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Little Rock, Arkansas, United States
I completed the 2016 Summer Program in the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. I received a BS Degree in Radio/TV from ASU and a MA Degree in Technical and Expository Writing from UALR. As a Cancer Survivor and a Widow, I hope I can help others through my Blog http://leslieinlittlerock.blogspot.com/ Twitter @leslieinlr and Instagram @leslieinlittlerock accounts.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

2012 Fall/Winter Movie Reviews

Thanks to a generous gift from my coworkers, I received a cute candy bouquet made by my friend Beth along with a $50.00 movie theater gift card for my birthday in October!




Using this gift card, I was able to see the following five movies from October to December 2012: Argo; Flight; Lincoln; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2; and Skyfall.



 ARGO

 

  "Argo" Movie Information



Starring:
  • Ben Affleck as CIA Agent Tony Mendez
  • Victor Garbor as Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor
  • Alan Arkin as Movie Producer Lester Siegel
  • John Goodman as Hollywood make-up artist John Chambers

    Six U.S. Diplomats -
  • Tate Donovan as Bob Anders
  • Clea DuVall as Cora Lijek
  • Scott McNairy as Joe Stafford
  • Kerry Bishe as Kathy Stafford
  • Rory Cochrane as Lee Schatz
  • Christopher Denham as Mark Lijek


Release Date:  Friday, October 12, 2012

Running Time:  120 minutes

Genre:  Drama, History, Thriller

Director: Ben Affleck

Writers: Chris Terrio (screenplay) and Joshua Bearman (article)

Rating:  Rated R for language and some violent images

Brief Description: A dramatization of the 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran.



Argo is my favorite movie from this past year!

I was a senior in high school when 52 Americans were taken hostage on November 4, 1979. They were held hostage for 444 days until they were released on January 20, 1981, while I was a freshman in college. At the time, the public didn't know about this secret mission to rescue the six Americans hiding in the Canadian Embassy. So watching this movie is a way to relive the media coverage of the Iran Hostage Crisis, along with learning about the CIA-Canadian secret operation.

My 15-year-old daughter, Sara, and I saw Argo the first weekend it was released and we both loved it! Ben Affleck is great as CIA Agent Tony Mendez who orchestrates a plot to film a fake movie in Iran using the six Americans hiding in the Canadian Embassy as members of a production crew. The acting is outstanding, the script is very well written and the production is excellent.


Argo was nominated for seven Academy Awards on January 10, 2013, including: Best Picture; Best Supporting Actor, Alan Arkin; Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Film Editing; Best Music (Original Score); Best Sound Editing; and Best Sound Mixing.

On January 13 Argo won the Golden Globe award for Best Picture-Drama and Ben Affleck won for Best Director.

In addition to the Golden Globe wins and Academy Award nominations, Argo has also received another 21 wins and 37 nominations, including the AFI Award for Movie of the Year and awards from several different Film Festivals.

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FLIGHT

 

 

 



Starring:
  • Denzel Washington as airline pilot Whip Whitaker
  • Nadine Velazquez as flight attendant Katerina Marquez
  • Tamera Tunie as flight attendant Margaret Thomason 
  • John Goodman as Harling Mays
  • Bruce Greenwood as Charlie Anderson

Release Date: Friday, November 2, 2012

Running Time: 138 minutes

Genre:  Drama

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: John Gatins

Rating:  Rated R for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity and an intense action sequence

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





Sara and I saw Denzel Washington as a guest star on The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno on October 23, 2012 while we were visiting our friends, the Shea family, in Burbank, California. I was surprised to see that in person Denzel Washington doesn't look very tall. I also think that Sara was more excited to see Richard Engel, who is NBC News's chief foreign correspondent, as a guest that night more than seeing Denzel Washington!

Flight is a very good movie, but the first 30 minutes of the film contains very intense scenes of a plane crash. There is also strong language, drug and alcohol abuse throughout the film along with a very graphic sex scene in the beginning of the film.



Flight was nominated for two Academy Awards on January 10, 2013, including: Best Actor, Denzel Washington and Best Original Screenplay.

In addition to the two Academy Award Nominations, Flight has received another 4 wins and 20 nominations, including Robert Zemeckis selected as Director of the Year by the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

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LINCOLN

 

 "Lincoln" Movie Information



Starring:
  • Daniel Day-Lewis as President Abraham Lincoln
  • Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Lincoln
  • Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens

Release Date: Friday, November 16, 2012

Running Time: 150 minutes

Genre:  Biography, Drama, History

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writers: Tony Kushner (screenplay) and Doris Kearns Goodwin (book) (in part)

Rating:  Rated PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage and brief strong language

Brief Description:  As the Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield and as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.




Sara loved this movie when we saw it together in November. She loves studying History and is a very proud member of her high school's Young Republicans Club. I guess I should be glad that she enjoys watching movies about historical figures as much as she likes watching new episodes of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo".

Lincoln is a very good movie but it is also a very long movie.We saw it on a Friday night at the 7:15 pm showing and the movie did not get out until after 10:00 pm! I recommend seeing this movie when you are very well rested and have an extra 3 hours you can spending watching a movie in a theater. In addition to the the great casting and acting, I was also very impressed by the hair, makeup, and costumes of each character. And I truly believe that Daniel Day-Lewis IS President Lincoln, just like the man who plays Santa Claus in the original "Miracle on 34th Street" IS Santa Claus.


Lincoln was nominated for 12 Academy Awards on January 10, 2013, including: Best Picture; Best Director, Steven Spielberg; Best Actor, Daniel Day-Lewis; Best Supporting Actor, Tommy Lee Jones; Best Supporting Actress, Sally Field; Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Cinematography; Best Costume Design; Best Film Editing; Best Music (Original Score); Best Production Design; and Best Sound Mixing.

On January 13 Daniel Day-Lewis won the Golden Globe award for Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama.

In addition to the 12 Academy Award Nominations and the Golden Globe win, Lincoln has also received another 15 wins and 59 nominations.


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THE TWILIGHT SAGA:
BREAKING DAWN - PART 2

 

 



Starring:
  • Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black
  • Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen
  • Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan 
  • Peter Facinelli as Dr. Carlisle Cullen
  • Elizabeth Reaser as Esme Cullen

Release Date: Friday, November 16, 2012

Running Time: 115 minutes

Genre:  Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

Director: Bill Condon

Writers: Melissa Rosenberg (screenplay) and Stephanie Meyer (Novel)

Rating:  Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity

Brief Description: After the birth of Renesmee, the Cullens gather other vampire clans in order to protect the child from a false allegation that puts the family in front of the Volturi.



My two daughters and I saw the other four Twilight movies at midnight movie premieres. My oldest daughter introduced me to the world of Twilight by reading the first book a couple of years ago and saying she really liked it. I then read all the books and we've seen all the movies. I've always ignored the comments that the movies are cheesy, filled with bad writing and acting and instead I've just enjoyed watching each one. Lauren also visited Forks, Washington, the town where the Twilight series is set, during a trip with her grandmother to visit relatives that live in Seattle, Washington. She brought back a T-Shirt for me that says "Team Jacob" while she is a member of  "Team Edward"!

Even though we weren't supposed to, we all three laughed during the entire movie except for one scene at the end  that is disturbing and might be alarming to some viewers. You might want to Google "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" spoilers if you want to know ahead of time to prepare to watch this scene!

FYI - Taylor Lautner takes his shirt off only one time in this movie.


The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 was nominated for The People's Choice Award for Favorite Movie Fan Following.


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SKYFALL

  



Starring:
  • Daniel Craig as James Bond
  • Judi Dench as M
  • Javier Bardem as Silva 
  • Naomie Harris as Eve

Release Date: Friday, November 9, 2012

Running Time: 143 minutes

Genre:  Action, Adventure, Crime

Director: Sam Mendes (Kate Winslet's ex husband!)

Writing Credits: Neal Purvis (written by); Robert Wade (written by); John Logan (written by); and Ian Fleming (characters) uncredited


Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking

Brief Description: Bond's loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her, bringing MI6 under attack.



Wow! This is an amazing movie. It has great acting and casting, an excellent script, and outstanding production value. My husband was a big James Bond fan and had seen every James Bond movie in the past. His favorite James Bond was portrayed by Roger Moore but he was looking forward seeing Daniel Craig in this movie. So Sara and I saw Skyfall at a matinee feature one afternoon as a tribute to my husband. This movie also contains a wonderful soundtrack including the title song by Adele.



On January 10, Skyfall was nominated for five Academy Awards, including: Best Achievement in Cinematography; Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score; Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song - Skyfall, performed by Adele and written by Adele & Paul Epworth; Best Achievement in Sound Editing; and Best Achievement in Sound Mixing.


The song Skyfall won a Golden Globe Award on January 13 for Original Song, Motion Picture.

In addition, Skyfall also received another 3 wins and 33 nominations.

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  Movies
In addition to the five movies reviewed above, here's a list of the movies I've seen recently going back to December 2011:

  • "Silver Linings Playbook" starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, and Chris Tucker 
  • "The Guilt Trip" starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogan 
  • "Pitch Perfect" starring Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, and Rebel Wilson
  • "The Watch" starring Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, and Jonah Hill
  • "The Amazing Spider-Man" starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone  "
  • "Rock of Ages" starring Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, and Diego Boneta 
  • "Magic Mike" starring Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, and Matt Bomer 
  • "Ted" starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, and Seth MacFarlane 
  • "Katy Perry: Part of Me" starring Katy Perry in one of her concert tours  
  • "Snow White and the Huntsman" starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron 
  • "Dark Shadows" starring Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer 
  • "The Lucky One" starring Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, and Blythe Danner21 
  • "Jump Street" starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill
  • "The Vow" starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum 
  • "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" starring Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, and Paula Patton

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The Biggest Show 2012!


Lauren, Sara and I met Darren Criss at the VIP Reception for "The Biggest Show 2012" in Culver City, California sponsored by the Young Storytellers Foundation on October 20, 2012 and featuring performances by several of the cast members of Glee!

The Glee cast members performing the plays included: Darren Criss (Blaine); Naya Rivera (Santana); Kevin McHale (Artie); Dean Geyer (Brody); Iqbal Theba (Principal Figgans); Dot Marie Jones (Coach Beiste); and Max Adler (Dave Karofsky).

We met all the Glee cast members at the VIP Reception with the exception of Naya, who couldn't attend the reception. Before the event, we also met Glee Co-Creator and Writer Brad Falchuk. In addition, we met actors Jean-Luc Bilodeau, Chelsea Kane & Derek Theler from the TV show "Baby Daddy"; Disney Channel stars Juliette Goglia and Brandon Mychal Smith along with Chad Buchanan.

I plan to write another blog entry detailing our trip to California in October along with a visit to Disneyland and attending The Biggest Show!