Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Hot'Lanta... home of sports teams that disappoint in the playoffs

    Argo - early review

    Ooops, I saw this a week ago and should have posted about it sooner. My bad.

    Usually, late Sept and early October are a dumping ground for mediocre films. But a few weeks ago we got End of Watch, which is the best cop movie of the year, and then two weeks ago we got Looper, which is the best sci-fi movie of the year. I was thrilled! No way could this down part of the movie year get better, I thought.

    And then I saw Argo, which is the best movie of the year… at lesat so far.

    Argo is the true story of the secret CIA mission to rescue 6 Americans who fled the US Embassy in Iran when it was taken over by violent protestors during the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The way the CIA rescued them was to pretend they were filmmakers making a fictional sci-fi movie in Iran and it just flew them out of the Tehran airport.

    I just told you the whole story. So what? The film is based on real history and we all know that history because we lived it. It does not matter if you know how the movie comes out. That is how good a film it is.

    Argo stars Ben Affleck as the CIA agent in charge of the mission. He is also the director of the film and he is certain to get a best director nomination. He recreates revolutionary Iran in terrifyingly accurate detail. You really feel like you are there. There were moments where I was stunned at how he had gotten images like that and thought he must be using historical footage mixed in with the stuff he shot, but it was just him going to painstaking detail to re-create everything. Be sure to stick around for the credits because they show you images from 1979 compared to scenes in the movie and it is really cool.



    The first half of the movie is a tremendous mix of tension and humor as the CIA builds a credible back story about this fake film being made. They need to make sure that the fake film will stand up to scrutiny in case Iranian officials question the validity of the story. The second half of the movie is just all tension as we try to get these embassy workers safely out of Iran. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and did not even think about glancing at my watch. It is an incredibly enjoyable time at the movies, a story that is historical and educational, and the kind of film that deserves your $10 (or whatever a ticket costs). Ben Affleck, who made Gone Baby Gone and The Town, is rapidly turning into one of the finest directors around. If he does not get a Best Director nomination for this, then it is because of some anti-actor/director conspiracy.

    There are a number of strong supporting performances, including Bryan Cranston as Affleck's boss and John Goodman and Alan Arkin as producers who are part of setting up the fake film, but Affleck is the core of the movie. The fact that he acted this well and directed this well at the same time... well, it is just remarkable. He is one of the most talented people in Hollywood today.



    -Jason "Go see Argo... you won't be sorry" Evans
    Don't ask me why, but my mother is making me Tweet. Says it will be good for my career. So, follow my ramblings, mostly on the film industry, @TVFilmTalk

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    It's amazing to me that Affleck, who, for a long time, appeared to be a pretty face without much evident acting talent (especially not in lead roles), turn into, not just a great director (agreed with Jason's endorsements of Gone Baby Gone and The Town), but also a very good actor. Not sure if he was trying to hard to become a Big Movie Star and losing touch with his talent along the way, or if he's just learned and improved his craft over the years.

    I'm looking forward to this movie.
    Brian Zoubek on what was going through his mind walking to the free throw line with 3.6 seconds remaining in the 2010 National Championship game and Duke up by 1: "Fifty percent [of me is] thinking, This is what I've been dreaming of doing my entire life. Fifty percent I'm crapping my pants."

  3. #3
    Thanks for that, JE. I've heard a lot of other very solid reviews of this, as well. Definitely looking forward to seeing it.

    It seems Affleck has found a sweet spot, making movies for a pretty broad audience but not everyone, that are tight and focused and not aiming to make (or spend) a bajillion dollars while at the same time not pushing the artistic envelope so far as to take some of the entertainment out of the equation. In other words, somewhere between middlebrow and highbrow. It's clearly working well, and now he's shown he can apply that formula outside of the Boston crime milieu. I'm happy for him - his acting career was sort of derailed mostly by a string of poor role/film choices, but if you remember back to Good Will Hunting, man, he was great in that role. I'm sure it had to eat at him to see Matt Damon become one of the most bankable guys in Hollywood, while at the same time his own younger brother blossomed and surpassed his success as an actor (deservedly so, in my opinion - I think Casey's performance in The Coward Robert Ford was outstanding), even if it was under Ben's tutelage.

    I heard an interesting interview with Affleck last weekend, and he talked briefly about the process of filming the student takeover of the embassy with a bunch of retirees, because as he said, "The only problem with students is, you know, they're in school all day" so they couldn't get the hundreds of young extras they needed. So apparently if you look closely, you'll notice a bunch of old men storming the compound instead of 19 year-olds. Pretty funny.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    Quote Originally Posted by Mal View Post
    Thanks for that, JE. I've heard a lot of other very solid reviews of this, as well. Definitely looking forward to seeing it.

    It seems Affleck has found a sweet spot, making movies for a pretty broad audience but not everyone, that are tight and focused and not aiming to make (or spend) a bajillion dollars while at the same time not pushing the artistic envelope so far as to take some of the entertainment out of the equation. In other words, somewhere between middlebrow and highbrow. It's clearly working well, and now he's shown he can apply that formula outside of the Boston crime milieu. I'm happy for him - his acting career was sort of derailed mostly by a string of poor role/film choices, but if you remember back to Good Will Hunting, man, he was great in that role. I'm sure it had to eat at him to see Matt Damon become one of the most bankable guys in Hollywood, while at the same time his own younger brother blossomed and surpassed his success as an actor (deservedly so, in my opinion - I think Casey's performance in The Coward Robert Ford was outstanding), even if it was under Ben's tutelage.

    I heard an interesting interview with Affleck last weekend, and he talked briefly about the process of filming the student takeover of the embassy with a bunch of retirees, because as he said, "The only problem with students is, you know, they're in school all day" so they couldn't get the hundreds of young extras they needed. So apparently if you look closely, you'll notice a bunch of old men storming the compound instead of 19 year-olds. Pretty funny.
    You mean he couldn't find a few hundred out-of-work recent college grads?! Man, I know about a dozen off the top of my head here in Charlotte that I could've sent his way!
    Brian Zoubek on what was going through his mind walking to the free throw line with 3.6 seconds remaining in the 2010 National Championship game and Duke up by 1: "Fifty percent [of me is] thinking, This is what I've been dreaming of doing my entire life. Fifty percent I'm crapping my pants."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Deeetroit City
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    ... I saw Argo, which is the best movie of the year…

    ... Affleck is the core of the movie. The fact that he acted this well and directed this well at the same time... well, it is just remarkable. He is one of the most talented people in Hollywood today.

    ...

    -Jason "Go see Argo... you won't be sorry" Evans
    Is it good enough to make me forget Daredevil?

    Is it good enough to make Sheldon Cooper forget Daredevil?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Hot'Lanta... home of sports teams that disappoint in the playoffs
    Quote Originally Posted by BD80 View Post
    Is it good enough to make me forget Daredevil?

    Is it good enough to make Sheldon Cooper forget Daredevil?
    Yes, but not Pearl Harbor

    It is kinda amazing how Ben became an A-list star (Good Will Hunting, Armageddon, Shakespeare in Love) then made a series of really bad films that sapped his Hollywood stock (Reindeer Games, Bounce, Pearl Harbor, Changing Lanes, Daredevil, Gili, Jersey Girl, Surviving Christmas), and then had to remake himself, not as a star in big-event films or crowd-pleasing romantic-comedies but in more serious, adult-oriented roles (Hollywoodland, State of Play, Company Men, The Town, and now Argo).

    He is in another awards-contending film coming out in late-December called To The Wonder, which was written and directed by Terrence Malick.

    There has been talk recently that Affleck could be attached to direct a film adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand (which has already been a 6 hour TV miniseries). There was talk he might direct Warner Bros. effort to get a Justice League film to the screen (with Batman, Wonder Woman, and others, perhaps including Superman), but the word was that Ben turned Warner down and did not want to do that project. I don't blame him as I think it is a huge hill to climb and you are bound to be compared to Avengers, probably in a bad way.

    -Jason "I suspect that Argo will allow Ben to direct and do anything he wants next... of course, with well over $100 mil in the bank from past acting jobs, Ben can probably do whatever he wants anyway" Evans
    Don't ask me why, but my mother is making me Tweet. Says it will be good for my career. So, follow my ramblings, mostly on the film industry, @TVFilmTalk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Hot'Lanta... home of sports teams that disappoint in the playoffs
    Come on people! I know some of you saw this! What did you think?

    -Jason
    Don't ask me why, but my mother is making me Tweet. Says it will be good for my career. So, follow my ramblings, mostly on the film industry, @TVFilmTalk

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Sterling, VA
    I hope to see it next weekend!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Tennessee

    Too good to be true?

    Yep, says David Edelstein:

    http://www.npr.org/2012/10/12/162785...ecause-it-isnt

    Jason - what do you think of what Edelstein has to say? See also the comments under the article for more claims of variance from historical reality.

  10. #10

    Here you go

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    Come on people! I know some of you saw this! What did you think?

    -Jason
    We saw it Friday night, and loved it. I thought it was fantastic, and my wife was even more positive about it than I was.

    We've recommended it to everyone who has asked about it. Super movie.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Hot'Lanta... home of sports teams that disappoint in the playoffs
    Quote Originally Posted by cspan37421 View Post
    Yep, says David Edelstein:

    http://www.npr.org/2012/10/12/162785...ecause-it-isnt

    Jason - what do you think of what Edelstein has to say? See also the comments under the article for more claims of variance from historical reality.
    I never expected the film to be 100% accurate. It is a drama, not a documentary. For me, there was no expectation of perfect accuracy. Here is a really good article from Slate talking about what was and was not accurate in the movie. The final exciting ending in the airport was largely fiction, but that is to make the movie dramatic and exciting. The biggest problem seems to be downplaying the role of the Canadians in the rescue. I suppose that is a pity but the Canadians pretty much got 100% of the credit for 30 years until the story of the CIA's involvement came out. If Hollywood makes a movie that skews a bit more toward the American perspective, I find that a forgivable sin.

    Bottom line -- it is a mostly true story and a fabulous movie. Even if it was only a partially true story, I would be fine with it. The real story would have made for a far less entertaining film which fewer people would have seen. The accuracy of the first half of the film -- showing the revolution and storming of the embassy -- makes it worth exposing as many people as possible to this flick.

    -Jason "I don't think Affleck or anyone part of the film pretend that it is a true retelling of the story" Evans
    Don't ask me why, but my mother is making me Tweet. Says it will be good for my career. So, follow my ramblings, mostly on the film industry, @TVFilmTalk

  12. #12
    I saw this last night and thoroughly enjoyed it, as did everyone I was with. Good pacing, mix of humor and tension... just enjoyable, engaging, well-acted all around. (Not that it's relevant to the movie, but we all also agreed that if everyone could rock a 70's beard like Affleck, we wouldn't have minded that decade as much.)

    Great movie.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Quote Originally Posted by Lid View Post
    (Not that it's relevant to the movie, but we all also agreed that if everyone could rock a 70's beard like Affleck, we wouldn't have minded that decade as much.)
    But it IS relevant to the movie, and real life. Among the 6 embassy escapees, why didn't the men try to grow some more facial hair? They had 10 weeks to disguise their appearance and blend in, on the offhand chance that the Canadian ambassador's house would not remain a safe place for all of eternity. The women could get a tan on the roof to darken their skin, and then cover themselves. This rescue could be a little less CIA and a little more DIY.

    Other than that nitpick, excellent movie. I was worried that the Hollywood satire part would ruin the film's serious tone -- Wag the Dog kind of had that problem, but in reverse -- but they did just enough to keep it brisk and interesting. Both the drama and the comedy came from the same place of incredulity, which I think was the point. Spot-on casting, from what little I could tell.

    Not many people are mentioning this, but I thought Ben Affleck did perhaps his best acting job ever. Then again, I never saw Phantoms, and apparently he was da bomb in that, yo (language NSFW).

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Walnut Creek, California
    I agree that Argo is an outstanding movie. Even though it is almost a documentary (at least in its coverage of what happened), it keeps the viewer on edge and totally interested in it. Goodman and Arkin are terrific comic relief to Affleck's dramatic intense sincerity. The film is well worth while. And Jimmy Carter might have been re-elected if he had been willing to reveal the US role and his approval of the op. He couldn't, for security reasons (to avoid an Iranian backlash against the imprisoned hostages), and paid a political price for his honorable silence.

    You need to get at it, though, cuz it's being moved to smaller venues--on its way out of the theaters altogether.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Richmond VA

    Argo

    We went to see this movie this weekend. It was down to one theater, but it was very full. This is a great movie. It would be fun to see again to pick up on all the fun details. I especially enjoyed the mix of light touches of comedy (the Muppets reference was great) with all of the very realistic terror. What also struck us was the role of technology - communication was so slow.

    If you have not seen it, get out to your local theater asap.

    ramdevil

Similar Threads

  1. The Dictator: early review
    By JasonEvans in forum Off Topic
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-11-2012, 11:37 AM
  2. Early Review: Yes Man
    By JasonEvans in forum Off Topic
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 12-20-2008, 07:08 PM
  3. Mama Mia - Early Review
    By JasonEvans in forum Off Topic
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 07-19-2008, 11:34 PM
  4. Hellboy II: Early Review
    By JasonEvans in forum Off Topic
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 07-14-2008, 01:14 PM
  5. Hancock- Early Review
    By JasonEvans in forum Off Topic
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 07-06-2008, 11:16 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •