Argo F–K Yourself

So, I was an usher at a film NGO where the perk was seeing free movies. Pretty cool perk. Anyways, they released Argo in Sept, and for some reason I didn’t get around to seeing this until December. I think I thought it would be boring.

Synposis:

A dramatization of the 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran.

I was so wrong! Affleck has grown as a director since “The Town,” and it felt like I was back in the 70’s-80’s. He(Arleck) also grew a funky 70’s beard, which made me laugh.

The actors that were the six fugitives gave their roles depth, and I felt I knew them by the end of the movie. Alan Arkin as always was very funny in his role as one of the producers back in Hollywood.

No spoilers, but the last 45 minutes are very nail-biting, and are worth seeing this film.

Grade- A-

P.S. I realize this is out of theaters now, but if you catch it at a dollar theater please do. Also, stay for the credits.  They show the actual passport pictures of the person vs the actor that played them in the film. Affleck nailed it at the casting of the actors.

 

 

Abe Killing Vampires that don’t sparkle– Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

Year:2012

DirectorTimur Bekmambetov

Writers: Seth Grahame-Smith (screenplay and author of the book)

Cast: Benjamin WalkerRufus Sewell and Dominic Cooper

Producers: Timur Bemmabetow, Tim Burton

Okay. See the trailer?

Yeah, it’s Abe fighting vampires. If you’re into cheesy movies (and I’m a huge fan of them just for pure comic value alone), this is a winner. That’s basically the premise. It comes from an equally cheesy book by Seth who also wrote “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” I do like that at least he wrote the screenplay, and Tim Burton was a producer.  There were some very “Sweeney Todd” esque moments in the film.  You tell he had a hand in the production of the film, but at least didn’t direct this film. That’s another rant for another blog.

I will say the lead was pretty good as Abe. He had the height down at least, and it was fun to see the fight scenes. There are actually CGI horses in one battle! At that point, my friend and I were laughing so hard it was hard to hear any of the dialogue because during the third part of the movie the plot holes, acting, production, were slowing fading into the background.  I also think they rushed this so they could convert it to 3D. The film also could have used a decent editor.  As always, the book was better. I thought it would be a better movie, and there was some allusions to the Civil War and slavery, but it just didn’t really explore it.

It’s good cheesy fun. Just Redbox or Netflix this movie if you want a fun ride.

Grade: D-

Superheros– Part 2 of Boys in Tights/ The Amazing Spider-Man (Reboot)

This is the second part that I’m sure of a very ongoing series of superhero movies in the next couple of years.

The Amazing Spider-Man

Year: 2012

Actors:Andrew GarfieldEmma StoneRhys IfansDenis LearyMartin SheenSally FieldCampbell Scott

Director:Marc Webb

The geek and I both walking into this thinking we would hate it. The geek is way more of a Spider-man fan than I am, so his expectations were on an F level. I’m also a huge fan of the Sam Rami movies (with the exception of the third one that did not exist in my mind) with Tobey McGuire as Spider-man.

I thought the new lead(Andrew Garfield) was very good,  but I liked him in “The Social Network.” There were some really great scenes once he got his powers. I’m also happy that they didn’t go the Mary Jane route with the love story, and picked Gwen from the comic books. Emma Stone is so damn cute, and a really good actress.  I really wanted more Denis Leary, because I thought his small role stole the movie.

Martin Sheen was playing Jeb Barlett again, and I half expected him to launch into another one of the really great West Wing speeches. Sally Field as Aunt May was just washing dishes the whole time, and looking sad in sweaters. I know their roles were small, but they could have given them some better lines to work with from the script.

Two overall complaints:

1. Dr. Conners(Rhys Ifans) had one of the worst makeup jobs when he become the villain  that I’ve seen in a long time. It seemed to be out of a Ed Wood movie. I guess it was supposed to be scary, but I couldn’t stop giggling. His British  accent kept going in and out as well which really aggravated me.

2. I think they needed a good editor because some parts  could have been trimmed in the middle.

I thought the special effects were good, and  it was a little lighter in tone than the original Raimi movies.  I’m still not quite sure why they needed a new reboot when the other two hold up well on their own.  Hollywood is running out of ideas as usual I suppose, and they’re remaking everything.

Grade: B-

P.S. Campbell Scott what has happened to you?? I barely recognized you which than made me sad. He’s pulled a James Spader.  I also find it funny or intentional that the director of Spider-Man is named Marc Webb. Hmmmm…..

Superhero movies Part 1— The Avengers!

Country: USA

Release date: 2012

Actors: Chris EvansRobert Downey JrMarl RuffaloChris HemsworthScarlett Johnsson,  Jeremy RennerTom Hiddleston

Director: Joss Whedon

I finally got to see The Avengers. We were actually going to go see this for the geek’s birthday, but life got in the way. Anyways, I was a little worried because this movie has been hyped over the years in easter eggs at the end of all the Marvel movies.

However, it’s Joss Whedon. Yes, I’m a Browncoat. I was just hoping it wouldn’t bore me to tears.  Verdict: It didn’t.  I was hesitant that they replaced Ed Norton with Mark Ruffalo, but adding a little more the Bruce Banner/Hulk character really helped the movie.  I also loved all the interplay between all the super heros. I also thought Tom Hiddleston’s Loki was much better in this movie than he was in “Thor.”

My only complaint was adding Black Widow and Hawkeye. I  never read the comic books, but both characters were so minor that I really didn’t see the point of them being in the film. Perhaps, they’ll have bigger roles in the sequel.

I would also love to have a new Hulk movie if Mark Ruffalo would agree to it. I loved the Ed Norton version as well, but Ruffalo gave the character a little more humor.

This was a fun summer movie full of action and a lot of jokes for the fans of the other movies.  See if before it leaves the theaters.

Grade: A

SIFF Week 4- Finding North

Country: USA

Year: 2012

Genre: Documentary, Social Issues, Hunger

Directors:  Kristi Jacobson, Lori Silverbush

Music: T Bone Burnett and The Civil Wars

This touching yet troubling documentary takes on the complex issue of hunger in America. Co-directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush meet with the working poor from coast to coast, including extended families and single parents facing the problem of food insecurity, which affects as many as 50 million people. Actor Jeff Bridges, who co-founded the End Hunger Network, believes it’s a problem that people are ashamed of acknowledging and has only gotten worse since the 1980s. Rose, a charismatic fifth grader from rural Colorado, says she gets so hungry that she feels nauseated. Fortunately, her church steps in to provide a weekly meal, but that’s one night out of seven. Tremonica, a Mississippi second grader, skips meals or eats junk food, which doesn’t bode well for her future. Ree, a Mississippi mother, has to drive 45 minutes just to buy vegetables, since stores in her remote location only carry canned goods. Sadly, poverty and obesity go hand in hand when processed foods cost less than fresh produce, due largely to farm subsidies to agribusiness. Jacobson and Silverbush also look at developmental disabilities, public assistance, and school lunches, while taking time to single out individuals making a positive impact in ways both big and small. (via siff.net)

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie. It was a touching and shocking documentary about the hunger epidemic in our own back yard. I think it would be a good companion piece for the HBO documentary, “Weight of the Nation.” as well.  It was stated that one in four families go to food banks throughout the country.

I also loved the soundtrack by T. Bone Burnett and The Civil Wars, and plan on picking up one of their CD’s.  It was also great to see Jeff Bridges interviewed.

My only complaint and this was talked about during the Q&A is that they were planning on changing the title of the film. It’s still playing in movie festivals, and I’m wondering if they’re going to keep their word. The director thought the title was too “out there” for the topic that it was covering.

Grade: B