REVIEW: “THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI” (2017) Fox Searchlight

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Step right up Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell and please just accept your Oscar’s for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor already. Yes, truly they are that good and that’s how I feel. And hey, throw in a Best Picture nod while you’re at it please!!!

This wonderfully dark comedy featuring a brash, outspoken and very funny McDormand in the lead role as Mildred Hayes, a divorcee from Ebbing, Missouri and let me tell you, Mildred is one extremely pissed woman at her local Police Department. Most especially Sherriff Willougby (Woody Harrelson), and she is not afraid to let everyone know this as she rents out 3 billboards on the outskirts of town at $5000 a month from Red Welby (Caleb Landry Jones). The way Mildred see’s it is it’s been seven months since her teenage daughter Angela (Kathyrn Newton) was raped, murdered and set ablaze on a quiet stretch of country road, and yet still no arrests have been made or suspects identified. Mildred and many others in the town, feel as the local Sherriff’s dept. are “too busy torturing black folk”. And she’s right as Officer Jason Dixon (Sam Rockwell) has been investigated for doing just that. Sheriff Willoughby however, doesn’t much like being publicly mocked by billboards that read: “Still No Arrests?” “How Come, Chief Willoughby?” and “Raped While Dying.”
And the story that unfolds before you is one that will capture every emotion you thought you never had. This is a hard -edged drama, but with enough sarcastic comedy in it to somehow keep it funny through a dark subject throughout the film. This film is a brilliant piece of storytelling that somehow has stories within that all fit together in the end in a 360 degree type circle.

McDormand is simply superb as the mother whose anger is just part of her problems in life. She breaks this character down inch by inch in front of us in such detail you are sure not to forget her anytime soon. Rockwell – who let’s face it, can be very ‘hit or miss’ with his performances, here he is so crazy good and volcanically funny that you want to almost applaud whenever he shows up, as he somehow he makes Dixon both horrendous and humane – sometimes both in a same breath – it is truly a tremendous performance. Harrelson is wonderful, yet sarcastic, a bit vulgar and yet even in the face of death, funny. Peter Dinklage as James, the town’s only ‘small person’, Lucas Hedges in another fine performance as Mildred’s son Robbie and John Hawkes as the ex-husband, truly round up a great supporting cast. The only true problem I had any of this cast was with Harrelson’s wife Penelope (Samara Weaving) as the being 1/2 his age part wasn’t the only blur, but how in the world is an Australian somehow in this little backwoods town of Ebbing, Missouri. Besides that, it truly is a flawless picture by Martin McDonagh and not only my favourite film of the year so far, but hopefully a shoe-in for a couple of those Oscars!

Grade: A
@pegsatthemovies

Media Screening Review: Monday, November 6, 2017 ~ Courtesy of Fox Searchlight
“THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI” is now playing nationwide // International release in Jan 2018

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REVIEW: “THE BOSS” (2016) Universal Pictures

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Actor, producer and co-writer of this comedy, Melissa McCarthy comes out strong for the first 1/3 of this film featuring her ‘alter-ego’ Michelle Darnell, a character she created with specifics in mind 14 years ago when she was at The Groundlings.

Darnell’s character is a high-powered businesswoman and motivational speaker whose childhood (back n forth between an orphanage and foster care) taught her that the only person she can depend on is herself. She’s self-centered, arrogant and basically completely amoral, seemly part Leona Hemsley/Martha Stewart and an R-rated Little Orphan Annie.
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Michelle generally uses and abuses her personal assistant, Claire (Kristen Bell), and her bodyguard isn’t much more than her personal hype man. When Michelle is arrested for insider trading and sent to jail for five months, everyone abandons her, former lover and long-time business rival Renault (Peter Dinklage) buys her companies and the authorities freeze all of her remaining assets. Looks like someone has to start all over again.
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Long & dull, yet incredibly profane & violent at times, story ensues of Michelle going to and being released from jail. When she doesn’t have anywhere to go, she ends up at ex-assistant Claire’s apartment who now works for a crazy Darnell disciple, Dana Dandridge (played by SNL’s Cecily Strong). Claire’s pre-teen daughter, Rachel (Ella Anderson), convinces her mom that they have to help Michelle and allows her former boss to stay in the apartment until she gets back on her feet, but Michelle’s feet remain reclined on Claire’s couch until her hand is forced and ends up taking Rachel to her Dandelions meeting (think Girl Scouts) where troop leader Sandy (Kristen Schaal) is discussing their cookie sales.

Michelle gets an idea that her “way back” is to form a group called Darnell’s Darlings which will teach girls business skills as they sell brownies that Claire makes from an old family recipe. Michelle gets Rachel to help her recruit various tough girls and other misfits to join up and sell brownies for a percent of the profits and approaches her estranged former mentor Ida Marquette (Kathy Bates) for financing to help expand the business, but as all this is going on, Renault and his assistant Stephan (Timothy Simons) are keeping tabs on the whole deal and just want the payback that he feels her still owes her.
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I could go on.. but the question is almost why?? Trust me, I’m helping you here to avoid wasting your money even bothering to watch this one. “The Boss” is mostly unoriginal, uninspired, unrealistic and unfunny. The clichéd plot lazily recycles the often used story of a main character who has been supposedly ‘hardened’ by a tough life and doesn’t know how to give or receive love. There are a few laughs to be found here and there, again, the first third of the film is good, but the movie’s other problems just kill the mood. Besides that, the movie’s attempts at humor are overly dependent on odd cartoonish violence involving children, cursing around, by and at children, and vulgar sexual references which come off as more crude than funny. McCarthy herself has been much funnier in previous films and hopefully she’ll be funnier again in her future projects. Sadly, her character in this film is one boss who should be fired herself.

Grade: D
@pegsatthemovies

Review Screening: Tuesday, April 5, 2016 ~ Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Nationwide Release: Friday, April 8, 2016

“EMMY AWARDS” – 2015 – QUICK PICKS

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Just throwing out a quick roll on The Emmy’s for some of the main categories only. I always do well for my Oscar picks..but not so much on The Emmy’s. I’m guessing it’s because most of the time I haven’t seen all the shows being as I don’t have Netflix or Amazon accounts and I don’t illegally bootleg anything because good shows get cancelled because of it and people lose jobs and money. In other words.. My choices mean nothing..ha!
My picks are bolded & italicized. I probably won’t do well on this.. 😀

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
“Better Call Saul” – not my favourite new show..Some people are ranting and raving over this, I was just meh on it.

“Downton Abbey” – I mean it’s Downton.. It’s not what it once was, but it’s still very watchable.

“Game of Thrones” – This was a slow season on GOT. Just like season 2, it was very mixed with only a good episode thrown in here and there.

“Homeland” – Everyone thought this show would just go down the toilet without ‘Brody’ (Damien Lewis) instead..it was.. dare I say it..almost better. It’s all about Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend).

“House of Cards” – Only have seen an episode of this way back when..

“Mad Men” – Tis the season of Mad Men for me. This really should sweep and it’s final season proved to be hands down, one of the best ever on TV. Just truly a show to sit back, watch and be awed by.

“Orange is the New Black” – N/A

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES I just don’t have a pick here but if I had to guess…

“Louie” – I know this is a critical darling, but it’s just not my show.

“Modern Family” – it’s never bad, but it’s also rather ZZZzzzz now.

“Parks and Recreation” – I never got as hooked into this show as some did..but I did like it.

“Silicon Valley” – N/A
“Transparent – N/A
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” N/A

“Veep” – Again, another critical darling, and I watch it on occasion.

LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul” – in Breaking Bad I found Saul rather humourous – in his own show..I just really didn’t gravitate towards the character at all.

Kyle Chandler, “Bloodline” – N/A – though I’ve been a Kyle Chandler fan since ‘Early Edition’..yes I said ‘Early Edition’ 😀

Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards” – N/A

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men” – This is Jon Hamm’s year. It has to be. His performance in this last season was just sublime. And that finale..come on!!!

Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”
Love this show..Love the character and the acting.. But again, it’s all Jon Hamm for me this year.

Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan” – same as above..I love Liev..but. yeah..it’s just all about Jon Hamm.

LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA
Taraji P. Henson, “Empire” – this over-the-top show and character are amusing if nothing else..

Claire Danes, “Homeland” – Again, fantastic season and performance by Claire, but she’s won before..and the faces..oh those faces!! 😀

Viola Davis, “How to Get Away with Murder” – I love Viola as an actress.but this show is sorely lacking and I can’t for that reason alone.

Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black” – oh Tatiana..I love you and this show equally..I do..and you so deserve this nomination.

Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men” – But I gotta go with Peggy Olsen. And not just because she is a ‘Peggy’ in this too..but because I still have that totally badass episode of her from 2014 on my DVR with her and Don.. plus her ciggie eps. She was just incredible.

Robin Wright, “House of Cards” – N/A

LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY
Anthony Anderson, “black-ish” – I enjoyed this show from the beginning and I’m a big Anthony Anderson fan from way back but I did sorta lose steam for it.. It’s an ‘on occasion’ show for me now.

Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes” – Matt playing over-the-top Matt..is so fun.

Don Cheadle, “House of Lies” – Not a fan of this show..

Will Forte, “The Last Man On Earth” – I gave this one 2 eps. and then I was done..

Louis C.K., “Louie” – yeah..not my fav. in any way, shape or form.

William H. Macy, “Shameless” – Love Bill Macy – so-so on the show.

Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent” – N/A

LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY
Lisa Kudrow, “The Comeback” – It’s Valerie Cherish – do I need to say anything more?

Lily Tomlin, “Grace And Frankie” – N/A

Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer” – comedy’s ‘It Girl’ of the moment right now..and I LOVE her.

Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie” – Oh Jackie..I will miss you. No one’s ever had a nurse like you.

Amy Poehler, “Parks And Recreation” – Love Amy.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” – Julia is comedy gold..

SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul” – Big fan of Banks, but again, the character that worked so well for me on Breaking Bad, doesn’t work for me here.

Ben Mendelsohn, “Bloodline” – Ben Mendelsohn is a fantastic actor that can truly play almost any role. Wish I could see him in this..truly.

Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey” – I think everyone likes Mr. Carson just not enough for a win here.

Peter Dinklage, “Game Of Thrones” – Dinklage was a highlight of a slow season.

Alan Cumming, “The Good Wife” – When does Alan not bring it on this show? Even with an uneven season..he’s always spot on.

Michael Kelly, “House Of Cards” – N/A

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey” – last years surprise winner to almost everyone but me.. 😀

Lena Headey, “Game Of Thrones” – Lena gave it her all.. literally..

Emilia Clarke, “Game Of Thrones” – another fav. character for me from the show.

Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife” – Hands down, my winner. Christine is priceless.

Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men” – Joan really gave it to us for the final season. Stepping up into her own and really giving us an insight into what the fight for equal rights for women possibly entailed. I won’t be mad if she wins.

Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is The New Black” – N/A

SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY
Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” – for me, this is the funniest show on TV..And Andre just brings it to this role.

Adam Driver, “Girls” – don’t really like the show and not an Adam Driver fan so..

Keegan-Michael Key, “Key & Peele” – they have some damn funny skits.

Ty Burrell, “Modern Family” – ZZZZzzzz oh..sorry..I like Ty but I’m pretty over their run.

Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” – N/A

Tony Hale, “Veep” – I’ve just not got a thing to say here..ha! I just haven’t watched the show enough to really say yay! or nay!!

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY
Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory” – not my show, just never got the ‘ha ha’ from it.

Niecy Nash, “Getting On” – Never seen this show. and I’m fine with that!

Julie Bowen, “Modern Family” – See ‘Ty Burrell’

Allison Janney, “Mom” – I’ve watched this show a few times trying my best to get into it.. I just didn’t succeed, but I do love Alison

Kate McKinnon “Saturday Night Live” – She’s just a gem all the time, every character.

Gaby Hoffmann, “Transparent” – N/A

Jane Krakowski, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” – N/A

Anna Chlumsky, “Veep” – I like ‘out of the box’..this is a good ‘out of the box’ character for Anna.. but just not enough for me.

That’s it!! Wish I had more time to get in-depth on these and more categories..Just pressed for time. Let’s just hope that the Emmy’s aren’t the same ol’ same ol’ that they can sometimes be and pick some new different and I might add, much deserving winners.
Cheers all!!

“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.