Tag Archives: Ben Affleck

Oscar gets it right…

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It’s funny how time changes you.

There was a point where the Academy Awards were quite a big deal for me.  I did my best to see nominated films, had an opinion on buzzed-about performances and genuinely looked forward to the ceremony itself, even with the cheesy, self-congratulatory, megawatt pageantry which is so frequently inherent in the telecast.

That ship, it would appear, has sailed.

The still above, from Disney‘s glorious animated short subject winner “Paperman”, represents the only major award winner that I saw at the cinema prior to the ceremony this year.   Attached to “Wreck-It Ralph“, it didn’t do anything more revolutionary than tell a simple love story without words and

Which means that I’ve missed out on “Argo“, “Life of Pi“, “Zero Dark Thirty”, “Les Miserables”, “Silver Linings Playbook”, “Django Unchained” and “Lincoln”.  And I’m mostly okay with that.

I will definitely get around to watching “Zero Dark…” as Kathryn Bigelow can do little wrong in my eyes, and I’ve enjoyed everything that Ben Affleck has done as a director, but I can’t get excited about the sort of films which have been nominated in the last few years:  Vaguely Traditional Musical, Obligatory Mainstream Hit, Ersatz, Quirky Pseudo-Indie Flick, Crossover Foreign Arthouse Piece – these, it seems,  are your options when it comes to February and the solemn bestowing of Little Gold Men.

And that is my problem – the woefully predictable Oscar Bait which surfaces in the Autumn and defines the race from thereon.  There’s simply no room for a genuine surprise, as even a left-field entry like “Beasts of the Southern Wild” has all edges removed and uncomfortable, below-the-surface truths obscured by the PR hive-mind in order to pitch an alternative, life-affirming narrative about debuting actress Quvenzhané Wallis.  It’s the equivalent of patting the cheeky little kid on the head and ignoring all the stuff about post-Hurricane Katrina communities because that awkward stuff doesn’t exactly uplift.

Grumpy old man – moi?

 

 

 

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Ben Affleck directing “Justice League” movie?

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Rumour has it that former Daredevil” and excellent film director Ben Affleck is being courted by Warner Brothers to direct their attempt to get a slice of that sweet superhero movie pie with their Justice League movie.

This pleases me on a few levels.

Ben Affleck is an excellent director.  You might well have taken in his splendid Boston-set crime drama, “The Town”, and rightly enjoyed its muscular but layered take on heists, honour among thieves and the odd codes of masculine obligation which lead otherwise bright guys to do incredibly stupid things because friends, family and neighbourhood perception compel them to.  He’s a natural with actors – duh! – getting convincing work out of Blake Lively, in a feat which suggests that her TV gig on Gossip Girl vastly undersells her ability, a deft constructor of narratively valid and comprehensible action sequences and a storyteller who can find quirks and digressions which make even shop-worn crime tales ring somehow new.

And as I always say when talking about Ben Affleck the director, go and rent Gone Baby Gone now  – it’s an excellent directorial debut and a heart-wrenching tale of lost lives and everyday sadness beautifully placed within the wider frame of a private eye drama.

His Iran hostage drama “Argo” will be with us later in the Autumn, but the news that he’s being considered to direct a cross-media juggernaut such as “Justice League” indicates that Warner Brothers have as much confidence in him as I do – getting a proper film maker to helm a popcorn epic is a move which seems to have paid off for the WB before, and who better to tell the tale of DC’s Justice League than somebody with previous form in that area?

Shall we forget about the “Green Lantern” movie? It only seems polite…

No deals signed yet, of course, but all concerned will probably want to have Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and co. motoring along in an effort to be in cinemas by the time that Mr Whedon’s second “Avengers” adventure debuts in 2015…

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Cultural Activities, for the week beginning 08/08/2011

In which many European rockers get conceptual up in this joint.

Another week, another programme of splendid cultural activities to behold.

Kicking off, we have Avantasia’s first album, “The Metal Opera” – a barmy, preposterous and utterly fantastic collection of power metal/hard rock tunes based around the tale of an accused witch (Within Temptation’s Sharon Den Adel voices this role) and her brother’s (Edguy singer and Avantasia leading light Tobias Sammet) fight to save her from the tyranny of the medieval church.

Despite that, we’re talking eminently hummable tunes, Sammet’s gift for story-telling in his lyrics and all manner of retro goodness. Think ‘early Queen in a ruck with Iron Maiden and Justin Hawkins’ German cousin on vocals’ and you get a sense of the delirious joy that Avantasia’s first album offers.

Have a listen to “Reach Out For The Light” and see what you think:

Ben Affleck knocks another one out of the park...

Ben Affleck’s second film as a director cleaves a bit closer to the star vehicle ideal than his first, the excellent “Gone Baby Gone”, but shares a Boston setting, emphasis on character and a gift for staging percussive, tense set-pieces. It’s a case where I prefer the director’s cut to the theatrical version, even if that longer version does feature a Buckcherry song (no offence, fellas – it fits the scene perfectly).

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Affleck’s next directorial effort, “Argo”, and I’m fairly excited to see what he could do with the proposed American remake of Harlan Coben’s novel, “Tell No One”, itself memorably adapted by French actor/director Guillame Canet.

Also on my cinematic, ‘to view’ list – John Landis’ 2010 re-telling of “Burke and Hare”, Edinburgh’s most enterprising 19th century purveyors of cadavers to the discerning and morally bankrupt.

I have a man-crush on Simon Pegg. No harm in admitting that on the Internets, surely?

It had, shall we say, ‘varied’ reviews online, but as I tend to view the Metacritic-type review aggregation sites as being an utter waste of time, that doesn’t really bother me. Pegg is ace, Serkis is a man-god and Isla Fisher is cuteness personified (So much so as to make Amy Adams look like Glenn Danzig, frankly).

Finally, for this week – as Mrs Fluffrick is on a major Harry Potter kick at the minute, she has directed that we will be watching “Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Price” tonight, as soon as I switch off this very computer.

Wish me luck – it’s known in my house as “The One That Fluffrick Fell Asleep Watching”.

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