Ben Affleck’s career makeover from tabloid fodder to top-shelf director has been impressive. “Argo” has been his coronation and even though he got snubbed for a Best Director Oscar nomination, he still might get the last laugh as his movie has a legitimate shot of sneaking in and grabbing the Best Picture award. If you haven’t seen it yet you are running out of excuses now that it is out on DVD.
Also this week, a fresh take on a literary costume drama, a lightweight tween comedy, and an Ethan Hawke horror flick.
Just a great movie. Affleck directs and stars in this tight little thriller based on a little-known true story of how the CIA snuck American diplomats out of Iran during the hostage crisis. Planning to pass the Americans off as a Canadian film crew, Affleck travels to Hollywood to enlist the help of a makeup artist and a producer (played by John Goodman and Alan Arkin respectively) to concoct a fake movie in order to strengthen the cover story. Part thriller, part satire this movie is as good as advertised.
Keira Knightly stars as the titular Russian aristocrat caught in a doomed love triangle. This Tolstoy classic that has been the bane of World Literature classes for decades gets a fresh interpretation here with all the action being cleverly staged inside an old theater. While this conceit doesn’t always work, it is enough to bring some life to this dense literary saga. If that doesn’t do it for you, there are also pretty costumes!
This is basically a watered-down version of “Superbad.” Our hero Wren (Victoria Justice) wants to go to a cute boy’s Halloween party but instead is forced to take her little brother trick-or-treating. She opts for the party, loses her brother, and hijinks ensue. About what you would expect from a movie produced by Nickelodeon.
Yet another creepy and disturbing horror movie that I was too big of a chicken to check out. Basically, it involves Ethan Hawke as a true-crime novelist, some found-footage tapes, an evil spirit, and families getting murdered. Have fun!