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Thread: Argo (Ben Affleck)

  1. #1
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Argo (Ben Affleck)

    ARGO

    Director: Ben Affleck

    imdb


  2. #2
    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    The "true story" was Canadians.

    Seems a bit weird that it was seemingly turned into an "America! Fuck yeah!" story.

  3. #3
    Canada needs to make a movie where they are the first to the moon, out of revenge.
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  4. #4
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Certainly one of the best movies this year. Affleck's best by far.

    First Man - ***
    The Sisters Brothers - *** 1/2
    Mandy - ***


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  5. #5
    Alone again, naturally eternity's Avatar
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    Four stars; one for each hysterical coincidence in the third act.

  6. #6
    Producer Lucky's Avatar
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    Pretty good. Certainly tense enough, but the hostages weren't humanized enough for there to be any substantial emotional payoff a la Apollo 13. Arkin is the standout.

    Anyone else reminded of Michael Scott when they resorted to posing as an elementary school employee in order to get someone's attention?

  7. #7
    Quote Quoting eternity (view post)
    Four stars; one for each hysterical coincidence in the third act.
    More like four stars, with .25 subtracted for each coinkydink.

    Anyway, it was pretty entertaining if forgettable. Kinda disappointed that Affleck's films as director are getting progressively more ordinary (wish he hadn't cast himself either).

  8. #8
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Boner M (view post)
    Anyway, it was pretty entertaining if forgettable.
    Pretty much how I feel. It was definitely good, though I can't help but feel like I'll completely forget about it in a week or two.

  9. #9
    Kung Fu Hippie Watashi's Avatar
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    The third act of this movie is beyond terrible. The tension in this was dramatized up the whazoo.

    I still think Affleck hasn't topped Gone Baby Gone.
    Sure why not?

    STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (Rian Johnson) - 9
    STRONGER (David Gordon Green) - 6
    THE DISASTER ARTIST (James Franco) - 7
    THE FLORIDA PROJECT (Sean Baker) - 9
    LADY BIRD (Greta Gerwig) - 8


    "Hitchcock is really bad at suspense."
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  10. #10
    Avatar Thief Robby P's Avatar
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    Haven't seen this yet but I was disappointed by how generic and uninteresting The Town was compared to Affleck's previous effort. The plot of Gone Baby Gone may have been ridiculously contrived but the story was at least filled with thoughtful moral ambiguity and three dimensional characters. Affleck certainly got better at filming action scenes but it came at the expense of character development and astute introspection.

  11. #11
    i am the great went ledfloyd's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Watashi (view post)
    The third act of this movie is beyond terrible. The tension in this was dramatized up the whazoo.
    jim emerson pretty convincingly argues that that is the point.

  12. #12
    Kung Fu Hippie Watashi's Avatar
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    I didn't complain that the story was historically inaccurate. That's kind of a given in favor of all "based on a true story" films. I just found the whole "it's like a Hollywood movie! See!" meta-ness kind of silly. I don't care if the tension was fabricated, just make it tense, which it never was, because it was so ridiculous.

    Also, the film was super xenophobic despite the "true story" implications behind it.
    Sure why not?

    STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (Rian Johnson) - 9
    STRONGER (David Gordon Green) - 6
    THE DISASTER ARTIST (James Franco) - 7
    THE FLORIDA PROJECT (Sean Baker) - 9
    LADY BIRD (Greta Gerwig) - 8


    "Hitchcock is really bad at suspense."
    - Stay Puft

  13. #13
    i am the great went ledfloyd's Avatar
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    Well if the climax didn't work for you, it doesn't work for you. It worked for me, despite how ridiculous it is. Emerson pointed out that this echoes the mission itself. It also highlights the power of Hollywood while telling a story about Hollywood quite literally saving lives.

    I don't think it's a masterpiece or anything, but I was thoroughly entertained and I feel like it's a shoe-in for Best Picture. The Academy loves movies about the power of movies.

  14. #14
    Scott of the Antarctic Milky Joe's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Lucky (view post)
    Pretty good. Certainly tense enough, but the hostages weren't humanized enough for there to be any substantial emotional payoff a la Apollo 13.
    I'm not understanding the connection. There were hostages in Apollo 13?
    ‎The severed arm perfectly acquitted itself, because of the simplicity of its wishes and its total lack of doubt.

  15. #15
    Winston* Classic Winston*'s Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Milky Joe (view post)
    I'm not understanding the connection. There were hostages in Apollo 13?
    Historical knowledge means you know from the start that both the astronauts and the hostages are going to survive.

  16. #16
    Scott of the Antarctic Milky Joe's Avatar
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    Ah, right. Carry on.
    ‎The severed arm perfectly acquitted itself, because of the simplicity of its wishes and its total lack of doubt.

  17. #17
    In the belly of a whale Henry Gale's Avatar
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    I liked this, but I thought it felt a bit, I don't know, overly methodical, maybe? It's not so much as what was clearly missing as much as what was on display just didn't have that extra something to really make it click and engross me as I wanted it to. (Yet it's seemed to work just fine for so many others.) As a director, I think Affleck's style is too derivative of so many other movies like this, that it didn't have enough of its own voice in how it wanted to tell this sort of great, complicated story. But he still manages to craft a strong, tight, picture that gets across all the right story angles and its own unique Hollywood satire wedged in there all at the same time.

    But if there is a slightly bigger absence, it might be that I just didn't think any of the characters were given as much weight to them as they should have to really let the real-life plot points function beyond what you could very well already know going into it. The sequences with them, from the more mundane to when their lives are on the line, just didn't emote or resonate when it came to how the film portrays them at the center of the conflict.

    And Affleck gives himself the most thankless role of all. His Mendez seems purposely designed as a blank slate character for the audience to apply their own morals and foresight into him to understand his actions and state of mind. He's given enough smart dialogue to make him a strong and likable enough catalyst for the film's setpieces to move at a great pace, but his backstory basically consists of, "He's a good guy, and he has a son and wife he cares about but can't be with. So he better pull off this operation, right?"

    So maybe it's just the overwhelming acclaim that raised my expectations a little too high, but I think down the line if I had all three of Affleck's films so far sitting in front of me, this would be the one I'd have the least amount of will to re-watch or have excitement to praise.

    This all makes it sound like it did nothing for me. I thought it was good, I really did, but any specific aspects I might want to single out as being particularly strong, other critics and fans of the movie seem to have already shown to feel similarly, and significantly more enthusiastically. It's quite entertaining, it just left me a bit colder and with less to think about afterwards than I would've hoped it to.

    *** / B
    BlacKkKlansman (Lee, 2018) – **** / 9.1
    Murder On The Orient Express (Branagh, 2017) – ***½ / 8.3
    Mission: Impossible – Fallout (McQuarrie, 2018) – ***½ / 8.8
    Blindspotting (Estrada, 2018) – ***½ / 8.4
    Leave No Trace (Granik, 2018) – ***½ / 8.6
    Eighth Grade (Burnham, 2018) – ***½ / 8.5
    Sorry To Bother You (Riley, 2018) – **** / 9.2
    Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Bayona, 2018) – **½ / 5.9
    2001: A Space Odyssey [in 70mm] (Kubrick, 1968) – **** / 10

  18. #18
    Screenwriter Fezzik's Avatar
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    It's weird. As a film, Argo is pretty impeccably made. The attention to detail, the world it's in, the way its shot, everything...an incredibly well-made film that should get some more recognition for Affleck as a director...but thats about it.

    It was tense, sure, and the supporting character actors were fine (Arkin's scene dressing down Richard Kind's screenwriter was my favorite), but despite all of that, it felt a little calculated and cold.

    I don't know how much of that falls on Affleck, simply because he DID do a fine job directing this, but the material - the script - relied too much on nail-biter coincidences to ramp up the tension.

    In the end, a good film, a very well made one, at that. Just not something I really want to watch again, at least not soon.

    I did like the crosscutting of the actors reading the Argo script and the Iranian students reading the Ayatollah's 'press release.' A little on the nose, but well done.

    I'd give this a B, maybe a B+ because of how well it was made.

  19. #19
    Very disappointed by this. The tension didn't work not because it was a true story, but because it was all totally formulaic and the sense of danger was never created adequately. Things only ever went wrong for a few seconds at a time.

    I think that making the story primarily a thriller was the wrong call. The best moments come from Goodman and Arkin when they're setting up the fake film. That's the interesting hook, people escaping with fake passports is not. Too much of the film is devoted to hitting all of the generic beats (especially the stuff with Tony's family) and not enough is given to make this a specific story.

  20. #20
    needs therapy, maybe. NickGlass's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting ledfloyd (view post)
    jim emerson pretty convincingly argues that that is the point.
    That's all clever and cheeky and everything, but it still exists outside of the experience of the film. Also, given the fabricated film at hand, wouldn't the climax have been a bit more campy and not just aggressive, Lumet-soaked mania?

    Nonetheless, Affleck makes too many other specious, dressed-up choices in the last act of this movie (an achingly contrived arc for everyone!) to compensate for one that is ostensibly built into the story in the first place. It also leads me to further believe that Ben Affleck chose the right filmmaking material instead of the right filmmaking decisions.

    Perhaps the biggest disappointment, however, was how lame the Hollywood scenes are--it's the chance for the film to have a bit of fun (with John fucking Goodman at your disposal!) and all it amounts to is a collection of quickly-spewed one liners about Hollywood being full of liars and bullshitters. Muahaha...ugh.
    I'm writing for Slant Magazine now, so check out my list of reviews.

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  21. #21
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    The grossest historical inaccuracy in the movie is that the storyboards and production art look absolutely nothing like Jack Kirby drawings.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  22. #22
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    Here are just some of the actual designs Kirby did for Argo back then:









    The original of that first one is now owned by Jim Lee, who had no idea of the historical significance of the drawing when he bought it at an auction, and only found out recently when he saw Argo and read more about it.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  23. #23
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    Another related trivia: The original producer who optioned the Lord of Light novel that became Argo have been trying for years to get the movie restarted. He even asked Neil Gaiman to write the script at one point.

    According to Gaiman, he's still really mad at the CIA.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  24. #24
    Social Retard Isaac's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting number8 (view post)
    The grossest historical inaccuracy in the movie is that the storyboards and production art look absolutely nothing like Jack Kirby drawings.
    It was also rather misleading when they showed him taking direction from Ben Affleck's character ("can it look more Middle Eastern?"). Kirby produced those drawings long before that guy came around.

  25. #25
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Isaac (view post)
    It was also rather misleading when they showed him taking direction from Ben Affleck's character ("can it look more Middle Eastern?"). Kirby produced those drawings long before that guy came around.
    Well, the whole "make a fake movie" part of the film was misleading. Argo was never a fake movie the CIA put together. It was a real production that they hijacked an made unusable. Hence the producer still holding a grudge against the CIA.

    In a way, I can't get that mad at Affleck. He bothered to include Kirby (I think the scene with Parks was originally longer) when if he actually told the real story, Kirby wouldn't even be in it.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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