Ben Affleck stepped out of the limelight for quite some time before returning to the Hollywood scene with a brief role in Hollywoodland and now behind the camera for Gone Baby Gone. This is his directorial debut and I must say it is a very impressive one. This rather haunting film revolves around a young couple that is asked to help an investigation searching for a missing child in inner city Boston. Ben Affleck's brother, Casey, plays the lead private detective and delivers his second outstanding performance of the year (he's nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Robert Ford). The supporting cast is excellent as well, especially Ed Harris. There are some nice twists in the story and some difficult moral questions raised. This is a film that is affecting in multiple ways and will probably have you questioning your own ideas of what is right and what is wrong. What I do know is, Affleck has shown that he can already pen a great screenplay (he also co-wrote the screenplay here) but now he's shown he can direct a great film as well. Highly recommended.
It is rare that a film completely catches me by surprise but this one surely did. It is rare that a film captures something that is near and dear to your heart and judging from the trailers for this I would never have thought this would be one that would. Dan In Real Life is a great story about finding love at the wrong time, with the wrong person and having it work you over. Dan meets that love and finds himself in a position I wouldn't wish upon anyone. Then for three days he suffers for your entertainment and the result is endearing, touching and extremely sweet. This is a great one for a date, a love or any time in between.
It seems like we've seen plenty of renditions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers over the years. Some have been quite good while others blend into the B-Movie pile. This one leans more toward the latter, though has its moments. The production style is slick, but most of the actors can't seem to rise about the weak script. The film moves along at a rather slow pace, which doesn't help either. In the end we’re given a premise that doesn't seem to make you care one way or another what happens, and a collection of solid A-list actors phoning it in.
My wife and I decided to give this one a spin the day before Valentine's Day. Advertised as a romantic comedy, we were a bit disappointed with the lack of romance in the film. Sure it has its moments, but this is really a drama about a chef with a hectic life trying to fit her Niece in after losing her Mom in a car accident. This is a rather serious tale and I liked the characters, but I think the ad campaign was a bit misleading and could leave those in the mood for a romantic comedy a bit disappointed. The film does have a good heart though and we both enjoyed it for what it was, a human drama with a sprinkle of warmth and charm.
It is easy for great films to get passed over when they dwell on unpopular subjects. Such is the case with The Kingdom, an exceptional action thriller that has some unsettling political messages. The film follows a FBI team into the kingdom of Saudi Arabia after a bombing takes place in an America oil worker's compound. Things get out of hand though once the team gets on the ground. Director Peter Berg and producer Michael Mann deliver an intense political thriller that reminds me a lot of Mann's directorial efforts in intensity and production. There is a constant sense of tension through most of the film that escalates near the end to almost unsettling levels. The photography is also classic Mann style with tight angles and great character coverage. Despite not being that popular at the box office I really enjoyed this one and would recommend it to any political action fan.