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“The Town”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It looks like Oscar season is officially upon us, and Ben Affleck is more than ready to prove that Gone Baby Gone wasn’t just a one time fluke. With The Town, he not only proves his point, but also manages to somehow make an even better movie at the same time, which is an impressive feat since he added actor to his already long list of duties on this film. I will admit that I’m not the biggest Ben Affleck fan. And, I have made my fair share of jokes about him writing, or lack there of on Good Will Hunting. But, I must say he’s proving himself to be one heck of a director. Gone Baby Gone was a nice simple story with some outstanding performances, but The Town is stepping it up in more ways than one. Once again set in the gritty real world of a Boston borough, bank robber Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck), a second generation criminal, finds himself capturing a glimpse at an honest life; ironically thanks to the help of his last victim. In an uncharacteristic move, Doug’s team takes a young bank manager, played by Rebecca Hall, hostage, only to release her moments after their getaway. It’s not until later that they find out that she’s a local, living in their neighborhood, and might just possibly be able to identify them after the fact. The hot tempered and violent member of the group, brilliantly played by Jeremy Renner, would like to just simply kill her. But, Doug wants to see if she knows anything first, and puts himself in a position to befriend her. As you can guess this is where things get complicated. Unlike Gone Baby Gone, the story this time around is much more multi-layered. There are multiple relationships being explored here, as well as some fantastic action sequences, which is an impressive addition to Affleck’s directing résumé. The movie also has an outstanding performance from Blake Lively, as a drugged out ex-girlfriend of Doug’s. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an Oscar nomination come her way for this role. I wasn’t familiar with her work on Gossip Girl, but when I found out that that was her in this movie, I was blown away. Some might say it’s a little heavy handed, but I think Affleck has a real knack for getting these gritty performances from his actors. To top the whole thing off, we also get one hell of a finale, as Doug and his crew attempt to pull off one last job, and steal from the cathedral of Boston itself, Fenway Park. I’ve got to tell ya, I grew up just outside of Boston, and have been to a many a game in that beloved park, and this was definitely a highlight for me. To see a heist movie sequence shot in the actual substructure of Fenway was amazing! I can only imagine that it was a dream come true for Affleck to shoot as well. I really can’t wait to see the behind the scenes footage of that shoot, on the DVD. I never thought I’d be saying this… But, Ben Affleck is proving to be one hell of a director.

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“Frozen”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Well, if you’ve ever been skiing before, I’m sure these thoughts have passed through your mind at least once or twice. What if this ski lift got stuck? Would I be able to jump from this height? How long would I wait before trying to get down? All these questions and more are the subject matter of the movie Frozen. When three friends… Well, two best friends and a tag-along girlfriend hit the slopes of a New England ski resort, all seems to be fine until the mountain announces they will be closing early due to an incoming winter storm. Having spent most the day on the bunny slope to accommodate Dan’s girlfriend Parker, played by Emma Bell, the trio decide to end their day on an advanced trail, but have to bribe the ski lift operator to let them on the lift after he’s already announced the last run of the day. One slight misunderstanding later, the three find themselves stranded on the middle of the ski lift a fifty feet above the ground, and due to the mountain’s schedule, could possibly be stuck up there till next weekend, when the resort will be open again.

Frozen is like Open Water on a ski lift. It’s that little movie that will most likely get great word of mouth, and hopefully get seen by a lot of people. Let’s start that great word of mouth here. I was really excited to see writer/director Adam Green’s new movie. I enjoyed his last venture, Hatchet, but I’m even a bigger fan of Adams because he features my favorite shop in the whole world, Newbury Comics, in his films. Newbury Comic is a music/comic/toy shop in Massachusetts. I have been a loyal customer since high school, and highly recommend shopping at one if you ever get the chance. Okay, I’m getting a little off topic here. The other thing I really enjoyed about Frozen, was its ability to take place in one location for the entire film. Shawn Ashmore, Emma Bell, and Kevin Zegers give outstanding performances, and I think the audience will find it easy to relate to their characters. But, I think the thing I loved the most, is that Adam Green gave a shout-out to Wachusett Mountain in the film, which is the mountain that I skied on growing up in New England. I’m just glad I didn’t have to ski there this year after seeing this movie. I really hope this movie does well. I think that its little movies like this that make movie making exciting. It may not be the best movie of the year, but it is truly the first must see movie of 2010 in my book. In a nutshell, go see it. Don’t see it in a nutshell, see it in a theatre. You know what I mean. Go see it.

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