Month: August 2013

I Believe in Ben Affleck

imageIt’s fair to say the announcement of Ben Affleck playing Batman in 2015’s yet to be titled Superman vs. Batman was greeted with much distaste. Twitter exploded into anti-Affleck mode and a number of petitions were signed including one to the White House attempting to make it illegal for Affleck to play Batman. Obviously it was quickly disposed of and regardless of how people reacted to the news, Affleck will be playing Batman whether people think it’s a good move by Warner Bros. or not.

Personally, I’m not too disappointed with the appointment. Not for a minute am I suggesting Affleck is the right man for the role, or I am claiming he will do a good job of it, but what follows are a list of reasons why critics shouldn’t overreact just yet and why Affleck should be given a chance to prove himself.

1. Previously pleasant surprises

Firstly, let’s look at Michael Keaton. When the then comedy actor was given the role of the caped crusader, there was uproar of Affleck proportion. Keaton was short, thin and everything suggested he would be wrong for the part. How satisfying it was therefore that Keaton as Batman in Tim Burton’s hugely successful adaptation worked very well indeed, surprising many and proving all his doubters wrong.

In 2006, a certain Heath Ledger was announced as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Again, this news was met with mass anger for a number of reasons. Ledger had just featured in the very successful yet controversial Brokeback Mountain and was met with a number of homophobic comments once he was announced as the Joker as a result. In reality, The Dark Knight wouldn’t be half the film it is without Ledger’s performance, which ultimately landed him an Oscar silencing all the critics that doubted him.

There were even mild moans when Anne Hathaway was announced as Catwoman for The Dark Knight Rises, as well as Cillian Murphy for Batman Begins. However, both did extremely good jobs in the Dark Knight series, proving many people wrong along the way. Affleck could easily fit into that category. A talented actor. Tall, dark and in good shape. Time will tell if he can rise above the mass uproar of disproval.

2. Affleck is a very talented movie man

Upon the announcement of Affleck as Batman, everyone suddenly took one look at his film CV and picked out every regrettable performance he featured in. Every actor or actress has a film they regret being in or played a role in a film that did badly for other reasons. Lest us not forget what Affleck achieved last January. Argo, both acted in and directed by Affleck, won him an Oscar and his two previously directed features, The Town and Gone Baby Gone, were also well critically acclaimed.

Affleck also has superhero experience. Although 2003 flop Daredevil might be an argument against Affleck, it shows that he would be comfortable stepping back into a super suit. And if Daredevil is your main argument to suggest Affleck is a bad actor, both Colin Farrell and Jennifer Garner co-starred alongside Affleck. Does that make them both bad actors too? I don’t think so. In addition and unknown to many, Affleck also featured in the 2006 film Hollywoodland in which he played George Reeves AKA Superman. Of course it wasn’t a superhero role, yet experience nonetheless.

3. Bale is gone and he’s never coming back

A number of people have suggested that there will never be a better Batman than Christian Bale. And there probably won’t be. After all, Bale featured in the best ever Batman series and did a very respectable job of doing so. The Welshman announced that he would not return as the caped crusader, despite rumours suggesting he was offered $50 million to feature in the then proposed Justice League movie. However, in 2015, someone has to step into the black boots of the caped crusader, and whilst there were a number of rumours suggesting possible candidates for the role (e.g. Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling), no one truly looked destined for the part. Affleck was a huge shock, and to many not a pleasant one, yet the argument that he won’t be as good a Batman as Bale is irrelevant. Bruce Wayne will have a new face in 2015, why shouldn’t it be Affleck?

In conclusion

In my opinion, it is too early to reintroduce Batman onto the big screen so soon after The Dark Knight series, and I believe it is a move of desperation from Warner Bros. in order to rescue the Man of Steel series having had such high expectations. Nevertheless, in 2015 Batman will return in the Superman sequel and Affleck will be replacing Bale as the caped crusader, facing up against Henry Cavill. Whoever was cast as the new Batman was always going to be scrutinised for one reason or another and unfortunately Affleck, the talented actor he is, has been on the receiving end of much abuse since the announcement. Hopefully, he’ll prove people wrong in 2015 but at this moment in time, there is no clear reason to suggest Affleck can’t be a success when he dons the cape.

We’re the Millers – Review

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A talented ensemble rescue likeable comedy We’re the Millers. David (Jason Sudeikis) is a small time pot dealer who attempts to pay off some debt by gathering a made up family in order to safely smuggle some of his boss’ stash across the Mexican border.

Recruits for his fake family include an evicted stripper (Jennifer Aniston) as his wife, an abandoned 18-year-old neighbour (Brit Will Poulter) playing his son, and a homeless rebel (Emma Roberts) as his daughter. The “family” face a number of disasters leading to some awkward but comical moments, most of which including a family they are pretending to imitate.

Rawson Marshall Thurber’s film lacks in fulfilling its script as well as enough laugh out loud moments. That said however, the comedy qualities of lead Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston, in arguably her best comedy role since Friends, make We’re the Millers a witty and enjoyable watch. Beyond the mother and father of the film, Poulter and Roberts play their roles as the spouse of the family perfectly. In addition, cameo performances from Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn enlarge the talented roster of comical acting.

The film therefore is saved with this talented ensemble making the most of a script that potentially could have served up more. Nevertheless, We’re the Millers is the light-hearted comedy of the year so far offering cheap and crude giggles throughout.

7/10 #WebbersRatings

2 Guns fires – Review

Michael ‘Stig’ Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) and Bobby Trent (Denzel Washington) are two undercover officers from the DEA and the Navy who are ordered to investigate each other. Unaware of each other’s true identities, both are tasked to infiltrate a multi-million dollar drug cartel led by Mexican gangster Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos). When their respective bosses abandon Stig and Bobby, the pair discovers whom they both truly are and that they were set up to perform the robbery.

After some initial trust issues, the pair work together – or “in the same vicinity” – in order to take down the cartel as well as clearing their own names. James Marsden and Bill Paxton offer slimy cameos as Stig and Bobby’s superiors, but the protagonist pairing have learned many a trick being under cover for so long.

Washington and Wahlberg offer the perfect “buddy-cop” combination with a successful dosage of stunts and humorous one-liners. Wahlberg in particular has demonstrated his comical prowess in recent years and Washington’s talents have always been undoubted (despite his age now starting to show). What 2 Guns offers is a strong cast combined with a clever, action fuelled and quick-witted script.

Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur has previously worked with Wahlberg on last year’s crime thriller Contraband, and is making a comfortable start to life as a Hollywood director.

2 Guns produces just as many laughs as it does entertaining action scenes and there are plenty of both. Originally a 2008 comic, 2 Guns also offers emotional elements, which illustrate just how versatile both headlining actors truly are.

The film is charming, cheeky, explosive and entertaining and is so much more than the typical buddy-cop feature. Washington and Wahlberg are perfect for the two roles as are the supporting cast while the crew also make the most of some elegant locations and set pieces

8/10 #WebbersRatings

Kick-Ass 2 fails to…kick ass – Review

In 2010, Kick-Ass brought us an alternative twist to a comic book movie with new levels of violence and gore along with some shocking yet comical potty mouth from it’s characters. Now our heroes return for their second outing where we are reintroduced to Dave Lizewski AKA Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Now a high school senior, Dave has hung up his batons but is finding life boring without his green hero suit.

Mindy McCready AKA Hit Girl (Chloe Grace-Moretz) has sworn to her guardian Marcus (Morris Cheshunt) that she is finished with her superhero antics, yet sneaks out in her purple costume as she struggles to adjust to a normal life. After teaming up once again, Dave discovers Justice Forever, a group of superhero vigilantes led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey).

Meanwhile, Chris D’Amico AKA Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is seeking revenge on Kick-Ass for memorably murdering his father with a bazooka. This time however, he gives himself a rebirth, becoming ‘The Mother******’. After building an evil army, The Mother****** leads his super villains into an epic showdown to face Kick-Ass’ group of wannabe heroes. Inevitably, this leads to blood and in true Kick-Ass fashion, lots of it.

Matthew Vaughn passed on the directing baton to American Jeff Wadlow, after his success with the 2010 hit. The result leaves Kick-Ass 2 without the slick continuity and stylish set pieces we witnessed in the first feature. Based on the success on the previous success, Wadlow has ensured more violence and darker humour, whilst making sure the certificate stays at a 15. Carrey publicly refused to promote the film due to the violence that coincided with the events of Sandy Hook. But he could be forgiven for suggesting that the violence is simply unnecessary and over-glamorised in attempts to live up to the blood fuelled expectations set by the first Kick-Ass. The film also slips up concerning Mintz-Plasses’ villain, with a name as questionable as his costume emphatically backfiring.

However, Kick-Ass 2 does portray some touching moments including Mindy’s stumbling efforts to fit in to a normal school life as well as some emotional scenes with Dave and his father.

Nevertheless, the second edition of our green costumed hero unfortunately disappoints and fails to produce anything new and exciting. All the shockingly fun aspects that were previously introduced were left behind in the stylish original, leaving Kick-Ass 2 failing to impress.

6/10 #WebbersRatings

The New Batman: The Contenders

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So by now we all know that Batman will have a role to play in Man of Steel 2 (rumoured to be given the creative title of Batman vs. Superman). We also know that Christian Bale will not return as the Dark Knight following his spell in the recent Batman Trilogy. So who are the front-runners take up the role of the caped crusader?

Ryan Gosling

Women love him, men want to be him (and in some cases love him too). Gosling is one of the top choices to take up the Dark Knight mantel following his recent break from acting. A return as the Batman would be some comeback for the Drive and Only God Forgives star. Other than his good looks, wit and charm, Gosling is simply a very dark, talented young actor.

Josh Brolin

Another candidate strongly liked by the Man of Steel producers is Josh Brolin who starred alongside Gosling in Gangster Squad. At 45-years old, Brolin fits the bill for what the producers aim to be an older Batman. In addition, Brolin features in Robert Rodriguez’ Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (out next year) and therefore has experience in a comic book role. Warner Bros. likes Brolin a lot having worked with them on many a project and feel he could fit the role effectively.

Joe Manganiello

Rumour has it that Zack Snyder considered Manganiello for the original Man of Steel role before deciding on Henry Cavill. The 36-year old stars in True Blood as a werewolf and could potentially have issues with his busy schedule. Manganiello has also had small comic book experience playing bully Flash Thompson in Sam Raimi’s Spiderman series.

Richard Armitage

It would be very special to see two Brits playing both superheroes (albeit using American accents). Armitage has friends at Warner Bros. having featured as Thorin in The Hobbit; a role that he is reprising for the second and third features in the series. Armitage has an impressive background with TV roles in Robin Hood, Strike Back and Spooks as well as the briefest of appearances in Captain America and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

A number of other names have been suggested for the role including Pacific Rim and Hawaii Five-O star Max Martini as well as Matthew Goode who worked with Snyder on Watchmen. Nothing will be announced until the script has been written of course, so at this stage all talk is simply just speculation. Cavill will continue his role as Superman, but time will tell who will fill the boots in the opposite corner as his black caped frenemy.