Monday, November 19, 2012


  Warner Brothers Pictures

Argo By Georgia

     Argo was AMAZING! My mom and I saw it when I was "sick" (don't tell my teachers!) and it was definitely more educational than eight hours of school. I learned about the Middle Eastern crisis in 1980, when America stepped into Iran after they elected their first democratic leader. What's so wrong with that? The leader was giving Iran's oil back to the people and America and Russia wouldn't have that, so they stormed into Iran and gave the country a new leader. This, essentially, is what caused The Iran Hostage Crisis. But I'm sure you know about that. What America didn't know was that six diplomats escaped the American Embassy and were kept safe by Canada. The CIA decides to go in and rescue the six, and what follows is amazing!!! *WARNING: THIS MOVIE IS ALSO VERY STRESSFUL AND SLIGHTLY SCARY. THOSE WHO TEND TO SCREAM OR FAINT HAVE BEEN WARNED!*
     Eventually Ben Affleck's character figures out how to get the six out: by making a fake movie and "scoping out" Iran for their movie. This is when Alan Arkin and John Goodman come in: as the producer and make-up artist of the fake, CIA-sponsored sci-fi movie. So, yes, this movie has funny parts, but it is also really, really stressful. The movie has a few short scenes reenacting The Hostage Crisis that are very, very, heart-pounding-out-of-your-chest-gripping-your-mom-like-you're-in-labor scary. SO GO SEE IT. NOW!!!

 Argo by Amy 

Ben Affleck--welcome to the great directors club.  

In Argo, Mr. Affleck both directs and stars in an inspired by real events story as the undercover CIA operative who successfully extracted five American embassy employees in Tehran during the Iran Hostage Crisis.  I was eight years old when revolutionary forces invaded the American Embassy in Tehran, taking all of its employees hostage, minus the five the movie focuses on who escaped undetected that day in November 1979 only to get "stuck" hiding out, sometimes literally underground, at the Canadian Ambassador's home in Tehran.

Affleck does a brilliant job splicing real news footage with film footage to the point where the viewer sometimes can not distinguish between the two.  Even though we know going in that a happy ending is pending, it shows Affleck's directing chops that you are literally in a high state of thrilling stress for almost the entire ride of the movie.  

Alan Arkin and John Goodman provide superb comic relief as the shell "production company" executives Ben Affleck's Antonio Mendez character needs to round out his extraction ruse of scouting locations in Iran for an upcoming science fiction film.  2012 appears to be shaping up as Goodman's comeback year with this solid performance and his scene-stealing role in "Flight" with Denzel Washington.  Personally, I've been a fan since his "Roseanne" days on television.

Georgia and I saw this in a packed multi-plex and almost all of the audience stayed until the very last credit rolled to watch the series of real news footage about the Iran Hostage scroll byThe strongest feeling that lingered with me after viewing Argo was, here we are, over thirty years post-Iranian Hostage Crisis, and the entire Middle East, not to mention Iran's continuing political threat in the region with its covetous nuclear ambitions, appears to be on the verge of tearing itself apart.

Argo offers us a sober and timely reminder of the way "revolution" can unfold and an uplifting story of the enduring truth that sometimes, one person, can make a difference.




Summit Entertainment

Breaking Dawn Part 2 by Georgia

      "OH YEAH! TEAM JACOB!" Is an example of what I did not scream as soon as Taylor Lautner, AKA Jacob Black, went on screen. However, my mom did yell "eight minutes!" when Taylor Lautner took his shirt off, about eight minutes into the film. We also laughed a lot. But this isn't a feel-good family movie--this is the FINALE of the beloved (and hated) film series: Twilight. 
      I admit it: I did read the books as the series was coming off its pedestal (to be replaced by the Hunger Games) and I sort of understand why people (teenage girls/moms) like it (*cough cough romance.*) Sure, there's romance. Edwards a vampire. But the writing...*twitching in agony* and the CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT....
     But I'm not here to talk about the books, which Stephanie Meyer is making millions off of. I'm going to discuss the highly-publicized movie with "a twist ending,"  as advertised in the trailer. How can they possibly create a "twist ending" if you've read the books??? I ranted repeatedly to my mother. If they changed the ending even a little bit, a bunch of vicious Twihards would murder everyone who had anything to do with the movie. Well, I won't tell you the twist ending, but there's nothing to fear, Twihards. There's the magical vampire sex you guys have been waiting for; Jacob's creepy protective-pedophile love over Renesmee. Oh yeah there's Renesmee, too--Bella's fast growing human/vampire daughter. The best, least inappropriate, sort of sweet scenes are the ones with Bella and Renesmee. She's definitely got the maternal thing down.
    Yes...the movie still has a cheesy special effects, lines, and acting, but who cares, right? Let's give Mrs. Meyers another billion so she can have a house in Italy, and Billy Joe Armstrong needs his fence painted, apparently, because he wrote AND SUNG one of the songs in the credits! And I totally called it in the credits! I said: "Mom! That Billy Joe Armstrong! That's Greenday!" Mom: "No! It can't be!" FIVE MINUTES OF CREDITS LATER...Me: "It is! Ha! I called it!" Listen to it, I beg of you: (Greenday's Twilight Song
      In the end, see this movie if you want a good laugh or if you actually enjoy these movies or if you have nothing else to see.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 by Amy 

During a film, I am always the shusher.  If you break out your cellphone to check an email or a text during my few minutes of total abandonment of all responsibility other than watching a movie, you will hear me ask you, politely, to please turn off your phone as it's distracting.

At Breaking Dawn Part 2, which my darling Georgia dragged me to see, I became the "shushed."

I did not come to the film with an open mind.  I came to it with a closed mind, an annoyed mind that so many had found the poorly written Twilight books compelling reading, and, in complete disclosure, a jealous mind--why can't millions of people like my own book, huh???  I know, I don't have a weird love triangle, or vampires, or wolves.

I am not a fan of vampire movies.  The last one I saw was Interview with a Vampire and that had Tom Cruise (before he was abducted in to Scientology) and Brad Pitt (before he grew facial hair).

But here is what I found interesting about this final installment--Bella, at last, does things besides look mopey and wait for her two boy toys to save the day.  She is rather kick-ass in all her newborn vampire strength, though I could have done without the "I must feed off the blood of any animal I can find" scenes.

From a parental standpoint, I questioned the PG-13 rating.  As Georgia mentions above, there are several scenes of vampire sex.  Bella & Edward are having lots of it.  They can't get enough of it.  Am I just getting to be an old fart longing for the PG movies of John Hughes with their long, drawn out kisses and smoldering sexuality?

When we got to the epic battle scenes between the Cullen clan and all the cute wolves against the Volturi, I admit I was gripped.  It was great film-making.  Tension-filled.  Both Georgia and I were freaking out.  

And then came the much touted "twist ending" which should have been called "The twist ending that they chicken out of at the last minute which results in the most over-used trite ending."

When I expressed my outraged opinion about the ending-within-an ending vocally in the theater, I got shushed.  I marred the viewing experience for some middle-aged Twihard.

And for that, I'm sorry.

But I'm sorrier still that I caved to my teenager and spent $16 to see the damn thing.