Posts Tagged ‘Boston’

The Town – Not Just Hunting For A Paycheck

Posted 26 Jun 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

The Town, USA, 2010

Directed by Ben Affleck

The Town feels like a film that could stand on its own, and Affleck makes the material his own, while paying respect to Charlestown and the novel itself. In 1997, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon gave us a soft and emotional tour of Boston in Good Will Hunting, as they knew it growing up. They explored the values of hope and family. In 2007, ten years later, Affleck went it alone and took us back to Boston with Gone Baby Gone, exploring themes of loss and grief, right and wrong. In 2010, Affleck took us to the doorstep, sat us down on the curb, and said, “Watch.” The town, Charlestown, to be specific, lives and breathes by itself as the central hub of bank robberies in New England. The film’s opening quotes tell us that the trade is almost a birthright, something you’re born into, or against. For the four lads in this film, it’s the only life they know, and they’ll go to incredible lengths to protect it.

Ben Affleck is a fantastic director. Being an actor, he understands how to work with them and get the best performances possible. There isn’t a false performance in this film, not one, and if Good Will Hunting and Gone Baby Gone weren’t already an indication, he’s an extremely gifted writer. He’s a great American filmmaker, if I may be so bold. After only two films as director, that’s pretty bold, but I’ll stand by it. Sue me. Affleck understands pacing better than most directors working today. I think it can be attributed to his involvement in the scriptwriting, and his timing as an actor. All of these elements elevate his films beyond what they might be in the hands of other directors. He isn’t a Scorsese or a Capra or a Coppola, but he’s Affleck, and, at the very least, he was the bomb in Phantoms. Read More

SlamNation – A Division Between Old And New

Posted 27 Apr 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

SlamNation, USA, 1998

Directed by Paul Devlin

Poet Taylor Mali is arguably the star of Paul Devlin's SlamNation.

“Across North America, spoken word artists are competing in performance poetry contests called SLAMS … ”

For those uninitiated, this is the first explanation of just what Paul Devlin’s 1998 film SlamNation is about. This information comes in the form of an intertitle only after we have caught a few brief glimpses of three of the documentary’s “stars”: iconoclastic firebrand Beau Sia, Slam founder Marc Smith, and supreme strategist and competitor Taylor Mali. The film was shot at the 1996 National Poetry Slam, and premiered two years later at the Sundance Film Festival. With this year’s documentary Louder Than A Bomb (opening in New York May 18) set to introduce a new generation to the art form via its depiction of the Chicago Youth Slam scene, I felt it was a good time to revisit the start of it all, a film that stands as the definitive documentary account of this rapidly growing and changing mode of expression. Read More