Cinepub


2012 Best Picture Round Up: Argo (Repost) by Jamie

It’s Oscar time again and the nominees have been announced so it’s time to review the ones I’m able to. Luckily, I already had one in the bag from last year. So here it is again, my review of Argo. Enjoy.

I’ve really been getting in to films based on historical events lately. I’ve watched a ton of them in the past couple of months alone including Ben Affleck’s “Gone Baby Gone”‘ which I enjoyed immensely. So I was pretty excited about the release of Affleck’s new film, “Argo”. Hell, throw in the fact that this also happens to be an historical event that has something to do with the film industry as well and it almost seems as though this damn film was made specifically to tickle my balls. Yes, it had everything that I could have asked for. So did I love it unapologetically like the movie/history geek that I am? Let’s find out.

The movie takes place during the Iran hostage crisis that stretched from late 1979 to early 1981 and deals with one specific event in particular, the so-called Canadian Caper because apparently missions where people risk their lives must have adorable nicknames. On the 4th of November, Iranian students took control of American embassy and took the staff hostage in order to protest the Americans given shelter to the former Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi ad have him returned to Iran to stand trial for crimes committed during his rule. Six hostages managed to escape and took shelter at the Canadian embassy and a plan was drawn up by the CIA and the Canadian government to try and get them safely out of the country. Tony Méndez, a disguise an exfiltration expert, came up with a plot to extract them. He employed the aid of John Chamber, a Hollywood make-up artist, to create a fake film production office. The cover story was that the six trapped in Iran were actually Canadians working on a film and they were in the country scouting for locations for a Star Wars-esque Sci-fi fantasy film, Argo.

And that’s about all I’m going to describer of the movie plot/actual events because to say much more would give away the plot. So, back to the original question: Did I love this film? Well, I cewrtainly enjoyed it but I did find it to be a bit slow going at points, particularly the moments where the trapped Americans are literally waiting around trying to get rescued. I suppose that this reflects the monotony of actually being trapped in a building for days on end and so in that regard I suppose it’s quite effective. Overall, however, this film was fucking awesome. Every time Ben Affleck directs something I’m always surprised by just how good he is. The pacing during some of the more intense sequences is impeccable. I was quite literally on the edge of my seat during some moments, so tense were some of the events that were playing out on screen.

There’s also a nice counterbalance to that intensity with quite a nice deal of humour provided by John Goodman as John Chambers and Alan Arkin as producer Lester Siegel. Not only are they great comic relief during some of the earlier scenes where they are trying to drum up publicity for a film that they know will be never filmed but that same humour actually comes to just rack things up later during one of the most tense scenes during the entire film.

If I have any complaint it’s that one I made earlier about some of the scenes just slowing things down a bit too much but really that’s a minor issue and about the only one I can really think of. I suppose it could be argued that the portrayal of Iranians is a bit one note, though I feel it delves deep enough into the politics behind their outrage that, whilst not outright justifying their actions, it certainly helps to explain them. So with all said and done, I’ll give Argo four and a half pints out of five. Now Argo fuck yourself and see it. Laterz.



Review: Argo by Jamie

I’ve really been getting in to films based on historical events lately. I’ve watched a ton of them in the past couple of months alone including Ben Affleck’s “Gone Baby Gone”‘ which I enjoyed immensely. So I was pretty excited about the release of Affleck’s new film, “Argo”. Hell, throw in the fact that this also happens to be an historical event that has something to do with the film industry as well and it almost seems as though this damn film was made specifically to tickle my balls. Yes, it had everything that I could have asked for. So did I love it unapologetically like the movie/history geek that I am? Let’s find out.

The movie takes place during the Iran hostage crisis that stretched from late 1979 to early 1981 and deals with one specific event in particular, the so-called Canadian Caper because apparently missions where people risk their lives must have adorable nicknames. On the 4th of November, Iranian students took control of American embassy and took the staff hostage in order to protest the Americans given shelter to the former Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi ad have him returned to Iran to stand trial for crimes committed during his rule. Six hostages managed to escape and took shelter at the Canadian embassy and a plan was drawn up by the CIA and the Canadian government to try and get them safely out of the country. Tony Méndez, a disguise an exfiltration expert, came up with a plot to extract them. He employed the aid of John Chamber, a Hollywood make-up artist, to create a fake film production office. The cover story was that the six trapped in Iran were actually Canadians working on a film and they were in the country scouting for locations for a Star Wars-esque Sci-fi fantasy film, Argo.

And that’s about all I’m going to describer of the movie plot/actual events because to say much more would give away the plot. So, back to the original question: Did I love this film? Well, I cewrtainly enjoyed it but I did find it to be a bit slow going at points, particularly the moments where the trapped Americans are literally waiting around trying to get rescued. I suppose that this reflects the monotony of actually being trapped in a building for days on end and so in that regard I suppose it’s quite effective. Overall, however, this film was fucking awesome. Every time Ben Affleck directs something I’m always surprised by just how good he is. The pacing during some of the more intense sequences is impeccable. I was quite literally on the edge of my seat during some moments, so tense were some of the events that were playing out on screen.

There’s also a nice counterbalance to that intensity with quite a nice deal of humour provided by John Goodman as John Chambers and Alan Arkin as producer Lester Siegel. Not only are they great comic relief during some of the earlier scenes where they are trying to drum up publicity for a film that they know will be never filmed but that same humour actually comes to just rack things up later during one of the most tense scenes during the entire film.

If I have any complaint it’s that one I made earlier about some of the scenes just slowing things down a bit too much but really that’s a minor issue and about the only one I can really think of. I suppose it could be argued that the portrayal of Iranians is a bit one note, though I feel it delves deep enough into the politics behind their outrage that, whilst not outright justifying their actions, it certainly helps to explain them. So with all said and done, I’ll give Argo four and a half pints out of five. Now Argo fuck yourself and see it. Laterz.



Review: Devil by Jamie

Spoilers Ahead!

I’ve been trying to write about this film for almost a week now. The reason being that I don’t want to come of as just another Shyamalan hater just because I didn’t like this film. Don’t get me wrong, I dislike the films of Mr. M. Night Shyamalan but I don’t want to seem like one of those people who are just jumping on the bandwagon without any particular reason and yet I’m sure writing a negative review of ‘Devil’ will attract exactly those kinds of accusations. Balls to it. I can’t help feeling the way that I do.

I had a small glimmer of hope for this film. Lately I’d come to regard Shyamalan a bit as I see George Lucas these days, as a man who can come up with really quite good ideas but when it comes to the execution of those ideas he just can’t quite pull it off. With ‘Devil’ the basic idea was that the idea for the story had come from Shyamalan but everything else such as the screenplay writing and directing at duties would be handled by other people. Perfect, I thought to myself, this is exactly the way that he should do things for the time being. Maybe watching other directors put his ideas on the screen would give him some pointers on how he could do it better himself.

Of course, now I think of it, similar thoughts were running through my head when I heard that he was directing ‘The Last Airbender’. Great, I thought to myself, this is exactly the that he should do things for the time being. Maybe focusing on directing rather than the story will enable him to perfect his craft. Well, I think we all know how that turned out.

So, yeah, I was willing to give Devil a chance. That was my mistake. The basic premise of the film is that there are five people with questionable backgrounds who are all trapped in a lift (elevator for my American readers) and they are slowly killed off one by one. The reason? Why, the Devil’s in the lift as well of course! Why? Well, apparently it’s just something he does from time to time for no discernable reason.

Meanwhile there’s a couple of cops and security guards on the outside watching them through the CCTV cameras in the lift and trying to find out who each person is because, whilst the people in the lift can hear them, they can‘t hear the people in the lift so they can‘t just tell them who they are. Their time may be better spent trying to focus on just getting the people the hell out of their because the efforts of the emergency services to do just that are pretty fucking poor. Like one guy with a saw. How about you get two guys with saws, cutting from both sides and meeting in the middle? Seriously. Whilst this piss poor rescue attempt is going on and the cops are running around trying to find out who each person is, more and more people are getting killed. Killed to death!

Oh, also one of the cops has a back story wherein his family wife and son were killed in a hit and run accident with the driver of the other vehicle leaving a note behind at the scene simply saying “I’m so sorry”. I wonder if that will play any part in this film later on? In the interest of full disclosure I didn’t wonder if that would play any part in the film later. I don’t know why. It was such an obvious twist looking back on it and this is an M. Night film so a twist should always be at least kinda expected. The only thing I can think is that I was so bored watching this film that I honestly didn’t want to think too deeply about it. Still, I feel stupid at not figuring out. On the other hand I did work out the other twist in the film pretty early on, that being who the Devil actually was so I guess I win at that. Go Team!

So yeah, that’s pretty much the plot. Some people are trapped in a lift. Other people aren’t. Sometimes the people in the lift die. The main problem with the film was just how insanely boring it was. Imagine watching five people trapped in a lift and occasionally sometimes watching other people watching five people trapped in a lift. It would be far more interesting than this film because at least that wouldn’t try to build up faux tension without any kind of pay off. Seriously, anytime it seems like something is about to happen in this film, the lights go out, the screen goes dark, you hear a few weird noises and bam! The lights go on and there’s a corpse! It’s like fucking someone right up until you’re close to the point of climaxing and then just stopping. What’s the fucking point?

To top it all off, there’s no sense of mystery to the film. The film’s advertising and even the title give away exactly what the plot is. There are five people trapped in a lift and one of them is the Devil. Well, thanks very much. Hell, you could tell who the Devil was from watching the trailer alone so the only thing you’re left with is the hope that there will be some interesting death scenes. I’m not talking about bullshit Saw/Hostel torture scenes but something. I mean, this is the motherfucking Devil we’re talking about. He should be able to pull something interesting off. But no, what we’re treated to is darkness and an increasing body count. Well, whoop-de-fuck. Maybe I’m jaded or desensitized to violence to such an extent that I need to see something but come on, who isn’t in this day and age?

it would have also been nice if maybe, just maybe there was an element that hinted that maybe it wasn’t the Devil, at least until the big reveal at the end. Maybe it was someone who was just going mad and had based their killing spree on old tales of what the Devil supposedly did but no. It’s pretty much shown that there’s no way that anyone in that lift could have pulled off the killings without being some ancient malevolent force so that’s lame also.

I suppose the acting wasn’t bad but it wasn’t particularly great either. I didn’t really care about any of the characters because they never really developed to any kind of stage where you could. Perhaps the oddest thing about the film is that the opening five minutes is just a weird shot flying through the city but upside down. It made me feel physically sick. Thanks movie.

So yeah at the end of the day, the film was just boring beyond belief and whilst the film was apparently just M. Night’s idea I have a hard time believing that was his only input. It just felt too much like a film that he would have made otherwise. I don’t know the exact level of his involvement but I think it was probably a little more than advertised. I still feel the need to give Shyamalan one last chance, something I feel every time I’m burned by him, because I do think there’s still a good film maker in there somewhere but I’m starting to think that it may have died, suffocated beneath the layers of whatever the hell he has become. Still, I do love ‘The Happening’. Sure it fails on every level of being a good film but it is fucking hilarious. Sadly Devil is not The Happening and so it gets one pint out of five. Satan deserved so much better. Laterz.




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