SPIRIT AWARDS NOMINEES – WEEK TWO SCREENING REVIEWS

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Started and finished up Week Two of Spirit Award nominee screenings. Closed it all out on Saturday and granted I didn’t see everything yet, but have gotten in a good portion of those nominated and while some they did provide screeners for most, a few did not (I’m looking specifically at you “Thoroughbreds”), or I made the screenings. From here on it gets real as (drum roll) we vote.

“WILDLIFE” Dir: Paul Dano

‘Wildlife’ is a perfect example of how you can put two very good actor/actresses in a film and it still doesn’t make it good. Jake Gyllenhaal is just plain wooden in his role here and Carey Mulligan almost overacts her role as a cheating housewife. Almost painful to watch what could have had potential, just did not work.
Grade: D

“SUPPORT THE GIRLS” Dir. Andrew Bujalski

I found myself having a soft spot for this one even though it might not have been the best movie I’ve seen – it most definitely had it’s moments while giving a absolute spot on portrayal of what it’s like working in the service industry, most especially in the “Hooters” type atmosphere. Regina Hall leads the cast as the general manager, but almost stealing the show from her are the ‘girls’ Haley Lu Richardson, AJ Michalka, and newcomer Shayna McHayle. James Le Gros as the grubby bar owner rounds this out. It’s definitely got a good #GirlPower message to women servers around the world!
Grade: C+

“COLETTE” Dir: Wash Westmoreland

Colette is yet another true story of female empowerment – a woman with real talent trying to break out of the gilded cage she finds herself trapped in. Colette is the ghost writer of a series of novels about her own life, but because of the times, her husband says they are his and takes credit for them – until she steps out of the cage. While not Keira Knightly’s biggest fan, she does the brooding Victorian women like no other. Dominic West delivers a reliably solid performance as expected, with the supporting cast also doing the same. Sadly, the film seems much longer slog than its 111 minute run time, notably the whole middle portion of the film being somewhat pedestrian as well.
Grade: C

“YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE” Dir. Lynne Ramsay

What a huge letdown this film was for me. Most definitely inspired by ‘Taxi Driver’, and ‘inspired by’ is where it shall remain as this pointless plot about Joaquin Phoenix as hired enforcer with clearly some mom issues of his own. This plot falls all over the place with bad, slow pacing and brings nothing new to the table. Yes, I get it, it supposed to be an ‘art’ film – but even those have to have some semblance of some type of clever conversation or suspense.. anything really. To those that loved it..kudos..
Grade: D

“CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME” Dir: Marielle Heller

Melissa McCarthy brings a whole other side to her acting her with this strong dramatic turn as a celeb bio author who books cease to be published so instead she resorts to ‘authoring’ fake celebrity letters. Something which she is very good at, probably better than writing her actual books truth be told. Aided by the fantastic supporting performance of Richard E. Grant, this film is non-stop literary fun from beginning to end..and by end we mean in jail for fraud.
Grade: B+

“BLACKkKLANSMAN” Dir: Spike Lee

I will confess, Adam Driver kinda kept me away from watching this film because my admitting that I am just not a fan might make some upset because of the whole Star Wars thing etc.. etc.. so Star Wars fanboys I apologize, as I actually liked him here. But come on, John David Washington, was perfection. This movie had me from moment one, and made me laugh with disbelief, but it also made me cry at the very end when you do realize that we ARE letting it happen again – and that breaks my heart. #RIPHeatherHeyer
Grade: A+

“EIGHTH GRADE” Dir: Bo Burnham

I mean all I can say is read my review here to know how much I loved it.
https://peggyatthemovies.com/2018/07/17/review-eighth-grade-2018-a24/
Grade: A-

“WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR” Dir: Morgan Neville

Again, my review from when I saw this wonderful film earlier in the year.
https://peggyatthemovies.com/2018/06/01/review-wont-you-be-my-neighbor-2018-focus-features/
Grade: A+

@pegsatthemovies

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REVIEW: “STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS” (2015) Disney Pictures

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32 years after the original Star Wars exploded on our movie screens, the saga is set to continue here in The Force Awakens. Take note that this review is strictly a point of view and won’t contain to much storyline as you should see it for yourself, and definitely no spoilers. One thing before I continue on..Chewie..YOU ARE MY HERO!!!
As the opening log comes on the screen, we are immmediately taken back in time which has to be one of the happiest moments of the film. With that I will just spit it out that first and foremost, this is a good movie, though far far from a great one (It’s no Mad Max) And yes, I just said that.. So all the Star Wars fan-boys can step up now and sue me.. 😀

I’m as big a Star Wars fan as any though after Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace couldn’t even come close to comparing. Attack of the Clones was forgettable..Revenge of the Sith – didn’t even bother to see it at a theatre and actually waited for it to be on cable. And I won’t lie..I have a few issues with this film, though not all of them are bad.
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The opening 30 minutes are less than satisfying and to be completely honest was quite ‘lulz’. Here we are introduced to some new main characters Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac – who is terribly underused here). Finn is actually a stormtrooper, but get this..a stormtrooper with feelings?? no ..stormtroopers are not allowed those. But hey they are taking a risk here by doing that right – which is okay by me. Then Poe, who is head of the resistance pilots, gets captured and Finn helps him escape for which when Poe asks why, gets the answer of “Because it’s the right thing to do” what?? that’s just weak.. sorry but it is. It doesn’t fit in a Star Wars film. So as predicted they crash and it seems only Finn survives. But you also know that there is no way Poe is dead & gone, but this goes unexplained for some time, until he magically shows up later with barely a plausable explantion.

While she is no Furiosa, Rey (Daisy Ridley) has somewhat the same inplausability factor when we meet as her as she & Finn are all about saving each other within minutes of meeting. But then again, I like the risk-taking factor of appointing a strong female lead.
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Along with that part of the main cast, we are introduced to the mostly all Britsh/Irish (I guess a galaxy ‘far far away’ is now the U.K. ha!) cast of the Dark Side, notably General Hux (Domhnall Gleason), Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie – also terribly underused) to name just a few.

As expected, the robots especially BB8 (Bill Hader/Ben Schwartz – voice consultants), along with Chewbaca (Peter Mayhew) & Hans Solo (Harrison Ford) steal and deliver the best comedic one takes. While the new characters try, they fail quite miserably at trying to deliver cutesy one-liners that aren’t funny.
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While I loved the flashbacks to the Star Wars of old, including the graveyard of old spaceships, Hans Solo getting back onboard with his old ship is nothing less than classic. And who doesn’t want to see Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Solo reunite after years of separation?!! All these scenes and storylines are simply wonderful.

Another big risk and a sad heartbreaking one at that, is saying good-bye to one of the most iconic characters ever concieved in this galaxy or any other for that matter. Did it have to be done? Maybe so because it seems J.J. Abrams had to basically make us try to forget those three intermediate bad storylines and get us back on track to what is important. Though I found Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) to be one of my least favourite characters (and actors) as it just seems to simple to say Skywalker was good out of Vader’s bad, but yet Ren is bad out of Solo & Leia’s good.
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Last note: I’m not the biggest 3D fan, but this film is so enhanced by it, it’s worth it. The final scene of the movie is by far what makes it all worth-while to see this film – as it gives us something to look forward to in Episode VIII and it tells us it will be so much better.

Grade: B-
@pegsatthemovies

“EMMY AWARDS” – 2015 – QUICK PICKS

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Just throwing out a quick roll on The Emmy’s for some of the main categories only. I always do well for my Oscar picks..but not so much on The Emmy’s. I’m guessing it’s because most of the time I haven’t seen all the shows being as I don’t have Netflix or Amazon accounts and I don’t illegally bootleg anything because good shows get cancelled because of it and people lose jobs and money. In other words.. My choices mean nothing..ha!
My picks are bolded & italicized. I probably won’t do well on this.. 😀

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
“Better Call Saul” – not my favourite new show..Some people are ranting and raving over this, I was just meh on it.

“Downton Abbey” – I mean it’s Downton.. It’s not what it once was, but it’s still very watchable.

“Game of Thrones” – This was a slow season on GOT. Just like season 2, it was very mixed with only a good episode thrown in here and there.

“Homeland” – Everyone thought this show would just go down the toilet without ‘Brody’ (Damien Lewis) instead..it was.. dare I say it..almost better. It’s all about Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend).

“House of Cards” – Only have seen an episode of this way back when..

“Mad Men” – Tis the season of Mad Men for me. This really should sweep and it’s final season proved to be hands down, one of the best ever on TV. Just truly a show to sit back, watch and be awed by.

“Orange is the New Black” – N/A

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES I just don’t have a pick here but if I had to guess…

“Louie” – I know this is a critical darling, but it’s just not my show.

“Modern Family” – it’s never bad, but it’s also rather ZZZzzzz now.

“Parks and Recreation” – I never got as hooked into this show as some did..but I did like it.

“Silicon Valley” – N/A
“Transparent – N/A
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” N/A

“Veep” – Again, another critical darling, and I watch it on occasion.

LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul” – in Breaking Bad I found Saul rather humourous – in his own show..I just really didn’t gravitate towards the character at all.

Kyle Chandler, “Bloodline” – N/A – though I’ve been a Kyle Chandler fan since ‘Early Edition’..yes I said ‘Early Edition’ 😀

Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards” – N/A

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men” – This is Jon Hamm’s year. It has to be. His performance in this last season was just sublime. And that finale..come on!!!

Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”
Love this show..Love the character and the acting.. But again, it’s all Jon Hamm for me this year.

Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan” – same as above..I love Liev..but. yeah..it’s just all about Jon Hamm.

LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA
Taraji P. Henson, “Empire” – this over-the-top show and character are amusing if nothing else..

Claire Danes, “Homeland” – Again, fantastic season and performance by Claire, but she’s won before..and the faces..oh those faces!! 😀

Viola Davis, “How to Get Away with Murder” – I love Viola as an actress.but this show is sorely lacking and I can’t for that reason alone.

Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black” – oh Tatiana..I love you and this show equally..I do..and you so deserve this nomination.

Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men” – But I gotta go with Peggy Olsen. And not just because she is a ‘Peggy’ in this too..but because I still have that totally badass episode of her from 2014 on my DVR with her and Don.. plus her ciggie eps. She was just incredible.

Robin Wright, “House of Cards” – N/A

LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY
Anthony Anderson, “black-ish” – I enjoyed this show from the beginning and I’m a big Anthony Anderson fan from way back but I did sorta lose steam for it.. It’s an ‘on occasion’ show for me now.

Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes” – Matt playing over-the-top Matt..is so fun.

Don Cheadle, “House of Lies” – Not a fan of this show..

Will Forte, “The Last Man On Earth” – I gave this one 2 eps. and then I was done..

Louis C.K., “Louie” – yeah..not my fav. in any way, shape or form.

William H. Macy, “Shameless” – Love Bill Macy – so-so on the show.

Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent” – N/A

LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY
Lisa Kudrow, “The Comeback” – It’s Valerie Cherish – do I need to say anything more?

Lily Tomlin, “Grace And Frankie” – N/A

Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer” – comedy’s ‘It Girl’ of the moment right now..and I LOVE her.

Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie” – Oh Jackie..I will miss you. No one’s ever had a nurse like you.

Amy Poehler, “Parks And Recreation” – Love Amy.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” – Julia is comedy gold..

SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul” – Big fan of Banks, but again, the character that worked so well for me on Breaking Bad, doesn’t work for me here.

Ben Mendelsohn, “Bloodline” – Ben Mendelsohn is a fantastic actor that can truly play almost any role. Wish I could see him in this..truly.

Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey” – I think everyone likes Mr. Carson just not enough for a win here.

Peter Dinklage, “Game Of Thrones” – Dinklage was a highlight of a slow season.

Alan Cumming, “The Good Wife” – When does Alan not bring it on this show? Even with an uneven season..he’s always spot on.

Michael Kelly, “House Of Cards” – N/A

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey” – last years surprise winner to almost everyone but me.. 😀

Lena Headey, “Game Of Thrones” – Lena gave it her all.. literally..

Emilia Clarke, “Game Of Thrones” – another fav. character for me from the show.

Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife” – Hands down, my winner. Christine is priceless.

Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men” – Joan really gave it to us for the final season. Stepping up into her own and really giving us an insight into what the fight for equal rights for women possibly entailed. I won’t be mad if she wins.

Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is The New Black” – N/A

SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY
Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” – for me, this is the funniest show on TV..And Andre just brings it to this role.

Adam Driver, “Girls” – don’t really like the show and not an Adam Driver fan so..

Keegan-Michael Key, “Key & Peele” – they have some damn funny skits.

Ty Burrell, “Modern Family” – ZZZZzzzz oh..sorry..I like Ty but I’m pretty over their run.

Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” – N/A

Tony Hale, “Veep” – I’ve just not got a thing to say here..ha! I just haven’t watched the show enough to really say yay! or nay!!

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY
Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory” – not my show, just never got the ‘ha ha’ from it.

Niecy Nash, “Getting On” – Never seen this show. and I’m fine with that!

Julie Bowen, “Modern Family” – See ‘Ty Burrell’

Allison Janney, “Mom” – I’ve watched this show a few times trying my best to get into it.. I just didn’t succeed, but I do love Alison

Kate McKinnon “Saturday Night Live” – She’s just a gem all the time, every character.

Gaby Hoffmann, “Transparent” – N/A

Jane Krakowski, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” – N/A

Anna Chlumsky, “Veep” – I like ‘out of the box’..this is a good ‘out of the box’ character for Anna.. but just not enough for me.

That’s it!! Wish I had more time to get in-depth on these and more categories..Just pressed for time. Let’s just hope that the Emmy’s aren’t the same ol’ same ol’ that they can sometimes be and pick some new different and I might add, much deserving winners.
Cheers all!!

REVIEW: “THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU” (2014) Warner Bros.

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I went into this movie knowing it was another one of the genre of ‘family dysfunction’ movies that either go over really well..or not.  With the cast at hand, I really was looking forward to at least a somewhat decent flick and expected some top-notch dark, comedic moments.  And Jane Fonda.. Can I just say how badly I want to look like Jane Fonda when I am her age..hell I want to look like her NOW.. But truly, even with the almost always funny, Jason Bateman & Tina Fey, sadly nothing could save this movie from being completely mediocre.     this is where 2

This whole middle-class.suburban angst type genre movies were all the rage about a decade ago, but it’s tapped itself out as there’s only so many movies about the upper classes and their problems that you can take if they’re not bringing something new to the table. “THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU” doesn’t fit the bill, in that’s it’s an incredibly familiar story we’ve seen done too many times before and it’s become rather boring and lackluster.  The rundown of the film is the ‘heard it so many times before’ story of the kids coming home to reunite in the wake of their father’s death. No one wants to be really be there, and the fighting starts almost immediately.starting with the newly separated son “Judd Altman” (Jason Bateman) having been called home by his sister “Wendy Altman” (Tina Fey), with him having just a few months earlier been cheated-on by his wife, “Quinn” (Abigail Spencer) caught in the act with his boss “Wade Beaufort” (Dax Shepard) no less. but then able to find quirky new love interest who just happened to have a crush on him years back, “Penny Moore” (Rose Byrne) within hours of his return ~ can we just give a big YAWN here already?!  And to make it somewhat even less plausible, though the father was an atheist, everyone is told by family matriarch “Hillary Altman” (Jane Fonda) that they all must stay as he wanted them to ‘sit shiva’, which from what I understand is a Jewish religious custom where the family sits & receives guests for a set amount of days. So you would think at least some comedy would ensue here riiiigghhtt??!!!  *sigh*

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The funeral is an awkward affair to say the least. Judd’s older brother “Paul Altman” (Corey Stoll) has taken to his new role as the head of the family with an overly-controlling bullying attitude and whose wife “Alice” (Kathryn Hahn) is comically desperate to get pregnant. Wendy is busy with her two children, considering that her husband “Barry” (Aaron Lazar) is an inattentive workaholic and makes her want to run back to her past also with the brain-damaged boy next door “Horry Callen” (Timothy Olyphant). The rest of the Altman family ranges from oh soooooo annoying youngest brother “Phillip Altman” (Adam Driver) the bratty black sheep of the family, who comes with his rich older girlfriend in tow “Tracy Sullivan” (Connie Britton) who happens to be a psychiatrist just like his mom..yeah you get the jist where that is going.  One thing we do get plenty of is Fonda’s smothering mother and her grotesque boob job, with the boobs almost so comic that they feel out of place in some somewhat serious moments. They provide easy laughs, but this itself suggests a problem, when they are the funniest thing of the movie.

 

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So, yes there is a surprise at the end of the movie that only ever so slightly redeems it, but at that point, it’s basically too little too late.  Bateman’s performance is decent, Fey’s also, though you don’t get ‘comedy’ from either of them and no one’s is outstanding in the least. By far the most annoying character & portrayal comes from Adam Driver, when I would have liked to have seen say Olyphant’s character of Horry more developed as at least as the bit we got of him, was interesting.  To be honest, this isn’t the worst movie out there right now by far, but I think audiences are expecting more from it than they are going to receive, especially now that we are gearing up for the year-end slew of Oscar contenders sure to come.  This movie will not be one of those contenders.

Grade: C-  (below average)

(See grading scale)

#peggyatthemovies