Movie Review: Snowden

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Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) fighting for his country in Oliver Stone’s Snowden (Source: IMDb)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is becoming one of the best character actors working today. His portrayal as whistleblower Edward Snowden is pitch-perfect—from his cadence to his posture. Known for casting some familiar faces, Oliver Stone directs a wonderful cast including Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, Melissa Leo, Tom Wilkinson, Rhys Ifans, and Nicolas Cage (welcome back to the mainstream!). Despite the redundant subplots and it can drag at times, Stone plays Snowden safe, but he certainly brings something engaging to the table.

Is Snowden a patriot or a traitor? It’s up to you to decide.

3/4

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Movie Review: The Walk

Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) begins his challenge with one step in Robert Zemeckis' "The Walk"

Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) begins his challenge with one step in Robert Zemeckis’ “The Walk”

After seeing Flight in 2012, I’m glad Robert Zemeckis is back doing live-action films. Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, Cast Away are among some of his biggest achievements. His latest film, The Walk, takes his direction to new heights. He creates an experience like no other: a 3D biopic/drama/thriller about pursuing one’s dreams.

In 1974, Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a popular street performer in Paris. One day, after getting a toothache, he decides to do the impossible. Walking on a tightrope between the World Trade Center. Not only would it be dangerous, but also illegal (given that the Twin Towers have yet to be finished). Under the guidance of Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley) and his girlfriend Annie (Charlotte Le Bon, The Hundred-Foot Journey), he conducts a team of recruits to help him get a tightrope from one tower to the other.

They disguise their way up the building as construction workers, architects, and professional photographers. Once Petit starts his act he’s about to face death every step he takes.

Zemeckis is known for making live-action movies with CGI that is seamless. Forrest Gump is one of his movies that achieved that technique. Especially during the sequences when the feather is blowing in the wind and Forrest talking with the president. In The Walk, his team ambitiously pulls it off. During the breathtaking tightrope sequence, Zemeckis makes the audience feel as if they are in the air as Petit makes his dream a reality.

It does take a while to get used to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s French accent. But, he is able to pull it off with a charisma that is hard to resist. However, why did he have to narrate his story on top of the Statue of Liberty?

Nevertheless, seeing The Walk on DVD will never be the same as seeing it in 3D. Definitely an experience I will never forget!

Now I have to watch the documentary Man on Wire!

3.5/4

My Most Anticipated Movies for 2015

Happy New Year, everybody. I hope you made your resolutions. Last year has been a strong year for movies. There were many great surprises and some great disappointments. I hope 2015 will have movies that will meet and exceed audience’s expectations like last year. With that said, here is my list of the ten most anticipated movies for this year.

Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order): Child 44 (April 17), Crimson Peak (October 16), Far From the Madding Crowd (May 1), The Good Dinosaur (November 25), The Hateful Eight (December 25), In the Heart of the Sea (December 11), Inside Out (June 19), Jupiter Ascending (February 6), The Last Five Years (February 13), Pan (July 24), Paper Towns (June 5), True Story (April 10)

10. Ant-Man (in theaters July 17; directed by Peyton Reed; starring Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Hayley Atwell, and Corey Stoll) – Before seeing footage for this, I haven’t heard a lot about Ant-Man. Paul Rudd is one of the funniest comedians working today. It’s interesting to see him in something unlike his other work. I have a feeling this would be pretty good. The effects reminded me Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

9. The Fantastic Four (in theaters August 7; directed by Josh Trank; starring Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell) – Even though a trailer has yet to be released, it’s about time for a reboot after that awful 2005 version starring Chris Evans and Jessica Alba. Gotta love that cast.

8. The Walk (in theaters October 2; directed by Robert Zemeckis; starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon) – I’m glad Zemeckis returned to live-action in 2012 with Flight. This movie tells the true story of Philippe Petit attempting to cross the World Trade Center on a high wire. I think the movie would look quite something in 3D. With Gordon-Levitt becoming one of my favorite actors, I have high hopes for this.

7. The Untitled Cold War Film (a.k.a. St. James Place) (in theaters October 16; directed by Steven Spielberg; starring Tom Hanks) – Following  American lawyer James Donovan recruited by the CIA to help rescue a pilot from being detained in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Steven Spielberg is my favorite filmmaker, and Tom Hanks is my favorite actor. I smell Oscar bait.

6. Tomorrowland (in theaters May 22; directed by Brad Bird; starring George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, and Britt Robertson) – Given that Brad Bird directed the best film in the Mission: Impossible series – Ghost Protocol – I think the movie looks amazing. Again, the cast is great!

5. Mad Max: Fury Road (in theaters May 15; directed by George Miller; starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, and Rosie Huntington-Whitely) – I haven’t seen any of the Mad Max films. This movie looks absolutely insane and over-the-top fun. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron can do no wrong. The action looks breathtaking!

4. Jurassic World (in theaters June 12; directed by Colin Treverrow; starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Judy Greer, and Vincent D’Onofrio) – Jurassic Park is one of my all-time favorite films. It made me feel like a kid seeing something unlike anything I’ve seen before. This movie looks as tense as the first film was. I cannot wait to see Chris Pratt capture his charm and dinosaurs chasing him while riding his motorcycle.

3. Spectre (in theaters November 7; directed by Sam Mendes; starring Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Lea Seydoux, and Dave Bautista) – I love James Bond. I love the cast. I loved the last film. I CANNOT WAIT!

2. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (in theaters December 18; directed by J.J. Abrams; starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Andy Serkis, and Max von Sydow) – Why am I looking forward to this? Because It’s STAR WARS!!!!!

1. The Avengers: Age of Ultron (directed by Joss Whedon; starring Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, and Scarlett Johansson) – Do I need to explain?? I loved the first Avengers, and I hope this will have the humor, the phenomenal action, and the awesomeness that made the first film a hit. I want May 1st to come quicker!

I hope you enjoyed my picks. Leave comments on what movie you are looking forward to see this year. Stay tuned for my lists of the best and worst movies of 2014 in the middle of January. Take care!