REVIEW: “HAIL, CAESAR!” (2016) – Universal Pictures

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All Hail Caesar!!!
This Coen Brothers satire of old school Hollywood is a perfectly done mix of what our imagination might conjure up of what the Aqua-musicals or dance sequence films from the ‘Golden Age of Hollywood’ could be if they were done today.
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The film centers around physical production/studio head Eddie Mannix, played by Josh Brolin. Mannix is a fixer at the fictitious Capital Pictures in the 1950’s. This involves him dealing with numerous egos, including their box-office superstar Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) and Aqua~movie starlet, DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johannson). Not long after the film begins, Whitlock is kidnapped and Mannix begins his quest to get him back with some surprising help along the way from young western actor, Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich).  
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With a top notch billed cast, you do tend to notice that some of the names receiving top billing, are only in it for short pieces of time or literally there for only a ‘blink-and you missed it’ moment – as such is the case with Jonah Hill’s character Joseph Silverman. Besides that odd glitching, all the supporting cast as a whole are just plain good and you don’t get a bad performance from anyone as even the normally so wooden Scarlett Johannson plays her small part well and unannoying.   Aside from the names mentioned, you’ll also see Ralph Fiennes being spot on as director Laurence Laurentz, Tilda Swinton doing hysterical double time as bickering twin gossip columnist sisters, Thora & Thessaly Thacker. Channing Tatum for whom I must say,  I love where he is taking his career with roles like this, truly dazzles with his singing and dancing number that is so beautifully done it makes you not only yearn for those times of past, but want them back if he keeps doing this.
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Brolin is fantastic in the lead role and turns what could be a very unlikable character into a very endearing and sympathetic one. The real find among the cast is Ehrenreich. The character of Hobie Doyle is simple enough but Ehrenreich manages to turn him into one of the more amusing and interesting characters you’ll find in this film.
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All in all I truly enjoyed the film as a whole and I’m guessing all Coen Bros. fans will thoroughly enjoy it.  However as a second note, my guest didn’t like it as much and he made a good point.  That he didn’t ‘get’ all the innuendos of some of it and said the general public as a whole might not either as it might have that ‘going over their heads’ problem.
For me, I highly recommend this Golden-Age romp through the glory days of Hollywood..
Grade: B-
@pegsatthemovies
Review Screening: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 ~ Courtesy of Universal Pictures 
Nationwide release: Friday, February 5, 2016
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REVIEW: “TRAINWRECK” (2015) Universal Pictures

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And your comedy-date movie for the summer is…(drum roll please) “Trainwreck”!!

Written by and starring this year’s comedic ‘it-girl’ Amy Schumer as “Amy” it chronicles the misadventures of its leading character as she runs through boyfriends, numerous sexual encounters acting all the while as a chronically commitment-challenged career woman, is some serious comedic gold. When her boss “Dianna” (an unrecognizable and hilarious Tilda Swinton) assigns her a story to feature a young sports surgeon “Aaron” (Bill Hader) something happens to Amy she didn’t know was possible…she falls in love.
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The film romantic-comedy side solely rests on the perfectly imperfect character of Amy who I think we can all relate to – as either being it at some point in our own lives or in someone we know. I mean let’s be truthful here … who of us ladies hasn’t walked into a room inappropriately dressed or sat at a baby shower giving a big eyeroll at the “my life is perfect” banalities and so wanting to shut it down. Amy is that girl, the friend we love to have around because she isn’t afraid to do or say what we wish we had the guts to do or say…though she pretty much goes overboard every time and that goes double here and yes, that’s why we love her.
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Schumer is a force here, knocking every gag out of the park but also displaying some quite impressive dramatic skills that one doesn’t expect from a stand-up comedian. Bill Hader is finally given and masters the lead role he deserves perfectly. He is lovable, relatable in every way and is the perfect match for Amy on the big screen. Their chemistry here is undeniable.
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The supporting cast of the film is absolutely solid. Brie Larson is wonderful as “Kim” – Amy’s sister, Colin Quinn is “Gordon” Amy & Kim’s dad, Mike Birbiglia is “Tom” Kim’s husband, and the little scene-stealer child Evan Brinkman as “Allister” rounds off the family. Vanessa Bayer’s “Nikki” is Amy’s co-worker and just as on SNL, she holds her own here.
But perhaps the biggest surprise of the film is are the 2 big name athletes of the film in LeBron James trainwreck 2playing himself and John Cena as “Steven” one of Amy’s flings that you just can’t help but love while grabbing a scene your eyes won’t soon forget. And while I don’t know or follow basketball much (just like Amy in the film I might add) I do know who LeBron is and as it turns out the basketball superstar’s comedic timing is might just be as impressive as his game. The plethora of SNL cast, athlete and musician cameos were a welcome bonus to the movie. trainwreck 4

By now we know that with a Judd Apatow films you’ll get a nice blend of raunchy humor and heart. It is a tried and true formula – and it works again here but with something different and that’s Amy Schumer. Sure there might be a few uneven moments..but the duo here help create one of the funniest romantic comedies I have seen in a long time with one of the most fun finale scenes I’ve had the pleasure of seeing all year long. Most of all – I think we can all say a big HELLO to Amy Schumer – “Moviestar” when this hits theaters..
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This film is fantastically fun, full of laughs, new one-liners for you to memorize and a sweet story to prove that yes, my friends, there is someone for everyone in this world.

Grade: B
@pegsatthemovies

Screening at Arclight Hollywood – Thursday, July 9, 2015 courtesy of Universal Pictures
Nationwide release: Friday, July 17, 2015

READ #peggyatthemovies review of “ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE”

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I really must say I walked out of this movie thinking 2 thoughts…1st was ..’WTF!!!’ 2nd was…  ‘Holy Shite that was long, somewhat dreary and why did everyone speak in a monotone’.. Oh ..and that I was hungry because it had been a long day and I went straight there and yeah..the length of it.

Let me start off with what I liked..

 

OK.. kidding.. there were a few things I liked… I loved the dilapidated house setting in Detroit that Adam (Tom Hiddleston) lived in and the total and complete 70’s vibe it gave as even when he was ‘Skyping’ with Eve (Tilda Swinton)…yep you got it..’Adam’ & ‘Eve’ are the two lead Vampires and yes they are married (I see you all *eyerolling*) ..back to the Skyping, she did it by phone, he had all these weird connector thingys as it seems since he’s been around for forever and a day, he knows how to make mountains out of molehills apparently..and got her on an old 70’s TV screen.  When they shot in Tangiers..you got the vibe there though there is absolutely no scenic photography here at all..you still got it.  Anton Yelchin (Ian) was fun and played the role of sorta the ‘dealer of ‘Antiquities’ for Adam. And I like Tom Hiddleston period..except one little thing.. he really just needs to eat a cheeseburger..or maybe 5..as he is rack thin especially for a man.

So what I got from this movie was a somewhat different take on the story of Vampires portrayed as people who have been living way to long and exist in our present society today  They name drop their ‘friends’ who they have known throughout the centuries as if it was a Paris Hilton twitter account & try to make it funny, but it doesn’t come off that way..at all. not even a little..slight ha! maybe and that’s all the audience at the screening I was at on Tuesday evening could muster. They don’t kill people to drink blood but buy it from sources like Dr. Watson, yes again, I know the name thing,..(Jeffrey Wright) which to me was very ‘Twilight-ish’ and some of it this movie, like why they had to wear gIoves I just didn’t plain get. Basically, Adam, who was a rock-star in probably the 70’s era and who’s music was leaked to the world maybe by accident, didn’t want to be famous so he’s since become a depressed, reclusive vampire who only allows Ian to visit him and bring him what he needs.  Eve, his wife, though they don’t live together, comes to him in Detroit from Tangiers when she realizes he might ‘try it’ again..yep..suicidal vampire that he is.

As they progress they are in for a surprise visit from Eve’s sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska) who last time she popped up in their lives some 80+ years ago, she apparently caused more than one disaster, which of course, true to form, she does again, though I can’t say what as it would be a huge spoiler and we all know how they suck!! Anyway, they then pop back to Tangiers..mind you they can only take night flights, and it seems their main vampire man and blood source there, Marlowe (John Hurt) who may or may not actually be Shakespeare, is dying.. I thought vampires lived forever no??

I know Jim Jarmusch does ‘creative’ movies and have seen my fair share of them, but this was just a bit on the bizarre side for me and not sure how some are saying so ‘artistic’ as well, no..for me it really wasn’t, I know people will freak over this, but I’ve never been the biggest Tilda Swinton fan, but this is definitely her type of movie. What I didn’t get is some small things like why does every character have to have big teased up hair?? It’s not set in the 80’s.. why is Adam some mechanical genius but yet we never really know why or why he doesn’t use technology yet all the other characters do…I guess that’s the ‘quirky, creative’ parts of it I just didn’t get. And I know some people have said it’s funny.. no..it’s really not.. Again, a little ha! here & there..I guess what confused me the most was what is this movie exactly supposed to be..and with that…

Grade C-  (barely)

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