February 05, 2017

Tag Archives: Gone Baby Gone

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 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 […]

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 […]

Oscars®: Breathe In – What’s up with the 2015 Awards Race

Directed by: Drake Doremus
Written by: Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones
Main Cast: Felicity Jones, Guy Pearce, Mackenzie Davis, Amy Ryan, Matthew Daddario, Ben Shenkman, Kyle MacLachlan, and others
Past Oscar relations: Amy Ryan was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Gone Baby Gone
Here now is the next article in this new series on 2014 contenders hoping to compete for Oscar attention. Next up is Drake Doremus’ Breathe In, which hopes to build on his previous indie contender Like Crazy. That film ultimately fell short, so armed with some goodwill from that movie, can this one do better? Doremus once again has Felicity Jones in a main role, this time with Guy Pearce, Amy Ryan, and newcomer Mackenzie Davis among her costars. It’s a romantic drama with strains of the dysfunctional family genre thrown in, but it’s the way that this admittedly well worn story is told that sets it apart, particularly in what it allows its cast to do.
What this flick has going in its favor are the performances, particular the one from Jones. She’s phenomenal, perhaps even better than she was in Like Crazy. Veteran actor Pearce is very good too, while newcomer Davis makes an impression as well. Ryan is again a useful supporting player too, but Jones is the one you really remember when all is said and done. If anyone where to come out of this movie in terms of awards hopefuls, it’s her.
Working against Breathe In is that the movie has an almost total lack of buzz. It debuted a year ago at the Sundance Film Festival, so all that time waiting to come out didn’t do it any favors. It literally took over a year to begin screening for critics, playing a few other festivals, but mostly sitting on the shelf, and that creates the perception of something that’s not exactly top notch. The quality is there for this film, but I have my doubts that most voters will wind up even seeing it later on in 2014 when they begin thinking about awards and nominations.
So, can this be a player at all? Simply put, the odds aren’t at all in its favor. I’d be shocked if it held on until the end of awards season, but crazier things have happened, I suppose. The flick will really have an uphill battle, but Breathe In deserves to be seen regardless of that, so hopefully people find […]

Ben Affleck talks “Argo,” Kevin Smith fans, and more Lehane stories – OSCARS

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Some of us are still getting used to talking about Ben Affleck, The Director.
Most of us grew up watching Ben Affleck, The Marquee Star. Ever since the fresh-faced Bostonian shocked the world (or, at the very least, the film industry) by winning an Oscar for his first screenplay of “Good Will Hunting,” Affleck has been an integral part of the Hollywood scene. Mostly, he was carrying popcorn blockbusters such as Daredevil or Armageddon. He earned indie cred collaborating with Kevin Smith on Chasing Amy, then fell victim to a string of poor acting choices that resulted in “Gigli,” “Paycheck” and “Surviving Christmas.”
In 2007, Affleck reinvented himself. He cast a fantastic ensemble for his adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s moody detective thriller “Gone Baby Gone.” Critics and audiences raved. Affleck followed that with “The Town,” an equally tough-talking Boston gang drama. It was as good, if not better, then his debut film.
The streak continues as Affleck directs “Argo,” a true-life hostage thriller centered on an unusual plan to abstract U.S. embassy workers from a hostile situation in Iran. Once again, Affleck assembles a top-notch ensemble that includes himself, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Victor Garber, Tate Donovan and the great Bryan Cranston (who we spoke with here).
If you need any more indication as to the power of Affleck’s cast, “Argo” is receiving this year’s “Hollywood Ensemble Acting Award” at the Hollywood Film Awards.
Affleck recently sat down with us to discuss his short but impressive directing career, the elements that drew him to “Argo,” and the possibility of him returning to Lehane’s franchise.
I was in the balcony of the Roy Thompson Hall for the film’s premiere. You were introduced, and a guy sitting near me shouts, “Affleck, you da bomb in Phantoms, yo!” And I thought, “Even here.”
[Laughs] Kevin Smith fans are everywhere.
But at least they are following you, right?
Yes, that’s right! You know, that line, which I actually I gave it to Jason Mewes and he then said … I always know the guy in the room who is the Kevin Smith fan.
Tell me something you learned on their previous films that really came in handy on “Argo,” where you thought, “Thank goodness I’ve seen that already.”
I think, on some level, the basic thing I learned on the previous two films is just that everything is going to be OK. We’re going to […]

Ben Affleck on “Argo,” and why his ensembles work so well – OSCARS

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Ben Affleck’s primary strength as a director, so far, has been his ability to assemble stupendous ensembles.
His casting decisions on his first film – “Gone Baby Gone” – were so strong, from top to bottom, that many dismissed it as a happy accident. “The Town,” however, also showed Affleck’s knack for finding the right actor to fit the right part, from Jeremy Renner’s hot-headed Boston thug (for which he received an Oscar nomination) to the late Pete Postlethwaithe as a menacing florist with ulterior motives.
Affleck has done it again with “Argo,” a retelling of an actual hostage situation that somehow bridged Washington, D.C. and Hollywood in an effort to bring a team of American embassy employees home safely.
I was lucky enough to sit down with Affleck for a one-on-one, which we’ll have up on the site closer to the film’s release on Oct. 12. But his quote about actors, and about assembling ensembles, was too good not to share.
“The advantage of being an actor is that you appreciate other actors,” Affleck told me. “I’ve always focused on actors. I’ve always loved actors. I’ve always watched movies with an eye to even the littlest of moments to an actor’s performance. And so it has become the one thing I feel most confident about, because I just know how much I like other actors and acting. And you know, if you are a carpenter, you’re probably able to recognize better carpentry. The other stuff can be a little bit harder. It usually takes more work.”
That explains why “Argo” comes off as effortless. Affleck recruited a slew of tremendous “carpenters,” from John Goodman and Alan Arkin to Tate Donovan and the great Bryan Cranston.
See for yourself when “Argo” opens in theaters on Oct. 12.
Read more of our exclusive Awards coverage:
Our “Silver Linings Playbook” review
Ben Affleck’s “Argo” scores
Amy Adams lends strength to “The Master”
Producer Harvey Weinstein
“Lawless” director John Hillcoat
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Ben Affleck’s thrilling “Argo” a major step for maturing filmmaker – TORONTO

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: I can’t remember a more complete career renaissance than the one Ben Affleck’s currently enjoying.
Not that long ago, the handsome Boston actor – a one-time Oscar winner for co-screenwriting “Good Will Hunting” – was in Hollywood “prison,” condemned for poor choices ranging from “Gigli” to “Jersey Girl” and the aptly titled “Paycheck.” But Affleck took a temporary vacation, reset his career from behind the lens, and established himself as a formidable director with the one-two punch of “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town.”
“Argo,” his latest, takes this storytelling career to the next level.
Affleck has crafted an airtight heist movie, only the loot being boosted isn’t cash, diamonds or jewels. It’s six human lives.
“Argo” also sees the director responding to the criticism that he’s only capable of making riveting “Southie” thrillers. With “Argo,” Affleck goes global, yet never sacrifices his tensions by expanding his canvas. The film is based on a previously classified story of a daring hostage extraction during the extended Iran hostage situation of 1979. Tony Mendez (Affleck) has a plan that requires Hollywood and D.C. to collaborate on the creation of a bogus sci-fi movie, of which the detained hostages will pretend to be part of the crew.
Thanks to a subtle, internal time clock, Affleck must keep his pieces constantly moving through “Argo,” and it’s in this instance that we realize what a confident director he has become. There’s barely an ounce of fat on this rapidly-dancing thriller, which is alternately funny, risky and consistently terrifying. Once again, Affleck proves he has a fantastic eye or casting. Supporting roles scattered throughout “Argo” are occupied by pros, from Alan Arkin and John Goodman as the movie-business moguls who help stitch the fictional “Argo” together, to Bryan Cranston as Affleck’s man in the C.I.A., trying to pull enough strings to get these hostages to safety.
After building awards buzz at Telluride, Warner Bros. programmed “Argo” into TIFF, where it played like gangbusters to a packed Roy Thomson Hall for a well-received Gala screening. The film opens in October, and should enjoy a favorable run through the Oscar marathon as the industry embraces the entertainment angle to this so-strange-it’s-true story that is masterfully crafted by one of our most talented actor-directors.
Read more of our exclusive Toronto coverage:
Rian Johnson’s “Looper” reviewed
“Amour” amazes, “Rust & Bone” ultimately delivers
TIFF: The Day Before the Madness
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Ben Affleck’s “Argo” earns raves after debut Telluride screening – AWARDS

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Ben Affleck’s “Argo” has been building a steady stream of buzz behind the scenes from people in the know claiming that the seasoned actor and full-fledged filmmaker had a third consecutive hit on his hands. This afternoon, the political thriller held a not-so-secret debut screening at the Telluride Film Festival, and the response was off-the-charts positive.
“Terrific,” “outstanding,” “amazing,” “smart” and “absorbing” were the adjectives tossed around Twitter by scribes from sites like Variety, HitFix and The Playlist. Best Picture and Director nods seems very possible at this early stage of the game, as Affleck earned Academy cred with “The Town” (a Best Supporting nod for co-star Jeremy Renner) and “Gone Baby Gone” (a win for the great Amy Ryan).
By all accounts, Affleck has hit another home run with this true-but-strange story of a CIA operative cooking up a bizarre scheme to help extradite U.S. hostages from a compromised embassy in Iran. Affleck stars, and surrounds himself with an awards-worthy ensemble that includes John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, Kyle Chandler and Victor Garber.
The Telluride screening was a warm up for Affleck’s Gala screening in Toronto. That’s when I plan to get my first look at what sounds like a winner. We hope to cover “Argo” through the bulk of the awards season. Could this be the one that earn Affleck his well-deserved seat at the Best Director’s table? We shall see.

Read more of our exclusive Awards interviews:
Producer Harvey Weinstein
“Lawless” director John Hillcoat
“Writers” director Josh Boone
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Ben Affleck new film trailer – ARGO

HollywoodNews.com: I haven’t read the true story that this film is based on (if you want to, here’s the WIRED story). But the general idea seems like just the sort of great story that lends itself to a fun movie. And the film is filled to the gills with terrific character actors (John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Victor Garber, Kyle Chandler, Tate Donovan, Phillip, Adrienne Barbeau, and my personal favorite, Zeljko Ivanek, etc).

And while I’m among those who didn’t care for The Town, I’m a big fan of Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone so he’s still batting a solid 0.500 so far. My only carp is with the trailer itself. It’s a 150-second spot that clearly divided into three acts. The first 45-seconds or so explains the time, setting, and political crisis that kicks the story into gear, while the middle 45-seconds goes into the actual scheme that made this story worth telling. Instead of ending at the 90-second mark, with the story fully explained and the stakes completely established, Warner Bros. felt the need to tack on an additional 45-seconds of montage footage, set to ‘Dream On’ that serves no purpose other than to reestablish the seriousness of the situation and spoil various bits of character and plot that likely goes down in the second or third acts.
The film looks fine, and kudos to Warner Bros for letting this clearly adult-skewing drama go out with an R-rating. But the trailer is 2/3 terrific and 1/3 pure needless spoilers. If you feel like watching purely out of curiosity, I suggest you stop right at the 90-second mark. Okay, your turn to share.
To read more go to Mendelson Memos
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Ben Affleck circling “Argo” for producer George Clooney

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: After “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town,” we’ll happily report any news nuggets about Ben Affleck returning to the director’s chair.
If one film has a legitimate gripe of being left out of the 10 Best Picture nominees this year, it’s Affleck’s taut bank-robbing thriller, Maybe he’ll have a better shot with his next project, which we’re hearing might be “Argo.”
The politically themed story, based on an article written in Wired magazine, explains how the CIA fooled the Iranian government in 1979 as an effort to rescue six U.S. diplomats that were being held hostage.
“The CIA used a disguise expert and concocted a scenario that involved the six being a Hollywood crew scouting a movie titled Argo. Under those disguises, they were able to flee the country,” THR reports.
The trade says Affleck is “in early negotiations” to direct the film, which is supposed to have touches of humor (not surprising once you learn that George Clooney and his partner, Grant Heslov, are producing the political thriller).
It sounds like a film Affleck could handle, and it’s a step away from the 1970s-tinged crime thrillers that he has used to launch his directorial career to date. We’ll let you know if anything comes of “Argo,” and Affleck’s involvement.
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