Ben Affleck may have become a cocktail party joke after roles in Daredevil and Paycheck, but his return to the screen in Hollywoodland, combined with two of the most legitimately entertaining thrillers in recent years (those being Gone, Baby, Gone and The Town), have turned him into a filmmaker to be reckoned with. Between the roles in Daredevil and Hollywoodland, his friendship with Kevin Smith and his role as a comic book illustrator in Chasing Amy (reprised in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back), it’s likely that we’ll all see Affleck coming back into the comics or genre movie fold, so it’s worth taking note when something of his hits the theaters or home video, particularly when it’s something you really can’t help but like.
The Town is a complex and fascinating crime thriller, but one without pretense, making it more like one of the “Ocean’s” trilogy than something by David Lynch. And while many people may feel like the features are pretty bare-bones for a movie that was talked up early in the year as an Oscar candidate, I’m content just to hear Affleck’s thoughts on the film–let alone that he does the very rare thing of having a commentary track on both the theatrical AND director’s cuts of the film. John Hamm and Chris Cooper have great supporting roles in this picture, where almost every minor character is played by an actor who’s extremely talented, extremely famous or both. Check it out on DVD and Blu-Ray Combo Pack.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
The owls are not what they seem, in this strange, fun, interesting and–honestly?–sometimes a little violent kids’ adventure movie from Warner Animation. While the box art on the Blu-Ray Combo Pack tells viewers that it’s “From the Studio that Brought You ‘HAPPY FEET’”, this movie that centers around warring factions of owls is not nearly as kid-friendly as its flightless, arctic cousin. I watched it with my three-year-old niece and she was alternately rapt, bored or repulsed by the animation, the lulls and the violence that make up Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.
The environmental subtext of almost every animated animal movie these days is something impossible to escape, and while it doesn’t beat you over the head in this movie as much as it did in Hoot a few years ago–the last big owl movie I can remember–it’s there on the extra footage, where one of the mini-documentaries is all about the plight of owls. These things always seem a little out of place in a kids’ film to me, and even though I’m a commie pinko leftist, it still stinks to high heaven of indoctrination.
While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the movie for most viewers, the part that both Gracie and I enjoyed the most was the Looney Tunes cartoon that’s included on the disc as a bonus feature.
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