Tag Archives: Owen Teague

To Leslie (2022) Review


To Leslie

Time: 119 Minutes
Andrea Riseborough as Leslie “Lee” Rowlands
Allison Janney as Nancy
Marc Maron as Sweeney
Andre Royo as Royal
Owen Teague as James
Stephen Root as Dutch
James Landry Hebert as Pete
Director: Michael Morris

A single mother turns to alcoholism after using up all the prize money she received after winning the lottery. She soon finds the chance to turn her life around when a motel owner offers her a job.

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Recently there’s been increased attention put onto To Leslie. To give some backstory, in January, lots of A list actors including Cate Blanchett, Gwyneth Paltrow and Edward Norton were lauding Andrea Riseborough’s performance in a smaller movie called To Leslie, even pushing for her to get nominated at the Oscars. Surely enough, the biggest surprise at the most recent Oscars nominations was Riseborough being among the 5 nominated for Best Actress. Regardless, I decided to watch the movie without thinking too much about the awards. I’d say that overall it’s a decent movie, that is helped by great performances.


To Leslie is yet another character study about a struggling addict and there really isn’t anything new about this one. The writing has its issues with some clunky dialogue, cliched conflicts and arguments, and some pacing issues, especially in the first hour. The first half seemed like even more of the white poverty porn which we’ve seen a lot of, and it was a real slog to get through (and not in a good way). However, at the point where Marc Maron’s character is introduced into the plot, it picked up for me. A lot more humanity is on display, and I was more engaged with the story and characters. The ending might be a bit cliché, but it still hits in the way that it was intending to.


This is very much an actor’s movie. To Leslie really served as an acting showcase for Andrea Riseborough and she’s great, really elevating the movie with her work here. She conveys so much and brings a lot of life to her character Leslie. The destructive and struggling alcoholic character has been done many times before, but Riseborough adds a real humanity to this familiar story. So yes, the hype for her performance is deserved. It doesn’t end at Riseborough, there is a good supporting cast too. Marc Maron was a surprise, and gives a nuanced, empathetic and down to earth performance as someone who decides to give Leslie a chance. Allison Janney and Owen Teague make the most of their screentime, and they sell their roles incredibly well.


This is director Michael Morris’s debut film, and it was pretty good. It is well shot and captures the setting well, and there are some good uses of music.


To Leslie is a smaller drama and character study that is familiar and predictable, but solid overall. It’s carried by the great performances, especially from Andrea Riseborough. The movie (and possibly even its lead performance) will likely remain overshadowed by the Oscar nomination controversy. I don’t think it’s a great movie, but for what it’s worth, it might be worth checking out for the acting at least.


Cell (2016) Review



Time: 98 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language and horror
John Cusack as Clayton “Clay” Riddell
Samuel L. Jackson as Thomas “Tom” McCourt
Isabelle Fuhrman as Alice Maxwell
Stacy Keach as Charles Ardai
Wilbur Fitzgerald as Geoff
Alex ter Avest as Chloe
Owen Teague as Jordan
Catherine Dyer as Sally
E. Roger Mitchell as Roscoe
Erin Elizabeth Burns as Denise
Director: Tod Williams

When a strange signal pulsates through all cell phone networks worldwide, it starts a murderous epidemic of epic proportions when users become bloodthirsty creatures, and a group of people in New England are among the survivors to deal with the ensuing chaos after.

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Cell reunites John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson for another Stephen King adaptation after 1408 (a film I still want to check out). Now I already heard that this movie was bad but the film somehow ended up being way worse than I thought it would be. The direction, writing, everything about this movie is so incredibly faulty that it astonishes me. However there are parts of it that were so unintentionally hilarious, so there were at least some enjoyable parts to the film.


Cell has an interesting premise but the film doesn’t execute this premise well. There’s not much to say about the story, it’s not interesting at all. From the beginning of the movie I could tell something was off. The opening credits scene was terrible, random black boxes would appear on the screen with white writing for the credits. It’s one of the worst opening credits scenes I’ve seen. This movie has so many unintentionally hilarious moments, most of it is due to the execution of the scenes. A good example of this is the opening airport scene, which was so laughable. The direction was really bad (which I’ll talk about soon) but also the violence, the zombies, the reactions, everything that was going on was so over the top it was so hard to take it seriously. The film has some of these moments every so often. And then it gets to the point where it’s just boring. Although I liked some performances in the movie I didn’t care about any of the characters because they weren’t really given any characterisation. The ending to this movie is so underwhelming, this film tries to be smart or tries to leave it up to interpretation but it just ends up feeling confusing. Also the scene is directed horribly. The ending was actually changed by Stephen King because some people didn’t like the novel’s ending. That’s another thing to mention, Stephen King co-wrote the script. One last thing to mention, this film uses the Trololo song in one scene, and as some people know, it’s a bit of an internet meme. It was the most hilarious moment in the entire film. Just thought I should mention that.


John Cusack is okay in here but it often seems like he’s phoning it in (no pun intended). He often seemed bored throughout the movie. Samuel L. Jackson had a lot of energy though, and it was entertaining to watch him, he definitely made the movie more watchable. Isabelle Fuhrman is also pretty good here. However as I said earlier, the actors didn’t have much to work with, their characters aren’t interesting and we don’t particularly care for them.


As I mentioned before, the direction of the film overall was terrible. The cinematography must’ve been all handheld, it was hard to tell what was going on, especially in action scenes. However it’s shaky even in simple dialogue scenes. The editing was also bad as well, often cutting and interrupting characters’ actions or dialogue. Whenever the film uses special effects, it was horrid. In the previously mentioned Airport scene, a plane crashes (for some reason) and it looked borderline Asylum film levels of effects. Overall, every action scene was hilariously bad, and unintentionally were some of the highlights of the film.


Cell is an absolutely awful movie, it’s one of the worst movies of 2016. The whole direction of the movie was horrible, the characters aren’t interesting, the story wasn’t riveting at all and it just wasn’t good. What saves this movie from being complete garbage was a couple of performances and certain aspects of this movie that were unintentionally hilarious. Otherwise this film is mostly a boring disaster, it’s a shame, this film had a lot of potential.