Spy. Genius. Hacker. Traitor are just a few of the names associated with former NSA computer specialist Edward Snowden.

At 29 years old, Snowden released NSA and FISA files stolen from their database and caused a global panic.  The judgements against him were harsh at best and even worse for his girlfriend Lindsay Mills.

So unless you have been under a rock, let me break this down for you.  Edward Snowden was a young soldier when a debilitating leg injury forced him into a medical discharge.  Enter the CIA.  Snowden was sought out, trained and eventually placed in Quantico  as a recruit.  Ultimately, not being pleased with the method in which our government was violating rights spelled out in our Constitution to  justify "spying" via  cell phones, computers and virtually anything containing a digital footprint, he blew the whistle setting off one of the biggest scandals in US history regarding a simple thing called privacy.

According to Snowden, who was streamed in live from Moscow a few nights ago, "Privacy is about something to protect...Privacy is the right of self...Privacy is the fountainhead of ALL other rights.  Without privacy you don't have anything for yourself.  Saying you don't care about privacy is like saying you don't care about freedom of speech."

Directed by Oliver Stone, who seems to be attracted to political, historical and controversial subject matter, Snowden is approached from a humanistic point of view.  Often times in these types of situations, we forget that at the end of the day, the accused, the ridiculed and outcast are still human beings with relationships.  It is the adversity of these relationships, as well as, the cost of holding secrets that Stone spells out for the audience through the brilliant performances of Joseph Gordon Levitt and Shailene Woodley.

Levitt really put it all on the line for this one...literally.  He traveled to Moscow to visit and study Ed Snowden and it paid off.  Under the radar and often overlooked, this former television child actor is giving  a performance that is so nuanced that you forget he's acting and believe you are watching the real deal.  As I said many times when speaking about performances, it is the dialogue not spoken that is intriguing and interesting to watch.  Joseph Gordon Levitt is mesmerizing, believable and dead-on.  I thought he was great in "The Walk", but that performance pales in comparison to Snowden.

Seen as the star of "Divergent" film franchise, Shailene Woodley is really pulling it all the way down for Lindsay. Her subtle and passion filled performance is marvelous to behold.  She embraces Lindsay with every fiber of her being  making her empathetic, sympathetic and a free-spirited woman whose strength is beyond measure when it comes to loving and being loved.

The real Ed Snowden even dropped this little kernel about an app called Signal, which uses an advanced end to end encryption protocol that provides privacy for EVERY message EVERY time.  It uses your existing phone number and address book.  There are no separate logins, usernames, passwords or PIN's to manage or lose.

Yes, Ed Snowden broke the law.  Yes, he is a fugitive. Yes, he is ridiculously brilliant and Yes, he believes that one's privacy is a right not a privilege.

My jaw dropped open more times than I care to remember during the course of this film.  Mostly due to major education received by the Ed Snowden portrayed onscreen and the real Snowden streaming live.

Trust me, this one is well worth the price...Snowden opens nationwide TODAY!




IMG_1494 THE WALK review for and

by Carla Renata

Millions of people have traveled to New York City with a dream.  Immigrants have sailed thousands of miles for freedom and an opportunity to taste the American dream.  Actors arrive with dreams of performing on Broadway and future young businessmen and women explore and execute dreams of taking over Wall Street.

However, hardly anyone dreamt of walking a wire between the World Trade Centers Twin Towers. Not until New York City met French acrobat Phillipe Petit.


Inspired by James Marsh's 2008 documentary, Man On Wire (which won the Academy Award and Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival), Writer/Director Robert Zemeckis brings Petit's story to life with exuberance, unbridled tension and humor brilliantly executed with a cast led by Joseph Gordon Levitt.


Petit fulfilled his dream of stringing  a high-tension wire between the Twin Towers and walking across it before the Towers officially opened to the public in 1974.

This film was absolutely fascinating a couple of reasons.  Mostly because the Twin Towers were destroyed on a day that will always be a sorrowful part of American History - 9/11.  Watching a film where you know this building is obviously computer generated from old footage and photographs is surreal to say the least.  Lastly, Joseph Gordon Levitt is giving us an Oscar worthy performance.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has really been turning in some stellar performances in the last few years. between "Don Jon", "Lincoln" and "Inception".  However, his performance as Phillipe Petit in "The Walk" will finally earn him the respect and recognition he deserves.  It is always daunting as an actor to take on the portrayal of a character who is still living, but watching Gordon-Levitt capture the essence, energy and manic enthusiasm of Petit to perfection and more importantly, his wire walk re-creations are astounding and nerve-wrecking, yet exhilarating to witness.

Kudos to Director Robert Zemeckis for bringing  James Marsh's documentary "Man on Wire" to life with an excellent screenplay, cast and excellent use of twin tower footage - for without it this story is impossible to tell.

Petit's story is an excellent example of seeing a dream come to fruition by any means necessary...even at the cost of one's life, friendships and relationships.

James Marsh's documentary, "Man on Wire" gives you massive insight into Phillipe Petit, but Zemeckis and Gordon-Levitt bring his dream, his vision and his story to life.

To watch the final image of a lit up twin towers knowing they no longer exists is immensely emotional.  One can't help but wonder and be grateful that 9/11 didn't occur that fateful day in 1974 when a dreamer walked across the clouds making a lifelong goal come to life.

The Walk is in theaters NOW!