Posts Tagged ‘margot robbie’

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I, Tonya (2017)

February 22, 2018

Starring: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney
Director: Craig Gillespie (Fright Night, Lars and the Real Girl, The Finest Hours)

Bottom Line: Absolutely loved it. This is the story of American Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding (Robbie), her brutal upbringing by her abusive and alcoholic mother (Janney), her struggle for acceptance (despite her enormous talent) in the ice skating world because of her trashy background, her tumultuous relationship with boyfriend Jeff Gillooly (Stan), and the controversy that arose from all of these things, including the infamous Nancy Kerrigan Incident. I love the way this movie is delivered via present day interviews and flashbacks and a knowing wink that everyone involved might be twisting the truth about what actually happened. The use of multiple unreliable narrators allows the story to unfold without presenting everything as 100% factual and adds an extra layer of humor to what is easily the funniest 2017 film I’ve seen to date. I, Tonya manages to tell Harding’s story without really taking anyone’s side. Tonya Harding might be at the center of this biopic, but she’s no hero and even though the film might want you to feel pity for Harding at times, I think it clearly understands that she was an incredibly flawed human being and though she was surrounded by horrible people, she wasn’t merely a victim of circumstance – she didn’t exactly shy away from controversy. Margot Robbie and Allison Janney are brilliant in this movie, both delivering tour-de-force performances worthy of their Oscar nominations.

I, Tonya is definitely one of my favorite 2017 films. It’s hilarious and entertaining, ever-so-slightly heartbreaking, with some top notch acting from Robbie and Janney – a must see dark comedy about a troubled former celebrity that will make you laugh out loud and almost feel bad for her.

Replay Value: I would eagerly watch this again and I’m sure my wife will love it.
Sequel Potential: None.
Oscar Potential: Nominated for three Oscars: Robbie for Best Actress, Janney for Best Supporting Actress, and Film Editing. I haven’t seen all the movies nominated for Best Costume Design or Best Makeup, but anyone that can make Margot Robbie look even slightly unattractive probably deserves some acclaim. Also, it seems like adding I, Tonya as a tenth nominee for Best Picture wouldn’t be asking too much.

Grade: 8/10 (Must See)

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January 2018 – Movie/TV Preview

January 6, 2018

My list of January movies I’m looking forward to doesn’t look much different than last month’s list, as a number of the films I want to see saw a limited release in December to qualify for the Oscars, but will receive wide releases this month. Some of these movies aren’t playing anywhere near me and don’t have an upcoming wide release listed, so chances are I won’t see many of them until they are on blu-ray.

1. Molly’s Game (January 5th, wide) – Jessica Chastain play Molly Bloom, host of private high stakes poker games in Hollywood and New York that featured some A-List celebrities. The book was enjoyable, but this film is getting raves and Aaron Sorkin is a master at turning books into screenplays.

2. Lady Bird (limited release now) – I don’t know much about this movie except that it’s a supposedly quirky coming-of-age story starring Saoirse Ronan and written/directed by Greta Gerwig and that’s it’s one of the most highly rated films of 2017.

3. I, Tonya (???) – Margot Robbie plays Tonya Harding, the former renowned figure skater that conspired to have Nancy Kerrigan assaulted and made a sex tape she sold to Penthouse.

4. The Disaster Artist (???) – This movie is about some guy that made a bad movie called The Room. I don’t know much about any of that, but James Franco is apparently spectacular in this and it has received critical praise.

5. The Post (January 12th, wide) – Steven Spielberg directs Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in a political drama where the press squares off against the government.

6. All The Money In The World (in theaters) – Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, and Mark Wahlberg star in this thriller directed by Ridley Scott about a boy that is kidnapped and his mother’s desperate attempt to get his billionaire grandfather to pay the ransom. An amazing note about this film: Kevin Spacey originally starred as the rich grandfather but was replaced by Christopher Plummer when his scandal broke. This happened on November 8th. Plummer had two weeks to memorize all his lines and prepare for the role before reshoots over the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday and the film was released on December 22nd. Incredible!

7. Phantom Thread (January 19th, wide?) – Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis are all the information I need, but the plot outline doesn’t really grab me.

8. The Darkest Hour (limited now?) – Gary Oldman disappears into the role of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on the threshold of World War II.

9. Hostiles (January 19th, wide) – Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike star in a this period piece set in the late 1800s about an Army captain escorting an Cheyenne chief through dangerous territory. From Scott Cooper, director of Crazy Heart, Black Mass, and Out of the Furnance – all notable films, but none of which I’ve seen.

10. The Commuter (January 12th) – Liam Neeson does Liam Neeson things. On a train. This is the only official 2018 release to crack this list and my interest in it is pretty mild.

Netflix Additions

Immediate Watch

Eventually Watch

Before I Wake (January 5th)
Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, Season 10 (January 5th)
The End Of The F**king World, Season 1 (January 5th)
Katt Williams: Great America (January 16th)

Might Watch

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Adventure (January 10th)
The Force (January 29th)
A Futile and Stupid Gesture (January 26th)
Rotten, Season 1 (January 5th)

Other Notables – Certified Classics in bold

Apollo 13 (January 1st)
Batman (January 1st)
Batman Returns (January 1st)
Batman Begins (January 1st)
Breakfast At Tiffany’s (January 1st)
The Conjuring (January 8th)
Dallas Buyers Club (January 16th)
The Godfather (January 1st)
The Godfather: Part II (January 1st)
Into The Wild (January 1st)
Lethal Weapon (January 1st)
Lethal Weapon 2 (January 1st)
The Shawshank Redemption (January 1st)
Training Day (January 1st)
The Truman Show (January 1st)
Wedding Crashers (January 1st)

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December 2017 – Most Anticipated Movies & Shows

November 30, 2017

Top December Movies

1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (December 15th) – No explanation needed here, right? As far as Star Wars fanboys go, I’m not much of one, but I would say I enjoy the series. I own about 300 movies, but not one film related to the Star Wars franchise. Still, nothing quite defines the experience of going to the movies like a new Star Wars film and I’ll be there opening weekend like everyone else. I was very happy with JJ Abrams’ reboot in 2015 and this should be another fun installment.

2. The Shape Of Water (December 8th, limited) – Guilleremo del Toro (Pan’s Laybrinth directs a stellar cast that features Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, and Octavia Spencer in this period piece about a mute woman that works as a cleaning lady in a top secret government building that houses a creature that she becomes fond of. del Toro and top notch actors and a creature is always a winning formula.

3. I, Tonya (December 8th, limited) – Margot Robbie plays notorious ice skating star Tonya Harding, the woman that was responsible for bashing in rival Nancy Kerrigan’s knee. The tone of this movie seems fun and Robbie and Allison Janey look like they could be giving great performances.

4. Molly’s Game (December 25th, limited) – I read the book this movie was adapted from and I thought it was interesting, but not really something that would translate well to the big screen. If anyone can make it work though, it’s Aaron Sorkin, the screenwriter responsible for The Social Network and Moneyball. Also, Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba bring serious acting chops. For those that don’t know, this is a movie about a woman who hosted some of the biggest underground poker games in Los Angeles and New York, some of which were attended by celebrities like Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck, and Alex Rodriguez.

5. The Post (December 22nd, limited) – Steven Spielberg directs Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in a newspaper drama set in the early 1970s.

6. Phantom Thread (December 25th, limited) – Director Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) and Daniel Day-Lewis team up again for what is supposed to be DDL’s last role of his acting career. The film is set in the 1950s and centers around London fashion, which definitely doesn’t excite me. Day-Lewis is one of the best actors of all time though and Paul Thomas Anderson has proven himself a very capable writer/director, so I will be anxious to see how they can make this material enthralling.

7. Downsizing (December 22nd) – Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig play a married couple that decide to shrink themselves in order to escape their stress filled lives and take advantage of this newfound technology that will help the world’s overpopulation issue. Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways) directs this comedy.

Netflix Additions

Immediate Watch

Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2 (Dec. 5th)
Judd Apatow: The Return (Dec. 12th)
Dave Chappelle: Equanimity (Dec. 31st)

Eventually Watch

The Crown, Season 2 (Dec. 8th)
Peaky Blinders, Season 4 (Dec. 21st)

Might Watch

Diana: In Her Own Words (Dec. 1st)
Easy, Season 2 (Dec. 1st)
Trollhunters Part 2 (Dec. 15th)
Bright (Dec. 22nd)
Creep 2 (Dec. 23rd)

Other Notables

8 Mile (Dec. 1st)
Full Metal Jacket (Dec. 1st)
V For Vendetta (Dec. 1st)

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Suicide Squad (2016)

August 17, 2016

Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis
Director: David Ayer (Fury, End Of Watch)

Bottom Line: Suicide Squad is a pretty good example of how the Rotten Tomatoes rating system can be misleading: at 27%, you might expect this to be terrible… it’s not. What a 27% rating really means is that roughly 3 out of 4 critics thought Suicide Squad wasn’t a good movie and, well, it’s not. But it’s not really a bad one either. It’s just a simple, fun action/comedy that does a decent job of lightening up the overly grim DCU film universe.

Margot Robbie is perfect casting as The Joker’s sweetheart Harley Quinn. She not only looks the part, but she plays Harley with the requisite blend of crazy/sexy/funny. Speaking of The Joker, Jared Leto does a remarkable job as the notable Batman villain; a tough taska considering Heath Ledger won an Oscar for the iconic role less than a decade ago. Leto’s Joker looks and sounds like a comic book villain – he’s totally nuts and over-the-top both in appearance and in his actions. The surprise of the cast is Will Smith as Deadshot. When I heard that casting, I raised an eyebrow in doubt, but Smith is easily one of the film’s highlights. If there’s any emotional resonance in the film, it’s with Smith’s Deadshot.

What didn’t work so well was the main antagonist in the film. It’s not The Joker as some might expect, it’s The Enchantress – and she’s terribly lame. Much like Zack Snyder’s awful light show conclusion to Batman Vs Superman, Suicide Squad’s finale is equally as bad, with lots of in-your-face visual effects, laughable dialogue, and a cringe worthy performance from Cara Delevingne.

Ultimately, Suicide Squad has some working elements – particularly the cast and the tone – but a poor choice in main villain and another terrible DCU third act make the film pretty mediocre. Still, if you come in with tempered expectations – and there’s no reason you shouldn’t – Suicide Squad is a fun movie.

Replay Value: Leto and Robbie make the movie worth watching again, but this isn’t something I’ll snap buy on bluray.
Sequel Potential: Harley Quinn is getting her own movie, which is great news. Leto’s Joker will surely have more appearances in the future. There’s a better movie to be made with the squad and with over $200M in box office receipts, we will probably get a chance to see it.
Oscar Potential: None

Grade: 5/10 (Watchable)