7 DAYS OF OSCARS: DAY THREE ~ “BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR”

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Here we are at Day 3 of my “7 Days of Oscar” ~ probably for me at least, the hardest category besides Best Picture to judge. The category is just filled to the brim of fantastic performances and I wish they could all win..well..minus one. ha!
Reminder: I’m giving who I think the winner will be and what would be my pick – because they aren’t always necessarily the same!! 😀

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Christian Bale, The Big Short
Absolutely Christian Bale in one of his best career performances. While it was a complete ensemble cast, he stood out head and shoulders above the rest.

Tom Hardy, The Revenant
How do you explain Tom Hardy – he’s been full of acting surprises for some years now and while I would’ve thought him to have a nomination before this one (think ‘Locke’ from 2014), he is deservedly here.

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Ruffalo with his oddly thrown in facial & body tics/expressions that are reminiscent of a bad Jimmy Olsen caricature, annoyed the daylights out of me, to a point for me so I can’t even remotely vote for him here and was the only drawback to an otherwise really good film.

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Lucky for me, I’ve known about Rylance’s talent for a bit now. For me, there was only one person that truly stood out for me performance-wise in this film and that person was Mark Rylance.

Sylvester Stallone, Creed MY PICK/WINNER
Yep I’m going ‘Old School’ on this one. because Sly, Sly, Sly – I’ve seen all your stuff, whether good or bad. But I remember how no one thought you could act.. I kept telling them you could, and then came ‘Copland’ where you proved them all wrong and me right. Has there been more misses than hits…sure there has, but damn you were so good here. He will pull at everyone’s heartstrings like he did mine and take this.

**Come back tomorrow for Day 4 of the “7 Days of Oscar” and see my picks/winners for Best Director.**

REVIEW: “THE REVENANT” ~ POST Q & A ~ LEONARDO DICAPRIO/DIR: ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU/PROD: STEVE GOLAN & MARY PARENT

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Since I was lucky enough to be part of the first ever audience to see this remarkable picture with Leonardo DiCaprio & Alejandro González Iñárritu doing the post Q & A along with producers Steve Golan & Mary Parent ~ I think I can safely tell you all…Prepare to be blown away as I’ve personally never seen a film of this magnitude in my life. And here I thought Alejandro couldn’t outdo last years epic ‘Birdman’, well I was wrong. He can and he did.
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Along with the sure-fire Oscar gold performance of Leo DiCaprio here, ‘The Revenant’ follows the true story of the epic adventures of frontiersman Hugh Glass. It is also about someone trying to survive using the extraordinary power of the human spirit. In an expedition of uncharted America back in the fur trading days, legendary explorer Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), is brutally mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own team. the revenant 7

In an effort to survive, and with a full heart of unimaginable grief and betrayal of trust by John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) and Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) for the death of his son, Glass is buried alive with injuries most would not be able to withstand. Full of anger he goes to the end of what is uncharted wilderness to find Fitzgerald and Bridger. Guided by sheer will and love for his son, Glass navigates a severe winter in the relentless pursuit to live and find redemption. And revenge. Yes, revenge, because make no mistake about it..this is a film of someone seeking revenge in it’s purest form. the revenant 4

While there are some tough-to-watch graphic scenes in this film, it’s a spectacle that really must be experienced both visually and story-wise. While you can pick up the book and spoil it for yourself – don’t!!!! – this is truly something that must be experienced completely on your own. the revenant 3

The no longer-young boy from Titanic, DiCaprio’s phenominal performance here, in which his character is alone and doesn’t speak for much of the two and a half hours of running time that he carries the film, is joined in tandem by the remarkable Tom Hardy. Here again, the man of many accents has another one, not sure where he picks them up, but they do serve him well. He is the villian of sorts here, but is it that or is he just trying as they all are, to survive the harshness of life in these times. With a supporting cast of Domhnall Gleason as Andrew Henry, Brendan Fletcher as Fryman and Grace Dove to name just some of the mixed cast of French, Native American and American actors that provide the makeup of this of ensemble cast.
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This film is as big as it is bold and like nothing I’ve ever seen before, with many a dark and brutal moments that might be to much for some in the audience. Take that as a serious warning as I saw many seat squirmings and some scenes stayed with me for some time after, but I also loved every minute of this film and for me,  I see #OSCAR#OSCAR#OSCAR written all over it.

Grade: A+

Screening: Sunday, November 22, 2015 ~ Courtesy of the Producers Guild of America & 20th Century Fox.
And a quick shoutout to my movie-going BFF – Jason Watters for only with his invitation was I able to be part of the 1st audience and wonderful experience. Thank you so much!!!
Nationwide release: Friday, January 8, 2016

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POST Q & A WITH Leonardo DiCaprio/Alejandro González Iñárritu/Steve Golen and Mary Parent

Starting off with many questions to regarding the film’s production that has already attracted controversy after reports that it became “a living hell”, with some members of the crew quitting and being fired. Iñárritu noted “As a director, if I identify a violin that is out of tune, I have to take that from the orchestra,” “I have nothing to hide,” the director said. “There were problems, but none of them made me ashamed.” The budget also swelled from $60m to $95m.

In the Q & A, Iñárritu described making the film as “almost like an impossible task” — and when asked about his first day on the set, DiCaprio smiled and said, “To tell you the truth, it’s all a beautiful blur to me.”
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Leo noted that while the book is based on a true life story..but the stories being those told around the campfires of those days in time also can be full of embelishments etc.. it’s like when you tell a story to a person and it travels through 10 people it becomes a different story. There is no way to verify it and he could only read for reference stories told and written by these men. DiCaprio described it as “almost a silent movie performance from me” it’s a father/son story..a love story and a ‘bear’ of a story all wrapped in one.

The script had been floating around for some time but no one could picture how they could possibly make a film of this magnitude with Iñárritu originally passing on the project some time ago. Iñárritu said some days they only had 45 minutes of workable shoot time, other days an hour and a half tops with hours sometimes being take to intricately set up the shot required. They were at the mercy of the weather, which at one point dropped to 40 degrees below zero.
Alejandro noted that the pressure on Leo was immense as once everything was set up..it was up to him to carry it out and lead the way in the short time span avail to them. If he didn’t, then they would have to start all over again the next day. leo & alejandro 1
Rehearsals, they said, took months, with elaborate camera moves worked out with the actors before they ever went to the wilderness locations, many of them near Calgary, Canada. “You felt an intensity, and a unity with the whole crew that you had to grasp the entire shot every day,” said DiCaprio.
Probably my favourite quote by director Alejandro González Iñárritu in answering a question regarding the beauty and harshness of the wilderness in which they shot he noted: “the sky is omnipresent.”

REVIEW: “MAD MAX:FURY ROAD” (2015) Warner Bros.

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From the moment you hear Tom Hardy’sMax Rockatansky” croak out the words ‘My world is fire and blood’ you know you are in for a monumental whirlwind of a ride as the world of ‘Max Max:Fury Road’ unfolds on the screen before you. What follows will have you feeling as though you’ve been sucker punched in the gut, but in all the right ways. I left the theatre breathless and two hours later I still don’t think I was breathing properly.

It’s been three decades, 1985 to be exact, since we last saw the Road Warrior known as Mad Max, then being played by Mel Gibson, and from minute one-this film is a methane-fueled thrill ride that only gives you a minute or two to breathe in between the non-stop, rollercoaster post-apocalyptic relentless action of this return trip to the world of George Miller’s MAD MAX.
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And yes, Charlize Theron as one-armed “Imperator Furiosa” just absolutely kills it.
She’s the immovable object AND the irresistible force at the same time. I mean when was the last time you had a such a woman of action, and one armed to boot. Never. Her death-stare is truly like a thousand war-engines revving up. Axle grease used as war paint. Every man’s doom as her and Hardy have one of the screen’s most powerful man-on-woman fights and at no moment does one ever think that Theron/Furiosa is at a disadvantage against him as her opponent.
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Max’s inner demons are what haunts him this time round. He’s lost his wife and young daughter and it’s that little girl’s flashbacks accusing him of failing to save them that keeps appearing to haunt this guilt-feeling Max to the point that he lets his guard down just enough to get captured by “Immortan Joe” (Hugh Keays-Byrne) the over-lord of the citadel in this futuristic bleak wasteland, who dispenses precious water to his followers (quick shoutout to the California drought here ha!) all the while raising a troupe of ghoulish young men called the “War Boys.” The Boys, thinking Valhalla awaits them when they die so they can commit heinous crimes on Joe’s behalf.
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What drives this films plot is when Furiosa decides to go off course with an Immortans War truck along with his best five breeders aka wives “Toast the Knowing” (Zoe Kravitz), “The Splendid Angharad” (Rosie Huntington Whiteley), “Capable” (Riley Keough), “The Dag” (Abbey Lee) & “Cheedo the Fragile” (Courtney Eaton) to make it back to her childhood home ‘The Green Place’. Joe sends his War Boys after her including “Nux” (Nicholas Hoult) who just happens to have his ‘human blood bag’ aka Max strapped to the front of his vehicle in a chase scene that can only be described as sheer motor madness.
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There is not one but three different factions chasing them at times in the the most crazy of action sequences as we go from car chases to fist fights to foot pursuits and then we go back and do it all over again. It’s like the spin cycle of the washing machine is going full blast and giving us with perfect timing, a few moments here and there to catch our breath.

Neither Hardy nor Theron speak much through the first 30 minutes as they are to focused on just surviving. Hardy in yet another voice not his own, only really gives us a few grunts in the first hour, so Theron’s Imperator Furiosa seems almost chatty patty in comparison.
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As I don’t want to give away the whole plot as what I’ve described is really only the first 15 minutes or so of the film and it’s something that just must be seen spoiler free for yourself. And not on DVD or your laptop or your phone..you NEED to watch this in all it’s glory as it’s meant to be seen, on the biggest screen available to you with loud booming sound or you will miss even the crazy maniacal guitarist that would make even the biggest speed metal fan need earplugs as he plows along the desert in pursuit with Joe. Trust me on this one.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two things to end with here. One: the #GirlPower in this film is truly something to behold. Every single female character holds their own and I give huge kudos on this. Two: George Miller with this film simply raises the bar on everything cinematic being released thus far this year. CGI might be great for the Marvel or X-Men and it IS all fun and good, but there is NOTHING like the mastery brilliance that can take the place of watching live action human element of feeling as one – riding along with chainsaw wielding madman sliding across car hoods, crawling on the outside of fast moving vehicles or fear of being plucked out of said moving vehicles by crazed maniacs swinging from high velocity poles. It’s absolutely brilliant and made me giddy throughout the whole movie.

As Nux so aptly puts it “What a Lovely Day”

Grade: A+
@pegsatthemovies
Screening at the Arclight Theatre, Hollywood Wednesday, May 13th,2015
MAD MAX:FURY ROAD WORLDWIDE RELEASE DATE: FRIDAY, MAY 15TH, 2015

RATINGS SCALE: A = OSCAR-WORTHY; B = ABOVE AVERAGE; C = AVERAGE; D = NOT RECOMMENDED; F = SKIP IT ENTIRELY (+ OR – GIVES IT AN EDGE UP OR DOWN)

REVIEW OF “THE DROP” – FOX SEARCHLIGHT – 2014

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“The Drop” is a story about a man and his dog.. okay..and his cousin/boss who used to think of himself as a ‘big man’..and a girl whom he likes who randomly helps him take care of the dog..but might be linked to more…and an arm with a watch..oh and throw in a bit of Chechen syndicate who ‘the drops’ are for…and lastly..you find out the man with the dog has much more to him than meets the eye and is much darker than you thought.

But let’s start with this…

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Tom Hardy is a man of many accents..this we have learned and Hollywood’s most recent ‘it/go to’ guy does not disappoint with his interpretation of this Brooklyn/Crooklyn accent either.  As the screen rolls up you hear a voice that sorta sounds like Christopher Walken just rolled in after gargling with a shot of whiskey..and lo and behold, It’s a very believable Tom Hardy as “Bob Saginowski” in this quite mesmerizing performance as a somewhat shy, but yet charming bartender at what used to be his Cousin Marv’s (James Gandolfini) local neighborhood dive bar aptly named ‘Cousin Marvs’ which is now owned by the Chechen syndicate lead by “Chovka” (Michael Aronov) and used, when designated to do so, as the ‘drop’ bar, a place where all the nights drop payments to this syndicate are made and then picked up. Basically when it’s your night, envelopes stuffed with cash get dropped off into a time-released safe which is then picked up at the specified hour by a designated main guy. Simple enough riiiiggghhtt.except Marv, in Gandolfini’s last spin in a role that was clearly made for him, has decided he wants to go back to his glory days of being respected and plans to heist his own ‘drop’ day, tries to pull off a practice heist with 2 local guys, “Fitz” (James Frecheville) & “Rardy” (Michael Esper) which doesn’t go over well with all involved.

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Now you must be wondering where the dog fits in..well oddly enough, this movie is actually based on the short story “Animal Rescue” by Dennis Lehane in which a tough, but sweetheart of a guy, with a rather dark past, finds a badly beaten pit bull puppy in a trash can and it gets him into some big trouble.. As with that story, in this one Bob finds said dog in “Nadia” (Noomi Rapace) garbage can & she randomly offers to help him take care of it.  I won’t lie..there are some wonderfully cute scenes with Hardy & the little doggie Rocco..he’s a little scene stealer that Rocco!!! 😀  But turns out Nadia also has a bit of a history..with “Eric Deeds” (Matthias Schoenaerts) who is not only a complete psycho-path, but also the a-hole who beat little Rocco and left him for dead, yet stalks Bob with much malice to try to get the dog back insofar as even threatening Nadia’s life.  Eric has a reputation behind him, and now Marv is going to use him for the big cache heist day.  The whole time everything is going on, we see Bob attending 8am mass everyday at the local Catholic church, which we figure out later just why, but where he has the attention of the very police detective investigating not only a past neighborhood murder from years earlier,  but the recent robbery at the bar. “Detective Torres” (John Ortiz) just knows somethings fishy with the whole scene there at the bar, most especially focusing on Bob whose unassuming ways almost had me thinking at one point he might be a bit daft as in not-so-bright, but that’s really just all part of the charm of Hardy in this role..because even though you might think it for a moment or two, it’s because he wants you to.

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This gutsy, gritty & sometimes funny film ends with a plot twist that I don’t think most will see. but it definitely answers all your questions. I mean I had an idea of what it was, but it was so well thought out and done that I was really never sure which way it was going to go until it actually happened.  Again, Hardy is just simply wonderful in this role along with Gandolfini, they make a great dark comedy team which sadly we will never have the chance be able to see again. (Peace be with you James Gandolfini, you will always be remembered with your great body of work)  Noomi Rapace is good, and I enjoy her a lot in most films she’s done, but honestly she is out-played here by pretty much everyone and the character is a one that the if it was left out of the film entirely, you wouldn’t have even missed it.  A big huge kudos from me also goes to Matthias Schoenaerts. This Belgium actor deserves a big nod for playing his role so well and holding his own in such good company, hope to see much more of him in upcoming films.

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My vote is that you see this movie even if it’s not your cup of tea, for the performances alone.

Grade:  B-   (squeaks in at above average)

#peggyatthemovies

Grading Scale: A = Oscar-worthy   B =  Above average-must see  C = Average – should see  D = Don’t waste your time or money  F =  Don’t see the movie     (+ or –  gives the movie an edge up or down)

REVIEW OF TOM HARDY IN “LOCKE”

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This was probably one of the most different and unique movies I’ve seen in some time.  I like things that break the mold of the same ol’ same ol’…and this movie does that.  First off, Tom Hardy..yea,  not cast in his usual type role. I mean besides a few roles here and there..I’m used to seeing him at least shirtless once during a movie!! 😀  And I don’t mind that in the slightest..he’s usually quite fun & sexy in his roles.  This however is again different as he basically carries the whole movie by himself driving in a car speaking while with numerous different people on the phone.trying to solve the craptasticness of what’s just been thrown at him & he knows will ruin his life. Somehow it sucks you in though and you can’t believe your ears on what is going on in this man’s life during these 2 hrs.

So Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) again in one of his least sexy roles ever (especially with this full beard) but for me at least, of the roles I’ve seen him in, maybe his darkest and definitely one of his best.. Synopsis of the story is:  Ivan Locke is a man who has just gotten a phone call from a woman, Bethan (Voiceover by Olivia Coleman) who let’s him know that the one time they had sex while he was on a construction job, she got preggers and because she is an older woman, she felt this was her last chance at what she deems ‘happiness’ (others consider it differently 🙂  And guess what..she is delivering that baby tonight.. He makes the decision to go be with her for said delivery as his father was not there for him. Whilst he decides this, he is also set, per his job, to be a part of, the largest building cement pour to ever happen in the UK for a skyscraper that is to be built and in doing so will lose his job and of course his family.  He actually calls his wife and tells her of the affair over the phone, all the while his construction crew is calling him, his company and most of all, Bethan, her doctors & the hospital as she is experiencing complications.

Again what takes place during all these non-stop continuous calls and how Ivan Locke deals with it is what this story is really all about.  Remember “Phone Booth” with Colin Farrell..yeah that’s the closest somewhat of a comparison I can give and it’s like a way updated version of that, done in a car the whole time and the only character we ever see is Ivan Locke aka Tom Hardy in a performance that I just never got bored with.  Was it an odd movie, oh yeah, you bet it was..but again, I kinda like odd & different sometimes which is why I love Indie movies.  Be prepared as I don’t think it’s for everyone nor will everyone like it.  I did though.  Tom Hardy deserves at least a Oscar nod for this performance if not a win. 

Grade: B-