By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 13, 2010 at 3:48AM
After playing Venice and Toronto, Ben Affleck's sophomore directing effort The Town, in which he stars himself this time, opens Friday. It's a straightforward entertaining character-driven genre piece set in Boston based on a novel by Chuck Hogan about a Charlestown gang of bank robbers who are under avid pursuit by the FBI. Affleck is trying to make a movie that's both smart and mainstream; he gives himself a juicy role as a wily robber who falls in love with a bank staffer (Rebecca Hall) and then looks to get out. Jeremy Renner is charismatic and dangerous as his trigger-happy partner in crime, while Jon Hamm is wasted in a dull role as an FBI agent. Blake Lively is believably sexy and pathetic as Affleck's angry, drug-addicted ex-girlfriend scorned.
I flip cammed Affleck in Toronto. Did I have more questions? Yes. Warner Bros. books these things pretty tight.