The weekend following a major holiday is always a little slow. The boost from vacationing moviegoers is gone, so everyone tends to take a major dip. Some films end up okay. Some die on the vine. This weekend saw two films weather the storm perfectly fine and one new release collapse on the starting line.
Out of the Furnace
Casey Affleck loves talking about movies, performance, filmmaking and story. He doesn't love how those conversations can be steered towards and twisted into portraits of his personal life, where gossip about his brother Ben Affleck and childhood friend Matt Damon wind up stealing the momentum of whatever project he's promoting. “Celebrity” often interferes with “actor” and, judging from his tone, it bugs the hell out of Affleck.
Luckily, for those aware enough to appreciate it, Affleck's career offers an abundance of meaty, provocative work worth talking about. The Oscar-nominated actor's recent credits include 'Ain't Them Body Saints,' 'The Killer Inside Me,' 'ParaNorman,' 'Gone Baby Gone,' and 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.' His latest, 'Out of the Furnace,' continues Affleck's trend of dissecting modern men as they stumble the throes of classic, dramatic storytelling. His character Rodney is an Iraq war vet struggling in the impoverished Rust Belt. To make ends meet, he bare-knuckle boxes — a hobby that causes friction with his brother (Christian Bale), and puts him and his boss (Willem Dafoe) in the crosshairs of a local gangster (Woody Harrelson). An implosion is imminent from the first time we see Affleck step on screen as Rodney.
I sat down with Affleck to talk 'Out of the Furnace' and the misconceptions that emerge from the never-ending maelstrom of gossip. Which eventually lead us to the actor's directorial debut, 'I'm Still Here,' the Joaquin Phoenix moc-doc that stands as one of the most under-appreciated films of the past decade.
Instead of embracing any semblance of light and levity left over from his first film, filmmaker Scott Cooper’s highly anticipated follow-up to his 2009 hit ‘Crazy Heart’ goes straight for the darkness, never quite emerging on the other side of it, much to the detriment of both the feature and its audience.
Cooper’s ‘Out of the Furnace’ is a miserable experience, and though that seems to be entirely the point, that doesn’t mean it needs to come with such little redeeming value, at least as it applies to the film’s emotional stakes. The first act runs through a series of ever-increasing bad situations, bad acts, bad decisions, and bad accidents, but it's a lack of emotional investment that keep them from hitting with any sort of impact. It’s just one big stew of bad stuff, and the only interesting thing about it is waiting for everything to inevitably boil over.
Christian Bale might be done as Batman, but that doesn't mean he's done seeking vengeance for a family member against a crime syndicate in a corrupt town. It's not 'The Dark Knight' but it's 'Out of the Furnace' and it could win Bale another Oscar. Don't believe us? Watch the trailer and see for yourself.
Russell Baze must take matters into his own hands when his brother goes missing as a result of his involvement in a crime ring.