Archives for posts with tag: Ben Affleck

Grade B-

Knowing that more metahumans and assorted superpowered creatures will be coming to Earth with a bad attitude, Batman (played by Ben Affleck), recruits other metahumans (Gal Gadot as Wonderwoman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as the Flash, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg) to form a league to combat all the incoming super bad dudes out there.  Affleck’s problem is that some of the metahumans in his wish list don’t want to join, and they all still have to learn how to fight as a unit.

And then comes Steppenwolf, a super bad guy who has been alive way before the invention of toilet paper, always in a pissy mood and wants to control everything he sees.  He is in search of three special boxes that will give him more power to accomplish his goals.  But the “Justice League” is there to do their best to put a wrench in Steppenwolf’s hostile takeover machine.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Justice League” is the scene when Momoa didn’t know he was sitting on Gadot’s truth lasso, and he just started spewing funny and insulting comments about his League members.   The best joke was on Affleck.

Grade B-…not bad for a movie, right?  Well, for a $300 million movie (plus the costs of advertising and distribution) it’s a failure.  For one thing, there were too many cooks in the kitchen.  With two directors working on this movie at different times, you just know certain things aren’t going to mix well.   Then there was the mandate that the movie should be about two hours long.  Hmmm…a movie that has to tell the origins of Steppenwolf, plus Aquaman, plus Cyborg, plus The Flash, plus show how Affleck gets all his people together, plus that whole thing with raising Superman from the dead and how he was going to deal with it and how the world and the League will deal with him…all that in two hours?   Studio executives…please stop taking cocaine/Vicodin/alcohol when you make decisions about a movie.  Two hours were definitely not enough to tell this story well, and it shows.

Then there are the shenanigans, such as Wonder Woman being fast enough to deflect bullets from an automatic weapon, yet where the hell was all that speed when she fought Steppenwolf?  Then you have The Flash who is supposed to be extremely fast (some sources say about the speed of light, which is 186,000 miles per second); but he is getting his ass handed to him a few times by the bad guys who have normal speed.  The same with Superman (played by Henry Cavill): he is now extremely fast and should be able to kill Steppenwolf’s minions by the thousands in a few seconds, but can’t.   Suspension of disbelief doesn’t mean the audience will forgive poor screenwriting and numerous logical flaws in the story.

Problems, problems; but $300 million does buy a lot of eye candy.  For those who want to be dazzled and entertained, this movie may do it for you.  Just don’t expect too much substance, or sense.

— M

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Grade A

Manny’s Movie Musings: the theatrical cut has already been reviewed by me, so this is just a supplementary.  The Ultimate Edition of “B v S” adds over 30 minutes of footage to the theatrical cut, giving the movie more depth and answering some questions which many viewers had the first time around.  Questions such as why did the black villager blame Superman for the dozens of deaths in her village in Africa; and why Superman couldn’t see the bomb that was hidden in the motorized wheelchair.  Bottom line, a movie which I thought was good has become better with Snyder’s cut; and it’s good enough for me to buy it on Blu-ray disc when the price is right.

— M

Grade B

In the realm of comic book characters, no match-up is more famous and argued over than Batman versus Superman.  Director Zack Snyder’s interpretation of this fight between two of the most famous comic book heroes is…good.  That’s a compliment, right?  Sort of.  For a movie that costs about $250 million (plus the cost of film prints and the shipping of these prints, and advertising expenses), this had better be a great movie.  So in one sense, it is a success because it made a lot of money — and will continue to do so — but in another sense it is a failure because it didn’t live up to its hype nor potential.

With a running time of about 2 1/2 hours, much is crammed into this movie — way too much, actually.  I’ll give you a quick rundown on this bloated movie.  The “introduction” of Superman (played by Henry Cavill) is a rehash of the ending of “Man Of Steel,” where Metropolis undergoes a severe renovation thanks to Cavill’s fight with General Zod and his henchmen and one henchwoman.  Of course, mere mortals die by the thousands.  Ben Affleck, who plays Batman, sees the destruction and deaths firsthand; and from that moment on, he sees Cavill as an alien who is too powerful and cannot be trusted to use his powers always for good.   Thus starts Affleck’s plan to fight and kill Cavill before Cavill has the chance to destroy Earth should he have a bad day.  Oh, and there’s the story about Wonderwoman, a weird version of Lex Luthor which was like a mix of The Joker/The Riddler, a mutant abomination called Doomsday, etc., etc.  As I said, bloated.

But “Batman v Superman” does deliver on the goods, which is the fight between these heroes.  Loosely adapted from the mini-series comic books “The Dark Knight Returns,” the fight between Affleck and Cavill is amazing, and will surely have every comic book fan of Batman and Superman salivating and grinning.  It’s the rest of the movie that has audiences sharply divided: half say it was boring and nonsensical, the other half say it was good, albeit far from perfect.

What do I say?  Yes, many parts of this movie was slow, but I never found it boring.  They were needed to tell the story, to build up the characters and their motivations.  In fact, scenes that showed Affleck’s and Cavill’s human side (the best and worst parts of us) were some of my favorite scenes.  It’s how “B v S” made me feel that was the most important to me; and this movie made me feel the anger, sadness, jealousy, rage, confusion, fear, love, friendship, trust, and hope that the characters in “B v S” felt.  This is the true appeal of this movie, because without it, we just have two guys hitting each other while wearing outfits that would look fabulous in a gay pride parade.

Third place for my memorable moments category of this movie is the scene when Wonderwoman (played by Gal Gadot) looks at files of “metahumans” and sees Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg.  Justice League, here we come!

Second place for my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Cavill and Affleck finally start their fight with each other.  Unfortunately, it starts off comically as Cavill taps Affleck and Affleck gets thrown like a beetle getting flicked by someone’s finger.

First place for my memorable, movie moments of “Batman v Superman” is **SPOILER ALERT** the scene when Batman is about to kill Superman with a kryptonite pointed spear.  Superman, barely able to talk, begs Batman to save Martha, Martha being Superman’s mother.  Batman thinks Superman is referring to Martha Wayne, who is Batman’s dead mother.  When Batman finally realizes whom Superman is speaking of, he sees the human side of Superman.  Instead of viewing him as a dangerous alien, Batman now sees Superman as a good son desperate to save his mom, the way Batman always wished he could save his mom — and dad — from that tragic night when he was a boy.  And just like that, the Dawn of Justice begins.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” has its flaws, yes; but the emotional points of the movie hit hard and true.  And the fight between Batman and Superman…that glorious fight that comic book fans have only seen in cartoons and comics…it is a dream come true.

— M

A husband (Ben Affleck) in a failing marriage leaves his home one morning and comes back to a house that shows signs of a struggle…and no wife (Rosamund Pike).  Of course, in cases such as this, the husband is always a suspect.  Affleck is given the benefit of the doubt — for the most part — until one thing after another comes to light that keeps pointing the finger at him.  Time is quickly running out for Affleck, who insists he had nothing to do with Pike’s disappearance; but his neighbors, his in-laws, the reporters, and the police are already lighting their torches and sharpening their pitchforks.

We see two sides of the story.  Affleck’s side, where he is the caring husband who would never harm Pike; and Pike’s side — through flashbacks and her diary — where she is a victim of an abusive husband who wants out of his marriage in any way.  It’s good fun trying to figure out who is telling the truth; but the guessing game ends too quickly when halfway through the movie it is revealed what happened to Pike.

David Fincher does a great job directing “Gone Girl,” a study of a relationship that goes horribly wrong despite its romantic start.   Affleck does a good job portraying an average guy who is content to be average.  Neil Patrick Harris — NPH! — is great at playing the creepy, ex-lover of Pike.  But Pike steals the show as a complicated, creepy, highly intelligent woman who will do whatever is necessary to get what she wants.

Taking top honors for my most memorable, movie moment of “Gone Girl” is the scene when Pike has sex with NPH.   Shocking and graphic in more ways than you can imagine.

An honorable mention for my memorable moments of “Gone Girl” is *****SPOILER ALERT–do not read if you haven’t seen this movie****the scene when Pike comes back to Affleck, her clothes bloody, her wrists showing signs of being bound, reporters surrounding the couple; and Affleck whispers to Pike, “You f*$#ing bitch.”

“Gone Girl” does have its shenanigans, such as the scene when someone makes an anonymous call to the police about suspicious activity in Affleck’s sister’s woodshed.  Now, the call was made in another county, and it was done with a landline, and the police never bothered to track who made the call, or wondered how someone miles away could see suspicious activity in the woodshed?  At least have the caller press some buttons to hide the phone number.   Lazy screenwriting.

Even with the shenanigans, “Gone Girl” is a great suspense/thriller/mystery that had me hooked soon after the movie started.  People may complain that the mystery is solved too early in the movie; but what they don’t get is that “Gone Girl” is much more than a who done it flick.  As I stated, it’s about how a relationship starts, how things go off track, and what Affleck and Pike are willing to do to either sever the marriage or save it.

— M

 

Six Americans escape capture by Iranian thugs who invade the U.S. embassy in Iran.  Hiding out in the home of the Canadian Ambassador, The Six endure many days of fear and uncertainty as they wait for plans for their rescue.  Time is running out, because the Iranians are putting together shredded documents from the U.S. embassy in order to find out the identities of The Six.  The U.S. government, with the help of the Canadian government, implement an audacious plan to send a CIA agent (played by Ben Affleck) to Iran under the cover of being a producer of an upcoming movie called “Argo.”  Affleck is to go in pretending to scout locations for “Argo,” and meet with The Six to give them new identities as his Canadian film crew; and when the scoutings are done, Affleck and The Six will all take a flight out of Iran.

Sounds too outlandish to be true?   Well, it is true.  This really happened.

“Argo” is another good movie that Affleck has directed, showing us that the man has talents not only in acting and screenwriting, but also in directing.  “Argo” opens fast, and moves along at a quick pace that will keep your heart pumping beyond its normal rate for most of the movie.  And it is the pacing that stands out in this movie; and pacing is mostly due to direction and editing, so Affleck deserves a good amount of credit for that.

One of my most memorable movie moments of “Argo” is the scene when Affleck is wondering if one of The Six can be taught to be a director in a day.  John Goodman tells Affleck that he can teach a monkey to be a director in a day.  Ha ha!  Well, to be fair, yes, you can teach anyone to be a director in a day; but to be a good director?   That’s another thing.   Anyway, I like that little dig Affleck put in about directors.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Argo” is the opening sequence, when the front gate of the U.S. embassy in Iran is surrounded by a mob of angry Iranians.  The gate is soon breached, and the Iranian mob stream in.   U.S. soldiers — outnumbered and without hope of help coming — are told by their Commanding Officer not to kill any Iranian, or else the Iranians will kill everyone in the embassy.  The soldiers are to hold off the mob without using deadly force for as long as possible so that the U.S. embassy has time to shred important documents.  This sequence is terrifying.  I started watching “Argo” late at night when I was sleepy, and after a couple of minutes I was fully awake.  Some movies grab your attention.  The opening of “Argo” grabs you by the throat.

Fans of espionage movies shouldn’t miss this movie.  So, put the “Argo” disc in your player, sit back and feel your blood pressure rise.

M

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