CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
Gone Baby Gone
CHICAGO – For a film adapted from “Mystic River” and “Gone Baby Gone” author Dennis Lehane, there are no children in danger in “The Drop,” but there is a pit bull puppy named Rocco. The dog’s involvement in the story, an animal who gets as many closeups this side of a Charles Martin Smith film, invites the uncharacteristically blunt metaphor of how creatures fight for power, or even just the impression of power.
CHICAGO – Ben Affleck is such a nice, likable guy that he asks those interviewing him how they’re doing and expresses how much he loves Chicago before you can even get a question out. He has reason to be happy. He’s riding a wave of incredible praise for his amazing “Argo,” the best film of the year to date and a surefire player at this year’s Oscars (come back Thursday for our full review).
CHICAGO – It’s only been a couple of years but Ben Affleck’s “The Town” already feels like more of a modern classic than it did upon its release. There are some elements of the film that still falter for this critic (most of them related to the Affleck-Hall relationship and lack of chemistry within it) although they’ve become nearly overwhelmed by what DOES work about this engaging, tight thriller. He’s only made two films (“Gone Baby Gone” before this and this fall’s “Argo” will be his third) but I honestly feel like Ben Affleck will be a better director than an actor (and I’ve always thought him an underrated actor).
CHICAGO – For filmmaker Ben Affleck, “The Town” marks a return to his roots in more ways than one. It’s a fresh and assured sophomore effort by the promising director, whose cinematic perspective on Boston is becoming as distinctive and exciting Scorsese’s take on New York City. Yet the picture also finds Affleck returning to the themes that have obsessed him ever since “Good Will Hunting.”
CHICAGO – Dennis Lehane remains one of our better fiction writers with some of his best-known material being turned into highly-acclaimed films including “Mystic River,” “Gone Baby Gone,” and “Shutter Island.” He returns to his two most beloved characters — Angie Gennaro and Patrick Kenzie — those played by Michelle Monaghan and Casey Affleck in the film version of “GBG” to craft a direct sequel to that novel, “Moonlight Mile,” a reminder of how efficient Lehane can be when it comes to breakneck thriller pacing but a bit of a letdown if it truly is the final book with these memorable detectives.
CHICAGO – Only three years since the Chicago Film Critics Association awarded Ben Affleck as our most promising filmmaker, he’s back in the director’s seat a second time with “The Town”.
CHICAGO – In our latest crime/drama edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 40 admit-two passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of the new film “The Town”!
CHICAGO – Amy Ryan’s star just keeps rising. The breakout actress from HBO’s “The Wire,” who was nominated for a Golden Globe and Academy Award for her role in “Gone Baby Gone,” will be featured in at least five episodes on this coming season of NBC hit TV show “The Office”.
CHICAGO – If you missed Wednesday night’s red-carpet affair with Ben and Casey Affleck for “Gone Baby Gone,” you can still hit up the Music Box Theatre at 3733 N. Southport Ave. in Chicago on Friday night for John Cusack’s turn in the limelight.
CHICAGO – On a frigid Chicago night, the Chicago International Film Festival on Wednesday rolled out the red carpet for Ben Affleck and brother Casey Affleck to pump Ben’s directorial debut film “Gone Baby Gone”.