Movie Valley
September 2010 Movie Reviews
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The Town
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, Blake Lively
Directed By: Ben Affleck
Run Time: 2 hrs

The Town is about a gang of bank robbers in Massachusetts. During one heist, they take the bank manager Claire (played by Hall)hostage. After the heist, Jem (played by Renner) thinks the bank manager may be able to identify them so he starts following her. Doug (played by Affleck) is fearful that Jem might hurt her so he, too, starts following her. The two meet, talk, and begin dating.

Ever since Fargo, I've been leery of movies that say it's based on a true story. Stay for the credits because there's a really nice wrap-up (which suggests Ben has seen Fargo, too).

When you see the previews, you see that the FBI identifies the members of the bank robbing gang. As a result of such a huge reveal, I decided that there had to be a twist. I kept waiting for it through the entire movie, up until the last five minutes, but there isn't one. I tell you this not as a spoiler (you find out many facts early on in the movie) but as a warning. Just try to enjoy the movie. It's quite good.

I have to think the accents were dead-on Bostonian accents. I say this because whenever we see a movie set in Boston, Jeff insists that Bostonians don't sound like that. Since Ben Affleck is a MA native, I have to think that the accents were right this tim (of course, Jeff might still disagree if he ever sees it). Not too strong, subtle but there.

I read something that before Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck decided never to cast himself in a movie that he directs because he thought it would be too hard. And then he cast himself in this one. I think he did a spectacular job playing the conflicted Doug. He might even be up for an Oscar for this part.

Good movie. Incredibly suspenseful. I gasped many times. I pulled at my hair a number of times, too.

So casting Victor Garbor (who officiated at the wedding of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner) and then beating him up - is there a hidden meaning behind that?

I know this movie is filmed by a Bostonian and was filmed in Boston... but why on earth did he choose to film the Bunker Hill monument at angles that make it look like the Washington monument in DC? The Bunker Hill monument is small and on a hill. The shots of it were aerial and omitted the hill. It looked so much like the Washington monument that every time I saw it, I thought to myself, "How did they get to DC?" It pulled me out of the movie because I thought the plot was changing. It kept making me forget - or question - where it was taking place.

I liked the characters and their flaws. Some of the prose was wonderfully put - like Doug's story abut remembering the day his mother left and Claire's sunny day comment (and Doug's reply). It was such nice imagery.

I liked this movie. It was well done and well acted.

The Switch
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, Juliette Lewis, Thomas Robinson
Directed By: Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Run Time: 1 hr 40 mins

The Switch is about Kassie, a single woman (played by Aniston), who decides she wants a baby. She selects a sperm donor, throws a insemination party (where a doctor inseminates her with the donor's sperm right in her own apartment), and then moves back to the Midwest to raise her child before he's even born. Her best friend Wally (played by Bateman) gets drunk at the party and accidently dumps the donation down the drain. He replaces it with his own. Years later, Kassie moves back to NYC with her child. Little by little, Wally realizes that the child is his.

Some of the annoyances with the plot (how did Wally get access to the sperm in order to accidently dispose of it and why did Wally not tell Kassie sooner about the Switch) are all smartly explained. After you see the movie, I doubt these annoyances will really annoy you. I bought the explanations.

I chose this movie because nothing else at the time I wanted to see a movie was playing. This was it. I thought it was going to be a sappy chick flick. I was wrong. It had depth. It actually had depth. And I liked it. I'm happy that I saw it.

I loved the child (Sebastian, played by Robinson) - the actor and his quirks. He had such great, big, expressive doe eyes. He reminded me of Haley Joel Osment - how his expressions were magnified by his eyes. Such sorrow. Such range. All with emotion in his eyes. I loved the quirk with the frames. No, I absolutely loved the frames part. His reason for the frames was quite touching. I like that kind of imagination. The kid really stole the show. I just wished there were more scenes with the kid. I particularly liked him with Wally.

I hated - absolutely hated - Juliette Lewis. Hated. Jeff Goldbloom was bad but not as bad as Juliette Lewis. I don't think either one of them has had an acting gig in a long, long time so they've forgotten how to act (and it shows).

I really liked the ending. It made me cry.

So... go for the kid. His big doe-eyes will suck you in. I loved his quirks. He was fun. And I liked that his mother tried to cope with his quirks as well as tried to help him grow (instead of shunning his quirks and telling him he was a freak). It's a good movie.