Posts Tagged ‘Ben Affleck’

Fist of Film: Matt Damon’s Bottom Five

March 12, 2010

Matt Damon has enjoyed quite a ride. The game-changing Bourne trilogy transformed him from the only Oscar-winning Bruce Weber pin-up into a muscular box office behemoth. The WMD thriller Green Zone reunites Damon with director Paul Greengrass and looks set to reap further millions this weekend. It wasn’t always, thus, however. Here’s a look at the Cambridge-born star’s least profitable earners, written in the hope hidden gems will be uncovered and bitter laughs had. Box office figures are kindly taken from Box Office Mojo.

Geronimo: An American Legend (1993)
Box office: $18,635,620
A beardless Damon tags along as part of a party led by Robert Duvall, who applies his best grizzle to the role of an Indian hunter. Duvall’s white whale is the legendary Apache renegade Geronimo (Wes Studi). Released after the success of Unforgiven, the film doesn’t so much revise history as honor the facts. For Damon’s teen following, it moved with all the pace of a three-legged horse. Genre expert Walter Hill (The Warriors) directed a script from John Milius (Red Dawn) and Larry Gross.

All the Pretty Horses (2000)
Box office: $15,540,353
Pairing director Billy Bob Thornton with the 1992 National Book Award-winner seemed like a good idea at the time, as the Sling Blade star had yet to go full lunatic. The material is Cormac McCarthy, so there’s the inevitable run by a Texas teen (Damon) ‘cross the border, where he breaks some horses and falls for a simmering Penelope Cruz. It was all too elegiac for the studio, who hacked Thornton’s original three-hour cut and left the film to languish at the box office. What’s left is a great novel with palsy.

(more…)

Advertisements

Trailerama: The Company Men

January 13, 2010

ER producer John Wells applies his televisual kaleidoscopic approach to corporate downsizing. Like any good company spokesman, the trailer sells the stars and not the story. Those fired, about to be fired or simply sweating being fired include Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones, while–mmm!–Maria Bello is the hatchet-woman in HR. Unlikely to leave one with a song in their heart, but there’s always Up in the Air for that. Screening at the Sundance Film Festival.

Trailerama: Extract (Mike Judge, 2009)

April 10, 2009

It’s always worth reminding yourself that Hollywood is a bloodier arena than the Roman senate on the Ides of March. Mike Judge learned this when he made Idiocracy. No film has come close to its skin-crawling vision of the future. Luke Wilson falls asleep for 500 years and wakes up in a world drowning in stupidity. Garbage assumes natural formations, energy drinks have replaced water, Starbucks is a brothel chain, and a pro-wrestler/porn star has become president. It’s American as apple pie and bleak as Haneke‘s Time of the Wolf.

20th Century Fox rewarded this unique vision by not screening the film for critics and releasing it into less theatres than Midnight Meat Train. Opinion was divided as to whether there was too much diss in the dystopia or whether Judge went too far in offending corporations with business ties to News International. Idiocracy didn’t fare much better than the Beavis & Butthead creator’s live action feature debut Office Space. So we can expect him to tread lightly for his latest film Extract, right?

(more…)

Everybody needs money. That’s why they call it money.

April 2, 2009

Money is a touchy thing, which may explain why movies don’t get too serious about it. Coming down off a marathon session of Planet Money podcasts made it feel like it was high time to look at the movies that get it right. Or at least “get it right” in the view from our apple stand. Here’s a brief history of onscreen finance, dating from the dawn of cinema to 9/11. What did we miss? Leave your suggestions in the comments box.

A Corner in Wheat (D.W. Griffith, 1909)

One of the film pioneer’s most daring experiments in montage shows how a financier’s machinations leads to devastation on the farm and starvation on the breadline. The boss chokes on his own grain; the downbeat ending sticks in the craw.

(more…)

The Slate: Green Lantern and Dark Shadows are Going the Distance

March 21, 2009

green-lantern

  • Turns out Green Lantern is a go! The green DC superhero who isn’t Green Arrow (or The Riddler if you’re short-sighted) will be brought to the screen by Casino Royale director Martin Campbell. According to producer Donald De Line, locations are being scouted in Melbourne and Sydney and shooting is due to begin in mid-September. Previously mooted as Hal Jordan: Jack Black (back when the film was a comedy), Anton Yelchin, Chris Pine and … that’s it. More news once our power ring recharges. (Dark Horizons)
  • Sign of a slow news day: the Internet is quivering over the news that Tim Burton may not begin shooting the Dark Shadows movie with Johnny Depp this summer. He might have to wait until … this fall! Can we possibly do without our Barnabas Collins fix for a few more months? Actually, yes. The production has been delayed because Burton is still slaving on Alice in Wonderland, footage of which drew audible gasps of wonderlandishness at a recent Disney/DreamWorks shareholders confab. Work faster, Burton, work faster! To hell with quality! Depp is due to begin shooting The Rum Diaries on schedule at the end of the month. (Deadline Hollywood Daily)
  • Tommy Lee Jones and Kevin Costner are joining Ben Affleck in John Wells’ The Company Men. The film will be a fascinating exploration in the effects of petrification on three Hollywood actors in the guise of a drama about corporate downsizing. Because there’s nothing unemployed people like better than watching films about unemployed people. Affleck is the laid-off high-flyer who crashes to earth at Costner and Jones’ laconic construction firm. (Variety)
  • The latest film from the team behind Takenhas been picked up for release by Lionsgate. From Paris With Love finds John Travolta “hooking up” with Jonathan Rhys Meyers. It’s a thriller, natch, with Travolta’s special agent and Meyers’ innocent embassy employee fighting terrorists and, if screenwriter Luc Besson has anything to do with it, engaging in some inappropriate Gallic slapstick. The film, directed by Taken‘s Pierre Morel, is due to open Feb. 19, 2010. (Variety)
  • The resistible rise of the Mac mensch continues. Justin Long has signed to star in Going the Distance, a romantic comedy about a long-distance relationship that’s been stretched to breaking point. Long will play the man who realizes he’d rather date somebody who lives around the corner. Expect lots of Skype product placement and Facebook gags. (Variety)