REVIEW: “THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2” (2019) Universal/Illumination

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“THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2” is another fun filled little romp for the kids.  With a few new additions to the cast, most notably Harrison Ford as farm dog Rooster.  But the biggest of all additions, a baby is added to the family much to the disgruntlement of our lead dog Max (Patton Oswalt).  This sequel actually divides our team into three smaller stories with a somewhat vague theme tying it all together.  But it works as you never feel you lost track of what is happening in any of them.

The first plotline involves Max’s owner Katie (Ellie Kemperer) getting married and having a little boy named Liam. Max, whose dislike of children is made very clear, falls in love at first sight and becomes very protective over Liam, to the point of scratching himself out of the anxiety he feels to the point of getting a dog cone.  The relationship that forms here is fun and it’s a dog and a baby – who can dislike that?

Max, Duke and the family end up going out to the country where they meet farm dog Rooster and to say in the least, Rooster is not impressed with ‘city-dog’ Max,  nor his cowardice at the farm animals.  And while the outcome might be predictable, it’s charming and sweet to watch as Rooster helps encourage Max to face his fears and have more confidence.

While the family is at the farm our second subplot comes into play.  It’s about my favourite little pet, Gidget (Jenny Slate) as she trying to retrieve a bumblebee toy Max gave her to guard while he is away. The problem is the toy is stuck in the home of  the crazy cat lady downstairs who literally fits the persona to a tee,  as she literally has dozens of cats.  She even talks the incredible Chloe (my other favorite pet), into giving her lessons on how to be a cat. This has some really fun comedic slapstick that made for some good laughs from the entire audience.

Our final plot centers around Snowball, the Kevin Hart voiced bunny who is convinced he is actually a super-bunny because of the way his owner plays with him. He meets a new doggie named Daisy (Tiffany Haddish). Daisy is upset because she saw a baby tiger get taken by a bad man at the circus. Snowball and the team of pets must save the tiger and restore order to the city.

The characters throughout Pet’s are adorable and there are enough laughs and heart to keep the interest level during the film. The  vocal performances are all good and the message on overcoming fears is really sweet.  The ending credits are also a must-see!!  I have no doubt The Secret Life of Pets 2 will make a boat-load of money but for once it is deserved.

‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ is fun, fast moving and best of all, kids and adults will both be entertained. P.S.  Cats RULE!! 🙂

Grade: B

@pegsatthemovoes

 

Media Review Screening: Tuesday, June 4, 2019 ~ Courtesy of Universal/Illumination

‘THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2’ IS IN THEATERS WORLDWIDE FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2019

 

Spirit Awards Review Nominee Screenings – week one

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So I am a member of Film Independent and every year they do a two-week long jaunt of screenings of all the Spirit Award Nominees. As a lover of Indie films, these two weeks are quite heavenly as not only are the screenings just a short distance from me, but let me see and open my eyes to many films that you don’t always get a media screening invite for. It gave me personally an extra benefit this year as I was quite ill, especially these past few months and missed quite a few of screenings I did have. So onward with brief thoughts and grades on everything I’ve seen so far. Mind you, I did miss some of these even, as not only do they do a whole block of them on weekends as in four in a row – I had a medical time-out for most of the week. Luckily, many of the films are luckily on Netflix, Prime or Hulu – and as voters are also provided with links to watch all of nominated films. But truthfully, watching films on a laptop just seriously isn’t how they are meant to be viewed now is it. So with that in mind – here we go. (following in the format of the Film Independent Screening Awards schedule)

Day One:
“SORRY TO BOTHER YOU” Dir: Boots Riley

I was really loving the first part of this film as it was satire sharp, imaginative and funny. But not only does it run too long, but that bizarro left turn it takes in the last third of the movie will surely leave most as bewildered as I was.
Grade: C-

Day Two:
“SHIRKERS” Dir: Sandi Tan

This was a great little women-driven documentary that takes on a journey of a lost film, a strange relationship that made that happen, and all the friends along the way. But maybe it’s the oddness of all of it put together that works so well.
Grade: B

“LEAVE NO TRACE” by Debra Granik

If you asked me if I thought I would enjoy a film about a man (Ben Foster) and his 13-yr. old daughter (Thomasin McKenzie) who have been living off the grid in an urban park of all places, and what happens when they make a single mistake and get caught, well I would’ve have probably laughed a bit and given you a ‘NO’ in response. As it was, I loved this film. It was taunt with drama, and the age old question of what is right or perceived as so, and what is wrong, again, perceived as so.
Grade: A

“HEREDITARY” by Ari Astor

While the film wasn’t scary per se for me, nor a particularly good horror film by any stretch, it did stitch itself together enough to follow along and be entertaining mostly because Toni Collette took it there. I had forgotten about Gabriel Byrne somewhat over the years, but his supporting role along with Ann Dowd, Milly Shapiro and Alex Wolff topping off with good performances of their own, helped bring this film up a notch to be sure.
Grade: C

“ROMA” Dir: Alfonso Cuarón

A completely different take on the trials and tribulations in the life of a maid in to a rather dis-functional wealthy family in 1970’s Mexico City. While Yalitza Aparicio is a breath of fresh air to be sure, along with Marina de Tavira and well, truly the whole cast, I do think it’s a bit over-hyped in the ‘how good it is’ department. Mind you it IS good and I will leave it at that.
Grade: B

Day Three:

“PRIVATE LIFE” Dir: Tamara Jenkins

Both Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti give a completely believable ordeal of what one couple goes through to have a child – including numerous fertility ordeals, tests, fake surrogates, family surrogates, money and most of all their own lives and relationships, in a series of choices that can only make one cringe at times as to what some will choose to endure.
Grade: C-

“THE FAVOURITE” Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos

Let me just shout about how much and how long I’ve loved Olivia Colman. I always felt she was under-utilized so much or not given enough credit for her work. Here, she finally gets her lead role that will no doubt finally change all that and bring her an award. Alongside Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone as her supporting, they do a commendable job of making this odd story come to life. While I didn’t love the film overall, the performances were so strong. Even Nicholas Hoult dons the old British wig and make-up to do a fun spin here as the strangest of cads. All said and done, just give Olivia her due already and be done with it.
Grade: C+

Day Four

“MADELINE’S MADELINE” Dir: Josephine Decker

I tried very hard to find a redeeming quality of this film and I just really didn’t find one. It was all over the place with nonsensical scenes cutting back and forth to add up nothing of what makes a film flow from scene to scene. It completely lacked any sense as you didn’t know if Molly Parker’s character was wanting Madeline (Helena Howard) to be crazy or making her crazy. All in all, it just lacked any and all of the Drama/Mystery/Thriller it is categorized as.
Grade: D-

“MINDING THE GAP” Dir: Bing Liu

As we know not all documentaries are going to be a pleasant, happy experience. This one however, made me feel as though I was watching a long drawn out episode of Teen Mom. And while I’ve never actually watched that show, I’m going to guess if you add in their boyfriends and skateboards, you’ve got it down pat. Enough said.
Grade: D-

“FIRST REFORMED” Dir: Paul Schrader

Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried both give good performances here and once again, without that this would be a truly hard film to sit through in it’s entirety. I just wish the movie didn’t drag so much for so long in many different parts. It’s seems as it’s trying to be a social commentary on despair, climate change, torment and tragedy all wrapped up in a bow that you see the ending coming right at you by the 30th minute leaving nothing to chance.
Grade: C

Day Five:

“If Beale Street Could Talk” Dir: Barry Jenkins

While I wasn’t Moonlight’s biggest fan, I did find Beale Street to be a far better film to be sure. I still didn’t love it as it left a lot of questions unanswered for me that I wanted to know and made it feel incomplete to me. While Kiki Lane and Stephan James are the leads, for me it was all about Regina King and Michael Beach (who is all of a sudden in so many projects and I love this fact) who really brought home the acting. And while so much of this hit hard, there was just still too much I wanted to know more about.
Grade: C+

And that’s all I’ve seen at this point – but I’ve still this weeks schedule and to make up some of last week’s also. So please come back as I will hopefully be posting more often again.

@pegsatthemovies

My “Last Call” with the cast of “Justified” ~ Paley Center Event

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Note: Series final for Justified is Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Being this was my #1 in my review of “Top 10 Shows I am watching right now” with Justified being my numero uno to watch, saying goodbye to it and everyone on it was heartbreaking yet so fun..as they say, parting is such sweet sorrow. So to bid it one last adieu tonight as The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills hosted “An Evening with FX channel’s Justified”. Featuring some of it’s top cast members: Timothy Olyphant “Raylan Givens”, Joelle Carter “Ava Crowder”, Erica Tazel “Rachel Brooks”, Jacob Pitts “Tim Gutterson” and the shows creator, Graham Yost who all came to say farewell.

To start off with, with some fun tidbits from the press line interviews:
jacob pitts

Jacob Pitts..When I asked him about Tim and Rachel, you know everyone loves them – what are the chances of a spin-off for The Tim & Rachel show?
His answer being he doesn’t think there is much of a chance..though he would not be opposed to it..but said “that’s a small ship in big seas.”
I made the 2nd question a fun one of “Who is the prankster on the set?” and with no hesitation whatsoever, Tim! He’s gotten the writers a few times with what he thinks should be in a scene..and Jacob helped him on some of those capers (lots of laughter) though “we are grown adults who have a professional job to do and we do it coldly and with precision”.. (more laughter)

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Joelle Carter.. when I asked what’s next for her, she put it out there that she would love to do another character as strong as Ava..while having a few juicy movie roles come her way also. Which is something I think we all would love to see also. As for rolling around in the dirt and getting battle scars from filming, yeah, when it came to the end of the series, she was glad that part of it was done.

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Graham Yost.. As I was going to pitch him the Rachel/Tim spinoff idea as he’s the creator riiigght.. Jacob came running up behind him and wanted to pitch it himself, we had a few good laughs as I called him out on totally trying to poach and pitch my idea..heyyy.. 🙂 it was all in good fun as while Graham likes it too, sadly..it’s not gonna happen.

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Timothy Olyphant.. I asked him what’s next for Timothy Olyphant and as he’s noted on various shows like Ellen & Conan..he’s looking for a job!! And yep..he is. We talked tennis for a moment as I’ve sat by him at Indian Wells for a match watching his good friend Mardy Fish play, and asked if maybe the pro-tennis circuit was on his radar. Fear not all, he’s sticking with acting. And on him being the prankster of the set.. naaahhh..we agreed he’s an angel and they have no idea what they are talking about. ha!
Sadly I didn’t get the chance to interview Erica Tazel as press line was being wrapped up and I had to choose between that or running in and getting a seat at the panel. :/

Moving along to the panel – you can tell how much this cast not only enjoyed working with each other and on this show, but the respect they have for each other, and most definitely Elmore Leonard, who passed away in 2013 during the 4th season of the show, acknowledging how much they missed working with him. There is no doubt the man had a way with words, but this cast delivered those words like no other. He definitely made an impact on all the cast who worked with him and that they wanted to carry on his legacy in the right way was made apparent.

The fantastic guest stars that they had over the years who made fantastic characters, some of the favourites names by the cast: Margo Martindale “Mags Bennett”, Jere Burns “Winn Duffy”, Ron Eldard “Colton Rhodes” and Sam Elliott “Avery Markham” to name a few. They loved all their guest stars and for those of you wondering..while not a villain.. Patton Oswalt aka CONSTABLE BOB LIVES!!

Jacob puts it out there that he would have been fine with Boyd Crowder killing off his character Tim, though hey..he just might as we won’t know until next week!
They all seemed to agree that on favourite scenes, the #1 by far was the animal in the bag with Dickie and Coover. And the shows willingness to always just ‘go for it’ and ‘swing for the fences’ is something Olyphant notes that he just loved.
One of Joelle’s best scenes was of course probably one of ours also, where Ava gets her hair cut in prison. Now little did we know at the time, that was actually her real hair stylist who she kept saying she was sorry she was hurting her but she’d never cut hair with a shiv before!!!

While we got no spoilers for the finale..though trust me, some people tried, but hey, we REALLY don’t want it spoiled do we!! I for one, want to see it unfold as it happens because there are so many ways it can go and I’m excited for it, but we did get a note that the finale will have a lot of flashbacks from the past as Graham Yost appreciates that the fans pay close attention to these facts. Also, we do find out ‘What matters to us’ as Raylan has said to Boyd.

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Now right smack in the middle of all this, Jacob Pitts announces he’s gotta use the restroom and to the ensuing laughter that comes with that announcement, Graham Yost asks to “please leave his mike on for this”. Stellar moment of laughs with this stellar cast.

And yes, they all took some souvenir’s from the set: Graham Yost – a “Welcome to Harlan County” sign which received a big collective “ahhhh” from the audience as I think we ALL want one of those. Erica Tazel – took her nameplate. Joelle Carter – took her parking spot nameplate. Timothy Olyphant – took something he had made during early during the shooting of the show, didn’t name what it was tho..maybe his awesome hat..we don’t know..but he pretty much readily admitted he took stuff all along..ha! Jacob Pitts – I think he said socks.. yep..socks.

Favourite violent scene – hands down the arm-chop and the Winnebago fight won!!

As I’ve noted before in panels like this, some of the best questions and funniest moments are when the audience gets to ask questions as you NEVER know what will happen.
First off Timothy being asked on his being possibly being type cast in Western type series i.e., Deadwood and now Justified, though not exactly a western..kinda the genre is what the point was being made..his response was priceless “you mean being cast as a badass, yeah that would be awful wouldn’t it” in other words, nope not worried.
Then asked about his similarity of looks to Garrett Dillahunt (Ty Walker) not worried at all..he’s a great actor and had a beard after all.

And yes, Walton Goggins teeth are that white in real life!! says Joelle..she’s seen them up close..

The character of Boyd Crowder was actually supposed to die in Season 1 but the chemistry between Raylan & Boyd was undeniable so they decided to keep him around for awhile.. and here we are at the series finale and he’s still standing..as of now.

I think the fact that they noted they were all brought to tears on set at the end of filming says a lot of how much they noted they will all miss working with one another.

And with that we say goodbye to the wonderful cast and creator of Justified. Thank you for an amazing six seasons and for entertaining us so well through it all. To everyone from cast, guest stars, writers, producers and crew, a heartfelt–Thank You!

cast justified

And that concludes my fantastic last ‘date’ with the cast of “JUSTIFIED” Hope you all have enjoyed the show as much as I have and be sure to tune in for the series finale, Tuesday, April 14th.

@pegsatthemovies
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