December 05, 2016

Tag Archives: Ben Affleck

“The Accountant” seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster

As I wrote about earlier this week, Ben Affleck is a pretty huge star in Hollywood, and rightly so. He can often command the screen, and later this week he has another star vehicle to showcase just that. It’s The Accountant, a slightly high concept shoot em up that has Affleck both in hero mode as well as serious actor mode. It’s an odd mix, one that sort of works, but also sort of doesn’t. It’s worth seeing if you like silly action flicks, though it can be a bit frustrating because of the effective drama put on display as well. Through it all though, Affleck shines.
The film is an action thriller centering on Christian Wolff (Affleck), a seemingly mild mannered accountant. Christian suffers from autism, though he’s high functioning and has a much different skill set from others on the spectrum. You see, his father also trained him to be a brutally efficient killer. So, while he has a front at a storefront CPA office, he also un-cooks the books for all sorts of unsavory and dangerous individuals. A legit job puts him into contact with Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), who provides a human interaction, but also raises the danger level when she’s targeted for assassination. Soon, he has her on the run while he tries to figure out why killers are after them, led by an odd one in Brax (Jon Bernthal). Through it all, the government, fronted by Treasury agent Ray King (J.K. Simmons) is closing in. It all gets ridiculous in the end, but it does mostly satisfy. Gavin O’Connor directs a script from Bill Dubuque. Also on hand in the cast are the likes of Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Jason Davis, Seth Lee, John Lithgow, Jean Smart, Robert C. Treveiler, Andy Umberger, and more. Seamus McGarvey lenses, while Mark Isham provides the score. There’s a surprising bit of talent on display here, even if not everyone is fully utilized.
Having seen it last night, I can report that this is a fun, if very silly, action flick. Affleck especially grounds this in a form of reality, at least in terms of his character’s condition. The plot machinations are dumb and often nonsensical, so there’s no realism there, but the lead does his part. O’Connor is a hit or miss filmmaker, and this showcases his best and worst tendencies. The movie never seemed like an awards player or anything […]

Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood’s biggest and most diverse superstar

As big a star as Ben Affleck is, I’m sure he gets the credit that he deserves. Not only is he an A-list Hollywood talent, he’s an acclaimed and award winning filmmaker. Affleck is part of superhero blockbusters, prestige fare, and everything in between. Throw in his charity work and you have a dynamic star. For a while, he was seen as a bit of a punching bag, but another Oscar and some very solid choices later, that decidedly is no longer the case. He’s rightfully taken his place as one of the industry’s biggest names. I just don’t think he’s always seen in that light, which is a shame.
Affleck is a two time Academy Award winner, taking home an Oscar early in his career for co-writing Good Will Hunting with Matt Damon, then winning one a few years ago for producing his latest directional outing Argo. Having the statues for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture certainly will go a long way towards making you a behind the scenes juggernaut. His directing is unimpeachable so far, with Argo joining the likes of the also award cited Gone Baby Gone and The Town. Later on this year, he’ll try to make it four for four when Live By Night hits theaters.
As of this year as well, he’s now also an even bigger blockbuster talent. He’d anchored big movies before, including the hybrid prestige fare that was Gone Girl, along with a number of huge flicks in years past, but this was different. He put on the cape and cowl to become the latest actor to play Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He also cameoed as the Caped Crusader in Suicide Squad, continuing to set up for his next turn in the mega blockbuster Justice League. After that, he’ll bring together his filmmaking and acting skills to write, direct, and star in his own solo Batman film. Affleck now will have a large say in one of the biggest pop culture characters in history.

Here is how I would would rank Affleck’s best performances to date:
1. Chasing Amy
2. The Town
3. Good Will Hunting
4. Gone Girl
5. Argo
6. Hollywoodland
7. Boiler Room
8. Shakespeare in Love
9. The Company Men
10. Jersey Girl
Honorable Mention: Bounce, Dazed and Confused, Dogma, Man About Town, and State of Play

Once again, here also is how I’d rank Affleck’s directorial efforts so far:
1. Argo
2. The Town
3. Gone Baby Gone
Going […]

Ben Affleck’s “Live By Night” officially is a 2016 contender

After what started as speculation, we can now confirm that Ben Affleck’s next film behind the camera, the gangster tale Live By Night, is officially hitting this year. Yes, that early 2017 release date is just a wide release marker. Before that, it now will be starting off with an Oscar qualifying run in New York and Los Angeles on December 25th. That’s right, Christmas Day just got even more crowded. Affleck could be crashing the party with this player. Honestly, it’s not smart to bet against him. There’s no telling how good this movie will be, but the possibilities are endless. At the very least, we now know it’s really going for the gold here in 2016. Affleck behind the camera has never been shut out, so it could be just to what degree this becomes a player.
This film is an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel of the same name, the second time that Affleck has gone to Lehane for inspiration. It is set during the era of Prohibition and follows Joe (Affleck), the son of a cop who begins rising through the ranks of organized crime. Things will take place in Miami, Cuba, and elsewhere, as this is a generational and large scale tale. It seems incredibly ambitious too, with Affleck writing, directing, and starring. He’s got an interesting cast here too, including Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Scott Eastwood, Chris Messina, Chris Cooper, Titus Welliver, Anthony Michael Hall, Chris Sullivan, and more. Big time DP Robert Richardson is the cinematographer, while William Goldenberg edits and Harry Gregson-Williams handles the score. All the ingredients are here for something special with Live By Night.
Between the Trailer that hit last month or so and this news, it’s clear that Live By Night is a prestige picture. It hits on the gangster genre that voters love, plus we all know that Affleck isn’t hated by the Academy. Factor in how Oscar sort of owes him a Best Director citation, and you have to consider this something with a chance be a juggernaut. I’ll specifically speak to awards in a moment, but just in terms of quality, Warner Brothers has to be feeling confident in the final product, judging by this date. It worked for American Sniper a few years back, so there’s no reason why it couldn’t work for this as well.
Awards wise, it’s pretty much a […]

Ben Affleck’s “Live by Night” gets a real stylish Trailer

Late last week, we got our first true glimpse of Ben Affleck’s latest directorial outing. As a fan of all three films Affleck has made as a director, Live by Night had already been on my radar, but this was a nice reminder that it’s not far out now. Scheduled for a January release date, rumors have gone back and forth about whether or not Warner Bothers is going to give it an Oscar qualifying run in December. Regardless, I’m greatly looking forward to it and this first Trailer did nothing to change that. You’ll obviously get a look at it at the end of this piece, but first…let’s discuss a bit!
For those wondering, the film is an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel of the same name, representing the second time that Affleck has gone to Lehane for inspiration. It is set during the era of Prohibition and follows Joe Coughlin (Affleck), the son of a cop who begins rising through the ranks of organized crime. Things will take place in Miami, Cuba, and elsewhere, as this is a generational and large scale tale. It seems incredibly ambitious too, judging from what’s been seen so far, with Affleck writing, directing, and starring. He’s got an interesting cast here too, including Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Scott Eastwood, Chris Messina, Chris Cooper, Titus Welliver, Anthony Michael Hall, Max Casella, and more. Big time DP Robert Richardson is the cinematographer here, while William Goldenberg edits and Harry Gregson-Williams handles the score. All the ingredients are here for something pretty special.
From the looks of it, this gangster tale could be something in the model of the classic tales of yore, just with Affleck’s distinctive spin. As a filmmaker, he has a knack for making old fashioned movies that still feel modern, so this is a definite compliment. It’s possible that this is just straight genre work, and if it doesn’t get an Oscar qualifying run this year, that might be the case, but if not, the flick has definite awards potential. Frankly, it’s subject matter that the Academy has flocked to time and time again, so it would be foolish to count this one out. Even if it doesn’t hit late in 2016, it could be a 2017 contender instead.
Awards wise, it’s a crapshoot for Live by Night right now, due to its up in the air release, but […]

A Teaser Trailer for “Justice League” suggests a really fun blockbuster

A few days ago, Warner Brothers chose to set the tone for their upcoming mega blockbuster Justice League while at Comic-Con. They opted to drop a Teaser Trailer of sorts, more or less setting up the premise for the sequel/follow up to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Obviously, many weren’t pleased with that one earlier this year, so it was imperative for the powers that be to deliver. Going by this Teaser, they certainly seemed to have, as this doesn’t appear overtly grim, but rather kind of fun and more like a comic book. We’re still a year plus away, but it appears like something to now really look forward to.
For those unaware, though I’m not sure how you could be, this is the next outing in the DC superhero universe. In the aftermath of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) sets out to find more metahumans in order to combat a looming alien threat. Having seen the sacrifice that Superman (Henry Cavill) was willing to make, Bruce/Batman teams with Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) to scour the planet for likeminded potential heroes. He finds them in Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller), Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher). Together, they will become a league justice, as it were. Zack Snyder returns to direct, with Chris Terrio penning the screenplay. Supporting players here will include Amy Adams, Willem Dafoe, Amber Heard, Jeremy Irons, and J.K. Simmons, as well as possibly the likes of Jesse Eisenberg and Jared Leto.
This looks like a lot of fun, frankly. I didn’t dislike Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it was definitely far too serious for its own good, especially in how darkly brooding it was. This seems to be more appropriate as a mass appeal comic book tale. Maybe it’s just designed that way in the Teaser, but this should give those who hated the last one room and reason for optimism. There’s also the appearance of both fun Affleck, which is always a plus, and Miller as a scene stealer. Getting to laugh during this one might be a really nice change of pace.

Taking this Teaser into account along with the one for Wonder Woman I posted yesterday, and it appears as though DC and WB have definitely hit on a better tone. Mix that with Suicide Squad (which seems to be combining the light […]

Hollywood Contenders: Looking at potential Best Actor contenders

Folks, as you all know so well from last year as well as my articles again so far this year, it’s one thing to read early Academy Award predictions at this point in the year in order to see what folks like myself think will happen six or so months from now, but it’s another thing entirely to actually know something about what will be in contention. To help out in that regard, I’m once again running down some of the major contenders in each Oscar category in order to prep you all for the season to come. Basically, the format will have me saying a few words about what/who I feel are the top tier contenders right now in said categories, along with a longer list afterwards of many of the other hopefuls that the Academy might take a shine to. Consider this a sort of before the awards season cheat sheet to have in your back pocket. It’s old hat to you by now, I’m sure, but hey…
Today I’m continuing with another of the bigger ones that’s out there for us…the Best Actor category.
Here are the ten particular gentlemen that I have in play for Best Actor, with the top five cracking the lineup at this point:
1. Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) – I might be out on a limb here with Affleck in Kenneth Lonergan’s drama, but Manchester by the Sea was so highly praised at the Sundance Film Festival, I just think he’ll be in major contention. He’s an underrated actor with a nomination already under his belt, so it could very well set up nicely for him to really contend for the win. At least at this moment, Affleck is ever so slightly in the pole position for me.
2. Ryan Gosling (La La Land or The Nice Guys) – Considering how I have La La Land as the big winner so far, Gosling is a strong number two, with designs on the top spot. The Trailer just hit today (I’ll write something up on it soon) for Damien Chazelle’s latest, and it’s stunning stuff. I have no doubt that Gosling will be in contention, so if this is as big a player as I think it is, he’s almost assured of being high up here. If he gets in, he definitely could win.
3. Michael Keaton (The Founder) – Early on, many had Keaton as […]

Hollywood Contenders: Looking at potential Best Director contenders

As you fine folks all know from last year as well as my return article late last week, it’s one thing to read early Academy Award predictions at this point in the year in order to see what folks like myself think will happen six or so months from now, but it’s another thing entirely to actually know something about what will be in contention. To help out in that regard, I’m once again running down some of the major contenders in each Oscar category in order to prep you all for the season to come. Basically, the format will have me saying a few words about what/who I feel are the top tier contenders right now in said categories, along with a longer list afterwards of many of the other hopefuls that the Academy might take a shine to. Consider this a sort of before the awards season cheat sheet to have in your back pocket.
Today I’m continuing with what’s almost undeniably the second biggest one that’s out there…the Best Director category.
Here are the ten filmmakers that I have in play for Best Director, with the top five cracking the lineup at this point:
1. Damien Chazelle (La La Land) – Continuing on with my hunch that this might be a huge Oscar juggernaut, it makes sense to have Chazzelle this high up. He nearly scored a nomination here for Whiplash, so he’s potentially ready to take the next step. If the movie is a thing in Picture, I fully expect him to be a big threat in Director. It just makes too much sense not to consider him a frontrunner.
2. Martin Scorsese (Silence) – Would anyone argue with Scorsese potentially winning a second Academy Award? I didn’t think so, and with this long brewing passion project of his, he has perhaps a more appropriate vehicle for a victory than some of his more commercial outings. He’s a legend regardless, so if this is good, expect him to be a large part of the conversation.
3. Ang Lee (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk) – On the flip side, it would certainly be something if Lee won a third time. I have to believe that if he does win again, it’ll be with his film actually not being the runner up in Picture, though I suppose anything is possible. This high profile adaptation of the novel of the same name is a […]

Ben Affleck’s new directorial project “Live by Night” might be jumping into 2016

Well, it’s just speculation right now, but this is potentially some very exciting news. Word trickled down over the weekend that Warner Brothers has moved the release date of Ben Affleck’s next project behind the camera, the crime epic Live by Night. Originally, we were scheduled to get it in October of this year, before it was delayed a year to October of 2017, partly to accommodate Affleck becoming Batman. Now, we’ve gotten notice that the WB has it opening in early January of 2017, which is right where American Sniper hit a few years back. As such, it’s almost a foregone conclusion now that it’ll get a qualifying run in December and be a part of the 2016 awards season. Make room folks, as a huge new contender could be joining the early stages of the race, potentially as the last player we’ll get this year.
This film is an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel of the same name, the second time that Affleck has gone to Lehane for inspiration. It is set during the era of Prohibition and follows Joe (Affleck), the son of a cop who begins rising through the ranks of organized crime. Things will take place in Miami, Cuba, and elsewhere, as this is a generational and large scale tale. It seems incredibly ambitious too, with Affleck writing, directing, and starring. He’s got an interesting cast here too, including Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Scott Eastwood, Chris Messina, Chris Cooper, Titus Welliver, Anthony Michael Hall, and more. Big time DP Robert Richardson is the cinematographer, while William Goldenberg edits and Harry Gregson-Williams handles the score. All the ingredients are here for something special.

Assuming it does hit in 2016, this movie does appear to be a big deal. First off, Affleck has gotten better and better with each outing, and his debut was something special to begin with. Gone Baby Gone was great, The Town was a step up in every way, and Argo deservedly won the Oscar for Best Picture. Live by Night could be a huge juggernaut, if the trend continues. My guess is that it likely won’t be quite that amazing, but the potential is there. At the very least, it sounds like something that Affleck knows how to do well and it should play well to Academy members. I’m certainly very excited for it, if nothing else.
Awards wise, it’s […]

“Suicide Squad” shows off another impressive Trailer

2016 is shaping up to be a very interesting year for the comic book/superhero genre. On the one hand, we’ve already seen Deadpool set some box office records and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice open to a ton of discussion and mixed reception, with Captain America: Civil War headed our way next month on the back of some early rave reviews. For many though, the one to be most intrigued by and anticipate is Suicide Squad, a villain centric spinoff from what DC and Warner Brothers is doing with their Cinematic Universe. The first few Trailers have been great, and just this week another new one came down the pike, showing off some very fun looks at the film. You can see that Trailer below, of course, but first…let’s discuss!
Again, for those who have never heard of Suicide Squad, it’s of course a comic book adaptation, surrounding a government agency that recruits currently imprisoned supervillains to participate in black ops missions in exchange for clemency on their sentences. David Ayer writes and directs, while the cast includes Jared Leto as Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, Adam Beach as Slipknot, Karen Fukuhara as Katana, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, along with Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, plus Common, Scott Eastwood, and David Harbour in other roles, as well as cameos from Ben Affleck as Batman and potentially Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, with others possibly showing up too. It takes place in the same universe that DC/WB is creating to lead up to a Justice League film, highlighted by the recent Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, as well as Affleck’s stand alone Batman movie. It’s got a solid filmmaker and a very strong cast in place, plus cinematography from Roman Vasyanov and a score from Steven Price, so there’s plenty here to work with on all ends, I must say.
This new Trailer aims for a bit of a lighter tone than previously, while still showcasing a real grittiness that should encompass the project. Of particular note is Leto’s Joker and Robbie’s Harley Quinn, though Davis’ Amanda Waller has potential as well to be a memorable character. Factor in how strong a filmmaker Ayer is a director and writer who shoots for the moon each […]

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” has a record setting box office haul

Over the holiday weekend, audiences turned out in droves for the long awaited matchup/team-up on film between The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel. Yes, the last few days saw Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice make a ton of money at the box office, so much so that it’s set a few records, specifically for releases during the month of March. I’ll get into just what the numbers were below and how they stack up, record wise, but just know that the poor reviews and less than universally praised word of mouth did nothing to harm these titans. The Caped Crusader and the Son of Krypton managed to make this movie into an absolute event, even though it’s still early on in the year. That’s worthy of some legitimate praise, regardless of anything else.

Quickly, a primer, in case you’re still unaware somehow what this juggernaut is. The film is both a sequel to Man of Steel, a prequel to the impending Justice League movies, and also a re-introduction to Batman. The movie actually picks up where Man of Steel left off (and during, essentially, with Bruce Wayne witnessing the battle with Zod as it destroys a city), with the citizens of Metropolis/the world debating the merits of Superman (Henry Cavill) being a god among men. This escalates in the wake of another incident involving Superman that results in loss of life. This captures the attention of Batman (Ben Affleck) over in Gotham City, who has been fighting crime there for years. He begins plotting to take down the alien, and after a time they cross paths, with some fighting to ensue before they get on the same page to overcome Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). Luther has been manipulating them the whole time, so their team up is necessary, along with a certain other hero, to take down what we see eventually is his creation of Doomsday. Man of Steel’s Zack Snyder returns to direct, with David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio co-writing the script here. The cast, aside from the aforementioned Affleck, Cavill, and Eisenberg includes Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot, Holly Hunter, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Harry Lennix, Scoot McNairy, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Michael Shannon (sort of), and many more (remember, Jena Malone was cut from the flick). For those wondering, the score is done by the team of Junkie XL […]

Page 1 of 1912345...10...Last »