Movie Review – Affleck Stretches Himself Too Thin in ‘Live by Night’

It’s hard to deny that after years out in the desert of bad movies, Ben Affleck has returned like a phoenix, winning the hearts of movie-goers and critics alike. Even with the recent flop of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Affleck still rose above with a stellar portrayal of Bruce Wayne. However, with every victorious comeback there’s the liability of ego and with Live by Night, Affleck stretches himself too thin, producing, directing, writing, and acting. While there’s plenty to like, the bland main character and quiet acting by Affleck ultimately can’t hold up the long and intricate story.

Live by Night follows Joe Coughlin (Affleck) after he returns fighting in World War I and has had enough of people telling him what to do. Putting together a group of gangsters, Coughlin holds up banks and underground casinos in Prohibition-era Boston. After a run in with the Irish mob, Coughlin heads down to Florida to set up shop and faces off against the local competition.

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Movie Review – Despite Blemishes, ‘The Accountant’ is a Diamond in the Rough

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For directors, filmmaking is like a puzzle they piece together, but sometimes pieces either are missing or they don’t fit exactly the way they need. Director Gavin O’Connor has all the right pieces for The Accountant, from a lead actor in Ben Affleck, solid supporting actors in J.K. Simmons, Anna Kendrick, and Jon Bernthal, and a fantastic cinematographer. The most important and vital piece that refuses to fit is the script, and while it sometimes works, it just doesn’t want to go in all the way, failing to make The Accountant a masterwork.

Written by Bill Dubuque and directed by O’Connor, The Accountant is about Christian Wolff (Affleck), an introverted, autistic man gifted with the ability to do advanced math, but struggles to socialize. When he’s tasked with uncooking the books for a new client, he discovers a thread that unravels, putting people in danger and rising the body count. In the meantime, the Treasury Department lead by Ray King (J.K. Simmons) does everything they can to track Wolff down.

Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat.

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