REVIEW: “DADDY’S HOME 2” (2017) PARAMOUNT PICTURES

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Well hang up your christmas stockings and get your eggnog ready as we are headed into the holidays, and that means the family holiday movies are starting up. With the trailer for “DADDY’S HOME 2”, as with most comedies these days, giving away many of the funny moments, no need to expect any additional spoilers here.

As for the film itself – we pick up two years later, after the fierce daddy competition between Brad (Will Ferrell) and Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) had throughout the first film. We start off sweetly, with what looks to be a very healthy co-dad environment for all involved. In comedy-based cinema, the best way to disrupt a happy family synergy is to introduce the Christmas season and the sure-to-follow family turmoil. And with that – enter Mel Gibson as Dusty’s estranged dad – Kurt, and John Lithgow as Brad’s so-close-it’s-too-close dad – Don… and let the holiday escapades begin.

It’s clear that these two grandads have completely different ideas of well, being grandads. Gibson’s character’s idea of being a father has been around for many generations. Toughen up the kids and make sure they are strong and independent. Keep those emotions close to the vest. On the other side is John Lithgow and his over-hugging and blubbering true feelings approach. The familiar supporting cast, (notably missing Griff (Hannibal Buress)) holds up their end admirably. Sara (Linda Cardellini) and Alessandra Ambrosio as Karen, are back as Brad’s and Dusty’s wives, respectively. Scarlett Estevez, Owen Vaccaro, and Didi Costine are back as the kids: Megan, Dylan & Adrianna – each with their own quirks and growing pains. Even John Cena returns as Adrianna’s biological father – Roger, and also delivers one of the film’s best punchlines, as well as a bit that might forever ruin Christmas caroling for you or maybe like me, where I thought it was actually simply sweet.

With the additions of Gibson and Cena, the sequel ups the ante on the debate of masculinity that anchored the first film. The female characters are still seemly just afterthoughts, and some of Gibson’s antics (considering his rep and the current revelations coming out of Hollywood) seem awkwardly ill-timed. He makes inappropriate jokes, he makes sexist jokes about hookers, he laughs at nearly everything stupid Ferrell does.

Could I slam this film for having Mel Gibson in it..yes I completely could, and legitimately so because honestly, it doesn’t flow well with me on a personal level. Neither does when trying to make light of kids with shotguns or using them as props to getting drunk. It’s not. Especially in light of everything going on here now. But if you step away from that, this film was also a bit on the sappy-sweeter, emotional side than the original ‘DADDY’S HOME’ (which I thought was NOT appropriate for kids) for me and that’s what redeemed it. This one – if they are over the age of 12 or 13, yes, as I think back to my 12 or 13 year old self, and would be okay with it.

Grade: C
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Tuesday, November 7, 2017 ~ Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
“DADDY’S HOME 2” will be released in theaters nationwide on Friday, November 10, 2017

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GOLDEN GLOBES: TV PICKS

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Once again you can just cue into me singing “It’s the most wonderful time of the yyeeeaarrr…”
In case you haven’t guessed already.. it’s Awards season otherwise known as ‘My Happy Time’ ~ and the first big event is the Golden Globes this Sunday. It’s where the best of both the Film & TV worlds collide in one night. With so many categories, I’m breaking it up into two separate posts and of course, who I think the winner will be and what would be my pick – because they don’t always necessarily coincide with each other!!

TELEVISION

Best TV Series, Drama

The Crown
What a show this was. I couldn’t stop watching. The acting, the story – both all engrossing

Game of Thrones
This show took itself to a whole new level this year, and I loved every second of it even if Jon Snow coming back from the dead made me giggle for a sec.

Stranger ThingsMY PICK
Fantastic storyline of something so far-fetched, yet so made you think! I loved it. The fact the acting by kids was so strong here really made it all the better.

This Is Us
Is this show cute..yes..maybe a little to cutsey & sappy for me, but I will say it’s quite well written.

WestworldWINNER
There were times when I completely understood this show and others where I literally had no idea what the bejesus was going on. But you couldn’t help yourself to keep watching with the nagging feeling of “what if?” I think this one might steal the award just because of that.

Best TV Series, Comedy/Musical

AtlantaWINNER
While I haven’t watched all the episodes of this show yet, the ones I have seen I just love. I can’t stop laughing.

Blackish
I loved this show at the beginning, now I will say I just don’t watch it all that much anymore..Sorta went the Modern Family route for me.

Mozart in the JungleMY PICK
I LOVE this show. It’s so completely different and well done about a subject I really didn’t know much about, yet made me interested in and yes, laugh.

Transparent
See Transparent has never done ‘it’ for me. I know there are those that just love it. I was done after season 1, I just really didn’t like too many of the characters enough to go to the next season.

Veep
Kinda the same as above for this one. I love Julia Louis-Dreyfus humour, but this one never grabbed me enough to keep watching.

Best TV Miniseries or Movie

American Crime
This season of American Crime was mind-boggling. The best written and acted so far. I couldn’t get enough of each cliff-hanging episode.

The Dresser
While this featured a great cast I would have loved to see, I don’t have Starz channel as I cancelled cable, so was never able to see it.

The Night Manager
I still am not getting the appeal of this one. It wasn’t done plausably or even well. Sometimes I was just in awe of how ridiculous it really got.

The Night OfMY PICK
Another mind-blowing HBO min-series that just took what could have been just another murder storyline and gave it more twists than you could keep your jaw from dropping instead. Acting was top-notch to boot.

The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime StoryWINNER
I mean what can you say about this fantastic mini-series that hasn’t already been said. So many things you’d either forgotten or never knew about, told & acted by a unbelievable parade of good writing and acting. Blew me away.
By far my hardest category to decide on.

Best Actor, Drama
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Just love Rami and this show. Rami helped keep it fresh for it’s second season.

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
While I loved this character on ‘Breaking Bad’, I couldn’t even get through the whole first season and to those that love it, kudos.

Matthew Rhys, The Americans
While the show has always been a hit or miss for me, as in I could skip a few eps., come back and still know exactly what was going on, I feel the same about it’s lead, Matthew Rhys.

Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Love Liev and the first 2 seasons his character was so something different. Now it’s just rambling as is the acting somewhat.

Billy Bob Thornton, GoliathMY PICK/WINNER
Never have been Billy Bob’s biggest fan, but damn this role was cater-made for him. He is excellent as was the show.

Best Actress, Drama

Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
I’ve only ever been able to watch 2 eps. of this show considering it’s on a very pricey pay channel here, so I can’t really give a fair assessment of her acting.

Claire Foy, The CrownSLEEPER WIN
Oh Claire.. you are fantastic in this show. Simply sublime as the Queen herself might say. It’s so well written, cinematically beautiful and well acted. And you know us American’s love a good upper-class British show. Don’t anyone be surprised if she walks off with this award.

Keri Russell, The Americans
I mean who doesn’t like Keri Russell really now.. and I do, but she won’t be my pick or the HFP’s pick I’m guessing either.

Winona Ryder, Stranger ThingsMY PICK
Winona, Winona, Winona – I feel sometimes as if we’ve grown up together. And is essence we have and you are soooo good in this show. I’m so glad you’re back.

Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld WINNER
Same as the show, good acting here because sometimes you just wondered what in bejesus is she?! or WHO is she should be more the question 🙂

Best Actor, Comedy

Anthony Anderson, Blackish
I’ve adored Anthony Anderson for as long as I can remember. He started off doing drama, and segwayed into comedy as easily as could be. Not my pick, but I am so glad he is nominated as it’s nice to finally have some fresh faces in this whole category.

Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
I love this show and I love Gael in it. But can he pull off another surprise win here?? I would love it but I doubt it.

Donald Glover, AtlantaMY PICK/WINNER
Another first time, fresh nominee that I love. I’m going with a first timer here on this one because of the sarcastic brilliance of this show and his character in it.

Nick Nolte, Graves
I’m going to be honest – I’ve never even heard of this show. Sorry Nick!

Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
As Jeffrey has won so many times for playing this character, I’d just love to see someone new win it again.

Best Actress, Comedy

Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Rachel Bloom surprised us all with her win last year. Is there a repeat in tow?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
I kinda feel like Julia is the Meryl of TV comedy. 🙂

Sarah Jessica Parker, Divorce
While this show isn’t bad nor is SJP in it, I don’t think it’s going to grab a win.

Issa Rae, Insecure
I’ve not watched this one so truly can’t give it a nay or yay..

Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
While I think Gina Rodriguez is just adorable and I loved this show the first season, it waned very quickly on me during the second. Not saying she’s not still good in it, just haven’t watched in awhile.

Tracee Ellis Ross, BlackishMY PICK/WINNER
Tracee would be my pick. While I might not be watching the show all the time anymore, she should have been nominated and won like 2 seasons ago already!

Best Supporting Actor

Sterling K. Brown, The People vs. O.J. Simpson
This mini-series was just filled with fantastic acting and Sterling is part of that.

Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
While I really thought TNM was a poorly done series, there were two standouts in it that made it somewhat bearable, and one of them was Hugh Laurie.

John Lithgow, The CrownWINNER
It’s rare that they get an American to play a Brit nowadays, but Lithgow as Winston Churchill is a brilliant piece of casting.

Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
I won’t lie. I kinda shook my head in disbelief when Slater walked away with this last year. I mean he’s good, but he’s not that good.

John Travolta, The People vs. O.J. SimpsonMY PICK
So yeah, I know people think it’s strange, but I’ve adored John Travolta since I was a child. yes, I admit and he’s done some really awful movies, but here, you can’t deny he was truly amazing.

Best Supporting Actress

Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
Remember I said there was two things that saved the Night Manager – Olivia Colman is part two of that.

Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
She’s always pretty damn amazing in this show. You can’t help but love to hate her character, but yet she still tugs at your heartstrings as she is just so flawed. Remember your show is only as good as your best evil person and she is truly fantastic at it time and time again.

Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Again, I find the show just a little to sappy, but I admire and respect the writing and the characters are all well done. It’s a tough call which person from the show to say I like more..Chrissy or Mandy.

Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Again, between the two nominated here from this, I might actually pick Mandy because her transition to this character is pretty damn good.

Thandie Newton, WestworldMY PICK/WINNER
Thandie’s character here was the one I was never confused by. She was simply put ‘badass’

Best Actor, Mini-Series or TV Movie

Riz Ahmed, The Night OfMY PICK
This show also gave us some fantastic performances with the two nominees in this category just making this show a spectacular watch.

Bryan Cranston, All the Way
I didn’t watch this one.

Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
Really.. on this one. For those who me, I love and ADORE Tom Hiddleston – but there in points in time where I just rolled my eyes at some of not only the show, but his acting here. Sorry Tom.

John Turturro, The Night Of
Turturro knocked it out the park on this one. There just isn’t much else to say, you can’t be mad if he wins this one.

Courtney B. Vance, The People vs. O.J. SimpsonWINNER
Again, this show was just so good! Even though you knew what was going to happen, it held you and kept you coming back. Courtney Vance was one of the main reasons why.

Best Actress, Mini-Series or TV Movie

Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Always a strong actress, this seasons AC was so good and she went for it in this role.

Riley Keough, The Girlfriend Experience
Only the 3rd show on an expensive pay-per-view that I never have had or probably will.

Sarah Paulson, The People vs. O.J. SimpsonMY PICK/WINNER
Again, mind-bending performance from this series. Sarah for me in the shoo-in to win this one.

Charlotte Rampling, London Spy
I watched this show so long ago, I forgot I’d even seen it. But I swear it was 2015 when I did see it so I’m not really quite sure why it’s under 2016 noms. Rampling always gets roles she excels at. This was no different.

Kerry Washington, Confirmation
I remember the story so we already knew what happened, but unlike the O.J. story, I didn’t get the feeling of still wanting to watch. Washington was good, but I don’t see her winning this one.

REVIEW: “THE ACCOUNTANT” (2016) Warner Bros.

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Having not seen a film in over a month and a half or written a review for that matter, I was truly not knowing what to expect walking into the “THE ACCOUNTANT”. What I walked out with is still to be decided.

What I did like is how far ‘out of the box’ this film is. I mean it’s leaps and bounds out of the norm of any film I’ve seen yet this year, and as we all know, 2016 has not been a good year by any means for film.
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In this paint by numbers, crazy potboiler of a film, you’ve got Ben Affleck as Christian Wolff, who seems to be just another small-town number-cruncher, doing taxes for local farmers out of a non-descript strip-mall office called ZZZ Acounting. Reality is a much different place in this one though as Wolff is actually the man whom drug kingpins and the worst of the worst in the world turn to when they find a discrepancies in their books.

Wolff’s dealings with such men of notorious nature, captures the attention of Treasury director Raymond King (J.K. Simmons), who in turn blackmails his underling-with-a-past, Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) into tracking Wolff down. In an attempt to stay out of trouble, Wolff takes a seemingly innocent little gig trying to find a financial leak in the books of Lamar Black (John Lithgow) who runs a state of the art robotics firm, only to attract the attention of hired killer Braxton (Jon Bernthal). Add in the films truly only awkward ‘friendship’ with whistleblower Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), whom he unseemly decides he needs to protect and a mystery phone-voiced woman who changes Wolff’s identities on the drop of a dime – and yes, each identity does have a meaning behind them to be revealed.
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To try to explain this whole plot and all it’s flashbacks, would not only suck the fun out of your viewing, but would be almost impossible since so much is going on. Yes, there is loads of violence, most of it you didn’t see coming, along with a plot twist most don’t see coming. To sum it up clearly, there are no ‘brilliant’ performances, but all of them make do and seem to be having a good time doing so. The whole thing shouldn’t add up, but yet somehow it does and while not a ‘great’ movie by any means, it is entertaining as end all.

Grade: B-
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 ~ Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Nationwide Release: Friday, October 14, 2016

Review: “INTERSTELLAR” (2014)

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interstellar
So had a few extra hours on Thanksgiving and yes, I finally saw “Interstellar” and boy was it LOOOOONNGGG really really long. Which would be fine if the first two hours were something special moving at a pace faster than the tortoise and the hare race. Mind you I pretty much love all of Christopher Nolan’s movies starting with the 1st one I really remember, Memento, which I thought was just so damn brilliant. Love the Batman franchise, loved Inception and actually got it (well okay..kinda got it) 🙂 But this one raises a few questions for me..one of the most notable is why does he like Anne Hathaway aka Anne – don’t forget the ‘E’ aka Anne Hackaway, so much?? She was the worst Cat Woman ever, and does no favours in this movie either..so why? ok..well as I will most likely never have that question truly answered..let’s move on.

At the beginning we meet “Cooper” (Matthew McConaughey) who is a widowed farmer/ex-astronaut, his young daughter “Murph” (Mackenzie Foy) who believes her room is haunted by a ghost who is trying to communicate with her; his father-in-law, with whom they live, “Donald” (John Lithgow) and his son, who is almost as an after thought, “Tom” (Timothee Chalamet). I say afterthought because the story heavily focuses on Cooper’s relationship with his daughter throughout the entire movie as they even label it as a sort of interstellar 1‘father/daughter’ story, and I almost felt bad for the son as he isn’t prominently featured at all. But I guess that’s neither here nor there as we move along through their story where there is a school reprimand involved, which leads into a school suspension whereas Cooper & Murph then have the time to be ‘discovering’ that the ghost is actually sending them coded messages that gives them the coordinates to find which takes them on the journey where they find the secret bunker so-to-speak of NASA. See the world is almost at an end and with crops blights left & right, taking away food this planet will never see again, time is running out to figure what to do next and possibly where to go.

In steps “Professor Brand” (Michael Caine) and his daughter “Amelia Brand” (Anne Hathaway). Prof. Brand explains to them that a wormhole apparently created by alien intelligence, has given what’s left of Earth’s inhabitants hope for survival and that NASA’s old ‘Lazarus’ missions have noted 3 different planets orbiting the Black Hole ‘Gargantua’ that are potentials for human habitation.

To cut a really long story as short as can be done because I will be honest, not only would it take pages to describe the entire film (as some reviews have done..ZZzzzzz), the first two hours of this movie did not wow me in the slightest and somewhat dragged on. As they mount a mission to find which planet is best. The mission named ‘Endurance’, is where Cooper joins Brand’s daughter, biologist Amelia; scientists “Romilly” (David Gyasi) and “Doyle” (Wes Bentley); and robots TARS (voiced by Bill Irwin) and CASE (voiced by Josh Stewart). The TARS & CASE robots were pretty much my favourite ‘characters’ of the movie btw.. so to sum it up..they enter the wormhole and head to Miller, but discover the planet is so close to Gargantua that it experiences severe gravitational time dilation: each hour on the surface is seven years on Earth. It’s inhospitable to humans as it is covered by a shallow ocean roiled by enormous tidal waves. As Amelia attempts to recover Miller’s data, a wave hits, killing Doyle and delaying the shuttle’s departure. When Cooper and Amelia return to Endurance, 23 years have passed.interstellar 2

On Earth, the now-adult “Murphy” (Jessica Chastain) now a NASA scientist assisting Brand who, on his deathbed, Brand admits he already solved the problem and determined the project is impossible and he covered up his findings and put his faith in a “Plan B” As Murphy tries to warn her also now adult aged brother Tom, (played by Casey Affleck), and his family that it’s almost at the end of time and they must move on she concludes that Brand’s equation could work with additional data from a black hole’s singularity. (yes I had to look up this last sentence :))
Low on fuel, Endurance can only visit one more planet before returning to Earth. After much argument the team votes for Mann’s planet, but they find it to be icy and inhospitable. “Mann” (Matt Damon) reveals that he knew Plan B was the mission’s goal all along, and faked data about his planet so Endurance would rescue him which of course goes awry, and Damon’s odd character turn here as a villianous bad guy fails and he’s gonzo! interstellar 5

As they are nearly out of fuel, and this is truly where I got the most frightened as there is a moment where you think that Hackaway’s character Amelia, is going to be the last person left to live. Frightening truly frightening thought for most of us, and yes I am being completely facetious here..or am I.. ha! It’s also where the movie FINALLY started to pick up some and get to the brilliant part as they emerge in an extra-dimensional “tesseract”, where time appears in different dimension with portals that show glimpses of Murphy’s childhood bedroom at various times. Cooper then realizes that the wormhole and tesseract were created by a future form of humanity transcending time and space, so he was the one and now again, that did and can communicate with Murphy as the “ghost” and try to save humanity. Using the gravitational waves they discovered early on a watch, Cooper transmits TARS’s data to the adult Murphy through Morse code, allowing her to solve Brand’s equation and evacuate Earth.
Years later, Cooper awakens aboard a NASA space habitat and reunites with the now elderly Murphy (Ellen Burstyn), who has led the exodus and Earth is to be saved. Lastly, Cooper does have to go out on one final mission, to find Amelia who is still out there on Edmunds planet. hmmm.. Do I see a sequel here?!! 😀

There are no stand-out performances here. McConaughey, coming off a fantastic 2013 with crazy good performances isn’t going to get any nominations for this role as it’s rather basic. Thankfully Chastain steps up to the plate to relieve us of the agony that is Anne Hathaway (Hackaway) and as the young Murph’s, Foy also does quite well. Visually, as expected, the film can be quite stunning, but mostly only once they get into space. I appreciated Interstellar’s grand ambition and the fact that Nolan took on astrophysics and a major studio gave him $200 million to do it. If anyone could try to tackle relativity and the space-time continuum in a narrative, it’s Nolan and his intellect as a director. But, alas it proved too much to take on and make sense of, even for him. It’s is however an interesting effort worth seeing just for its concept in general, though some may end up feeling merely puzzled, which, as my friend Leif noted, knowing Nolan’s oeurve is probably the whole point.
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Grade: C+

#peggyatthemovies
(See grading scale)