August 29, 2015
        "Carol": Looking at potential Best Adapted Screenplay contenders                What were the Ten Best summer releases of 2015?                Eddie Redmayne: The Danish Girl / Official US Poster                Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep: SUFFRAGETTE New Poster                Spike Lee, Debbie Reynolds, Gena Rowland to Receive Academy's 2015 Governors Awards                Johnny Depp, Leo DiCaprio - Which acting contenders this year are most due for their first win?                "Joy" is the latest Jennifer Lawrence and David O. Russell project in the Oscar hunt                "Straight Outta Compton" is making the case for Oscar consideration                "The Martian": Oscar predictions for August                Rooney Mara: Looking at potential Best Supporting Actress contenders                Bradley Cooper will heat up the Oscar race in "Burnt"                "Carol" gets a Teaser that firmly puts Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in the Oscar race                Carey Mulligan is an Oscar contender                Hollywood Contenders for 2015 Best Actor: Leo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Eddie Redmayne, Michael Fassbender                Hollywood Contenders: 2015 Best Movie Blockbusters: Jurassic World, Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, Fast & Furious 7...        

Tag Archives: Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck is the perfect choice to direct a new “Batman” film

Late last week, word came around during San Diego Comic-Con that finally confirmed something that I’d basically been assuming for a year or so. Ben Affleck would be getting his own Batman film, but he’s also going to be co-writing and directing that stand alone project. I’ve long been a fan of Affleck’s, going back to his early days working with Kevin Smith, so I always keep an eye out for what he’s up to next. Ever since he’s starting directing, it’s been exciting to watch his career arc, with his upcoming role as Bruce Wayne/Batman another interesting turn. The fact that it’ll be his filmmaking style essaying a new caped crusader adventure just makes it something to really look forward to. Affleck is the perfect choice for this project.
Affleck’s take on the Bat (possibly called The Batman) will be done after he suits up at least three times for other filmmakers. Two will hit screens next year, first in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and then in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad later that summer. There’s also Synder’s Justice League Part One, which will come in 2017, before this solo project (though Justice League Part Two could be after). This gives him time to settle into the character, develop a screenplay that fits into the Universe that’s being built, and work with co-writer Geoff Johns to make this a Batman outing that stands out from the ones that have come before it.
As an added bonus, this long lead in to the Batman film (rumors have it coming around 2019) allows Affleck to finally get to make Live By Night, a project that he’s been looking to do since Argo. It’s a period crime drama, which should suit him perfectly. It could actually come about that he’s knee deep in the Oscar race with this movie and then moves over to put on the tights and shoot Batman. It would be an intense 180, but getting to direct a prestige flick and then getting to direct a comic book one could be like recess for him. Affleck would get to let loose and play, potentially making for a different film than he usually writes/directs. I’m sure that’s one reason he opted to sign up for this endeavor.
What makes him such a perfect choice for this project is that his filmmaking style lends itself so […]

“Suicide Squad” is shaping up to be one of the most interesting upcoming superhero movies

At the very tail end of the weekend, filmmaker David Ayer unveiled his first look at most of the costumed cast of Suicide Squad, his DC superhero/anti-hero/villain movie that’s scheduled to follow Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice next year. This comes on the heels of Ayer also officially showing off Jared Leto as The Joker recently, making for an unusual amount of promotional material for a film coming second in line during 2016. At the same time though, it suggests something pretty different for DC and Warner Brothers, perhaps even in a way becoming their version of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Not in tone, of course, but in terms of being a possibly top tier outing due to a different feel from the rest of the pack. Having a recent Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actor in the cast playing an iconic part won’t hurt either.
For those who have never hard of Suicide Squad, it’s a comic book adaptation, obviously, surrounding a government agency that recruits currently imprisoned supervillains to participate in black ops missions in exchange for clemency on their sentences. 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, Care Delevingne as Enchantress, Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, Adam Beach as Slipknot, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, along with Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, plus Common, Scott Eastwood, and Karen Fukuhara in unnamed roles, as well as cameos from Ben Affleck as Batman and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, among potentially others. It takes place in the same universe that DC/WB is creating to lead up to a Justice League film, as well as possibly a stand alone Batman movie. It’s got a solid filmmaker and a very strong cast in place, so there’s plenty here to work with on all ends, I must say.
Obviously one of the big things here is getting to see a new interpretation of the clown prince of crime, this time portrayed by Leto. The first look at him suggested a very aggressive and dark new take, separated him in a big way from Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s Batman for sure, but also Heath Ledger in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight as well. Leto has emerged as a real exciting actor after his Oscar winning turn […]

Ben Affleck responds…

Ben Affleck responds to the controversy of the PBS show “Finding Your Roots” on his Facebook page
“After an exhaustive search of my ancestry for “Finding Your Roots,” it was discovered that one of my distant relatives was an owner of slaves,” Affleck writes.
“I didn’t want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth.
Skip decided what went into the show. I lobbied him the same way I lobby directors about what takes of mine I think they should use. This is the collaborative creative process. Skip agreed with me on the slave owner but made other choices I disagreed with. In the end, it’s his show and I knew that going in. I’m proud to be his friend and proud to have participated.

It’s important to remember that this isn’t a news program. Finding Your Roots is a show where you voluntarily provide a great deal of information about your family, making you quite vulnerable. The assumption is that they will never be dishonest but they will respect your willingness to participate and not look to include things you think would embarrass your family.
I regret my initial thoughts that the issue of slavery not be included in the story. We deserve neither credit nor blame for our ancestors and the degree of interest in this story suggests that we are, as a nation, still grappling with the terrible legacy of slavery. It is an examination well worth continuing. I am glad that my story, however indirectly, will contribute to that discussion. While I don’t like that the guy is an ancestor, I am happy that aspect of our country’s history is being talked about.”
Ben Affleck

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” shows off an epic Teaser Trailer

Hot on the heels of the new Star Wars movie flexing its muscles last week (as well as a hot new Trailer for Jurassic World earlier today), the sequel to Man of Steel also has sought to do the same. Yes, we got our first Teaser Trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice recently and at least to this humble writer, it was more than worth the wait. Besides showing off Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne, we also got to see him in costume (and hear him) as the Caped Crusader himself. His upcoming clash next year with Henry Cavill’s son of Krypton looks like a true event movie.
This is no surprise to any of you, but this film is going to set up a Justice League team up for the Warner Brothers/DC slate of heroes. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice picks up where Man of Steel left off, with the citizens of Metropolis debating the merits of Superman being a god among men. This captures the attention of Batman over in Gotham City, and they cross paths, with much fighting to ensue before they get on the same page to presumably overcome Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. Man of Steel’s Zack Snyder returns to direct, with David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio co-writing. 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, Jena Malone, Scoot McNairy, Jason Momoa, and more.
In this Teaser, which you can see below, the big highlight is of course getting to see Batman and Superman on the screen at the same time. For many comic book fans, that’s a big screen concept that many thought would never happen. In fact, it seemed even less likely once the initial Justice League of America movie from almost a decade ago fell apart. In the wake of The Avengers though, obviously the WB was keen to get this idea moving again. Now, we have it, with Affleck playing an older and grizzled Dark Knight driven protect the human race from the danger he sees in Superman’s actions. The Teaser mainly consists of audio, but when we see the new Batsuit and Batmobile, it’s pretty cool, I must say.
A fringe benefit of sorts with this film is going to be seeing the Justice League of America come together. Besides […]

Kevin Smith: “Mallrats 2″ represents the rare 90’s movie reunion

As a pretty big fan of filmmaker Kevin Smith, I tend to be inclined to support whatever project he’s interested in making, be it a new movie, a new podcast, or anything in between. Even so, I was initially a bit confused as to why Smith was looking to follow up Clerks III (which I’m hugely looking forward to) and his next two Canadian set genre outings (this year’s Yoga Hosers and the still to be shot Moose Jaws) with a sequel to Mallards. Yes, it’s developed over the years from a box office disappointment to one of his most beloved titles, but was anyone yearning for Mallrats 2? Then, I listened to Smith explain why and now, not just am I on board, I think it has the potential to be the rare 90’s movie reunion that really works.
The reason that Smith decided to make Mallrats 2 was to honor his friend and Mallrats producer Jim Jacks, who passed away about a year ago. As a way of honoring Jacks, a man who had once upon a time championed a potential sequel, Smith recently decided to make it a reality. As much as this could be just another one of those interesting announcements that go nowhere, that hasn’t been the case. Over the past few weeks, Smith has been on social media slowly teasing all of the former cast members who are coming back to the mall, as it were. That’s pretty impressive, regardless of the cast. For those who don’t remember, Mallrats starred Jeremy London, Jason Lee, Shannen Doherty, Claire Forlani, Ethan Suplee, Michael Rooker, Renee Humphrey, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Mewes, Ben Affleck, as well as Stan Lee in a cameo and of course Smith himself as Silent Bob. Right now, only Adams, Affleck, and Forlani have yet to sign on.
Sequels tend to be inherently unnecessary, but there’s something about this one that feels like it could be a ton of fun, especially when you consider what a lovely place this idea is coming from. Honoring a fallen colleague and pushing his own early whimsy is a winning formula in my book. Smith has already said that he’s got three more cast members to rope back in, so while that could mean Adams, Affleck, and Forlani are up next, there’s probably someone else who’s the final name, with Affleck just an added bonus if he has time […]

Bradley Cooper: the next A-list actor turned director

One of the things I really enjoy seeing in the film industry is when actors get to the point in their careers where they have the ability to move behind the camera and choose their ideal debut projects. Sometimes, you even get a Ben Affleck situation, where the actor turns out to be an even better filmmaker and winds up winning some awards. That’s the ideal situation, though most of the time actors and actresses turn out to be at least competent filmmakers, if not better. Well, we have another top tier actor wanting to direct, and it’s a real A-lister too. The gentleman in question? None other than Bradley Cooper, and wait until you see what he wants his directorial debut to be…
In case you haven’t heard, Cooper is hoping to direct the remake of A Star is Born that his American Sniper director Clint Eastwood had been pursuing for years. Not only that, but Cooper wants to hopefully star alongside Eastwood’s choice of leading lady: Beyonce. Yup, this is truly an interesting pick on Cooper’s part, especially when he’s recently become such a big part of awards vehicles. At the same time though, it will undoubtedly be a chance to show some extra range and only further his career both in front of and behind the camera. If nothing else, you can’t accuse Cooper of making a boring pick.
It’s not hard to imagine Cooper truly following in Affleck’s footsteps, or even Eastwood’s, as they definitely seemed to have a rapport on American Sniper, particularly during the Oscar campaign that followed. This isn’t to suggest that Cooper is a surefire Academy Award winner to come (though I’m pretty sure he’s going to win for Acting one of these days), but just to remark that he’s got the feel of someone who can go far behind the camera. Having the pull as an A-lister that he currently has won’t hurt either, as he can get some things done that might otherwise have roadblocks for someone without the box office and industry clout he now has.
Cooper certainly also has the influences of David O. Russell to utilize as well (among others), which is another interesting factor to consider. Frankly, he’s acted with so many top notch talents and been directed by some of the industry’s best, you have to assume he’s got a treasure trove of advice to cull from. I’ll […]

The 83rd Academy Awards: If I had been a voter

After a brief delay, this series has returned. Yes, once again I’m going to be taking a look back at a recent Oscar lineup and explaining what my vote would have been in each of the big eight categories we all follow so intently each season. I previously mentioned that potentially I could do this once a week with previous Academy Award ceremonies, and while I’m going to be truing to do that, time will still tell. Again, if nothing else, this gives you an interesting look into my cinematic tastes. Over the course of the year you can sort of get a feel for what my current favorites are, but now we can look to the past a bit more.
Alright then, here goes nothing folks…behold my picks:
Best Picture – The Social Network
The nominees here for this ceremony were 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone. My personal pick Blue Valentine wasn’t nominated, of course, so my number two pick is an easy one…The Social Network. Such a shame that it fell short here to The King’s Speech in real life.
Best Director – David Fincher for The Social Network
This category featured Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit), David Fincher (The Social Network), Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), and David O. Russell (The Fighter), and yet the three most interesting choices in Aronofsky, Fincher, and Russell were passed over for Hooper. I’d change that though, and go with Fincher. Had I been given the power to vote for anyone though, I’d probably have gone with Derek Cianfrance for Blue Valentine.
Best Actor – Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network
I didn’t intend to vote down the line for The Social Network, but so far it just has worked out that way. My personal pick Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine got snubbed, so I had to go to my second choice. The nominees here were Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), James Franco (127 Hours), and Colin Firth (The King’s Speech). It’s hard to argue with Firth’s win, but I think Eisenberg was slightly more deserving overall.
Best Actress – Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine
Honestly, I might prefer Natalie Portman for Black Swan, but I can’t resist the chance to give Blue Valentine an Oscar win […]

Will we have a split between Best Picture and Best Director?

As Oscar voting ends later on today, one of the big questions that remains in my mind is…will there be a Best Picture/Best Director split? Aside from trying to figure out whether Birdman or Boyhood takes the top prize, there’s also the possibility that they each go home with one of them. That leads us to the issue of how likely this is, and which film/director would go home with which statue. Will Alejandro González Iñárritu turn his Directors Guild of America win into a Best Director victory while Boyhood takes Best Picture? Will Richard Linklater wind up winning Director while Birdman transitions its Producers Guild of America win into Picture at the Oscars? It’s all up in the air, but Academy Award voters are finalizing their decisions today, so it’s getting sorted out, basically as you read this.
First of all, there’s the matter of if we’ll get a split at all. I think we have the likeliest situation perhaps in history in terms of this, at least where both major contenders are up for both categories. It was different, for example, when Ben Affleck was snubbed for Argo but the film itself was almost a lock for Best Picture. Voters here could easily pick either Iñárritu or Linklater as well as their films for both prizes (or even Best Original Screenplay too, though that seems more likely to go to The Grand Budapest Hotel now). Historically, I almost never predict splits, since they don’t often happen and you run the risk of picking the wrong combination, etc. Last year that caused me to pick Gravity to win Picture even though I knew 12 Years a Slave was ultimately going to go home with it. This year though…I’m actually contemplating the split. Regardless of that, I think it’s at least a 50/50 shot that one happens.
Now, if there’s a split, what does it look like? There’s one camp that sees Boyhood winding up with the Picture win while Iñárritu gets Director as a consolation prize. I actually think that the more likely scenario has that flipped, with Linklater getting Director and Birdman taking home Picture, but either is definitely possible. The thing is, Academy members don’t engage in group think, as it were. They vote as individuals, so you can’t quite plot a scenario where everyone goes home happy. For example, a split, along with The Grand Budapest Hotel winning […]

Ben Affleck, Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Kevin Hart, Shirley Maclaine, Chris Pine, Miles Teller and Naomi Watts to present at 87th Oscars®

Ben Affleck, Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Kevin Hart, Shirley MacLaine, Chris Pine, Miles Teller and Naomi Watts will be presenters at this year’s Oscars, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Oscars, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will air on Sunday, February 22, live on ABC.
Affleck, a two-time Academy Award® winner, received an Original Screenplay Oscar® for “Good Will Hunting” (1997) and a Best Picture Oscar for “Argo” (2012), on which he served as a producer, director and star. His most recent role was opposite Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl” (2014). He will play Batman in the upcoming feature “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “The Accountant.”
Chastain has received two Oscar nominations, one for Actress in a Leading Role for “Zero Dark Thirty” (2012) and one for Actress in a Supporting Role for “The Help” (2011). Her most recent films include 2014’s “Interstellar,” “A Most Violent Year” and “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.” She will next be seen in “Crimson Peak” and “The Martian.”
Davis has been nominated for two Oscars, one for her supporting role in the 2008 film “Doubt” and one for her leading role in 2011’s “The Help.” She currently stars in the ABC primetime hit “How to Get Away with Murder.” Davis’s film credits include “Get on Up,” “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them,” “Ender’s Game” and “Prisoners.” She will next been seen in “Lila and Eve,” due out this year.
Hart, who currently stars in the feature comedy “The Wedding Ringer,” appeared in last year’s “Ride Along,” “About Last Night,” “Think Like a Man Too” and “Top Five.” His previous credits include “Think Like a Man” (2012) and “The Five-Year Engagement” (2012). He will star opposite Will Ferrell in “Get Hard” later this year.
MacLaine won an Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role for 1983’s “Terms of Endearment.” She also received nominations for her leading roles in “The Turning Point” (1983), “Irma La Douce” (1963) “The Apartment” (1960) and “Some Came Running” (1958), as well for the documentary feature “The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir” (1975), which she produced. Her next role is in “Wild Oats.”
Pine most recently appeared as Cinderella’s Prince in “Into the Woods” (2014). He also has starred in such features as “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” (2014), “Star Trek Into Darkness” (2013), “People
Like Us” (2012), “Unstoppable” (2010), “Star Trek” (2009) and “Bottle Shock” (2008). […]

Oscar missed the boat with all of the “Gone Girl” snubs

The more I think about it, the more it frustrates me that Academy members didn’t go particularly far beyond their comfort zones this year. Sure, things like Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Whiplash seem like unusual Best Picture nominees, but they still have plenty in common with past Oscar favorites. I won’t even get started on how they snubbed Selma everywhere but in Picture and Best Original Song, but I will take them to task for something else…snubbing Gone Girl everywhere but in Best Actress. Not only was David Fincher’s film deserving of more in the way of citations, it would have shown some evolution on the part of the Oscar voter.
Somewhat lost in the shuffle during the rightful uproar over Ava DuVernay missing out in Best Director for Selma was that Gillian Flynn was snubbed in Best Adapted Screenplay, a category many had predicted her to win, myself included. Snubbing the most honored female writer of the year while at the same time snubbing the most honored female filmmaker of the year just looks bad. Beyond that, Flynn just delivered a knockout adaptation of her own novel with Gone Girl. It’s hard to see how anyone can say with a straight face (outside of maybe Harvey Weinstein) that Graham Moore’s script for The Imitation Game, which now likely will win, is superior to Flynn’s.
On a slightly smaller scale, Fincher missing in Director isn’t an overt travesty, but when you look at the uninspired choice of Morten Tyldum, you do shake your head. I don’t mean to be picking on The Imitation Game, but it’s exactly the sort of prepackaged Academy Award contender that’s built to get a lot of nominations and then go home empty handed. That’s just a waste to me. If you’re going to give something a handful of nods and then not see those noms turn into wins, make the cited work more interesting. Fincher springs to mind, though obviously DuVernay as well, or Damien Chazelle for Whiplash here in Director, for that matter.
Of course, there’s the Best Picture field. Having only eight nominees raises the question of which film or films missed the cut, something I always try to study. The number nine spot almost assuredly was Foxcatcher’s, so that tenth place slot was between Gone Girl and Nightcrawler. This furthers the argument I’ve made for a few years now that we should […]

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