For my money, Ben Affleck
is one of the best directors in Hollywood with two outstanding films
already to his credit, The Town, 2010, and Gone Baby Gone,
2007. Although Affleck did not write the script, this still qualifies as
an auteur performance because in addition to directing, he also stars
and coproduces. Everything about this film is high quality, a multiple
Oscars® candidate. The end credits are worth sitting through to see
pictures of the real-life people who lived through this ordeal alongside
the actors playing them. The similarity in looks is remarkable, which is
why I'm, well, remarking.
(7/10): Seeming to channel
reincarnation, at almost three hours this neo-epic but convoluted film
telling six separate tales is too long and, in the end, too preachy. I
felt like I should get a T-shirt that said, "I survived Cloud Atlas."
But the acting by the A-list cast is impressive, as are the
cinematography, the pace, and cutting back and forth from one time frame
to another. Unfortunately, the movie does not make the years of the six
episodes, all of whom contain the same actors, clear.
(7/10): Not up to the
original, but despite some pretty ludicrous plot holes it is still
adequately tense to be entertaining. Among its deficiencies are a gun
straight out of the old Republic Studios western prop shop that never
needs reloading, villains who are not sufficiently hateful, and Liam
Neeson's supernatural ability to find a needle in a haystack time and
(5/10): To give this
time-warp film credit it is ingenious, but entirely too cold-bloodedly
violent. Recent movies paint the future as dark and depressing. While
Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt give fine performances, the film
really comes alive when Emily Blunt appears halfway through. There are
some interesting dialogues, especially those between Joseph now and
Joseph from the future. Paul Dano makes a short but effective
(1/10): This is a trashy
movie about trashy people, a movie that basically disdains its plot in
order to concentrate on its characters, characters so devoid of good
sense and morality that nobody sitting in a theater could possibly have
any empathy for any of them. Making the film even less enjoyable is a
disgustingly graphic scene in which both Nicole Kidman and John Cusack
Fun Size (1/10):
The good news about this film aimed
at an age level of about 4-14 is that it's only 96 minutes long. The bad
news is that it is 96 minutes long.
the Boom (0/10):
Advertised as a "Kevin James comedy," I didn't see anything funny.
Misguidedly aimed at children, it consists mostly of violence, James
engaging in the brutal Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), an extreme version of
boxing with few rules. This is particularly inappropriate for
impressionable children. While the film seems to have a good moral, a
man who risks life and limb for the good of his students, it glorifies
the vicious fighting in MMA. In fact the final dénouement consists of 10
to 15 minutes of brutal fighting in which James, after being battered to
semi-consciousness, comes back to fight viciously, inspiring people in
the audience, including his girlfriend, Selma Hayek, and his youthful
students, to act like bloodthirsty Romans in the Colosseum 2 millennia
ago, yelling for James to pulverize his opponent, apparently giving
little value to the fact that his opponent was, after all, a fellow
human being subjected to an unmerciful, vicious, graphic beating.
reviews at www.tonymedley.com.