Argo

Argo was one of the big winners at this month’s awards season. To put it simply, this was a movie about Americans, by Americans, for Americans.

argoArgo isn’t a terrible film at all. It is very well made and some dialogue is very well done. The film has been given a distinctive style from Ben Affleck, which is quite entertaining and overall the plot is good at building tension. I especially enjoyed the way Affleck created the 70’s/80’s look for each of the characters and the set. He captured the time period extremely well.However it didn’t feel Oscar worthy. It didn’t feel like an award-winning film.

Easily the main reason that I didn’t find Argo too enjoyable was the memorable acting of Ben Affleck. Ben Affleck’s performance in Argo is one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen in a movie, especially of this caliber. I don’t think Affleck’s face moved, once during the entire film. You see Ben’s face in the poster? That’s the face of Ben Affleck for two hours, save for a smirk every now and again. I understand that for a third of the film he’s trying to look normal and act cool, but even during his break-down scene, he has the expressionless face. An award-winning film should surely have a strong lead. I presume that no one wanted to tell the director how much of a poor job he was doing.

Another main problem was that Argo in general seemed to have an agenda and therefore was predictable. It was like the CIA and America could do no wrong in Argo and any hardships faced could be dealt with solely by them. This meant that no matter what danger the group were in, no matter how tense Affleck tried to make it, it was always undercut by the fact that the CIA would win. It was so obviously structured that it became boring.
The way that the facts were skewed in Argo also suggested that they had an agenda. I know that the term “based on a true story” means almost nothing in Hollywood but the way that the story of Argo was told was a little bit too American for my liking. Britain weren’t given any credit whatsoever in the film and Canada’s role in the film was drastically downplayed. However if this film was about Britain and MI6, I’m sure the British public wouldn’t mind the facts being changed at all.

I give Argo a 5 out of 10 for it’s distinctive periodic style, good dialogue at times and for Ben Affleck’s terrible performance

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SkyFall

I did not enjoy this film.

Okay, so before you shoot me down, let me explain why I didn’t like Skyfall. It’s not because I’m just trying to be different or anything, I have actual legit reasons as to why I didn’t like Skyfall. First off I think my major issue with Skyfall is James Bond. Walking into Skyfall, I was anxious, I wanted to like James Bond, I wanted to be part of this massive fandom that adores James Bond, but I just can’t.

My problem is that there are too many moments in the film where the makers of the film have been a little lazy, too many times in the film I just had to sit back and say “because it’s James Bond”. For example, when the keys are already in a random motorbike “because it’s James Bond”, when a JCB is already switched on on a train “because it’s James Bond”. I get that that’s Bond’s thing and that films aren’t supposed to be all that realistic, but I feel that the writers relied on this too often and got lazy. A very prominent section of the film that annoyed me was how thw writers seemed to shoehorn a completely irrelevant poem in so they could play a montage of clips over the top. The character “M” at one stage reads out a poem by Alfred Tennyson almost at random.

Another major annoyance in James Bond is just how British it is, everything about it is stereotypically British. I’m pretty sure every British character says either “bloody” or “Christ”. Every single character. When you go to see Skyfall, make a note of how many times they same “bloody” or “Christ”, I’m surprised I didn’t hear words like “balderdash” or “fiddlesticks”. Although no one asked for any crumpets, one of the characters asks for a cup of “Earl’s Grey”.

I’m not sure if this is because I have a deep affection for “The Dark Knight” but did anyone else see the similarities between these two films? The villain being captured because he wanted to. Certain phrases, certain lines in the film just seemed to match up. I’m not sure if it’s me being paranoid and a huge batman fanboy, or if there is actually some truth to what I thought.

Maybe I’m being too harsh, there were some good parts to Skyfall. The whole film was generally epic, you could tell a large amount of money had gone into it and there were some nice explosions going on at some points. Some scenes were captivating and I actually stared at the screen for a while. The villain, I thought, was pretty darn good, probably one of the only redeeming qualities of Skyfall. He was smart, kind of scary and his reason for killing people was totally logical. The tragedy at the end gave me a little tinge of regret that I hadn’t watched the other Bond films and I actually connected with the characters on screen.

Although it was an “epic” film filled with lots of explosions and cool scenes, it failed to engage me and keep me interested. Many of the scenes were just too far fetched for me and although I didn’t really buy into the film whilst I was there, after review something is telling me in the back of my mind to watch more Bond films. I rate Skyfall a 5 out of 10 for it’s great villain and annoying British stereotypes.

Ruby Sparks

I know, I know before tonight I’d never heard of this film either, but legally or illegally I think everyone should watch this movie.
Ruby Sparks is focused around novelist Calvin (Paul Dano). Calvin received praise for writing a book 10 years ago that is considered to be a modern classic, similar to J.K Rowling’s praise. Now aged 29, Calvin is still struggling to cope with his fame, severe writing block and an extremely limited social life. Calvin finally finds inspiration and begins to write about his dream girl, Ruby Sparks, until he wakes up one morning to find her a real person. On paper it sounds like a whimsical nickelodeon film starring Selena Gomez. On screen it was a surprisingly good film.
Ruby Sparks made me think, what would it really be like to be in complete control of someone, and makes the audience question how perfect perfection really is. Our protagonist tries to create his perfect spouse, to create the perfect relationship and when it doesn’t quite go his way he tries to control it. I think the writer wanted the audience to think about how we can’t control everything in our lives, about how we can’t have these perfect relationships in our lives. The writer is commenting on how many people in society today want to have a perfect relationship a “tumblr relationship” and how it is impossible to have. How it doesn’t exist.

The actual film itself was also really good. The acting was good enough to believe, and although wasn’t top-notch it was a solid 8 out of 10 (Paul Dano’s “awkward” face is just brilliant). My favourite scene was probably the confrontation scene towards the where all the tension in the film is let off. It is performed brilliantly by both Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano. Antonio Bandaras also makes a fun and surprising appearance in this film and actually kept me entertained, unlike he usually does in his other films.
Now, although I did love this film I had a fair few gripes with it. First off, I know I said the acting was good enough to believe, some of Paul Dano’s movements were too rigid, not natural enough. Also every time he cried (which was every five minutes) he didn’t seem to cry properly, he didn’t even weep, he just pulled a face. At times his character was being stubborn and annoying and I couldn’t understand some of the decisions he made.
Another problem I had, was a very similar problem I have with a number of films. When the writer came up with the idea of Calvin being about to write anything about Ruby and it became true, a million ideas flashed into my head. Why doesn’t he write something to solve all his problems? Why doesn’t he write “Ruby understands how I want her to be” or “Ruby is a mind-reader and so we rarely fight? The child in me was shouting for Calvin to write: “Ruby has superpowers that she passes on to me”. The point is, there becomes a problem when a protagonist has unlimited power over someone or something.
It also had an ending that was open to interpretation, which is something I enjoy.
All in all this is a good watch. With not too much riding on this film, I fear that it may not have had much success at the box office. I didn’t even know this film existed until I walked into the cinema to buy my ticket. I rate Ruby Sparks 8.5 out of 10 for it’s generally good acting, clever message and open-ended ending.

Looper

So, the other day I went to see Looper. If you want a short quickie review of it: It is not what you expect at all. If you expect a fast-paced time travelling film then you’re in for a shock.

Looper is marketed as an action Sci-fi time travelling bonanza. On it’s adverts it’s described as this year’s decade’s “The Matrix”. Now, I haven’t seen The Matrix, but I’ve heard it’s pretty big deal. I’ve heard it’s pretty intense and so you can forgive me going into Looper expecting some sort of deep thinking film where I leave not knowing if I’m in real life or if it’s just fantasy.

The twist in Looper is that around a third of the film is focused on a mother and son. I don’t mind that, infact it was a nice break the action (although if the action carried on I wouldn’t have minded). What I didn’t like was that how the mother and son were just shoehorned into the film. I do understand that if they had shown these characters that the film would not have hit it’s target audience of Sci-fi watchers, I just wish they could have been in there as it is a vital part of the film.
Having said that Looper is generally a good film, I a couple of problems here and there, but miniscule things that don’t take away from the film. My favourite scene in the film is either the “diner” scene showed in the trailer where Bruce Willis and Joseph Gorden-Levitt are talking. Or the scene in which Bruce Willis kills a LOT of people, just reiterating how much of a bad-ass he is. I rate Looper 9 out of 10 for it’s good storyline, especially the way they handled the time travelling (so many films make a hash of it usually) and for it’s good acting.