REVIEW: “MAGIC MIKE XXL” (2015) Warner Bros.

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Well it’s been three years since “Magic Mike” (Channing Tatum) retired from his life as a male stripper, now running his own struggling custom furniture business and he decides to reunite with what’s left of his old team with plans of bowing out once and for all after a final performance at a big 4th of July weekend stripper convention in Myrtle Beach, FL.

What happens along the way is what truly makes this a much better film than the first one with one or two exceptions – one of them being no Matthew McConaughey as emcee extraordinaire “Dallas” this time round and as expected Jada Pinkett Smith as “Rome” cannot even come close to filling his shoes. (If you watch Gotham at all, it’s almost the exact same character portrayal here). Two, no Alex Pettyfer and it’s perfectly fine as you don’t miss him in the slightest.
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Magic Mike XXL is in essence, a comedic guys road-trip movie with a lot of dancing, a couple hits of ecstasy & lucky for us, there is at least one stripping scene per stop ensuring us all a good time on the road with these boys. At points its hard to care that they throw caution to the wind and just pause the plot entirely when so much effort was put into making each stop outrageous, hilarious and insanely sexy. If your only reason for coming to watch just to see hot, sculpted men, you will not be disappointed either.
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The film wastes no time reuniting what’s left of Mike’s old male stripper team. Matt Bomer plays “Ken” – the charming pretty boy of the team – who shows off some of his strong Broadway vocal ability here in a version of “Heaven” that slays everyone. Kevin Nash is back as “Tarzan” the big guy who can’t dance but loves to paint. Adam Rodriguez is “Tito” who along with Gabriel Iglesias’s “Tobias” is unsure of his future prospects. The stand out of these guys might just be Joe Manganiello as “Big Dick Richie” who on top of being built like a god, is the most unexpectedly funny member of the team with a convenience store challenge to die laughing for and sure to be new tag-line of the year “How much for the cheetos & water” scene you can’t help but love. Leading the supporting cast is Amber Heard as “Zoe” who at first simply appears to be Mike’s love interest though in the end she is revealed to be much more than that in being a central part of the finale in an very unexpected way. Add in Stephan ‘Twitch’ Boss as “Malik” doing some absolutely amazing dancing routines and Donald Glover “Andre” singing like no other and you just can’t help but smile and enjoy yourself.
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Once the road trip gets going, the film spends most of its time just observing the guys hanging out as they travel from place to place running into obstacles along the way, but always finding time to dance and/or take their clothes off. The guys are all charming and with a somewhat low-stakes plot, XXL’s laid back ideals are perfect for a movie that is really contingent on the audiences likability of the cast and that we are able to engage with their characters. The film provides us endless opportunities to do just that as like them we do and not just as sexually alluring beefcake.
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In the end, this movie is just fun. That is just about it. Well…except I would be totally remiss to not mention one little last tidbit in calling out the spectacular cameo strip off that Michael Strahan gives as “Augustus” – it’s almost beyond words it’s so fun!!
There is no dramatics here or Oscar-worthy performances. But what there is are a lot of smiles, oodles of good fun & laughter, some really great singing and fantastic choreographed dancing. To sum it up there will definitely be a “Tsunami of dollars” made opening weekend from this one!!

Grade: C+
@pegsatthemovies

Screening Monday, June 27th at The Grove/Pacific Theatres courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.
Nationwide release – Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

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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.

Review: “INTERSTELLAR” (2014)

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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)

COUNTDOWN TO THE OSCARS ~ IT’S NITTY GRITTY TIME ~ BEST ACTOR

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aahhh Christian..loved you in this movie..No one can do a combover better than you! ha! And while you winning would totally be deserved, I just don’t think it’s going to happen this time around. 

While I think Bruce has had many good acting turns over his storied career, and this is a decent movie, this was a pretty basic performance of his for me.  Like he could have done it eyes-closed and for me, he doesn’t really deserve to be in this category with this movie up against some really stellar performances. Both June Squibb & Will Arnett out-acted him in this one. So no win here from me. 

Leo..damn you Leo!! You were quite simply put ‘fucking fantastic’ in this role. It was all yours and yours alone. You were just so good that it made the movie all the better and yes, I know you’ve been nominated 5 times and haven’t won and that so sucks…and you are my total runner-up and if you win I will not be sad because damn it, it would be so deserved!!! 

Good performance..but for me, not in the caliber of Leo’s or Matthew’s just as the movie wasn’t in that caliber either.. I truly thought there were others that were markedly better performances, but then this movie seems to be one of the darlings of the Oscars and so the performance stands. 

Well..Allright, Allright, Allright… yeah..it’s hard not to start off a Matthew McConaughey review without that. But let’s regress for a second. There was a time about 15+ years ago when he came on the scene in ‘Dazed & Confused’. ‘A Time to Kill’ etc.. that we just all thought.’wow, love this guy and he can act’ Then sometime right after all that, there was a fork in the road and one side said ‘corny movies, but money’ the other side said ‘good movies but no money’ We all know which road he took as up until early 2013 I can’t remember anyone in many years saying..’oh let’s go see that McConaughey movie’ but I do remember many times saying ‘let’s go see the Leo or Christian movie’ I even remember when Matthew was balding..and badly..and then came on Letterman and said he found this new product..started with an ‘A’ can’t remember the name, and his hair came back nicely. So nicely that when he finally got a grip on his career and said let’s do a few actual good movies again where I show people that yes, I can still act..And ‘Mud’ was wonderful.. But ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ blew me away..I loved everything about this movie and this performance.. And while it’s been dubbed the year of the “McConaissance’ I truly hope it last for a very long time as if ‘True Detective’ is any indication of this..I’m all back in Matthew and I hope you win this award!!! 

It’s a 3fer for this posting! “The Iceman” “Mud” & “Fast & Furious 6”

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Ok..so while everyone is out seeing the big budget movies, I tend to go Indie when I know they are worth it..and I’ve seen 2 really good ones, and yes even 1 big budget in the past 2 weeks. First, ‘The Iceman’ – wow..I had read some on this story, but never knew the true deal.. Mind boggling what this story is & how his family just didn’t have a clue for years.. Michael Shannon is really going to be my go-to actor this year I just know it. His performance as the hit-man The Iceman is mind boggling.. Grade B+

2nd movie: ‘Mud’ and yes, Michael Shannon has a supporting in this..just can’t get enough of this guy..but Matthew McConaughey is so good and shows that hey..maybe he can really act somewhat as we once thought he could..but the 2 performance by the kids in this movie is what brings it. I will be following both of them Tye Sheriden & Jacob Loftland in his 1st role ever.. to see what they do as they grow up as they should be getting some awards for this movie. It’s such a heart-tugging really messed up love story, but it’s like we’ve all seen it, but not like this.. funny thing is the only person I didn’t like in the movie was Reese Witherspoon..hmm.. Grade B+

Lastly..oh yes.. I saw Fast & Furious 6.. which honestly..was better than 5, but that was so bad not sure how much that says..ha! But entertaining..oh yes..I mean who doesn’t want to see Vin Diesel jump from a car going 100+ mph, catch Michelle Rodriguez in mid-air mind you on like the M5 in London..and land on a car on the opposite side at an impact of again, 100+mph and not even break a fingernail.. either of them..it was hysterical..but I will say this.. showing me Jason Stathom at then end & knowing that sexy as end all be all man will be in FF7.. oh yes.. count ME IN!!! #RIDEORDIE Grade C+ but oh so entertaining.. #peggyatthemovies