7 DAYS OF OSCARS: DAY THREE ~ “BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR”

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Here we are at Day 3 of my “7 Days of Oscar” ~ probably for me at least, the hardest category besides Best Picture to judge. The category 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!! 😀

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Christian Bale, The Big Short
Absolutely Christian Bale in one of his best career performances. While it was a complete ensemble cast, he stood out head and shoulders above the rest.

Tom Hardy, The Revenant
How do you explain Tom Hardy – he’s been full of acting surprises for some years now and while I would’ve thought him to have a nomination before this one (think ‘Locke’ from 2014), he is deservedly here.

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Ruffalo with his oddly thrown in facial & body tics/expressions that are reminiscent of a bad Jimmy Olsen caricature, annoyed the daylights out of me, to a point for me so I can’t even remotely vote for him here and was the only drawback to an otherwise really good film.

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Lucky for me, I’ve known about Rylance’s talent for a bit now. For me, there was only one person that truly stood out for me performance-wise in this film and that person was Mark Rylance.

Sylvester Stallone, Creed MY PICK/WINNER
Yep I’m going ‘Old School’ on this one. because Sly, Sly, Sly – I’ve seen all your stuff, whether good or bad. But I remember how no one thought you could act.. I kept telling them you could, and then came ‘Copland’ where you proved them all wrong and me right. Has there been more misses than hits…sure there has, but damn you were so good here. He will pull at everyone’s heartstrings like he did mine and take this.

**Come back tomorrow for Day 4 of the “7 Days of Oscar” and see my picks/winners for Best Director.**

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REVIEW: “SPOTLIGHT” (2015) Q & A w/Producers (Open Road Pictures)

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“Spotlight” boldly brings back into the spotlight (pun intended) and tells the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking up not only us the public, but the entire Catholic Church to its core.
Michael Keaton plays Walter Robinson who leads the Globe’s investigative unit “Spotlight” along with Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James). At a time when the internet started undercutting actual newspapers & staffs of some of the biggest papers in town were being cut in half, the Globe brought in new editor, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), and the team begins to unfold a horrific pattern of child sexual abuse by the church that was muted and covered up by high priced lawyers and payoffs to victim’s families. As Walter probes further and further into the events (the setting is just prior to, but mostly after the events of 9/11) the investigation reveals layers and layers of injustice of Catholic Priests that were aided by the highest powers of the church in an effort to keep the story muted.spotlight 1

It all starts with a featured column about Catholic priest John Geoghan who was accused of abusing over 100 boys. A civil suit is filed but the details of the abuse were ordered sealed by the courts. As newly installed editor and the first Jewish one at that, Baron puts the team of reporters on the case and within days the evil that lurked with the sacred rooms of local churches begins to reveal it’s despicable face.
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The investigation goes on for months as the team hits roadblock upon roadblock taking one step forward for every two steps back. But the story eventually breaks and the emotionally exhausted team is eventually able to bring to light one of the more depressing and important stories to hit us in the new century.

The performances are mostly good. Schreiber as Baron, the first Jewish editor is quiet, yet speaks volumes. Ruffalo with some oddly thrown in facial & body tics/expressions that are reminiscent of a bad Jimmy Olsen type reporter is almost annoying to a point, McAdams is her usual bland generic self. Keaton & Tucci both are good, though for Keaton, it’s not Birdman type good. There are more roles to be recognized in Billy Cruddup, Jamey Sheridan & notable is John Slattery. It’s truly an ensemble film as there are no specific leads. spotlight 5
And of course nods to All the President’s Men will be inevitable. The film itself is fresh and invigorating in its painfully frustrating subject matter. It is at times painful to watch. Trusted bonds between people, children, parents and the institution that promotes the opposite to what it sometimes preaches are disgusting revelations that are brought to the screen with sizzling effect. You won’t forget this movie or what happened any time soon after you see it, and truthfully, we never should.

Grade: B-
@pegsatthemovies

Screening: Monday, November 2, 2015 ~ Courtesy of the Producers Guild of America
Nationwide release: Friday, November 6, 2015

POST Q & A w/Producers: Michael Sugar, Nicole Rocklin, Blye Pagon Faust, Steve Golin ~ It’s always nice when the Producers, Director and Cast take the time out to do a post-screening Q & A. They talk about their passion for the projects and usually give great insight to their films. That’s why it surprised me so much that there was a huge exodus of people after this film. Usually you always get a few, but I would say 1/2 the audience emptied out. Not sure why, maybe they were disturbed by it, maybe they were Catholics upset by the fact that it happened, and maybe some still just don’t want to believe it. I found it sad because as a film-goer, you should have the decency to show respect to the people that again, took the time to come talk to you about a project. Moving on… All producers listed took the time to speak about the films budget, which at 20 million, but they still got good stars to come aboard even though there was no specific lead role, as it was a complete ensemble type film. Mark Ruffalo was the first to come aboard and they appreciated that because it brought others to the table. They also had to clear schedules because they wanted to shoot in the specific time of year of late fall, early winter as that’s when it all actually happened. The Boston Globe also let them shoot in their actual offices where everything took place.
They also had to work closely to get all the legal aspects & clearances done correctly as you would be assuming correctly if you thought the Catholic Church was less than thrilled to be having this all brought up again in a film. The only reaction from the church has been the few apologies you’ve already seen.
Since the piece first ran in Jan 2002, over 600 more articles were published by the Boston Globe unearthing more and more atrocities. The most moving moment was when a survivor was in the audience and thanked the producers for making this film and making sure we never forget and hopefully work harder to prevent this from happening again, as it still is going on all over the world..and not just in the catholic religion to be sure.

COUNTDOWN TO THE OSCARS ~ BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR/ACTRESS

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Continuing with the Oscar countdown ~ we are moving along to Best Supporting Actor/Actress.

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Mark Ruffalo
“Foxcatcher”
One of my least favourite performances in this category

Edward Norton
“Birdman”
i won’t be mad if Norton wins this.. not in the slightest as this was my favourite performance and I would’ve called Norton the winner…until…

J.K. Simmons
“Whiplash”
Until..I saw this performance of Simmons. Long been a favourite of mine since the HBO series “OZ” – he blew us all away with this..

Robert Duvall
“The Judge”
How do you not like Duvall.. he’s truly an acting icon.

Ethan Hawke
“Boyhood”
Love Ethan.. not my fav. movie or performance.

My Pick: J.K. Simmons
Will Win: J.K. Simmons
Possible Win: Edward Norton

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
I will be upfront here.. none of these performances WOWED me. Jessica Chastain for ‘A Most Violent Year’ was whom I would’ve picked, but yeah..not nominated. So if I have to pick…

Emma Stone
“Birdman”
It’s not Emma for me.

Patricia Arquette
“Boyhood”
Truly not Patricia for me either though she’s been sweeping everything and walking up with her lengthy piece of tacky paper to read off of letting everyone know she knew she was winning.

Meryl Streep
“Into the Woods”
Love Meryl.. but I do think they ran short of people and put her in because she IS Meryl Streep.

Laura Dern
“Wild”
I didn’t love this movie.. but Dern moved me some with her performance here, she was definitely the best part of this movie.

Keira Knightley
“The Imitation Game”
While Knightley didn’t annoy the complete bejesus out of me this go round.. she usually does and she did Laggies & Begin Again, both awful films that she should just be punished for that and all the others.

My Pick: Laura Dern
Will Win: Patricia Arquette
Possible Win: Emma Stone

Golden Globes: Part 2 ~ My 2014 TV picks for the winners

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I did my film picks yesterday, so these are my TV picks and they are just that..MY PICKS! 😀 This is my favourite award show as it’s both Film & TV..I mean how can you go wrong with the best of both genres drinking it up at one awards show with Tina Fey & Amy Pohler hosting. Well the answer is you can’t. You might agree or even better, you might disagree ~ it’s all good. I’m afraid I’ve missed some of the net-only shows as I truly hate watching things on a laptop when I have a comfy couch & nice TV to watch on..ahhh well.. Still..I will warn you, I did pretty well last year with my picks and this year I think I’m going to do even better. So with that..I give you #peggyatthemovies 2014 Golden Globe TV picks! Cheers!

BEST DRAMA SERIES:
“The Affair”
Liked this show a lot. It’s a completely unique drama that shows 2 sides of the coin so to speak. But it also had some slower moving episodes in the beginning that I think made it harder for some to stick with it.

“Downton Abbey”
Well I mean..it’s Downton.. Even though some say it’s lost some of it’s initial charm, I tend to disagree. The 4th season might have been it’s slowest, but they set it up well for Season 5. And can we say Matthew Goode all together now. 😀

“Game of Thrones”WINNER
Ohhhhh Game of Thrones.. how you broke me with this last season. You killed off probably one of the most hated characters ever King Joffrey, and everyone cheered. Except you got one of our favs. Tyrion arrested for his murder and making his brother, Jaime Lannister, a good guy after all. And then dammit in one of the best scenes EVER, you killed Prince Oberyn. All the while Jon Snow & the Night’s Watch are doing there thing. You blew me away. Thank you!

“The Good Wife”
Will Gardner. oh Will Gardner, we miss you. But somehow the pain is lessened a tad bit by Finn Polmar (pssst Matthew Goode AGAIN). This plus fantastic performances by a stellar cast each and every week along with spectacular writing, make this show my 2nd pick.. I won’t be upset if it wins..nope..not at all.

“House of Cards”
I hear nothing but good things about this show. I’m seriously considering getting a Google Chrome stick or Amazon Fire just to be able to watch a show like this on my TV.

BEST COMEDY SERIES: – hard to judge category for me as I’ve not seen many of the shows so not picking a winner here.

“Girls”
Just never grabbed onto this show. Tried it a few times with different seasons, just never liked it all that much.

“Jane the Virgin”
This is the surprise fun show of the season. It’s a breath of fresh air. Cute, fun, appealing and wouldn’t it be fantastic to see the CW win an award as they’ve really come up from being the joke network in the past few years.

“Orange is the New Black”
I’ve only seen one episode.. it was fun, but makes it hard to judge here.

“Silicon Valley”
Haven’t seen it.

“Transparent”
Haven’t seen it.

BEST MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE:
“Fargo”
This series was good, but it was also a complete trip at times. Sometimes I loved it and sometimes I didn’t.

“The Missing”
This was a STARZ series. A channel I’ve never had. *sigh*

“The Normal Heart”
This was an emotional story for sure with top name talent in it. I can’t say I completely loved it though, but I definitely loved parts of it.

“Olive Kitteridge”
Haven’t been able to catch this yet as I get HBO once every few months to do just that. I will soon though.

“True Detective”WINNER
I just don’t think there was a question here of what show wins. This was such a dynamic and different story with characters like we’ve not really seen before. I loved it.

BEST ACTRESS (DRAMA):
Claire Danes – “Homeland
After a slow Season 3, Homeland got off to a bit of a rough start in the first 2 eps. of Season 4. Then it went blew the roof off and went WILD!! And this was in due part to Claire Danes bringing it back ‘home’ so to speak

Viola Davis – “How to Get Away With Murder”
I adore Viola. This show, not so much. After giving it 3 1/2 eps. I just didn’t find it interesting enough to keep watching. I found some of the characters really like-able. Sadly not Viola’s.

Julianna Margulies – “The Good Wife”WINNER
When does Julianna not bring it home on this show. She is fantastic week in week out. Yes, she’s won before..but deservedly so. Give it to her again.. please.

Ruth Wilson – “The Affair”
Loved Ruth in ‘Luther’ and liked her well enough here. Just not enough for a win.

Robin Wright – “House of Cards”
Once again, I haven’t seen this show though I hear she is fantastic in it.

BEST ACTOR (DRAMA):
Clive Owen – “The Knick”
I don’t have Cinemax so I never got to see this show. Clive is a pretty fantastic actor though and I’ve heard he brings it here.

Kevin Spacey – “House of Cards
Big fan of Kevin Spacey – haven’t seen the show.

James Spader – “The Blacklist” WINNER
I’ve adored James Spader for more years than I care to count. As I always say, you’re only as good as your villain and Spader brings it to these types of roles each and every time. ‘Red’ is not a good guy, but you can’t help but want him to come out ahead and that’s thanks to Spader’s performance.

Liev Schreiber – “Ray Donovan”
There were times during the 1st season of this show where I couldn’t decide if I loved it and it was the most brilliant new show or if I hated it and it was the worst new show. Season 2 made the decision for me as they kicked ass. Liev was amazing and I won’t be upset if he wins.

Dominic West – “The Affair”
Dominic West should’ve won for ‘The Wire’ years ago. He’s good here and still sexy as ever, but not my winner.

BEST ACTRESS (COMEDY):
Lena Dunham – “Girls”
I can’t say I like the show nor her character in it which is basically her. Sorry Lena.

Edie Falco – “Nurse Jackie”
Oh how I love Jackie..She’s been a mess, cleaned herself up, well kinda sorta, and all the while is the best nurse we all want if we’re ever in hospital. It’s also the last season so if she wins I won’t be mad.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus – “Veep”
I think Julia is one of the funniest people, but I just never took to much to this role or show. I like it..don’t love it.

Gina Rodriguez – “Jane the Virgin”WINNER
Because I love an underdog and Gina is so damn charming as Jane. This show is so fresh & new and wouldn’t it be nice to have someone new, different and exciting win an award like this on their first time out. Yes. it would be is the answer.

Taylor Schilling – “Orange is the New Black”
Wish I saw more of this show.

BEST ACTOR (COMEDY):
So I’m a fan of all of these actors. But I just haven’t watched enough of any of these shows to make a fair judgement – so I’m not going to. May the best man win.

Don Cheadle – “House of Lies”
Louis C.K – “Louie”
Ricky Gervais – “Derek”
William H. Macy – “Shameless”
Jeffrey Tambor – “Transparent”

BEST ACTRESS (MINI-SERIES OR TV MOVIE):
Maggie Gyllenhaal – “The Honorable Woman”
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get into this show.

Jessica Lange – “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
I remember S1 of this show..so good. Since then, well let’s just say it jumped the shark in Season 2 and never came back. Sorry Jessica..love you, but just can’t call it winner here.

Frances McDormand – “Olive Kitteridge”
Haven’t seen this yet.

Frances O’Connor – “The Missing”
Haven’t seen it.

Allison Tolman – “Fargo”WINNER
Allison was just fantastic in this show. Never had seen her before and within 2 eps I wanted to see more. And I can only hope she gets many more roles like this one.

BEST ACTOR (MINI-SERIES OR TV MOVIE):
Martin Freeman – “Fargo”
I’ve adored Martin Freeman since he played ‘Tim’ in the original version of “The Office”. Since then he’s been in so much and I’ve pretty much loved it all. And he was so good in this show. But there can be only one winner.

Woody Harrelson – “True Detective”
It’s a really really hard choice to pick between Det. Marty Hart and his partner because without one or the other, this show wouldn’t have been so completely amazing.

Matthew McConaughey – “True Detective” WINNER
Rust Cohle – just saying that should be enough to explain why I pick him as the winner. Mind-boggling performance.

Mark Ruffalo – “The Normal Heart”
Not my fav. character at all. I’m not Ruffalo’s biggest fan and he just didn’t do it for me here.

Billy Bob Thornton – “Fargo”
Billy Bob was pretty creepy good as the villain..at times..But it wasn’t consistent enough for me.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Uzo Aduba – “Orange is the New Black”
Haven’t seen enough of it.

Kathy Bates – “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
I can’t here..just can’t. It made me sad to see Kathy play a head on a platter in the few eps. I saw last season before I just couldn’t watch anymore.

Joanne Froggatt – “Downton Abbey” WINNER
Joanne really sunk her teeth into her character this past season and her storyline was a tough one. Considering all this, she came off very convincing as it’s a different time/era and she pulled it off. I know it will be a surprise and long shot if she wins, but again the underdog in me picks her.

Allison Janney – “Mom”
I’ve tried with this show..but I just don’t find it all that funny. Though Allison looks great and is the best part about it, just not my pick.

Michelle Monaghan – “True Detective”
Such a great show, but when you have two leads such as Woody & Matthew doing magic with their roles, you’ve just really got to step it up.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Matt Bomer – “The Normal Heart”WINNER
For me, Matt Bomer brought it in a big way to this role. He proved that he’s just not a pretty face but can bring it when it comes to hard-core acting performances.

Alan Cumming – “The Good Wife”
Alan is wonderful in this role. It fits him like a glove and I wish I could pick him..so let’s just say I won’t be mad if he wins!

Colin Hanks – “Fargo”
Colin was uhmmm..okay in this role. Just didn’t tie it up for me.

Bill Murray – “Olive Kitteridge”
Didn’t see it, but I know Murray was good..how do I know that? because he’s Bill Murray. end of story.

Jon Voight – “Ray Donovan”
Yeah Jon Voight is pretty damn good here and yeah he will probably win…but I’m sticking with my underdog pick.

Golden Globes – My picks for Film~Best Actor/Actress/Director/Supporting/Foreign

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My picks for these awards are just that..MY PICKS! 😀 This is my favourite award show as it’s both Film & TV..I mean how can you go wrong with the best of both genres drinking it up at one awards show with Tina Fey & Amy Pohler hosting. Well the answer is you can’t. I’ve seen almost all the films presented this year, even the foreign ones – though yes, I’ve missed a few as there is only so much one human-being can do! ha! You might agree or even better, you might dis-agree ~ it’s all good. I will warn you, I did pretty well last year with my picks and this year I think I’m going to do even better. So with that..I give you #peggyatthemovies 2014 Golden Globe picks! Cheers!

BEST PICTURE (DRAMA):
“Boyhood”
I loved the premise of this movie.. the movie itself was good..but not great for me.

“Foxcatcher”
I will say I was glad I went into this film not knowing to much about it. Performances were very good, but still not my pick here.

“The Imitation Game”WINNER
I loved everything about this movie. The story is so good~the much speculated and talked about inaccuracies and all. The acting even better, and alas it was the only movie to make me cry..both times I saw it.

“Selma”
Like it as it’s quite a powerful film with all it’s much talked about inaccuracies also…just didn’t love it.

“The Theory of Everything”
Really like the film..second viewing the other night was even better.. performance by both actors, especially Eddie Redmayne, is what awards are made for. Still not my top choice for best picture though.

BEST PICTURE (COMEDY/MUSICAL):
“Birdman”WINNER
From the 1st viewing to my 3rd viewing.. BRILLIANT!!

“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
I enjoyed this movie as it was tons of fun and entertaining..though I might not think it’s best picture material, others might.

“Into The Woods”
Will admit to not having seen it yet..as it just wasn’t on the top of my to-see list. I will eventually get to it though.

“Pride”
This movie never came to a theatre near me as far as I know as it was on my list..if it did, it was in and out so fast I missed it. Too bad because it seems as it would be right up my alley.

“St. Vincent”
This was a fun, sweet film.. I mean how can you not like Bill Murray..and the kid was great..but still not a top film for moi.

BEST DIRECTOR:
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Wes Anderson has done some good films that I’ve really liked..and I did like this a lot, just not enough for it to be my pick in this category.

Ava DuVernay, “Selma”
Good film..love the fact that a woman director got nominated and it was great hearing her speak about the film trials & tribulations after the screening, but alas, it’s not my pick.

David Fincher, “Gone Girl”
I mean who doesn’t love David Fincher..He;s done some brilliant stuff..and I liked this film a lot as it had a good creep/twisty factor but it’s not an award winner.

Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”WINNER
But there is only one “Birdman” and this film was stunning with it’s long one-shots and imagination. I loved loved loved it…all 3 times to be exact.

Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Yes, I was stunned as I watched this film unfold as to the idea of it all..and that idea was Richard Linklater’s – but I just didn’t like the movie enough to make it my #1 .. though if Alejandro doesn’t win, he would be my 2nd choice based on just the fact it was done over a 12yr time period..that’s a huge commitment and undertaking.

BEST ACTRESS (DRAMA):
Jennifer Aniston, “Cake”
I wish I could say I’ve seen this film/performance as a lot of people are raving about it. But I blinked and missed it for the 1 week it was in like 2 theatres here.

Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Loved the film, loved the performance especially for her 1st major leading role and she was wonderful..my 2nd choice for sure.

Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”WINNER
Can we not just give Julianne the damn award already??!!! She needs to finally win it for a lead role in a film dammit!!

Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
While I’m not Rosamund Pike’s biggest fan, she was crazy creepy good in this role. But then she also did Simon Pegg’s “The Pursuit of Happyness” this year which was awful. Just for that reason alone she doesn’t deserve this. 🙂

Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”
Yeah..everyone said I would be ‘WOWED’ by this film & her performance..I wasn’t. It was good..not great.

BEST ACTOR (DRAMA):
Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
Funny-man turned oh-so-serious and pulled it off..pretty well I might add.

Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
2014 was definitely the year of the Brits. This performance is outstanding..it really is..but it’s also my 2nd choice. I know..I know..ALREADY!

Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nighcrawler”
Jake pulled off creepy-shitshow reporter here.. but he didn’t come close to my 2 top picks performance wise.

David Oyelowo, “Selma”
Good performance..fair movie..but like Jake, just didn’t come close to the top 2.

Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”WINNER
Yes, I am giving my pick to Eddie Redmayne here..why..because simply put he was BRILLIANT BEYOND BELIEF. He embodied Stephen Hawking in every way, shape, form & speech. This performance is why awards are given. period.

BEST ACTRESS (COMEDY/MUSICAL):
Amy Adams, “Big Eyes”WINNER
Really good performance.. was it the ‘gold standard’ of American Hustle that I loved..no..but then neither was the film and sadly the actress roles were seriously lacking this year across the board. She was however good enough to win this.

Emily Blunt, “Into The Woods”
I’ve come to like Emily Blunt more & more..she was great as an action star with Tom Cruise in ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ pulling this off is harder.

Helen Mirren, “The Hundred Foot Journey”
Didn’t see this film..again, I’ve read the movie itself is mediocre but how can you not love Helen Mirren is just about anything.

Julianne Moore, “Maps To The Stars”
Again, blinked and missed this one, but I hear Julianne did a bang-up job.

Quvenzhane Wallis, “Annie”
Let’s face it..we know the genre was lacking contenders so this is a ‘fill up the category’ nomination.

BEST ACTOR (COMEDY/MUSICAL):
Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
I’m a fan of this film and of the performance, as it was fun. But it’s not a win.

Michael Keaton, “Birdman”WINNER
Let’s face it..we ALL love a really good comeback. And Michael Keaton gives it to us lock, stock and barrel in this film. He’s a fantastic actor who deserves this big time.

Bill Murray, “St. Vincent”
I j’adore Bill Murray. From ‘Caddyshack’ to ‘Groundhog Day’ to this film. How can you not? But it just wasn’t a better performance than my pick for winner.

Joaquin Phoenix, “Inherent Vice”
Ridiculous film..ridiculous performance..and I love Joaquin. This shouldn’t even be up and I’m guessing was another ‘fill in the category’ nomination

Christoph Waltz, “Big Eyes”
Good performance and while some thought it over the top..I was lucky enough to see a screening with a Q & A afterwards with cast/director where they noted it was actually toned it down. I liked it, not enough for a win though.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
The part I loved most about this was when I finally realized that they were doing this over a 12yr period and having a giggle over ‘hey, that’s when she was doing “Medium” hair-style etc. She probably did the best work of her career here and stands a good chance of winning.

Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year” WINNER
Jessica just went against type here and really came out strong in this performance for me. Very different style & film.

Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
For once Keira Knightley did not annoy the bejesus out of me..She was actually decent in this role. Though she also did ‘Begin Again’ – where she was annoying and probably one of the 5 worst movies of the year ‘Laggies’ – so she can not not not possibly deserve this award.

Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Was one of my top 3 films of the year, but definitely not a favourite performance here. It grew on me a bit more by the 3rd viewing, but still, nope.

Meryl Streep, “Into The Woods”
It’s Meryl. What else is there to say? she’s always good.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
This was a fairly good movie, and a nice performance. Though sweetly done, not a winner for me.

Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
I remember when the screening started and I thought “how does Ethan look so damn young here” and it took me a good hour to finally realize what they did here. I’ve always liked Ethan, through the good and the bad..this was part of the good.

Edward Norton, “Birdman”
I’m so torn here as until I saw Whiplash, he had my vote. hands down. but now, uuuggghhh torn, torn, torn! But he’s my 2nd choice, and it actually hurts to say that.

Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
I thought Ruffalo was out of place in this film. He’s playing someone who is clearly supposed to be so much younger and it didn’t come off for me. I know a lot of people loved him in it. He was just okay for me.

J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”WINNER
Damn this movie was good. Even better the 2nd time with a full screening and J.K. & Dir:Damien Chazelle speaking afterwards to fill it all in. I’ve been a J.K.Simmons fan since “OZ” and he blows you away in this film. He so deserves this award for everything he’s done in his career that has been so good, but most of all for bringing this character to life like no other.

BEST FOREIGN FILM:
“Force Majeure”WINNER
I was way behind on my foreign films because they were all screening at the same times and their English counterparts and I could only do so much. That being said, I saw this the other day..really good film..loved it.

“Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem”
Wasn’t able to see this yet

“Ida”
Caught this film this week, and while I know it’s the fav. I found my pick to be all-around better film.

“Leviathan”
This was an okay-good film. I know sometimes maybe a bit gets lost in translation, and while I thought visually it was beautiful, it story was scattered and lost.

“Tangerines”
Was not able to see it.

“FOXCATCHER” (2014) ~ REVIEW Q & A w/Steve Carell & Dir: Bennett Miller

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I am not going to even pretend that this movie didn’t disturb me somewhat. I purposely didn’t read too much about the film so as not to spoil anything before I went to the screening and I would suggest to all to not do so either because even though it’s easy to look it up and see what happens, not knowing was mind-blowing to say the least. That being said, I knew it was about wrestling..that much was plainly apparent. Having being a wrestling-stat girl in high school (whooohooo 🙂 ) gave me a helping hand as I understood and could follow that part of the film along well which was a plus. But to describe this as simply a ‘wrestling’ movie would be doing it a complete dis-service as it’s more a characterization film than anything else.

“John du Pont” (an unrecognizable Steve Carell) is a very rich man..heir to the du Pont fortune, with some very clear ‘mommy issues’. He is obsessed with all sorts of odd things; birds, trophies, military grade weapons, tanks ~ pretty much anything but the horses his mother likes, and wrestling..Olympic style wrestling to be precise. He is also a man who calls himself ‘Eagle’ or ‘Golden Eagle’ all clearly for his own benefit as no one actually calls him this as it’s really a moniker that he made up for his own ego. foxcatcher 2

In this obsession with wrestling steps in Gold Medalists and brothers “Mark Schultz” (Channing Tatum) and “David Schultz” (Mark Ruffalo). We can see from the start that Mark Schultz is a monosyllabic loner, interested only in wrestling. He sticks out his jaw in neanderthal-like fashion and mumbles his way through a speech for a bunch of elementary school kids, talking about patriotism. It’s when the school secretary makes out the check that we realize that it was supposed to be Dave giving the speech all along. In contrast to Mark’s hulk and bulk, Dave is small, affable and completely at ease with himself and with others. As they train together it is clear that the older brother’s job is that of father, trainer and anger manager. Their lives are inextricably linked all the while being poles apart.
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Alone in his dingy flat, Mark receives a mystery phone call from someone on behalf of John du Pont inviting him to Pennsylvania. With the world championships looming and the Seoul Olympics three years away, Mr. du Pont offers Mark an incredible opportunity to train and live on his estate. Mark snaps up the offer, but Dave declines. This is where the sinister du Pont sees his chance to mold and corrupt his oh-so-naive and seemingly dim-ish protege. Giving him luxuries never before experienced, but also turning him into a addicted cocaine & alcohol abuser, finally taking his control freak persona too far by slapping Mark in the face when he fails to follow his commands. And of course rebellion ensues at that point from Mark as it would with probably anyone at that point. foxcatcher 4

Much has been written about whether Carell could escape his comedy persona for this out of the box role, but he really steps up to the plate here and completely embodies du Pont with the perfect amount of creep and mental instability. With his prosthetic nose, tiny teeth and grey skin, he looks as if he could have been poisoned by the chemicals that made his family’s fortune. This tiny friendless man lives under the thumb of a clearly dominate mother “Jean du Pont” (Vanessa Redgrave), whose goal of trying to impress and aim to please her constantly falls short. du Pont seems to be an in-the-closet rich, mentally unbalanced gay man, whose interest in wrestling is the creepy way he craves the physical contact he enjoys with the other team participants and the control he can exert over it all being their benefactor of sorts.
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Foxcatcher shows us the corruptive, toxic and devastating power warp side of how some people with money can take advantage of that situation in all the wrong ways. When Mark states that his brother can’t be bought, we watch du Pont digesting this information. Not long after, lo and behold, Dave and family are there comfortably ensconced on the estate, just as Mark is on his way out. But throughout his time with du Pont, Dave never sells himself and he is the one character for whom the allure of money holds no power, while Mark turns and almost on purposely loses a treasured spot in the Olympic trials in his own way of pissing off the now hated du Pont. While Ruffalo is good here, I felt he was a bit too old to make the role convincing for me. If Mark states he is only 27 at the beginning and even by say a much older brother standards, Dave could be 37..So Ruffalo, at real age 47, while still a good performance, just doesn’t come off right for me in this role whereas Tatum & Carell both really blow me away.

While Foxcatcher has slow drawn out parts and pauses, there are also many aspects that combine to make this a very good film: the three leads’ performances, the design, as du Pont’s home gradually empties of his mother’s equestrianism trophies and fills with eagles and arms; the sounds of grunting wrestlers, birds and helicopters – and the long paused out silences. This film takes us on the Schultz brothers’ journey and leads us to the terrible ending denouncement in this subtle and horrifying and true-story parable of what money can and can’t buy.foxcatcher SC 4

Having a follow-up Q & A with Director: Bennett Miller & Actor: Steve Carell was not only eye-opening insight into the film, but yes, with Carell you know you are always going to have a bit of a laugh no matter the hard-line subject matter of the film. While Miller had some good notes to share including the fact that “the full story is even stranger, Miller said; in fact, he noted, the movie “dials it back” in scenes that showcased du Pont in full freak mode, firing guns on his estate and otherwise behaving erratically.” He came off as a bit abrupt in annoyance almost to the point of rude at times even interrupting Carell during his answers. But lightening the mood some was Carell with his opening answer to the moderator Sneider who asked about the artistry behind Carell’s dramatic transformation into his characterization of du Pont, to which Carell jokingly replied, “There was no hair and makeup.” 😀 Then noting a few points: “The weirdest thing about it was not necessarily watching it happen and then looking in the mirror and saying, ‘Ooooh, I’m a different guy,’ but it was how other people reacted to me once I was in all of that stuff,” Carell said, recounting how his driver was disturbed by him in the du Pont makeup. “He would tell me on the drive back to the hotel, ‘Man, I just don’t like being around that other guy.’ foxcatcher SC 1
“Du Pont had a very specific manner about him and a very specific physicality, and those things, I think, conspired to push other people away from him. He was off-putting, and it had the same effect with me naturally on set — I generally ate lunch by myself — but I think it ultimately was a good thing to have that kind of separation from the other actors.”
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All in all I liked the film. But more so than that, I liked the performances again, especially strong by Tatum & Carell and that will have me giving a higher grade overall to the film.

(Wrap Oscar Screening on December 11th at Landmark Theatres (Westwood) Foxcatcher is playing in theatres nationwide).
Grade: B
@pegsatthemovies

(See grading scale)

+++ BEGIN AGAIN – REVIEW BY #peggyatthemovies +++

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Huh.. Keira Knightly, an actress, trying to be a musician and Adam Levine, a musician, trying to be an actor.. Throw in a super cliche’ script  and Mark Ruffalo in well.. a typical Mark Ruffalo part, and you’ve got the plot of this this sappy movie wrapped up to a tee.

“Greta” (Kiera Knightly) comes on a visit to NYC with her up and coming rock-star boyfriend, “Dave Koch” (Adam Levine), with I might add a horrible 70’s porn~stache which turns into an even less attractive, hideous full beard! Blech..I guess I just don’t get the ‘Adam Levine’ thing..but back to the oh – so – every – cliche – in the book, storyline.  Dave, of course cheats on Greta, which she figures it out by listening to a song he wrote while on a quick trip to LA, but of course, so she goes to find her quirky, unemployed, street guitar playing to no one, but hey, I have an expensive NYC apt. with all sorts of musical recording studio equipment, also British friend, “Steve” (James Corden). Steve takes Greta out to a open-musician night at a bar and makes her sing (cringe-worthy I might add – (ex-b/f Rupert Friend, I hope you don’t hear this as you can actually sing) and lo and behold washed up, drunken music exec. “Dan” (Mark Ruffalo) is drunkenly in the audience after being ousted by his label partner “Saul” (Mos Def as Yassin Bey here) because he is deemed ‘out of touch’. He ‘hears’ the tepid song in an orchestrial manoeuvres kind of way and of course the rest is well..right there in front of your face to see.. Every step of the way.. plodding along with every cliche in the book of “Hey let’s make an album and you a star” story, they set out to record all over the streets of NYC..cuz you know..Punk Rock NEVER did that in the 70’s!! 

This part of the movie is actually not so bad and there are some endearing characters that help pull this off including a small group of kids playing in the back alleys..who viola’ become back up singers.. but okay.. really..it has a few sweet moments and these are them. Also, joining in the revelee now in probably my favourite character of the movie, Dan’s daughter, “Violet” played well by Hailee Steinfeld. She is joined by her mom & Dan’s wife “Miriam” (Catherine Keener), from whom he is heartbreakingly separated from to add of course, misery to mayhem and leave us oh so hoping for that ‘you can see it coming a mile away’ reconciliation of the two. There are also some nice music scenes with Steve Wonder playing during a bit of an homage to running around the streets of New York while listening together to music. But all in all, you see everything coming but not in a way that makes it anything special or different. Of course Dave wants to get back together when he realizes his mistakes, of course Greta wants to be a rebel musician and try to dictate to the label what she wants done with her now, oh so catchy tunes album, of course she rolls with it on her own terms!! And sorry, Keira, but you are not a singer and wearing oh so many stripes & checks bohemian look with your flats, riding a bike with a little straw basket, being almost emaciated looking with your pout or snaggly over-done smiling, all the while having a bit to much posh-Brit for the role, well..does not work. 

I don’t really even need to explain the end of the story..because you know what it is from the beginning. My only 2 standouts are Hailee Steinfeld and James Corden.  I almost feel bad for writer/director John Carney as ‘Once’ was a really good movie.. Twice is not. 

Grade: C –  because some people will just love the sappy overdone story and they deserve to spend money on this movie. For the rest of us, D+

 GRADING SCALE: A = OSCARWORTHY; B = ABOVE AVERAGE~MUST SEE; C= AVERAGE~SHOULD SEE; D = DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY; F = YEAH..NO DON’T SEE THE MOVIE.. ( + OR – ) GIVES IT A BIT UP OR DOWN