NEWS IN BRIEF: "THE TOWN" AND "JACK GOES BOATING"

By ALI NADERZAD – September 17, 2010

There are two movies you should pay attention to this Friday. The Philip Seymour Hoffman-directed “Jack Goes Boating,” about an aimless livery car driver who awkwardly goes on the path to self-improvement and “The Town,” a reprise of “Gone Baby Gone” with a heist plot fitted squarely in the middle. A.O. Scott reviewed “Jack” in the New York Times and we took the temperature: it’s lukewarm. Scott said it’s a movie that’s reminiscent of a Mike Nichols movie but without the correct depth. And yet, as is always the case when this kind of thing occurs (“Doubt”) Hoffman the actor saves the day, with a lead role performance that is shrewd and restrained, qualities that come from experience and a deep love of one’s own craft.

It’s Affleck Boys Week, with Casey coming clean about the Joaquin Phoenix mockumentary and a new picture directed by Ben. “The Town” is about that trait common to a majority of heist movie plots: the last one, the final robbery before settling down for the proverbially mundane existence. Of Affleck Maryann Johanson has said, “ … we have proof positive that his first film, the astonishing “Gone Baby Gone” was no fluke. Affleck is … morphing into a filmmaker who could do for Boston what Martin Scorcese did for New York in the 1970s … reveal the ugly underbelly … a place from which escape is almost impossible.” Reuters chimes in, “the script … taps into the right veins of provincialism and sarcasm but moves less surely between reckless action and intimate drama.”

Bah humbug. If you liked the sternly elegant “Gone Baby Gone” then you’re no stranger to the pleasures of watching urban dramas punctuated with the misdeeds of lovable losers.

Bottom line? Neither film is going to earn an Oscar but this lot of directors and actors are appreciated for generally making movies that matter to them. We think you’re likely to find something in it for you.

(photo: “The Town,” courtesy of Warner Bros)

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