REVIEW: “KONG: SKULL ISLAND” (2017) WARNER BROS.

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**IMPORTANT NOTE: Stay for the credits — You won’t regret it!

Is it just me or does it just seem like writers might be a bit bored these past few years and are perhaps running out of ideas? Hasn’t this been done already and then done again? Or did the box office success of movies like Jurassic World inspire studios & producers to opt for remakes instead of the road not taken. Well I don’t have the answer to all those questions BUT…I didn’t hate this remake in all it’s CGI super-glory.

To be clear – Kong: Skull Island is not simply a remake of a film that has been re-made time and time again. It is kind of what you could refer to as an ‘re-imagination’ of the original. If you ever lost sleep at night wondering what it would have been like if King Kong was not sedated and taken to New York to be pointed and laughed at and swatted away little planes with a Faye Wray or Jessica Lange or hey..even Naomi Watts, in his possession. Well fret no more, as that is exactly what this film explores.

The premise here is it’s 1973 this time and a group of eager-beaver scientists discovers what they thought was an uninhabited island a LandSat (land mapping satellite) has taken pictures of. An elusive island called – you guessed it – Skull Island, that although rumoured to exist it’s never been proven to…until now. Bill Randa (John Goodman) and Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) are eager to be the first to explore and geologically map the island, so they persuade the US government to back the expedition by supplying them with the support and expertise of some US Army soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and his team, Chapman (Toby Kebbell), Mills (Jason Mitchell), Cole (Shea Whigham), Slivko (Thomas Mann), to name a few of the supporting crew, who are conveniently just leaving Vietnam and can stop on over. They also pick up a British ex-special forces “tracker” James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) a former British Special Air Service Captain and an “anti-war” photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson).

They start the mission by dropping bombs on the island to map the bedrock, ostensibly to look for mineral deposits. That’s when Kong shows up to smack the helicopters out of the air, and generally wreak mayhem on the team. The scattered survivors then have to survive on an island filled with oh-so-many-monsters and have to try get to the extraction zone. One group finds Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly), who brings a well-done dose of humour to the production and who has been stranded on the island for 29+ years with all the non-speaking island natives where KONG is ‘god’ and most definitely King of this island.

And that’s about all I’ll say about the story, so as to avoid serious spoilers. The story line is fairly conventional with very little arc to the characters except just as in the past, you ARE cheering once again for KONG. In many regards it actually sets up more like a horror movie than action/adventure movie. In fact, there are numerous jump-scares and other basic horror movie devices throughout the movie. Sorta of reminded me of the old school Godzilla vs. whomever monster films and while KONG might be the main guy, he is definitely not the only monster in town here.

In some ways, it felt like the movie couldn’t quite decide what it wanted to be between a monster movie and a horror movie… Or was it an action movie with an anti-war theme? It’s a toss up. There are also numerous characters who seem like they were intended to play more significant roles but then don’t. For instance they bring along a biologist, San (Tian Jing), who does no absolutely no biology (or good acting) at all and seems to mainly appear to allow another character to give a statement of sorts. Similarly most of the LandSat team seem to be around for comic relief, even if it is just horror movie style comic relief. Even some of the major characters do little aside from provide a single plot piece and I’m sure you can already guess, no one is going to be winning any awards for acting from being in this pic.

As for KONG himself, I think they could have spent a bit more time developing him, partly as a character as again, his name is in the film’s title after all. The CGI was quite good not only for KONG himself, but his fellow monster buddies as well.

I think there might have had just too much going on, and not enough time for this movie to be really good. As it is, it’s an entertaining enough of a movie that is fun, if you go in with a somewhat low-bar intention, so I enjoyed it completely on that level alone.

Grade: C+
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 ~ Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
NATIONWIDE RELEASE: Friday, March 10, 2017

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GOLDEN GLOBES: TV PICKS

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Once again you can just cue into me singing “It’s the most wonderful time of the yyeeeaarrr…”
In case you haven’t guessed already.. it’s Awards season otherwise known as ‘My Happy Time’ ~ and the first big event is the Golden Globes this Sunday. It’s where the best of both the Film & TV worlds collide in one night. With so many categories, I’m breaking it up into two separate posts and of course, who I think the winner will be and what would be my pick – because they don’t always necessarily coincide with each other!!

TELEVISION

Best TV Series, Drama

The Crown
What a show this was. I couldn’t stop watching. The acting, the story – both all engrossing

Game of Thrones
This show took itself to a whole new level this year, and I loved every second of it even if Jon Snow coming back from the dead made me giggle for a sec.

Stranger ThingsMY PICK
Fantastic storyline of something so far-fetched, yet so made you think! I loved it. The fact the acting by kids was so strong here really made it all the better.

This Is Us
Is this show cute..yes..maybe a little to cutsey & sappy for me, but I will say it’s quite well written.

WestworldWINNER
There were times when I completely understood this show and others where I literally had no idea what the bejesus was going on. But you couldn’t help yourself to keep watching with the nagging feeling of “what if?” I think this one might steal the award just because of that.

Best TV Series, Comedy/Musical

AtlantaWINNER
While I haven’t watched all the episodes of this show yet, the ones I have seen I just love. I can’t stop laughing.

Blackish
I loved this show at the beginning, now I will say I just don’t watch it all that much anymore..Sorta went the Modern Family route for me.

Mozart in the JungleMY PICK
I LOVE this show. It’s so completely different and well done about a subject I really didn’t know much about, yet made me interested in and yes, laugh.

Transparent
See Transparent has never done ‘it’ for me. I know there are those that just love it. I was done after season 1, I just really didn’t like too many of the characters enough to go to the next season.

Veep
Kinda the same as above for this one. I love Julia Louis-Dreyfus humour, but this one never grabbed me enough to keep watching.

Best TV Miniseries or Movie

American Crime
This season of American Crime was mind-boggling. The best written and acted so far. I couldn’t get enough of each cliff-hanging episode.

The Dresser
While this featured a great cast I would have loved to see, I don’t have Starz channel as I cancelled cable, so was never able to see it.

The Night Manager
I still am not getting the appeal of this one. It wasn’t done plausably or even well. Sometimes I was just in awe of how ridiculous it really got.

The Night OfMY PICK
Another mind-blowing HBO min-series that just took what could have been just another murder storyline and gave it more twists than you could keep your jaw from dropping instead. Acting was top-notch to boot.

The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime StoryWINNER
I mean what can you say about this fantastic mini-series that hasn’t already been said. So many things you’d either forgotten or never knew about, told & acted by a unbelievable parade of good writing and acting. Blew me away.
By far my hardest category to decide on.

Best Actor, Drama
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Just love Rami and this show. Rami helped keep it fresh for it’s second season.

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
While I loved this character on ‘Breaking Bad’, I couldn’t even get through the whole first season and to those that love it, kudos.

Matthew Rhys, The Americans
While the show has always been a hit or miss for me, as in I could skip a few eps., come back and still know exactly what was going on, I feel the same about it’s lead, Matthew Rhys.

Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Love Liev and the first 2 seasons his character was so something different. Now it’s just rambling as is the acting somewhat.

Billy Bob Thornton, GoliathMY PICK/WINNER
Never have been Billy Bob’s biggest fan, but damn this role was cater-made for him. He is excellent as was the show.

Best Actress, Drama

Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
I’ve only ever been able to watch 2 eps. of this show considering it’s on a very pricey pay channel here, so I can’t really give a fair assessment of her acting.

Claire Foy, The CrownSLEEPER WIN
Oh Claire.. you are fantastic in this show. Simply sublime as the Queen herself might say. It’s so well written, cinematically beautiful and well acted. And you know us American’s love a good upper-class British show. Don’t anyone be surprised if she walks off with this award.

Keri Russell, The Americans
I mean who doesn’t like Keri Russell really now.. and I do, but she won’t be my pick or the HFP’s pick I’m guessing either.

Winona Ryder, Stranger ThingsMY PICK
Winona, Winona, Winona – I feel sometimes as if we’ve grown up together. And is essence we have and you are soooo good in this show. I’m so glad you’re back.

Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld WINNER
Same as the show, good acting here because sometimes you just wondered what in bejesus is she?! or WHO is she should be more the question 🙂

Best Actor, Comedy

Anthony Anderson, Blackish
I’ve adored Anthony Anderson for as long as I can remember. He started off doing drama, and segwayed into comedy as easily as could be. Not my pick, but I am so glad he is nominated as it’s nice to finally have some fresh faces in this whole category.

Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
I love this show and I love Gael in it. But can he pull off another surprise win here?? I would love it but I doubt it.

Donald Glover, AtlantaMY PICK/WINNER
Another first time, fresh nominee that I love. I’m going with a first timer here on this one because of the sarcastic brilliance of this show and his character in it.

Nick Nolte, Graves
I’m going to be honest – I’ve never even heard of this show. Sorry Nick!

Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
As Jeffrey has won so many times for playing this character, I’d just love to see someone new win it again.

Best Actress, Comedy

Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Rachel Bloom surprised us all with her win last year. Is there a repeat in tow?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
I kinda feel like Julia is the Meryl of TV comedy. 🙂

Sarah Jessica Parker, Divorce
While this show isn’t bad nor is SJP in it, I don’t think it’s going to grab a win.

Issa Rae, Insecure
I’ve not watched this one so truly can’t give it a nay or yay..

Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
While I think Gina Rodriguez is just adorable and I loved this show the first season, it waned very quickly on me during the second. Not saying she’s not still good in it, just haven’t watched in awhile.

Tracee Ellis Ross, BlackishMY PICK/WINNER
Tracee would be my pick. While I might not be watching the show all the time anymore, she should have been nominated and won like 2 seasons ago already!

Best Supporting Actor

Sterling K. Brown, The People vs. O.J. Simpson
This mini-series was just filled with fantastic acting and Sterling is part of that.

Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
While I really thought TNM was a poorly done series, there were two standouts in it that made it somewhat bearable, and one of them was Hugh Laurie.

John Lithgow, The CrownWINNER
It’s rare that they get an American to play a Brit nowadays, but Lithgow as Winston Churchill is a brilliant piece of casting.

Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
I won’t lie. I kinda shook my head in disbelief when Slater walked away with this last year. I mean he’s good, but he’s not that good.

John Travolta, The People vs. O.J. SimpsonMY PICK
So yeah, I know people think it’s strange, but I’ve adored John Travolta since I was a child. yes, I admit and he’s done some really awful movies, but here, you can’t deny he was truly amazing.

Best Supporting Actress

Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
Remember I said there was two things that saved the Night Manager – Olivia Colman is part two of that.

Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
She’s always pretty damn amazing in this show. You can’t help but love to hate her character, but yet she still tugs at your heartstrings as she is just so flawed. Remember your show is only as good as your best evil person and she is truly fantastic at it time and time again.

Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Again, I find the show just a little to sappy, but I admire and respect the writing and the characters are all well done. It’s a tough call which person from the show to say I like more..Chrissy or Mandy.

Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Again, between the two nominated here from this, I might actually pick Mandy because her transition to this character is pretty damn good.

Thandie Newton, WestworldMY PICK/WINNER
Thandie’s character here was the one I was never confused by. She was simply put ‘badass’

Best Actor, Mini-Series or TV Movie

Riz Ahmed, The Night OfMY PICK
This show also gave us some fantastic performances with the two nominees in this category just making this show a spectacular watch.

Bryan Cranston, All the Way
I didn’t watch this one.

Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
Really.. on this one. For those who me, I love and ADORE Tom Hiddleston – but there in points in time where I just rolled my eyes at some of not only the show, but his acting here. Sorry Tom.

John Turturro, The Night Of
Turturro knocked it out the park on this one. There just isn’t much else to say, you can’t be mad if he wins this one.

Courtney B. Vance, The People vs. O.J. SimpsonWINNER
Again, this show was just so good! Even though you knew what was going to happen, it held you and kept you coming back. Courtney Vance was one of the main reasons why.

Best Actress, Mini-Series or TV Movie

Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Always a strong actress, this seasons AC was so good and she went for it in this role.

Riley Keough, The Girlfriend Experience
Only the 3rd show on an expensive pay-per-view that I never have had or probably will.

Sarah Paulson, The People vs. O.J. SimpsonMY PICK/WINNER
Again, mind-bending performance from this series. Sarah for me in the shoo-in to win this one.

Charlotte Rampling, London Spy
I watched this show so long ago, I forgot I’d even seen it. But I swear it was 2015 when I did see it so I’m not really quite sure why it’s under 2016 noms. Rampling always gets roles she excels at. This was no different.

Kerry Washington, Confirmation
I remember the story so we already knew what happened, but unlike the O.J. story, I didn’t get the feeling of still wanting to watch. Washington was good, but I don’t see her winning this one.

REVIEW PREMIERE OF: “I SAW THE LIGHT” (2016) Sony Pictures Classics

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I was happy with the choice of Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams. He had the physical look to carry it off and I knew he had the talent. I just wish I could say the same with the script. From the shaking camera to the direction & edit of this film, it is literally all over the place. Cutting from one scene to another without really understanding where it is we are going.

This story seems to focus heavily on his first marriage to Audrey Williams (Elizabeth Olsen) and that relationship. But while his band produced hit after hit, there is more time given here to the conflict between Audrey and his controlling mother, Lillie Williams (Cherry Jones) who managed the early part of his music career, than Hank himself. Also Hank’s band has trouble with Audrey, who has musical ambitions and is criticized as a no-talent back-up singer. i saw the 2 It provides Hank with a dilemma of choosing – his wife or his band? It’s frustrating that out of everything Hank Williams did, this is what they focus on. Other than the music, they barely touched on anything that made him such a colorful character and a country music icon. It doesn’t help that there is little chemistry between two lead characters.

Tom Hiddleston did a nice job with his singing here, which are definitely the highlights of the film, but at one point he gets asked how old he is to which he replies ’23’ and sorry..as much as I adore Hiddleston there is just no way he is passing for 23. Even the 29 years of age that William’s is when he dies is a stretch.
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I can’t say I know a lot about Hank Williams besides the fact he came from less fortunate part of Monroe, Alabama and fought his way out with his music and was hoping to learn more. Sadly the only thing I came out knowing more about was his alcohol and marital problems than on his impact on the Country – & – Western scene, of which he was a huge part of.

Towards the end we see Wiliams getting interviewed by reporter James Dolan, (David Krumholaz) to find out what makes him tick…sadly the film leaves us never really knowing what did.

Grade: D+
@pegsatthemovies

Review Premiere Screening: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 ~ Courtesy of Film Independent
Nationwide release: Friday, March 25, 2016

Some photos of Tom Hiddleston at the premiere ~

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REVIEW: “CRIMSON PEAK” (2015) Universal

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crimson-peak-posters
Crimson Peak sets us in early 1900’s Buffalo, New York, where we meet Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) an ahead of her time writer who works for her father Carter Cushing (Jim Beaver), a powerful businessman who’s willing to hear a proposition from the desperate, in-need of quick financing, Baronet Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). The Sharpe estate in England, Allerdale Hall, sits on top of a valuable red clay mine, and Thomas is in need of funding to build a machine he has invented that will reach the minerals underneath. crimson peak 1Being tall, dark, and handsome, Thomas is able to win Edith’s heart as a means to the money, but he does seem to have genuine affection for her, much to the displeasure of his intimidating sister Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain). It’s plainly obvious to everyone but Edith that Thomas & Lucille are up to no good from moment one. However, when she moves with Thomas and Lucille to Allerdale Hall, Edith discovers that it holds dark secrets and phantoms, and that the warning she received as a girl from her mother’s ghost to “Beware of Crimson Peak,” has started to come true. crimson peak 2

This may not be a ghost story, but ghosts are here, and they don’t really serve the story well. The mystery behind Allerdale Hall gets to be a bit tedious with oddly unnecessary stabbings up until the end when del Toro finally shows us what he’s seemingly been going for all along. And even though I’m quite good at predicting plot twists, the reveal showed itself early on, though it did work for me in it’s own way and is finally where the film somewhat clicked for me albeit a little late in the game.
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Crimson Peak never reaches the heights of some of del Toro’s earlier work, as I loved “Pans Labyrinth” and thought it was simply fantastic. The “Hellboy” franchise has it’s own sense of campy-ness fun and “The Hobbit” films aren’t 5-star, but they are watchable. In terms of the characters or plot, it at least surpasses the rock-em’ sock-em’ robots of “Pacific Rim” in that regards.
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There are three performances here that felt stand out some with the rest being almost what you’d expect again with exceptions. Chastain, who pulls out all the stops and makes her character wonderfully creepy. Jim Beaver, even though in a small supporting role, stands out and lastly and a bit surprising as his role is a bit bigger and juicier than I would have thought, is Charlie Hunnam as Dr. Alan McMichael. Mia Wasikowska doesn’t really do herself any favours here and is almost blissfully bland. Hiddleston is fair enough and really just stays stuck in middle ground.
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Though this old-fashioned ghost story is decidedly short on scares
Crimson Peak wonderfully crafted set & costume design is truly sublime and always pleasing to the eye, though its story and scare factor is often far less compelling.

Grade: C+
@pegsatthemovies

Screening: Tuesday, October 13, 2015 ~ Courtesy of Universal Pictures

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)

#peggyatthemovies