Tag Archives: Melissa Leo

Cinema Dispatch: Snowden

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Snowden and all the images you see in this review are owned by Open Road Films

Directed by Oliver Stone

So first we got the Sully movie, and now THIS!?  What’s other movies are we gonna get about things that just freaking happened?  Has someone already polished off a treatment for the Charles Ramsey story!?  Well at least as far as these recent OF THE MOMENT BIOPICS go, this one has some relevance outside of the one event it’s focused on; namely the current state of US (and global) surveillance programs.  Does this manage to be an interesting and nuanced take on how all this information came to light, or is it a thinly veiled propaganda piece that no one bothered to make into a compelling film?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the career of Edward Snowden (Joseph-Gordon Levitt).  Some guy you MIGHT have heard about a few years ago.  Spoiler Alert!  He stole documents from the NSA and revealed to the public the existence of certain programs they were using such as PRISM and XKeyscore.  That’s towards the end of the story though.  Where we start is with him being discharged from the army (broke both his legs) and instead choosing to serve his country by applying to the CIA and doing computer stuff for them.  He barely manages to get the job and ends up soaring above his peers, going from job to job and always being at the best wherever he was (or at least that’s how the movie tells it).  Unfortunately, he finds out the US security agencies are doing a bunch of shady shit, and he’s not only having to deal with the guilt of spying on US citizens in an unconstitutional manner, he’s also having to keep this secret from his girlfriend Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley).  Will his sense of obligation to his fellow man be too strong for him to keep his head down!?  Well we all know the answer to that, but how’s it gonna play out when ACADEMY AWARD WINNING DIRECTOR OLIVER STONE shows it to us!?

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Chances are he’ll lose his freaking mind at some point.

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Cinema Dispatch: London Has Fallen

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London Has Fallen and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features, Gramercy Pictures, and Lionsgate Films

Directed by Babak Najafi

Look, Gods of Egypt was a mistake, alright?  Gerard Butler was certainly not the ONLY one responsible for that catastrophe and was frankly one of the few saving graces for a movie that deserved none.  He’s learned his lesson though and is coming back with a sequel to probably his second most popular film (after 300).  Will this be the shot in the arm his career needs after that unfathomable mess, or will this befall the same fate of pretty much every other sequel to a surprise hit which is to crash and burn spectacularly?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows Secret Service agent Mike Bannon (Gerard Butler) and President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) who are in London so that the President can attend the funeral of the recently deceased Prime Minister.  Not only is he in attendance though, but so are many leaders of the western world which is something this movie seems to think has NEVER happened.  Uh… world leaders get together all the time.  Has this movie ever heard of the G8 summit?  Anyway, the death of the Prime Minister turns out to be a ploy for a known arms dealer Aamir Barkawi (Alon Moni Aboutboul) to take his revenge on the US (and presumably the rest of the G8) for a drone strike that was targeting him, but managed to kill everyone at his daughter’s wedding.  There’s only ONE person who seems to think that something might be up though, and when shit hits the fan Mike Bannon is on the job to save the president and kill as many bad guys as possible!  While this is going on, Vice President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) is dragged back into the situation room to deal with ANOTHER crisis where the President is smack dab in the middle of utter chaos and he does… stuff.  I think.  Will Mike be able to save the President and the free world before the day is over? Is there a mole in the British military or spy network that helped these terrorist pull of their plan?  Did all the people they dragged back in from the first movie at least get a nice paycheck out of this?

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“Wait, is THAT the movie we’re in!?”     “Yes…”     “Sweet merciful baby Jesus.  WHAT HAVE WE DONE!?!?”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Big Short

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The Big Short and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Adam McKay

So the guy who directed both Anchorman Movies, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys is gonna sit here and try to tell us about the housing crisis?  Yeah right!  Who’s gonna take THAT seriously!?  Wait, they’ve got Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, AND Ryan Gosling?  It’s also written by the writer of Moneyball?  Well I certainly didn’t see THAT coming. Then again, it’s not like he hasn’t taken on relevant targets in the past.  Just look at Anchorman 2!  That took a lot of pot shots at Fox News and the media in general, even if it was surrounded by a lot of stupid.  So can the guy who brought us four Will Farrell man-child movies manage to make something a bit more mature while still giving it a proper sense of humor, or will this be just another painful example of someone who is WAY out of his depth and has no idea what the hell their doing and go back to his old shtick to give us Step Brothers 2: Now There’s Three of Them or Something?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows several people in the years leading up to the big financial crisis of 2008 brought about by the crash of the housing market.  As we interweave between these stories of people who saw it coming, it’s slowly dawns on them (and the audience) just how absolutely unattainable the market was at the time and just how corrupt the system got which is what led to everything going to hell.  That’s really about it as most of the characters serve as either audience avatars or exposition machines to keep the audience in the loop as to what’s going on.  It’s definitely more about giving the us an idea of the scope of the problem rather than telling personal stories within them, but a couple of the character eek out an arc here and there like the young investors Charlie Geller and Jamie Shipley (John Magaro and Finn Wittrock) who are new to all this and get caught right in the god damn middle or even Mark Baum (Steve Carell) who’s already got it out for the big banks and at first sees this as just another thing to call them out on until he realizes how dep the rabbit hole goes in all of this.

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“You ever see that movie Basket Case?  Imagine that America is Duane Bradley and everyone in this room is fucking Belial.”

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Living on Netflix: Red State

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Kevin Smith is a director that I’ve defend as damn good if not always excellent.  Movies like Clerks and Dogma are still original and entertaining, while Clerks 2 is a straight up classic in my book.  That said I’ve kinda stepped back in recent years and avoided stuff like Cop Out and Red State which seemed to indicate a change in the once great film maker.  Well it’s time to fix that!  In celebration of the release of his latest film Tusk, I’m gonna take a look at his last movie Red State.  It seems appropriate considering that  both appear to be quite similar in tone and even has the same actor playing the bad guy in both films.  Is this movie gonna be an auteur director proving himself outside of his comfort zone, or yet another step in his continued slide into irrelevance?  Only one way to find out, and that’s to keep on reading!!

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Living on Netflix: Flight

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Robert Zemeckis’s triumphant return to live action movies hit with a bang.  Hailed as one of the best movies of 2012, Flight is the emotional tale of Denzel Washington trying to win another Oscar in this remake of Leaving Las Vegas.  That’s how I see it at least.  Did I like the movie?  Keep reading to find out!

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