Salutations applications and welcome to a new episode of the Awesome Friday Podcast! This week we’re taking a closer look at two new films: First, director Adrian Lyne’s new film Deep Water starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas, recently released on Amazon Prime here in Canada and Hulu in the US, followed by Richard Linklater’s latest animated nostalgia piece, Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood.
We are fast approaching the date when the Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be a legitimate thing in the world, we’ll have a four hour movie to watch, and baat-fans the world over will gloat at how awesome it is even if it isn’t. What a time to be alive!
Today we’re going to take a closer look at the new trailer for the Snyder Cut, and we’re going to do it with nearly 80 high res frame captures.
Warner Bros. had a lot to say at their Time Warner investors meeting today, and most of it was “YOU WANT MOVIES? I’LL SHOW YOU MOVIES!” CEO Kevin Tsujihara gave us a timeline of what Warner Bros. will be working on over the next 6 years. Buckle up (and maybe submit a resume), because it’s one hell of a breakneck pace they’re working with. One that’s not going to leave much room for error, and I would assume means we won’t be seeing Ben Affleck direct movies for a little while. And that isn’t the only thing we won’t be seeing. Continue reading “Warner Brothers’ 2020 Vision – Harry Potter & LEGO Trilogies and a Justice League Ten Pack”
The most surefire way to make me tune out a book’s pitch is to include the words “marriage” or “mother”. Which is partially why I never bothered picking up Gone Girl, the novel by Gillian Flynn released in 2012. The other is that almost as soon as I became aware of the book I found out it would be adapted for the screen starring Ben Affleck and directed by David Fincher. Fincher has been one of my favourite directors since Se7en(1995) so I knew I would be seeing the movie. Over the past five years I’ve made a concerted effort to go into the movies by my favourite filmmakers knowing as little as possible about them. I cut myself off at one trailer, if that, and never listen to any interviews. It can be really difficult, especially for a project like this that was a book for 2 years before the movie was released and many people feel that spoilers are fair game.
But I made it. I waited all the way until the second day of opening weekend and the only thing I knew going into it was that Ben Affleck shows his penis.
Speaking of Ben Affleck, before he takes on Man of Steel 2, the man himself will go back to the directors chair. Good news is he’s directing the pilot for and executive producing a Boston set crime drama. Bad news is it’s for Fox.
Soooo the majority of the internet seems to have lost its mind over the thought of Ben Affleck being cast as Batman. “He’s too likeable” people are saying. “He’s not gritty enough” people are saying. “He doesn’t look the part” people are saying. “He’s not a very good actor” people are saying. “He’s just wrong” people are saying.
You know what? You’re all wrong about all of these things and here’s why.
Hot on the heels that Warner are following up *Man Of Steel* with *Batman vs. Superman*, and that they were taking their story cues from the excellent *The Dark Knight Returns* graphic novel by Frank Miller, and that they were rumoured to be auditioning older actors to play a Dark Knight who would convey the deep hatred of Supes’ red, white and blue sensibilities, they announced today that they’ve decided to go with…Ben Affleck.
He of *Daredevil* and *Gigli* fame, who by all accounts is a very nice man, will be donning the cowl and gravelly voice to follow in Christian Bale’s booted footsteps.
I’m kind of hoping it’s a ridiculously convoluted hoax at this point. There’s no denying that Affleck can shine with the right material, but I think casting him as Batman is a terrible decision. At least we know that Warner aren’t going to try and replicate the deep relationships between the two that was the whole backbone of *TDKR* – this is going to be an effects-heavy cashgrab with some kind of last-minute voodoo magic ensuring that Batman isn’t flicked into the sun within the first 8 milliseconds of their fight.
With all this hoopla about the Super Bowl I forgot to talk about the Directors Guild Awards. The big winner this year is _Argo_ director Ben Affleck. So far he and his film have locked up Best Picture _and_ Director at the Golden Globes, Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards, Best Picture at the Producers Guild Awards. So yeah, the Oscar is pretty much Argo’s to lose at this point but bear in mind that while the film itself is up for Best Picture at the Oscars Affleck isn’t up for Best Director.
Rian Johnson, that of Looper (one of our favourite films here at the Awesome Friday HQ) also won an award in the dramatic series category for directing an episode of Breaking Bad. Which is kind of awesome. It’s the second time he’s directed an episode of Breaking Bad and only the second time he has directed something he didn’t write. I just hope he makes another film soon so he can win for that.
Also severely awesome, Lena Dunham won for directing the pilot episode of her fantastic series _Girls_. We haven’t talked about Girls much around here but we really should. It’s a great series, and one that feels both raw and honest about being young, living in the city, and figuring your shit out. Lena Dunham is the creator and head writer and producer and she’s well deserving of all the accolades she keeps receiving for it.
[You can check out the full list of winners at the DGA Website](http://www.dga.org/Awards/Annual.aspx).
I was meant to have seen a new movie this week but I’m on vacation and things got out of hand so I did not (yet).
Because I’m on vacation though I have seen a boat load of movies and thought I’d briefly talk about some of the ones I have seen, specifically the three I watched which are nominated for best picture at this years Oscars.
### Les Misérables
I can see why Les Misérables is nominated for all the awards. It’s a big budget production of one of the most beloved musicals of all time. Hugh Jackman is great and Anne Hathaway is amazing as Fantine and they are both deserving of their actings nominations. The entire cast is pretty great in point of fact, with the debatable exception of Russell Crowe who while he isn’t bad does appear a bit uncomfortable throughout. Maybe that makes sense for Javert but it didn’t sit right with me.
Where the film fails for me is the directing. Sure, the film looks pretty amazing and to be honest I really like the live singing aspect –if you hadn’t heard already, everyone sang their parts live on set rather than lip syncing pre-recorded performances– as it means they had more leeway to actually act out their performances rather than match what they did before. However, a great deal of the film is shot in closeup on the performers face.
I dreamed a dream, in particular, a song that would do well by some staging/movement, is filmed with Anne Hathaway just sitting there belting it out with the camera pointed at her face. Valjean’s Soliloquy is a little better in that he gets the move around but the camera is locked on his face and he’s looking _right at the camera_ the entire time so you don’t really get to see any of what’s going on other than his lips moving.
I think I get what director Tom Hooper was going for, trying to make it intimate, however in the end it’s weird to think that a musical with such grandiose songs is filmed in such a small way and to be honest I don’t think it really works.
**Conclusion:** See it. It’s worth seeing just for the singing. Oscar is Anne Hathaway’s to lose at this point, and while I respect it’s nomination for best picture I don’t think it should win. Tom Hooper isn’t nominated for best director and I am fine with that.
I like stories about heroism, but what I love about Argo is that it’s such a quiet story about heroism. No epic gun fights, no explosions, no car chases, just the constant threat of being caught.
Ben Affleck directs and stars as Tony Mendez, the man who orchestrated the rescue of 6 diplomatic officers in hiding in 1979 revolutionary Iran. The idea is to get them out by claiming they are a film crew scouting exotic locations for a Star Wars rip off called Argo.
The story is brilliant from start to finish. It mixes just the right amount of humour into the dramatic script, mostly supplied by Alan Arkin as the hollywood producer recruited to help sell the idea of the fake movie to the public.
Arkin is gold here, it’s the type of role he excels at playing. He’s nominated for an Oscar and it’s well deserved.
Affleck himself is good too, playing Mendez very reservedly, reflecting a man under stress from being responsible for these peoples lives but also going through a separation and trying to maintain a relationship with his kid.
I happen to think that Affleck is a great director as well. Yes, he’s made a lot of better acting choices lately but this is his their feature film and the third time he’s hit it out of the park.
I love spy films, but in particular a spy film that’s executed in such a way to be entirely believable with real stress and peril for the characters (even when you know how it ends) is a difficult thing to pull off.
**Conclusion:** Must see. Irksome that Affleck, who already won a Golden Globe for directing this, isn’t nominated for the Oscar. Make no mistake, this is a much better film that the one I’m about to talk about.
### Silver Linings Playbook
Silver Linings Playbook is a good movie. Maybe even a great one, and i can see why so many people are connecting with it. It’s a fantasy story, that’s why.
This is a movie that for 2 whole acts shows us characters with real problems and then in the third act everyone lives happily ever after and everything s fine and all the problems seem to be gone.
Jennifer Lawrence is an amazing actress and I’m going to say right now that she deserves the Golden Golden Globe she won and the Oscar I think she will win, but this is a role tailor made to win Oscars, the slightly crazy receiving sex addict “bird with a broken wing who is just quirky enough to counteract the male leads crazy” character. Hell, it might be more tailor made than the “prostitute with a heart of gold struggling to support her child in a situation that grows ever more dire with each frame that passes” that Anne Hathaway gets to play as Fantine.
Well, maybe not, but she’s still amazing and Bradley Cooper and Robert de Niro both stand out as well. Make no mistake, they all acted the shit out of this.
It’s just that the third act is both entirely predictable and doesn’t really jive with the rest of the movie for me. It devolves from something interesting into a series of movie cliches. There is literally a point in this movie where I could have turned it off because I knew everything else that was going to happen.
I can see why people connect with this movie, but I don’t see why it’s nominated for best picture of the year.
**Conclusion:** Definitely see it. Worth it for Jennifer Lawrence alone even if her character is unbelievable. Just maybe don’t expect it to be as good as everyone told you it is.
### Wrapping up
I’ve seen almost all the best picture nominees now and am starting to have a better idea what I think should win. More on that closer to the date in question. In the mean time, what did you guys think of these three films? Are they worthy of the nomination? Did any performances stand out? Comment below!