Batman vs Superman: the Dawn of Justice (2016) Film Review


The world of Metropolis is reeling from Superman’s battle against the bad guys in the last Superman film. Batman’s not happy with this and wants to stop Superman, and they’re unaware being controlled by the new and evil Lex Luthor. And then there is Wonder Woman?

Ok, I got really lost. I wasn’t sure what world we were in… was it after the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight films? No. But it was after the recent Superman? Yes. So, Superman lives in Metropolis? Yes. And Batman lives in Gotham? Yes. So, they are nearby? Apparently. How does Wonder Woman fit in? I’m still a little confused on that one.

I enjoyed the fighting and stuff. And I quite like Henry Cavill as Superman, and Amy Adams as Lois. Jesse Eisenberg was great as Lex Luthor – I think he was the highlight of the film for me. Ben Affleck as Batman? No, he didn’t work for me. Perhaps I could have enjoyed this more in a cinema, perhaps I would have followed the whole thing a lot better, but as it was I felt like it was a totally confusing mess.


Dogma (1999) Film Review


Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) works in an abortion clinic and is having issues with her Catholic faith. Then she is visited by Metatron (Alan Rickman), an angel sent from heaven to participate in a religious mission – to stop angels Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartleby (Ben Affleck) passing through a specific church door (that has been kind of opened so to speak by a local cardinal, played by the wonderful George Carlin). She’s being chased by a group of hocky playing skater kids/devils sent after them by Azrael (Jason Lee), and ends up accruing a gang of assistants; profits Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) and Jay (Jason Mewes), the thirteenth apostle, Rufus (Chris Rock) and Serendipity (Salma Hayek).

Kevin Smith ended up putting a clunky (though supposedly hilarious) disclaimer at the start, no doubt expecting a slew of criticism from a variety of different religious sections of society. As a non-religious person, but someone who grew up within a practicing family, I loved some of the concepts in this. Yes, I think Kevin Smith would have pissed off a lot of people with parts of this film, but why not? It’s a great yarn. Though I wish he’d let Silent Bob and Jay go – this film would have been much better without them, and I know it’s his thing, but still… And yes, I still think it was genius having Alanis Morissette playing God – certainly now it is a bit dated in that many folk may not recognise her, but I thought it was great.


Chasing Amy (1997) Film Review


Holden (Ben Affleck) and Banky (Jason Lee) put out a comic book together, and are doing the (very small compared to now) Comicon scene when they meet Amy (Joey Lauren Adams) through Hooper X (Dwight Ewell). Before long, they realise that Amy is a promiscuous lesbian, but she starts hanging out with Holden. (This for me is a big hole in the plot, because Holden comes across as a boring and morose tool and Amy is bouncy and full of life. Perhaps it is supposed to be chemistry, but while it is clear that Holden pines for Amy from an early stage, she seems to have zippo interest until he comes clean). Anyhow, they get together, but then Holden hears some rumours about some sexual escapades that Amy got up to in her past and he can’t cope with it. And, despite a very misguided and totally awkward attempt to resolve their issue, they split.

Getting past the lack of chemistry, I really liked this film. Actually, I really liked one part of the film, and that was that it addressed the double standards that many people still seem to hold about women and sex. That if a woman enjoys sex, if she has had multiple partners, if she has experimented with different things, that all of this is terrible. And this films says no, that’s not right. Stop treating women like this. (Of course, there’s only one significant women in the film… but is that an argument for another day? This is a film by a man about men dealing with men’s feelings – should there be more of an attempt to deal with women other than a hysterical (although totally awesome in all it’s realistic hysteria) rant in the rain? (Actually, was it raining? I just feel like it was) Still.)

It was directed by Kevin Smith who does seem to have respect for women and the concept of allowing them to make choices about their lives that don’t have to be judged. I may be mostly twenty years too late, but I may be getting on the Kevin Smith bandwagon.



Pearl Harbor (2001) Film Review


Rafe (Ben Affleck) and Danny (Josh Hartnett) were best mates through childhood, and ended up fighter pilots together in the US military. Rafe met a nurse, Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale) and fell in love, but then went to Europe to fight for the allies. It seemed he was dead, then Evelyn fell in love with Danny. But, Rafe turns up and things get bit awkward. Luckily, before anyone has to deal with their feelings, the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and everyone is a bit busy. At the end of the attack, heaps of people are dead, but not Danny, Rafe or Evelyn. So they still need to deal with their issues. But then there is more.

There are heaps of films I haven’t seen but intend to for a variety of reasons. For me, Pearl Harbor was one, purely because it has a reputation for being a terrible film. And oh, it is so terrible! There is a pretty fabulous cast, Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Ewen Bremner, Jennifer Garner, Jon Voight, Michael Shannon, Dan Ackroyd, Tom Sizemore, Cuba Gooding Jnr… And there are some pretty fabulous special effects. But I guess, with all they spent on all of that, they should have spent a bit more on scripting. It goes from being extremely average to being just plain terrible.

Pearl Harbor won an Oscar for Best Sound Editing


Gone Girl (2014) Film Review


When Amy Dunne (Rosmund Pike) goes missing, her husband Nick (Ben Affleck) is cooperative with police until evidence starts appearing that suggests perhaps she is not just gone, but dead, and he may not have been the man everyone thought he was. But even this is not what it appears, or is it? No. But is it?

This film did my head in. It’s really long and could have almost been two films, but it is utterly compelling. I look forward to reading some discussions on the sexual politics of this film; whilst watching the film, I tried to figure out if it is misogynistic. At this stage, I think no. There are some awful female characters, who do some nasty things, but I don’t think that in itself is misogynistic. It’s unpleasant, ugly, awful, nasty and horrible, but I think that the fact that it is involving women cannot immediately make it misogynistic. Surely it cannot only be men who do horrible things? I don’t know, I think I need to consider this a lot, and I cannot say whether or not I will change my mind. But I might.

Good Will Hunting (1997) Film Review

Good Will Hunting

Will (Matt Damon) works as a janitor at MIT and is secretly a genius, but he prefers to spend his time with his mates. After solving a maths puzzle set by Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellen Skarsgard), he is discovered, but his behavioural and emotional problems need to be dealt with. Eventually, he finds a fit with Sean Maguire (Robin Williams) who is dealing with his own problems. And chuck in gorgeous British beauty Skylar (Minnie Driver).

This film may always be known as the film that rocketed unknown actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck into the spotlight as (or so the legend goes) fed up with not getting work, they wrote an awesome script and here it is. I don’t know if that is true as such, but I will say that after watching several of the Ben Affleck directed films, Good Willing Hunting gives us an indication of his talent. He knows how to craft a good, emotionally engaging story with flawed characters trying to beat the odds. It’s a good film. Real good.

Good Will Hunting won Oscars for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Robin Williams) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck).

The Town (2010) Film Review


Charlestown, Boston. There are a group of guys who pull bank jobs, and they are quite good at it. However, things don’t go quite so ace on this last one and they end up taking a hostage for a short while. Bank worker Claire Kessey (Rebecca Hall) is trying to recover from her experience and being interviewed by FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) when she meets Doug MacRay (Ben Afffleck) and a relationship begins. Little does she know that Doug was one of the robbers, and he was checking to see if she remembered anything. Then he and his partner in crime, James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner) are forced into another job by local heavy Fergus ‘Fergie’ Colm (Pete Postlethwaite) and things get more tense.

Ben Affleck directed this film and it was really fabulous. Strong story, not the most totally original (see On The Waterfront for some quite strong similarities in the relationship between the bad criminal and the good lady), but it is a good take on this. I really enjoyed the way the worlds of the film are created, and the way the characters totally inhabit the world. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Town was nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Jeremy Renner).


He’s Just Not That Into You (2009) Film Review


Surely it is hardly surprising that a film based on a self-help book is not that great. That much didn’t surprise me. I didn’t really expect it to be quite as misogynistic as it was. The women are awful to each other. The men are awful to the women. The women are awful to the men. Actually, maybe it’s not misogyny as such. Maybe it is just a bunch of horrible, horrible people.

Gigi (Ginnie Goodwin) is single and desperate, but keeps getting let down by men. She ends up adopting bartender Alex (Justin Long) as her go-to man for revealing the secrets of men – what they really mean when they say and do various things. Meantime, her colleague Beth (Jennifer Aniston) breaks up with her long-term partner Neil (Ben Affleck) because he will not marry her. Then wannabe singer Anna (Scarlett Johansson) is pursuing married man Ben (Bradley Cooper) at the advice of her best friend, Mary (Drew Barrymoore).

Some of the advice is good. But the film is not.

Argo (2012) Film Review


It’s 1979 and Iran hates the US. So much so that the embassy is raided and all of the staff are held hostage. Six diplomats escape and are hidden in the home of the  Canadian Ambassador. Back in the US, plans are being put together to extract them, including the absurd idea of getting them onto bikes and cycling 300 miles in the middle of winter to the Turkish border. Tony Mendez comes up with audacious plan of creating a false movie, Argo, and convincing Iranian authorities that these six US citizens are, in fact, Canadians, and are part of a location scouting group for the film. This is all true. And amazing.

Of course, the film is dramatized. There is no way that it could have happened exactly as in the film, but isn’t that why audiences need to suspend their disbelief? For me, I went to Wikipedia and had a look at the historical inaccuracies. It doesn’t stop this from being an awesome film; it just makes the story a bit less Hollywood.

I was extremely impressed with this film. It is one of the best films I have seen in a long time. There was tension, action and the fact that I knew that the plan succeeded did not stop me from feeling the tension of every moment the whole way through.

Argo won the Golden Globe for Best Feature Film – Drama and Best Director, and I say thank goodness. I really like it when I feel that the awards get it right. On ya, Ben Affleck.

William Goldenberg has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Film Editing and a BAFTA for Editing

Alexandre Desplat has been nominated for an Oscar for Music (Original Score), a Golden Globe for Best Original Score – Motion Picture and a BAFTA for Original Music.

Argo has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, a BAFTA for Best Film

Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn have been nominated for an Oscar for Sound Editing

John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia have been nominated for an Oscar for Sound Mixing

Chris Terrio has been nominated for an Oscar for Writing (Adapted Screenplay), aGolden Globe for Best Screenplay – Motion Picture and a BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Argo Won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture (Drama)

Alan Arkin was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture and a BAFTA for Supporting Actor

Ben Alfeck won the Golden Globe for Best Director of a Motion Picture and was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Director. He was nominated for a BAFTA for Leading Actor.