Leland Orser

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Taken 3 Review


As with the first two films in this dumb but bombastically watchable franchise, writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen seemingly put no effort into writing a script that can even remotely hold water. This is such a boneheaded story that it boggles the mind, eliciting laughter every time it tries to show some emotion or menace. But watching Liam Neeson charge around on a personal mission, cleaning up the criminal underworld in the process, is still rather good fun.

Back home in Los Angeles, former super-spy Bryan (Neeson) is trying to re-bond with his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) while waiting for his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) to leave her sweaty but wealthy husband Stuart (Dougray Scott) and come back to him. But this dream is cut short in a twisted act of violence that leaves Bryan as the prime suspect. With Inspector Franck (Forest Whitaker) on his tail, Bryan traverses the city trying to unknot the mystery and find out who the real villain is, so he can clear his name and protect his family. With the help of an old pal (Leland Orser), Bryan manages to taunt and elude the cops at every turn while tracking down the nasty Russian mafioso Malankov (Sam Spruell). But something is clearly not right here.

Instead of centring on one far-fetched kidnapping, pretty much every character in the story gets "taken" at some point in the movie. The film benefits from this break in the formula, creating a relentless pursuit that runs right through the story. So even if the details never remotely ring true, and even if most scenes feel badly contrived, it's thoroughly entertaining to watch Neeson's stand-in stuntman leap across backyard fences or drive like a maniac on the freeway, causing mass carnage in his wake. Sadly, director Olivier Megaton directs and edits the film by chopping scenes into splinters, then reassembling them so they make no sense at all. It's loud and fast and incomprehensible.

Continue reading: Taken 3 Review

A Week In Movies: Ben is Batman, One Direction deafens London, Disney humanises bears

Ben Affleck One Direction Simon Cowell Jamie Campbell Bower Jeanne Tripplehorn Leland Orser James Gandolfini Julia Louis-Dreyfus Disney

Ben Batman Affleck

This week's biggest story is that Ben Affleck will play Bruce Wayne (aka Batman) in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel, opposite Henry Cavill's Clark Kent (aka Superman). There's no word on the plot or the title of the new film, which is scheduled for release in the summer of 2015. Word has it that the two superheroes will be at odds with each other, setting up some big battles between them. Read all about the epic prospect here.

On Tuesday night, London hosted the world premiere of the new One Direction movie This Is Us, and the screams of pre-pubescent girls could be heard miles away from Leicester Square as the boy band, their manager Simon Cowell and a range of starry guests turned up to walk the red carpet. The film opens next week and you can look at photos from the event here.

Continue reading: A Week In Movies: Ben is Batman, One Direction deafens London, Disney humanises bears

Love After Death: Leland Orser Steps Behind The Camera For 'Morning' [Trailer]

Leland Orser Jeanne Tripplehorn Laura Linney

Leland Orser makes his directorial debut – and stars – in Morning, a film that focuses on the inner torment of two parents after their child dies. This is five days in the life of Alice (Jeanne Tripplehorn) and Mark (Orser) as they attempt to deal with death and forge love once more.

Leland OrserOrser directs for the first time in Morning

Mark’s grief leads him to separation – he cannot stand to be around his wife any more. The opening scene in the trailer sees him sitting in an empty pool -presumably because of the accidental drowning death of their child - on his own. An elderly woman (his mother?) attempts to console him, or at least shelter him from the rain.

Continue reading: Love After Death: Leland Orser Steps Behind The Camera For 'Morning' [Trailer]

Taken 2 Review


There wasn't really anywhere for the story to go after 2008's surprise hit Taken, and this movie quickly proves that. Not only does it have that same appalling moral vacuum at the centre (it doesn't matter how many irrelevant people you torture and kill to rescue your loved one), but the plot becomes increasingly absurd as it progresses. So the only genuine response is weary laughter.

The action picks up shortly after Bryan (Neeson) has recovered from his ordeal in Paris. His daughter Kim (Grace) seems to have forgotten it completely, and soon she and her mother Lenore (Janssen), Bryan's ex, jet off to Istanbul to join him after he finishes a business meeting. But they don't know that the family of the Albanian thugs Bryan killed in France have followed him to Turkey intent on vengeance. They soon grab Bryan and Lenore, so Bryan calls Kim on a secret mobile device and coaches her on how to rescue them. Of course, it gets increasingly messy as the hours tick by.

Perfectly named director Megaton (Colombiana) never bothers to make any sense out of the story, merely charging into each scene with guns blazing and grenades exploding, while suggesting that only unshaven Albanian-looking men get killed in the process. Well, all of them, to be exact. He also delights in presenting shameless stereotypes of Muslims who take their run-down lifestyle with them wherever they go. Meanwhile, the Yanks are efficient and unruffled, speaking in cliched slogans. Neeson sleepwalks through the film, shifting into action mode or hitting the dramatic notes where necessary. Jansson is actually asleep (or unconscious) most of the time. While Grace has the most fun in a series of insane action set-pieces.

Continue reading: Taken 2 Review

Picture - Jason Ritter, Todd Traina, Graham... San Francisco, California, Monday 26th April 2010

Jason Ritter, Todd Traina, Graham Leggat and Leland Orser - Jason Ritter, Todd Traina, Graham Leggat and Leland Orser San Francisco, California - San Francisco Film Festival - Premiere of 'Morning' after party held at Dosa on Fillmore Monday 26th April 2010

Picture - Leland Orser and Jeanne Tripplehorn San Francisco, California, Monday 26th April 2010

Leland Orser and Jeanne Tripplehorn - Leland Orser and Jeanne Tripplehorn San Francisco, California - San Francisco Film Festival - Premiere of 'Morning' after party held at Dosa on Fillmore Monday 26th April 2010

Leland Orser and Jeanne Tripplehorn
Leland Orser and Jeanne Tripplehorn
Leland Orser and Jeanne Tripplehorn

The Good German Review

Those who will hate The Good German will do so not because of its time-appropriate look and technique (more on that in a moment), but because it wants to be a wartime drama stripped of romance -- those movie stars may be standing in the rain next to a plane with its engines running, but this isn't Casablanca. Paul Attanasio's bruiser of a script (based on Joseph Kanon's novel) has all the hallmarks of a classy WWII drama. World-weary reporter Jake Geismer (George Clooney) shows up in Berlin two months after the collapse of the Reich to cover the Potsdam Peace Conference, at which the three Allied powers will carve up Europe like so much pie. His driver, Cpl. Tully (Tobey Maguire, sublimely sleazy), is a big fixer in the thriving local black market, and just so happens to be shacking up with statuesque Berliner Lena Brandt (Cate Blanchett), an ex-girlfriend of Geismer's who's so far out of Tully's league he should need a passport to get within five hundred yards of her. But, it's Berlin 1945, and a German woman with a shady wartime past is going to sleep with who she has to in order to get out. Geismer can sense a story in all of Brandt's meaningful silences -- that, and the moment when Tully shows up dead in Potsdam with 100,000 marks in his pocket.Romance, murder, corruption, the looming mood of great historical events, The Good German has all the hallmarks of a well-meaning, by-the-books Hollywood period drama. But director Steven Soderbergh is after something else. There's that shockingly brutal sex scene between Tully and Brandt, a couple of nasty back-alley fights that leave nobody looking good, and an overall mood of tired cynicism that doesn't leave much room for heroics. This is Berlin, after all, the heart of evil, in ruins. Hitler has been dead a mere two months, and while the Americans are hunting down Nazis for war crimes, it's already obvious they will look the other way when it comes to rocket scientists. The grand crusade has already been corrupted, and the Americans and Russians are just squatting in the ruined city fighting over the spoils while their soldiers deal in whores and whiskey.More unsettling than the script's cynicism is how it's presented. Soderbergh -- who once worried that the disastrous response to Kafka meant he'd never have a chance to work in black and white again -- not only shot The Good German in black and white, but he did so in the style of the time period. The sound is echoey and occasional poor, the acting somewhat stiff in that studio film manner, while the film itself comes close to mimicking the very appearance of work from the time period. Soderbergh went so far as to dig up old 1940s Panavision camera lenses, and even utilized unused footage shot in a still-bombed-out 1948 Berlin by Billy Wilder for A Foreign Affair. It's a stunning creation, one of the most gorgeously-composed films of recent years, and accomplishing the seemingly impossible: showing that Blanchett actually looks more beautiful in monochrome.While the visual verisimilitude is a shocking contrast with the script's modernity (swear words, a lack of staginess), it quickly makes a great deal of sense as we realize this isn't meant to be a romantic drama, a la Casablanca, it's a noir thriller in the manner of The Third Man. While the script's game of "who's the patsy?" spins about, it also plays with some weightier topics, most importantly the guilt of everyday Germans who may not have had an active role in the war but didn't necessarily do anything to stop it. In 1945, could there be such things as a good German? As Brandt says at one point, "It's very easy to blame everything on the war."Thick with hypocrisy and corruption, the world of The Good German is more that of Graham Greene and a wearied Europe than that of the sun-dazed California dream factory who would continue to mine happy fake fantasies out of the war for decades later. For this it will be hated, though wrongly. Noirs this good don't come along every day, or even every year.Good evening, ladies and germs.

Brother's Keeper (2002) Review

Does anything inspire as much horror as the title card, "USA Network Presents"?

Brother's Keeper -- not the 1992 documentary about a hillbilly who murders his brother -- is a ridiculously stupid story about a detective who tries to protect her brother despite the fact that he's a serial killer. Standard thriller ensues.

Continue reading: Brother's Keeper (2002) Review

Very Bad Things Review

What can I say about this movie? It's completely original, unlike anything I've ever seen before. It's a pretty sick movie. It's also a drop dead (literally) hilarious movie that is one of this year's best. I walked into it thinking it was going to be an average comedy. Another movie with almost an identical premise called Stag, was not very good. This time, I was in for a good time.

The premise is simple. Kyle (Jon Favreau), Boyd (Christian Slater), Adam (Daniel Stern), Michael (Jeremy Piven) and Charles (Leland Orser) are off to Las Vegas for Kyle's bachelor party. The guys are drunk, and high but it doesn't end there. When the stripper/prostitute comes, things get ugly. When the hooker is having sex with Michael, she accidentally gets a towel hook in her head and dies. Everyone starts to freak out except for Boyd, who decides that the best idea is to bury her in the desert so no one will get in trouble. They do, and after that things start snow balling into other catastrophes.

Continue reading: Very Bad Things Review

Twisted Review


Ashley Judd seems to go out of her way to find hole-riddled women-in-peril B-thrillers anymore. It's as if she's doing everything in her power not to be taken seriously as an actress.

After a moving, understated debut in 1993's "Ruby in Paradise," the actress seemed on her way toward award-worthy respect with memorable, compelling small-role performances in "Smoke," "Heat," and "A Time to Kill." Then she threw it all away to become queen of the trashy victim-empowerment genre with "Kiss the Girls," "Double Jeopardy," and "High Crimes," all of which seem promising at first but become tangled beyond salvation in their own ridiculous plot twists.

And thus we come to the appropriately titled murder mystery "Twisted," in which the twists are not only ridiculous, but also so poorly conceived that "the real killer" might as well be walking around in blood-soaked shoes.

Continue reading: Twisted Review

Leland Orser

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