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The Town – Oscar Contender?

I’ve been looking around the web at various bits of Oscar-related news and came across WB’s “For Your Consideration” page for Ben Affleck’s The Town. Not convinced. I liked The Town. I’d even go so far as to say that I very much enjoyed it, but Oscar contender? Not for me.

It is one of the most straight-forward, down-the-line, simple films I have seen this year. Affleck’s direction and acting is good, but not world class. I could see Jeremy Renner or Rebecca Hall getting Supporting nominations, perhaps, but the big two are never going to happen, and the day Affleck wins an Oscar for his acting is the day Hell freezes over. And I say that as a fan.

To be fair, Renner and Hall were excellent in this movie – they did everything required of them well and convinced me of their somewhat two-dimensional characters – but there are probably five better nominations I could think of having only seen about 30 films this year – Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley (Shutter Island), Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), Nic Cage (Kick Ass), Robert Duvall (The Road), Andrew Garfield and Armie Hammer (The Social Network) are all better bets for Supporting Actor than Jeremy Renner, and I would venture that Rachel Weisz (The Lovely Bones), Emily Mortimer and Michelle Williams (Shutter Island), Amy Ryan (Green Zone), Eva Mendes (Bad Lieutenant) and Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter) all did better jobs than Rebecca Hall in their respective roles. OK, maybe it’s a stretch to suggest that the likes of Kick Ass and Harry Potter will get Oscar noms in the big categories, but they deserve them more.

I genuinely liked The Town, but it is no more than a solid film with solid direction and solid performances. It is, in a word, solid. Solid. Although, given that nowadays we get 10 Best Picture nominations, it is possible that The Town will get one of these. I won’t support it, but it’s possible.

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This week, I went to the cinema twice

02/10/2010 1 comment

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Ben Affleck and posted a trailer for his film The Town. This week, I went to see The Town and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Remember how Gone Baby Gone was full of moral ambiguity and dilemma? Well, so is The Town. The story concerns a gang of bank robbers, headed up by Doug MacRay (Affleck), and their exploits, internal problems and their pursuit by the FBI following the robbery of a bank, managed by Claire (Rebecca Hall). In the midst of it all, Doug ends up developing some inappropriate feelings for Claire, after checking on her to make sure she didn’t have any valuable information to pass to the FBI. Affleck builds on Gone Baby Gone in terms of his directorial style, however the film is unfortunately less interesting; it’s a fairly basic cops and robbers thriller. Despite this, it remains entertaining for its two hour duration, with new developments occurring fairly regularly, even if they aren’t earth-shattering twists. Where Gone Baby Gone showed its strongest hand in its last five minutes, The Town collapses in the last thirty seconds, which leaves a bitter taste. Thankfully, the rest of the film is so solid and full of energy that it still holds up. It really is a cracking movie, if not a classic. It had done well so far at the box-office, taking in $61.5m worldwide from a $37m budget, improving on Gone Baby Gone‘s haul, and showing that as well as making films with integrity and thoughtfulness, Affleck also makes films that people want to see.

As the title of this post suggests, I went to the cinema twice this week. The second time was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Robert Zemeckis’ Back To The Future, another film I wrote about recently. Having never seen an old film on the big screen before, this was a new experience, and was well worth my £6. I love this movie, and the big screen only made it better. I noticed things I hadn’t noticed before, laughed at things that hadn’t seemed funny before, and the soundtrack seemed even better than ever. It was, in a word, incredible. I can’t imagine that anyone reading this hasn’t seen Back To The Future before, but if you haven’t, stop whatever you’re doing and watch it now.

As awesome as the two feature films I saw were, the highlight of my trips to the cinema were seeing the trailer for The Social Network twice. David Fincher is by far my favourite director currently working, and has made some of my favourite ever films. When I first heard about this film, it was a strapline news article in Empire magazine, saying “David Fincher signed on to make Facebook movie”. I had no idea what this meant.Maybe it was some sort of social networking mystery, or a Hard Candy-esque story. Nope, it’s just the story of Facebook. Nothing could appeal less to me as a concept, but with Fincher attached I am far too excited, and the trailer only serves to get me so excited that the film cannot live up to my expectations. It will still be the greatest movie of the year though. Here is the trailer, so you can be excited too.