Posts Tagged ‘Argo

12
Jan
15

American Hustle, Everything or Nothing

American Hustle

American Cleavage.

American Hustle was one of those films everyone raved about. When this happens, the movie is usually extremely overrated with little more than coherent storytelling and passable acting, with Argo being a prime example. I figured American Hustle would be exactly the same. The 2013 movie tells the story of con-artists in the 1970s helping the FBI run a sting operation against corrupt politicians. The movie begins with a very out of shape and balding Batman who has seen better days. He has been a con-man for years, and one day meets the love of his life, Amy Adams, who is a masterful con-woman. Batman and Adams are caught by Bradley Cooper who extorts them into working for the FBI. Their goal is to run a larger operation and take down corrupt politicians and the mob. What follows is a dizzying tale of each character trying to get something for themselves. American Hustle is truly a character-driven film. Each character is almost larger than life, played expertly by fantastic cast members. Every player has a developed backstory and clear motivations for what they want in life. There are, of course, double-crosses and cons along they way to keep the film moving. What else would you expect in movie with con-artists? Fortunately, the movie does not rely on the cons, but rather the characters. The 1970s are alive and well in this movie. I didn’t live in this decade, but I can only imagine this is what it looked like, bright, flashy, and very eclectic. The movie required a lot of juggling on the part of the director to keep each character in the spotlight, to keep the story moving full steam ahead, and to not let the pacing get bogged down. Director David O. Russel delivered on every level. The movie really is as great as the hype claims it to be. It is a rare example of a big-budget, star-studded movie done right.
Verdict: Awesome
Everything or Nothing

Such Bond. So secret agent. Wow.

Anyone who frequents Awesome Shitty knows that I’m a James Bond fan. A documentary titled Everything or Nothing was released to mark Bond’s 50th anniversary. I finally got around to watching it, and I must say it was an interesting look back at the genesis of everyone’s favorite spy. The movie begins with Ian Fleming’s early life, and the events that led up to his creation of the Bond character. Bond is essentially an extension of Fleming himself with the smoking, drinking, and jetsetting. The film follows the failed first attempt to bring Bond to the screen on American TV as “Jimmy Bond,” an American CIA agent, and continues on to failed licensing attempts, and eventual success with the first film, Dr. No. We learn the behind the scenes drama of Connery leaving, returning, and leaving again, Lazenby’s hilarious story as to how he was cast as the second Bond, and more. Like a Bond villain himself, Kevin McClory pops up three different times over the years to attempt to thwart the Bond film producers because he claimed rights to the Thunderball story. While I knew the Bond franchise had its ups and downs over the years, I didn’t know how much backstage battling there really was. I suppose there had to be considering it is a 50-year-long movie franchise. The film features great intreviews with producers, writers, directors, and the James Bonds themselves. Only Connery doesn’t appear, which is disappointing, but otherwise, we get some great insights from everyone else. Brosnan in particular had a rough road to becoming Bond and had an interesting story to tell. For fans of the James Bond series, this documentary is a must watch. Even non-Bond fans will like the movie. Mrs. Brik who has seen some of the movies found the documentary quite interesting. I highly recommended checking this out.
Verdict: Good
08
Mar
14

The Expendables, Argo

The Expendables

They’re all so old and veiny.

Stallone hasn’t given up the mantle yet. He still thinks he can carry a testosterone-fueled homage to 1980s  action films. You know what? He can’t. It’s not even that he’s too old for the role. He played his character just fine, his acting (whether you like it or not) hasn’t gotten any worse over the years. He has charisma, and he is certainly watchable on screen. But he can’t carry such a bloated train wreck of a film. It’s just too terrible a movie, regardless of how likable Stallone may be. I wanted to like this movie, I really did. After all, I love schlocky 80s shoot-em-up movies. I grew up on that shit, and can’t get enough of it. But as I said before, that stuff was a product of its era. It worked then, but it no longer works today. You can’t revisit the past, no matter how hard Stallone wants to. Anyway, The Expendables tried to evoke this bygone era, but it failed miserably. The storyline was paper-thin, the acting was passable at best, the characters were one-dimensional, and the action scenes were a bore. The action scenes should have been the highlight, but they were tired and uninventive. Plus, with copious amounts of CGI blood and knives, it looked fake as hell. There were too many characters, so many that none of them had any personality. Stallone (as writer and director) should have pared down the cast to maybe three main characters in order to flesh them out a bit, to give the audience a chance to care about them. But, no, he was more interested in cramming the cast with as many fading stars as possible to do that. The only way he could have made this film work was to inject it with a lot more comedy, and make it a tongue-in-cheek look back at how crazy the old 80s action movies were. Then it could have been really cool. But he made the film serious and un-self-aware, and it failed as a result.
Verdict: Shitty
Argo

70s fashion deserves to be held hostage in Iran.

Everyone in the movie industry was tripping over themselves to talk about how much they loved this film. But they didn’t just “love” it, they were jizzing all over it. Gushing about the story, the performances, the directing, the bulge in Ben Affleck’s pants, etc. The movie industry couldn’t have been more gay for this film if they tried. And why? Well, Hollywood is always eager to jerk itself off. And what better way than with a film that shows how Hollywood saved lives. Yes, Argo is a movie about how a fake movie saved the lives of hostages. It’s “based on a true story”, whatever that means, and it’s a total wank fest. Affleck stars as a CIA agent who infiltrates Iran under the guise of a film producer scouting locations for a sci-fi movie. He uses his cover to extract the hostages (well, technically they weren’t hostages, they were people in hiding trying to avoid becoming hostages) and get them back to the U.S. The premise, I’ll admit, is pretty cool, and if it hadn’t really happened, you wouldn’t believe it for a second. Affleck does provide some solid directing, giving the film comedy when it needs it, drama when appropriate, and a healthy dose of tension in the climax. The acting is pretty good, but Affleck is the weakest link in the cast. A director with good sense would have hired the best actor available to be the star of the film. But Affleck made himself the star. He didn’t do a bad job, per se, but the movie could have been truly excellent if he had put someone with range in front of the camera. Nevertheless, Argo had thrills and laughs and everything you’d want in a movie. The acting, though, leaves something to be desired, and the story is obviously punched up for the audience. The fact that Hollywood loves itself is never more apparent than watching this film, and then seeing how it won every award possible thereafter.
Verdict: Average



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