Argo (2012)

Cookie-cutter poster design here.

Cookie-cutter poster design here.

Directed by: Ben Affleck (I enjoyed The Town, but I found Gone Baby Gone to be better)

Written by: The screenplay was written by Chris Terrio, based off of “The Master of Disguise” by Antonio J. Mendez and “The Great Escape” by Joshuah Bearman (WHAT A NAME.  BEARman)

Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Victor Garber and so many more.

What it’s about: based on true events that took place during the Iran Hostage Crisis, involving a CIA plan to use a fake movie shoot to rescue some hostages

B-Movie Alternate Title:

Movie Mash Up: Three KingsUnited 93 (minus all the horrific tragedy) + Munich

What I liked: I enjoyed about 90% of the movie (see below, but beware, slight vague spoiler).  Great acting, great “real life” story.  I don’t think Alan Arkin deserved a Supporting Actor nomination for his performance.  It was good, but not even on the level of his previous win for Little Miss Sunshine.  Bryan Cranston was great, Affleck was great but understated great, if that makes sense.  FINALLY, someone found a way to capture Clea DuVall in a way that didn’t make you feel weird for thinking she was attractive (unless I’m the only one?).  I liked the movie a lot in general, though I really can’t think of a time that I’ll re-watch it.

What I disliked: Almost the entire ending sequence.  I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, so SPOILER ALERT I guess.  The little things that kept taking time at the end kept piling up and I’m not sure if Affleck just wanted to push it as much as he could until the audience laughed in frustration or what.  I know there’s a lot of creative licence with “Based on a True Story” movies, but after that I had to do the research and it annoyed me so there.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: Sure, though it may move at too slow of a pace for some audiences.  I would preface my recommendation with that.

Rating: 4/ 5

Best Picture Nomination Rankings (so far): 1. Django Unchained 2. Argo

Ben Affleck IS Hart Bochner!

Ben Affleck IS Hart Bochner!


Django Unchained (2012)

Gorgeous poster, though probably not in the category of previous Tarantino films.  Argue about that.

Gorgeous poster, though probably not in the category of previous Tarantino films. Argue about that.

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino (we could argue over what his “best” movie is, but the safe bet will most likely always be Pulp Fiction)

Written by: Tarantino

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, James Remar, Kerry Washington, Laura Cayouette, Walton Goggins and Samuel L. Jackson.  Also, check the tags for many actors that basically filmed cameo roles.

What it’s about: in 1858, a former slave becomes a bounty hunter and searches for his wife

B-Movie Alternate Title: It’s a pretty B-Movie title already

Movie Mash Up: Inglourious BasterdsTombstone + probably hundreds of blaxpoitation movies that Tarantino has watched

What I liked: I have to admit, Jamie Foxx ruled in this movie, and I hate having to say that.  Tarantino wrote such a great character in Django, and knew exactly how he wanted the character to appear and succeeded on all levels.  I would argue that Christoph Waltz deserves to be nominated in the Best Actor category, rather than the Supporting Actor category for his performance in this movie, but whatever.  It is a fun movie, dealing with some super serious themes, and it may be Tarantino’s funniest movie yet.  Argue some more about that too, if you want.  The movie looks gorgeous, and flows fairly well (see below), so well that at points it doesn’t exactly feel like a near three hour-long movie.  DiCaprio was amazing in it as well, particularly the scene in which he actually accidentally cuts open his own hand, bleeding profusely all over himself, and continues acting.  Don’t know how Kerry Washington felt about having his blood smeared all over her face, though.

What I disliked: The running time of nearly three hours is fairly daunting, Tarantino movie or not.  You could make arguments about trimming the fat and lessening the homages to whatever obscure movie Tarantino was referring to with whatever camera angle or sound cue, but you don’t have the same movie then.  I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable movie fan, but I probably don’t know half of the references Tarantino is making, even in regards to certain actors and actresses he ends up casting for whatever reason.  There were some scenes throughout that I thought were misplaced or came from some wacky sitcom script (the Jonah Hill cameo scene springs to mind), and while they weren’t terrible, they did put me off a little.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: While it is pretty great, the exceedingly long running time and excessive (but totally in context) usage of the word “nigger”, probably means it isn’t for everyone.  Tarantino fans will eagerly lap it up, though.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

I am surprised this .gif hasn't been Hasslehoff'd.

I am surprised this .gif hasn’t been Hasslehoff’d.

Red State (2011)

I just watched Red State and I’m trying to muddle through exactly how I feel about the film, and I’m finding myself conflicted by how I feel about Kevin Smith.  Maybe conflicted isn’t the right word.  Maybe disappointed is.  I think he may actually be regressing as a filmmaker, or just has lost touch or something.  Perhaps there’s such a thing as TOO MUCH social media interactivity.  I don’t know, I don’t want to be a “hater” or whatever.  Chasing Amy is still one of my all time favourite movies, and my growing discontent with Smith has been bubbling since, I dunno, probably Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.  I had to unfollow him on Twitter because dude, just stop, yes you’re verbose, you love semantics, etc. just shut up.  Hell, I want to cut this short because it could just turn into bullet points of “I am disappoint”.  Dude was one of my favourite writers and directors, he made me interested in learning more about film and kinda made me think anyone could do it.  And he keeps doing it.

I don’t want to see another View Askewniverse movie.  I want to see Kevin Smith succeed, despite his own excess of personality.  I don’t need to see Jay or Silent Bob doing the same thing over and over again until they’re both pushing 50.  I want to see Smith grow as a filmmaker, I really do.  Cop Out was a slightly charming mess (still trying to figure out how I came to own it), but Red State, man, I was turned off of seeing it by Smith’s screening commentary on Twitter (sample paraphrased Tweet: “Oh I’m not spoiling anything but cats in the audience just reacted huge to that reveal about 56 minutes in”).  Yeah, Kevin, it is “nasty-ass”.  Congratulations, you had me worried you were treading into Hostel territory, thinking you had finally just given up or something and wanted to combine your love of porn with torture.

It is a grim fucking movie.  I’m trying to find something positive to say about it, but… it’s a complete departure from your typical Kevin Smith movie.  However, thanks to Kevin Smith talking incessantly about it, pretty much most of the intrigue about the movie is ruined for those that pay attention to Kevin Smith, and for the mainstream audience, it’s not that accessible either because as we’ve all learned, the mainstream audience isn’t interested in Kevin Smith movies.  Visually, it’s nothing that has ever been seen in one of his movies, and there are some good performances in it, just in regrettable roles.

I post these write-ups on the Internet, and I’m kinda terrified that this one is actually going to be noticed.  Feel free to attack my writing and such, I just don’t put a lot into these write-ups usually, and this one got away from me a bit.

2 / 5