Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In Anticipation:"Argo"

As we round into the fall months here, we continue our In Anticipation series with another potential awards favorite, "Argo". Keeping in-name with the title of this post, this is one of my most anticipated films of the fall, and one that I hope gets continued buzz as awards season rolls around.

The film is based on true events and takes place in the late-1970's. With six Americans holed up at the Canadian embassy in Iran, a CIA exfiltration specialist is tasked with finding a way to get the civilians out. The plan: fake stage a movie, fly to Iran to shoot on location, and sneak the hostages out pretending they're you assisting film crew. The idea sounds like something only Hollywood could come up with, but no, this was really our plan. Only in America...

But for as silly as that plot sounds, the movie actually looks fantastic so far, and it looks like director Ben Affleck might just have another hit up his sleeve.

As stated, the film is directed by Ben Affleck (you can reference our site's Top 5 Movie Guide for him as an actor here). Many will surely recall some of his less-than-stellar acting appearances, but as a director, he's actually been quite good. His two previous films, "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town", were both critical hits - actually, along with "Argo", all three have earned an exact match of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. It's a funny coincidence but the fact that his only three directorial efforts to-date have all earned 90%+'s is something pretty amazing. Each of the previous two films earned one Academy Award nominations (both for supporting acting achievements), and many are expecting that this film could do even better. And with a supporting cast on board of names like John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, and Alan Arkin, the cast is as acclaimed as any featured in Affleck's previous films.

Here's the official synopsis for the film, released by Warner Bros.:
Based on true events, Argo chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis-the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades. On November 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. But, in the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found out and likely killed, a CIA "exfiltration" specialist named Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) comes up with a risky plan to get them safely out of the country. A plan so incredible, it could only happen in the movies. 
Now, a look at the newest trailer for the film:



Man, "Dream On" by Aerosmith as the last song in that trailer is fantastic! It gets me pumped up every time. It's perfect placement, and that's always one of my favorite things about 70's-era movies, the music is all just so great. Aside from that though (odds are we won't even hear that song in the actual film), the style looks really good, and there are so many terrible clothing and hair styles happening; it's perfect. Though, I will say that people appreciated the beard a bit more back in those days, and that's something that most of us at this site can definitely get behind.

As I quickly touched on before the trailer, reviews have been very good so far for the film, based on reactions from the various film festivals it premiered at over the last couple of months. It took 2nd place at the Toronto International Film Festival for the People's Choice Award (won by "Silver Linings Playbook), arguably the most coveted of the event. Critics are saying the film is thrilling and exciting, but doesn't get too focused on the action of the events, as was is the case with Affleck's previous films. They're saying it's funny and intelligent, and a great political thriller; a film that all adults should really enjoy. Now, granted, there are only a handful of reviews in for the film so far, but I'm looking for legitimate complaints with the picture, and I'm not finding any. Obviously we'll have to see for ourselves next week, but right now, this looks kind of like the whole package, in terms of pedigree and entertainment.

I think there's a lot to look forward to with this film, and if you're looking for a gown-up film for next week, I think this will be a fantastic option. The film will hit theaters in a wide variety October 12, 2012.