The Town, 2010
Dir: Ben Affleck
So it was beyond me to completely ignore this Beantown flick once the "great" reviews started coming out, and I couldn't just call my brother on the phone and yell, "I'm puttin' this whole town in my rear-view!" So you watch the film, and it's completely understandable why people are so impressed (though the great camerawork raves seem a bit bloated; it does get caught in that floaty, shaky, I-can't-see-what-the-fuck-is-happening nonsense that modern action films like to equate with a visceral experience). Affleck is putting a stamp on Hollywood with his own films that will let him continue to work as a director. The closest thing that I could think of while watching it was Michael Mann. Like Mann, Affleck likes to reveal character through action, but he also can't help but throw in some "actor's moments," and I wasn't that surprised that he wrote the most for himself. And in that respect, he's sort of like a less sentimental (or vomit-inducing) Clint Eastwood, which I'm sure the studios will try to mold him into. All of the action is cool, you know, and learning the mechanization of Boston bank robbing (even in movie terms) was interesting, but that's just trimming. The characters are poorly written, and there's nothing Rebecca Hall can do about the fact that her's is unidimensional. There's some good acting in it (Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively in a Marisa Tomei sort of role, Jon Hamm braking free from Don Draper), but this happens in spite of the script. Ben Affleck seems to know his way around with a camera now (the look of the film is pretty intentional), but given the Oscar, we'd expect he'd know his way around with a pen as well.