7 DAYS OF OSCAR COUNTDOWN ~ DAY 3 ~ BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

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We are only on Day Three of the ‘SEVEN DAYS OF OSCARS’ countdown and already we are at ‘Best Supporting Actress’. You know that magical time of year where once again, I give a countdown of my top Oscar categories- who I think will win – and what my pick would be – as those two choices sometimes differ.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
NOMINEES

MARY J. BLIGE
Mudbound
Just flat out no.

ALLISON JANNEY ~ MY PICK/WINNER
I, Tonya
As if we couldn’t love Ms. Janney anymore – she comes out with the crazy, over-the-top role playing an actual real person, who is only mean, but funny. Hands down best performance.

LESLEY MANVILLE
Phantom Thread
okay now honesty gets the best of me here and I can say I haven’t seen this yet – Will be doing so this week so I can’t fairly judge this performance…yet.

LAURIE METCALF
Lady Bird
Laurie Metcalf was the best thing about this movie and I wouldn’t be mad if the Academy granted it to her.

OCTAVIA SPENCER
The Shape of Water
Before I saw I, Tonya or Lady Bird, my pick would have been Octavia. To me, she is always a standout in any movie she is in. I can love that she got nominated once again.

@pegsatthemovies

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REVIEW: “THE SHAPE OF WATER” (2017) Fox Searchlight ~ Q & A: Guillermo del Toro & Cast

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“THE SHAPE OF WATER” is truly the definition of ‘fish out of water’ unique love story. I mean if someone told me I would get emotional at a film where a mute woman falls in love with a fish-man, I probably would have laughed in their faces. As it was, I did.

This film has absolutely so much going for it – it’s beautifully filmed, with a magnificent score and a stunning performance from Sally Hawkins. It allows the audience to discover this intimate and fascinating world of “broken” people searching for a moment of meaning. Add in a smidgen of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ with a touch of ‘E.T.’, and you have a concept that captivates you from the start with it’s emotional investment into all the characters. And boy what characters they are. Assembling a first-rate cast, every single actor sparkles as it shows that every character has been developed with great care. From the mute-but-hearing Eliza (Sally Hawkins), who works as a cleaner at a secret government facility, where she becomes drawn to the new specimen: a mysterious marine fish-like man creature (Doug Jones).

While Eliza begins to fall in love with the amphibian creature, the facility head Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon), steps up to stop it all as his only desire is to take the creature apart for experimental advantage against the Russians. Eliza’s bond with the creature soon begins to affect those around her including her neighbour Giles (Richard Jenkins), and work colleague Zelda (Octavia Spencer). Not only are they the only two who decipher what Eliza ‘speaks’, but are enlisted to help her save her ‘Amphibian Man’. Add to the mix spy/scientist Robert Hoffsteder (Michael Stuhbarg), whom believes so much more can be learned with the creature alive, and you’ve got yourself one of the most imaginative stories that exudes humanity and strength, suspense and love, all put together to provide a great balance and one of the best original stories I’ve seen.

Beautiful from start to finish, like some sort of fantasy, romantic, heartbreaking, emotional lovestory all wrapped up in one, and while not without a few little flaws here and there, “The Shape of Water” was completely beautiful to me. And while other studios are recycling stories or offering up sequels, Fox Searchlight has stepped it up at the end of 2017 here to put out two of the best and most original films I’ve seen in some time. I not only applaud them for this, but hope this trend continues.

Grade: A
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 ~ Courtesy of Film Independent
‘SHAPE OF WATER’ IS NOW PLAYING IN THEATERS NATIONWIDE – WORLDWIDE RELEASE TO BEGIN IN JAN/FEB 2018


POST Q & A WITH: Moderator/Curator: Elvis Micthcell; Dir/Prod: Guillermo del Toro; Actors: Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg; Producer: J. Miles Dale & Composer: Alexandre Desplat

First and foremost – Your Q & A is sometimes highly dependent on your moderator and of all the Q & A’s I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of, he is by far one of the best moderators and truly nice guys out there. His knowledge and deep appreciation for film is felt, along with a great sense of humour. That being said, del Toro is also one of the most amusing, fun guys for anyone to have a chat with. His ease of making jokes, and he makes many, makes it even more fun to be able to get a chance to listen to him, speak and ask fun questions.

Del Toro said that he had the idea for the film and went to a party which he was invited to by none other than Alejandro Iñárritu where he had said to come over and get drunk..about 20 shots later and they all agreed ‘make the movie!’. Then Hawkins launched into how they came about to doing this project together. Upon meeting Hawkins at a Golden Globes party, Del Toro told her: “I’m writing a movie for you where you fall in love with a fishman.” Hawkins replied: “Great!” And with Doug Jones & Richard Jenkins – he pitched it to them while at a sushi dinner!!!
Jenkins laughed that he got his role—of Hawkins’ character Elisa’s lonely, verbose neighbor Giles—when “Ian McKellan called in sick.” For the role of marine scientist/Soviet double-agent Hoffstetler, Stuhlbarg lamented that the script called for him to deliver his character’s most significant scene sans pants.

If the sets looked familiar to any of you – they might, as a lot of them were used from del Toro’s TV show “The Strand” which made it so much easier to keep the budget on a tight leash. When noted
“When I walked on the set I had never seen anything so beautiful in all my life. It was like a painting,” said Jenkins, saying of Del Toro: “This guys speaks in film language.”

The film’s production is even more impressive given its relatively paltry—for an effects-heavy fantasy film—$19.5 million final budget. “We were counting the number of lobsters that we could have on-screen,” said Del Toro. He also teased producer Dale over the removal of one elaborate (and expensive) sequence set at a bus stop. But the filmmakers’ fastidious paid off. Remarkably, the production came in $100,000 under budget.

DAY 1 ~ COUNTDOWN TO THE OSCARS ~ BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

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Well, Well, Well.. here we are!! At that time of year once again where I give a countdown of my top Oscar categories. And though I’ve seen all the films presented this year, I will only be doing the top 6 categories due to a bit of a late start with the long holiday weekend we had and being deluged with rain. First up ~ Best Supporting Actress. I’m giving who I think the winner will be and what would be my pick. You might agree or even better, you might disagree 🙂
So with that..I give you Day 1 of #peggyatthemovies Oscar picks. Cheers!

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Viola Davis, FencesWINNER
Let’s be honest here, she shouldn’t even be in this category, she should be in BEST ACTRESS.. So even though my pick is someone else, she is highly deserving of an award..just in a different category.

Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Liked her performance – just didn’t love it. Definitely worthy of a nom tho.

Nicole Kidman, Lion
Same here with Nicole, liked it – just didn’t love it and wasn’t all that different from everything else I’ve seen her do

Octavia Spencer, Hidden FiguresMY PICK
Now I called this when I saw the film back in November. The whole movie is wonderful with all really good performances and Octavia being the highlight of the three, she takes it here for me. She has been and is my only and clear choice from moment one.

Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
Really, a blink of eye – seven minutes total on screen. And while the last scene with her and Affleck is the scene of the film.. still.

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 blog a follow or a follow on twitter as well @pegsatthemovies. Cheers!

GOLDEN GLOBES 2017 (Part 2) ~ FILM/ACTING PICKS

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Here we are with part two of my Golden Globes picks – this round is Film and Acting.
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! I also have a few categories where I just didn’t like any of the nominees enough to make a ‘MY PICK’. You might agree or even better, you might disagree ~ it’s all good.
So with that..I give you #peggyatthemovies 2016/17 Golden Globe picks! Cheers!

BEST PICTURE (DRAMA)

Hacksaw Ridge
Mel Gibson is riding the come back high with this decently done war film. While it’s war scenes are done very well, it’s riddled with a lot of cheesy storyline in the first hour.

Hell or High Water
While it’s good to see a film be remembered from earlier in the year, it really never struck me as Award material when watching.

Lion
A sweet and rather powerful story of a child’s journey into being a man, and finding not only his true story, but his family’s also.

Manchester by the Sea
While I didn’t dislike this film, it was monotonous and so slow for long periods throughout. I found the last 1/2 hr. to be the best as we finally found out what was going on.

Moonlight – WINNER
While watching this film, I couldn’t help thinking I’ve seen this story before..and we have – except it was done much better on the ‘The Wire’.

I just really don’t have a pick in this category as I didn’t truly love any of these nominees, so I’m just going with what I think will win.

BEST PICTURE (COMEDY/MUSICAL)

20th Century Women
Remember how I mentioned I hadn’t seen all the movies – this is the one that my screening is actually this Tuesday.

Deadpool
Funny, fun, fast and R-rated sheer entertainment made this a favourite of mine.

Florence Foster Jenkins
Not sure how there is a nom for this one, but hey, I guess they gotta fill up the category somehow.

La La LandWINNER
With an opening scene that is just truly beautiful and so well done, you would think the rest of the film to be just as good. It’s not. Mind you it’s a good watch, just a little to far-fetched, cutsey perfect for me.

Sing StreetMY PICK
Now this movie, sadly got missed by so many and IT’S SO SO GOOD!! I would pick this as best film of all the choices given to us as Globe nominees film wise, drama or comedy, on this one. Sadly, it won’t win and it’s so deserving.

Best Director

Damien Chazelle, La La Land
While Chazelle made one of my top fav. films ever with ‘Whiplash’, and again, he does a good job with the direction of this pic, it’s just not as gripping of a film.

Tom Ford, Nocturnal AnimalsMY PICK
Hands down my favourite film of the year. This film terrorized me in all the best ways possible. And it was made possible all by Mr. Ford.

Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Again, he’s on the comeback-kid tour right now, and really did a spetacular job on the war scenes, but I don’t think he’s been forgiven enough to win his first time back.

Barry Jenkins, MoonlightWINNER
Gotta give it to Barry Jenkins for even getting this movie made. I know from being in a Q & A after the film, how hard they all worked. It just didn’t work that well for me. Many love it.

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
While the film was aesthetically pleasing, again I just can’t call it a ‘fav’ for me. And while I’ve really liked some of his other work, this one isn’t my pick.

BEST ACTOR (DRAMA)

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the SeaWINNER
I liked Casey in the film, I did. And having an insightful & humourous Q & A with him afterwards helped make me like the film just a bit more than I did. I just didn’t see it as an Award winning performance.

Joel Edgerton, Loving
Didn’t do it for me. Honestly, when was the last time you heard Edgerton actually speak with his native accent..yeah I can’t remember either and him trying to do the backwoods southern didn’t work for me.

Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Again, the accent thing bothered me here. Do I think the performance was bad, no. But it didn’t warrant an Award either.

Viggo Mortensen, Captain FantasticMY PICK
Mortensen has been pretty underappreciated in his career. I say we make that right here. Even though I know it won’t happen, it would be great to see.

Denzel Washington, Fences
Denzel..oh Denzel..how I adore you. You pretty much own every role you do.

BEST ACTRESS (DRAMA)

Amy Adams, Arrival
While I really enjoyed this film, one of the best Sci-Fi I’ve seen, she really shoulda gotten this nom for Nocternal Animals because thats where she really shined.

Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane
I think Jessica is wonderful, though I did not see this film yet.

Isabelle Huppert, ElleMY PICK
Huppert simply put – blew me away in this one. I don’t think I’ve ever quite seen a performance like it, and probably never will again. Sadly, I’m guessing she won’t win.

Ruth Negga, Loving
I liked this performance so much once she started speaking and really putting forth as the first 30+ min she just really never said anything.

Natalie Portman, JackieWINNER
Yes, we all know they are going to give the award to Natalie. And while she was good here, she doesn’t even come close to Huppert.

BEST ACTOR, COMEDY

Colin Farrell, The LobsterMY PICK
Colin was so fantastic in this funny, bizarrely good film that he was hands down, best in category for me.

Ryan Gosling, La La LandWINNER
We all know Gosling was a Mouseketeer so yes, he can sing and dance etc.. And was really cutsey good here as well as the film was. Just not Award cutsey for me.

Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
While his performance was one of the better spots in this film, it’s so far from Award worthy.

Jonah Hill, War Dogs
Clearly they were desperatly trying to fill up this category here. Did anyone see this film besides me at a free screening months before it came out? Yeah I’m guessing not – there is a reason for that.

Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool
I truly did love Ryan in this film – but again, Award worthy..nah..

BEST ACTRESS, (COMEDY)

Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Dang on this one, my screening is Tues. night.

Lily Collins, Rules Don’t Apply
I was out of the country when this one came out and by the time I got back, it was gone out of theatres.

Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen
Cute film, cute performance – I do think there will be awards sometime in her future.

Emma Stone, La La Land
Yeah – I like Emma and another cutsey performance. That’s really all there is to it.

Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
Okay again, do they just use Meryl every year as a filler for a supporting category. And while I think she is one of the greatest actresses of our time, it’s when she gets nominated year after year for this reason only that makes it tiresome.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
While I wasn’t the films biggest fan, if I had to pick a part that I liked, it was the first segment with this guy in it.

Jeff Bridges, Hell or High WaterWINNER
While I might not have seen awards coming for this movie, Bridges came through on this performance in a big way.

Simon Helberg, Florence Foster Jenkins
This character was cute & funny..at first..then it just wore on you.

Dev Patel, Lion
I’m a big Dev Patel fan and while the child actor might have stolen the show, he did bring it all t

Aaron Taylor Johnson, Nocturnal AnimalsMY PICK
Some think he doesn’t deserve this. I think he TOTALLY does. Sure his roles leading up to this have been sub-par, but thats what makes this one so good – he did a complete 360 and brought the ‘terrifying’ to this role in a most fantastic way. Anytime someone can surprise me with a performance this good, yes they deserve a nom.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Viola Davis, Fences
Viola has proved herself to be one of the most standout actresses in Hollywood. She most definitely deserves the nom here. Plus, if she wins, you know it will be one fun acceptance speech!! 🙂

Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Liked it – just didn’t love it. Definitely worthy of a nom tho.

Nicole Kidman, Lion
Same here with Nicole, liked it – just didn’t love it.

Octavia Spencer, Hidden FiguresMY PICK/WINNER
Now I called this when I saw the film back in November. The whole movie is good with really good performances, but she takes it here for me. She has been and is my only and clear choice.

Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
Really, a blink of seven minutes total on screen..though the last scene with her and Affleck is the one what finally made me like the film better, still.

BEST SCREENPLAY

Damien Chazelle, La La LandPOSSIBLE WINNER
I think I’ve said my take on this film enough and while I think Chazelle has a fantastic career ahead of him, I

Tom Ford, Nocturnal AnimalsMY PICK
Having done a Q & A with Ford after the film really brought the ‘how’s & why’s’ insight into my fav. film of the year.

Barry Jenkins, MoonlightWINNER
Again, I completely commend Jenkins for even getting this film made. And I think it’s between him & Chazelle for who is the critical darling of the year.

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Respect to the writing, though I might have enjoyed the process of it better as a book.

Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water
Well done for being remembered from earlier in the year. Worthwhile watch – not a win for me.

Best Animated Feature Film
While I saw all of these besides ‘Zucchini’ I just don’t have commentary for all of them. Just a pick.

Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
Sing
ZootopiaMY PICK/WINNER

Best Foreign Language Film
Have seen all but ‘Divines’ and I only have one hands down pick and what will hopefully be the winner!

Divines
ElleMY PICK/WINNER
Neruda
The Salesman
Toni Erdmann

Follow along to see what happens with my live tweets during the Awards at @pegsatthemovies

REVIEW: “HIDDEN FIGURES” (2016) 20th Century Fox

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Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), are more intelligent as children than most. But sadly, they have the wrong skin color for America of the 1960s, so educational opportunities aren’t as readily available to them as to most. And luckily for all of us, they don’t let it stop them.

“HIDDEN FIGURES” – written & directed by Theodore Melfi, is based on the true events of these three women’s accomplishments of beating the odds in a time when those odds were almost insurmountable. Although all three are working at NASA, they are widely under-ultilized, stuck in a mundane employee-temp circle with other African-American women. It is only when the ‘space-race’ heats up and NASA is concerned with the fact that Russia might beat us to manned space travel that they even get considered and their abilities are brought to light. But it is still a long journey to get from the temp pool to the point of where now-famed astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) had her double-check the numbers against a ‘new’ computer machine before his now-legendary orbit around the earth.
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The film does do well in summarizing the story and making the period of the early 60’s space-race look exciting. Melfi succeeds in revealing the perspective of the people who made it possible for a human being to be brought into an orbit were chiefly physicists and, above all, mathematicians. Making it truly special is the fact that three of these essential figures were not only women, but African-American women. In a time where different races were still strictly separated in everything from the bathrooms, to yes, even the coffee pot and how they had to fight not only to assert themselves into the circles of white, male-dominated NASA, but also with the colour of their skin.
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In addition, we have a decent supporting cast with Kirsten Dunst as Vivian Mitchell, head of the white secretarial pool and chief scientist, Al Harrison (Kevin Costner), who while blind to all the bias at first, gradually begins to notice Johnson’s intelligence and how she is being treated by her white, male co-workers and steps up to the plate. Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge, Olek Krupa just to name a few, are great additions to the supporting cast.
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Performances are all above par here and not being Costner’s biggest fan, he comes off very well here in one of what is surely one of his more likeable performances. Hands down winner for me though is Octavia Spencer, who not only steals the show, along with hopefully not only a nomination, but a win from this performance.

Finally, do I think some liberties might have been taken here with the story-line or some of the characters, most likely, and it’s in these spots that the film lags, but it is also very simple to just look up history and see this is accurate in the frame of what these women did at/for NASA and what they went on to do in leading the way for so many to follow is even more impressive.

HIDDEN FIGURES is emotionally stirring cinema and should leave a lasting impression on viewers.

Grade: B
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Monday, November 21, 2016 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
In Limited Release: Sunday, December 25, 2016
NATIONWIDE RELEASE: Friday, January 6, 2017

REVIEW ~ “GET ON UP” ~ Q & A w/Brian Grazer, Chadwick Boseman, Tate Taylor

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Everyone has a favourite James Brown song, no matter what age you are..sometime in your life you’ve heard a James Brown song, snapped your fingers, tapped your foot, danced, sang with it..however you did it, it’s resonated with you.. Or you’ve seen Mick Jagger, Prince, Morris Day, Michael Jackson or Axl Rose perform and realized where they got their moves from.  James Brown is a legend, no question about it.   So let’s just get it right out now.. This is not your typical biopic.  It starts off with an older James Brown, in his 60’s when he was a bit worn down as let’s face it..he wasn’t the most stellar of human beings, definitely had his faults and dare I say it..absolute shady-ness when it came to business practices, the law & his wives.  And he had ego..oh so much ego and referred to himself in the 3rd person..a lot.. But if you were the ‘hardest working man in show business’ I guess you deservedly can at least have some of all of these.

The first 15 minutes or so of the film was hard to follow as it moves all over the place from Brown’s regretfully sad childhood, being left by both parents “Joe & Susie Brown” (Lennis James, Viola Davis), whom you don’t see much of or get to know much about, to being left at and growing up in a brothel ran by “Aunt Honey” (Octavia Spencer), to young James Brown just realizing his talent where it would take him in life, to older James Brown and many different places in his life in-between.  If you’re looking for a linear, chronological order story of James Brown’s life, this film has no interest in giving you that. It’s all over the place in time, which again, difficult at first, but once you get used to how it gets scattered all about, you can concentrate more on the performances, most especially Chadwick Boseman as “James Brown” completely amazing transformation into Brown from 16yrs old, getting arrested & sentenced to 5- 13yrs in the old Jim Crow days of a Georgia prison for stealing a 3-piece suit, all the way on through to a 63yr. old James Brown walking solo down a hallway into a concert venue of screaming, cheering fans, makeup transformation complete. But it’s not just the makeup that makes Boseman into Brown..It’s the embodiment of everything that is, was, and could ever be James Brown that makes it so remarkable. He’s got the moves, the body language, the accent, the facial expressions, all of it…down pat ~ he is to sum it up ~ BRILLIANT in his performance.

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While Boseman also gave a good performance in “42” as Jackie Robinson, the 1st baseball player to cross the racial barrier lines of the National League of baseball,  this movie never really hits on racism to much, as you know Brown had to have experienced this as it was part of the times back then, and they do refer to him trying to get off the ‘Chitlin’ Circuit’ or when he runs into a young “Little Richard” (Brandon Smith) they term the word  ‘white devil’ as Brown refers to his  manager, “Ben Bart” (Dan Aykroyd) calling him that, though the love & respect he has for the man is also clearly shown & apparent, this movie isn’t much to do about that. One pivotal scene in 1968 let’s you know how much Brown did help out by making the mayor of Boston, during the race riots of that year, to let him do his show and just as things are starting to get out of hand with fans jumping on the stage, police throwing them off, Brown stands up to let the audience know to make it about the show.  Also apparent throughout the movie is just how big Brown’s ego was, as he’s knows he is destined to be great, all the while being verbally abusive to those around him, in great supporting cast roles,  such as his best friend “Bobby Byrd” (Nelsan Ellis) & bandmates “Maceo Parker” (Craig Robinson) “Nafloyd Scott” (Aloe Black), “Pee Wee Ellis” (Tariq Trotter) in making them do long rehearsals on days off, not paying them due to his well-known tax problems, making sure they know he and only he, is the boss by detrimentally having each of them answer a silly question about how each instrument that they play, no matter what it is, is just really meant to only serve as percussion.  And though they skip over much of it, his physical abuse of his wives,”DeeDee Brown (Jill Scott)  girlfriends etc.  until they finally leave him..

So while this story being told with plenty of holes in it, the main focus is the music.. the music ..the music..and all the while Chadwick Boseman is just giving it to you at 150mph and you won’t forget it.  If for any reason at all you’re not a James Brown fan, which could be understandable due to he was a man with many faults, see this movie for this amazing performance alone.

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I was treated to a wonderful Q & A afterwards with Producer: Brian Grazer, Dir/Prod: Tate Taylor (an old friend)m and the man himself, Chadwick Boseman, who btw received a standing ovation from the audience.. I love hearing the thought process, and time frames (10yrs) that it took for this movie to get made.  They started it with James Brown himself, and after he passed it was dead in the water so to speak, luckily enough, Mick Jagger obtained the music rights to his catalog and the rest as they say.. is this movie! 😀

Grade: C+ – for the movie itself  B+ for the performance of Chad Boseman

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 -) give it a bit up or down