Tag: Melissa Leo


Flight

February 5th, 2013 — 9:16pm

images-11**

Flight- nf  When an actor who is on the screen all the time, holds your attention and clearly shows the problem which his character is suffering, that actor deserves kudos for that performance. In this case it is Denzel Washington who plays Whit Whitaker, an airline pilot who is an alcoholic and cocaine user who on a routine flight finds himself on plane with a mechanical failure. He does an unbelievably tricky maneuver where he flies the  plane upside down to slow it down and make an emergency landing on a open field saving all “souls onboard” except 2  crew and a few passengers. You probably know all this from the coming attractions. Will he be found out to have been drinking or will  he ever admit his alcohol and drug problem which we all know is necessary to get over it?  That is just about the essence of this movie. There is a lot of drinking and some drugs with small supporting roles by John Goodman as your happy, friendly cocaine dealer, Don Cheadle as the lawyer who is supposed to defend Whit and Melissa Leo as the opposing lawyer. There really aren’t any dramatic unpredictable courtroom scenes. There is no fascinating back-story or a plot that got pulled together in a fantastic ending. If anything, the conclusion is one of a few that you would have predicted. It isn’t very believable but I am sure that the star’s name and all the hype that the movie has received will probably make it a box office success. (2012)

Comment » | 2 Stars, Drama

Our Oscar Picks

February 22nd, 2011 — 9:27am

Like everyone else we have our favorite for the Oscar choices .We did not yet see three of the 10 nominees True Grit , Inception or Winters Bone but we still would like to weigh in on our choices. We also have some differences of opinion as to the best of the best. Here are our picks for the major categories

Best Picture & Director of 2010 (we both feel these should be lumped together and they usually go together)

MB: It is interesting that the two favorites The Kings Speech and Social Network as well as The Fighter and 127 Hours are based on true stories. At least part of their appeal is that the movie recreates and provides insight into actual events. It turns out that Kings Speech while correct in the overall theme did take a fair amount of poetic license in laying out the time sequences and the actual timing of his dramatic speech. (He apparently had been seeing the speech therapist for many years at the time of the famous speech and it was not a dramatic moment as depicted.)  For me, no matter how well done the movie may be, that does take away from the value of the film. I also find myself asking the question about Social Network – if it were not a valid depiction would I think the movie was that good and would I care about the characters? As far as I know, it was close to the truth but I find that  the main value of the film is that it satisfies my curiosity about how this world changing phenomena  came about. That by itself for me is not enough for the first place award and aside from that, I believe we are left with a very good movie but not the best. 127 Hours was gripping but it didn’t have enough depth to win the prize. Similarly The Fighter was done well but it is not another Rocky even though based on a true story.  Incidentally, as far as true stories that were made into great films this year, I am sorry that Conviction was not nominated, but as good as I think it was, it wouldn’t win my first prize. The Kids Are All Right was top notch and  a game changer  in many ways. It may even deserve to win as the best screen play but as much as I liked it and also enjoyed Toy Story 3 – they weren’t in the league of my first choice as best film .  This leaves Black Swan as my choice for the best picture of the year. This film combines a fascinating story, a horror film, beautiful dancing, fantasy, psychological intrigue and great acting. In my opinion Director Darren Aronofsky combined them all with wonderful effects and camera work to come out on top for this year’s best picture and director

SB: I thought Social Network takes the prize this year. It had the combination of a fascinating subject, great writing and acting which made it a mesmerizing movie. I really cared about the characters and could understand their point of view . The movie made me feel that I was actually present at the birth of a very important event in our lifetime.

We both were in agreement on the following four categories

Best Actress:

Natalie Portman captured the mystery, agony, fear, horror with the love and beauty of ballet all in this stunning performance of Black Swan.  The other nominees whom we saw were excellent especially Nicole Kidman as the grieving mother in Rabbit Hole but Portman excelled in each of the genres which her film touched.

Best Actor:

While Colin Furth with his poignant portrayal of the stammering King is probably the one to beat, we think Javier Bardem in Biutiful turned in just about a perfect performance of a man living on the edge, strong, sensitive, facing death with a tender caring for others. Bardem deserves his second Oscar

Best Supporting Actor:

Christian Bale earned the Oscar here. Not only did his portrayal of  the character of the older self centered brother who was almost was the champion grab the attention of  The Fighter but in a clip at the end of the film  of the real brother  showed how Bale also nailed his speech and mannerisms . Veteran actor Geoffrey Rush who has been nominated for an Oscar four times and won in 1997 for Shine was wonderful as the eccentric speech therapist but we don’t think he will knock out Bale.

Best Supporting Actress:

Melissa Leo as the mother of the two brothers in The Fighter in our opinion was a run away for this category. She exuded the persona of this character and her misguided view of her two sons and her own entitlement.

The results of the Academy of Motion Pictures will be known in a few days but we will always welcome your comments below.

Comment » | Uncategorized

The Fighter

January 30th, 2011 — 7:37am

*****

The Fighter rm–  Why is it that a good fight movie in the end will push your emotional buttons and bring a tear to your eye when it comes to the conclusion? Think Rocky. However, this movie isn’t really about boxing although there is lots of boxing in it. It is about family, loyalty. dreams and aspirations, self determination but not forgetting where you came from. It is based on a real people and a true story. It is the story of the boxer Mickey Ward(Mark Wahlberg)  and his relationship with his older ½ brother Dicky (Christian Bale), a former boxer who once fought Sugar Ray Robinson  but became involved with drugs and spent time in prison. Dicky comes back after much family interaction and soul searching and he trains his brother for the ultimate championship fight . Writers Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy along with Director David Russell provide a story with great character development where you understand them as well as seeing  them grow and change. The acting is fantastic. Mark Wahlberg does a very good job getting into shape and carrying off the role of boxer and the sensitive brother here. But the major acting kudos have to go to Christian Bale who brought the older brother and his fantasies for himself and his kid brother to life. No matter how he came to this portrayal it would be a worthy tour de force but at the very end of the film there is a brief film clip of the real brothers interacting and you can see that Bale nailed all mannerisms of his character. If this film should get two acting awards, the second one would be for Melissa Leo who plays the brother’s Mom as an insensitive, selfish mother who had been managing her son’s boxing career as it was going downhill. Maybe deep down she loves her kids perhaps the older one more but you won’t feel neutral about her.  We have seen Leo in other great performances in Frozen River and Conviction. The latter film along with Kings Speech, 127 Hours , The Social Network, including this one are in our opinion among the best of the films of 2010 and are all based on true stories. Truth may be better than fiction but you have to be able to tell a good story and this one certainly did.(2010)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Biography, Sport

Frozen River

November 7th, 2009 — 1:16am

* * * * *
Frozen River
– nf – Set in northern New York state at the icy cold Canadian border, this painful movie will hold your attention every second. It is about two women. One is a white women trying to survive with her two children and barely making ends meet, played by Melissa Leo in an Oscar nominated performance. The other is a widowed Mohawk woman from the reservation who is desperate to get her son back from her mother- in law and will also need money to survive. They become involved in smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States across the frozen river. There is tension mixed with real human struggles. The movie doesn’t make one false step. We can’t think how they could have done it better. It is directed and written by Courtney Hunt who received an Oscar nomination for the screenplay. There is no joy in watching this film but it is very good! 2008

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama

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