Tag Archives: Ben Affleck

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice

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Since Zack Snyder’s latest foray into the DC universe was released the real battle has been the critics vs the audience, with critics slamming the movie but audiences rushing in their droves to see DC’s biggest heroes clash. With record breaking box office numbers in its first week Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice has been a hit so far but will it be a misfire for me?

Two years after Superman (Henry Cavill) saved the world from Zod and the world is still trying to decide how to view Superman. Is he like a benevolent hero like his girfriend Lois Lane (Amy Adams) believes or someone who could destroy us all in an instance if he so pleases? Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) believes it’s the latter leading to an almighty smackdown between the two. But who will end up victorious?

I hate to be jumping on to the negative bandwagon but for the majority of the movie I was completely bored. It doesn’t help that the movie is so long at 151 minutes and takes forever to get to the part audiences really want to see which is the fight between Batman and Superman. Before this we’re exposed to numerous sub plots and characters that dragged the story down.

One of my main complaints about this movie is that its so dour and serious. Granted Man of Steel was hardly a laugh a minute but up until the last third I was really engaged in that movie and the plot. In reverse Dawn of Justice only really starts to soar in its last third when our heroes finally battle it out. The film is so concerned with being grounded and gritty it forgets to also inject some warmth and humor. Ok it doesn’t need to be a comedy but the movie feels so joyless at times it becomes an effort to watch. The film’s muted colours also fails to make the film visually engaging.

Despite his casting causing much controversy I didn’t have a problem with Ben Affleck’s Batman although he is perhaps more convincing as the Playboy Bruce Wayne than Batsman himself. The writing for Batman also makes him come across as a jerk rather than someone with a genuine concern for the safety of the world. Cavill is still great as Superman although it’s strange that the character seems so reluctant to publicly defend himself against the  naysayers. Dawn of Justice also marks the big screen début of Wonder Woman and Gal Gadot makes an impressive introduction in her small role. The scene of the three heroes fighting together against their for is a highlight and maybe holds some hope for Justice League movie, as does the small glimpses of future DC superheroes.

Unfortunately Jesse Elsenberg’s Led Luthor is a misfire. I could see what the filmmakers were trying to do updating Luthor into a Mark Zuckerberg type figure. However Elsenberg’s manic, melodramatic performance sticks out amongst everything else and not in a good way. He just becomes an irritating villain and the reveal that his hatred against Superman stems from his daddy issues is a disappointing motive for such an iconic baddie.

A disappointing entry into DC’s Extended Universe but there is some hope that they can turn it around in time for the Justice League movie.

Rating 2.5/5 – for a while it’s longand boring  but with a ray of hope in the climatic final stretch

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Gone Girl

A couple of years back it seemed like everyone was reading Gillian Flynn’s thriller Gone Girl. Now adapting her own book for the screenplay, Flynn has teamed up with director David Fincher to bring her novel to the big screen. But can it create even a fraction of the buzz that the novel produced?

To the outside world it would seem like Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) are the perfect married couple. But when Amy disappears on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, all eyes turn to Nick as the Dunne’s lives are picked upon by the media and the police. Flashbacks show that the Dunne’s had their troubles but did Nick really kill his wife?

With a film that’s themes include the lies and masks people wear in marriage, media intrusion and deception, Gone Girl won’t be anyone’s idea of a feel-good movie. It is not exactly an enjoyable experience. Which I imagine is exactly what Fincher and Flynn wanted to achieve. The film is meant to make you take an uncomforatble look at a marriage that leaves you examining the relationships in your own life. Perhaps not the best film for newly weds or for a first date (although if you’re single this film will probably make you feel quite smug).

Its one of those movies which is hard to describe in too much detail with out giving away certain plot points for the few that haven’t read Flynn’s novel. But what I can say is that Affleck and Pike are perfectly cast in the novel. Affleck’s own media scrutiny over the years make him a smart choice for Nick, you can see Affleck’s contempt for the media’s tactics shining through his performance. It’s also great to see Pike in a leading role rather than the many supporting roles she’s been into over the years. Hopefully this will continue to see her being given more challenging and interesting roles in the future.

Like most of Fincher’s work you won’t necessarily be feeling good after your experience with the Dunne’s but it will definitely give you plenty to think about and discuss with others.

Rating 4/5 – dark, uncomfortable but never dull, basically essential Fincher

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Argo

Ben Affleck has been through a rollercoaster in his career. With high praise and awards for his screenplay in Good Will Hunting, then the career lows of Pearl Harbour and the Bennifer disaster that was of Gigli. However going into directing has given Affleck a new lease of life as his two previous films Gone Baby Gone and The Town have both been intelligent thrillers and new film Argo carries this on.

Moving away from Affleck’s home town of Boston, Argo is a political thriller following the 1979 hostage crisis in Tehran. Militants stormed the U.S embassy holding them hostage while six U.S. diplomats managed to get out undetected and hide in the home of the Canadian ambassador. However as it won’t be long until the militants discover they’ve disappeared it’s up to the CIA to try and get them out of the country. This leads Ben Affleck’s Tony Mendez to come up with the craziest idea. Invent a fake sci-fi film-Argo- and pretend the 6 Americans are Canadian filmmakers and exit the country without the Iranians noticing.

It’s an idea so crazy it would seem Hollywood has come up with yet another implausible plot, but this film is more outstanding for the fact that it’s true. The CIA did create a fake film called Argo to rescue the Americans in Iran and for once Hollywood were  the heroes, helping Mendez to make his cover story sound credible to the Iranians.

Argo is a tense and gripping thriller, and its success is mainly down to Affleck. From the tense opening scene of the militants invading the US embassy to the nerve wracking moment that Mendez and co try to leave Iran the energy never flags. We are constantly kept on edge wondering how they could possibly pull off this plan. Affleck seamlessly go from the funny, more light-hearted scenes of Hollywood to the frightening plight of the diplomats hiding in a cellar in Iran with aplomb.  Of the cast, John Goodman ( as Hollywood make-up artist John Chambers-whose work includes Planet of the Apes!) and Alan Arkin( as film producer Lester Siegel) get most of the best lines, and Bryan Cranston is great as Mendez boss trying hard to make the plan goes smoothly over in America, however it’s Affleck who shines here. His character may be quieter, less flashy than the other parts but he brings a strong centre to the film, grounding it in case we all get too swept up by the amazing lengths they went through to create this cover. Mendez is stoic, quiet, he never forgets that there is people relying on him to get this right, and his own life will be at risk if they are discovered.

A great film, lead brilliantly by Affleck. Gigli seems like a faint memory in comparison to his recent achievements.

Rating 4/5

Rumours of Oscar nominations for Affleck are well founded in this grown-up thriller that proves Affleck is better when he has creative involvement in his films.

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