Currently browsing the "casey affleck" tag.

Quickie Review: The World To Come

Dreary. That’s the life of the people who inhabit this film. It’s 1859, somewhere in upstate New York, and a farmer and his wife, Abigail (Katherine Waterston, Fantastic Beasts, Steve Jobs) and Dyer (Casey Affleck, Our Friend, Manchester By the Sea) are still coming to terms with the loss of their only child, when another couple comes into their lives. The wife Tallie (Vanessa Kirby, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw) is a welcomed distraction from sad Abigail’s drudgery. Her own marriage to Finney (Christopher Abbott) is claustrophobic, as he has a very limited view of a wife’s role. So the two women immediately click. And before you know it, they have moved from bosom buddies to lesbian lovers. And for a brief period they’re happy. But it can’t last.

Review: Our Friend

Read this first. It’s the Esquire article on which Our Friend is based. The writer is Matthew Teague, a journalist who wrote an essay about the slow and painful death of his vibrant wife Nicole from ovarian cancer at the age of 36. Only the article wasn’t just about him and his wife; it was about their best friend Dane, a guy who put his own life on hold to help Nicole, Matthew and their two young girls get through their darkest days. It’s a story that is heartbreaking and uplifting all at once and will have you thinking about who your friends are, the types of sacrifices they might make in similar situations, and the type of friend you strive to be. This went way beyond a little cooking, babysitting or GoFundMe type stuff. Dane was all in, as a friend and caregiver extraordinaire. And when Nicole eventually succumbed to cancer, Matt was able to take a step back and see just how critical Dane was to his own survival.

Quickie Review: The Old Man & The Gun

It’s Robert Redford, visibly older but still charming and fun to watch. And Sissy Spacek, visibly older (to a much lesser degree) but still charming and fun to watch. So, if you can forgive the lack of drama and stakes in this largely based-on-a-true-story heist film, then by all means, sit back, relax and enjoy what Redford, 82, says is his final on-screen performance, though we firmly support his right to change his mind.

Quickie Reviews: Wish Upon; A Ghost Story; City of Ghosts; The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography

For those who don’t go bananas over blockbusters like War for the Planet of the Apes, there are some alternatives out there. But, be careful what you wish for.

Wish Upon This creepy horror movie from the director of Annabelle starts out with a fair amount of promise, but quickly deteriorates into a dud. It stars Joey King (White House Down) as Clare Shannon, a High School teen whose widower dad (Ryan Phillippe) gives her an old Chinese music box that he found while dumpster diving. She’s able to decipher enough of the Chinese lettering on the box to know that it will grant her seven wishes. But for some reason, she doesn’t clue into the second part of the message, which basically warns that for every wish, there’s a blood price to be paid. So she starts making the typical teen wishes (to get the shallow stud muffin to fall in love with her, to be rich, to be popular, etc.) and people die. Gruesome, twisted deaths. Oops.

Manchester by the Sea

Thanksgiving may not seem like the best time to see a movie about grief, but Manchester by the Sea is so much more. It’s a family drama that tackles issues of loss, healing, and hurt in a smart, poignant, and often humorous way. And it puts Casey Affleck firmly in the running for a best actor nomination, and possibly even the win. Affleck plays Lee Chandler, a man haunted by his past, who returns to his hometown of Manchester, Massachusetts to take care of family business after his older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) dies somewhat suddenly of a heart ailment. Lee never expected that the ‘family business’ would include guardianship of his teenage nephew, Patrick (Lucas Hedges). But it does.

The Finest Hours

The Finest Hours is a fine but forgettable flick that doesn’t quite rise up to the level of what I’ve come to expect from a Disney movie based on a true story. It’s no Miracle (on Ice), Secretariat, Rise of the Titans, Million Dollar Arm, etc. Perhaps Disney needs the sports theme to hit it out of the park. This one’s more like a solid base hit. I didn’t feel the heartwarming or emotional pull that sucked me into the narrative of the aforementioned films, or even the non-sports-themed Saving Mr. Banks (the movie with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson on the making of Mary Poppins). That one at least had some comedic edge to it. The Finest Hours has a compelling story at its core — and a few almost-nailbiting scenes — but overall, it wasn’t the lump in your throat, stand up and cheer, feel-good movie I was hoping for.

Tower Heist

The trailer for Tower Heist makes it look like an Oceans Eleven-esque comedy ensemble thievery pic. And guess what? That’s exactly what it is, only not as good. On the Oceans scale, I’d give it a six and a half.