Category: SPOILERS

Sundance Review: ‘The East’

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013
Sundance Review: ‘The East’

THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS

Sundance Review: ‘The East’ Is A Divisive, But Stylish Thriller & Worthy Companion Piece To ‘Sound Of My Voice’

The first images in “The East” – the new thriller from Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling, the team who made last year’s underrated cult thriller “Sound Of My Voice” – are grainy footage of intruders breaking into someone’s home juxtaposed with images of seagulls covered in oil. We are told through voiceover that this is the home of a CEO whose company was responsible for dumping millions of gallons of oil into the ocean. Our narrator (Ellen Page) we will learn is one of the members of an anarchist collective called The East, who are determined to enforce a strict eye-for-an-eye philosophy that will make their voices heard. The music pulses, the images are chilling and so we buckle up for a ride.

Outside of Washington D.C. we meet a young woman named Sarah (Marling) who works for a private intelligence organization responsible for tracking down these groups and infiltrating them. She lives with her boyfriend (Jason Ritter) who knows nothing about her line of work and tells her that she wasn’t even this secretive when she worked for the FBI. Sarah is incredibly smart and a little bit cocky, which is why her boss (Patricia Clarkson) selects her from a group of candidates to go undercover and try to infiltrate The East. She tells her boyfriend she’s going overseas and instead begins traveling around the Northeast, ingratiating herself with various street people and gutter punks. After a few weeks of eating out of the garbage, she meets up with Luca (Shiloh Fernandez) who, after helping him through a police attack, leads her to her targets.

She is blindfolded and led into the woods where she comes face to face with The East. After being treated for wounds she incurred during the fight, she is told to put on a straightjacket and join them for dinner. When she arrives she meets Benji (Alexander Skarsgård) who gives her a test: eat first and the others will follow. After struggling for a minute to bring the food to her mouth without the use of her arms, she eventually succeeds, pushing the spoon out of the way. But when the others join in, they do so in concert, passing the food to the next person with the utensils clenched between their teeth. The lesson here, is obvious. The group must work together as one unit. And while Izzy (Page) is skeptical about this new arrival to The East, Benji decides to keep her on.

Once plunged into the group, she’s offered another test but she must agree without knowing exactly what the outcome of her assistance will be. As it turns out, the group are staging a Jam (as they call their operations) to sneak into a party hosted by a drug company whose products are producing extremely harmful side effects. The mission is more than just idealogical, it’s personal as one of the members of their group, Doc (Toby Kebbell), suffers Parkinson’s-like side effects from the drug. The plan is to give them a taste of their own medicine quite literally and by the time Sarah realizes what’s about to take place, she can’t do anything to stop them. The group have two more operations to stage before they disappear, but from here on out it’s best to keep things spoiler-free. Suffice to say the lines of right and wrong start to blur the deeper that Sarah finds herself entangled in the group whose backgrounds may not be as humble as they may seem at first glance.

“The East” is a terrific companion piece for anyone who enjoyed “Sound Of My Voice.” It isn’t difficult to draw parallels between the two films with recurring motifs like cults, initiation rituals, blindfolds, sign language and more all brimming to the surface. At nearly two hours, the film is just slightly overlong and can be deeply silly at times, but nonetheless thoroughly entertaining. Some of the dialogue feels a bit on the nose while the self-seriousness makes some of the more melodramatic turns seem ridiculous. You can’t help but smile at exchanges like, ‘This is MY Jam” and “No, it’s OUR Jam” when it’s delivered with such conviction. Sharp viewers may put together where things are heading early but even though the last act fumbles things just a bit with perhaps one twist too many, it brings it back together for a thematically satisfying conclusion.

Despite my issues with the film, it’s stylish and sincere and comes from a personal place. Apparently Marling and Batmanglij spent a summer traveling around in a similar fashion to see if they could live for a few months without spending money. Though it functions as a thriller, the film still raises issues worth considering (even if they are surface level concerns). Though the script (by Batmanglij and Marling) could’ve used another polish, as a filmmaker, Batmanglij is still at the head of the class of up-and-coming directors. It’s great seeing him able to paint on a larger canvas here and provide Marling an opportunity to turn in another beguiling performance. “The East” is definitely a movie that’s going to divide people but it’ll be a conversation worth having. [B-]

‘Leverage’: Aldis Hodge on Hardison and Eliot, a tough con, and People’s Choice

Monday, Dec 3, 2012
‘Leverage’: Aldis Hodge on Hardison and Eliot, a tough con, and People’s Choice

 This episode has spoilers!

December 1, 2012

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With the remaining “Leverage” season 5 episodes now airing, we talked to Aldis Hodge on Friday, Nov. 30. In the first part of the interview, check out what he had to say about a scene from last week’s “The Low Low Price Job,” what’s coming up in “The White Rabbit Job,” and “Leverage’s” People’s Choice nomination for Favorite Cable TV Drama.

Leverage Examiner: We’re used to laughing during scenes with Hardison and Eliot (Christian Kane), but in the last episode that aired, it was the complete opposite with Eliot speaking about his father. Was it different filming that?

Aldis Hodge: “It wasn’t really different. Me and Kane, we’ve been tag teaming for so many years now that we kind of get each other, and when it comes to different elements of scenes for those two characters, we’re kind of hungry, so we were excited when it came to that scene. But, we’ve been trying to touch on that this entire season, to make Hardison and Eliot a bit more profound in their respect for one another. We want to pronounce that a little bit more to the audience, let people know that these guys really are brothers in arms. It’s no more of that childish, kiddy stuff, picking at each other all day; we actually like each other now. So to have a touching moment for them, they kind of earned it to this point, and as actors, Kane and I, we appreciated that. We just—we were going for it. It’s similar to that scene up in “The Rundown Job” where Eliot is telling Hardison that, you know, he’s the smartest guy he’s ever known, we gotta go get these guys, yadda yadda. This whole season, they’ve really just been building on their respect for one another, so that’s kind of been the plan for us. That’s kind of all just right perfectly in our game plan, for me and Kane. So it was absolutely what we wanted.”

This Tuesday’s episode is “The White Rabbit Job,” which was one of my favorite episodes because it shows how this team can do pretty much anything. Was your reaction similar to Hardison’s when you learned that the plan was to steal a man’s dreams?

“Well, me at first, I just thought I don’t know how we’re going to do this. But it was pretty cool, and I still have yet to see the episode in full, so I’m excited to see it, but I was really wondering how we were going to pull this off …but we have a good team and I always feel like we’re in good hands with them, so when it came down to actually shooting it, I was like, ‘Alright, this makes sense, I get it now.’ And once again Hardison is awesome, so, hey, I’m happy.”

Hardison seems to be able to do pretty much anything. Is there anything he can’t do or hack in some way?

“The thing about it is, what Hardison has done with the hacks and all that kind of stuff, our writers and our producers research to make sure this stuff can actually be done or has been done and pretty much whatever he does is possible, maybe not in the same time frame, because we only have 42 minutes, 45 minutes, but most of the hacking that goes on with Hardison is plausible, so I think that the man just knows his business and he knows what he does well and he just gets in there and he does it.”

I know everyone’s really rooting for the People’s Choice, everyone’s voting like crazy…

“That would be awesome. That would be amazing. The fact that we’re even nominated is amazing because I mean, there’s God knows how many shows out there. I think there’s a ton of shows out there, a few of them are entertaining. I think there’s a small handful of good dramas, especially on cable. Cable usually brings out of most of the good dramas. I think cable commands most of the good dramas…because they are able to take so many more chances and risks a lot more, so the fact that we’re up there nominated for a People’s Choice, that’s amazing because it shows the true passion that our fan base has for us because, like I said, there are so many options and we’re one of the top five. I don’t even care about winning. The fact that we were nominated is the win for me because it really shows how deeply dedicated our fans are and it couldn’t come at a better time because, you know, shoot it’s the holidays. That’s my Christmas present right there.”

“Leverage” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on TNT. Stay tuned for more from our interview with Aldis Hodge over the next few weeks as season 5 continues.

Source: Examiner

Gallery Update – Episode Stills from 5×13

Friday, Nov 30, 2012
Gallery Update – Episode Stills from 5×13

Click the album below:

Leverage > Season Five > 5-13 The Corkscrew Job > 5-13 Episode Stills

Leverage season 5 winter return preview: The thieves are back

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012
Leverage season 5 winter return preview: The thieves are back

This article contains SPOILERS!

November 26, 2012

By:

If TNT were to put “Leverage” on trial to see if the show deserves a sixth season (and assuming they couldn’t just steal it), the remaining season 5 episodes, beginning with “The Low Low Price Job,” airing Tuesday, Nov. 27, could easily be used the drama’s case.

We’ve already seen four of the five “Leverage” episodes coming up, and you can expect more of what the series is all about: a group of thieves who have become like a family running cons and taking down marks. The first episode up will see the team taking on a mega-store, and just because they’ve taken down bigger marks—such as overthrowing a foreign government—and had some pretty big jobs—such as stopping a terrorist attack—doesn’t mean this is going to be easy for them. There are numerous obstacles, of course, and it is an entertaining episode. While it may not be our favorite of the remaining episodes, it is quite good and one you won’t want to miss.

The last new episode aired back in September, and the final two episodes before the midseason break showed the team working two separate jobs—the “kids” in “The Rundown Job” and the “parents” in “The Frame-Up Job”—but they get right back into the swing of things with the team once again working together on these upcoming jobs. From stealing things that seem impossible to running the hardest con, The White Rabbit, “Leverage” is stepping up the game as it finishes out its fifth season. It has yet to be renewed for a sixth season, but it is putting a strong case forward. Nate (Timothy Hutton) continues to mastermind brilliant schemes, Sophie (Gina Bellman) continues to grift and use her theater group, Eliot (Christian Kane) continues to hit and show a softer side, Hardison (Aldis Hodge) continues to show off what he can do with a computer, and Parker (Beth Riesgraf) continues to do what she does best (and that includes loving money). This team of thieves has stolen our hearts; now let’s just hope they can steal another season of cons.

And finally, here are six teasers about what to expect from “The Low Low Price Job”:

  1. We do get to learn more about Eliot. He’s more than just the hitter everyone knows and loves.
  2. Hardison has a trick up his sleeve that makes us feel a bit for anyone who may have ever annoyed him.
  3. While Eliot and Hardison often provide the humorous parts of the episode if they’re working together, one of the least light-hearted moments comes in a conversation between those two.
  4. Sophie doesn’t have it easy when it comes to a role for the con.
  5. At one point, we couldn’t help thinking “really not subtle.” You probably will too.
  6. The mark isn’t going to be making things easy for the team whatsoever as they try to take down the mega-store.

“Leverage” season 5 continues Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on TNT. Will you be tuning in? And don’t forget to vote for the show for People’s Choice Favorite Cable TV Drama.

 

Source: Examiner

SPOILER – Sneak Peak Vids for Leverage 5×11 The Low Low Price Store

Friday, Nov 23, 2012
SPOILER – Sneak Peak Vids for Leverage 5×11 The Low Low Price Store