REVIEW: WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR” (2018) Focus Features

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“Won’t You Be My Neighbor” is hands down, the best film I’ve seen all year. And you might say “Oh it’s not a film, it’s a documentary” and you would be right. But it is still the best film of 2018 so far.

“WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR” is a beautifully done, heartwarming tribute to Fred Roger’s and his Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood show – which changed children’s television forever. This film highlights Rogers’ humanity and decency and shows how he brought his message to children everywhere. He was a Christian pastor who brought his values to work – without trying to preach or force his religion on you. I must say as a person who doesn’t believe in religion myself..he was truly the epitome of the word “good christian” probably the last of his kind as many who tout themselves as that now, couldn’t hold a candle to this man. And he gave everything to kids and truly cared about their views of the world and what happens to them.

His message remains timely today and also shows the importance of PBS. Interviews with everyone from his wife to his co-workers capture the essence of this wonderful human being.
The film is so well done and emotional – making you laugh, smile and yes, even grown men had tears during some remarkable moments. He made me think again and want to pass along his message of Love..yes..Love people. Do I wonder how he would handle today’s horrible effect of reality TV and what is going on with children being shot at school..yes I do. And I sure wish he was here to help in this time of inexplicable hate.. Please do yourself a favour and watch this film – it might give us all pause to think for a moment.

Grade: A+
@pegsatthemovies

Thank you to @filmindependent and @lacma for this screening.

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DAY 5: COUNTDOWN TO THE OSCARS “BEST ACTOR”

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ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the SeaWINNER
Affleck’s character just didn’t play as someone I could feel much empathy for — but on the other hand, I didn’t hate him either. Having a Q & A with him after the film gave me more insight that I probably wouldn’t have had or felt, had I not listened to him explain the character more and gave him more likability. Just overall, not enough to warrant an award from me though.

Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
While I don’t think Garfield necessarily did bad here performance wise, the trying-to-do a strong southern accent was bad and unsuccessful and yes, bothered me. Add that into an awful opening 45 minutes equals to no award by me.

Ryan Gosling, La La Land
We all know Gosling was a Mouseketeer so yes, he can sing and dance etc.. And yes he talented, so very talented as we’ve seen in past films he should actually have won for. This ‘cutsey’ good performance was just not award cutsey enough for me.

Viggo Mortensen, Captain FantasticMY PICK
I loved, loved, loved Viggo Mortensen’s performance – to put it clearly, he’s an actor’s actor and was just so good here. Am I hoping for an upset over Affleck & Gosling.. you can bet I am holding my breath for it.

Denzel Washington, Fences
Was Denzel good in this role? yes, yes he was and he won a Tony for it – he just didn’t do anything unexpected in the film. Sometimes he talked so much and so fast, I lost actual track of what he was saying. That being said, sometimes doing the dual role of acting & directing a film, one can lose a little on either side of that coin.

@pegsatthemovies
Thanks all for taking the time to give this a read. Let me know your thoughts on if you agree or disagree with my picks. Don’t forget to give this page a follow or a follow on twitter as well @pegsatthemovies. Cheers!

DAY 4: COUNTDOWN TO THE OSCARS ~ “BEST ACTRESS”

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It’s the 4th day of the Countdown and we are at none other than Best Actress..

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Isabelle Huppert, ElleMY PICK
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a performance as bold as this one. Huppert simply blew me away in one of the probably the oddest roles I think I’ve ever seen portrayed. I’ve never seen anything like it and probably never will again. Sadly, she won’t win for this piece of brillance.

Ruth Negga, Loving
While she was fairly one-note, but engaging enough here, I really only started to like this performance so much once she started speaking and really putting forth as the first 30+ min she just really never said anything. I just can’t put forth an award pick for that.

Natalie Portman, Jackie
While I think I enjoyed this film more than some did as it just got to me a little emotionally than I thought it would, she did go ‘caricature’ at times with it. While she was a front-runner for some time, I don’t think she even comes close to Huppert.

Emma Stone, La La LandWINNER
Yeah – I like Emma but this is really just another cutsey performance to me. Let’s face it, her singing/dancing parts aren’t all that good, but the ‘auditions’ parts were really good. That’s really all there is to it.

Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
Am I’m surprised Meryl Streep even got a nomination, no even though it’s almost annoying at this point, because even though the whole movie was a huge let-down, we all really do love her. And yes, I think she solidified her nomination when she gave that speech at the Golden Globes which was quite epic, but this award isn’t about best speeches.

@pegsatthemovies
Thanks all for taking the time to give this a read. Let me know your thoughts on if you agree or disagree with my picks. Don’t forget to give this page a follow or a follow on twitter as well @pegsatthemovies. Cheers!

DAY 3 ~ COUNTDOWN TO THE OSCARS ~ “BEST DIRECTOR”

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DAY 3 of my Countdown to the Oscars and it’s BEST DIRECTOR time. A tough one for me as Tom Ford/Nocturnal Animals would have been my pick here – but sadly, not nominated. So here we are with my thoughts of who the winner will be, and usually I would have my pick for whom I might like it to be, but I just don’t really have a personal frontrunner here.

DIRECTING

Arrival, Denis Villeneuve
While I thought this movie was one of the best Sci-Fi films I’d seen in sometime, there were points where it lagged so slowly and could easily have been cut by a good 20 minutes if not more.

Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson
I decided not to go with Hacksaw Ridge, and not because of anything to do with Mel Gibson’s personal problems — though while never forgiven or forgotten, I do think he’s a different person now and a very talented director and I wish him well. For me it was more the cheesy-ness of the first 45-minutes of this picture and the bad accents.

La La Land, Damien ChazelleWINNER
While again, this wasn’t my favourite movie – to much sappy for me, but I so loved what he did with Whiplash and how he should have won for that, that it was forgivable. Plus he’s probably going to win.

Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan
While I found this film in and of itself to be rather plodding, Lonergan did make everything click together finally at the end, though slowly..veerry slowly.

Moonlight, Barry Jenkins
It wasn’t my favourite film of the year as I just felt like I’d seen this story before and done better on The Wire. While Jenkins did a really good job on a shoestring budget, the movie’s three parts aren’t as connected as they could have been.

@pegsatthemovies
Thanks all for taking the time to give this a read. Let me know your thoughts on if you agree or disagree with my picks. Don’t forget to give this page a follow or a follow on twitter as well @pegsatthemovies. Cheers!

“KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE” (2015) 20th CENTURY FOX

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Watch out James Bond ~ the “Kingsman:Secret Service” is in town!!!
Kingsman

Starting off my 2015 with a early preview screening of this oh!so!fun! fantastic joyride of a film is just what I needed. Simply put, I LOVED IT! and I’m thinking spy movies will NEVER be the same.. 😀 This film truly injects the fun & thrills back into the spy movie genre as it’s a ridiculously entertaining action comedy that will certainly be hard to top – not just by the other parodies but yes, by the actual spy movies themselves. “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is enjoyable, well-made action film with a fair dose of humour, lots of slicked along style and panache’ ~ yes I said panache’ because that’s the only word that comes correctly to mind with it’s wonderful style & wardrobe fashion sense, but it’s definitely made by, for, and about people who’ve seen far too many Bond films…and yes, you can count me as one of the latter. 😀 kingsman colin in front of suit store

And while I won’t give away any spoilers….”Kingsman” is the story of a streetwise London youth named Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton) who is rescued from his life of petty crime and run-ins with the law by a posh secret agent named “Harry Hart/Galahad” (Colin Firth) and trained to be a new generation of spy working for a top secret privatized spy operation aka “The Kingsman”. How fun is it to see Colin Firth so polar opposite type-cast as a bad-ass and a good one at that?? REALLY FUN ~ I mean who knew??!! Certainly not me as who could even come up with this idea and make it work so well. Matthew Vaughn is who. Truthfully, Vaughn has cast his film fairly perfectly. Firth is game and great in his yes albiet, computer-aided fight scenes with his delivery of the dialogue spot on and with Egerton a naturally charismatic presence with smarts behind his cutesy smile. The always wonderful Mark Strong plays gadgetmaster “Merlin”, while Michael Caine is brilliant, although brief, as “Arthur” head of Kingsman. kingsman colin  taron

Samuel Jackson goes for broke here and strikes it big-time in riches as a over-the-top billionaire Steve Jobs type in villain form, “Richmond Valentine”, and supported wonderfully by henchwoman “Gazelle” (Sofia Boutella), who sports a pair of sharpened-and-bladed prosthetic legs and slices & dices her way through the film with them as divinely mad as any deadly dentures Richard Kiel ever wore as ‘Jaws’ or Harold Sakota as ‘Oddjob’ with his deadly flying top hat in Goldfinger. kingsman blades

But the biggest surprised nestled within “Kingsman” (and trust me, there are a bunch) might be the fact that it isn’t just some knock off doodle of a film. This is a hugely entertaining, heartfelt out and about thrillride!! It’s that bold, unique and whipsmart about what it puts out. There’s a real emotional through-line and Eggsy is a terrific main character, one you want to root for far beyond the boundaries of this film. Also, it doesn’t hurt that it’s a total blast. This is a movie, after all, where the villain sets his diabolical scheme in motion to the disco grooves of KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Give It Up.” I mean come on..what are you waiting for??? that alone should dictate that you see this movie at least twice! And though the action may be ludicrous at times, it’s also hugely engaging and delightful. Yes, the design is full of tributes and nods to other films and other bits of pop culture, but it also creates a logical world for itself. The tone of the film is spice but with a dose of sour but not in a bad taste way, it’s ‘knowing’ yet rarely cynical. And the British-isms of it aren’t lost or sanded down for an American audience. Firth is a killer, but never a brutish bad guy and Eggsy’s up-from-the-bottom determination to do good is clear in every scene, as Egerton pulls off loads of charm in his acting and skill in his action work. kingsman taron water

The whole plot is delivered with a dash of wink and pizzazz, with such bits of wittiness that even at one point Harry Hart/Galahad is conferring with Valentine and notes how much he misses “fun” spy movies. The genre, according to him, has become too stuck in “real world” politics all the while we note that this discussion takes place while the two characters are eating Big Macs of course, because hey, why not right? The movie is very much a throw-back fun return to the splashy, colorful films of the sixties that emphasized outlandish gadgets, deadly vixens and global plots where people push buttons and thousands could possibly die. kingsman big macs

With its fashion-forward flair — the film may borrow liberally from the Roger Moore 007 era, but there’s also a touch of Patrick Macnee’s gentleman spy character ‘Mr. Steed’ from “The Avengers” thrown in especially with Firth’s character. But all in all “Kingsman: The Secret Service” feels like a well-made gentleman’s suit, with superb cut, distinctive colour, and excellent flair. You get all the required gear of an action film, the gadgets, and delights ~ but you also get a good dose of sly winks at how ludicrous it all is yet also how parts are just out-and-out genius. It’s fakes a stiff upper lip but also constantly raises an eyebrow in amusement. It’s full of fun Bond-isms, little bits such as when Eggsy orders his martini with “gin as that’s the way it’s meant to be, shaken for 10 seconds while looking at a closed bottle of vermouth” I mean how can we not laugh out loud at this. (yes, Bond fans will know exactly what I am talking about here)

It’s like Kingsman is perfectly perched at just the right pop cultural moment as this is most likely the perfect moment to give the middle finger to the genre, and start a whole new, self-aware fun franchise in the process. The jokes are sharper, the plotting swifter, the violence more shocking. the sexual innuendos way more prominent as it deconstructs the old school spy genre while also celebrating it and it does so with wit and intelligence and style and yes again, panache.
kingsman colin firth church scene
It’s clear that as a Director, Vaughn is able to handle world-class actors here getting them to loosen up and play, in ways that feel engaging and new. Sam Jackson’s lisping villain is a genocidal madman who gets weak-kneed at the sight of blood, all the while being able to turn new-comer Egerton, who is all rough-around-the edges charm and brittle good looks, into a movie star with charisma and magnetism. Most will talk about how great it is to see the star of “The King’s Speech” kick ass, but truly Egerton is the real revelation here as he is pure magic in this film.. Mark my words Taron Egerton ~ breakout star of 2015.
All in all, Kingsman:The Secret Service is a thoughtful, exciting, whip-smart spy adventure that doesn’t let its smart-ass post-moderism overwhelm its playfulness or its heart. And lest we forget..we are thoroughly reminded throughout the film of it’s own quote ~ “Remember the suit is a modern gentleman’s armor and we’re the new Knights.” Do I want a sequel? My only response is HELL to the YES!!

Grade: A-
@pegsatthemovies

(See grading scale – as yes, usually an A would be regarded as an Oscar-worthy pic for me, and while this isn’t that..the fun level is so high..I couldn’t go any lower!)

First Advanced Screening in Los Angeles at AMC Century 15 on Thursday, January 8th, 2015.

+++ READ #peggyatthemovies REVIEW OF “SEX TAPE”+++

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sex tape

It’s been a week since I saw this movie and I don’t feel bad about not getting this review out sooner. Why? Two words.. WORLD CUP!! ha! I know it doesn’t belong in a movie review, but it’s really captured all my free time to write as it’s been enthralling.. more enthralling than this movie for sure!!

Sad thing is, they could have done so much with this movie and really made about 1001 different puns off of it and made it truly funny with all actual sex tapes of celebs that have ‘leaked’ over the years it’s a pun-lovers dream come true! . The fact that they turned it into a ‘soccer mom’ version (see there is soccer again ha!) stole the fun out of it. It starts off with “Annie”(Cameron Diaz) and “Jay”(a newly svelte Jason Segel) meet in college..yes, Cameron Diaz is trying to pull off playing college age here at first..it’s the usual story~line ~ they have great sex constantly and everywhere, fall in love, get married, have kids, sex life goes down the toilet, just they were told would happen. ZZZzzzzzz

What a surprise then (it’s not..truly not..)  that they decide to get drunk when the kids are at ‘grandmas’ and make a sex tape which then oh so conveniently goes viral. I will admit that it finally got some funny moments at this point as they are trying to retrieve the ipads they have given as gifts to everyone from the mailman to their best friends, “Robby”(Rob Corddry) & “Tess”(Ellie Kemper) with an icloud similar app on it that has shared it with all of them, all the while receiving provocative texts from an unknown person who has viewed the tape that most will find at least a bit funny

rob low sex tape

And in a side-splitting scene with “Hank Piper”(Rob Lowe) who is actually the ‘conservative’ owner of “Piper Bros” the company who might actually be buying Annie’s blog because yes, she has one of those mommy/wife blogs, but Lowe is DEFINITELY the scene stealer here as these are the types of puns this movie should be FULL of..because it’s fantasticaly hysterical. Sadly, it’s also one of the only few high points of the movie.. After a somewhat funny escapade with their neighbors in the car, they decide to break into “youporn” the site that is now ‘hosting’ their video..and in a not-really-so-funny scenes they bring their kids with them as it’s the middle of the night and while there is another scene stealer here in Jack Black as the owner of the site.. it’s also very predictable.

sex tape 1

Like I said, this movie has some funny moments..and most every guy will be all into seeing Cameron Diaz naked, much more so than girls will be at seeing Jason Segel naked I’m guessing. So that will be a draw and it will do well opening weekend. But except for a few scene-stealing moments, most notably by Rob Lowe, you got yourself a very average, so-so funny comedy here.

Grade: C-

#peggyatthemovies

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