Blake Lively Lets Down The Town; Rest of Cast Shines

Now if only Philly movie-goers would shut up at the cinema

Dear Philadelphia Moviegoers, I’m sorry, but shut up!

Several weeks ago I posted my Eight Golden Rules of Movie-Going. Maybe some people missed them. Maybe some people read them and didn’t think they applied. But seriously, people, when you’re seeing a movie, shut up!

I know it’s impolite to say this. (It’s one of those things that we were never allowed to say growing up.) But, I’m just sick of it.[SIGNUP]

The Town (R) was a movie that I have actually been looking forward to for some time. Bank heist? Check. Ben Affleck (directing and starring)? Check. Jeremy Renner? Jon Hamm? Boston “How do ya like dem apples” accents? Check. Check. Check.

The movie did not disappoint. Yet, as much as I tried, I simply couldn’t ignore the constant irritations. Apparently, many thought that this movie was some sort of an interactive activity. Or they thought everyone else was completely stupid — like the detective next to me. As the camera panned in on a note on a car windshield, the guy next to me informed his companion, “That’s a note!”

Really, Columbo?

When something — actually, anything — was happening on screen, another person nearby kept asking, “Why are they doing that?” Well, perhaps you should just be quiet and … I don’t know … watch to find out why they are doing that.

When I was able to focus, I greatly loved this movie. Much like his directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck has directed an emotionally fraught, messy (but poignant) movie — this time focusing on blue-collar bank robbers. The car chases are gritty and raw. The interplay of sound and silence (especially when switching between surveillance feed and live action) helps build the suspense of heist scenes. The talented ensemble is effective in each of their parts.

The highlight is Jeremy Renner. He has taken a part that’s a perfect compliment to his Oscar-nominated The Hurt Locker role. In each, he plays a man who thrives on opportunity — taking extreme risks on whims. But unlike The Hurt Locker, this brutal character is motivated solely by self-preservation and advancement. At whatever cost.

Ben Affleck is believable (and apparently has been living on nothing but lettuce and high-protein shakes for the last few years). Rebecca Hall is astonishing. Jon Hamm transcends the stereotypical frustrated cop. And Chris Cooper makes the most of his limited role.

If only Chris Cooper were given a little more screen time. And Blake Lively a little less. (She overdoes it in many scenes: lips too pursed, accent too inconsistent. She is never quite able to match the talent of her scene partners.)

Ultimately, I couldn’t enjoy the movie as much as I would have liked. Each time I got caught up in the story and filmmaking, someone would talk and quickly pull me back out.

Needless to say, I’m going to see this movie again. Few people go to first showings on weekdays, right? (In theaters.)

My Grade: A-

Don’t forget that I need your help. As I mentioned last week, throughout October, I’ll be counting down my picks for the scariest movies of all time. I want to know what movie(s) scared you to death, as an adult or a child.

One of my earliest memories is cowering in my dad’s arms while watching Ghostbusters. I wasn’t scared by the ghosts. No. For some reason, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man scared the holy hell out of me. To this day, I can still imagine the first glimpses of the top of his head above the buildings. (And yet this is now one of my all-time favorite movies.)

I’ve already gotten some great suggestions. And I’ve started watching the ones I haven’t seen. (1978’s The Other was particularly upsetting.) But I want some more.

So which is it? Exorcist? Silence of the Lambs? Dead Ringers? Tell me the movie (or movies) that should be on the list and why — funny stories are always welcome. I’ll be watching Friday Movie Blog comments this month for your suggestions.

To find any Aaron Mettey movie review from 2010, click here.