrative and flow of this epic film. The movie, while following Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (Robert De Niro) as our designated main character, revolves around Teamsters union boss James “Jimmy” Riddle Hoffa (Al Pacino). Fortunately Frank goes to great lengths to narrate the story for the audience and provides a healthy dose of context for those of us not from the Kennedy era. The main thing you need to know going in is that Jimmy Hoffa had mob ties, and that he vanished in 1975 and was presumed murdered by mob bosses for being “uncooperative”. While I’m sure a few ‘liberties’ have been taken by the film, it does make you go ‘hmmmm’ more than once after viewing.  It’s good to note as well, that it is based on the book “I Heard You Paint Houses” by Charles Brandt, who’s legal career cannot be disputed. Once you do see the movie, you will understand how perfectly rich that title is.

The movie unfolds over four acts, told over several decades by Frank Sheeran. In act one, Frank is introduced as a WWII veteran who is stuck driving food delivery trucks in and around Philadelphia. He has the bright idea to steal some of the steaks that he’s delivering, and sell them to local mobster Felix “Skinny Razor” DiTullio (Bobby Cannavale). Eventually his brazen willingness to break the law catches the eye of Italian mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci), who happens to be a mobster on a national level, a man who might be commonly be referred to as an ‘underboss’ in the mafia levels structure. His calm demeanor is both comical yet terrifying. A soon to be classic line encompasses Bufalino perfectly: “You might be demonstrating a failure to show appreciation.” Under his mentor-ship, Frank becomes a ruthless action/hit man for the Italian mob and explains with rather entertaining dispassion how he does his job properly. In act two, Russell introduces Frank to Jimmy Hoffa, the outspoken and fearless president of the National Teamsters Union. Their relationship grows and Hoffa becomes Frank’s second mentor. Together they use intimidation and bribery to gain influence until the election of John Kennedy, who subsequently appoints his brother Bobby Kennedy as Attorney General and he immediately goes after Hoffa.

The first two and a half hours are the most fun, and in particular the end of act three is some of the most tense and dramatic storytelling that I have had the pleasure of seeing in recent memory. At a dinner celebration for Frank (who eventually becomes a Teamster boss himself), tensions between Hoffa, Bufalino and the other mobsters reaches a breaking point, and the decision is made to make Hoffa disappear. But in a gut wrenching twist that you had a feeling just might be, Frank is the one tasked to do the job. In a beautiful display of cinematography over a thirty-minute buildup, Scorsese forces the viewer to the edge of their seats with the dread of what’s about to happen. Robert De Niro’s performance in these moments is master class; the inner conflict is all the more apparent thanks to all of the time we spent watching Frank being groomed by Bufalino and Hoffa in equal measure.

Getting away from the plot a bit, the movie is actually surprisingly funny. In one particular scene, someone insults an older Bufalino at a dinner reception. He and Frank exchange glances, and the frame suddenly cuts to a hotel bed covered in guns. Frank then narrates with excess detail and hilarious dispassion the ideal weapon for a public assassination. Moments like these are thrown throughout the film and keep it from getting too bogged down in it’s violence. It’s impressive how quickly jokes fly, given the disproportionate amount of people getting shot point blank in the head.

The heart of the movie is definitely Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. De Niro was de-aged apparently with some really good CGI, as he is supposed to be younger than both Pacino and Pesci. While it’s fairly obvious, it was never too distracting to not enjoy what was unfolding onscreen.  Al Pacino is a an absolute over-the-top riot as Hoffa, and is certainly one of the best roles that Pacino has bit into and played in awhile.  While De Niro on the other hand, goes for the more understated, it as if he is the ying to Pacino’s yang that makes this pairing so wonderful to watch together. Pesci as Bufalino is chilling, and it’s fun to seem him as the boss in this gangster movie after being a junior-level mobster in ‘Goodfellas’ so many years ago. The mentor-ship between De Niro’s character and both Pacino and Pesci is amazingly entertaining. Mention must be made of the flawless ensemble cast which backs up these principals, including the amazing women, who play such important, but background roles in the film is the cushion that rounds out these characters and nuances of story line. Kathrine NarducciRay Romano, Anna Paquin and Aleksa Palladino to name just a few, and while not always front and center, they add so much into the texture of their scenes.

The only thing keeping me from calling this movie perfect is it’s length. The almost three and a half hour run time is a very long one, and while occurring infrequently, the movie does drag a bit. This is most apparent in the fourth act where Frank introspects during his final years, and attempts to achieve reconciliation for all the murders he’s committed. It doesn’t really offer any closure or seem necessary to wrapping up the narrative.

Ultimately that doesn’t even come close to making me not recommend seeing “The Irishman” at all. There’s a reason Martin Scorsese will forever be known for his gangster movies. Combining comedy, violence, brotherhood and drama, he has created a formula that continues to work. The fact that he continues to still make such excellent movies after all these years, well it says a lot about the man himself.  Well done Mr. Scorsese, well done.

Grade: A-

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Media Review Screening: Tuesday, October 29, 2019 ~ Courtesy of LAFTV Meetup

“THE IRISHMAN” NOW PLAYING IN SELECT THEATERS // ON NETFLIX NOVEMBER 27, 2019

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

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

DAY 3 ~ COUNTDOWN TO THE OSCARS ~ “BEST DIRECTOR”

DAY 3 of my Countdown to the Oscars and it’s BEST DIRECTOR time. A tough one for me as Tom Ford/Nocturnal Animals would have been my pick here – but sadly, not nominated. So here we are with my thoughts of who the winner will be, and usually I would have my pick for whom I might like it to be, but I just don’t really have a personal frontrunner here.

DIRECTING

Arrival, Denis Villeneuve
While I thought this movie was one of the best Sci-Fi films I’d seen in sometime, there were points where it lagged so slowly and could easily have been cut by a good 20 minutes if not more.

Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson
I decided not to go with Hacksaw Ridge, and not because of anything to do with Mel Gibson’s personal problems — though while never forgiven or forgotten, I do think he’s a different person now and a very talented director and I wish him well. For me it was more the cheesy-ness of the first 45-minutes of this picture and the bad accents.

La La Land, Damien ChazelleWINNER
While again, this wasn’t my favourite movie – to much sappy for me, but I so loved what he did with Whiplash and how he should have won for that, that it was forgivable. Plus he’s probably going to win.

Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan
While I found this film in and of itself to be rather plodding, Lonergan did make everything click together finally at the end, though slowly..veerry slowly.

Moonlight, Barry Jenkins
It wasn’t my favourite film of the year as I just felt like I’d seen this story before and done better on The Wire. While Jenkins did a really good job on a shoestring budget, the movie’s three parts aren’t as connected as they could have been.

@pegsatthemovies
Thanks all for taking the time to give this a read. Let me know your thoughts on if you agree or disagree with my picks. Don’t forget to give this page a follow or a follow on twitter as well @pegsatthemovies. Cheers!