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Chris Kaltenbach and The Baltimore Sun | February 25, 2013
Fresh off becoming the first director since 1990 to helm a Best Picture winner without being nominated himself, Ben Affleck swore that's not a distinction he loses sleep over. "I'm not going to spend a lot of time second-guessing" the academy, he said, clutching the Oscar he'd just won as a producer for "Argo. " After all, he noted, academy voters did give him an Oscar, just not one for directing. Still, the normally self-effacing Affleck promised, people might see some changes in him, now that he's a two-time Oscar winner (he'd previously shared a screenwriting award with pal Matt Damon for "Good Will Hunting")
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Chris Kaltenbach and The Baltimore Sun | February 25, 2013
Fresh off becoming the first director since 1990 to helm a Best Picture winner without being nominated himself, Ben Affleck swore that's not a distinction he loses sleep over. "I'm not going to spend a lot of time second-guessing" the academy, he said, clutching the Oscar he'd just won as a producer for "Argo. " After all, he noted, academy voters did give him an Oscar, just not one for directing. Still, the normally self-effacing Affleck promised, people might see some changes in him, now that he's a two-time Oscar winner (he'd previously shared a screenwriting award with pal Matt Damon for "Good Will Hunting")
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | October 19, 2007
With Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck has taken a best-selling Dennis Lehane novel and made a compelling, sometimes terrifying, and, on occasion, bleakly funny urban mystery about failure. His private-eye hero, Patrick Kenzie (Affleck's younger brother Casey), struggles to crack the kidnapping of a 4-year-old girl named Amanda McCready from the rough Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. His quest exacts a cost in emotion and moral certainty each step of the way. With every advance in his investigation, Kenzie faces some shortcoming or breakdown in individuals and organizations.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | January 10, 2013
I pay no more attention to the Academy Awards than to the Miss America pageant and other reality shows, but the heavy-breathing coverage of the Academy Awards sometimes sparks a faint interest. This from Slate : Now that Ben Affleck's Iran hostage drama Argo has garnered seven Oscar nominations to add to its mantle, upon which already sit $110 million in domestic box office, near unanimous acclaim from critics, and even a whisper campaign for Affleck to run for John Kerry's soon-to-be vacated Senate seat, it needs to be said: Argo is a fraud.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN FILM CRITIC | November 17, 2000
Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow are so immensely appealing, and their chemistry together is so unforced, that their presence alone makes a movie worth seeing. Thankfully, "Bounce" has even more going for it. This tender, well-crafted love story about fate and love and accepting the machinations of both is a departure for writer-director Don Roos, whose last film (and first as director) was the wickedly clear-eyed black comedy "The Opposite of Sex." But it exhibits many of the traits that made the earlier film so much fun: clean dialogue, a good eye for character development and an understanding that people can surprise even themselves.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | August 1, 2003
Jennifer Lopez casts a queer eye on her straight guy - Ben Affleck - in Martin Brest's excruciating Gigli. Affleck plays the title role: a low-level Los Angeles mob thug assigned to kidnap the mentally challenged kid brother of a federal prosecutor who is making life hard for an East Coast godfather (Al Pacino). Lopez plays a lesbian hit woman assigned to ensure that Gigli doesn't bungle the job. From the moment Affleck declares that in every relationship "there's a bull and a cow," they make hideous chin music together.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | September 8, 2006
The producers of Hollywoodland reportedly couldn't get permission to use their original title, which was Truth, Justice and the American Way. That's a shame, because not only would Superman's motto have better reflected what the movie is about -- the suspicious 1959 shooting death of actor George Reeves, TV's original Superman -- it would have given the film sorely needed focus. Hollywoodland (Focus Features) Starring Adrien Brody, Diane Lane, Ben Affleck. Directed by Allen Coulter. Rated R. Time 126 minutes.
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By Chris Kridler and Chris Kridler,SUN STAFF | March 19, 1999
The forecast for "Forces of Nature" is pleasantly bumpy.Like the crazy weather it uses as a metaphor, this film -- part road movie and part romantic comedy -- is happily full of the unexpected.Ben (Ben Affleck) and Sarah (Sandra Bullock) are the characters suffering through various disasters on planes, trains and automobiles on their way from New York to Savannah, Ga. After their plane wrecks on the runway as they try to take off, they end up stuck in a rental car with a guy named Vic, headed South.
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By Gene Seymour and Gene Seymour,NEWSDAY | October 22, 2004
As a public service, it is our solemn duty to tell you to avoid being seduced by the smirking holiday veneer worn by Surviving Christmas. If you need heartwarming, Christmas-inspired misanthropy, the nearest available DVD of Bad Santa remains your first, best option. And Ben Affleck is a principal reason for this. OK, maybe not Affleck so much as the moviemakers who expect us to spend even five minutes in the company of his character, Drew Latham, an advertising mogul who's such a self-aggrandizing shark he believes he can "sell whale steaks to Greenpeace."
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | January 26, 2007
It's hard to figure where it's going, and when the movie's over, it's even harder figuring where it's been. But the careening roller-coaster ride calling itself Smokin' Aces is such a hoot to be on, who really cares? Best of all, writer-director Joe Carnahan injects a steady stream of black humor into the proceedings (at least until the final act, where things turn all serious and edifying). Unlike his previous film, the loathsome bloodbath Narc, Smokin' Aces revels in its absurdity. The acting is over the top, the story line is over the top, even the cinematography - stark overexposures and unflattering close-ups - is over the top. You don't believe a minute of it, but the film has such a reckless, gonzo sensibility that it's impossible not to get overwhelmed (in a good way)
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By Chris Kaltenbach and The Baltimore Sun | October 12, 2012
Sculptor Toby Mendez, the man whose bronze statues immortalized Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken Jr. and four other Orioles greats in Camden Yards ceremonies spread over the past six months, has certainly enjoyed his time in the spotlight. But now it's his dad's turn. The exploits of the elder Mendez, Tony, are at the center of the movie “Argo,” about a daring CIA-Canada rescue mission that got six Americans out of Iran during the 1979-1981 hostage crisis by convincing authorities they were part of a Canadian film crew.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com | April 12, 2009
Newspaper movies have a proud tradition, one that goes at least as far back as 1931's The Front Page. Over the years, it has produced such crowd favorites as His Girl Friday (1940), Deadline USA (1952) and Absence of Malice (1981), as well as recognized classics like Citizen Kane (1941) and the genre's pinnacle, All the President's Men (1976). State of Play director Kevin Macdonald hopes his film, the newest entry in Hollywood's journalistic canon, isn't the last. "You have to wonder, do people really care about journalism anymore?"
NEWS
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,michael.sragow@baltsun.com | November 7, 2008
The secret to the crowd-pleasing potential of Role Models is that director David Wain cleverly tucks G-rated comedy into an R-rated wrapper. Like Zach and Miri Make a Porno but with infinitely better dialogue and pacing and an authentic feel for juvenile high spirits, Role Models has a tart surface and a heart of goo. The movie grows more obvious as it goes along. But it allows the skillfully droll Paul Rudd to display glimmers of romance and heroism that make his humor more appealing than it's ever been before.
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By a Sun Staff Writer | December 19, 2007
Columbia native Edward Norton is bowing out of the Washington-set political thriller State of Play, his publicist confirmed yesterday. Norton's departure follows that of Brad Pitt's, who left the film late last month, just as it was about to start production in Los Angeles (Washington filming was to start next month). Russell Crowe was recast in the Pitt role, as a newspaper reporter covering a homicide investigation that points back to his former employer - the ambitious young politician Norton was to play.
ENTERTAINMENT
By John Anderson and John Anderson,Newsday | December 6, 2007
She chalks it up to coincidence, but whatever the cause, actress Amy Ryan is everywhere. As the drug-abusing mother in Ben Affleck's Gone Baby Gone or Ethan Hawke's vindictive ex in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead to what she admits is a very minor role in Dan in Real Life, her presence is being felt, especially at that happy time of the year when the holiday season is eclipsed by the awards season (at least in Hollywood). Are you the type of person who detects some master plan directing your fate?
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | October 19, 2007
With Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck has taken a best-selling Dennis Lehane novel and made a compelling, sometimes terrifying, and, on occasion, bleakly funny urban mystery about failure. His private-eye hero, Patrick Kenzie (Affleck's younger brother Casey), struggles to crack the kidnapping of a 4-year-old girl named Amanda McCready from the rough Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. His quest exacts a cost in emotion and moral certainty each step of the way. With every advance in his investigation, Kenzie faces some shortcoming or breakdown in individuals and organizations.
FEATURES
August 28, 2001
The Runner, an ABC reality series scheduled to debut in January, will hold a casting call tomorrow from noon to 8 p.m. at the ESPN Zone in the Inner Harbor. The series seeks to imitate a spy adventure. Runners crisscross the country having secret rendezvous, exchanging information and completing missions. Pursuing the runners will be agents, who will have the latest technology, as well as the American public, helping them try to find the runners. ABC will casting for both runners and agents in Baltimore tomorrow.
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By a Sun Staff Writer | December 19, 2007
Columbia native Edward Norton is bowing out of the Washington-set political thriller State of Play, his publicist confirmed yesterday. Norton's departure follows that of Brad Pitt's, who left the film late last month, just as it was about to start production in Los Angeles (Washington filming was to start next month). Russell Crowe was recast in the Pitt role, as a newspaper reporter covering a homicide investigation that points back to his former employer - the ambitious young politician Norton was to play.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | January 26, 2007
It's hard to figure where it's going, and when the movie's over, it's even harder figuring where it's been. But the careening roller-coaster ride calling itself Smokin' Aces is such a hoot to be on, who really cares? Best of all, writer-director Joe Carnahan injects a steady stream of black humor into the proceedings (at least until the final act, where things turn all serious and edifying). Unlike his previous film, the loathsome bloodbath Narc, Smokin' Aces revels in its absurdity. The acting is over the top, the story line is over the top, even the cinematography - stark overexposures and unflattering close-ups - is over the top. You don't believe a minute of it, but the film has such a reckless, gonzo sensibility that it's impossible not to get overwhelmed (in a good way)
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | September 8, 2006
The producers of Hollywoodland reportedly couldn't get permission to use their original title, which was Truth, Justice and the American Way. That's a shame, because not only would Superman's motto have better reflected what the movie is about -- the suspicious 1959 shooting death of actor George Reeves, TV's original Superman -- it would have given the film sorely needed focus. Hollywoodland (Focus Features) Starring Adrien Brody, Diane Lane, Ben Affleck. Directed by Allen Coulter. Rated R. Time 126 minutes.
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