Tag Archives: Melissa Leo

[Trailer] – Oblivion

8 Dec

Oblivion

Tom Cruise, after the brilliant Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, seems to be on the lookout for a comeback. Sure, Rock of Ages wasn’t a worthy next step, but he’s lining up projects for him to headline and become a big action star once again. Jack Reacher will the first step towards cementing that status, but there’s also Oblivion, for which a trailer hast just been released which you can watch below.

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[Review] – Flight

10 Nov

Title: Flight
Year: 2012
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: John Gatins
Starring: Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood, Melissa Leo, Brian Geraghty
MPAA Rating: R, drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity and an intense action sequence
Runtime: 138 min
IMDb Rating: 7.7
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Metacritic: 76

We had heard a lot of things about Flight before actually seeing it. For one thing, it marked the return to live-action filmmaking of Robert Zemeckis, territory that he hadn’t visited since 2000 when he directed Cast Away. Since then he’s been busy tinkering with his beloved motion-capture technology in The Polar Express, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol. So, getting the guy who had given us not only Cast Away, but Back to the Future and Forrest Gump back to making what he made best was already an event of note.

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[Review] – Why Stop Now

13 Sep

Title: Why Stop Now
Year: 2012
Directors: Phil Dorling and Ron Nyswaner
Writers: Phil Dorling and Ron Nyswaner
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Melissa Leo, Tracy Morgan
MPAA Rating: R, language throughout, and drug content
Runtime: 85 min
IMDb Rating: 5.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
Metacritic: 36

I had absolutely no idea what to expect going into Why Stop Now. It was the feature-length debut of Phil Dorling and Ron Nyswaner, who also wrote the screenplay together, and check out the cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Melissa Leo and Tracy Morgan. All three of them are fine actors, for sure, an Academy Award nominee, an Academy Award winner and an Emmy nominee, respectively, but they’re three very different kind of actors that I had a hard time picturing starring together in a movie. Yet here they are in Why Stop Now, which is by all means a mediocre and forgettable movie, yet also one I probably liked a bit better than I should have.

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[Trailer] – Flight

7 Jun

Watch the first trailer for Flight, the new film starring Denzel Washington, after the cut.

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Seven Days in Utopia

8 Oct

Title: Seven Days in Utopia
Year: 
2011
Director: 
Matt Russell
Writers: David Cook, Rob Levine, Matt Russell and Sandra Thrift, based on the book by Mr. Cook
Starring: 
Robert Duvall, Lucas Black, Melissa Leo, Deborah Ann Woll
MPAA Rating: 
G
Runtime: 
99 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
5.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 
12%

 

Robert Duvall is one of the greatest actors to have ever lived, that’s pretty much a widely accepted fact, you look at some of the characters he’s played, those in films like The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, his Oscar-winning turn in Tender Mercies, what for me was his career-best work in The Apostle and last year’s Get Low (which I gave an A- to), the guy is just ridiculously good pretty much every single time he gets a second of screen time. And yet you look at the film he signed up for here and the performance he gives in it and you can’t help but feel kind of dumbfounded, this is just a really bad movie, and it’s as though only an actor of the caliber of Mr. Duvall could have given a performance as horribly mediocre as the one he gives here. It’s one of those cases in which you think that you can only play a character so bad because you’re actually really good. I don’t know, I’m just trying to still say that Mr. Duvall is the greatest, I just really disliked Seven Days in Utopia.

It’s this sort of fable tale kind of film, about a professional golfer who suffered abuses from his father and then suffers a huge breakdown at a championship and finds his way in the tiny town of Utopia, where he meets an old man who promises that after seven days there he will once again be playing awesome golf. Because, you know, Utopia is the sort of place in which you’ll learn about yourself and faith and life and everything in between. Yeah, that’s the kind of film Seven Days in Utopia is, it’s even rated G for God’s sake, and I’m not one for gratuitous swearing or anything, but an f-word or two would have certainly helped this film get the sort of attitude it would have needed to coming close to succeeding.

It’s the old wise man that Mr. Duvall is in charge of playing here. Again, this is a man who’s pretty much as perfect a thespian as anyone can be, and yet his performance here sucks, not because he sucks but because this character is just horrible. You know the character he plays from that brief description of the film I gave you above, he’s the old wise man that will impart some of his hard-earned life wisdom on the lost soul and make him a better man who truly knows how to embrace his inner-self and yadda yadda. And you know what, even though the vast majority of times I dislike these storylines, I get that this is supposed to be an inspirational film and inspirational films need them, but you look at how some of the best sport-related inspirational films like Seabiscuit or Rudy or Miracle got the inspiring part across and it was always done in some very neat way that really touched you, this film comes across as some cheap DVD of a third-class motivational speaker who does scarcely-attended talks at rundown motels.

Oh, and yes, like I said in the paragraph above, Seven Days in Utopia is an inspirational film about a sport, more specifically, one that uses golf as its G-rated metaphor for all things family, faith and morality. And it just really doesn’t work, I didn’t hate it like I hated the last film I saw (A Good Old Fashioned Orgy) but I’m just really pissed off about the two films I have seen today, I wanted something that worked and instead I got a lazy and clumsy R-rated raunchy comedy and a very unconvincing G-rated inspirational sports drama that was just the least compelling thing ever, but hey, at least you can’t blame me for not trying out a wide range of films today.

Lucas Black, who actually also starred with Mr. Duvall in the aforementioned Get Low as well as in Sling Blade (though they shared no scenes in that one), is the one in charge of playing the pro golfer, Luke Chisholm. Now, Luke was beaten by his father who was intent on him going pro, and then, as he blows the championship on the final hole, he, and the whole audience watching there and at home, sees his father walk away from him. Trying to blow some steam off he goes out for a drive but, oh sweet fate, his car breaks down in this small town where he meets Mr. Duvall’s old wise man, Johnny Crawford, who just so happens to own a golf resort in town. It’ll take seven days for his car to be repaired, and just as long for Johnny to do some real repairing in a far more important aspect. If that last line sounded cheesy you can blame it on this movie.

I wanted to like something here, Johnny’s past is briefly alluded to here and it sounds dark and abusive, and if Mr. Duvall had been given the slightest of chances to draw from that I’m sure something totally worthwhile would have come out of it, but no, his character is kept super straight-forward and we must buy that. We must buy a film about an abused golf pro learning life lessons from a former rising star who lost it all to booze that’s set in a Southern ranch and in which some pretty bad things happen and yet everything is kept super clean, not a single curse word, and just the total sense that everything is going to turn out fine. Again, I didn’t hate this film, I just thought it was really really bad because you can’t buy a second of it, and when you have a cast that includes Mr. Duvall, to say nothing of the great Melissa Leo and True Blood‘s Deborah Ann Woll, who I seriously love, and you see them being this wasted, you can’t help but get a bit mad.

Grade: C-

Emmy Predictions: TV Movie/Miniseries

3 Sep

The 63rd Annual Emmy Awards will take place on Sunday September 18th, just a bit over two weeks from now, so I started making my formal Emmy Predictions and posting my review of each of the major races, since the last time I did so was in my EmmyWatch posts which I did to predict the nominations and as such they had a broader outlook. When predicting the nominees, I went 86 out of the 110 slots I had called, which I think is a solid number, hopefully my accuracy will only improve now that I’m predicting the actual winners. This Emmy Predictions post will take a look at the main TV Movie/Miniseries categories.

OUTSTANDING TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES

Nominees

  • Mildred Pierce
  • Downton Abbey
  • The Kennedys
  • Cinema Verite
  • Too Big to Fail
  • The Pillars of the Earth

This really will be an all-out battle between Mildred Pierce and Downton Abbey, like it was shaping up to be from the very beginning, but I think now it’s closer than we think, but Mildred Pierce has the talent and back-up to go all the way, and I don’t think it will be stopped.

Should Win: Mildred Pierce

Will Win: Mildred Pierce

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES

Nominees

  • Greg Kinnear (The Kennedys)
  • Barry Pepper (The Kennedys)
  • Édgar Ramírez (Carlos)
  • William Hurt (Too Big to Fail)
  • Idris Elba (Luther)
  • Laurence Fishburne (Thurgood)

I’m actually very much on the fence about this prediction, as I can easily see Ramírez, Hurt or Elba picking up the trophy on Emmy Night, and you can make good cases for all three of them doing so. So it will depend on how the voters feel, the fact that Carlos was overlooked in the Best Mini category may mean that Ramírez won’t have the support needed to pull the win here, but he’s my favorite so I’ll predict him

Should Win: Édgar Ramírez

Will Win: Édgar Ramírez

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES

Nominees

  • Kate Winslet (Mildred Pierce)
  • Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey)
  • Diane Lane (Cinema Verite)
  • Taraji P. Henson (Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story)
  • Jean Marsh (Upstairs Downstairs)

I won’t waste your time here trying to pretend there’s more than one scenario in which this category can end up. This trophy already have Winslet’s named engraved on it, and right so, only the Tony left for her to get the EGOT.

Should Win: Kate Winslet

Will Win: Kate Winslet

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES

Nominees

  • Guy Pearce (Mildred Pierce)
  • Brian F. O’Byrne (Mildred Pierce)
  • Tom Wilkinson (The Kennedys)
  • Paul Giamatti (Too Big to Fail)
  • James Woods (Too Big to Fail)

I’m not sure how this will go, it’s probably Woods versus Pearce at this point, and just for the sheer impact that Mildred Pierce will have in the telecast I’ll go ahead and predict a Guy Pearce win.

Should Win: Paul Giamatti

Will Win: Guy Pearce

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES

Nominees

  • Evan Rachel Wood (Mildred Pierce)
  • Melissa Leo (Mildred Pierce)
  • Mare Winningham (Mildred Pierce)
  • Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)
  • Eileen Atkins (Upstairs Downstairs)

Here’s what I think will happen, the trio of Mildred Pierce ladies will cancel each other out by losing some votes to their very own co-stars and the beneficiary from that will be the always excellent Maggie Smith.

Should Win: Evan Rachel Wood

Will Win: Maggie Smith

Emmy Nominations

14 Jul

Melissa McCarthy and Joshua Jackson announced the Emmy nominations bright and early this morning, and there were quite a few interesting nominations to say the least, as well as your usual group of horribly snubbed actors and shows, but then again it wouldn’t be the Emmy nominations if you weren’t cheering uncontrollably for someone while you were weeping over the exclusion of someone else. I did four EmmyWatch posts last month, tackling the major categories in the Drama, Comedy, TV Movie/Miniseries and Reality/Variety races, so now I’ll list the full set of nominations, and a brief reaction to it, including how I did with my predictions.

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES

  • Boardwalk Empire
  • Dexter
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Good Wife
  • Mad Men
Reaction: I went 5-for-6 in this one, I predicted Justified over Game of Thrones. However, Game of Thrones was amongst my 6 dream nominees so I’m happy about it. Still this one is still probably a Boardwalk Empire vs. Mad Men race to the finish line, and I’m just happy that my beloved Friday Night Lights was finally given a shot to compete in the big race.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
  • Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
  • Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights)
  • Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
  • Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
  • Hugh Laurie (House)
  • Timothy Olyphant (Justified)
Reaction: Also went 5-for-6 in this category, predicting a William H. Macy nod over that of Timothy Olyphant. That said, Olyphant was actually my #3 dream nominee, and hearing his name called out was one of the happiest moments of the nominations for me, so I’m seriously glad he’s in there. Much like in the Outstanding Drama category, though, this is a Boardwalk Empire vs. Mad Men battle.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
  • Kathy Bates (Harry’s Law)
  • Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights)
  • Mireille Enos (The Killing)
  • Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU)
  • Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)
  • Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
Reaction: I went 4-for-6 here. I predicted Katey Sagal and Kyra Sedgwick instead of Bates and Hargitay. And those misses are weird to me for a number of reasons. First and foremost, Sagal won the Globe and I can’t believe she got snubbed again by the Emmy’s. Sedgwick actually won this last year and her total omission from this year’s race was bizarre. And Kathy Bates may be great, but Harry’s Law really isn’t, this just goes to prove how Emmy voters sometimes just vote for the name.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
  • Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
  • Josh Charles (The Good Wife)
  • Alan Cumming (The Good Wife)
  • Walton Goggins (Justified)
  • John Slattery (Mad Men)
  • Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age)
Reaction: A strong 5-for-6 showing again in this category. And, again, the one prediction I missed was one I was still incredibly happy to hear. I had Michael Pitt of Boardwalk Empire getting a nod because I reckoned the voters wanted to go deep for their love of the HBO crime saga, but Goggins got in there, and he was actually my #2 dream nominee, so I was damn happy about his inclusion. Still pissed about the lack of John Noble, though.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
  • Kelly MacDonald (Boardwalk Empire)
  • Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife)
  • Christine Baranksi (The Good Wife)
  • Margo Martindale (Justified)
  • Michelle Forbes (The Killing)
  • Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Reaction: Another 5-for-6 here. Missed Forbes’ nomination in favor of Sharon Gless. However, Forbes was #4 dream nominee and I don’t even watch Burn Notice so I was seriously glad to miss out on a perfect prediction score here.
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Glee
  • Modern Family
  • The Office
  • Parks and Recreation
  • 30 Rock
Reaction: 5-for-6 again here, but I was SO happy about that, because that miss of mine in this category meant that Parks and Rec, my #2 dream nominee, got in instead of Nurse Jackie which I had predicted to get a nod. The Big Bang Theory also finally broke through to the big race. Still, the thing that pissed me off the most about today’s nominations was the overall lack of love for Community.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
  • Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
  • Louis C.K. (Louie)
  • Steve Carell (The Office)
  • Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory)
  • Matt LeBlanc (Episodes)
  • Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Reaction: 4-for-6 in this one. I had Joel McHale and Matthew Morrison instead of Louis and Galecki. And while I was ecstatic to hear Louis C.K. named this morning (he was #5 in my dream ballot), and I loved that he got in instead of Morrison, I don’t really care much for Galecki and the fact that he probably meant McHale wasn’t nominated ticks me off.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
  • Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)
  • Tina Fey (30 Rock)
  • Laura Linney (The Big C)
  • Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly)
  • Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope)
  • Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)
Reaction: 5-for-6 again, I had Toni Collette instead of McCarthy in this one. Still, it was awesome to see Poehler and Plimpton get in, and I actually quite liked the fact that they realized this was a comedy category and Lea Michele got snubbed.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
  • Chris Colfer (Glee)
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family)
  • Ed O’Neill (Modern Family)
  • Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)
  • Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
  • Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Reaction: 4-for-6 here, I predicted Nick Offerman (who was my #1 dream nominee) and Neil Patrick Harris over Cryer and Ferguson. But I guess the Modern Family party prevailed (and I’m actually very happy about that) and the voters wanted to give Cryer the nod for having to put up with Sheen’s antics, which is good too, I guess. I just wanted to see Ron Swanson in there.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
  • Jane Lynch (Glee)
  • Betty White (Hot in Cleveland)
  • Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
  • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family)
  • Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live)
  • Jane Krakowski (30 Rock)
Reaction: Finally, my first 6-for-6! Though I was still holding out for a surprise Alison Brie or Aubrey Plaza nod.
OUTSTANDING REALITY SHOW COMPETITION
  • The Amazing Race
  • American Idol
  • Dancing with the Stars
  • Project Runway
  • So You Think You Can Dance
  • Top Chef
Reaction: 5-for-6. I was hoping The Voice would get in there instead of So You Think You Can Dance, but here’s hoping it’ll make the shortlist next season!
OUTSTANDING REALITY SERIES
  • Hoarders
  • Antiques Roadshow
  • Deadliest Catch
  • MythBusters
  • Undercover  Boss
  • Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List
Reaction: 4-for-6, not bad considering this was the category I randomly guessed because I only watch Mythbusters out of the contenders.
OUTSTANDING REALITY HOST
  • Jeff Probst (Survivor)
  • Cat Deeley (So You Think You Can Dance)
  • Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race)
  • Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars)
  • Ryan Seacrest (American Idol)
Reaction: 4-for-5. I was thinking Padma Lakshmi over Deeley here.
OUTSTANDING VARIETY SERIES
  • The Colbert Report
  • Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Conan
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Reaction: 5-for-6 here, I went with Letterman over Fallon in my predictions, but I’m damn glad Fallon got in, he keeps getting better and better.
OUTSTANDING TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES
  • Mildred Pierce
  • Downton Abbey
  • The Kennedys
  • Cinema Verite
  • Too Big to Fail
  • The Pillars of the Earth
Reaction: 4-for-6 here, and I’m really pissed that Carlos (my far-and-out #1 dream nominee) wasn’t nominated. I also predicted Luther would get in but it didn’t.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES
  • Greg Kinnear (The Kennedys)
  • Barry Pepper (The Kennedys)
  • Édgar Ramírez (Carlos)
  • William Hurt (Too Big to Fail)
  • Idris Elba (Luther)
  • Laurence Fishburne (Thurgood)
Reaction: 4-for-6 again in this one, I had Hugh Bonneville and Samuel L. Jackson over Kinnear and Pepper, because I really didn’t think The Kennedys was going to get this ridiculous amount of love. Still, Ramírez and Elba got in here, and that’s really all I cared about.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES
  • Kate Winslet (Mildred Pierce)
  • Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey)
  • Diane Lane (Cinema Verite)
  • Taraji P. Henson (Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story)
  • Jean Marsh (Upstairs Downstairs)
Reaction: 4-for-5 here, even though I did 6 predictions and Henson was in there but at #6 so I’m not going to count her. I had Haley Atwell over her. Still, this Emmy probably already has Winslet’s name engraved on it.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES
  • Guy Pearce (Mildred Pierce)
  • Brian F. O’Byrne (Mildred Pierce)
  • Tom Wilkinson (The Kennedys)
  • Paul Giamatti (Too Big to Fail)
  • James Woods (Too Big to Fail)
Reaction: 4-for-5, I had Tim Robbins over Wilkinson, even though Wilkinson was my #6 in the predictions. I just didn’t anticipate The Kennedys getting this much love.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES
  • Evan Rachel Wood (Mildred Pierce)
  • Melissa Leo (Mildred Pierce)
  • Mare Winningham (Mildred Pierce)
  • Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)
  • Eileen Atkins (Upstairs Downstairs)
Reaction: 4-for-5 again here, I had Cynthia Nixon over Winningham, but apparently Mildred Pierce just dominated the category.
So there they are, the Emmy nominations for the categories I had predicted and commented on in my EmmyWatch posts. As the ceremony grows nearer I’ll make similar posts detailing the state of the race and my final prediction for who will actually win it, but for now let’s just let these nods simmer. There were plenty to be happy about (The Justified love, the Friday Night Lights love, Ed O’Neill finally getting in) but there were also a fair share of misses (like the shut-outs for Community and Fringe), but all for all it was a solid pack of nominees. As for my predictions, I went an overall 86-for-110, which I think is pretty damn solid, and hopefully my accuracy won’t fall when predicting the actual winners!