Tag Archive: melissa leo


Prisoners Trailer

UK Release Date: 4th October 2013

Stars: Denis Villeneuve (director), Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Maria Bello, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano.

Plot: A Boston man kidnaps the person he suspects is behind the disappearance of his young daughter and her best friend.

Even if you watch just the first seconds of the trailer without reading the synopsis, you can tell that Prisoners is not going to be a film that makes you cry with happiness. Watch it all and you’ll soon realise that what Prisoners is planning on doing is making you sit there pulling your hair out begging Hugh Jackman not to do everything that he does.

With coming up to seven films as Wolverine, it’s easy to forget that Jackman is an incredibly versatile actor. And with an October release date it looks as though Jackman has Oscar nominations in his sights again as Prisoners seems like a story that is going to resonate with a lot of people and the performances are going to have to be groundbreaking in order to convey such a threatening tale.

Paul Dano must feel a bit of an outcast being as though Jackman, Gyllenhaan, Davis, Howard, and Leo have all either been nominated or won an Oscar, while Bello has two Golden Globe nominations to go with that. However, he is a talented young actor who should hold his own.

Prisoners looks like a journey full of suspense. You get the feeling that there must be a twist to the story at some point. And whatever happens, it seems doubtful that Jackman’s character is going to have a happy ending.

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February is looking like a very exciting month over here in the UK for film releases. There’s animation, Oscar nominated performances, big laughs and big explosions. Here’s my rundown of the films to look out for over the next four weeks.

 

Bullet to the Head – 1st February

This looks like the speech-slurring Sylvester Stallone is back to his best as he teams up with Fast Five‘s Sung Kang. A very ordinary storyline but throw in some fantastic action scenes and funny one liners and you’ve got yourself one of the most enjoyable action films of the year.

 

Flight – 1st February

Denzel Washington is a man that always delivers and here he is with his latest Oscar nominated performance as a pilot who’s heroic saving of a crashing plane is soon under investigation as he may not be all he seems. With a supporting cast of Don Cheadle, Melissa Leo, Bruce Greenwood and John Goodman this has no choice but to be a fantastic drama.

 

I Give it a Year – 8th February

This is probably the film that I am most looking forward to this month. I can’t remember the last time I saw a trailer that genuinely made me laugh out loud as much as this one does. I Give it a Year looks hilarious and I hope that I will not be disappointed, especially since Simon Baker, of The Mentalist fame, is in it!

 

Wreck-it Ralph – 8th February

Nominated for the Best Animated Film Oscar at this years ceremony, Wreck-it Ralph looks set to be able to rival anything that Pixar have done in the past. Set in the world of video games we follow bad guy Wreck-it Ralph in his attempt to prove to himself and everyone else that he is in fact a good guy.

 

A Good Day to Die Hard – 14th February

The fifth installment in the Die Hard franchise promises to be the biggest one yet. And with the introduction of Jai Courtney as McClane Jr it may be a sign that Bruce Willis is ready to pass on the mantle of leading the series, although I highly doubt that!

 

Cloud Atlas – 22nd February

Cloud Atlas‘ narrative structure is one that hasn’t been seen all that often in film and, upon it’s release in America (a good few months earlier than the rest of the world for some daft reason) it instantly divided critics. Despite this, I am still excited to see how the film will play out and really looking forward to seeing how the adaptation of David Mitchell’s epic novel turns out.

UK Release Date: 12th April 2013

Stars: Joseph Kosinski (director), Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Melissa Leo, Zoe Bell

Plot: On a spectacular future Earth that has evolved beyond recognition, one man’s confrontation with the past will lead him on a journey of redemption and discovery as he battles to save mankind.

After playing Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise will next star as Jack Harper in Oblivion. As much as I like Tom Cruise, and I am a big fan of his, I can’t help but think after watching this trailer that he might be a little bit miscast.

Oblivion is a big budget science fiction film and although Cruise seems to be getting his career back on track it is a risk having him in the lead role I think. And on top of that, the film doesn’t even really look like anything special. A few forums have already seen people theorising about the big plot twist and you can see some very obvious things being debated and you just know that they’re going to stick a cliche end on Oblivion.

The trailer does ask enough questions to get a few people interested. What happened to Earth? Who was the war between? Who and what is Morgan Freeman’s character doing on a supposed desolate Earth with what seems like a whole colony of people? And who is that women that Tom Cruise is shouting “who are you?” at. Good question, Tom.

Let’s get straight into it. American Bullshit. That was the original name of the film that Christian Bale has recently signed on for. The now untitled movie originally had Bale set to lead the ensemble cast but he dropped out, and now he has jumped back into the movie. When Bale dropped out he was replaced with the frankly quite obvious replacement Jeremy Renner. It has been announced that Renner and Bale will now both be in the project so everyone’s a winner! The film also stars Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper and will be directed by David O. Russell who previously worked with Bale on The Fighter.

Paul Dano, fresh from Ruby Sparks and Looper this past month has now signed on to what should be another film that will see positive press and Dano is fast becoming into a very recognisable and reliable face in the world of movies. The latest project he has signed on for is a revenge thriller entitled Prisoners. Prisoners is about a Boston man who kidnaps the person he suspects is behind the disappearance of his young daughter and her best friend. Hugh Jackman will be playing the lead role with Jake Gyllenhaal and Oscar winner Melissa Leo in support, so not half bad casting really.

A movie currently in production that is causing quite a stir is Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac. The reason for all of the attention on this project is because it revolves around a woman beaten up and found in an alley, then cleaned up by a bachelor who finds her and along the way she recounts all the details of her sex life from when it began up until her 50s (why?). And it has been announced that Lars Von Trier wants the sex scenes to be completely real – he wants his cast to ACTUALLY have sex on film. Anyway, this week has seen Uma Thurman sign up to a cast that already includes Stellan Skarsgard, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Shia LaBeouf.

And finally, after all of that casting news there is some absolutely ridiculous news coming out this week that after the unsuccessful Battleships film, Hollwood execs are now planning to turn several other games into big blockbusters. Along with a Monopoly film, which has been in the works for some time now, an Action Man movie is being planned (which should lend itself to the medium more easily than others, perhaps). But the weirdest news is that a Hungry Hippos movie is being planned. It’ll be interesting to see how that one turns out.

A VERY happy Mr. James Marsden

James Marsden is a recognisable face in the world of movies. Marsden has been in some very popular films of a couple of genres so it strikes me that he is not more famous than he is, but there is a very good reason (or very bad, depending on how you look at it) as to why his career hasn’t quite reached the heights that I thought it would earlier in his career. This reason is the cause of the title for this post and all will become clear in a few minutes.

James Paul Marsden began acting in the 1990s and his career began like so many others, with bit part appearances here and there in a number of, what can only be deemed unsuccessful, television shows. Luckily, in 1996 Marsden landing a lead role in family drama TV series Second Noah and this ran for two seasons, with a further three final episodes being commissioned after fan campaigns. After the shows cancellation Marsden moved into films; after a couple of made for television movies he appeared in Disturbing Behaviour alongside Katie Holmes (the film didn’t do very well) and then Gossip which only made half of its budget back and again failed. After this start it’s a wonder Marsden made it as big as he has done, but he could have been bigger. Here’s what happened…

In the year 2000, after the success of Blade, a movie was being made out of another popular Marvel property. It was of course, the best superhero team of all time, the X-Men. And James Marsden was cast in the role of Scott Summers, or as he is more popularly known Cyclops. This SHOULD have propelled James Marsden into a huge Hollywood star, should being the most important word here. Anyone who knows anything about the X-Men knows that Cyclops is the rightful leader of the X-Men. However, this was a characteristic drastically overlooked during the X-Men films (although this was the only real complaint I have about the first two films, the third is a different kettle of fish altogether). So really, Cyclops and James Marsden should have taken centre stage in one of the most successful trilogies of all time and would have rightfully become a household name; the unfortunate truth is that unless you take a real interest in the X-Men films or make a habit of watching romantic comedies, you probably won’t know who he is. Why? Simple.

Wolverine. The popularity of Wolverine among comic book fans is very rarely matched by another character and it is for this reason that in all three of the X-Men films featuring James Marsden Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine took centre stage. This forced the character of Cyclops into the background and he became a bit of an unimportant character, seemingly his only function was to marginally get in the way of Wolverine and Jean Grey’s romance and he didn’t even do that well. You can’t blame James Marsden for taking the part as leader of the X-Men but surely he would have hoped for a more heroic role in the films before tragically being sort of (I still don’t believe he actually died) killed off in X-Men: The Last Stand.

The reason for Cyclops disappearing in X-Men: The Last Stand was because James Marsden had taken a part in Superman Returns, another film in which he had a relatively small and unimportant part, there again to have his on screen ruined by the main hero of the piece (he does get a bit of bad luck this James Marsden chap) and of course Superman Returns disappeared into comic book movie obscurity rather unsurprisingly as it was very dull. But aside from comic book movies James Marsden has mainly stuck to romantic movies. He had a role in arguably one of the most popular films of all time – The Notebook. He has also starred in romantic comedies such as 27 Dresses and Sex Drive; the musical Hairspray; the fantasy half animated-half live action Enchanted and a film some critics called the worst of all time The Box.

This year, Marsden made a successful move back to television with a role in comedy 30 Rock although his time on television this time looks set to be short lived with 2013 having quite a few films slated for release with James Marsden attached. There’s dramedy As Cool As I Am, thriller The Loft, Enchanted 2 is in the pipeline to be made in the next couple of years. Perhaps the most exciting movie James Marsden is attached to at the minute though is something I am very much looking forward to and is a shoe-in for a few Oscar nominations when it is released. This is The Butler about the life of Cecil Gaines who served as White House butler to eight American presidents over three decades. The cast is full of real Hollywood stars and emerging talent: James Marsden, Forest Whitaker, Alan Rickman, Robyn Williams, Alex Pettyfer, Melissa Leo, Minka Kelly, John Cusack,  Jane Fonda, Terrence Howard, Liev Schreiber and Lenny Kravitz. James Marsden will be playing the great John F. Kennedy himself.

With The Butler, James Marsden has the chance to get the recognition he deserves and reach the heights of fame that he should have done a decade or so ago. If the films had been more true to the comic books with the X-Men then James Marsden would already have achieved so much more than he has. Of course, this isn’t to say that his career has been a washout because he has still had it pretty good; but if X-Men didn’t focus so much on Wolverine it could have all been so different for James Marsden. He never looks disappointed though, I’ve never seen a picture of him without a smile on his face!

James Marsden on set as John F. Kennedy – he’s either blinking or sneakily checking out Minka Kelly… you decide.

UK Release Date: 25th January 2013.

Stars: Robert Zemeckis (director), Denzel Washington, James Badge Dale, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Melissa Leo, Bruce Greenwood.

Plot: An airline pilot saves a flight from crashing, but an investigation into the malfunctions reveals something troubling.

From the director of the all time classic Back to the Future trilogy, Flight is Denzel Washington’s latest offering and sees him return to a more drama centred piece after recent films Safe House, Unstoppable and The Book of Eli. This is a great decision by Denzel Washington in my opinion because I think he is at his best in dramatic roles rather than the more action engineered roles he likes to take.

Denzel Washington plays the pilot of a place forced to crash land in the middle of nowhere. He instantly becomes a national celebrity and hero as he lands successfully and saves passengers’ lives. However all is not what it seems and upon doing tests alcohol is found in the pilot’s system which seems to be a reason as to why the plane may have took a dive in the first place. Washington’s character has two sides to him and is something that he could really get into and have fun with, I anticipate a fantastic performance from the ever consistent Washington.

Unfortunately though, the trailer gets a little lost and seems confused about what it is actually advertising. At times I feel like it chops and changes from a crime drama to light hearted drama to courtroom piece then to a thriller; if the people advertising don’t know what kind of film it is then how are we supposed to know? It seems like Flight is suffering from a slight identitiy crisis which really needs to be sorted before its release especially since Denzel Washington, although his films still make a profit, does not have the box office appeal that was once bestowed upon him.

Amy Adams has just entered into negotiations to star in Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s critically acclaimed novel Dark Places. Adams provides an example of a modern day actress with a fantastic ability for acting as well as looking incredibly beautiful at the same time and has been nominated for three Oscars throughout her career.

Amy Adams got her first film role in comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous and this was the start of what would become a fantastic career. After this Adams spent a couple of years working on television, appearing in episodes of Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville and The West Wing before, in 2002, appearing in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can alongside the brilliant Leonardo DiCaprio. Spielberg even said that Adams’ performance in Catch Me If You Can should have launched her career, yet still it stalled.

It was in 2004 that Amy Adams got her next film role in The Last Run as well as bagging regular roles in television series’ King of the Hill and Dr. Vegas, then her career really gained speed. After The Wedding Date was released Amy Adams starred in indie flick Junebug, a film for which Adams herself received critical acclaim and she was getting the recognition she deserved everywhere, including being nominated for an Oscar for her performance.

Not many comedy actors or actresses get recognised as talented actors as well as people who make us laugh, but this didn’t sway Amy Adams from appearing in more comedies as she attempted to crack mainstream cinema. Adams appeared in Talladega Nights, The Pick of Destiny and The Ex and then, in 2007, she made herself known to a wider audience than ever before. Enchanted, the part animated/part live action modern Disney fairytale, cast Adams in the role of the princess and the film was a huge commercial success and prepared Adams for the success that was to come.

Amy Adams then starred alongside Tom Hanks in Charlie Wilson’s War, Emily Blunt in Sunshine Cleaning as well as making Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, all three of which were well received by audiences. Doubt was released in 2008 and it was this performance that saw Amy Adams nominated for her second Oscar.

Leap Year, Julie & Julia and Night At The Museum 2 followed before Amy Adams put in one of the best performances of her career in The Fighter and was rightly nominated for her third Oscar so far and arguably should have won it but it went to her co-star Melissa Leo. More critical and commercial success followed with Jason Segel’s reboot of The Muppets where she showcased her vocal talents.

With several projects in the pipeline there is no doubt that Amy Adams, one of the most versatile and well respected actresses working today, is set to achieve even more success. This year she will be appearing in the hotly anticipated and long-in-making film On The Road. Trouble With The Curve and The Master follow before what could become the defining and most important role for Adams to date: she is to take on the role of Lois Lane in Zack Snyder’s Superman tale Man of Steel, produced by Christopher Nolan.

Hopefully, Adams will continue to work in films for a long time to come and maybe one day she can win the Oscar that she quite rightly deserves.