Ben Affleck

Cloud Atlas releases this month

This September wasn’t a bad way to get out of a summer slump. If any of you were disappointed by this past summer’s films, last month should have picked up your spirits. You were either in awe or disappointment over Paul Thomas Anderon‘s The Master, but whatever camp you fall into, at least you more than likely had thoughts about it. Rian Johnson‘s Looper completely lived up to the hype, wonky time travel logic and all. And we got Dredd 3D and End of Watch, two B-movies which exceeded expectations. Not a bad way to start a new season. There are plenty of offerings for every taste this October including one with a bug-eyed, jacked up, and horrifying Matthew Fox who apparently will be taken down by Tyler Perry. Keep reading for a glimpse at seven other movies you should run and skip to the theaters for.

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If you’ve watched a movie about love, marriage, the environment and religion all wrapped up together with only enough dialogue to fill a few minutes of a Tarantino screenplay, it was probably a Terrence Malick film. His latest, To The Wonder, uses the same voyeuristic style that the director has been working on from Days of Heaven and refuses to discard. The film uses emotion and voice over as a narrative compass which pushes the film forward in a way that almost feels documentary-like. We’re cutting into this couple’s life at distinct points to find out how they truly feel about one another and how that progresses. It’s easy to casually view Malick’s latest efforts and label it with a word like “pretentious.” The film is very demanding and requires great attention as well as an ability to consider rounded viewpoints on the topics at hand. This is where Malick’s style comes to an advantage. The film makes the core themes become points of discussion as opposed to cannons bursting with the filmmaker’s own position.

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Another day, another quick jolt of comic book news to keep us pumping. This time, however, it’s DC that’s lighting the wires up. Variety reports that Warner Bros. has “approached” Ben Affleck to direct their highly anticipated Justice League film. “Multiple sources” have told the Variety newshounds that Affleck is expected to “discuss the project with studio brass in the coming days.” The stupid reportedly considers Affleck, who has emerged as a talented and energetic director, to be high on their “list of filmmakers who can be trusted with prime properties,” thanks to his work on both The Town and the upcoming Argo. Adding beef to this story is the reveal that, of the list of possible candidates that WB is considering (and that list has not yet been revealed), Affleck is the only one who has been allowed to read Will Beall‘s script for the project.

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Kenneth Branagh wants to hurt Jack Ryan

When news first broke that Paramount would be bringing Tom Clancy‘s adventurous accountant, Jack Ryan, back to the big screen few people were all that thrilled. The character’s three previous incarnations (across four films) struck some as a series of diminishing returns creatively and a box-office flat line. But hey, even Ben Affleck‘s turn in The Sum of All Fears collected just under $200 million worldwide, and Paramount isn’t stupid enough to let go of a built-in audience. As long ago as 2008 word was that Sam Raimi would be helming Ryan’s return, but news and interest seemed to dry up shortly thereafter. A year later Chris Pine enlisted for the lead role, but the film seemed no closer to production. Earlier this year though Kenneth Branagh tossed his hat into the ring and signed on to direct. Would that finally be enough to get this thing going? Per Variety, Branagh is moving forward and has even gone so far as casting the lead villain to play against Pine’s heroic CIA analyst. Following in a long-standing Hollywood tradition he’s gone ahead and hired a British thespian to play a Russian bad guy.

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Anybody who watches Parks and Recreation already knows that Jean-Ralphio is probably the most connected, cutting edge entrepreneur/promoter/personality in Pawnee, Indiana, and maybe in all of the Midwest. This guy could find a way to get you bottle service on the moon. But what a lot of people probably don’t know is that Jean-Ralphio isn’t actually a real person. He’s just a character played by an actor named Ben Schwartz. I know, I was shocked, too. And even more mind-blowing than this news is a report that Schwartz has a new job lined up in a feature film, which will see him working with some of the biggest names in the game. According to THR, Schwartz has signed on to star alongside Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake in Brad Fuhrman’s (The Lincoln Lawyer) upcoming tale about the world of online gambling, Runner, Runner. Even though Jean-Ralphio is the real power player in this situation, Timberlake technically stars as a professional gambler who starts working under the tutelage of an offshore gaming CEO (is that a real job?) played by Affleck. Schwartz is signed on to play the friend of Timberlake’s character, which makes sense, because he’s going to need someone to help him figure out the most fabulous ways to spend all of the money he wins. First step: buy a helicopter made out of crystal.

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Oh, come on now, you didn’t think that Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake would star in a movie together and there wouldn’t be hot ladies around, did you? The pair signed on for Brad Furman‘s Runner Runner in April and, back then, we only knew that it would focus on online gambling and that Timberlake would be the right-hand man to boss guy Affleck. Now we have a fuller picture of the film, including just how Timberlake gets tossed into this particular shark tank and who might help pull him out. Gemma Arterton has been cast in the film, in a role that Variety can only divulge as being “Timberlake’s love interest.” Let’s hope that she can get him away from Affleck, who sounds like he’ll be playing a real sleaze. The outlet also reports that the Timberlake will play “a Princeton student cheated out of his tuition money playing online poker who ends up the right-hand man of the site’s corrupt boss (Affleck).” Geez, bad decisions all around on that one.

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The flames are hot here in development hell, and there’s way too much cocaine. Way, way too much. So why wouldn’t we come back? When we first examined 8 Promised Movies That Still Haven’t Been Made, it was an exploration of the complex world of filmmaking where the smallest issue can derail an entire project potentially worth millions. Nervous executives, scheduling conflicts, hangnails. Getting a movie made is a miracle, and even those that get hailed in the press as moving forward are sometimes abandoned. Considering our national grand obsession with hypotheticals, here are 8 more movies we were told would happen that haven’t (including some that won’t).

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Remember when Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Richard Kind, Scoot McNairy, Chris Messina, Michael Parks, Kerry Bishe, Kyle Chandler, Rory Cochrane, and Tate Donovan all got together to make a movie about a fake movie being made in order to rescue hostages being held in Iran? This trailer is one more slice of proof that Affleck knows what the hell he’s doing behind a camera, especially when it comes to the slightly funny world of serious issues. Instead of crime-riddled Boston, this time it’s the Iranian Hostage Crisis, a fake script called Argo and a crazy attempt at rescuing 6 people. It’s Ocean’s Eleven except the stakes are real, and they’re life-or-death. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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You know what’s hot right now? Poker. Pretend you’re reading this in 2006. You know what’s really hot right now? Asking about things that are hot right now. It’s true. That’s why all the celebrity magazines do it. At least two obvious answers to that ever-present question are Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake. According to Variety, the pair will be trying to pack a full house for Runner Runner, a movie focused on the world of illegal online gambling. Beyond the big names set to star, there’s more talent behind the typewriter and in the director’s chair. The script comes from Brian Koppelman and David Lieven (Rounders, Ocean’s Thirteen), and the production has snagged Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) to direct. Jokes about relevancy aside, this sounds cool as hell. Rounders was sharp, and it’ll be fascinating to see Affleck follow in Matt Damon’s footsteps. Potential-wise, all the names look killer here. The subject could be straight out of the noir playbook, but making online poker seem invigorating will definitely be a challenge.

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In recent years Ben Affleck has been earning praise left and right for his skill as a director. His first two films, Gone Baby Gone and The Town, have largely been far better received by the movie media than any of the performances he’s given over the course of his career. But, it turns out, his first love is still acting. Sorry, everybody. Even as he handles the post-production of his next project as a filmmaker, Argo, he’s managed to find some time to negotiate himself into another job as an actor. Warner Bros. has been sitting on the political comedy, Nathan Decker, for a while. Written by Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love.), it’s the story of a prominent politician who gets disgraced by an affair and is forced to return to his home town in order to deal with lingering issues from his past. Originally it was thought that Tom Cruise was going to star, but his involvement in the project never materialized, and the studio is now looking at it as a starring vehicle for Affleck.

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Commentary: Armageddon

You knew it was inevitable. We here at Film School Rejects love Michael Bay’s Armageddon. Hell, we even gave the film a full day of coverage last April, sadly a day before Commentary Commentary was in existence. So here we are. The Criterion Collection of Armageddon and everything Michael Bay has to thrown down on the commentary track. Say what you will. Even outside the walls of FSR, this film has its fair share of fandom, and they aren’t backing down from their sturdy position. But be honest. It’s going to be fun to hear all the intricacies and insight Bay has to dish out even if you aren’t a fan of the film. He’s not alone, either. On this particular track, Bay is joined by Jerry Bruckheimer, Bruce Willis, and Ben Affleck. That sounds to me like all the knowledge you’d want about Armageddon wrapped into a tight, little group of Hollywood players. It’s the commentary track – and the Commentary Commentary – the size of Texas, and the less preamble we give it the better. So here’s everything we learned from listening to these fine gentlemen speak about their film, and don’t worry. I’ll acknowledge the moment when Affleck tells Willis he loves him. I’m getting misty eyed just thinking about it now.

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At one point in its recent development history, The Stand was planning on sending the Harry Potter team of Steve Kloves and David Yates to a cornfield in Colorado to write and direct the incredibly difficult source material. With that team passing on Stephen King‘s novel, Ben Affleck picked it up for a directorial project, and Vulture is reporting that Affleck has hired screenwriter David Kajganich to provide the blueprint. The only problem here is Kajganich’s track record. It’s always difficult to assign blame/credit to writers for a finished film because of the labyrinthine group effort the art demands, but so far his two biggest features have been the flat Invasion (starring Nicole Kidman) and the nasty horror flick Blood Creek. Neither inspires much in the way of optimism for an adaptation that even the most talented writer would struggle to make sense of. According to the report, Warners was impressed with Kajganich’s draft for a feature film version of It and decided that he was fit for crowing King again. What’s more, he’s also the writer of the Pet Sematary remake at Paramount, which means the studio system only knows of one guy who’s interested in writing these things for some reason. The question here is why Affleck would pass off writing duties (although the answer may be that he just doesn’t have the time to deal with a tome of that size). The silver lining, of course, is that Affleck so far has proven himself to be a […]

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Ben Affleck in Argo

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly thing that collects things about movies, television and other things. Lots of things in store for you tonight, including some more Dark Knight Rises things… We begin tonight with an image of Ben Affleck as a real life former CIA agent from the early 1980s in Argo. In a way that can only be from the 1980s, he also looks like a Die Hard villain. So much mulleted intensity.

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Fear not, fans of cinema’s favorite boys from Boston, it looks like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are reteaming for a new project (and it’s not their long-rumored true-life wife-swapping story of baseball players Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson, The Trade) that centers on one of their hometown’s most notorious residents. Affleck and Damon are looking to get their gang of two back together for a Whitey Bulger biopic; Bulger is the former leader of South Boston’s Winter Hill Gang, a cold-blooded member of the Irish Mob, responsible for both years of organized crime and reportedly (at least) 19 murders. Bulger was also a long-time FBI informant who was reportedly tipped off by his own FBI handler that was going to be arrested and indicted for federal racketeering. Bulger and his girlfriend fled Boston in 1995, and had been hiding out for sixteen years before they were caught just this June in sunny Santa Monica, California. Should Affleck and Damon’s film come together, Affleck will direct, with Damon starring as Bulger himself. Damon reports that Terence Winter, creator of Boardwalk Empire, is writing the script. The film would be produced through Warner Bros. and Affleck and Damon’s own Pearl Street Films. THR also reports that Affleck would co-star, with his own talented baby brother Casey Affleck coming on board the cast as well. Damon himself is not sure what years he’d portray the criminal or what period the project would cover, saying “If it’s a straight biopic, we’ll do it […]

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Well, huh. Warner Bros. has reportedly “chosen” (appropriate wording)Ben Affleck to adapt from the source material and direct The Stand, their crack at making a feature (or two…or three…) out of Stephen King‘s massive novel about a post-apocalyptic America, decimated by a government-designed super-flu. The book was previously turned into a somewhat lackluster television miniseries back in 1994 (and I do say “somewhat,” because there are things I liked about it, namely the casting of Jamey Sheridan as King’s constant character, the wicked Randall Flagg). I’m not generally a huge fan of King’s work, but I love The Stand because, it’s late on a Friday so I can work a little blue here, I fucking love post-apocalyptic fiction, and The Stand is a big, sweeping, totally awesome specimen of the genre. The studio reportedly picked Affleck for the job because they “love” him and because he’s “become a cornerstone director” for them. Of course, this film is a huge undertaking for any director, as the book is sprawling and layered and deep and really wonderful, but it’s also, again sprawling and layered and deep. Even King himself has doubted that the book could be made into a feature film. Affleck is turning into a great director, and he’s proven himself able to adapt material (all three of his features, including the currently-shooting Argo come from previously written material, including books and articles), but this is something else. The Stand is, again, a massive undertaking, and I cannot wait to see how this pans out, […]

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While doing some publicity for his current release Contagion, actor Matt Damon sat down to have a few words with The Shortlist, and they managed to get a couple quotes out of him that could spell good news for fans of Damon’s previous work. The next movie in the Bourne franchise, The Bourne Legacy, will be the first one made without Damon or his lead character Jason Bourne, instead Jeremy Renner will star as a completely new character existing in the same universe. When asked if this means he’s done playing Jason Bourne forever, Damon responded, “I was always fine with them doing another Bourne movie as long as it didn’t preclude me and Paul [Greengrass] from doing another Bourne. From what I understand, it doesn’t at all, so that’s fine. I really want to do another one with Paul and I’m sure it’ll happen someday, but for now they’re doing this.” That’s kind of surprising to me, as I thought them moving the franchise on to Jeremy Renner specifically meant that Damon was done with the property. Maybe next we can get a big Renner vs. Damon movie where Matt returns to the character. I could see that making a ton of money. That wasn’t the only moment in the interview where Damon waxed nostalgic, however. Back when he was just 28-years-old, Damon co-wrote the script for Good Will Hunting with his unofficial life partner Ben Affleck. The script won them the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, yet […]

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I’ve already written a couple of different stories about the casting process of Ben Affleck’s next film as a director, Argo. His CIA drama includes an impressive list of names like Alan Alda, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Kyle Chandler, and Affleck himself; and it tells a globe-hopping story that should push the limits of what Affleck can do as a director like nothing else he’s made up to this point. I’m really looking forward to it. So I’m pleased as punch that Warner Bros. has sent out a press release which not only states that filming is set to begin, but also confirms a few more interesting last minute names to fill out the cast. Joining that bevy of powerful presences up top will be veteran character actor Michael Parks, who recently has been used by directors like Kevin Smith in Red State and Quentin Tarantino in the Grindhouse movies, Clea Duvall, who’s been in movies like Zodiac and 21 Grams, Richard Kind, who you’ll recognize from things like Curb Your Enthusiasm and the Coens’ A Serious Man, and Tate Donovan who has done, well…uh, not much that I’ve liked. Still, add them all together and that’s a seriously awesome group of actors. I’ve done the plot synopsis thing on this movie before, but for the sake of posterity, let’s take a look at Warner’s official word on what this movie is about after the break:

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I’ve recently been using the magic of streaming video services to catch up with Peter Berg’s high school football melodrama Friday Night Lights. The show isn’t great, it’s got its good points and bad points, but easily the strongest aspect of the whole thing is not the teenagers or the football, it’s the marriage between main character Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and his wife Tami (Connie Britton). A lot of why it works is that their relationship is written more real, and with less forced crisis than any other marriage I’ve seen on a prime time drama, but the other part of why it works is because Kyle Chandler is just such a warm, engaging presence on the screen. And now that the show is over he’s going to need to find some more work. I’m rooting for the guy. He landed a pretty big role in J.J. Abrams Super 8 earlier this summer, and that’s got to help some with his visibility. And in a current piece focusing on the actor in USA Today, they’ve revealed that he has a small role in Ben Affleck’s upcoming hostage thriller Argo. I hadn’t heard his name attached to that film yet, and a quick look at the IMDB page reveals that it hasn’t been added there, so let’s treat this as news. And also I’ll treat it as an excuse to talk a bit more about the cast that Affleck has assembled. I already reported on the story that John Goodman […]

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Ben Affleck dipped his toe in the directing game by sticking to subject matter that he knew well, life in south Boston. After Gone Baby Gone and The Town did well with audiences and critics, Affleck seemed to get a bit of confidence in his new role. His next film Argo isn’t going to have anything to do with his life experiences at all. As a matter of fact, it’s kind of a globe-hopping tale about the CIA, undercover operatives, and hostages in Tehran. How’s work going on that project? I’d say pretty well, because THR is reporting that Affleck is already in negotiations to direct his next film, and this time he’s going to make the commitment to both direct and star. Unfortunately, the description of the film leads me to believe that Affleck is so comfortable as a director that he’s ready to stop doing things that interest him and start cashing checks to make crap. The film is called Line of Sight, and it’s an action movie that Joel Silver and Andrew Rona are putting together with Warner Bros. The concept is that the film will be about a team of elite commandos who have to transport some sort of precious cargo while a threat to world safety is happening and, get this, the film will be constructed of all point of view shots so that it looks like a first person shooter video game. How’s that for a twist? You know what I would have liked […]

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The way I see it, the upcoming third film by director Ben Affleck has three big things going for it. The first is that with Gone Baby Gone and The Town, Affleck has proven himself to be a very strong director. The second is that the premise sounds like something that could make for a really great movie, and it even gets Affleck out of his comfort zone of telling stories about Boston. And the third is that it just cast one of the best and perhaps most underutilized actors in the world, John Goodman, in an interesting sounding role. So, what is Argo? It’s an adaptation of a 2007 article that appeared in “Wired” called “How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans From Tehran”. It tells the story of six American Embassy Workers who escaped from captivity and went into hiding in Tehran for months during the Iran Hostage Crisis. In order to get into the country and get the escapees out, the CIA created a fake film crew for a fake science fiction film that was supposedly going into Iran to do some location scouting. The film was supposedly called Argo, and they went as far as to come up with a script, concept art, and promotional ads that ran in “Variety”.  Goodman will be playing John Chambers, a real life makeup artist who won an Oscar for his work on Planet of the Apes, and who was brought in to help sell the […]

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published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.17.2014
D+
published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.16.2014
B+

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