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Tag Archives: Ben Affleck

Gone Girl

Nick Dunne (played by Ben Affleck) can’t believe his luck. He’s got a great job at a magazine, a fantastic life in New York and has just met the most wonderful, beautiful, intelligent and unique woman ever – what’s more, she’s interested in him too. It’s the exquisite Amy (by Rosamund Pike) … even her name is beautiful. They spend several wonderful years together – their New York City lifestyle, their infatuation with each other and their wonderful love makes it all so easy … it’s fabulous. Then Nick’s mother takes ill and they move back to his hometown in Missouri. Amy isn’t so keen, she’s used to a more high-brow lifestyle, but she totally loves Nick, so supports him in this without question. Back in his small home town, she funds Nick and his twin sister, Margo (by Carrie Coon) into a business together – they run “The Bar” – a hip watering hole in town. On their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy suddenly goes missing and all the clues point to Nick … has he killed her? Why would he do that?  Nick swears blind he knows nothing of Amy’s disappearance. Her well known parents, Rand and Marybeth Elliot (by David Clennon and Lisa Banes) arrive in town and the paparazzi are stirred up with the intrigue of Amy’s disappearance. They hound Nick incessantly. The police investigation is headed by Detective Rhonda Boney (by Kim Dickens) … she’s not sure about Nick – did he do it? …. Were they really as happy as he makes out? It seems Nick’s only ally is his sister Go, but even she’s starting to wonder what’s really going on ….

This is a well made thriller. From the outset the scene is set well and the characters are compelling. As Amy, Rosamund Pike is outstanding – her multi-faceted character is revealed piece by piece throughout this work and she is marvellous. Ben Affleck puts in a very strong performance as Nick Dunne and there are wonderful performances from others, particularly Neil Patrick Harris as the weird Desi Collings. Tyler Perry is a useful breath of fresh air as Tanner Bolt, a big city lawyer hired to defend Nick. There are enough layers of intrigue and twists in this to keep a viewer engaged. But somehow it seems to lose momentum towards the end. Perhaps I missed something, but it just tends to peter out somehow.  I may be alone in that opinion however. Rosamund Pike earned an Academy Award (Oscar) nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, which is very well deserved. Overall it’s a watchable, enjoyable movie, but I wouldn’t rave over it.

Made in 2014.  Directed by David Fincher

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Posted by on November 9, 2015 in Movies

 

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Runner Runner

Richie Furst (played by Justin Timberlake) would do really well at his studies at Princeton, if only he focused a bit harder on that instead of on his sideline business. He’s really smart, but he’s also a scout for an on-line gambling company and he gets a cut every time one of his “recruits” places a bet on-line. His grades are horrendous. One day he’s dragged into the Dean’s office and is told to shape up, otherwise he’ll end up with no degree, no job and no way to repay his study fee debt – some tens of thousands of dollars. His Dad, Harry (by John Heard) is a gambler from way back, so it’s in Richie’s blood. He needs funds fast to clear his debt, so invests his entire savings into an on-line poker game, which ends badly. Richie finds he’s been cheated and goes straight to the top to resolve it – the “Mr Big” of online gambling, Ivan Block (by Ben Affleck). Rather than make a huge public fuss, at first Ivan dismisses Richie quietly, but seeing huge potential in this smart, gutsy young guy, Block offers Richie a great job, with a magnificent lifestyle and benefits. Richie accepts and starts his life in Costa Rica as Block’s right hand man. Things go well, Richie manages all the businesses for Ivan and is making everyone sh*tloads of money. Until, one day, things don’t appear to be so “above board” any more. Richie starts to get worried and suspicious about the way things are really run in Block’s organization. Something in him says he needs to cover his own backside and make sure he can get out if he needs to. Is Ivan Block really, the smooth, charismatic, caring and sharing guy he makes out ….?

This movie is a run-of-the-mill “good guy versus bad guy … bad guy gets foiled in the end” kind of movie. It’s set in Costa Rica in the main, which makes it pleasant, but the story runs pretty true to form. There are deviations, but not many. That’s a shame – it did promise more. I like Justin Timberlake in the movies and he is good in this role, quite believable really – except in the fight scenes, which are not quite right somehow. Ben Affleck fits into his role as the smooth Ivan Block well too – he does it all pretty easily really. In fact it looks like they both do – no challenge here, I’d say they are let down most by the storyline. I wouldn’t hold that against either of them. Positive distractions in the movie are the good performance by Gemma Arterton as Ivan Block’s girlfriend, Rebecca, and Anthony Makie who plays the ridiculous FBI agent Shavers. It’s a good way to while away some time.

Made in 2013. Directed by Brad Furman

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in Movies

 

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Argo

In 1979, America acts to protect the deposed Shah of Iran and in an angry reaction a crowd of Iranians storm the American Embassy in Teheran. Six US Consular officials manage to escape and take shelter in the Canadian Embassy. Tony Mendez (played by Ben Affleck), a highly experienced CIA operative in “extraction” situations like this, must devise a plan to get the six people out of Iran safely and quietly. Most normal practices won’t work in the highly volatile Teheran, but he must do something. He eventually comes up with an idea that is ambitious, in fact some might say far-fetched, but it may just work – and it in involves Hollywood – make-up artist John Chambers (by John Goodman) and producer Lester Siegel (by Alan Arkin). Like a real life movie script, this is the true story of how his plan plays out, with high reliance on deception, covert activities, false identities, careful split-second timing, courage and luck.

This film is great. Much of the content of the actual story was classified by US Government until 1997, but now the facts of the situation are known, no doubt with some subtle embellishments for effect, but nothing that would detract from the drama faced by these six people and everyone involved at the time. The characters are not deeply explored, not even Tony Mendez, but Ben Affleck continues to create wonderful drama, effective situations and his talent to build suspense is marvellous. We get to know the Hollywood participants Chambers – by John Goodman – and Siegel – by Alan Arkin – the best, perhaps because what happened in Teheran stays with the people involved. Alan Arkin was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in this supporting role. BAFTA and the US Academy surprised and delighted many when Ben Affleck was named winner of the 2013 Academy Award (Oscar) for Motion Picture of the Year, along with Oscars for Best Film Editing and Screenplay. At the time, Tony Mendez was decorated by the US Government for his work and he has written about his experiences in a memoir “Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA” published in 2000. This is a well made and entertaining thriller.

Made in 2012. Directed by Ben Affleck

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2013 in Movies

 

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The Town

The “Town” is Charlestown – a working-class suburb of Boston. It has produced more bank and armoured-car robbers than any other part of the US. Doug MacRay (played by Ben Affleck) is one of them; he leads a notorious gang of four including his long time friend Jem (by Jeremy Renner). During a bank robbery they kidnap the young manager, Claire Keesey (by Rebecca Hall), then release her without harming her – although they have taken her driver’s licence. Jem wants to make sure he knows if she goes to the FBI so Doug follows her and when they meet he realises she doesn’t know who he is. At the same time, an FBI team led by Frawley (by Jon Hamm) is hot on the gang’s trail. Claire and Doug begin a relationship at the same time that Doug’s gang is continuing to rob banks and the FBI edges closer to catching them. The movie focuses on the gang, their robberies and the relationship between Doug and Claire with the unstable Jem always providing some surprise elements. Other influences on Doug, Jem and Claire come from family and the police – to create a very interesting dynamic and good story. There is a great supporting performance from Pete Postlethwaite as Fergie, the florist who is actually the mastermind behind the robberies and is a major influence on Doug’s life.

Well done Ben Affleck. This movie is really good, very nicely made, well paced and he is obviously a talented director. His own performance, plus those of Rebecca Hall and Jeremy Renner are stand-outs.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Movies

 

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