Cary, NC – The Accountant, directed by Gavin O’Connor (Warrior), stars Ben Affleck as an autistic savant accountant who moonlights as a highly skilled and ruthless assassin. Affleck continues his winning streak here, and director O’Connor fashions a tightly wound and entertaining adult thriller.
Affleck, As Usual, Is Great
I’m sure it’s not the first time I’ve said this but I’ve been on team Affleck since the beginning. There have been highs, and there have been many lows, but I’ve never given up on my guy. Thankfully, the last decade has been good to Ben, with his riveting directorial debut Gone Baby Gone and his Oscar win for Argo. Even in films he just acted in, Affleck has been great. No matter your feelings on Batman V Superman, it was hard to deny just how great he was as the caped crusader.
And with The Accountant, Affleck once again proves he can headline a film without also being behind the camera. Cold, calculating and physically able, Affleck brings an intensity to the film, helping the stakes feel that much more urgent. He also handles himself incredibly well in the many actions scenes. Director O’Connor films the six-foot-three-inch actor to make him look even bigger, with very intimidating results.
Great Supporting Cast
The film is stacked with great character actors in supporting roles. Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air, Pitch Perfect), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), John Lithgow (3rd Rock From the Sun) and Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead) just to name a few. It’s hard sometimes to make an impression with such a large cast, but when you have actors of this caliber, everyone makes the most of their screen time no matter how short.
Credit must also be given to O’Connor as director. He keeps the tension high throughout and makes sure the film moves at a quick pace, which helps when the movie does get a little predictable towards the end. But overall he guides The Accountant with great confidence and wisely lets his cast do a lot of the heavy lifting for him.
Great Thriller Worth The Trip
It seems like there been a small resurgence in R-rated, adult thrillers the last few years, with movies like Gone Girl and last week’s The Girl on the Train. The Accountant continues that trend with great success and I for one couldn’t be happier. It’s so refreshing to have a Hollywood thriller that isn’t too dumbed down for younger viewers or even mass audiences. The Accountant is an engaging and very entertaining thriller, very much worth the trip!
Cary, NC – One of the most famous movie monsters of all time, Shin Godzilla brings the atomic beast back to the big screen in a new context that preserves much of the Japanese social and political message of the original film.
Shin Godzilla, which is also in U.S. theaters as Godzilla Resurgence, brings back a very familiar creature for movie goers from directors Hideaki Anno (Neon Genesis Evangelion) and Shinji Higuchi (Attack on Titan). Including the various American attempts at making a Godzilla movie, there have been more than 30 films featuring the radioactive dinosaur since its 1954 debut.
It was only a few years ago that American studios tried to make Godzilla again and director Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Rogue One) did a very good job with the king of monsters in 2014. But here, Godzilla is back in its most important context. Just like in the 1954 when destruction mirrored the bombings of World War II, now Godzilla is destroying Japan with scenes that echo the 2011 earthquakes and nuclear devastation that plays on the recent Fukushima reactor disaster. As good as American studios can be, the story of Godzilla – a nuclear monster wreaking havoc while scientists question the morality of developing a super-weapon to fight it – will always have greater resonance when coming from Japanese filmmakers.
Plot Not Updated
While it helps that Shin Godzilla is still linked to the 1954 original in terms of message and context, there were many elements of the original plot that were more excusable in the 50s than they are today. Much of Shin Godzilla involves regular people sitting around, talking about what to do about this unstoppable monster, and it is not particularly dynamic.
Not all of these scenes are dull. There is lots of political gridlock and infighting around the “Godzilla issue” that give an insight into Japanese commentary on their own parliament, with a great performance by Yukata Takenouchi as the Prime Minister’s assistant. Hiroki Hasegawa (Why Don’t You Play in Hell?) also does a good job as a mid-level security official who has to negotiate between the scientists, military, politicians and civilians all while he struggles with his own personal fears and hunches.
But not all character interactions have a spark and these scenes can slow down the movie for less patient viewers. 2014’s American Godzilla showed that, while it had a much different plot, there can engaging stories between human characters aside from just waiting for Godzilla to show up again.
And speaking of Godzilla showing up, this is the obvious highlight of the movie. The monster looks terrific and the filmmakers blend a variety of special effects, from CGI to motion capture to animatronics to people in costumes, to create a largely flawless portrayal of Godzilla.
Here, Godzilla looks bigger than ever and while the recent 2014 portrayal, with comparable special effects, may have had a more realistic-looking lizard, Shin Godzilla‘s monster is the stuff of nightmares: Glowing veins, jagged spikes and a blood-chilling look in its eye. And yes, there is atomic breath.
It may be strange to say one Godzilla remake is a standout after dozens of attempts but Shin Godzilla is the closest to recapturing the spirit of the 1954 original. It is a triumphant return of the nuclear monster for younger, modern viewers and it gives a glimpse at the message and intent behind the uniquely Japanese beast.