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PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:33 pm 
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Jeff wrote:
If I had any complaint, it would be one that mfunk brought up. The white-knuckle climax at the airport (and the simultaneous events in Hollywood and Washington), with its series of close calls, strains credulity. It felt silly and made up, and a little research proves that is.


Having little knowledge of the story, I wondered about the veracity myself. It just feels like a pile-up of Hollywood action tropes, and I kept thinking, "Did this really happen?"
[Reveal] Spoiler:
The worst was when the police cars and jeeps chase the airplane on the runway - there was no question in my mind that was made up. There was at least one or two other moments before that that were unbelievable because they seemed highly unlikely or they just didn't make much sense - can't recall what they were at the moment, I'd have to look over a synopsis to jog my memory.
Sure, it's not a documentary, but for a film like this, the dramatizations should remain grounded in believability.

Anyway, I still liked the movie, it's not bad and much of the time it was entertaining.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:36 pm 
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mfunk9786 wrote:
...the 70s Warner title card at the beginning of the film (sorry Ben, but Steven Soderbergh got there first by a few months!)

And Fincher already executed the same idea with 2007's Zodiac (albeit with a different studio, of course).


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:23 pm 
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Once again, Jim Emerson seems to have seen exactly the same movie we all have. Here's his take on what many above consider a liability:
Jim Emerson wrote:
[W]hat happens in the last 20 minutes or so of the movie (well, before the umpteen Happy Endings that have been tacked on, from the hostages' homecoming to Jimmy Carter's VO to Mendez's romantic reunion with his estranged wife) is so preposterously suspenseful that it seems to be making fun of itself. And by that I mean that, by embracing and overdoing just about every thriller trope you can think of, it shows just how visceral (Pavlovian?) and effective (manipulative?) the Hollywood movie is. In other words, it's patently outrageous and it works -- which is what the movie itself is about.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:33 pm 
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If we're talking about the actual escape, it played to me like a non-violent ending to The Delta Force short of soldiers coming down the aisle-ways giving everybody beers in a congratulatory manner


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:19 am 
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I thought this movie was a complete bore. I had no intention of even seeing it, but given all the glowing reviews it has recieved, I sort of forced myself to go. Politically, the movie had nothing to say other than, here are bad men and here are good men. A lot of shots of people drinking wine and listening to rock, two or so close calls, then a plane ride. I have no idea what everyone thought was so great! The opening story board prologue showed that Ben had aspirations to direct this film, but that little sequence was sort of head scratcher, as well as an empty promise. Visually the movie was forgettable. The hollywood section of the film is basically completely encapsulated in the trailer for the film, Its an exposition that leads to nothing. I felt the entire film was one empty set up after another.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:27 am 
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Just found out today that the great Jack Kirby did the art for Lords of Light, the film/screenplay/book that the CIA changed to Argo.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:47 am 

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Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny?! Read it as a teenager. Won a Hugo. Remember it being pretty good.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:41 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2007 7:56 am
I really enjoyed this one. Very tense with perfectly-placed moments of levity. The opening setpiece of the embassy being stormed has great crosscutting and sets the pace well for the rest of the film.

The ensemble cast is enjoyable, and this is the best performance that I've seen Affleck. I could've used a little more time with the hostages in the Canadian house to develop their fears and concerns. Rodrigo Prieto deserves a lot of credit for his way of making things look gritty and imperfect while still visually encapsulating the emotion of each scene.

I agree that the Hollywood navel-gazing early on does tend to drag. But personally, I'm not crazy about movies about making movies, so maybe this worked for others.

There are also perhaps one too many codas, including the credits sequence. And one complication in the pile-on towards the end really sticks out for me as being too silly:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I think they should've altered or got rid of the scene where Arkin and Goodman are trying to get back to the production office. The film crew that is blocking their path is too coincidental, and because Arkin and Goodman don't know they must get back to the phone, they have no agency to overcome this obstacle.


Other than that, it's a timely and very effective thriller, and Argo deserves the praise.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:53 pm 
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Saw this today. Solid film in my opinion. Unlike Niale, I don't think there were good guys and bad guys. These embassy workers were basically bureaucrats in a bad spot. The Iranians weren't portrayed in a bad light either in my opinion.
The end was kind of hokey. A few people in the audience clapped when the plane took off. I felt I was watching a Spielberg film for a second.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:32 am 
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I missed the whole clip from '97 over the end credits (nature had called by then), my dad told me about it as we were leaving.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:03 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:48 am
warren oates wrote:
so preposterously suspenseful that it seems to be making fun of itself.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I think this aspect becomes more or less explicit when the last "obstacle" for Goodman and Arkin turns out to be an agonizingly protracted fight-scene-in-progress between a couple of heaving hams. Probably the hardest I've laughed in a movie this year outside of Looper and Moonrise Kingdom


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:23 pm 
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HistoryProf wrote:
There were also myriad opportunities to get maudlin, melodramatic, jingoistic (or conversely cynical), or mired in the Iranian side of things...but each and every one of these pitfalls was avoided.

Did you walk out ten minutes early or something? Goodness me! There won't be stronger vomit-in-the-mouth shot all year than that one with Affleck and his wife having a cuddle in front of the American flag a minute or two before the end.

It's such a shame as this is a fine thriller, once you have gotten over the story being rather preposterous after all of the Hollywoodising. It can take dramatic licence - it is a thriller after all - and the well-edited climatic sequence benefited from that rather well. The last ten minutes seemed to have been written by another team though. Once the deed was done we had to sit through a few terrible final scenes with America self-congratulating and name dropping itself, whilst throwing Canada a bone, and those schmaltzy family shots. Fading to black after a successful mission and then having the credits roll would have been better than that. Instead, it went completely Oscar-baity and left a rather bitter aftertaste, which spoiled what had been an enjoyable film.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:15 pm 
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I really don't know how I want to feel about this movie. On one hand, it's patriotic, racist, manipulative, borderline-jingoistic Father's Day gift fodder... on the other, there's a good story and solid acting buried somewhere in here, and I would never call this film a "failure." I just don't understand how it's getting mentioned as a top 10 movie of the year by anyone.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:22 pm 
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Should people only make movies about America's failings?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:31 pm 
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flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Should people only make movies about America's failings?

For that, you can look forward to Iran making a response to Argo called The General Staff.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:11 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2007 7:56 am
flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Should people only make movies about America's failings?

Yes, and if you even dare to depict torture in a film, you'd better put a giant red sign in the back that says "This is wrong," lest you be accused of being a fascist sympathizer.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:14 pm 
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tachyonEvan wrote:
I really don't know how I want to feel about this movie. On one hand, it's patriotic, racist, manipulative, borderline-jingoistic Father's Day gift fodder... on the other, there's a good story and solid acting buried somewhere in here, and I would never call this film a "failure." I just don't understand how it's getting mentioned as a top 10 movie of the year by anyone.

I didn't think it was terrible but it had too many ludicrous fabrications that were too unbelievable when you took a second to think about them - some of them seemed like lazy clichés from old action films.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
(Really? A tarmac chase?)


FWIW, Richard Brody and especially Jonathan Rosenbaum hated it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:56 am 
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hearthesilence wrote:
FWIW, Jonathan Rosenbaum hated it.

I'd love to read Jonathan Rosenbaum's takedown of Argo. I know he pegged it as the worst film of the year in the Village Voice poll but has he elaborated on the subject elsewhere?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:01 pm 
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Not that I know of, but you can always email him (or tweet at him) and see if he will.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:33 pm 

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Anhedionisiac wrote:
hearthesilence wrote:
FWIW, Jonathan Rosenbaum hated it.

I'd love to read Jonathan Rosenbaum's takedown of Argo. I know he pegged it as the worst film of the year in the Village Voice poll but has he elaborated on the subject elsewhere?

Most likely, Rosenbaum's objection is that the film portrays Iranians as petulant and ignorant, and it promotes American imperialism by not ever raising the issue of why the Iranians might have cause for political action against America in the first place. I doubt any aesthetic criticism really enters into it, though I'm sure he found all the ridiculous coincidences and manufactured action sequences to be as silly as most everyone else has. But all of this is totally a guess based on having read a lot of Rosenbaum's past criticism--I also can't find anything online that he's written about it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:43 pm 
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Ishmael wrote:
Most likely, Rosenbaum's objection is that the film portrays Iranians as petulant and ignorant, and it promotes American imperialism by not ever raising the issue of why the Iranians might have cause for political action against America in the first place.

Except that the film's prologue makes fairly clear why Iranians would be pissed with the US, and Rosenbaum, though often strident and uncharitable, is not usually dishonest enough to just pretend that it wasn't there.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:50 pm 

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Brian C wrote:
Except that the film's prologue makes fairly clear why Iranians would be pissed with the US, and Rosenbaum, though often strident and uncharitable, is not usually dishonest enough to just pretend that it wasn't there.

I'm sure you're right, but I don't remember the film well enough to comment. I often find that Rosenbaum's political opinions skew his interpretations of certain films, so I was just making a poorly educated guess in the absence of any real info.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:52 pm 
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It's true that the prologue is extremely clear on the fact that the Iranians have ample cause to be pissed with the US but perhaps Rosenbaum feels that a expositional prologue is hardly enough to be let off the hook.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:04 pm 
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Anhedionisiac wrote:
It's true that the prologue is extremely clear on the fact that the Iranians have ample cause to be pissed with the US but perhaps Rosenbaum feels that a expositional prologue is hardly enough to be let off the hook.

Let off the hook for what, exactly? For promoting American imperialism by telling the story of Americans leaving Iran?

The aftermath of violent revolution is what it is. If one were to display the aftermath of the French revolution with real condemning ferocity in which those responsible for everything that happened are shown as being "petulant and ignorant" and worse, I have the sneaking suspicion that those upset about Iran's mild portrayal in the movie would be happy with that. Because people in Western or first world countries behaving poorly, or boorishly, or whatever is a narrative we accept. People in non-Western countries behaving the same way is not a narrative people will accept any longer, even if it turned out to be true. This is mostly the result of trying to combat cultural imperialism and racism by going too far in the opposite direction.

I'm pretty sure Argo captures the atmosphere of post-revolutionary Iran accurately.

*this post isn't directed at you, Anhedionisiac.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:52 pm 
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As someone who lives in an area of Mexico where protests, violent conflicts and public uproar are commonplace (although certainly nowhere near the level of those in the Middle East), I had no problem accepting the portrayal of iranians in Argo. Overall, thanks to the prologue, I found it a fair assessment of what's it like to be in the receiving end of the righteous fury of a whole country so the claim that they were caricaturized seems to me to miss the whole point of the tension inherent in the situation. The Americans are in danger, not because they're the target of moustache-twirling villains but because they're the target of people with a very good reason to be angry. This is why I'm extremely interested in hearing what Rosenbaum has to say in the matter. I can't help but wonder if perhaps there's an angle I missed.

*thank god that post wasn't directed at me, Sausage. I felt cowed when I started reading it


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