Live by Night

Tuesday, 31 January, 2017

2 and a half stars

At first glance, Live by Night, trailer, bears all the hallmarks of a great film. It is directed by accomplished US filmmaker Ben Affleck. His past features, including Argo, The Town, and Gone, Baby, Gone, were all well received. Further, the screenplay is based on US author Dennis Lehane’s 2012 novel of the same name.

Several of Lehane’s books, Mystic River, and Shutter Island, have also been adapted into acclaimed films. Together with the aforementioned Gone, Baby, Gone, which was also directed by Affleck. Then add to the mix gangsters, the roaring twenties, and prohibition rackets. Surely the recipe for a great flick, right?

Joe (Ben Affleck), finds himself displaced after returning to Boston at the end of the first world war. A life of crime – much to the chagrin of his father, Thomas (Brendan Gleeson), a police officer – seems to be the only tonic. After a stint in jail, following a botched bank robbery, Joe decides to relocate to Florida.

There he heads up a rum racketeering operation for Italian mobster Maso Pescatore (Remo Girone), along with Dion (Chris Messina). Joe also looks for a way to hit back at Albert White (Robert Glenister), a rival of Pescatore, who was also responsible for the death of his Irish girlfriend, Emma (Sienna Miller).

For all its promise though, “Live by Night” ends up sleep-walking from one scene to the next. Sure, it is beautifully filmed, and much care was taken in recreating the United States of the 1920s. But what’s missing is the essence of Affleck’s earlier works. The tension of “The Town”? The drama of “Argo”? All missing here, I’m afraid.

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Trailer for Live by Night, the new Ben Affleck feature

Friday, 13 January, 2017

Live by Night is a gangster flick set in 1920s Boston, directed by Ben Affleck. Elle Fanning, Zoe Saldana, and Brendan Gleeson, have leading roles. See the trailer here. Opens in Australian cinemas on 26 January. If the stars align, I’ll post a review.

Affleck is certainly someone who doesn’t shy away from a challenge. Not only is he directing, he also wrote the screenplay, and has a starring role. I’d like to know what time management system he has going there.

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Friday, 18 December, 2009

4 stars

Avatar: humanity has all but destroyed Earth in 2154 so we’ve set our sights on unspoilt Pandora, a distant moon-planet, where a human colony is trying to mine a valuable mineral, despite the resistance of the indigenous population.

Worth seeing for Pandora’s spectacularly rendered landscapes and ecosystem – especially after dark – by way of the film’s much talked about ground breaking 3D technology.

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Star Trek

Friday, 8 May, 2009

4 and a half stars

Thought Star Trek was awesome the first time I saw it yesterday morning… if my opinion of it changes after I’ve seen it another three or four times I’ll let you know.

Bring on the sequels.

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