Category Archives: 1990’s

DAY 6 ~ COUNTDOWN TO THE OSCARS ~ BEST ACTRESS

Here we are at Day 6 of my “Countdown to the Oscars” ~ probably for me at least, the hardest category to judge this year. The category here is just filled to the brim of fantastic performances and I wish they could all win..well..minus one. ha!
Reminder: I’m giving who I think the winner will be and what would be my pick – because they aren’t always necessarily the same!! And the nominees are:

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

NOMINEES

JESSICA CHASTAINThe Eyes of Tammy Faye WINNER

Jessica Chastain is brilliant here – she encaptures Tammy Faye like no other. While the film as a whole was not great, you can pluck out this performance for the brilliance that it is. Jessica has long deserved this award, let’s see if the Academy thinks so as well.

OLIVIA COLMANThe Lost Daughter

Oliva Colman is such a wonderful actress and has deservedly won this award in the past – this however, is not her finest performance, nor is it truly and Oscar-winning one. I don’t doubt that Olivia will be nominated in this category again in the future though.

PENÉLOPE CRUZParallel Mothers MY PICK

Penelope Cruz is undeniable in this performance. She’s an actress who not only gets better and better with age, but she is undeniably better when directed in her native language and of course, when directed by Pedro Almodóvar. He know how to bring out the best in her as she brings her entire life to this performance. I can’t say I see her winning, but yes, she is hands down my pick.

NICOLE KIDMANBeing the Ricardos

Surprising us all this year was Nicole Kidman pulling off a good Lucille Ball. Something that must have been a daunting task to undertake. While they only focused on one week in her life, Nicole gave that one week her all. I just don’t see her taking it here with the kind of competition she is up against.

KRISTEN STEWARTSpencer

Yes, I know the hype, yes, I know she has a huge fan base. I came into this film hoping Stewart would change my mind as going in a lot of people were raving about it, but I just didn’t love ‘Spencer.’ And she didn’t change my mind. I could list the many reasons, but I won’t, be her fanbase is rabid and they come for you, and I don’t feel like dealing with that. I do hope that sometime in the future she can change my mind and I will leave it at that.  

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DAY 4 ~ COUNTDOWN TO THE OSCARS ~ “BEST DIRECTOR”

DAY 4 of my “Countdown to the Oscars” and it’s BEST DIRECTOR time. So here we are with my reminder: I’m giving who I think the winner will be and my pick for whom I might like it to be. As it stands, it looks like Jane Campion will win and I don’t think anybody is going to be mad about that. And the nominees are:

NOMINEES

BELFASTKenneth Branagh

Belfast was so beautifully shot by Branagh that it makes me think – okay, yes, then maybe. It was as well a lovely story, but will the Oscars offers any upsets this year?…

DRIVE MY CARRyusuke Hamaguchi

Ah, yes – the underdog for sure here in this race – again, such a beautifully directed film it’s hard not to want a little upset in this category and if not that, at least the hope the Hamaguchi will give us another magical masterpiece soon.

LICORICE PIZZAPaul Thomas Anderson

I gotta give this one a flat no. Paul Thomas Anderson is definitely an acquired taste, and while I’ve loved some of this films, this one he just made one too many faux pauxs for me.

THE POWER OF THE DOGJane Campion WINNER

Jane’s done amazing work over the years. Is it my fave film? No, but I won’t be annoyed as directorial wise it’s done very well.

WEST SIDE STORYSteven Spielberg MY PICK

Honestly, it’s hard not to have a part of me want Spielberg here as he was firing on all cylinders in a visual sense. It was very reminiscent of the young Spielberg and most of all, it was exciting to watch.

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 on twitter as well @pegsatthemovies/IG: peggyatthemovies

Cheers!

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

REVIEW: “PINK SKIES AHEAD” (2021) MTV ENTERTAINMENT STUDIOS

Every few years we have our teen coming of age stories. The 70’s gave us “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, the 80’s was definitely the decade of teen films with ‘The Breakfast Club’ and every single John Hughes film, the 90’s gave us ‘Clueless‘; early 2000’s we went a little different with ‘Mean Girls’, and the most recent of the mid-2000’s gave us ‘Booksmart’ in 2019. So it’s no surprise we were in need of a new one, and writer/director Kelly Oxford delivers to us “PINK SKIES AHEAD”, just in time.

While is might be a 2021 release, ‘Pink Skies Ahead’ is set in Los Angeles in 1998, and is loosely based on events from Director Oxford’s life from when she was nineteen at the time. The film itself follows Winona (Jessica Barden), who after dropping out of college, moves back home to live with her parents in the San Fernando Valley. The blue-haired Winona is a bit of a hypochondriac, though still insists on seeing her childhood pediatrician only, one Dr, Cotton (Henry Winkler), who diagnoses her with an anxiety disorder. While she is completely skeptical of Dr. Cotton’s opinion — she hasn’t had a panic attack after all — she does reluctantly agree to see the referred therapist, Dr. Monroe (Mary J. Blige). And then Winona just simplies carries right on with her wild, partying lifestyle and even though things begin to slowly unravel around her, it still takes a lot to face her truths.

There are sub-plots about meeting and dating a nice but boring boyfriend Ben (Lewis Pullman), that doesn’t go the way we expect, a possible affair she suspects her father Richard (Michael McKean) of having, and difficulties in trying to forge a relationship with her mom Pamela (Marcia Gay Harden). Mostly all of this is due to the fact that having had her at a late age, they want to sell their home and ‘downsize’ to a Westside apartment – without Winona in the picture. She also parties hard with her two best friends, one being compulsive shoplifter Stephanie (Odeya Rush), the other is Addie (Rosa Salazar), and both believe that Winona has the potential to be a writer, but are also baffled that she can’t even pass her driver’s test to get a license. And there is so much more leading into what makes this film a bit different than most teen drama’s, the mental health battle. With scenes that involve job interviews which range from flirtatious to disastrous, we follow Winona’s journey though it all and most of it, you should watch and discover on your own, as it’s a journey worth taking.

While it has it’s flaws, the acting is tight and well done, and at a tight 90 minutes, you wonder if the film is going to hit all the marks before time runs out – luckily it does by making Winona’s step forward with the projected happy ending, versus somewhere in than the middle and it’s a good choice for the films ending as after all, the title is Pink Skies Ahead…

C+

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Review Screening: Courtesy of ~ 42West PR

“PINK SKIES AHEAD” is debuting on MTV Saturday, May 8, 2021