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Archives for : Jessica Chastain

Movie Review: “355” – Plenty of Action, Not Enough Excitement

It’s January; and in the movie world that means it’s “dump month”. After all the award contenders have released their films, a wave of big budget flops tend to make their debut. Don’t get me wrong, there’s the occasional good movie that makes it through. Unfortunately, Universal Pictures’ new action flick, “The 355”, is not one of them.

Jessica Chastain stars as “Mace”, a lonely CIA operative who has no loved ones in her life except for her partner, Nick (Sebastian Stan). They have been strictly platonic until one assignment, that has them playing husband and wife, abruptly gets them in bed together. Well, that assignment goes awry, and she loses an advanced technological device that must be kept out of enemy hands.

One thing leads to another and eventually, Mace teams up with her old friend Khadija (Lupita Nyong’o), an MI6 technological threats expert who used to be a field agent. Marie (Diana Kruger), a German operative who’s a tough, skilled fighter. And Graciela (Penelope Cruz), a Colombian police therapist, who accidently gets involved in this new mission.

Director and co-writer Simon Kinberg does a solid job shooting the film. There’s no shortage of action sequences and the movie looks great, but the screenplay (Co-written by Theresa Rebeck and Bek Smith) offers no excitement and there’s not enough depth to keep us invested in these characters. In fact, the one you care about the most is Graciela, who desperately just wants to home to her family. Cruz’s performance as an innocent and concerned mother makes hers the only relationship you hope gets a happy ending.

It’s easy to root for the team of women, who commit to their lackluster script, but they all deserved better. There are a lot of forced emotions between characters you don’t get to really know. Though Chastain, Nyong’o, Kruger, and Cruz do a fine job, the same cannot be said Sebastian Stan. He barely makes an effort with his character, Nick. There’s a lack of chemistry between him and Chastain, greatly due to his lethargic delivery.

There’s not much else to really say about the film and I don’t want to sit here and rip it apart. From the trailer, “The 355” looks like it will be a fun espionage thriller featuring an awesome, all-star cast. I’m sadden by the fact that it wasn’t. The film had all the right pieces to an underwhelming puzzle.

The powerhouse women in the movie are what make “The 355” a bearable watch, however, the story is forgettable and a missed opportunity with a talented cast.

Rating: C-

“The 355” opens in theaters January 7, 2022

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27th Annual Critics Choice Awards Nominations

The Critics Choice Association (CCA) announced today the film category nominees for the 27th Annual Critics Choice Awards. The winners will be revealed at the star-studded Critics Choice Awards gala hosted by Taye Diggs and Nicole Byer, which will broadcast LIVE on The CW and TBS on Sunday, January 9 from 7:00 – 10:00 pm ET (delayed PT – check local listings).

FILM NOMINATIONS

BEST PICTURE

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Dune

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

tick, tick…Boom!

West Side Story

BEST ACTOR

Nicolas Cage – Pig

Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog

Peter Dinklage – Cyrano

Andrew Garfield – tick, tick…Boom!

Will Smith – King Richard

Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth

BEST ACTRESS

Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter

Lady Gaga – House of Gucci

Alana Haim – Licorice Pizza

Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart – Spencer

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Jamie Dornan – Belfast

Ciarán Hinds – Belfast

Troy Kotsur – CODA

Jared Leto – House of Gucci

J.K. Simmons – Being the Ricardos

Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Caitríona Balfe – Belfast

Ariana DeBose – West Side Story

Ann Dowd – Mass

Kirsten Dunst – The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis – King Richard

Rita Moreno – West Side Story

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS

Jude Hill – Belfast

Cooper Hoffman – Licorice Pizza

Emilia Jones – CODA

Woody Norman – C’mon C’mon

Saniyya Sidney – King Richard

Rachel Zegler – West Side Story

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

The Harder They Fall

Licorice Pizza

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

BEST DIRECTOR

Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza

Kenneth Branagh – Belfast

Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog

Guillermo del Toro – Nightmare Alley

Steven Spielberg – West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve – Dune

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza

Zach Baylin – King Richard

Kenneth Branagh  Belfast

Adam McKay, David Sirota – Don’t Look Up

Aaron Sorkin – Being the Ricardos

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog

Maggie Gyllenhaal – The Lost Daughter

Siân Heder – CODA

Tony Kushner – West Side Story

Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth – Dune

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Bruno Delbonnel – The Tragedy of Macbeth

Greig Fraser – Dune

Janusz Kaminski – West Side Story

Dan Laustsen – Nightmare Alley

Ari Wegner – The Power of the Dog

Haris Zambarloukos – Belfast

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Jim Clay, Claire Nia Richards – Belfast

Tamara Deverell, Shane Vieau – Nightmare Alley

Adam Stockhausen, Rena DeAngelo – The French Dispatch

Adam Stockhausen, Rena DeAngelo – West Side Story

Patrice Vermette, Zsuzsanna Sipos – Dune

BEST EDITING

Sarah Broshar and Michael Kahn – West Side Story

Úna Ní Dhonghaíle – Belfast

Andy Jurgensen – Licorice Pizza

Peter Sciberras – The Power of the Dog

Joe Walker – Dune

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Jenny Beavan – Cruella

Luis Sequeira – Nightmare Alley

Paul Tazewell – West Side Story

Jacqueline West, Robert Morgan – Dune

Janty Yates – House of Gucci

BEST HAIR AND MAKEUP

Cruella

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

Nightmare Alley

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Dune

The Matrix Resurrections

Nightmare Alley

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

BEST COMEDY

Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Don’t Look Up

Free Guy

The French Dispatch

Licorice Pizza

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Encanto

Flee

Luca

The Mitchells vs the Machines

Raya and the Last Dragon

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

A Hero

Drive My Car

Flee

The Hand of God

The Worst Person in the World

BEST SONG

Be Alive – King Richard

Dos Oruguitas – Encanto

Guns Go Bang – The Harder They Fall

Just Look Up – Don’t Look Up

No Time to Die – No Time to Die

BEST SCORE

Nicholas Britell – Don’t Look Up

Jonny Greenwood – The Power of the Dog

Jonny Greenwood – Spencer

Nathan Johnson – Nightmare Alley

Hans Zimmer – Dune

TELEVISION NOMINATIONS

BEST DRAMA SERIES

Evil (Paramount+)

For All Mankind (Apple TV+)

The Good Fight (Paramount+)

Pose (FX)

Squid Game (Netflix)

Succession (HBO)

This Is Us (NBC)

Yellowjackets (Showtime)

BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us (NBC)

Mike Colter – Evil (Paramount+)

Brian Cox – Succession (HBO)

Lee Jung-jae – Squid Game (Netflix)

Billy Porter – Pose (FX)

Jeremy Strong – Succession (HBO)

BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Uzo Aduba – In Treatment (HBO)

Chiara Aurelia – Cruel Summer (Freeform)

Christine Baranski – The Good Fight (Paramount+)

Katja Herbers – Evil (Paramount+)

Melanie Lynskey – Yellowjackets (Showtime)

MJ Rodriguez – Pose (FX)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Nicholas Braun – Succession (HBO)

Billy Crudup – The Morning Show (Apple TV+)

Kieran Culkin – Succession (HBO)

Justin Hartley – This Is Us (NBC)

Matthew Macfadyen – Succession (HBO)

Mandy Patinkin – The Good Fight (Paramount+)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Andrea Martin – Evil (Paramount+)

Audra McDonald – The Good Fight (Paramount+)

Christine Lahti – Evil (Paramount+)

J. Smith-Cameron – Succession (HBO)

Sarah Snook – Succession (HBO)

Susan Kelechi Watson – This Is Us (NBC)

BEST COMEDY SERIES

The Great (Hulu)

Hacks (HBO Max)

Insecure (HBO)

Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)

The Other Two (HBO Max)

Reservation Dogs (FX on Hulu)

Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Iain Armitage – Young Sheldon (CBS)

Nicholas Hoult – The Great (Hulu)

Steve Martin – Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)

Kayvan Novak – What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

Martin Short – Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)

Jason Sudeikis – Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Elle Fanning – The Great (Hulu)

Renée Elise Goldsberry – Girls5eva (Peacock)

Selena Gomez – Only Murders in the Building (Hulu) 

Sandra Oh – The Chair (Netflix)

Issa Rae – Insecure (HBO)

Jean Smart – Hacks (HBO Max)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Ncuti Gatwa – Sex Education (Netflix)

Brett Goldstein – Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

Harvey Guillén – What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

Brandon Scott Jones – Ghosts (CBS)

Ray Romano – Made for Love (HBO Max)

Bowen Yang – Saturday Night Live (NBC)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Hannah Einbinder – Hacks (HBO Max)

Kristin Chenoweth – Schmigadoon! (Apple TV+)

Molly Shannon – The Other Two (HBO Max) 

Cecily Strong – Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Josie Totah – Saved By the Bell (Peacock)

Hannah Waddingham – Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

BEST LIMITED SERIES

Dopesick (Hulu)

Dr. Death (Peacock)

It’s a Sin (HBO Max)

Maid (Netflix)

Mare of Easttown (HBO)

Midnight Mass (Netflix)

The Underground Railroad (Amazon Prime Video)

WandaVision (Disney+)

BEST MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Come From Away (Apple TV+)

List of a Lifetime (Lifetime)

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (Amazon Prime Video)

Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia (Lifetime)

Oslo (HBO)

Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas (The Roku Channel)

BEST ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Olly Alexander – It’s a Sin (HBO Max)

Paul Bettany – WandaVision (Disney+)

William Jackson Harper – Love Life (HBO Max)

Joshua Jackson – Dr. Death (Peacock)

Michael Keaton – Dopesick (Hulu)

Hamish Linklater – Midnight Mass (Netflix)

BEST ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Danielle Brooks – Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia (Lifetime)

Cynthia Erivo – Genius: Aretha (National Geographic)

Thuso Mbedu – The Underground Railroad (Amazon Prime Video)

Elizabeth Olsen – WandaVision (Disney+)

Margaret Qualley – Maid (Netflix)

Kate Winslet – Mare of Easttown (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Murray Bartlett – The White Lotus (HBO)

Zach Gilford – Midnight Mass (Netflix)

William Jackson Harper – The Underground Railroad (Amazon Prime Video)

Evan Peters – Mare of Easttown (HBO)

Christian Slater – Dr. Death (Peacock)

Courtney B. Vance – Genius: Aretha (National Geographic)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Jennifer Coolidge – The White Lotus (HBO)

Kaitlyn Dever – Dopesick (Hulu)

Kathryn Hahn – WandaVision (Disney+)

Melissa McCarthy – Nine Perfect Strangers (Hulu)

Julianne Nicholson – Mare of Easttown (HBO)

Jean Smart – Mare of Easttown (HBO)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE SERIES

Acapulco (Apple TV+)

Call My Agent! (Netflix)

Lupin (Netflix)

Money Heist (Netflix)

Narcos: Mexico (Netflix)

Squid Game (Netflix)

BEST ANIMATED SERIES

Big Mouth (Netflix)

Bluey (Disney Junior)

Bob’s Burgers (Fox)

The Great North (Fox)

Q-Force (Netflix)

What If…? (Disney+)

BEST TALK SHOW

The Amber Ruffin Show (Peacock)

Desus & Mero (Showtime)

The Kelly Clarkson Show (NBC)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Late Night with Seth Meyers (NBC)

Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen (Bravo)

BEST COMEDY SPECIAL 

Bo Burnham: Inside (Netflix)

Good Timing with Jo Firestone (Peacock)

James Acaster: Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999 (Vimeo)

Joyelle Nicole Johnson: Love Joy (Peacock)

Nate Bargatze: The Greatest Average American (Netflix)

Trixie Mattel: One Night Only (YouTube)

Movie Review: “It Chapter Two” & “Brittany Runs a Marathon”

“It Chapter Two” is darker, scarier, and longer than the first. “Brittany Runs a Marathon” is a heartfelt dramedy that you sprint to see. Check out my full review of both films in video below.

“It Chapter Two” & “Brittany Runs a Marathon” hit in theaters September 6.

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