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Snowden Review

Excellent

Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed filmmaking to trace the lives of such people as JFK, Nixon, Jim Morrison and George W. Bush. And now he turns his attention to whistleblower Edward Snowden. This is an urgent, skilfully made film that manages to avoid preachy politics as it asks the central question: was Snowden a traitor or a patriot?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Ed, a nerdy genius who never went to university but was spotted by CIA trainer Corbin (Rhys Ifans) and brought into the fold. Rising through the ranks, he moves from Virginia to Switzerland, Japan and Hawaii, accompanied by his long-suffering girlfriend Lindsay (Shailene Woodley), who isn't allowed to know what he does for a living. Over the years, his faith in America's government is shaken as he discovers the scale of its data-gathering operation, collecting all telephone and internet information on every person on earth, whether or not they're a suspect. And he believes that the taxpayers have a right to know what their elected officials are doing.

The script tells the story as Ed describes his life to filmmaker Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) and two Guardian journalists (Zachary Quinto and Tom Wilkinson) while hiding in a Hong Kong hotel, an event recounted in the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour. Eventually, this element of the story generates some proper action as the CIA tracks him down and gives chase. Stone orchestrates these scenes expertly, generating some real adrenaline without sacrificing the bigger narrative. And Gordon-Levitt is simply remarkable, vanishing into the role so effectively that the final dissolve to the real Snowden is barely perceptible. His chemistry with Woodley is complex and engaging (even with a gratuitous sex scene), creating a terrific central love story to guide the audience through the events.

Continue reading: Snowden Review

London Has Fallen Review

Weak

It didn't seem possible, but somehow this action movie is even more preposterous than its predecessor, 2013's over-serious Olympus Has Fallen. Gerard Butler is back as a Secret Service agent protecting US President Aaron Eckhart, this time in a Taken-style scenario in which they leave America only to be immediately thrown into the middle of a massive terrorist attack. But the script is so lazy that there isn't a moment when any of this is remotely believable.

Events are put into motion when the British prime minister dies of a heart attack and security services only have a few days to lock down London so that the world's leaders can arrive for the funeral at St Paul's Cathedral. Mike (Butler) flies in with his boss Lynn (Bassett) on Air Force One, accompanying President Asher (Eckhart) and a platoon of bodyguards. Then just before the funeral, a carefully orchestrated series of bombings and gun attacks take out five heads of state. Of course, Mike and Lynn get Asher out of the fray, but an army of bad guys led by terror mastermind Kamran (Waleed Zuaiter) pursue them across the city. Back in Washington, Vice President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) and the panicky cabinet (including Haley, Forster and Leo) watch all of this unfold on video screens and coordinates a counter-attack.

Even with four screenwriters, the movie makes no real sense. And worse than that, the filmmakers never take advantage of the story's potential or the heavy-hitting cast. There's a line about how all of London's landmarks have been destroyed, but the on-screen destruction is limited to just one of Westminster Abbey's towers. The depiction of world leaders is laughably cliched. And the award-winning actors have nothing to do but stand there looking worried. By contrast, Butler charges around shooting and stabbing everybody who moves in a display of shockingly brutal machismo. Eckhart is more believably reluctant to join in and dispense some violence, but of course he does.

Continue reading: London Has Fallen Review

Melissa Leo - AFI FEST 2015 Presented By Audi Closing Night Gala Premiere of Paramount Pictures' 'The Big Short' - Arrivals at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres - Hollywood, California, United States - Thursday 12th November 2015

Melissa Leo
Melissa Leo
Melissa Leo
Melissa Leo
Melissa Leo
Melissa Leo

The Big Short Trailer


When Dr. Michael Burry discovered that the housing market in the US relied upon a series of bad loans in 2005, he knew there was profit to be had. He even went as far as moving on from his multi-million dollar Scion Capital LLC hedge fund in a bid to short the market and take advantage of the vulnerable housing deals. But he wasn't the only one with plans to accrue wealth off the back of financial disaster; Steve Eisman was a hedge fund manager who had a lot to say against the greedy banks, as did Cornwall Capital partner Ben Hockett and Deutsche Bank trader Greg Lippmann. These are financial outsiders that are about to show the banks a serious lesson when they use their economic skills to bring them down with a brave move in the credit default swap market.

Continue: The Big Short Trailer

Snowden - Teaser Trailer


In June 2013, a high-flying 29-year-old government employee named Edward Snowdon suddenly found himself the most wanted man in the world after leaking classified documents from the US government to the media. An intelligent young man, whose army career at just 20 led him to join the CIA and eventually become an NSA contractor where he was faced with what he deemed as seriously questionable ethics from his colleagues, and those above him. Disturbed by the lies spoken by those around him and with a direct concern for the welfare of the people, he sought justice. He knew what such a move would entail, and indeed he was accused of being a traitor when the government tried to suggest that his actions had a negative impact on their counterterrorism programmes, but he knew he couldn't watch the citizens of Earth be continually deceived.

Continue: Snowden - Teaser Trailer

The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman Review


Very Good

Shia LaBeouf is well-cast in this freewheeling combination of comedy, romance and action. He plays a scruffy guy with no plans and nothing to lose, lost in a strange culture while falling in love with the wrong woman. It's not a particularly original premise, and much of what happens feels wildly improbable, but the characters and situations are so entertaining that we can't help but hold on for the ride.

It opens in Chicago, where Charlie (LaBeouf) watches helplessly as his mother (Melissa Leo) dies in hospital, asking her what he should do next. Then there she is appearing to him, telling him to visit Bucharest. "That's weirdly specific," he replies, but he follows her advice, and on the flight over has another encounter with a dead person. This one asks him to look up his daughter Gabi (Evan Rachel Wood) and give her a message. Of course, Charlie is instantly smitten, but tries to ignore the fact that Gabi's psychopathic husband Nigel (Mads Mikkelsen) looks easily capable of murder. As does the mobster club owner Darko (Til Schweiger) Charlie has a run in with while out on the town with his youth hostel roommates, two chucklehead Brits (Rupert Grint and James Buckley).

As the title suggests, Charlie feels like death is inevitable for him, especially now that he seems to have caught whatever that kid from The Sixth Sense had. LaBeouf gives Charlie just the right mix of hapless loser and quick-thinking resourcefulness, and his chemistry with Wood is tetchy and fun to watch. Meanwhile, the scene-stealing supporting stars Mikkelsen, Schweiger, Grint and Buckley add a terrific mixture of comedy silliness and dark peril. This seems to be director Fredrik Bond's main goal here: to blend genres from grim drama to sweet romance to goofy slapstick to Taken-style action violence.

Continue reading: The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman Review

'August: Osage County' Actress Misty Upham Found Dead In Seattle


Misty Upham Meryl Streep Melissa Leo

Police is Seattle have discovered the body of a woman, thought to be that of the missing actress Misty Upham. The 32-year-old Native American actress was found in a ravine near the White River on Thursday, with police spokesman Steve Stocker confirming that items confirming Upham's identity were found nearby.

Misty UphamA body believed to be that of Misty Upham was found in a ravine near Seattle after family and friends conducted a search

Officials are still waiting for the medical examiner to make a positive identification, Stocker noted.

Continue reading: 'August: Osage County' Actress Misty Upham Found Dead In Seattle

The Equalizer Review


Good

Little more than a paint-by-numbers action thriller, it's anyone's guess why the filmmakers have bothered to make a connection with the 1980s TV series of the same name. Because this film bears almost no resemblance to it. Instead, this is a reunion of Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua, who last collaborated on the Oscar-winning Training Day. And since it's packed with brutal violence and questionable morality, that's clearly where this movie's roots truly lie.

Washington stars as Robert, a meek shelf-stacker at a DIY warehouse store in Boston. He can't sleep at night, so he heads to the local diner to read classic novels. That's where he meets Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz), a teen hooker who is having problems with her psychotic Russian pimp (David Meunier). Ever so quietly, and clearly relying on some external source of income, Robert goes about helping Teri secure a free future. But when he offers to settle her debts, the pimp and his thugs just laugh at him. So Robert mercilessly kills them all, drawing on his secret past as a black-ops agent. The problem is that this puts Robert at odds with the top Russian boss Teddy (Marton Csokas), who heads to Boston to get even.

In standard action movie tradition, Robert works his way right through the entire Russian mob, along the way cleaning up Boston's corrupt police force before the requisite final confrontation. His only distraction is a brief visit to his old CIA boss (Melissa Leo) and her husband (Bill Pullman) for a bit of moral support and added starry cameo value. Yes, there isn't much about this movie that doesn't feel concocted for the box office, which means that the story is both achingly predictable and littered with gaping plot-holes. And with Washington in the focal role, everyone else fades into the woodwork. Moretz is excellent but badly underused, while Csokas is never given much to do with his one-note villain.

Continue reading: The Equalizer Review

The Equalizer - Featurette and Clip


Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen) talks about what makes The Equalizer (Denzel Washington) different from other action movie heroes. The name comes from how he spends his days as a "regular Joe", but uses hand-to-hand combat in order to fight his way through legions of bad guys "levelling the playing field". Producer Todd Black (A Knight's Tale, The Pursuit of Happiness) goes on to explain The Equalizer's skill set. He uses impeccable awareness of his surroundings to manipulate his environment into a weapon - this leads to stunt coordinator Keith Woulard discussing Washington's desire to make the fight scenes "dirty and gritty, but he want[ed] it smart". 

Continue: The Equalizer - Featurette and Clip

The Judge - Trailer


Hank Palmer is a ruthless but excellent lawyer, despised by many of his peers for his habit of representing often blatantly guilty criminals. One day mid-trial however, he receives a call from home informing him of his mother's recent death. Reluctantly, he ventures back to the town of Carlinville, Indiana where he grew up to convene with his family ahead of the funeral. As he expected, the greeting between himself and his father - the local Judge Joseph Palmer - is particularly frosty. As a young college graduate, Hank was desperate to leave the harsh and unfriendly grasp of his father but when the town's sheriff tells him that Joseph is now a murder suspect, he begins to feel a grudging obligation to cast their differences aside and help him protest his innocence.

Continue: The Judge - Trailer

The Equalizer Trailer


Robert McCall has a modest job at a hardware store in Boston where he longs for a peaceful life on his own to live out the rest of his days. He is a retired black ops commando and, unfortunately for him, that part of his life is not over - merely laying dormant. After meeting a young girl named Teri and seeing her trapped in a circle of abuse and danger within what appears to be a gang of pimps, he vows to help her. However, after taking them down with an extraordinary amount of grace and dexterity, he discovers that they are in fact part of the powerful Russian mafia who are hellbent on killing him. The odds aren't looking good for McCall, whose sense of justice and responsibility has been quickly reignited, but when it really comes down to it, it's difficult to tell who should be afraid of whom.

Continue: The Equalizer Trailer

Melissa Leo - Jersey Boys New York Special Screening held at the Paris Theatre - Arrivals. - New York, New York, United States - Tuesday 10th June 2014

Melissa Leo
Melissa Leo

Melissa Leo - Prisoners premiere at the Elgin Theatre during the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. - Friday 6th September 2013

Melissa Leo Monday 28th November 2011 IFP's 21st Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards - Inside New York City, USA

Victoria Justice, Brenda Song and Melissa Leo Friday 25th February 2011 QVC Red Carpet Style Party held at the Four Seasons Hotel - Arrivals Los Angeles, California

Victoria Justice, Brenda Song and Melissa Leo
Victoria Justice, Brenda Song and Melissa Leo
Victoria Justice, Brenda Song and Melissa Leo
Victoria Justice, Brenda Song and Melissa Leo
Victoria Justice, Brenda Song and Melissa Leo
Victoria Justice, Brenda Song and Melissa Leo
Melissa Leo

Melissa Leo Quick Links

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Melissa Leo

Date of birth

14th September, 1960

Occupation

Actor

Sex

Female

Height

1.63




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Melissa Leo Movies

Snowden Movie Review

Snowden Movie Review

Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed...

Snowden Trailer

Snowden Trailer

Edward Snowden always knew he wanted to serve his country and, as most young men...

London Has Fallen Movie Review

London Has Fallen Movie Review

It didn't seem possible, but somehow this action movie is even more preposterous than its...

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The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

London Has Fallen Trailer

London Has Fallen Trailer

Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart and Angela Bassett once again team up in the...

The Big Short Trailer

The Big Short Trailer

When Dr. Michael Burry discovered that the housing market in the US relied upon a...

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Snowden - Teaser Trailer

Snowden - Teaser Trailer

In June 2013, a high-flying 29-year-old government employee named Edward Snowdon suddenly found himself the...

The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman Movie Review

The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman Movie Review

Shia LaBeouf is well-cast in this freewheeling combination of comedy, romance and action. He plays...

The Equalizer Movie Review

The Equalizer Movie Review

Little more than a paint-by-numbers action thriller, it's anyone's guess why the filmmakers have bothered...

The Equalizer Trailer

The Equalizer Trailer

Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen) talks about what makes The Equalizer (Denzel...

The Judge Trailer

The Judge Trailer

Hank Palmer is a ruthless but excellent lawyer, despised by many of his peers for...

The Equalizer Trailer

The Equalizer Trailer

Robert McCall has a modest job at a hardware store in Boston where he longs...

Charlie Countryman - Red Band Trailer Trailer

Charlie Countryman - Red Band Trailer Trailer

When Charlie Countryman boarded a plane to Bucharest in Romania after a hallucination of his...

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