The Cold War Relived Through Bridge of Spies


Lisa Marie is not the only history nerd in this here place. I don’t think it was a coincidence that TSL’s co-founders ended up being both history nerds. We both love films the depict historical events. Some of them turn out to be great while some end up on the trash heap.

One filmmaker who has made a career late in his life of making historical films is Steven Spielberg. The same one who gave us great blockbusters in the scifi, thriller and fantasy genres has also given us some excellent historical films such as Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, Munich and Lincoln.

We have the first trailer for Spielberg’s latest film which is based on the real-life events surrounding the 1960 U-2 spy plane incident where American pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down while on a mission over the Soviet Union and was subsequently swapped back into US custody for a Soviet spy that the Americans were holding.

Bridge of Spies showcases the events which led to that swap and how contentious the negotiations had been before it finally came about. Everyone knows the Cuban Missile Crisis put the world very close to nuclear annihilation, but what many don’t know is how the Gary Powers Incident also pushed the two nuclear powers very close to the brink.

Bridge of Spies is set for an OCt. 16, 2015 release date…just in time for the start of Lisa Marie’s favorite film season: Awards Season.

Jurassic World Adds To The Summer Action


Was there ever a need for a fourth film in the Jurassic Park franchise? For years many have tried to answer that and projects to get it up and running stalled for need of a director willing to sign on to a franchise that has been passed up by the superhero action tsunami that has hit pop culture.

It is now 2015 and we’re just months away from finally seeing the fruits of over a decade’s worth of labor to bring a fourth Jurassic Park film to the big screen. While it may still have Steven Spielberg attached as executive producer there’s no Joe Johnston anywhere near this fourth film. We have Carl Trevorrow taking the director’s chair with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard taking on the lead roles.

Jurassic World is set to open it’s doors to the world on June 12, 2015 (took them long enough).

Lisa’s Way Too Early Oscar Predictions For February


Well, tonight’s the night!  Soon, we will know which 2014 films have won Oscars.

And, as soon as the ceremony ends, it will be time to start speculating about which 2015 films will be nominated next year!  I am sharing and updating my predictions on a monthly basis and below you’ll find my latest predictions.  You can read my predictions for January by clicking here.

Some of these films and performers — like End of the Tour and Grandma — were acclaimed at Sundance.  (The recently concluded Berlin Film Festival, on the other hand, mostly just served to confirm that Knight of Cups and Queen of the Desert will probably not be contenders.)  Kristen Stewart recently won a Cesar Award for Clouds of Sils Maria.  Otherwise, the majority of predictions below are the results of my own wild guesses.

A year from now, we’ll probably look back at these predictions and laugh.

Best Picture

Black Mass


The End of the Tour


The Hateful Eight

In The Heart of the Sea

The Revenant

St. James Place

The Walk

Woman in Gold

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston in Trumbo

Matt Damon in The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant

Michael Fassebender in Steve Jobs

Jason Segel in The End of the Tour

Best Actress

Blythe Danner in I’ll See You In My Dreams

Jennifer Lawrence in Joy

Helen Mirren in Woman in Gold

Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn

Lily Tomlin in Grandma

Best Supporting Actor

Jim Broadbent in Brooklyn

Albert Brooks in Concussion

Paul Dano in Love and Mercy

Tom Hardy in The Revenant

Kurt Russell in The Hateful Eight

Best Supporting Actress

Julia Garner in Grandma

Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight

Kristin Scott Thomas in Suite Francaise

Kristen Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria

Meryl Steeep in Suffragette

Best Director

John Crowley for Brooklyn

Ron Howard for In The Heart of the Sea

James Ponsoldt for The End of the Tour

Steven Spielberg for St. James Place

Robert Zemeckis for The Walk

Clouds of Sils Maria

Trailer: American Sniper (2nd Official)

American Sniper

Talking to empty chairs aside, Clint Eastwood still goes down as one of the greatest living American filmmakers. This doesn’t dismiss the current slump he has been in the past couple years (Jersey Boys, Hereafter, J. Edgar just to name a few). This 2014 holiday season he’s set to release his latest film: American Sniper.

The film is an adaptation of the best-selling autobiography of the same name by former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. Steven Spielberg was initially attached to direct the film, but bowed soon after. In comes Clint Eastwood to take up the director’s chair with Bradley Cooper starring as Chris Kyle (also producer on the film).

The film has already made it’s premiere at the AFI Fest with a limited release on Christmas Day 2014.

American Sniper will  have a general release date of January 16, 2015.

Let’s Second Guess The Academy: Best Picture 1993

Dazed and ConfusedOccasionally, I like to do a little thing that I call “Let’s second guess the Academy.”  This is when we look at the films that have won Academy Awards in the past and we ask ourselves, “Should that film have won?”

For this latest edition of Let’s Second Guess the Academy, let’s take a look at 1993.  The 1993 Academy Awards were dominated by Schindler’s List.  Steven Spielberg’s powerful Holocaust drama won both best picture and best director.   It remains the film by which all other Holocaust dramas are judged.

But did Schindler’s List deserve to win?  Or would you have preferred to see one of the other four nominees win the title of Best Picture of 1993?  Let us know by voting below!

Now, here comes the fun part.  Let’s say that Spielberg never got around to directing Schindler’s List.  And maybe The Piano never played in the states and The Fugitive bombed at the box office.  Let’s say that none of the five best picture nominees had been eligible to be nominated in 1993.  Which five films would you have nominated in their place?

Below, you can vote for up to five alternative nominees.


Scenes I Love: Jaws


“You know the thing about a shark, he’s got…lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eye. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be livin’. Until he bites ya and those black eyes roll over white.” — Quint

People have blamed Spielberg and his breakout film, Jaws, as the cause of the blockbuster mentality that studios have had since this film came out. Studios and producers wanted to recreate the ultra-successful box-office numbers of Jaws. Despite the fact that this film was modestly budgeted people nowadays who think they’re experts in film point to it as the culprit. They’ve called it the film that begun the dumbing down of Hollywood when creativity was sacrificed for profit.

Why did I pick a scene from this film as a favorite? I picked this particular scene because it’s one reason why the film succeeded and made people come back again and again. It’s a scene that perfectly captures one reason why we love see films in a communal setting. We want to share the same experience and emotions this scene brought up from the pit of each audience’s psyche.

Jaws didn’t ruin the creativity in filmmaking. I like to think that this one film was a filmmaker at his most creativie (shark wouldn’t work properly so Spielberg kept it off-screen which just added to the terror and tension in the film). This very scene goes down as one of the greatest film monologues. It sets up the danger the trio faces with some anecdotal evidence from the very person who survived the experience, but who might have become unhinged because of it. I love the look of frozen terror on the face of Richard Dryefuss’ character as he listens to Robert Shaw tell the story of the ill-fated journey of the U.S.S. Indianapolis.

This latest “Scenes I Love” is why I consider Spielberg one of the best filmmaker of his generation and probably beyond that.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #72: The 85th Annual Academy Awards

Last night, I had a little party.  Me, my boyfriend, my sister, my best friend, and my 7,000 followers on twitter got together to watch the 85th Annual Academy Awards.


Why Were We Watching It?

If you love movies then the Oscars are like the Super Bowl.  Seriously, how could I not watch it?

What Was It About?

It was about the best of times and the worst of times.  It was about self-promotion, self-congratulation, and Michelle Obama.  It was about whether or not Seth McFarlane would self-destruct.  It was about rooting for the underdog and checking out who was wearing what.  It was the Oscars and, for 210 minutes, the nation sat entranced.

What Worked?

Brave won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film!  Seriously, that one award pretty much made the entire night for me.  Actually, there were a lot of good winners last night: Ang Lee for Best Director, Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor, Paperman for Best Animated Short Film, and Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress.  I was especially happy to see both Lawrence and Anne Hathaway win because, for whatever reason, these two actresses have recently had to deal with some of the most petty criticism that I’ve ever seen.

I also appreciated the fact that Quentin Tarantino, upon winning Best Original Screenplay, managed to spend his entire speech basically patting himself on the back while pretending to thank his cast.  It may not be remembered as the most classy speech in the history of the Oscars but it definitely served to remind us of why we love Quentin.

As host, Seth McFarlane was such a mixed bag that I’ve included him under both things that worked and things that didn’t work.  McFarlane started out surprisingly strong.  Unlike a lot of female critics, I wasn’t offended by The Boob Song and I thought it was actually a pretty clever parody of McFarlane’s public image.  (The joke was clearly meant to be on McFarlane and not the actresses mentioned in the song.)  Unfortunately, as the show went on, McFarlane occasionally seemed to be determined to live up to that parody.

Oddly enough, I really enjoyed Lincoln when I saw it but yet I still found myself happy to see it lose in so many categories.  I think it’s probably because Lincoln was so aggressively hyped and so many self-important Oscar pundits (like Sasha Stone) declared that Lincoln was the best film of the year before they had even seen it.  It was hard not to resent the condescending tone that was taken by many of Lincoln‘s online supporters.  Plus, it’s always fun to root for the underdog.  It’s hard not to suspect that if Ben Affleck had actually been nominated for Best Director then Steven Spielberg and his film might have actually won big last night.  But by snubbing Affleck, the Academy cast Steven Spielberg and Lincoln in the role of Goliath.

On one final petty note, I was happy to see Jennifer Lawrence win because I know her victory probably annoyed the editors of Awards Daily.

What Did Not Work?

I could have done without Michelle Obama showing up to present Best Picture. Yes, I know that Hollywood loves the Obamas but seriously, it felt rather Orwellian to have the First Lady suddenly pop up on TV and tell us why movies are so important.  The fact that she appeared with a few random soldiers behind her just added to the creepy vibe.

The much hyped Bond tribute turned out to be a bit of a bust, didn’t it?

The audience, which never seemed to be that excited about the prospect of Seth McFarlane in the first place, seemed to turn more and more against him as the show progressed.  As a result, once the Oscars hit the 120 minute mark, Seth started to come across as being a bit desperate to get a reaction — any reaction — from the audience.

Daniel Day-Lewis gave a good acceptance speech and all but surely I’m not the only viewer who was curious to hear what Joaquin Phoenix would have said if he had won.

In the end, the show just felt a little bit too bland for my tastes.  Unlike last year, there was nothing truly unexpected.  There were no hints of eccentricity.  No one showed up wearing anything awful.  Nobody made a fool of themselves while accepting their Oscar.  In short, the show was just forgettable.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

When Jennifer Lawrence fell on the way to accept her award, that was definitely an “Oh my God!  Just like me!” moment.  Seriously, I loved her dress but, from the minute I saw it, I knew she was going to have a hard time getting up to the podium.

Lessons Learned

Award shows are a lot more fun when things go wrong.