General Consensus: The Town & Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

I’ve been trying to think of a way that I can return some link love for all those critics/blogs that I love to read.  Since I love reading reviews of films that I’ve seen what I’ll do is each week whatever new release that I review here I will post what I think the General Consensus of the movie is by posting short snippets of many reviews here.  Check it out below:

So here’s how this is going to work.  Since I want to create an average score for the film (like my own blogosphere only version of RT or IMDB) I will only count reviews that have a rating.  If your rating is letter graded then I will convert it using High School style grades (i.e. A = 9/10, B = 8/10, C = 7/10, D = 5/10, F = 3/10).  I’ll definitely mention other, non-scaled reviews, but they won’t be calculated into the overall General Consensus.

The Town

Directed by: Ben Affleck

Written by: Peter Craig & Ben Affleck

Starring: Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall & Chris Cooper

Reviews

I think I might prefer this film to Affleck’s feature directorial debut Gone Baby Gone. The two films are likely to draw many comparisons as they both feature snapshots of small Boston neighborhoods. But they are almost completely different in every way. While Gone Baby Gone is an indie mystery thriller, The Town is more of a mainstream popcorn movie. – Peter Sciretta from /Film. Grade: N/A

The tug of war between thief Doug and F.B.I. agent Frawley (Jon Hamm) isn’t the highlight of the film actually, or even the main focus of the story. It’s the relationship between Doug and Claire (Hall) that comes to the forefront. Again, this romance could easily have been silly and eye-rolling inducing, but it couldn’t be further from it. It holds weight. You believe Doug would fall for her and that she would fall for him, and that she would wanna stick with him after discovering his “secret.” There’s not a single false moment between the two. – Jack Giroux from The Film Stage. Grade: 8.5/10

However, the film is almost so tight that it could use a little time to breathe and give little moments to supporting characters.  Jon Hamm’s FBI agent is never given time to be anything more than just a raging ass-hole and we don’t know why he hates bank robbers with the fury most people reserve for murderers and rapists. – Matt Goldberg from Collider. Grade: B (8.0/10)

If Gone Baby Gone wasn’t undeniable proof of Affleck’s talent as a filmmaker, then The Town pretty much seals the deal. This is a top notch heist flick that weaves heart-pounding action scenes with the struggle of a guy who is torn between loyalty to friends and a desire to turn his life around. In a lot of ways, this is a much more ambitious film than Gone Baby Gone. The actual bank robbery scenes are executed with precision, and other highlights include a manic car chase through some narrow alleyways and a massive armored car shootout with the cops. – Sean Dwyer from FilmJunk. Grade: 8.75/10

Stories about cops and robbers tend to fall back on clichés, and “The Town” is no exception. (The screenplay was written by Affleck, Peter Craig, and Aaron Stockard.) The crooks have unlimited access to police uniforms and other useful disguises; one guy’s recklessness threatens to sink the whole operation; another guy wants to do One Last Job before going straight; you know the routine. – Eric D. Snider. Grade: B (8.0/10)

The stage is set for a mountain of confrontations, but you’d be surprised how many conflicts are only glanced over in this two-hour film. But this is a uniformly accomplished cast that makes the most of each and every scene. As Doug’s father, for example, Chris Cooper is relegated to just a single scene, but it goes a long way towards discovering parts of Doug’s past. – Danny King from The King Bulletin. Grade: 8.75/10

When it comes to Affleck himself, the now-multi-hyphenate and his work have grown steadily over time, and after skirting around it, he is finally, dare I say it, a bonafide leading man. – Kate Erbland from Gordon and the Whale. Grade: 7.0/10

If a film can bring us to this point and make us feel anxiety, it has done something right. “The Town,” Affleck’s second film as a director, wants to do something more, to make a biographical and even philosophical statement about the culture of crime, but it doesn’t do that as successfully. – Roger Ebert. Grade: 7.5/10

Unfortunately, our lead’s relationship with Rebecca Hall doesn’t quite work. In the opening heist scene he temporarily kidnaps her, then goes on to form a budding relationship. Off the bat, as Affleck reveals his deepest childhood secrets to her and vice-versa, the believability I adored in Gone is absent. As the heists continue to up the ante, it gets even more absurd, which I was able to eventually accept. Initially, it comes off a bit jarring. – Jordan Raup from The Film Stage. Grade: 8.5/10

The Town has the feel of a small neighborhood feature trying to be a much bigger story than it really is. The heists don’t add enough “big movie” feel to the relatively small story where not a whole lot is really going on. – Brad Brevet from Rope of Silicon. Grade: C+ (7.5/10)

Although I felt like there was more potential to be tapped into with the whole “WELCOME TO THE BANK ROBBERY CAPITAL OF AMERICA” tag line that immediately makes this more interesting on a factual standpoint than other heist movies. It grazes the surface, but it should have gotten into a more cross-generational/family business type thing. – Aiden R from Cut The Crap Movie Reviews. Grade: 8.0/10

So great crooks, good foil, a captivating plot thread about a community that breeds crooks. Almost every element works beautifully, right? Wrong. Where the film lost me was in its final set piece in Fenway Park. – Mad Hatter from The Dark of the Matinee. Grade: 6.25/10

What really saves, or perhaps better stated – creates, The Town is the direction. The carefully designed, and executed action/heist sequences. The smooth editing (minus the roadside diner conversation) intertwines the history and present of our crew of criminals brilliantly. Still maintaining an element of ambiguity that, while it tries to humanize these criminals, it seldom tries to justify them (just MacRay). – Univarn from A Life in Equinox. Grade: 7.5/10

The film tries to reach that level of real that films like Heat did, however it fails to hit the mark for a few reasons.  Ben Affleck’s character isn’t anywhere near as awesome as the character that De Niro played inHeat, and the same goes for the comparison between Jon Hamm and Pacino.  Both gave us thieves with not much to lose, but quickly the film gave them something that made their life meaningful and therefore made them want to admit that this was going to be the last job. – Andrew from GmanReviews. Grade: 7.5/10

Avg. Score: 7.8/10

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Directed by: Oliver Stone

Written by: Allan Loeb & Stephen Schiff

Starring: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin, Frank Langella & Eli Wallach

Reviews

A big question this new Gekko poses: whatever happened to that angered Oliver Stone we all love? You know, the one that would show the extremes of human behavior? There’s a great film buried deep, deep down here and it certainly would’ve been helped if Gekko hadn’t changed so radically and thematically for the worst, especially in those last five minutes… – Jack Giroux from The Film Stage. Grade: N/A

If only Stone had the same confidence in his picture.  However, his direction feels gimmicky, with silly editing tricks and little need to use them.  For example, a scene where Stone super-imposes the head of Jacob’s co-worker over Winnie’s body during a phone call (because Jacob is in love with his job, get it!) is distracting rather than thoughtful. – Matt Goldberg from Collider. Grade: C- (6.5/10)

Many scenes are cut together like they were edited by someone who just bought a new Mac and discovered that it comes with iMovie. There’s a lot of frenetic wipes, split screens, cross-dissolves in the middle of lines of dialogue, inserts of floating heads obscuring other heads. Thankfully, there are some tasteful stylistic touches, too, the cleverest example being when Stone superimposes a graph of the Dow Jones average on the New York City skyline. – Mike Chestnut from Get The Big Picture. Grade: 6.0/10

He wants to embellish every detail, and his intention to illicit both envy and disgust from the audience is palpable – if not overwhelming. Even while set in the land of greed, the distinction between good and evil is clear. The good are unjustly wronged, but still get their comeuppance, while those who are evil make a splat on the pavement following their fall from grace. – Gwen Reyes from Gordon and the Whale. Grade: 7.0/10

The pat ending reeks of afterthoughts and reshoots, too. Otherwise, this is a swift and engaging financial thriller (is that a thing?) that addresses matters of morality without too much moralizing. LaBeouf just about holds his own with powerhouses like Douglas and Josh Brolin (who plays a Wall Street scoundrel), and gives us an entry point into this cautionary fable for our day. – Eric D. Snider. Grade: B (8.0/10)

There wouldn’t be a movie had they not been able to get Douglas back in the saddle as Gordon Gekko, the character that introduced the “Greed… is good” mantra into American culture and it’s never going away. Douglas hasn’t lost any of what he brought to the character 23 years ago, but the character has changed. – Brad Brevet from Rope of Silicon. Grade: B+ (8.5/10)

“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” is six minutes shorter than it was when I saw it at Cannes and has a smoother conclusion. It is still, we might say, certainly long enough. But it’s a smart, glossy, beautifully photographed film that knows its way around the Street (Stone’s father was a stockbroker). I wish it had been angrier. I wish it had been outraged. Maybe Stone’s instincts are correct, and American audiences aren’t ready for that. They haven’t had enough of Greed. – Roger Ebert. Grade: 7.5/10

In that way, Money Never Sleeps follows a similar template to the original, with Gekko acting as protégé to a young, cutthroat trader. The sequel, however, has a more ambitious, branching story and what feels like a much larger cast. It suffers somewhat for its sprawling narrative, but the film is grounded by a strong emotional center. – Colin from FilmJunk. Grade: 7.5/10

Does the film comment on the economy? Yes, but with a limited interest.  The point of this film isn’t to depress its viewers even more, who probably know more than most about how terrible the US (and world) economy was two years ago, and still is today.  I think the only time that I got a feeling like the world was really coming to an end as we knew it was early on when we saw the plotline for Louis Zabel (Frank Langella). – Andrew from GmanReviews. Grade: 5.5/10

Avg. Score: 7.1/10

Did I miss your review?  Post it in the comments with your quote and let’s get talking.

  • http://thekingbulletin.com/ Danny King

    Thanks for the link!