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PCR #395 (Vol. 8, No. 42) This edition is for the week of October 15--21, 2007.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Gone Baby Gone"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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The Tampa Film Review for October  by Nolan Canova, Terence Nuzum, Chris Passinault and Chris Woods
"Gone Baby Gone"  by Mike Smith
Terror in Orlando haunted house, Hallows Point premiere  by Andy Lalino
Getting Started  by Corey Castellano
Tell Me Again Why I Want A Bigscreen TV?  by Lisa Ciurro
“I Was a Teenage Blood Slave! - The Tricia Anderson Story”  by ED Tucker
Passing On Part 1 .... Passing On Part 2: So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersien... .... Too Bad He's Still Alive .... Welcome To The Hall .... Movie Notes .... Nobody Had To Tell Me .... .... .... Whatever Happened To--? Chapter 31: Armand Assante  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris
Directed by: Ben Affleck
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 54 mins

It’s been almost a decade since Ben Affleck and Matt Damon won an Oscar for their screenplay of “Good Will Hunting.” Since then, their careers have seemingly gone in different directions. I’m reminded of a skit on “Saturday Night Live” that featured an interview of the two by Barbara Walters. “Matt,” the faux interviewer began, “you’re talented, good looking. You have a great career ahead of you. And Ben, you’re Matt’s friend.” In 2004, Affleck dropped out of sight following a much-publicized engagement to Jennifer Lopez and the career-crushing double bill of “Gigli” and “Jersey Girl.” Last year he earned raves for his performance as George Reeves in “Hollywoodland” and has now embarked on a new career behind the camera with “Gone Baby Gone.”

Boston. Local television is devoted to the abduction of little Amanda McCready, who was taken from her bed while her mother visited a neighbor. After a few days of no success, her aunt Beatrice (Amy Madigan) contacts private investigator Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and his girlfriend/partner Angie (Monaghan). Patrick has a way of talking to people in the neighborhood that may be reluctant to talk to the police and, after some discussion, takes the case. Heading up the police investigation is Captain Jack Doyle (Freeman), a veteran cop whose own daughter was kidnapped and murdered years ago. Doyle is shocked at Kenzie’s youth, suggesting he go home and read “Harry Potter” instead of investigating the crime. However, Patrick has promised the grieving mother (Amy Ryan) that he will find her daughter and it’s not a promise he intends to break.

When it was announced that Ben Affleck planned to adapt Dennis Lehane’s novel for the big screen, it made a lot of sense. Lehane’s story, like his earlier book “Mystic River,” was set in Boston, a city Affleck knew from his youth and the city he and Damon had set “Good Will Hunting” in. Like Clint Eastwood’s film of “Mystic River,” Affleck portrays the city as if it was its own character in the story. He has a feel for the people and the dialogue of the city and this knowledge lends a true authenticity to the story. The cast is outstanding, with Casey Affleck leading the way in what has to be a star-making performance. Probably best known as one of George Clooney’s gang in the various “Ocean’s” films, Casey Affleck, to steal a line from “Bull Durham,” announces his presence with authority. Harris and John Ashton are excellent as the two Boston detectives assigned to the case. Ashton, who played Sergeant Taggart in the “Beverly Hills Cop” films, ended a five year break from Hollywood to appear in the film and it’s great to see him back on the big screen. Harris, somehow bearing a great resemblance to Kris Kristofferson, will be remembered as one of the greatest character actors of all time and here he adds another performance to the list. The rest of the supporting cast is equally spot on, each actor adding a piece to the expanding puzzle.

But the true star here is Ben Affleck. He has worked with directors as diverse as slacker faves Kevin Smith and Richard Linklater and as technical as Gus Van Sant and Phil Alden Robinson. To say that he was a great student of them all would be an understatement. He clearly knows his way behind the camera, bringing to mind another talented actor turned director, the aforementioned George Clooney. Clooney earned an Oscar nod for his second time in the director’s chair. Here’s hoping Affleck has the same success the next time he’s calling the shots. Until then, he can be proud of the fact that his first effort is Great Baby Great.

On a scale of zero to four stars I give “Gone Baby Gone”

This week's movie review of "Gone Baby Gone" is ©2007 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2007, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.