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

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REVIEW: “DEADPOOL 2” (2018) 20th Century Fox

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So yes, in case somehow you’ve been stuck under a rock or living in Wakanda and you’ve missed all the wonderful promos leading into the release of this film, yes, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) as his alter-ego DEADPOOL are back for another round. And while the laughs and action are still there, your going to be hard pressed to find a movie more over the top than “DEADPOOL 2”. Director David Leitch takes this one to a whole new level entirely and it works namely because the violence here is just creative vs. all blood, guts and gore. And sure, it defies all logic most of the time, but you can’t help but laugh at the zingers being thrown at you left and right throughout and Reynolds’ charm is undeniable.

We come into the film with Williams having settled into something resembling normalcy, kinda right where you expected him to be – spending his days dispatching villains now that he can with those mutant healing powers – they allow him to recover from gunshot wounds or worse. His nights are spent with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), the love of his life. But some terrible things happen, leaving a depressed Deadpool to crash on the couch at Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters making for some hilarious camp X-Men jokes fall in to place.

We have a mix of some of the old friends, the CGI Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic), Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), and of course our favourite taxi-driver-wanna-be-super-hero Dopinder (Karan Soni). But we also have a whole new fun group come into play, albeit for some it’s not for long journey – but Peter (Rob Delaney), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgård), Vanisher (Brad Pitt), Bedlam (Terry Crews), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), and Black Tom Cassidy (Jack Kesy) add a fun plot point to the whole film. They are all part of the newly recruited/dubbed ‘X-Force’ group, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but sadly and hysterically I might add, they are gone in quick succession. My personal favourite and one of the last standing through it all, is bad-ass Domino (Zazie Beetz), whose superpower is undeniably “luck”. Our villians could be one of three very different people at various times throughtout. Cable (Josh Brolin) comes into to try to kill Russell aka Firefist (Julian Dennison), who might or might not be ready to step into villian shoes in a big way, or can we call the creepy Headmaster (Eddie Marsan), the biggest villian of the film. That will be for you to decide and see what happens as telling more of this story just defeats the purpose of the fun you will have while watching it. Also, there are cameo moments galore and I hope no one ruins them for you beforehand because they are just plain fun! While I wasn’t crazy about this storyline in comparison to the first one, the one-line zingers are comedy gold. Pay attention as they go fast..very fast.

That being said, go into this movie knowing that it is a campy, corny, over the top superhero/action/comedy that is just about crazy shooting sequences and one-liners, and you’ll be fine. Do not go into this movie expecting deep plot, meaningful conversations among characters, or anything remotely resembling a serious action or drama movie – because that’s not what it’s all about. And yes, this one features the best post credits scene EVER – so don’t make the silly mistake of walking out when the film is over..stay for both sequences..you will be glad you did.

Grade: B+
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Monday, May 14, 2018 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
DEADPOOL 2 WILL BE OUT IN THEATERS NATIONWIDE/WORLDWIDE FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2018

10 top TV shows I’m watching right now

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And you should be too!! It’s been awhile since I’ve done this list and so many shows have come & gone..too many of my favs ending their series runs like Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Mad Men & Justified all in the same year for crimeny sakes. Luckily a few good news ones have popped up and I will be updating this every few weeks from now on. Now onto some great TV….
red road
THE RED ROAD (Sundance Channel)
Martin Henderson & Jason Momoa are really outstanding in this show. They play the best hardcore ‘frenemies’ I’ve seen in quite some time in a show that’s refreshingly different from the same ol’ cops & robbers genre.

the blacklist

THEBLACKLIST (NBC)

James Spader.. enough said. He is fantastic here. Add in a now all grown up-looking amazing -from 90210 –Ryan Eggold doing some decent work and Diego Klattenhoff stepping up in a good supporting and you have yourself a pretty damn good show. Megan Boone as the female lead, for some reason can be the only thorn in my side in some episodes though most everything revolves around her. I also love the complete diversity of what this cast does.

goldbergs

THE GOLDBERGS (ABC)
I’m sorry but their “Ferris Bueller” episode a few weeks ago was so so so very spot on and had me laughing harder than I have in some time. Every episode brings me back to what at the time, I thought was the worst period in my life.. turns out it was the best and Wendi McClendon-Covey kills it every single week as the mom. The whole family is just so spot on.. If you’re not watching this show, you clearly didn’t grow up in the best decade EVER!! 🙂
broolyn 99

BROOKLYN NINE NINE (FOX)
SURPRISE! Another comedy for me which is unusual because I’m very picky on my comedies as shockingly enough, I actually prefer them to be funny. And this one is. The whole cast is so deadpan spot on and work so well together I can’t stop laughing each and every episode.

Syfy_12-Monkeys_E

12 MONKEYS (SyFy)
I’m telling you..Syfy channel has been rocking it and really stepped up their game in the last few years. This show being one of the reasons and one of the best ones on TV right now period. Each episode has upped itself a notch and Aaron Stanford, Kirk Acevedo & Amanda Shull truly take this show to the next level. So granted it took me 3 episodes to realize it was based on the Bruce Willis/Brad Pitt movie, but give me a break, that was 1995!!!

broadchurch

BROADCHURCH (BBC AMERICA)
You know I love my British dramas. The first season of this show was mind-bogglingly good. Then they tried the American-ized version Gracepoint with a great cast, including David Tennant whom they said ‘couldn’t be understood by audiences in the U.K. version’ reallly.. I had no problem and still have no problem understanding him, but the U.S. version was quite awful. So now we are on Season 2 and it’s carried on from season 1 so well which I think was the big question everyone had. Could it be as good? The answer is yes.

the good wife

THE GOOD WIFE (CBS)
After a spectacular Season 5 where this show had some of the best writing I’d seen in a while for network TV.. Season 6 came back with a new firm, Florrick, Lockhart & Agos and has been a bit of a roller coaster at times swinging back n forth between good at times, but a bit confusing. But as of this past Sunday, WHOA! Don’t miss this show people.. it’s what Scandal etc. wish they could be.

Vikings

VIKINGS (HISTORY)
So it’s probably not exact history, but then what really is. We don’t know how the Vikings sounded or exactly what language they spoke, but we do know a lot of their history based upon their gods and what happened between them & the Christians. And we know they discovered America way before Columbus did and were amazing navigators & shipbuilders for their time. We also know that they were true warriors and yes, raided other countries to death. Travis Fimmel has found his calling in this role. He is perfect as King Ragnar and Clive Standen as his brother Rollo is just plain badass.. oh did I mention they are hot..well yeah, they are but the show is also reeeally good and Kathryn Winnick as the bad-ass Lagertha tops this cast off showing true girl power. This is not only a well done good show, it’s entertaining as end all.

mad men

MAD MEN (AMC)
Where would we be without Don Draper??!! Much less entertained in my opinion. This show has stunned us, made us look back in our pasts to see where our futures are.. reminded us of a way things were done not all that long ago, and done it so stylishly we’ve all just fell in love with it. The fact that this show is one of the shows I love that is ending, makes it all the harder to look forward to these last episodes. Don, Peggy, Ken, Pete, Betty, Joan, Harry, Roger and all the rest whom we grown so fond of..let’s smoke one last cigarette together while mixing a drink at work..at noon!

justified

JUSTIFIED (FX)
Oh Raylan..oh Boyd.. oh Ava.. how I will miss you so. I wouldn’t know where to begin or end with how much I love this show and how good this final season is. We are at the very end, and 3 things I will miss most.. the witty amazing dialogue, the fantastic acting by Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, Joelle Carter, Jacob Pitts, Erica Tazel and Nick Searcy along with the rest of the absolutely fantastic co-stars & guest stars that have made this show, and the opening song.. Something I never fast forward through. Oh and producers/directors/writers/FX network ~ can you please give Rachel (Erica Tazel) & Tim (Jacob Pitts) there own spin-off show..pretty please.