Tag Archives: Peter Sarsgaard

REVIEW: “THE BATMAN” (2022) Warner Bros

Sitting down to write this review, reminding myself that there is really only three comic book characters I have ever truly cared about. The X-Men, which I devoutly every Saturday morning at 11am; Superman, along with having a weird connection to a few of the films – which is another story entirely, and you guessed it, Batman. Batman defied logic for me as he didn’t need a super power, his super power was being Bruce Wayne as well, as he fought off The Penguin, The Riddler, or The Joker, whichever villain you pick. And he always did it with the help of Alfred, who not only took the role of the dad figure in his life, but helped him become The Batman in every way. Sometimes there was Robin by his side, sometimes there wasn’t, but even from the beginning in order for Batman to be, there must be Bruce Wayne as well. And while there have been many actors portraying him, numerous takes and variations of him as well during the years, this time we have Robert Pattinson picking up the baton here in dual role of The Batman/Bruce Wayne.

This 2022 version of the film is directed by Matt Reeves and as noted, stars Robert Pattinson (The Batman) and features quite a few villains, bringing back The Riddler (Paul Dano), and The Penguin as his true self here, Oswald Cobblepot (Colin Farrell), in two very different plot arcs. The Riddler here as well, brings a very different look to what we normally see as his costume as revealed in the trailer. Dano wears what basically looks like a full head cover with goggle type eyes looking more Unabomber-ish than what we expect and know The Riddler to be, with his identity not being fully revealed for some time. And Farrell as The Penguin/Cobblespot is completely unrecognizable as himself with some incredible makeup/prothesis done here. As well, helping defend Gotham City on the law and order side is James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), who seems to be the only law enforcement that is on Batman’s side, but alas still with the inevitable mustache.

And yes, the story line is very much the usual fare of villains courting danger in the city of Gotham and one of our most prominent ones here is Carmine Falcone (John Turturro), who is running an underground club, and may or may not have connections to The Penguin as well. As always trusty Alfred Pennyworth (Andy Serkis), is there to help The Batman through all the ups and downs of dealing with a city that has a love hate relationship with him. Speaking of a love/hate relationship, back again as well is Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), and one of the true highlights of the film. And how can you not love that they take it back old school somewhat, as even in the cheesy TV show, Batman & Catwoman had constant love/hate relationship and here, that story line features again. As well Kravitz gives it back to the old school ‘exotic’ as well, heralding back to the days of Eartha Kitt, Julie Newmar and Michelle Pfeiffer, bringing back to the role something essential that had been sorely missed.

To delve into this entire movie after you see it is like unpacking after a long vacation, and I mean really long vacation as this is a very long movie with a lot to unpack. You won’t find me giving away any storyline spoilers here but there are moments to love, from the dark gritty mood of it all, to the set pieces, to the cinematography, and the remarkable film score are all simply wonderful. The action is good throughout most of the film, but slows itself down at times almost a second to much with making this Batman into more ‘detective’ versus a Caped Crusader who just gets summoned by the infamous bat signal to help whatever crime is occurring in the Gotham City. It also felt like it could’ve ended at least three different points in times before it did and left us with a bit of hanging suspense for what’s to come. The ending as is, plus the post-credits scene almost betrays the fact and leaves one to realize this is definitely not a one off Batman like they have professed it to be.

And then we come down down to performance as we all have our favourite Batman and on everyone’s mind is how Robert Pattinson will fare as The Caped Crusader himself, The Batman. For me your Batman is only as good as your Bruce Wayne, it’s a fine line and both have to be equally as good for a true Batman to be. But Pattinson doesn’t connect here at all with the Bruce Wayne aspect of the character, to the point where I had flashbacks to him reminiscent of his Twilight character days. His Bruce Wayne portrayal here is not done in the usual classy, almost elegant manner of the billionaire who hides behind his mask. Now, on the better point is his Batman isn’t bad, not great mind you, but definitely not bad enough to distract through the movie as a whole, but enough to distract when being Bruce Wayne. In other words, he is good, but not great. Farrell however is very good as Cobblepot and again, you wouldn’t know it was him had we not known in advance who was under that look. And Paul Dano, while not the best Riddler look, his performance of the character, especially at the end was nothing short of spectacular. But there is also one huge standout here and that my friends is John Turturo as Falcone. He is a perfect villain and gives everyone on the screen a go for their money with his role being as decadent as it is. And lastly we have Catwomen who with her eyes made up, brilliant and beautiful as Selina Kyle, add her cat mask and ‘adventures’ on her motorcycle, and again, the love/hate relationship with Batman done with some very real chemistry, here she is a big meow in all the right ways.

(Photo by MEGA/GC Images)

All in all as you unwrap it all in your head to process it, and it will take a more than a moment to do so, you can’t help but come to the conclusion that it was good, just maybe not great. But as well it’s probably, no it’s most definitely too long and it’s a bit unclear on the direction they will go next, but it’s a solid, entertaining time in the seemingly never ending line of Caped Crusader contenders. Where it rates for each person, will be just that, up to each individual person.

Grade: B

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Review Screening: Thursday, February 24, 2022 ~ Courtesy of Warner Bros.

“THE BATMAN” FROM WARNER BRO. PICTURES WILL BE OUT IN THEATERS FRIDAY, MARCH 4, 2022

REVIEW: “JACKIE” (2016) Fox Searchlight

Jacqueline Bouvier. Jackie Kennedy. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie O. Jackie. There are many ways to refer to this iconic woman – and many ways to remember her. That breathy voice. That educated and sophisticated demeanor. Her sense of style… including that pink suit stained with the blood of her husband. Holding her own as she watched the Vice President Lyndon B. Johnon (John Carroll Lynch) be sworn in merely hours after the President’s assasination.

“JACKIE” is about all of this. Though the film fills the span of only short perod in time – the day of and the few days following then President John F. Kennedy’s (Caspar Phillipson) assasination in Dallas, TX on November 22, 1963. The story is told in the narrative of Jacqueline Kennedy herself (Natalie Portman) to “Life” Magazine writer Theodore H. White (Billy Crudup), who arrives at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts to interview her just one week after the assassination. Mrs. Kennedy is concerned that her husband may be forgotten – or misunderstood by history. White is deferential, firm but professional. He finds a woman who is clearly still grieving her horrible loss, but who is also very much in control of herself – and very much in control of what she wants regarding her husband’s legacy – even to the point of making sure she edits White’s notes during the interview.
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While returning periodically to the scenes of the interview, most of Jackie’s story is told in flashback scenes of her as First Lady – especially on that fateful day in November of 1963 – and the four days that followed. With a lot of the story being told in this fashion, the film is trying to paint us a picture of who Jackie really was while First Lady. We get the famous televised tour of the White House that she did, the first ever of it’s kind. And while some parts of this come off as sometimes portraying her as a caricature at times, it’s also giving us a glimpse into something never seen before by the American public at the time.
We get insight into her strengths and weakness in the days following. How she interacts and stands up for what she wants for the funeral to Special Assistant Jack Valenti (Max Casella) but yet, sleeping pills, chain smoking and alcohol are also playing a big role in her coping mechanisms.
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“Jackie” is fascinating and compelling. The script and direction shed a lot of light on what happened (and might have happened) during the private moments of this very public national nightmare, while painting a very personal portrait of Jackie Kennedy. At times the editing and the chronology of events, while not very difficult to follow, simply jump around too much. Portman is really good here and it was great to see Crudup back in a strong supporting, even if he looks completely different and Greta Gerwig as Jackie’s long time assistant, Nancy Tuckerman and Peter Sarsgaard does well as Robert Kennedy even though he looks really nothing like the real RFK, which also was quite noticable with other actors also.
The films score also ‘scored’ with me as it seemly was a life of Camelot to all of those looking in from the outside.

All in all, this film moved me. I rarely get emotional or cry during a film, yet the tragedy of it all got to me more than once. This film might have it’s misses, but all in all, it’s very special and should be seen.

Grade: B+
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Friday, November 18, 2016 ~ Courtesy of Fox Searchlight
NOW PLAYING IN THEATRES NATIONWIDE

Don’t let it be forgot
That once there was a spot,
For one brief, shining moment
That was known as Camelot.

REVIEW “PAWN SACRIFICE” Q & A w/TOBEY MAGUIRE – Bleeker Street Media

pawn sacrifice
The story of chess great Bobby Fisher is definitely a complex one as we watch Bobby as a young child (Young actors Aiden Lovekamp and Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, who play Fischer as a boy and teenager, are respectively completely convincing) growing up in the Washington Square area of Brooklyn already showing chess greatness but also showing how his paranoia builds with his mother Regina Fisher (Robin Weigert) holding secret communist party get togethers in their small apartment.

Director Ed Zwick does well making this tense and gripping story which is for the most part set during the Cold War era between the U.S. & U.S.S.R. (aka Russia), Pawn Sacrifice is a very well acted and quite accurate portrayal of the oft demanding, arrogant, completely unstable and preening chess player Bobby Fisher, as it puts Tobey Maguire in the main role of Fisher when he was in his twenties. pawn sacrifice 2

The film opens on Fischer in a state of disarray, panting and pacing around a hotel room, ripping open telephones to check if there are microphones inside. He is going slightly mad, and Fischer will not leave his room. He is paranoid from what is happening outside as the Cold War paranoia that is getting to the American chess grandmaster will be his downfall from life as we know it.
As you watch his crazy decline of mental cognizance with Maguire truly inhabiting and embodying this character showing how he had a mind both incredible and dangerous as on the one hand he loved gloating to the public, on the other was a nuisance and nut in private.
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With the aid of two companions, lawyer Paul Marshall (Michael Stuhlbarg) and Father William Lombardy (Peter Sarsgaard), Fischer plans a trip to Iceland to play against the Soviets.
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Out of fear and apparent madness, Fischer does not show up for a world title match against his Russian foe, Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber), who is effortlessly cool in his portrayal here mostly just with looks as he doesn’t have much dialogue.
The fact that this film is quite historically accurate and with spectacular locations perfectly welded together, the scenes in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills being some of my favourite as they got the essence of the era down perfectly and beautifully, showing how these two guys were somewhat the rock stars of their respective countries in such a time of turmoil between the two countries.. along with the fact they make chess almost exciting makes the title perfectly fit with the reference to the sacrifice Bobby Fischer had to make, but because of his almost sheer genius, had the game going and ending how he wanted.
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Although the physical resemblance with the real chess players isn’t spot on, that fact proves to be almost a moot point and unnoticable with these hands down enveloping performances and truly, once the movie gets a hold of you, just sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

Grade: B
@pegsatthemovies

tobey maguire
POST Q & A WITH TOBEY MAGUIRE & PRODUCER GAIL KATZ:
Tobey noted what interested him most and attracted him to the role was seeing what Fisher’s childhood had been about.. Noting that by age 15 he was already at the top of his game, but mentally, what he was doing was telling people his hotel room wasn’t perfect or making crazy demands for quiet. It was mostly this that attracted him to the role.
He & Gail delved into many long and lengthy stories about how the film got to be made most notably that they first had director David Fincher attached when they first started putting the picture together 9 yrs. ago and then when it became clear he wouldn’t be able to do it when Tobey was ready to do it, he had a conversation with Ed Zwick who stepped in and did a fine job. He noted that it is somewhat a sports story but more a life story time capsule of what was going on in the world at the time.

Screening: Landmark Theatre Westside ~ Thursday, September 10, 2015 ~ Courtesy of Bleeker Street Media and Producers Guild of America
Nationwide release: Wednesday, September 16, 2015