REVIEW: “THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD” (2017) LIONSGATE

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So what’s this movie about? Well it’s about a guy Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), who used to run a Triple AAA Protection Service before he lost a big-time client Kurosawa (Tsuwayuki Saotome), who was murdered after boarding a plane and while in the ‘security’ of Bryce. Flash-forward to two years later and we see Michael’s business failed in a big way, now having become a personal bodyguard for low-end, eternally coked-out paranoid players. Now being forced by ex-girlfriend/agent Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung) to transport an important ‘witness’ to The Hague, Netherlands to testify against a murderous Belarus dictator (ring any bells anyone?) Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), only to discover when he arrives that star witness is none other than Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) the world’s most deadly assassin, who is only doing this in exchange for his wife Sonia’s (Salma Hayek) freedom. Now with half of Eastern Europe hot on their heels, Bryce is discovering that being the bodyguard of a hit-man turned informant is no easy task. And viola’ ladies and gentlemen – that is how we have “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”.

While the story sounds interesting, it plays out in a pretty typical and predictable way, not that I should have expected much more as after all, it is billed as a action/comedy film. But all predictability aside, the story does get the job done. Yes, you’ll be able to figure out how the film will end within the first 30 minutes or so, but truly in the scope of all that’s going on, it’s not all that important, because it’s all about the journey to that very predictable, albeit quite fun, entertaining and satisfying ending.

Ryan Reynolds on the other hand is, once again, cast as the somewhat fussy do-gooder who’s in over his head and constantly put upon, but manages to pull through because he tries really, really hard! The results are pretty fun though and the chemistry between Jackson and Reynolds is very spot on throughout the film, while the storyline between Michael and Amelia is well..boring, the one between Darius and Sonia is on a whole other level and they may just win the ‘crazy movie couple of the year’ award. Sadly the rest of the cast doesn’t really hold up as well as it’s leading men. Gary Oldman is very much here for the paycheck, as Belarusian President (cough) Dictator, while Salma Hayek is given near nothing to do as Kincaid’s incarcerated wife, though she makes her mark in her few scenes. Elodie Yung’s character does have a little more bearing on the plot, but her early-onscreen promise to be noted as a capable Interpol agent is set aside so she can be honored with the role of the proverbial last act love prize. *sigh

As formulaic as ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ is, it’s light – maybe even too light for all the blood-splatter that takes place – but it never insults its audience by say, trying to even begin to explain why Samuel L. Jackson can take a bullet to the leg then jump a multi-story building like it’s nothing. It’s can be dumb but it never makes you feel dumb for watching it. The movie doesn’t take itself seriously and I was perfectly fine with that because it’s was more than enteraining to watch.

Grade: C+
@pegsatthemovies

 

Media Review Screening ~ Wednesday, August 9, 2017 ~ Courtesy of Lionsgate Film

“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” will be in theatres nationwide on Friday, August 18, 2017

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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: “DEADPOOL” (2016) 20th Century Fox

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For those of you who, like me, who might not be so familiar with the “DEADPOOL” series of Marvel, just going to give you a heads up ~ this movie is extremely over the top graphic in terms of sex, violence and humor, and that’s exactly what I loved about it! What a breath of fresh Marvel air this movie is. By far the one of the funniest ones from the Marvel Universe I’ve seen since…well Guardians of the Galaxy, and I simply loved that one. But it is also the bloodiest, and well deserving of it’s R rating – take note – this one is not for the kids.

But alas, there are many things I’m not going to tell you in this review because as any true Marvel fan should know.. spoilers are not cool. I will however tell you from moment one of the opening ‘introductions’ of the cast (which you MUST take note of) you will be rolling with laughter in your seats.
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Speaking of that cast of characters, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a skilled special forces operative turned mercenary. And he talks a lot, a whole lot, doesn’t really ever stop! To some this be annoying, while to the rest, myself included, it’s like music to our ears, mainly because of the hilarity of everything he says. But you have to really pay attention to keep up with every innuendo that’s flying at you. And trust me, he breaks all the boundries – meaning he’ll talk to you the audience as if you’re there. But what’s even more epic than that is the fact that he is AWARE of the universe that he’s in and the universe that you’re in, and those two collide in the most epic way possible. And while Reynolds body really is sheer perfection, the fact that yes Ryan Reynolds’ character, Wade Wilson, makes fun of Ryan Reynolds the actor and also mocks Ryan Reynolds’ previous poor decisions like Green Lantern and People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive cover, is just sheer amusement.
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Morena Baccarin is Vanessa, a prostitute who shares his fondness for dark humor steps up to the plate well here as the girl Wade/Deadpool falls in love with. T.J. Miller as Wade’s sometimes side-kick appropriately named Weasel, adds in some good back and forth banter. But once Colossus (v/o Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) show up and the battle between them and Angel Dust (Gina Carano) and Ajax aka Francis (Ed Skrein) is truly the only time the film turns a teensy bit cliché. And by now you know my ‘villain motto’ because yes, “you’re only as good as your villain” ~ well Skrein, who let’s face it, wasn’t so good in the Transporter film, really brings his A-game here as a truly good love-to-hate character showing us that action films really do seem to be his forte.
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I think everyone is going to have blast with this one as it’s smart, brash, fast and a whole lot of fun!  And of course it goes without saying – STAY FOR THE END CREDITS – you won’t regret it as after all, its a Marvel film riiight??!! 😀

Grade: B+
@pegsatthemovies

Review Screening: Thursday, February 4th, 2016 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Nationwide release: Friday, February 12, 2016

REVIEW: “SELF/LESS” (2015) FOCUS FEATURES

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“SELF/LESS” is billed as psychological science fiction thriller with Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley as “Damian” as an extremely wealthy man dying from cancer who finds out about a radical underground medical procedure called “shedding” that can transfer his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man in Ryan Reynolds the younger version of Damian. As with anyone given back a younger self, Younger Damien then proceeds to take full advantage of that situation but with all the knowledge of his older self, to mix it up New Orleans party style. As long as he takes his ‘special’ pills that is. self less 1

But as you figure out within the first 15 minutes of the film, all is not as it seems as Reynolds “Younger Damian” starts experiencing flashes of a woman “Madeline” (Natalie Martinez) and a child “Anna” (Jayne-Lynn Kinchen), which leads to him going on an action-fueled rampage to figure out the mystery of who they are and what they lead to – aka the body’s origin – and the underground organization lead by a “Professor Albright” (Matthew Goode) that will kill anyone who tries to find out its secrets.
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This film’s only surprise for me was that I thought I was going into a sci-fi type film (the premise seemed quite interesting from the trailers) – was actually a sluggish, very predictable, ‘point/less’ (pun intended) action film. And while I might question why we are led to believe that Ben Kingsley is one of the main attractions of the film, as he’s only there for a very short period in the first act, I will say I did absolutely love the use of Louisiana flare and colour that they squeeze in at every possible moment from jazz bands to Mardi Gras and yes, even chicory coffee!
Beyond that we are left with Michelle Dockery “Claire” (trying her hardest to give a good American accent) as older Damian’s daughter with whom he feels that if given another chance by doing this shedding experiment, he can repair his relationship with her. Add in a supporting cast of older Damien’s best friend “Martin” (Victor Garber) & his wife “Judy” (Melora Hardin) with a few secrets of their own that the younger version will discover and a interchangeable henchmen “Anton 1” (Derek Luke) and “Anton 2” (Brendan McCarthy) and you’ve wrapped up your film in a handshake.

Ben Kingsley as Damian in ``Self/less.''

Ben Kingsley as Damian in “Self/less.”

While I was told there has been comparisons with a 1966 John Frankenheimer film called “Seconds” which I’ve not seen, I can only say that SELF/LESS might have tried hard to be this but took a sharp left turn in the wrong direction as it’s more interested in sending Damian on the run with an upset wife and child in tow as he tries to keep them in the dark over what’s really happening..and you can imagine how realistic that all is. (clue: it’s not)
Essentially the story is your basic standard fugitive plotline with any inter-personal connections aspect of it being severely underwritten.

Rating: D
@pegsatthemovies

Screening: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015 at The Grove-Pacific Theatres courtesy of Focus Features & LAFTV
NATIONWIDE RELEASE: Friday, July 10th, 2015

“WOMAN IN GOLD” ~ (2015) Weinstein Co.

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I’m not an emotional film-goer and also don’t get to personal a lot with my reviews. I rarely, if ever, cry during a film. It’s just how I am. I’m not a ‘cold’ person and things move me, but I think it’s because sometimes I feel like I’ve seen it before or it simply has to move me in a way that others before it have not. The Imitation Game moved me because I felt as though it directly affected me personally being as I am originally from the Netherlands and in all likelihood, had Alan Turing & his team not come around, my parents, and even I, might not have existed. This film was like that for me as it moved me in that same type of way and yes, I cried. Does it make me give it a higher grade based on all this.. yeah I think it does, but then I can do that! 🙂

The story was so profound to me and memories of stories my family has told me of the horrors of the war, well it’s just something that whenever there is a film like this, it makes it all to realistic for me and I’m sure many others also. woman in gold 3

It begins with “Maria Altmann” (Helen Mirren), an elderly Jewish refugee, who sees a notice that the Austrian government has finally decided to return famous works of art that the Nazi’s had stolen back at the beginning of World War II. She finds a young lawyer, “Randol Schoenberg” (Ryan Reynolds), his grandfather being the composer Arnold Schoenberg, who escaped to the United States after the Nazis declared his music be degenerate based on the fact he was Jewish, takes on the government to recover specifically, a painting of her Aunt Adele Bloch-Bauer aka the Woman in Gold, and other artwork by Gustav Klimt, she believes rightfully belongs to her family. With the help of an Austrian reporter played by Daniel Bruhl, they set out to do exactly that. By the time the film starts it’s story in 1998, the painting had literally had become one of their biggest tourist attractions. You went to Vienna, you had your coffee, you went to the opera and you went to see the Klimt ‘Woman In Gold’ painting. So as a lawyer says in the film, “You think a painting that ends up as a refrigerator magnet will ever leave Austria?”

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As the story unfolds we see the wonderful Tatiana Maslany as the young “Maria” and Max Irons does a decent turn as her young opera singer husband “Fritz” and we watch as they make their escape from Austria.

Woman in Gold can be a bit wooden, and the acting by Mirren carries the picture, but Ryan Reynolds is truly not bad, though Katie Holmes as his wife “Pam” really offers nothing in a very small role. All in all the film shows great respect for its story and the Old World which Altmann and her attorney must revisit to make this case happen, and though she had vowed she to never return, she does, as well as the modern life she made for herself in Los Angeles with a small clothing shop she owned and worked at until her passing at age 94 in 2011. The scenes of a Vienna long past showed in flashbacks, are some of the best in the film. Altmann goes to the house where she grew up, which is now a commercial space, and we see as she imagines her family as they were on her wedding night, and even dances beside the guests and her younger self ~ yes, more teary moments for me. WOMAN IN GOLD

I didn’t do any research into this film before seeing it and I highly recommend you don’t either. The story that unfolds will not leave you as you leave the theatre and that’s because shit like this is still going on. Austria and the Vatican..yes, the Vatican, still hold the largest cache of stolen Nazi art that they deny they have and will never give back, but also never share it with the world because that would be admitting what they did. And we know that’s never going to happen. And we should be so much more angry about than we are. As my family always said, they try to tell you it’s in the past and to get over it, but you can’t and you can never ever forget either. I haven’t and I never will. This movie reminded me to never do so. I hope it does you also. WomaninGold 1

Grade: B-
@pegsatthemovies

(See grading scale)