REVIEW: “SELF/LESS” (2015) FOCUS FEATURES

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“SELF/LESS” is billed as psychological science fiction thriller with Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley as “Damian” as an extremely wealthy man dying from cancer who finds out about a radical underground medical procedure called “shedding” that can transfer his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man in Ryan Reynolds the younger version of Damian. As with anyone given back a younger self, Younger Damien then proceeds to take full advantage of that situation but with all the knowledge of his older self, to mix it up New Orleans party style. As long as he takes his ‘special’ pills that is. self less 1

But as you figure out within the first 15 minutes of the film, all is not as it seems as Reynolds “Younger Damian” starts experiencing flashes of a woman “Madeline” (Natalie Martinez) and a child “Anna” (Jayne-Lynn Kinchen), which leads to him going on an action-fueled rampage to figure out the mystery of who they are and what they lead to – aka the body’s origin – and the underground organization lead by a “Professor Albright” (Matthew Goode) that will kill anyone who tries to find out its secrets.
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This film’s only surprise for me was that I thought I was going into a sci-fi type film (the premise seemed quite interesting from the trailers) – was actually a sluggish, very predictable, ‘point/less’ (pun intended) action film. And while I might question why we are led to believe that Ben Kingsley is one of the main attractions of the film, as he’s only there for a very short period in the first act, I will say I did absolutely love the use of Louisiana flare and colour that they squeeze in at every possible moment from jazz bands to Mardi Gras and yes, even chicory coffee!
Beyond that we are left with Michelle Dockery “Claire” (trying her hardest to give a good American accent) as older Damian’s daughter with whom he feels that if given another chance by doing this shedding experiment, he can repair his relationship with her. Add in a supporting cast of older Damien’s best friend “Martin” (Victor Garber) & his wife “Judy” (Melora Hardin) with a few secrets of their own that the younger version will discover and a interchangeable henchmen “Anton 1” (Derek Luke) and “Anton 2” (Brendan McCarthy) and you’ve wrapped up your film in a handshake.

Ben Kingsley as Damian in ``Self/less.''

Ben Kingsley as Damian in “Self/less.”

While I was told there has been comparisons with a 1966 John Frankenheimer film called “Seconds” which I’ve not seen, I can only say that SELF/LESS might have tried hard to be this but took a sharp left turn in the wrong direction as it’s more interested in sending Damian on the run with an upset wife and child in tow as he tries to keep them in the dark over what’s really happening..and you can imagine how realistic that all is. (clue: it’s not)
Essentially the story is your basic standard fugitive plotline with any inter-personal connections aspect of it being severely underwritten.

Rating: D
@pegsatthemovies

Screening: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015 at The Grove-Pacific Theatres courtesy of Focus Features & LAFTV
NATIONWIDE RELEASE: Friday, July 10th, 2015

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“EMMY AWARDS” ~ 2014 PICKS IN DRAMA

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My favourite part of any Awards shows are the Drama categories.. In the last 10 years or so, there have been some of the best shows to ever grace a TV screen done in this category.  With cable jumping into the game around that time, it’s brought us loads & loads of great writing, acting & falling in love with TV all over again.  Have they missed a few shows over the years.. yes – they have – most notably ‘Sons of Anarchy’, ‘Justified’. and most recently Orphan Black & Rectify.  But so it goes.. Here are my picks of the shows/people that have been nominated..

 

Best Drama Series

“Breaking Bad”

One of the best shows to EVER grace the small screen.. I lived for Walter White and Jesse Pinkman every Sunday night..

“Downton Abbey”

Downton literally swept us off our feet in it’s first season with a wonderful portrayal of an era long past, but we all found so interesting..

“Game of Thrones”

The only season to disappoint so far in this series was S2 which after the “OHMYGOD” of Season 1 seemed almost explainable.  Season 3 came back with a vengeance and it’s been just jaw-dropping once again.

“House of Cards”

I hear nothing but raves on this show.. have yet to see an episode due to the comfy couch/big screen TV syndrome I still have.. 🙂

“Mad Men”

Who doesn’t have a love/hate relationship with Don Draper..

“True Detective” – WINNER

Rust Cohle & Martin Hart.. need I say more – probably one of the most ingenious and original shows to come out of TV in a long time!! Can we say WINNER here!!

 

Best Actress in a Drama Series

 Lizzy Caplan, “Masters of Sex”

Lizzy Caplan brings a fresh perspective to the 50’s perfunctory woman in this role..I love the show & her in it.

Claire Danes, “Homeland”

I love Homeland.. and at times Claire Danes does a wonderful job with the role of Carrie – but at others she is annoying as end all being like a contortionist with her facial expressions and that old adage that moms always tell you when you’re a child always pops to mind here – ‘be careful or your face will stay that way’  – sorry but you know it’s true.

Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey”

While I love the show – and her character of Mary has been through some moments – I just don’t think it’s a strong enough role to win here..

Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife” – WINNER

Now we are talking… Let’s just give a slow clap first of all to the best season of ‘The Good Wife’ yet.  Season 5.  It was incredible and a lot of those kudos go right to this person here.

Kerry Washington, “Scandal”

What started off in Season 1 as an interesting premise did what Shonda Rhimes shows do and it so jumped the shark for me in Season 2 & beginning of Season 3 it’s pretty much unwatchable for me now.  Soooo over everyone trying to outfast talk the next actor.. so over this show and while I like Kerry.,you can’t compare her performance to that of Julianna Marguilies – you just can’t.

Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Always have liked Robin Wright.. since way back in “The Princess Bride” – I wish I could say I’ve watched it here.

 

Best Actor in a Drama Series

 Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”

One of the best performances ever done on TV – We felt sympathy at the beginning which later turned to fear of the man that was Walter White.

Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”

Great show – great character & performance ..

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”

Again, tell me one person that does not have a Love/Hate thing for Don Draper.. it takes talent to pull that off.

Woody Harrelson, “True Detective”

It’s a hard decision for me to pick between the two characters on this show as both were just fantastic

Matthew McConaughey, “True Detective” – WINNER

But I’m going with Matthew & Rust Cohle – why..because as good as Woody was it is Rust’s character that blew this show out of the box.  Probably have never seen a character nor performance like it..so please let’s continue on with the McConaissance …please!!! 😀

Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”

Kevin Spacey is also a consummate professional wonderful actor.  Keyser Soze anyone?? 😀

 

Supporting Actor, Drama Series

 Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”

Bitch.. hahahahhahaha

Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey”

I  can keep saying how much I love the show – but I think it’s almost too much of an ensemble to just pick one character out of it.

Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”

I LOVE PETER DINKLAGE.. there I said it.. he’s a spectacular actor in everything from ‘The Station Agent’ to “Nip/Tuck to  X-Men – but this role was definitely just tailor-made for him..

Josh Charles, “The Good Wife” – WINNER

Of course I would pick Josh Charles – why you ask.. because losing Will Gardner felt like losing a family member and anyone that can make you feel that.. deserves an award.

Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”

I’ve never related a ton to this character though I find him a complete necessity on the show.. I know..weird.

Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”

For the whole first season of this show, I couldn’t figure out whether it was just plain brilliant or just plain bad.. I went with I like it and that’s all that matters.  Though I usually like my bad characters to have some redeeming quality to make me like them, Jon Voights character has never done that for me.

 

Supporting Actress, Drama Series

Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad”

5 seasons of Skyler White.. at times we pitied her, sympathized with her, didn’t like her and at the end, we were just overwhelmed with where her life started and finished in this show.. Bravo Anna Gunn…well done.

Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”

I mean she’s Dame Maggie Smith for crimeny sakes.  The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was on TV a few years back and she was so simply fantastic in that role..as she has been in pretty much everything she’s ever done.

Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones”

Oh Lena, you play the gamut in this role of roles.. but you actually kinda scare me too much!!  ha!

Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife” – WINNER

Because dammit she IS and embodies Diane Lockhart.  Nothing else needs to be said.

Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”

I just don’t think she had enough in her role this past season to quantify this nomination.  Had it been last season, I would have said yes.. This season I’m sorry but the fact that Elizabeth Moss aka Peggy Olson didn’t get this nom instead is just wrong.. she blew it off the screen this year.. Christina did not.

Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey”

I know this might be odd…but I think she is totally the long shot to win this and just might do so.  Her portrayal of Anna Bates was so spot on this season that in such a large ensemble cast – she stood out..waaaay out and excelled completely in this role.