Tag: Casey Affleck

Every Breath You Take

I feel like as a society, we should be at a collective point where people realize that the song Every Breath You Take is creepy as fuck. Sting has already said it is sinister and controlling and not a wonderful love song. And yet people still are oblivious and think its beautiful.

It is a creepy phrase and a great name for a movie. Especially if it involves a stalking romance.

Every Breath You Take doesn’t really involve romance (although there is some sexmance, if you will) and stalking. Maybe not the perfect title for this movie. But maybe the perfect title for a Casey Affleck autobiography?

Of course you can see every breath they take if you are that fucking close to their mouth. 

Philip (Casey Affleck) is a therapist, and maybe a good one, maybe a bad one. Really hard to tell. He did have one patient, Daphne (Emily Alyn Lind), who was really low and sore and couldn’t open up. And to encourage her to open up, he talked about himself. He talked about his wife (Michelle Monaghan) and kid (India Eisley), and his fears and regrets. He wasn’t trying to make her his therapist. He was just trying to be more relatable for her. And it worked! She talked and got better and he started to tell people of his discovery.

Well, then we find out that Daphne goes and dies. You know. Suicide. Shit was this his fault? We all know people will blame him anyways. Makes sense.

Maybe people like James (Sam Claflin), Daphne’s brother. Who ends up having to talk to him about it, for some closure. But then he just…keeps hanging around. He inserts himself into Philip’s life as they do funeral plans and deal with her belongings. He befriends the wife and daughter and show up in their lives when Philip isn’t around. He seems to have…ulterior motives for being there. Can Philip stop this man from stalking them all, when it would be hard to prove, and when he is doing his own shitty things?

Also starring Hiro Kanagawa and Veronica Ferres.

“Howdy lady, did someone break your car? What a coincidence. I fix cars.”

At times, Every Breath You Take certainly feels like a movie that was forced to be a straight to DVD film. Which times? Well, at least 90% of the time. Not that those movies have to be inherently bad, because this one isn’t shockingly awful or anything like that. It just never rises to any level worth really getting excited about.

Affleck feels like a broody sad version of himself that is in a lot of films. He did it better in Manchester By The Sea, he did it better in even A Ghost Story. So it doesn’t feel new in that regard at all. Claflin plays a wormy, charismatic, clearly evil being. It is frustrating how obvious it all plays out on the screen, because apparently all of the women in this movie are easily cast into his shady as fuck web. Besides that, the rest of the cast are just smaller parts in this film and not given a lot to work with. They don’t feel believable and this really drags the movie down.

And this is frustrating, because given the story, it could have been a wonderful movie overall, but basically every part of it falls flat. The twists are obvious, and then silly. The thrilling scenes near the end don’t thrill but are laughable. There are elements of people trying, but when those elements are few and far between, it is just a disaster of a film.

1 out of 4.

Our Friend

We all have a friend, you know, that friend , who knows you inside and outside. Your bestie. Your ride or die. Your compadre. I mean, hopefully we all have one of those. Unless you are lonely and have no friends, then shit, maybe stop reading. Go get a friend (when appropriate in the pandemic).

Our Friend is sort of about that friend. It is definitely the friend you can count on, the friend who goes out of their way to help you, even if you didn’t expect anyone to love you that much. They show up when they need to, and they do what needs to be done.

Also, this one is a true story too. Based on an article made by one of the people in this story. A story that was about life, marriage, but really, the friendship that strengthened everyone involved.

Quick! Someone call the cops! These are not his kids!

Cancer sucks. You know it, I know it, the media knows it. It sucks.

This is definitely a movie about cancer. Namely Nicole Teague (Dakota Johnson) getting cancer, one that is likely to kill her (it will, this is not really a spoiler). It is going to deteriorate her health, it will change her life going forward with the days she has left, and it will affect her family. Her already somewhat distant husband, Matt (Casey Affleck), who wants to be a journalist who reports on things that actually matter to people, hasn’t been the best husband or father, but he is going to have to be now.

And still, it is overwhelming. The bills. The stress. The kids. The jobs. The hope that it might eventually lead to a remission. They need help. And they have a mutual friend, Dane (Jason Segel) who is extremely loyal and dependable, and willing to put his whole life on hold, for not just months, but maybe even years, just to help out his best friends. Nanny, driving, chores, cooking, you name it.

And this is their story.

Also starring Denée Benton, Isabella Kai, and Violet McGraw.

Quick! Someone call the cops! We all know people aren’t allowed to read in their beds!

Yes. Yes I did cry. Thanks for asking. Like, at least three times. Maybe four. Not just the end (but near the end as well), but sprinkled throughout. It really diversified the sad times. It didn’t just start happy and build up to the biggest sads. Because the film takes place across various points in time, out of order, before and after diagnosis (which the film makes clear). We can see happy and sad, happy and sad, happy and sad and even angry. One notable argument really got me, which made the whole thing even sadder and explained a whole lot.

Acting though is the name of this game, not just my tears being jerked. And fuck yeah we get some acting here.

Now, I want to mostly talk about Johnson and Segel here, because they are the best parts, but real quick on Affleck. He is fine here too, he reminds me of his role on Manchester By the Sea, so not a whole lot of range along the way, but good. Yet, he had those sexual assault claims that kind of did nothing to him, so fuck giving him praise for this.

Johnson? Well, she found her “post franchise amazing acting movie” to get her back on her feet. And let’s note that she has done great acting since 50 Shades, but nothing really big or that great enough to sort of overshadow 50 Shades. This one totally would and should. She is phenomenal.

Segel is playing his best acting role to date. He has been toying for at least a decade of these more serious, yet still goofy, roles for him that match him so well. I loved him in Jeff Lives At Home, but this one is better. This one is most definitely better. Hell, he is the title of the movie, he is the friend. He carries his own sadness and guilts, while just trying to help the only people he has considered his friends, even if they have had a rocky past, and it just shows.

Our Friend is the film version of an article of a true story. It is a familiar story of loss and fear of the unknown. And yet it is still a powerful one despite that.

4 out of 4.

A Ghost Story

This is part of Fantasy and Sci-Fi Week at Gorgon Reviews!

2017 has been a great year for alternative thrillers and horrors. From Split, to Get Out, to It Comes At Night, to even Colossal on some levels, a lot of fucked up shit is happening this year in movies, and we get to watch it on our screens.

So why not turn things even further on their head with A Ghost Story?

The idea behind this movie I have to imagine was taken as a bet. And it seems funny that it is by David Lowery who just gave us Pete’s Dragon. I wonder how many parallels can be made between the two?

Omg turn around such spooks watch out!

The story is about a man (Casey Affleck) and a woman (Rooney Mara), madly in love with each other. The man is a musician, the woman really enjoys books and writing notes. They fight some times, sure, but they at least communicate well.

And then the man dies. In a car accident, right outside of their home. Fuck.

The woman identifies the body at the morgue and leaves, unsure of what she is going to do with her life. And then? And then? And then?! The man rises up from his table, still covered in the sheets from the morgue. He walks down the halls and no one notices him. He feels a calling, back to his home.

And in that home is where he stands and waits. He glimpses into the woman’s life that he used to be married to. He sees her in her great levels of grief, he sees her begin to move on with her life. He even sees the worse thing of all – he sees her find another person to love.

Also featuring Liz Franke as a real estate agent and Will Oldham as the Prognosticator.

Something haunts these hallowed empty halls. Something that smells sheety.

Of course of course, how could a film that looks so much like a joke be anything more than a joke? How can a joke supersede its own existence into something greater than the movie average that exists? How can I cry to a man dressed in a ghost sheet costume?

Well, I did. At least five times. An emotionally gripping movie where sure, a lot of it was my own imagination getting away from me imagining how similar circumstances would affect my own life. But that’s what movies should do, draw upon your own life experiences and make you feel shit.

But I am getting ahead of myself. The movie. First thing someone should notice is the aspect ratio. It is 1.33:1, which is basically a box with rounded edges, to make the whole thing seem like an old styled family film. It is not just the introduction, or the ghost scenes, it is the whole film. And the film uses very minimal camera movement. Long scenes where it just sits as the characters move around, or scenes where it basically floats around the house/room/office like a ghost itself.

In ghost form, Affleck doesn’t say anything (if it even is Affleck under those sheets). But he says so much in those darkened sheet eyes. Fuck this is hard to describe.

A Ghost Story is possibly one of the realest feeling films this year. Mara herself just captivates the idea of grief incarnate. Watching her just exist in the home alone brings so much pain to the viewers. You just want to jump through the screen and hold her, letting her know everything is not okay but she is okay and she will be fine. Just get out of the house, make some friends.

In this film you get to watch Mara eat pie. Like a real human being. One long shot of her just going into some pie, with a break away shot, then more goddamn pie. It is the most human thing you will see in cinemas this year.

A Ghost Story is an experience unlike many others. It takes us across time to question what is the purpose of life and how hard it is to move on – both for those who survive and for those who do not.

4 out of 4.

Manchester By The Sea

Movie titles can get pretty descriptive. The ones that can really sell you on a setting with just a title do a lot of work and can help draw people in.

Something like The Assassination Of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford? That is a descriptive and specific title, you know the main people involved and the event in question!

That is an extreme example. For Manchester By The Sea, it just really wants you to know which Manchester the film is set in. “Is it the Manchester by the forest? Is it the Manchester in the mountains? Is it the Manchester in Iowa?” No damn it. It is the Manchester by the sea!

And this is presumably a Casey by the sea!

Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is a seemingly miserable prick. He lives alone, works a basic janitorial job for a complex and deals with shitty tenants, and sometimes he is shitty in return. He just wants to drink and forget his worries. And this is how he was before his brother (Kyle Chandler) died.

Lee has to head up to his hometown of Manchester to help deal with the aftermath. Funeral arrangements, will stuff, and checking on the kid, Lee’s nephew, Patrick (Lucas Hedges). Lee has a problem in Manchester, something that happened in his past that the locals talk about and spread rumors. And nope, you aren’t getting that spoiler in this review.

Needless to say, Lee wants this whole thing to get finished as soon as possible so he can get back to his new life and out of this town. And then he finds out his brother left him as the guardian of Patrick, not their uncle like they talked about. This will also shake up Lee’s life, forcing him to either dump the kid off with a friend or worse, Patrick’s mom (Gretchen Mol) who was a trainwreck throughout his youth.

Or, strange as it may seem, maybe just movie back to his old town and be this guy’s guardian?

Also starring Michelle Williams as Lee’s ex-wife, Tom Kemp, Anna Baryshnikov, Kara Hayward, C.J. Wilson, and Matthew Broderick.

Selling A Boat
If you look close you can see them in a boat. A boat ON the sea.

All I wanted to do was see some realistic acting and maybe cry a little bit. Instead, I got fantastic and realistic acting, and bawling my eyes out.

Thankfully the film reveals what happened in Lee’s past about halfway through the film, and the moment and scene really got to me in the theater. I felt horrible and I was forced to imagine how it would affect my own life. Even after the flashbacks were over, I then had to consider every scene of the film from that point forward in relation to Lee’s past. Normally regular dramatic scenes became sadder from this knowledge and the cries came intermittently.

In the final conversation between Affleck and Williams you would be hard pressed to find a viewer who doesn’t become emotional as a result. They bring so much into their characters. Affleck of course, being the main character, and it is expected, but I was surprised at how much pain I felt with Williams who had significantly less screen time.

The film wasn’t just sad, but it was awkward. There were awkward situations/reunions, uncomfortable conversations about death, and it was a funny film. That’s right, laughter, I laughed about as much as I had cried. I officially classified this as a drama/dark comedy, but honestly it could still be considered just a regular comedy. The balance between the two was extremely precise in this film that it really fits both molds.

Other notes: The setting was gorgeous, the cameras were well placed, the actors and people involved all felt like they belonged. This was a snapshot on a community as much as it was on a single person. Affleck will most likely be nominated for an award for the film, and hopefully Williams for Supporting Actress. I still haven’t seen all the potential contenders to know if anyone will actually win though. Affleck just continues to impress with every film he is in.

Also, there are accents. Accents!

4 out of 4.

Triple 9

Say what you will about Triple 9‘s vague title, but I think we can all agree that it is a better title than just 999.

This is one of the rare fun times where I actually know nothing about the film outside of movie posters and actors involved! But the director is John Hillcoat, who also directed Lawless and The Road, two films I adore.

And the cover gives a nice terrorist/angry gunman feel to it. A bit dark, something that feels more like a September film, not a February film.

Some rumors say this is actually the real True Detective Season 2.

Michael Atwood (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his group (Norman Reedus, Aaron Paul, Anthony Mackie, Clifton Collins Jr.) are robbing a bank. Why? Well, working for a client. They are all friends, but more importantly, they are all ex-military, special forces, or cops. Current cops.

So they know how to get shit done. However, when they deliver the package to Irina Vlaslov (Kate Winslet), they don’t get paid, she demands a second, harder job (for more money), and also ends up killing one of the crew to shows he is serious. Michael can’t walk away, because his son is basically a hostage in this situation.

However, the second job involves breaking into a Department of Homeland Security building. They have guards, private security, and the cops have it on speed dial. So they decide that the only way they can pull off the heist is to do a code 999. Kill a cop. Then everyone in the area will report, because every cop wants to get a cop killer. They know who to pick too. Chris Allen (Casey Affleck), who is one of their new partners, just transferred over, and the son of Sergeant Detective Jeffrey Allen (Woody Harrelson) who is also on their case.

But can they do it? The team is a unique group of individuals. Some are shit, some are good guys deep down in bad circumstances, and some are just train wrecks.

Also starring Gal Gadot, Teresa Palmer, E. Roger Mitchell, Luis Da Silva Jr., Michelle Ang, and Michael Kenneth Williams a transgendered prostitute.

That last note is really all the reason you need to see this film. Even if it is just one scene.

First of all, let me just talk about Kate Winslet. She is a goddamn chameleon. I had no idea it was her in this movie. Just like I had no idea it was her in Steve Jobs. Her role wasn’t as good as it was in Steve Jobs, but it was unique and I just couldn’t tell it was her at all. I love these surprises in the credits.

Triple 9 has a lot of twists and turns, and honestly, most of them were not easy to predict at all. It was keeping me on the edge of the seat throughout the film. In fact, it begins like we are already in the middle of a story. It can take awhile to catch up, but it gradually gives you bits and pieces to help put the whole story together, to find out why these men know each other and why they are in this situation.

It is a great way of doing things, but it is perhaps its biggest downfall.

Triple 9 is also a crowded film. There are a few plot lines going on, all at the same time, and not everything makes sense. Not just unexplained plot points, but character actions. For the life of me, I don’t understand how a criminal organization, wanting an almost impossible job to be done, would kill one of the five member crew before hand to show they are serious, making it even more impossible. Dumb criminals are the worst, especially when on screen they are played off as being intelligent and calculating.

Harrelson was also disappointing in this movie. His character felt like a shit version of his character from True Blood. Less accent, but all the self destructive behavior. There was no way this man was the lead detective for any precinct, as he acted like some beat cop the whole time.

The action is great, the twists are good, but in all honesty a lot of the plot is generic/incomprehensible. Worth watching at least once, just from the comfort of your own home.

2 out of 4.

The Finest Hours

I am pining (Pine-ing, if you will) for a conspiracy here, so hold on to your butts, let’s see what I can do.

Chris Pine is a weird guy. He does a lot of weird movies. Did you see Stretch? You should go see Stretch. At the same time he is a bit of a Hollywood pretty boy, so Disney wanted to get him in some of his movies.

They got him a small role as a Prince to make him feel important in Into The Woods, offering him the lead roles in future movies. Which brings us to The Finest Hours. I guess I am teasing a bit, because, I won’t get to the point of this intro until after the second picture.

Pine Face
Chris Pine-spiracy.

This is one of those Disney true story period dramas that they do quite often, and half the time in Sports. So they picked a 1950’s Ship Disaster, where two large Oil Tankers near Massachustes were ripped in half during the same storm. And during this same storm, the local Coast Guards had to attempt to save the lives of as many people as possible.

Our hero is 23 or 24 year old Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), a guy who grew up in a small town near Cape Cod and who has been sailing most of his life. So he joined the Coast Guard to save lives. There was a big storm the year prior where he was unable to do that and it has haunted him. So it comes to no surprise that he is willing to risk his life to go out into a bigger storm to do it again. His commanding officer (Eric Bana) isn’t from the area and is inept, meaning that he shouldn’t have sent out anyone due to the waves and the shifting bar. But then we wouldn’t have a movie.

Webber and his crew (Ben Foster, Kyle Gallner, John Magaro) take a small 32 foot boat to find the half of an oil tanker that is apparently a few miles off the shore. They don’t have an exact location, it is night time, and of course en route they also lose radio communication and their compass.

Meanwhile, on the ship itself, it is a giant vessel, in half, floating throughout the big waves. The crew consists entirely of workers, with the captain and “real leaders” being on the other half and totally dead. The de facto leader goes to Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) a quiet type who runs the bottom of the boat. I am sure there is a real name there. He has to stop the crew from trying to mutiny and turn on each other, while also have them attempt the possible: to steer half of the ship to a shoal or a beach somewhere so they can maybe get rescued. They do this with the constant flooding and fear their engine/power will go out, which means no lights on their boat and no whistle to call for help.

The crew is made up of over 30 men, including Graham McTavish, Michael Raymond-James, Abraham Benrubi, Josh Stewart, John Ortiz and Keiynan Lonsdale.

Also featuring Holliday Grainger as Webber’s new fiance to give us that love interest and pseudo Interstellar moment, and Matthew Maher, aka the Holy Bartender from Dogma, with a sizable role as angry tow truck driver.

And dozens of extras who only grunt and scream and work. Dozens!

Back to the beginning. Disney wanted to woo Chris Pine because they wanted him to be a superhero in the Marvel movies. It makes sense. He is a big actor, in Star Trek and all. So they offered him a gritty-ish historical film to woo him hardcore and play to his interests. But Pine was sleeping around. Pine is now signed on to play a role in the Wonder Woman! Sure actors have played both sides of the field, but not since it has gotten to its current big status. So, thinking that Pine has made his decision, they decided to make The Finest Hours not as great as it should have been. They don’t care about a flop. They have Star Wars money.

For a film with a lot of issues, I feel I need to mention to best parts first. Casey Affleck was wonderful in this movie. His character was unique and had a consistent personality and was a great watch. Well done Affleck! McTavish also did a good job of grizzled pseudo-assistant.

The rest of the film? Well, first of all, it probably should have had permanent subtitles throughout. We have accents all over the place, so many characters require a bit of a stretch to figure out their words. Add on a loud angry storm, with people trying to yell things, and shit. Half the movie feels almost inaudible.

The next sense that is betrayed have to be your eyes. The entire film is mostly ugly on the color scale. It is grey, dark grey, and occasionally white, but usually grey white also. An already dark movie is made worse with 3D, adding to the overall darkness. And yes, as you might have fussed, the 3D adds absolutely nothing to the film, making it an unnecessary hindrance. Every single wave looks fake, so it is hard to really get drawn into any of the tension. I spent good chunks figuring out where the green screens were and how much of the water was actually real.

I don’t think anyone is real in this picture.

As for the actual plot itself, the romance, despite real, feels incredibly shoe horned. They realized they made a very man focused film, so only one woman, a fiance, has any real screen time and has to do everything as a result. We have to see her be strong and do things that were unheard of at the time for women. Showing great women is movies is a good trend, but not if it is badly done and at the detriment of the film. Not every film has to have it.

These scenes just made the rescue more drawn out every time they cut away from the two groups. And the intro of the movie is entirely about their romance, which also feels overly long, while also not allowing the audience to feel emotionally connected to either of them.

As a final moment of disappointment, a big advertising/selling point of this film is that there were 32 survivors on the boat and the rescue boat was small with only room for 12. They made it seem like there would be a nice moral/ethical dilemma once the boat was found. In reality, it was entirely ignored and the issue was solved by just fitting everyone on the boat quite easily. More great potential suspense floundered.

The true story of The Finest Hours is great. It could have been a very inspirational tale. But it was filled with cheese and shoddily made, giving what feels like a half-assed feel good film.

1 out of 4.


The Interstellar hype train is so hot right now, you could light a candle off of its ass. That might not make a lot of sense, but it sounds like something Matthew McConaughey could say really sweet in his voice, so I ran with it.

But seriously. Christopher Nolan is one of the more well liked directors today. The movie has had wonderful trailers. It has the capability of being as beautiful as last years Gravity, especially in an IMAX 3D setting.

But wait. Controversy! It turns out Nolan doesn’t like the fancy IMAX digital camera nonsense. No, that man likes himself good old fashioned film and filmed a lot of movie that way. Most filmmakers prefer digital cameras, as they are actually cheaper and easier to get 3D/CGI stuff with them. But a few others think that digital film making makes the movie lose a certain artistic touch.

So it turns out Nolan has released his film in two ways. In an actual film reel, which a lot of theaters have gone away with, and digitally. Not only can you watch the film in 35 MM like normal, but he also has a 70 MM version meant for IMAX screens. Nolan wanted that reel touch to his movie, given some of the themes in it, so I can tell you the movie version I watched was film. Just didn’t get to see the film IMAX version.

Space People
Enough talk about specifications, let’s talk about space people!

This film is set in the future, where things are not looking so great. The Earth has gotten kind of pissy with the wastefulness of its citizens. Tech went too hard too fast and well, a lot of people died. Now most of their crops don’t work due to diseases, all they have left is corn.

In fact, some tech people are now looked down in disdain. They don’t need fighter pilots, they need farmers and mostly farmers. So NASA has been working in secret, looking for other planets to move to, because Earth kind of sucks. And it has been going poorly. But thanks to worm holes and higher tech, they have 3 planets to check out. They just need a sweet ass pilot.

Oh hey, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey). Now a good farmer, used to be a pilot and all, before the tech haters happened. And well, he is the only guy for the job. He is just going to be gone for a few years, not a high chance of survival, not a high chance of success either. Kind of intense odds. But he has to. But does he?

He does, after all, have family. A son and daughter (Mackenzie Foy, yes she is more important than brother enough to tag). Can he leave them behind? Or can he help save humanity?

Also starring a lot of people! Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, David Gyasi, and John Lithgow.

Oh sweet, and they go surfing. Every movie needs a surfing scene.

Intestellar, if anything, is definitely a visionary achievement. The scope is grand and intense with this movie. It is about 2 hours and 45 minutes long, leaving a lot of room for plot, exploration, and some hopefully good acting.

And there is some good acting! From McConaughey. And from Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain. And uhh. After that it seems to get a bit muddled from what I can tell. Because unfortunately, I had some issues with Interstellar too.

Without going into big details, the last 25 or 30 percent of the movie felt rushed, despite the long run time. The ending was full of explanations, almost pounding your head in the wall to make sure you understood things instead of letting the movie tell the story naturally. Some extremely awkwardly acted moments came out of no where. One conflict scene came near the end seemingly out of nowhere on Earth. A character died in the laziest and most “wat? really?” way possible.

Just a bunch of minor things that ruined a little bit this very very excellent film.

Now, these are the type of minor things that one can probably normally ignore, but only in that I saw so many of them, it just made it a bigger issue. It is a beautiful film, and probably even prettier in IMAX. It tackles some complex subjects in the science field and has nice allusions to the Dust Bowl. It was certainly entertaining. It just wasn’t perfect film for me.

3 out of 4.

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

Do I want to see a movie with Casey Affleck in it? Hell yes I want to see a movie with Casey Affleck in it.

Sure, I am one of the biggest Ben fanboys there are. But his brother has some acting chops. Did you see him in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford? If you didn’t, you are missing out on a long, but really well damn acted movie.

Either way, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is apparently a modern western of sorts. Set in the 1970s and Texas. So I will go in, expecting the best.

Getting Arrested
The best being, I dunno, a lot of gun shooting I guess. And crying.

Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck) is a trouble makin’, no good, so-and-so. He’s an outlaw, quick on the draw. But his lady, too, is outlawish. Ruth Guthrie (Rooney Mara). But she is pregnant, and wants them to get out of the job. Alright fine.

BUT NOT BEFORE A SHOOTOUT. In a house, bullets flying, and Ruth ends up killing a police officer. That is no good. So Bob claims the entire responsibility for the crime. Killing a cop isn’t an easy fix, so Bob is given a strict and long sentence, so he could protect his lady and soon to be child.

Well, many years later, Bob is sick of prison. He has tried to escape at least five times before, but at least the sixth time is finally successful. The rest of the people involved in the escape get caught quickly, but not Bob. He is on a mission. He wants to see his child for the first time, a girl, still a child, but has grown a lot over the last few years.

But he can’t just go straight home. No, that is where the cops expect him to be. Not to mention he made a lot of enemies in his outlawin’, so others are surely out to kill him. The only reason he escaped was to see his woman and child, so really, nothing is going to stand in his way. Also starring Ben Foster and Keith Carradine.

At this point, I think it is illegal for me to not mention/show great mustaches in reviews.

Well, if I came for just acting, this film didn’t disappoint. I was more amazed how much I liked Rooney Mara in this role, more than anything. I haven’t seen her ever try to play such a passive, wait around, old timey role before. Just a loving mother trying to survive. So that was cool.

Casey Affleck, like always, felt really genuine.

But man. The story. A nice idea. But seemed filled with a lot of silly nonsense after he escaped from jail. Just go to the house already! Develop some sort of ruse! Just do it!

That’s what I was yelling at the screen. I don’t dislike it for the character choices, I dislike it for the director making those characters make those choices.

It could not keep my interest after the first 30 minutes or so, and didn’t really seem worth it when I got to the end. Sad times on this end, oh well.

1 out of 4.

Out Of The Furnace

Out of the Furnace has the honor of being the only movie coming out this week, in a month that is typically packed to the brim with movies to take advantage of those holiday sales.

It also has the honor of making me think of the Meatloaf song, “Out of the Frying Pan,” so much that whenever I hear the film’s title, I can’t help but sing “And into the fire!” in my head.

This is an actual scene of the film, lollipop and all.

Russell Baze (Christian Bale) is your average factory worker living in Pennsylvania. He is a man who works for a living, a guy who will never be rich, but overall, a very caring and loving man. He has a lady (Zoe Saldana), a younger dumber brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) in the army, and his father is getting sick. But after a night of trying to do good and a few mistakes, Russell finds himself behind bars after a drunk driving accident.

Now, years later, his life has changed drastically. His father: dead. His woman: left him for a cop (Forest Whitaker). His brother: suffering from extreme PTSD after four tours in Iraq. Rodney is also deep in gambling debt and starting to take up illegal bare knuckle boxing to pay his debts. But when he gets involved with the Appalachian hill folk and their leader, Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson), his life is going to make a change for the worse.

It is up to Russell, a good man who hasn’t done a lot wrong in his life, to potentially give up his moral convictions, his good nature, and his innocence, in order to avenge or save his brother… You know, depends on what they do to his brother first.

Willem Dafoe is also in here as a small town loan shark, and Sam Shepard plays a family friend.

Here’s a hint. That gun is not for hunting. Okay, normally yes for hunting, but right now it isn’t. Shut up.

Out Of The Furnace might feature some of the better acting performances of the year. There is a scene with Bale and Saldana on a bridge and it absolutely tore my heart up. It was very unexpected and it felt incredibly real. This is the best performance for Affleck since The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. If it wasn’t for Harrelson’s goofy looking head, I wouldn’t have recognized him speech wise as the incredibly corrupt hill folk.

Unfortunately, the great acting is the only real thing I like from this movie.

It is definitely a slower moving film, as it wants to build up the fact that Russel is a great human and just trying to live his life. A lot of intense scenes involving others are spliced with Russel hunting and working, just to show how un-extreme his life is. In fact, the movie goes to incredibly lengths to make that point during the ending, which seems to drag on forever. On top of that, the ending almost feels a bit dreamlike, including an ambiguous final scene that I am unsure of its purpose.

I believe this film has a lot of symbolism incorporated within it, but potentially too much symbolism, and not enough entertainment.

Fantastic acting, a good idea for a story, but just a dull way to deliver that story.


2 out of 4.

Gone Baby Gone

I feel like a bad Ben Affleck fan. Here I am, talking about his greatness, despite having finally seen Pearl Harbor, but I have not seen a third of the movies he has directed. That means the first movie he directed, Gone Baby Gone. I might not have really known it existed. Whoops. Of course he has his brother in it, but it is nice to know his first work that lead up to Argo, right?

Damn straight. Forgive me Affleck Fans 4 Lyfe, my former Myspace group that I was in. I have redeemed myself in your eyes I hope.

But maybe not in the eyes of Ben’s brother.

Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) is a private investigator, with his long term serious girlfriend Angie (Michelle Monaghan). On the news, there is a story of Helene (Amy Ryan) who’s child has been abducted, and she is pleading for the police to find her quickly! The police chief (Morgan Freeman) is super sympathetic to the cause, because he has lost a child himself, and has made child protection his number one goal as head of the department.

The next day, Patrick and Angie get a visit from Beatrice (Amy Madigan), the sister of Helene, wanting to hire them to find the child. This is a special case, they do specialize in finding missing people, but that means people on the run, not people who have been kidnapped. The last thing they want to do is find the child in a ditch somewhere, kind of ruins the mood. Eventually, they agree to help Beatrice, Helene, and Beatrice’s husband Lionel (Titus Welliver), while also trying to not get in the way or ruin the police investigation at the same time.

What follows is the dark paths their investigation take them on, the reprecussions that follow, and the many months of aftermath of uncertainty and grieving. You know, without giving too much away. Ed Harris and John Ashton play cop guys, and Michael Kenneth Williams is of course a drug dealer.

Gone Baby Blloooood

To fully enjoy Gone Baby Gone, you definitely can’t multi task through it. There is a lot going on in this thriller, with many layers of information coming in at different rates. But it is also not your typical mystery to figure out the ending, because it is actually the last thought on your mind while watching it.

Nay, loyal readers, the main point of this is the characters themselves, and their lives as they are all affected by this simple child abduction story.

But then again, personally, I did think it was going a bit slow early on, after they agreed to take the case. You know, because clues are hard to find then. I just didn’t expect so much of the movie to take place after the case had been “solved”. Solved in quotation marks can mean lots of things, so stop guessing!

Either way, it is a well acted drama/crime movie, I just think it could have been a little bit more entertaining (or quicker?) with certain developments.

3 out of 4.