With ‘Argo’ and ‘To the Wonder,’ Ben Affleck has a big festival weekend

Ben Affleck’s “Argo” is going to be big. Critics who saw the new film by the Boston-bred actor/director at this weekend’s Telluride Film Festival have been calling it a surefire Oscar contender. Variety’s Peter Debruge used the phrase “breath-stopping” to describe the end of the movie. Both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter say the film is actually quite funny, despite the fact that it depicts the very serious real-life tale of a CIA specialist (played by Affleck) who rescued Americans from Tehran in 1979 by convincing Iran that they were members of a Canadian film crew. This is Affleck’s first directorial project since “The Town.” . . . Meanwhile, at the Venice Film Festival, audiences got the chance to see “To the Wonder,” the new Affleck film directed by Terrence Malick, whose last offering was 2011’s “The Tree of Life.” Affleck stars in the “Wonder,” but apparently he doesn’t say much. Nancy Tartaglione , an international editor with Deadline.com, reported on Sunday that “Ben Affleck appears in most of ‘To the Wonder,’ but he probably has less than 10 lines, an occupational hazard that goes along with working on a Malick picture.” Yup, less than 10 lines. The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy adds that “Ben doesn’t get to do much of anything except look sullen, grim and/or blank in the back of or on the edge of shots while the camera emphasizes the woman.” Apparently Affleck’s costar, Rachel McAdams, doesn’t do much in the film either. It had already been reported that Malick cut Rachel Weisz, Amanda Peet, and Michael Sheen from the film altogether. Reviewers explained that most of the screen time goes to actress Olga Kurylenko (inset). Worth mentioning is that Sarah Green, a North Shore resident and frequent Malick collaborator, coproduced “To the Wonder.”

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