Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's novel Gone Baby Gone, and he now returns to the author to adapt this Prohibition-era gangster drama. It's a big, beefy story with colourful characters and a snaky, expansive plot. And it's beautifully assembled by a skilled cast and crew. Even so, the film never quite generates quite enough energy to engage properly with the audience.
In 1927 Boston, Joe (Affleck) is a war veteran who has turned to crime to survive. But problems arise when he launches a torrid affair with the moll (Sienna Miller) of the Irish mob boss (Robert Glenister). With his life in danger, he turns to the rival Italian mafioso (Remo Girone) for a job, and is sent to Tampa to run their rum-smuggling operation. Working with his pal Dion (Chris Messina), Joe makes a success of a string of speak-easy bars and finds love with a the sister (Zoe Saldana) of a Cuban gangster. Then as he plans to open a huge casino, his gentlemanly agreement with the local police chief (Chris Cooper) is threatened. And it doesn't help that the boss in Boston begins to meddle.
Everything is assembled with a sumptuous sense of style, from the cool cars to the epic suits and hats. The film looks gorgeous, shot with muted colours that echo the subdued emotions of people who never quite say what they think. Of course, this creates a big problem, because it leaves Affleck's Joe looking like a blank slate, intriguing to watch but impossible to sympathise with. Nothing feels properly developed, with romances that seem to exist for no real reason and business relationships that appear to be based on some sort of unexplained subterfuge. The most riveting element of the story is Joe's clash with the KKK, a powerfully bull-headed group that refuses to play by the usual mob rules.
Continue reading: Live By Night Review
Chris Messina, Matt Ross, Matt Damon , Sam Rockwell - "Live By Night" Premiere at TCL Chinese Theater IMAX on January 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, CA at TCL Chinese Theater IMAX - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 10th January 2017
Joe Coughlin was born and raised in a good family, his father was the police captain and they were a respected family in the neighbourhood. Joe was the dark horse and fell in with the wrong crowd from an influential age. It was 1920's and Joe and the rest of the Coughlin family lived in the thriving city of Boston. Joe constantly seemed to be pulling in a different direction to that of his father and mixed with some of the town's most feared bosses responsible for any number of crimes from running alcohol to robbery.
Caught in the middle of a war between mob bosses, Joe ends up ripping off the wrong guy in more than one way as he also steals his woman. Everything appears to be going for Joe and his small gang but their next heist is a chance too far and sees Joe being put in prison for robbery. Once again, Joe finds himself falling in with another powerful boss who offers him protection in prison - but at a cost.
With his eventual release, Joe moves to Florida to begin over seeing a rum smuggling operation but as Joe finds love he begins to realise that there's more to life than working on someone else's terms but perhaps he's too deeply connected to ever be able to give up the life he's made for himself.
To most that see him, Manglehorn isn't exactly an enigma, he's a quiet man who goes about his business. What the outside world doesn't know is Manglehorn writes daily to the love of his life, Clara - the girl who got away. Though he never hears back from Clara, his letters offer him some catharsis. The only other relief the aging locksmith finds is in his frequent visits to the local café and his weekly trips to the back, where bank teller, Dawn, finds herself becoming intrigued by Manglehorn.
Can Manglehorn be drawn out of his current lul and deal with his past to face the future?
Manglehorn was directed by David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Joe and Prince Avalanche). The film had unusual origins, the director and lead star were actually planning on shooting a commercial together but that never came to pass, however the meeting lead on to David beginning work on a film drawing inspiration from many aspects of Pacino's professional and personal life.
Continue: Manglehorn Trailer
Fox is said to have passed on a fourth series of the comedy starring Mindy Kaling.
Fans of ‘The Mindy Project’ are understandably heartbroken over news of the series' cancellation by Fox, but things might not be over for the comedy yet. According to reports, the sitcom might soon be thrown a lifeline by Hulu and could continue on the platform for at least two more seasons.
Mindy Kaling writes and stars in ‘The Mindy Project’.
Word of ‘The Mindy Project’s’ cancellation was first reported on Wednesday by Entertainment Weekly, who learnt that Fox wouldn't be renewing the series for a fourth season. Ratings for the comedy, which ended its third season in March, were said to have been steadily dropping, at one pointing averaging just 2.1 million viewers.
Continue reading: Could 'The Mindy Project' Be Headed To Hulu After Fox Cancellation
Jennifer Aniston delivers an Oscar-calibre performance in this rather over-worked drama, which tries to emphasise heavy-handed metaphors more than the characters themselves. But it's an involving personal odyssey thanks to Aniston's honest acting, and Daniel Barnz's sensitive direction manages to dodge most of the script's more glaring pitfalls.
Aniston plays Claire, a woman who has been in continual pain, both emotional and physical, following the car accident that claimed the life of her young son. Revelling in her bitter sarcasm, she has alienated her husband (Chris Messina), driven her physiotherapist (Mamie Gummer) to despair and so enraged her therapy leader (Felicity Huffman) that she's been thrown out of the group. The only person who patiently sticks by her side is her maid/assistant Silvana (Adriana Barazza), and she's beginning to waver. Then Nina (Anna Kendrick), a therapy-group member, commits suicide, making Claire question why she's still bothering to be alive. There has to be a spark of hope there, and she decides to stalk Nina's single-dad widower Roy (Sam Worthington) for answers.
While the premise seems to set up the usual story about two damaged souls healing each other, the story thankfully doesn't go down that tired route. Instead, Patrick Tobin's script keeps the interaction prickly and unexpected, even as it layers in so much symbolism that it becomes rather exhausting. Claire's physical scarring is clearly indicative of something deeper, as is her array of cruel defence mechanisms. Thankfully, Aniston plays these scenes with a mixture of black comedy and aching sadness that makes the character thoroughly involving and only slightly likeable. Her interaction with Barraza is the heart of the film, beautifully played because their connection remains mainly unspoken. By contrast, Worthington feels almost superfluous; he sharply matches Aniston's cynicism, but is too nice to register very strongly.
Continue reading: Cake Review
Claire Bennett is struggling to get through day-to-day life despite her buffet of pills, one-on-one medical support and the Women's Chronic Pain Support Group she regularly attends. She is forced to cope with the heart-breaking break-up of her relationship but becomes deeply obsessed with the suicide of Nina Collins, another woman from the support group. In a bid to learn more about her death and, indeed, her life, she persuades the group leader to pass on Nina's address. It's then she meets her widower Roy with whom she strikes up a significant relationship, with both of them dealing with the loss of a loved one and their own brand of chronic pain. Meanwhile, Claire frequently experiences hallucinations of Nina, who slowly draws her towards normality and, perhaps, a happier life.
Continue: Cake Trailer
James Franco's collection of autobiographical short stories is adapted into a remarkably evocative film by Gia Coppola, granddaughter of Francis. And the film's next-generation credentials don't end there. It stars Emma Roberts (daughter of Eric) and Jack Kilmer (son of Val), superb young actors who bring their characters to vivid life even as multiple story strands weave around them. And what makes the film important is its willingness to present teens authentically, often in ways parents probably wish they didn't know about.
It's set in suburban Northern California, where high school teen April (Roberts) worries that she's the last virgin in her class. She's secretly in love with Teddy (Kilmer), and he likes her too, but everyone thinks he's having a fling with the class slut (Zoe Levin). So while babysitting one night for her soccer coach (Franco), she is both startled and thrilled when he makes a move on her. Meanwhile, Teddy's best pal Fred (Nat Wolff) is causing chaos everywhere he goes, as the school's teens go from party to party indulging in alcohol and drugs, testing the boundaries of authority. And their parents seem fairly oblivious to all of this.
Coppola shoots and edits the film in a way that's deeply personal, focussing on the inner lives of the characters rather than the gyrations of the various plot strands. This gives the film a surprisingly cohesive tone, linking everything together into a single tale of young people trying to work out a path to adulthood in a society full of mixed messages. And things rarely go as expected. For example, Teddy is sure he'll go to prison when he crashes his car while driving stoned, but he is given a second chance. And he discovers that doing community service is actually rather enjoyable.
Continue reading: Palo Alto Review
'Manglehorn' main stars Al Pacino and Chris Messina are joined by the director David Gordon Green at the movie's premiere held at the 71st Venice Film Festival in Italy. The trio are seen greeting fans and signing autographs on the red carpet.
With its refusal to follow the usual romantic-comedy formula, this snappy and observant movie is a nice surprise. Not only does it keep us wondering about where it's heading, but it gives the likeable Jones and Samberg much more complex roles than they usually get to play. And the quirky approach combined with some darkly dramatic moments makes it more interesting to watch.
Jones and Samberg play the long-time couple Celeste and Jesse, who have been together since they were in school. Now married for six years, they're starting to wonder if maybe they're just best friends, rather than a couple. So they decide to separate. The main issue seems to be surfer-artist Jesse's lack of ambition but, when he begins to move on with his life, Celeste starts wondering if maybe she's the real problem. Even so, they're still completely involved in each others' lives, which is awkward for their friends Beth and Tucker (Graynor and Christian). Maybe they need some distance.
The film's perspective centres on Celeste's messy journey, which is a bumpy series of conflicting emotions. She works as a lifestyle critic, so her comments on pop culture are hilariously barbed, but as her personal life dissolves she retreats into annoying pot-fuelled wallowing. It's often not easy to watch her, but Jones gives a ruthlessly honest performance that's both funny and disturbing. Her sideplots with her gay boss (Wood), her low-life drug dealer (cowriter McCormack) and a bratty popstar client (Roberts) are nicely played but only tangentially developed.
Continue reading: Celeste And Jesse Forever Review
Ben Affleck leaps on to the A-list of directors with this relentlessly entertaining thriller, combining comedy and nerve-jangling suspense to maximum effect. Based on a declassified story that's unbelievable but true, the film is also clear-eyed about politics without ever getting lost in the big issues. Instead, it keeps us engaged through terrific characters who are beautifully played by a lively cast.
As Iran's 1979 revolution boiled over into street protests over America's assistance to the deposed Shah, rioters stormed the US embassy and took 52 Americans hostage. In the chaos, six staffers snuck out the back door and took refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador (Garber). With the Iranians on their trail, the CIA chief (Cranston) decides to try to get them out, and Agent Tony Mendez (Affleck) comes up with a wild idea: he creates a fake sci-fi movie called Argo with the help of a veteran producer (Arkin) and an Oscar-winning make-up artist (Goodman), so the six escapees can pose as a Canadian location-scouting crew and leave the country.
Yes, this plan sounds utterly ridiculous, but the fake Argo is exactly the kind of cheesy Star Wars rip-off everyone was trying to make at the time, so the idea of scouting colourful Iranian locations isn't as far-fetched as it seems. And screenwriter Terrio keeps us laughing as Mendez and his Hollywood cohorts concoct this elaborate scam. These scenes are so good that Arkin and Goodman walk off with the whole movie, giving loose, witty supporting turns that are likely to be remembered in awards season. Affleck gets in on the fun as well, then also effortlessly takes on the more intense action scenes to hold the whole film together.
Continue reading: Argo Review
Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...
Joe Coughlin was born and raised in a good family, his father was the police...
To most that see him, Manglehorn isn't exactly an enigma, he's a quiet man who...
Jennifer Aniston delivers an Oscar-calibre performance in this rather over-worked drama, which tries to emphasise...
Claire Bennett is struggling to get through day-to-day life despite her buffet of pills, one-on-one...
James Franco's collection of autobiographical short stories is adapted into a remarkably evocative film by...
With its refusal to follow the usual romantic-comedy formula, this snappy and observant movie is...
Ben Affleck leaps on to the A-list of directors with this relentlessly entertaining thriller, combining...
A romantic comedy with a dark twist, this film gets under the skin as it...
When the Iranian Revolution protests began to take place in 1979, their main target was...
Celeste and Jesse have been best friends since high school and married each other very...
Ruby Sparks tells the story of a successful young novelist who starts to suffer from...
Ruby Sparks tells the story of a successful young novelist who starts to suffer from...