REVIEW: “THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE” (2017) Universal Pictures

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Let me just start off by saying I went into this with perspective of it being a war movie. And it partially is, but it’s also so much more than just that. It’s more about post-service life for the brave men and women who make the decision to defend our country, as well as the impact it has on their spouses, children, friends, etc. It shines a harsh light on the inefficiency of the VA and how difficult it can be for veterans to receive the help – especially mental and psychological – that they desperately need.

The film, based on a true story, opens with an operation on an Iraqi street that goes horribly wrong. The exact details of the incident are rather hazy but are central to the events that will follow. A trio of soldiers, Adam Schumann (Miles Teller), Will Waller (Joe Cole), and Tausolo ‘Solo’ Aeiti (Beulah Koale), are returning home after their stressful and dangerous tours of duty. Adam returns to his wife Saskia (Haley Bennett) and their two young kids, though money worries and other domestic issues are at the forefront of their relationship and his mind. Solo returns to his wife Alea (Keisha Castle-Hughes), who wants her husband to settle down and father a child with her but he has it in his mind to return to the battlefield and be with his ‘brothers’ as according to him “The Army saved his life” and it seems that’s all he knows. And finally we have Will (Joe Cole), who returns to an empty house, his fiancé having moved out and emptied his bank accounts without a word. Though each man is a trained soldier capable of putting on a brave face, the trauma from their time on the battlefield and their attempts to get help are met by a bureaucracy that is beyond overloaded with no true help in sight.

The performances were all on par all the way around and with them the storyline was not only gut-wrenching, but kept me riveted for the entire movie. This might not be an Oscar type film, but it is going to get very high marks from me because of the subject matter and the story told. This movie is a different genre movie, not necessarily action, but not completely drama either, rather it is a movie of true passion of containing real life drama, real heart and mind, real flesh and blood taking you through it’s paces slow but steady.
I’m guessing that this movie won’t be a huge moneymaker, as I honestly I don’t see it finding a particularly large audience because fact – we’re much happier remaining ignorant to the horrors of war and the empty shells of humans that it results in. Needless to say, this film schooled me and was a true eye-opener as I left the theater with such a huge range of emotion, mostly rooted in anger and sadness and a sense of hopelessness. While I would love to think that the light it shines on its topic would result in some change, if not at least greater awareness, I doubt it will. We as Americans, have let our soldiers down. And this hasn’t just happened..its gone on for decades and something needs to be fixed in a big way. Again, sadly, not enough people will probably see this film to make a difference..but we all should. Bottom line though, it’s a great film and now it’s your turn to see it.

Grade: A
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Monday, October 23,2017 ~ Courtesy of Universal Pictures
“THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE” will be in theaters nationwide on Friday, October 27, 2017

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REVIEW: “SNATCHED” (2017) 20TH CENTURY FOX

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The premise of SNATCHED is simple. Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer) gets fired from her retail job in an very funny opening scene, then dumped by her boyfriend Michael (Randall Park) in another good comedic scene and convinces her super cautious house-bound mom Linda (Goldie Hawn), to go on this ‘non-refundable’ vacation with her to Ecquador. While on vacation Emily meets James (Tom Bateman), the stunning hot Brit who has some of the funniest scenes with Schumer of this whole hit-n-miss film. As for Emily and her mother, well they fall into in a completely predictable but hilarious tale, that despite a few lulls here and there, will make you laugh for most of the 90 minute run time.

The shenanigans which ensue is what makes this film a comedy, and while it might not match up to Trainwreck, it’s definitely a must see for some good laughs with just enough sentiment added into the mix for Mother’s Day. The rest of the cast features Ike Barinholtz as her mamas-boy brother Jeffrey, Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack as the hysterically funny duo of Ruth & Barb. Add in a couple of essential co-starring roles and you have Christopher Meloni doing a short but oh-so-sweetly-done stint as funny-man, Explorer/Trader Joe’s store manager’ Roger Simmons, and Bashir Salahuddin as State Dept. Agent Morgan Russell who constant hilarious phones calls with Emily & Jeffrey add some good laughs into the mix.

Make no mistake though, this is Amy Schumer’s movie and she defnitely takes center stage in this one and pulls it off – not as completely as say she did in Trainwreck, but still does a commendable job. And yes, you will need to like her brand of comedy to be able to find the fun so to speak. Goldie is well..Goldie, and at one part showing pictures her younger-self just takes you back in time for a moment. Of course there are some completely implausable situations, but for the most part they pull them it off. I will say though, if you’re planning to take your mom for this one and she doesn’t like in your face comedy, you might get grounded as it’s R-rated for a reason. Lastly, director Jonathan Levine along with producers Peter Chernin and Paul Fieg, knew what they were doing here on run-time as they didn’t overstay their welcome and try to make it last longer than needed.
Is this the best comedy you will ever see..no it’s not, but it’s definitely a passable way to spend 90 minutes.

Grade: C
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Monday, May 8, 2017 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
NOW PLAYING NATIONWIDE

“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: “TRAINWRECK” (2015) Universal Pictures

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And your comedy-date movie for the summer is…(drum roll please) “Trainwreck”!!

Written by and starring this year’s comedic ‘it-girl’ Amy Schumer as “Amy” it chronicles the misadventures of its leading character as she runs through boyfriends, numerous sexual encounters acting all the while as a chronically commitment-challenged career woman, is some serious comedic gold. When her boss “Dianna” (an unrecognizable and hilarious Tilda Swinton) assigns her a story to feature a young sports surgeon “Aaron” (Bill Hader) something happens to Amy she didn’t know was possible…she falls in love.
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The film romantic-comedy side solely rests on the perfectly imperfect character of Amy who I think we can all relate to – as either being it at some point in our own lives or in someone we know. I mean let’s be truthful here … who of us ladies hasn’t walked into a room inappropriately dressed or sat at a baby shower giving a big eyeroll at the “my life is perfect” banalities and so wanting to shut it down. Amy is that girl, the friend we love to have around because she isn’t afraid to do or say what we wish we had the guts to do or say…though she pretty much goes overboard every time and that goes double here and yes, that’s why we love her.
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Schumer is a force here, knocking every gag out of the park but also displaying some quite impressive dramatic skills that one doesn’t expect from a stand-up comedian. Bill Hader is finally given and masters the lead role he deserves perfectly. He is lovable, relatable in every way and is the perfect match for Amy on the big screen. Their chemistry here is undeniable.
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The supporting cast of the film is absolutely solid. Brie Larson is wonderful as “Kim” – Amy’s sister, Colin Quinn is “Gordon” Amy & Kim’s dad, Mike Birbiglia is “Tom” Kim’s husband, and the little scene-stealer child Evan Brinkman as “Allister” rounds off the family. Vanessa Bayer’s “Nikki” is Amy’s co-worker and just as on SNL, she holds her own here.
But perhaps the biggest surprise of the film is are the 2 big name athletes of the film in LeBron James trainwreck 2playing himself and John Cena as “Steven” one of Amy’s flings that you just can’t help but love while grabbing a scene your eyes won’t soon forget. And while I don’t know or follow basketball much (just like Amy in the film I might add) I do know who LeBron is and as it turns out the basketball superstar’s comedic timing is might just be as impressive as his game. The plethora of SNL cast, athlete and musician cameos were a welcome bonus to the movie. trainwreck 4

By now we know that with a Judd Apatow films you’ll get a nice blend of raunchy humor and heart. It is a tried and true formula – and it works again here but with something different and that’s Amy Schumer. Sure there might be a few uneven moments..but the duo here help create one of the funniest romantic comedies I have seen in a long time with one of the most fun finale scenes I’ve had the pleasure of seeing all year long. Most of all – I think we can all say a big HELLO to Amy Schumer – “Moviestar” when this hits theaters..
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This film is fantastically fun, full of laughs, new one-liners for you to memorize and a sweet story to prove that yes, my friends, there is someone for everyone in this world.

Grade: B
@pegsatthemovies

Screening at Arclight Hollywood – Thursday, July 9, 2015 courtesy of Universal Pictures
Nationwide release: Friday, July 17, 2015