Ben Affleck

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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Ben Affleck is two for two as a director with both Gone Baby Gone and The Town being damn fine pieces of entertainment. They share a common denominator though beyond simple quality and Affleck’s name on the director’s chair… they’re both adaptations of solid mystery/thriller novels. His third film looks to be based upon a real-life incident involving lies, film-making, and the CIA, but he’s already lining up a fourth that returns to the formula that’s worked so well for him so far. According to Deadline Punxsutawney, Affleck has signed on to direct an adaptation of one of Harlan Coben’s best-selling mysteries. Awesome news isn’t it? Did I mention the mystery in question is Tell No One? Yup, that’s right… the first Coben book to get the Hollywood treatment is the only Coben book that’s already been adapted. But hey, it was made into a French movie, so that doesn’t count. Except that French movie was one of 2006’s best foreign language films (my review here) and a huge hit both in Europe and the US (relatively speaking for a subtitled movie). Fucking Hollywood.

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Criterion Files

When I write this column, I typically don’t get the opportunity to write about movies from my teen years. I, like many, came into a cinephilic love for art and foreign cinema during college, and in that process grew to appreciate The Criterion Collection. Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused (1993), however, is a movie that’s followed me through various changes in my life for (I’m just now realizing as I write this) about half of my time thus far spent on Earth.

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Heat Vision is reporting that Baz Luhrmann’s film version of The Great Gatsby is one step closer to filling out its principle cast. Most of the main roles have already been grabbed up at this point, and by actors that fit the bill pretty nicely; but this latest news gives me pause. Reportedly Isla Fisher is in negotiations to join the cast as Myrtle Wilson. Leonardo DiCaprio is playing the charming and mysterious Gatsby, which makes sense because of DiCaprio’s leading man looks. Tobey Maguire is playing the film’s everyman narrator Nick Carraway, which makes sense because everyone already thinks of him as the ultimate everyman Peter Parker. Carey Mulligan is playing Daisy Buchanan, which makes sense because Mulligan can do anything, and being a rich white girl is probably something she can pull of in her sleep. Ben Affleck was playing Tom Buchanan, which made sense because Buchanan is a jerk that cheats on his wife and slaps ladies around and, love him or hate him, you have to admit Affleck naturally projects a bit of that doucher vibe that would fit the character perfectly. However, Deadline East Egg is reporting that Affleck has been locked to direct and star in Argo, and won’t be available for Gatsby. And now Isla Fischer is playing Myrtle Wilson, the frumpy, plain, wife of a mechanic, which makes sense because, uh… I got nothing. I sure like looking at Isla Fischer though, so good news all around!

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There aren’t many things that we know for sure about Baz Luhrman’s upcoming adaptation of “The Great Gatsby.” The man won’t even admit in a straightforward way that he is making the movie. There have been rumors that it would be in 3D, but who can say? The one thing that has seemed to be locked in pretty securely, however, has been the cast. Leonardo Dicaprio has always been set to play the title character Jay Gatsby. Carey Mulligan seems to be locked into playing the lead female role of Daisy Buchanan. And Tobey Maguire is reportedly on board to play the story’s observer and narrator Nick Carraway. Well now one more actor is in talks to join Luhrmann’s sure to be gaudy retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic tale of big mansions and romantic revenge, Armageddon’s Ben Affleck. Reportedly, Affleck is looking to sign on as Daisy’s husband, and Jay Gatsby’s chief romantic rival, Tom Buchanan. I approve of this casting. While I like Affleck much more as a writer and director than I do as an actor, when I try to imagine the jerk that would be married to and cheating on the girl I love, Affleck’s face fits in the scenario very easily. I’m sure people will have a very easy time rooting for DiCaprio to take him down and win young Ms. Mulligan’s hand. But, how I feel about a director as wildly stylistic as Luhrmann taking on such dry source material is still way up […]

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Movies We Love

“It’s the size of Texas, Mr. President.” Does it get any better than that? Of course it doesn’t. Armageddon is without doubt one of the finest motion pictures ever created by humans. If that snippet of dialogue made audible by Mr. Billy Bob Thornton himself didn’t convince you, maybe this will. “You think we’ll get hazard pay for this?” I’m going to pretend you’ve been living under a rock since 1998 and summarize one of the greatest summer blockbuster films ever made for you. So Billy Bob Thorton is sort of the head honcho of NASA and one day he’s supervising a standard in-space satellite repair when all of a sudden a meteor shower rips his crew to pieces. We then cut to New York City, which seems to always be the city that gets destroyed in big budget disaster movies, and sure enough the meteors tear through the city demolishing Grand Central Station, decapitating the Chrysler Building [insert Unstoppable joke here] and finally, in a moment fraught with unintended significance, the camera slowly zooms out to show the twin towers of the World Trade Center on fire. Then we’re treated to quickly cut scenes of people yelling and running through hallways and trying to figure out why Keith David keeps calling. Essentially, a giant asteroid is on a collision course with Earth and no matter where it hits, it will wipe out all life as we know it. Jason Isaacs convinces the President that the best plan is to […]

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Criterion Files

Why?

In a sea of some of the most important pictures the world has known to date – why? In a collection spanning nearly one-hundred years of film history and inclusive of a large portion of the greatest filmmakers we’ve ever known…why? With a library containing movies which focus heavily on visual artistry and emotional complexities and probably have a combined budget *possibly* equal to that of this film…why? With another picture released the same year about pretty much the same thing made by a studio from the same country garnering stronger critical reception and sporting an [in]arguably more plausible solution and execution to the prevention of the end of the world via meteors the size of really, really big things…WHY? Why is this mammoth-sized summer blockbuster which is a masterpiece of the color orange alongside some of the most revered pictures of the last (nearly) 100 years?

The answer is simple, concrete, and indisputable:

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. “I’m marrying you.” “You bet you are!” Is there a more gut-punching emotional moment in a trailer in the history of ever? There is not. Ben Affleck stars alongside Bruce Willis in this explosive action flick directed by Michael Bay. You just don’t see much of this movie anymore, but it definitely deserves the attention. You won’t want to close your eyes or miss a thing while watching this trailer. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Drinking Games

Ever wake up in the morning with your head pounding? Chances are, that happened after trying one of our many drinking games. It also might have happened after spending a night watching films by Michael Bay. If your head is really, really pounding, you might have played a drinking game while watching the balls-to-the-wall explosive Michael Bay extravaganza known as Armageddon. Or, it could be the real Armageddon happening. Either way, it’s best enjoyed with a drink in hand. Awesome!

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as Dontwannamissathang and AffleckFan23 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the pair tries to envision a movie world where Armageddon was never made. How would people survive that? As a result, the merits of the film’s acting, philosophy and subtext are brought to light. Comparisons to Ingmar Bergman are made. Lives are changed. Spoilers for The Sixth Sense and Armageddon are revealed. Fortunately, this nightmarish landscape is only imaginary, because Armageddon did get made, and it’s available to watch whenever we feel like it.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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It’s been a year since the Sundance debut of John Wells‘ directorial debut, The Company Men. Films like these are a rare breed. It’s not only a small type of film (despite its star power) that is more than difficult to get off the ground nowadays, but it’s also tackling a timely and difficult topic. Who wants to go see a film about job loss in this climate? Well, that’s a hurdle and a question Wells overcame. Even with the hopeful and upbeat outlook of Wells’ first feature film, it’s sure to be a hard sell for some audiences. Yes, Up in the Air tackled a similar matter and ended up doing gangbuster business, but that also had George Clooney‘s wit and charms at the center of it to make it an easy sell. This isn’t a film with irresistibly likable leads, but instead follows genuinely believable modern day workers. Hopefully, as I’m sure the extremely friendly and well-spoken director hopes as well, more than a few people will look past its downer concept.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr trolls around hospitals looking for a scorching hot young doctor who doesn’t want a real relationship but would rather have someone she can have copious amounts of sex with many times throughout the week. Upon returning from that fantasy land, he heads to a job-placement agency to rub elbows with laid-off corporate executives who have trouble making ends meet so they can pay the lease on their Mercedes. Kevin is handing out grades for No Strings Attached and The Company Men, and the grades are not good.

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
D+


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