Tag Archives: Ben Affleck

Films to Get Excited About

I haven’t been writing much, so this is just a quick post to get back into the swing of things…These are 3 films coming out in the New Year that look amazing.

 La La Land

Release date (UK):
17th January 2017

Written and directed by:
Damien Chazelle

Starring: 
– Ryan Gosling
– Emma Stone
– John Legend
– Rosemarie DeWitt
– J. K. Simmons

Genre:
Romantic musical comedy-drama

Synopsis:
‘La La Land’ is  about Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress who waits on movie stars, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a jazz musician who plays cocktail party gigs in dingy bars, both of whom aspire for greater things. As success hits, the fabric of their love affair begins to fray, and the American Dream they worked so hard to maintain begins to tear them apart.

Why to be excited:
This film is written and directed by Damien Chazelle, who wrote and directed ‘Whiplash’ (2014), which is one of my favourite films about music. Chazelle did such a fantastic job of recreating the passion/emotion musicians feel at striving to hit their musical potential in ‘Whiplash’ (both J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller did amazing jobs), so I am extremely excited to see what he does with this musical. ‘La La Land’ has the appearance of a classic Hollywood style romance film (with the movie studio settings, the mood lighting and the romantic colours), which I adore. I only like certain romance films, and this has the winning composition to be included in this list. It looks really classy, and Ryan Gosling is devastatingly handsome, and I can’t wait to watch this….

 

 

 

Split

Release date (UK):
20th January 2017

Written and directed by:
M Knight Shyamalan

Starring: 
– James McAvoy
– Haley Lu Richardson
– Anya Taylor-Joy
– Kim Director
– Betty Buckley

Genre:
Psychological Thriller

Synopsis:
‘Split’ is about a man named Kevin (James McAvoy), who experiences extremely bad schizophrenia (a mental illness where Kevin is able to change his body chemistry with his thoughts – he essentially has a split personality). He kidnaps a car of 3 girls, and holds them captive. They then have to deal with Kevin’s 23 different personalities in order to help them escape. However, a final personality (“The Beast”) begins to materialise…

Why to be excited:
This film is written and directed by M Knight Shyamalan, who is best known for his film the ‘The Sixth Sense’ (1999), which in my eyes is an absolute classic, and still retains the impact it had on me when I first watched it! Similarly, last year I watched ‘The Visit’ (2015), which is another psychological thriller that I frequently recommend to people as it blew me away. This is because M Knight Shyamalan’s films are predominantly psychological thrillers, which have a style that border on horror (as they are so dark). Their psychological element toys with your mind, and make you unsettled and captivated in the same instance, which is why they leave such a lasting impression. From the advert, I can tell that ‘Split’ will no less do this, especially with James McAvoy at the helm. Definitely another film I am extremely excited to see!

 

 

 

 

Live by the Night

Release date (UK):
13th January 2017

Directed by:
Ben Affleck

Written by:
Ben Affleck and Dennis Lehane

Starring:
– Zoe Saldana
– Ben Affleck
– Elle Fanning
– Scott Eastwood
– Chris Sullivan
– Sienna Miller

Genre:
Gangster crime thriller

Synopsis:
‘Live by Night’ is set in 1920s America during the Prohibition era, when an underground network of gangsters helps to ensure the flow of booze to speakeasies across the country. Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck) is the son of the Boston Police Superintendent, but turns his back on his strict upbringing for the spoils of being an outlaw. However, Coughlin crosses a powerful mob boss by stealing his money and his moll, which ultimately ends badly.

Why to be excited:
I studied American Studies at University, and this my favourite era in American history (I love the music, literature, fashion, and overall culture of the 1920s). There is something about gangster films that are so seductive and badass, that it’s just hard to get a gangster film wrong. Furthermore, there are a lot of big names behind this film (it is produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, and is edited by Oscar-winning William Goldenberg – to name a few), and is written and directed by Affleck himself. I am so excited about this, as the last film I watched with him in (that he had written and directed) was ‘The Town’ (2010), which was a modern-day bank robber film, and was just perfect. ‘Live by the Night’ has the same potential.#
2017 looks amazing for films (especially with the Oscars just around the corner).
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‘The Accountant’ (2016) – 7/10

the-accountant.jpg

Last week, I watched ‘The Accountant’, the new film starring Ben Affleck. There are certain films starring Ben Affleck that I absolutely love, and this is one of them. I always thought that Affleck was an ok actor. I like him in ‘Shakespeare in Love’ (1998) (but more because I like the film), and I thought he was a good supporting actor in ‘Good Will Hunting’ (1997), but sadly overlooked him in most other films. Similarly, I thought that ‘Batman V Superman’ (2016) was an absolute waste of time. It was long, dull and for a superhero movie, was just not engaging. The only good part of the film was Jesse Eisenberg, who plays an amazingly weird, eccentric mastermind.

‘The Accountant’, on the other hand, was absolutely gripping. It had the right balance of action and intrigue. It was not until I had seen ‘The Town’ (2010) that I discovered what a truly wicked actor Affleck actually is. This is a film he wrote, directed and starred in, and is the film that first sparked my love for Affleck. I am a big fan of gangster films, so this Boston-based, bank robber film was a huge hit. It was gritty and intense, and just worked. ‘The Accountant’ (written by Bill Dubuque and directed by Gavin O’Connor), definitely had elements of this, which Affleck brought to the role.

‘The Accountant’ is a film about Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck), a high-functioning autistic accountant, who is able to uncook books for multiple high paying (and in most cases dangerous) clients. At the beginning of the film, he is hired to audit a state-of-the-arts robotics corporation called Living Robotics, whose accountant called Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) has found a fault in their books. Simultaneously, Wolff is being pursued by Ray King  (J.K. Simmons), a  director of financial crimes within the Treasury Department, who has been after ‘The Accountant’ (a mysterious figure who has numerous dealings with the underworld in America), and blackmails Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to help locate him.

I love that this is a action-thriller hybrid. I liked the succinct action scenes (which reminded me of the way that the ‘Jason Borne’ films’ fight scenes are choreographed), and the fact that the moments of suspense were diluted with tongue in cheek humour. I also liked that some parts of the film were edited in a stark, clean cut way, which symbolised how despite his desire, Wolff was unable to truly connect with people around him. This editing beautifully accompanied Mark Isham’s soundtrack – which worked splendidly with this film.
My only fault with the film was that some of the flash backs were a little excessive. I appreciated the personal flashbacks to how Christian Wolff was able to battle his social obstacles with regards to dealing with his autism in the wider world. At the beginning of the film, Wolff is given the opportunity to work at Harbor Neuroscience Institute, which his father (who is in the military) objects to, and instead tells him to face everything which makes him uncomfortable (as the ‘real world’ will not always accommodate certain requirements), and ultimately enables him to be a highly functioning autistic (which few people are aware of at first glance). I am not sure I would adopt this approach, but liked how this was expressed in various flashbacks, all differing in style and the way they were portrayed. I also appreciated how certain parts of the film showed how Christian Wolff was a compassionate human being, despite not being able to express or fully empathise with people. This, again, was done artfully.
Nonetheless, other flashbacks could have been done in a more straight forward manner. This would have made the film flow a little better. For example, scenes which described why Wolff turned to crime could have been aligned differently, and almost merged, rather than teetering on one, then going to another, then going back to the same point. Nonetheless, at these times, where I was on the verge of being bored (at things having been unnecessarily repeated), an action scene came to satisfy my craving.
Therefore, ‘The Accountant’ is a must see film! Certain flashbacks could be skipped out and the ending was probably a bit cheesier than it ought to be (with a twist I won’t give away). Nonetheless, this nicely tied up the film, and probably could lead nicely on to another film (although I don’t think a sequel is necessary). I liked Anna Kendrick in this film (and usually don’t really like her in much), as I thought it was refreshing that she did not play a moody character, and instead plays someone that Wolff tries to connect with in a ditzy, endearing way. I have already said that I like Affleck, and I personally think that he plays this part really well. I also like J.K. Simmons (playing his usual man of stature). Overall a great film, and one I could and have watched again.