REVIEW: “RED SPARROW” (2018) 20th Century Fox

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So with my media screening confirmation for “RED SPARROW” we received this note from Director Francis Lawrence. I much appreciated this as I hate spoilers and always try to avoid them in reviews. However, after the screening, I’m thinking he doesn’t want anyone to reveal his ‘plot points’ and ‘ending’ because they are downright ridiculous.

To sum this up quickly and make this review as painless and short as possible the basics of this story is Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence), a Bolshoi Ballet dancer – yes, if you eyerolled here, you are not alone – who sees her career go down the tubes when her dance partner makes a bad move and breaks her leg. It’s a horrible break which would take months to heal let alone walk in heels – and yet there she is three miraculous months later – running around in heels. Not just that, but she finds out of a conspiracy on the part of the aforementioned partner and her replacement. This is all thanks to the fact that her uncle Vanya Egorov (Matthias Schoenaerts), who is nothing less than one of the heads of the secret service of the “mother country” has given her secret tape on this. Dominika exacts a revenge that can only been seen to be believed, in other words yes, again ridiculous. She is then faced with the need to keep her home and medical care for her sick mother, Nina (Joely Richardson), both of which have been provided by the Bolshoi. Well weclome back Uncle Vanya who offers her a job because you know..she has been so intuitive as a child even. YAWN! Well, sweet Uncle Vanya sends her to ‘Sparrow School’ or as JLaw puts it in her ridiculously bad Russian accent, Whore School. You know that place we all want to go to because they train you to have sex and use your body as a weapon to overcome the enemy. After watching some of the weirdest, most uncomfortable sex scenes to grace the screen in a long time, we go to part duex. Sigh.

Dominika has to approach Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton), a CIA agent who had been working for years with a mole in Moscow and who eventually had to leave the country when he unmasked himself when he mistook some police officers for secret service agents. Nash and Dominika immediately begin a relationship because of course they do – and of course the physical attraction will prove to be a bond to guarantee a “mutual benefit”.

Honestly, that’s all I can give and it’s even more than planned. Red Sparrow is just plain ridiculous and bad. There is no chance anyone is EVER going to believe Jennifer Lawrences’ performance here as not only a ballerina, but a Russian Agent to boot. EVER! Nor Joel Edgerton as a spy – I mean when is this guy ever going to speak his native Aussie again? He really tries with his accents, but never really gets it right. Not even my go to guy, Matthias Schoenaerts or the great Jeremy Irons can save this film. It’s almost like if Fifty Shades of Grey met Die Hard in the worst way possible. With Domenika’s line “They gave me a choice: die or become a sparrow.” I wish I could have chose for her and saved myself from watching this.

Grade: D-
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Tuesday, Febraury 20, 2018 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
RED SPARROW will be in theatres worldwide on Friday, March 2, 2018

7 DAYS OF OSCARS: DAY 5 ~ “BEST ACTRESS”

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We are on Day 5 of my “7 Days of Oscars” – and into the Best Actress category.

BEST ACTRESS

Cate Blanchett, Carol
I mean it’s Cate. It’s rare that you will catch her in a bad performance. I liked her in ‘Truth’ earlier in the year, and while I didn’t love this film, she was as always, very good. Enough said.

Brie Larson, RoomWINNER
There isn’t really anything to add here from what I noted on my Golden Globes review. Nothing’s changed. I like Brie a lot, but I can’t truthfully think this is anywhere close to being a performance or film that should be here..but hey..again, my hopes are still up that maybe she will share the award with Mariska Hargitay from Law & Order:SVU if she wins.

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
No offense to Jennifer here, as I do like her a lot and I’m sure she has many more awards coming in her career. This isn’t going to be one of them, and truth be told, wasn’t really strong enough of a role to really be here.

Charlotte Rampling, 45 YearsMY PICK
While this wasn’t my favourite film of the year as it was rather slow-moving, Rampling’s performance was simply put, sublime. If there were true Oscar gods, she would win! 😀

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
While the story itself was rather sappy at points, Saoirse really was quite good here. It was what I would call a sweet-type performance and she would be my 2nd choice here.

Tomorrow, as we are coming close to the end of “7 Days of Oscar” and the Best Actor category.
Till then.. #Oscars2016 #peggyatthemovies

REVIEW: “JOY” (2015) 20th Century Fox

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With narration told by her grandmother Mimi (Diane Ladd), the only person who believes in and encourages young Joy’s as her story begins at Rudy’s Bus and Truck metal shop, where being an imaginative creative girl, she entertains herself through paper models of forests and castles.

Based on a true story, the film depicts the rise of female inventor and entrepreneur Joy (Jennifer Lawrence), who rises to fame by hawking her Miracle Mop on QVC. The story is much more than about business success, for Joy is a 1970’s housewife who supports four generations in her house, including her ex-husband, Tony (Edgar Ramirez) and father Rudy (Robert De Niro).
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Director David O. Russell struggles here, a bit unsuccessfully I might add, to portray a harrowing the path to the mop. Joy deals with a houseful of kids, only a few of them children by actual age. The motley crew she calls family all crammed in her small house are not on Joy’s side. She is the breadwinner, the adult, the rock whose imagination is a liability to those overly dependent on her. Her mother Terry (Virginia Madsen) a soap-opera viewing addict, who watches made-for-this-film, unfunny soap opera segments that seem unmotivated with there being no implication as to why we are pointing to the off-TV characters. It’s goes on to become a paint-by-numbers affair from there – familial jealousy from sister Peggy (Elisabeth Rohm), dirty financial dealings, the nightmare of the age-old saying, “Do not do business with your family.”
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After all, Joy manages to build a mop prototype. She brings it to QVC where the initial sale segment bombs. With Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper), the slick head honcho of newly formed shopping network QVC behind her, he takes a chance and allows Joy to showcase the mop herself. Bingo! The mop sells out. Success? Nope. The parts supplier is screwing Joy, every sale of the mop loses money, and the family wants their money back. Financial ruin follows. Then Grandma passes. But Joy decides she’s been walked all over enough and ‘womans up’ to settle all scores financial and emotional. You would think Hooray! right? If only the story wasn’t so average and been done so many times before would it be all that and more.

The acting is nothing notable as De Niro is no stranger to playing a conflicted father with a big heart, though there is something a bit off-kilter here even for him on this. We all know Lawrence & Cooper play well off each other and they do that again here. It’s Edgar Ramirez, who after falling so flat in Point Break, really stands up and dazzles amongst this all-star cast.
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So let me just do a quick sum up for you in one sentence. ‘Down and out mother thinks up an invention, brings it to market, and becomes rich after some pitfalls that, in reality, is all fought and done with lawyers in the end’. In lieu of dramatizing a woman overcoming, Russell instead created a often unfunny comedy.

While the real life, inventive Joy deserves kudos, the bottom line is this is a feature film about the creator of a better mop and offers little on the path to an unsatisfying end where Joy makes it big and helps others succeed.
With all the heavy-hitters in film coming out these last 2 weeks of the year, it’s doubtful JOY will stand out amongst them.

Grade: C
@pegsatthemovies

Review Screening: Monday, December 21, 2015 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Studios
Nationwide release: Friday, December 25, 2015

COUNTDOWN TO THE OSCARS ~ Day 2 ~ BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

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While I liked this movie and thought Sally’s performance was a good one, at the time, I didn’t think ‘oh this is an Oscar worthy performance’ I just thought it good. So for me, she is not the winner here ..more like an honorable mention I guess. sorry..

As you know I did love this movie and usually love Jennifer more.. Oh don’t doubt me that she wasn’t good, as she was and yeah..the nomination is deserved but maybe it’s the fact that in comparison to some of the others, there wasn’t as much screen time. Yes, I know Judi Dench won for like 10 min onscreen once..but here I don’t it think it should be. Will she win? most likely and I won’t be upset over it.

Yeah I know, everyone loves her and I think she’s been standout in all the fashion leading up to this night to and will probably boggle us with another beautiful dress etc.. And hands down, it was a good performance, but again, same complaint as I have with the movie..choppy..another ‘would not be upset’ though.. 🙂

While I really didn’t like this movie as I felt I’ve seen it before a few too many times, one of the 1st things I said when leaving was..Julia was really good.  Both her & Julianne Nicholson held their own against a always strong Meryl Streep, and that is nothing to take lightly..it’s not an easy feat even if you are a REALLY good actress..  She’s my runner-up…

Why is Julia Roberts my runner-up you ask.. because yep.. I am being the sucker here and going for the senior club.. June Squibb was simply put..wonderful in this role.  She’s been acting almost all her life, we’ve never known who she was really..then BOOM at 84 years old..YES I SAID EIGHTY FOUR YEARS OLD – she comes out an wows us with a funny, sarcastic, over the top crochety old persons performance that is sure to never be forgotten. That is why she is my pick.. 

Till tomorrow all when I roll onto Best Director… until then…#peggyatthemovies