Tag Archives: Ben Affleck

Stocking Stuffer Reviews: Buried and The Town

Buried

Buried’s greatest success is its feel, quite literally. Mostly unknown Spanish director Rodrigo Cortes, with an able assist from a shockingly good turn from Ryan Reynolds as the only human body to appear physically on screen, excel at making us feel everything, from the minute, finger-twitching details up to the all-consuming oppressive fact of desperation at its most unadorned. Cortes’ story has begun before the film, but for the narrative he is choosing to tell he opens at the literal moment of most importance: Ryan Reynolds waking up in a coffin in Iraq, buried alive and with nothing to hold him over but a phone and a lighter. The crushing primitive quality of the box itself, the muddy fact of the earth weighing it down, the sweat on Reynolds’ face keeping his physical form from drying out even as each drop loosens one last bit of his soul from his body; all come alive under Cortes’ attuned hand and meticulous gaze. His shot selection is note-perfect, hugely varied but never indulgent, and always well aware of the power of a stagnant camera and the verisimilitude of natural lighting. It’s a very tactile film, a work of tension and bluntness that feels emotion right down to its bone, and Reynolds in particular is in spellbindingly sweaty, nervous form throughout. Continue reading

Review: Argo

Edited

Argo is the second of 2012’s late year films arriving in theaters with heavy loads of Oscar buzz attempting to bring home the hearts of film-goers, and more specifically, the Academy come February.  Following  The Master, the five year toil of the director whose previous film was perhaps the most critically acclaimed of the last decade, hype for Argo was comparatively restrained. With two stellar efforts behind him, director Ben Affleck is well-liked in Hollywood circles but still likely hoped this film would shake off some of the vestiges of the ever-persistent fan-boy hate factory criticisms aimed at his acting (some of which was admittedly deserved). While Affleck has certainly proven he doesn’t need to take these accusations seriously by this point, the real question for many is still simply: How’s the film? Continue reading