Sunday Short Reviews


Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

The Town
Between his writing work on Good Will Hunting and his directorial and screenwriting work on Gone Baby Gone and now The Town, Ben Affleck has thoroughly proven himself to be on top of his game when he’s behind the camera. While I’ve never really been a fan of his work as an actor (with a few noteable exceptions, such as Chasing Amy), the more I see of Affleck the director, the more impressed I become. The Town is a solid crime drama with a gritty, rough-around-the-edges feel to it. The bleak colour scheme of the film combined with the heavy and emotionally impactful plot material make for such a competent piece of filmmaking that honestly, my only complaints about it are that I’m just not a big fan of such dire drama in the movies. Watching The Town, I was actually reminded of the tone and style of Clint Eastwood’s film Mystic River, which is only a good thing. But much like Mystic River, the story behing The Town was just a bit too tragic for my tastes, and it kept me from really enjoying the film to its fullest. But that’s a subjective complaint – if you want to see one of the best crime dramas of recent years, see The Town.
4 out of 5

Hall Pass
Once upon a time, the Farrelly brothers were at the top of their game when it came to making raunchy comedies. Sadly, it’s been quite some time since we saw them make a good movie, and Hall Pass just confirms that they’ve lost their touch. I really don’t have much to say about Hall Pass beyond the fact that it’s dull and only made me laugh maybe twice. The characters aren’t particularly likeable, the jokes fall flat, and ultimately, I just didn’t care about any aspect of the movie. There are two things that elevate Hall Pass above being a complete turd, though, and those are the presence of Stephen Merchant in a funny, if underused, supporting role, and Richard Jenkins as an aging player who is almost an exact copy of Will Farrell’s character in Wedding Crashers. Beyond those two secondary characters, there’s nothing of merit to this movie. It’s not terrible, but it’s undeniably dumb and, well, just pointless.
2 out of 5

The Keep
Now here’s a movie that’s never gotten its just desserts! Michael Mann adapted F. Paul Wilson’s gloriously pulpy novel The Keep into a little-known movie in the early 80’s and managed to round up a cast of actors who would all go on to be very big names in the world of cinema, including Scott Glenn, Gabriel Byrne and Ian McKellan. Add to that a score by Tangerine Dream and you’ve got one of the most surreal, artsy and unusual horror movies you could possibly imagine. Admittedly, The Keep‘s bizarre style and synthesized soundtrack may not be for everyone, but as someone who read the novel upon which this film was based, I have to say that the adaptation exceeded my expectations by injecting a truly strange visual style into the fun and creepy vampire story from Wilson’s book. The 80’s special effects are loads of fun, the cast all do a great job, and it’s fun to watch Ian McKellan camping long before he became a Hollywood star. I may be extremely biased because I love weird movies in the same vein as this one, but I think The Keep is a piece of lost gold, a long-forgotten gem in the world of b-movies, and it deserves to be seen by more people.
3.5 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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