The four big releases this weekend are A Good Day to Die Hard, Beautiful Creatures, Escape from Planet Earth and Safe Haven.
Films similar to A Good Day to Die Hard often open to an average gross of $27.1 million, and that’s stellar for action films. The first Die Hard opened to the sound of $600, 000 at 21 theaters (but it went onto gross $83 million, domestically); the second to an opening weekend of $21.7 million; the third to an opening of $22.1 million. The fourth one opened to a franchise best $33.3 million. I believe this will beat the fourth’s earning, because everyone has been dying to hear “Yippee Ki-Yay, Motherf*cker!” since McLane last said it in 1995. Apparently in 2007, the damn MPAA didn’t want him saying it. The Die Hard franchise has typically had a summer opening, but I don’t think this film’s February opening will have any sort of affect, especially on Family day weekend. Because nothing says ‘family’ better than terrorists and John McLane.
Those who are still feeling romantic post-Valentine’s Day might just be running out to see the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation, Safe Haven. Is it just me, or does this look like it could pretty good? I think The Lucky One was seriously one of the worst films of last year, but I am a sucker for the charm of The Notebook, and this and Notebook share some similarities. This is the eighth adaptation of Sparks’ works, and there is a collected $17.8 million average opening. This one would look stellar if it opens between Message in a Bottle‘s $16.7 million and The Lucky One‘s $22.5 million opening. It’ll probably lean more toward The Lucky One, though. The popularity of Hough is at an average opening of $13.9 million, and Duhamel is at an average opening of $37.3 million (but that average is mostly thanks to the three Transformers flicks).
If the new Die Hard proves to be too much of an adrenaline rush, or Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven is too sappy, one might just choose this teen romance with a hint of dark witch secrets. While this won’t be the young adult heavyweight any of the Twilight flicks were, this might do nearly as well as Warm Bodies‘ $20.3 million opening. It isn’t getting a ton of love from the critics, and the leading woman (Alice Englert, in her film debut) and man (Alden Ehrenreich, in his wide release debut) don’t have much star power at all. However, the others included in the cast (Jeremy Irons, Emmy Rossum, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson, Thomas Mann) may attract a fine audience. This reminds me of last year’s Dark Shadows with its whole strange family vibe (that opened to $29.6 million) and the sort-of fantasy and atmosphere of The Spiderwick Chronicles (a film that opened to $19 million). Anyway, this is in solid shape if it opens between Red Riding Hood‘s $14 million and Water for Elephants‘ $16.8 million. It’ll probably do better than those, though.
This space adventure from the Weinstein Company sounds really lame to me, but visually appealing, and generally fun for the kids. While the Weinstein Company is a serious award-winning powerhouse, they haven’t fared well in the animation genre (they’ve given us the Hoodwinked films and that apparently god-awful Doogal). Though, kids still enjoy innocent old aliens in animation… But they don’t love them. Planet 51 opened to $12.2 million, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius opened to $13.8 million way back in 2001; Aliens in the Attic, $8 million; and Monsters vs. Aliens, $59.3 million. What I’m getting from that is, kids like to see both monsters and aliens in their movies. 2011’s family day weekend had Gnomeo and Juliet opening to $25 million. While this won’t gross anywhere near that, it will make most of its money on Monday; as this will be one of the only fairly popular, family-friendly films in theaters.
Here’s how I see the top 10:
1.A Good Day to Die Hard: $44, 500, 000 2.Identity Thief: $22, 400, 000 3.Safe Haven: $20, 000, 000 4.Beautiful Creatures: $18, 900, 000 5.Escape from Planet Earth: $14, 750, 000 6.Warm Bodies: $12, 500, 000 7.Side Effects: $8, 500, 000 8.Silver Linings Playbook: $7, 200, 000 9.Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters: $4, 000, 000 10.Argo: $3, 500, 000
The two new movies coming to theaters this weekend is Seth Gordon’s Identity Thief, starring Melissa McCarthy as the woman who steals the identity of Sandy Patterson, played by Jason Bateman. He is playing the straight man, and it’s a role he plays very well in the comedy genre. It will definitely get over $20 million this weekend because it has no competition in the comedy genre yet this year (Movie 43 seems to be rushing out of theaters) and it could turn out to be the first good comedy of the year. However, the Rotten Tomatoes critics’ appreciation of the film may state otherwise (as of now, 24% of critics have liked it). Melissa McCarthy is very popular, it has a solid premise, and it could turn out to be surprisingly good. I hope. I also really hope they didn’t show all the funny scenes in its trailers. It really was a large marketing campaign.
Side Effects is a little more on the down-low. I have seen many TV spot trailers but I can’t recall seeing the trailer at the movie theaters. It is being advertised as a star-studded clinical thriller from the creator of Contagion. The story goes like this: Emily and Martin are a successful New York couple whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily’s psychiatrist – intended to treat anxiety – has unexpected side effects.
It really does sound intriguing, and Soderbergh rarely brings a stinker (even though I didn’t enjoy Michael Clayton). I have expectations for this one, and I think it will gross at least $10 million this weekend. Also, part of the attraction is the cast that includes Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
2012 saw some great films, and some real stinkers. I have seen 68 of them. These are my top 25 favourite films of 2012, and also the ten worst.
Oh and, some of these films don’t have the highest scores, but they’re higher up on the list. This is because some films (like The Hobbit) have grown on me a lot since I’ve seen them. Click on the title in the caption to get to review (and the titles in the ‘worst of’ list). Anyway, here’s the list, starting with #25:
Pitch Perfect is a fairly original (at least in cinema) and entertaining Glee-inspired musical comedy that may be predictable, but it’s a toe-tapping experience that has a fine plot, great music, some strange characters (most notably Lilly, a character who looks like that creepy big-eyed girl from Frankenweenie), show-stealing performers (like Bridesmaids‘ Rebel Wilson who portrays Fat Amy) and a memorable ensemble cast.
This is 40 is not quite as good as Knocked Up, but it’s a satisfying sort-of sequel. This is sometimes over-dramatic because of the numerous conflicts, but it is driven by fresh, laugh-out-loud comedy that helps Apatow get the message, of overcoming family differences and a mid-life crisis, across very well. Laughs, conflict, and advertisements for iPhones, Apple products, TV’s Lost, and a good role for Megan Fox are all present.
Ted‘s screenplay may be crowded but we must understand that MacFarlane’s comfort zone is a mere 22-minute slot, while this is a whole 112-minute feature. The end product turns out to be better than anyone would think a buddy comedy between a talking teddy bear and an immature man could be, and Wahlberg and Ted’s chemistry help make this one of the best buddy comedies of the year. I’m excited to see what else first-time director MacFarlane has in store for the silver screen, and I say bring on the sequel.
The film starts out fairly slow, but once the games come around the bend, it instantly becomes intensely engaging and entertaining. The screenplay maintains the fascinating theme of propaganda [and how corrupt the government may become], but doesn’t capture the extreme violence that we fans handled in the novel itself, and there isn’t quite enough bonding time with select characters. The adaptation is nonetheless great, and since it was not followed to a tee, there is room for surprise. Anyone who is willing to accept this fresh experience will enjoy it, as it is a promising beginning to a new teen franchise.
Rise of the Guardians is a slightly flawed, but wildly inventive, animated adventure that may have some deeply thematic material and action sequences that could be midly scary for small children. The main flaw is the disorganized beginning – but it finds its pace soon enough. The concept is a sort of edgy animated feature, but is a great end product. This is one of the most original animated features of the year, mainly because of the alterations to the beloved Guardians, like making Santa Claus look like a Russian biker, are very fresh. This is a great message to teach the kids this holiday season – don’t only believe in Santa around his season, also believe in all the other heroes, at least when their time comes around the bend.
The dialogue of this film allows characters to be thoroughly developed and compelling concepts to arise. When the characters aren’t talking, it gets engaging and thoroughly thrilling. The anti-climactic ending says Carnahan has learned to resist throwing full-throttle action at us, and he instead resists the urge and keeps the astounding and exciting survival film as tame as could be. The mostly unknown actors make the spotlight shine directly on the star: Liam Neeson.
Spielberg seems like, at this point in his career, is interested in making ambitious biopics instead of blockbusters like Jaws. The intelligent monologue-filled feature intricately throws information at you, and at times it can be quite a bit to absorb, but it is usually engaging. The cast of Lincoln is impressive, most notably Daniel Day-Lewis, who delivers a kind-hearted, endlessly charming performance that adds layers to one of the greatest figures in American history. Day-Lewis captures Lincoln’s will to get things done, and his genuine and kind self.
Killing Them Softly is a clever mafia tale of violence and despair with a great leading performance from Brad Pitt; with his mysterious character delivering us plenty of violence to keep us happy. This tale is also a social commentary on the local criminal economy in 2008, before Obama stepped into office – the concepts are complex, but there are not difficult to comprehend. The not-so-subtle message may be annoying to some, but the story is very engaging. It is a thought-provoking film brought to life by Andrew Dominik’s stylish and artistic direction.
The abrupt ending keeps this from being flawless, but this is a stellar crime story with intelligent writing by writer/director David Ayer (who previously wrote Training Day) with some of the best chemistry I have seen all year. End of Watch does for the real lives of cops what Ladder 49 did for fire fighters, but it’s about twenty-six times better.
Chronicle is one of the most surprisingly amazing features of 2012. The rushed pace is its main flaw, but it is an awesome experience for the 84 minutes it stays around. It obtains must-see status because of its thoroughly thematic and disturbing content. It is the most must-see found-footage feature of 2012, perhaps of all-time.
Seven Psychopaths has a clever screenplay and is a fantastic second feature from writer/directer Martin McDonagh. It is equal parts brutal, brilliant and hysterical. It is extremely memorable and has great characters and a superb ensemble cast. It is one of the most original screenplays of the year, and it’s another comedy that proves 2012 is one of the best for that genre.
The story may have ideas crammed in the feature, it undeniably has a very emotional core. If the actors weren’t singing the vast majority of their dialogue, the film wouldn’t be quite as exciting or engaging. This combines a great period piece with a profound musical, and it makes this one of the best features of the year.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum create a superb chemistry, and this is one of the finest comedy ensembles of the year. The comedy is always funny, and this is the best action-comedy of the year. The real bite about this is that no one expected it to be very good, and yet, it is a hilarious and exciting ride.
Writer/director Christopher Nolan delivers us an impressive and atmospheric piece of cinema that has incredible thrills, great plot execution and great direction, character development that has room for improvement and a slow build-up that leads to an incredible climax. It is also a thoroughly impressive end to a great trilogy, it’s a slight step-down from the high standards set by The Dark Knight, but it is better than Batman Begins.
Skyfall is a compelling experience with great pacing, a great story and great humour. Javier Bardem is simply astounding. His presence is really worth the wait. He is one of the greatest criminal masterminds of recent memory, comparable to both Heath Ledger’s The Joker and Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter. He is the second best villain of the year, right behind Leonardo DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie in Django Unchained.
Looper offers an entertaining and memorable action experience with a great story and characters, making it a film that should be cherished. Looper is slightly flawed because of a sometimes crowded screenplay and numerous antagonists, but it has a complex story that’s surprisingly easy to follow, with great characters like Jeff Daniels’ nice-guy-ruthless-when-he-wants-to-be crime boss.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a thoroughly satisfying start to a new Middle Earth trilogy. Its usually silly undertone may frustrate some, but to most, like myself, it makes for a great experience. The many expendable dwarfs may get a lot of the attention, but it is very much Bilbo Baggins’ show. That is until the show-stealing Gollum shows up for one of the best scenes of the feature. I cannot wait to see what the trilogy looks like when all of the films are released.
Life of Pi is interesting because it is not afraid to bring in concepts of faith and religion. It is also visually beautiful, sometimes funny, thought-provoking, magnificent, terrifying and saddening. There is also a great story, great direction, wonderful cinematography, great conflicts and relationships present. The actors bring it all to the table, and a short list of performers carries the film very well. This is one of the best films of the year that will be a large Oscar contender. If you’re going to see this, see it in its full 3D glory.
The drama is solid and the overall film if profoundly enjoyable, compelling, emotional, sometimes funny and often gripping. The suspenseful scene at the beginning is the only action scene in the feature, and it soon turns into a character study, with fascinating concepts of addiction. Those who find the concept of addiction fascinating will enjoy this even more.
Many may think it is simply just another teen slasher, but what gets thrown at you is surprising, extremely fresh and endlessly entertaining. This is one of the most original horror films of all time, with signature bites of comedy from Joss Whedon.
Wreck-It Ralph is the finest animated feature of 2012 and is generally one hell of a nostalgic and enjoyable film. This is like the Toy Story for a new generation. Disney has delivered us a great film yet again, and mashed two generally loved things together: their acclaimed animation, and video games. I had high expectations for this film, and this really rocked my world.
One of the most captivating things about the nerve-racking Argo is the boiling suspense of the situation, and the viewer can just feel it build throughout. Argo plays out like an assassin giving you his first choke-hold, he’s inexperienced and you may feel the grip loosening from time to time, but then it strengthens again and doesn’t let go until the very end.
Silver Linings Playbook is hilarious, beautiful, meaningful, sad, emotional, and very dramatic at times. It is a truly magnificent blend. One thing that helps the film is the impeccable writing by David O. Russell, and Matthew Quick who originally wrote the novel. The viewer may not be able to relate to the exact situation of these characters, but they could fully understand their motivations – and most may have felt similar emotions that these characters express on a daily basis.
The profound analysis of teenage angst is accurate, brilliantly touching, and heartbreakingly poignant. The performances are great, the story is awesome, and the atmosphere it offers is perfect. This is a film that I’d like to watch over and over. That’s one heck of a definition for an enjoyable experience. It’s a fine, under-seen classic of 2012 that can define a generation as well as John Hughes could. If it comes to your town, get off the couch, grab a few friends – but if you don’t have any, it’s okay to be a wallflower – and go see this movie!
Django Unchained is a modern masterpiece, and is Tarantino’s finest film yet (even if I’m the only one to think so). It’s a great story about survival and it has great themes of racism and slavery, that Tarantino explores expertly. The performances, the writing, the soundtrack the direction and the themes are all immaculate. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the best villain of the year.
Note: I love the idea of a good mob flick. I have a large list of ones I have to check out, including ‘Goodfellas’ (cue the gasp); and in all honesty, this is my second mafia related film (I think). The first being ‘Road to Perdition’. But I loved this. Enjoy the review.
Ah. Hitmen meet the economy; they go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) is an enforcer hired to restore order after three dumb guys, who think they’re smart, rob a mob-protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse.
Johnny Amato (a.k.a., Squirrel; portrayed by Vincent Curatola) is the so-called mastermind behind the heist of a mob-protected card game. He enlists the assistance of Frankie (Scoot McNairy) and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn), and the plan is seemingly golden. The host of this card game is Markie Trattman, a man who hosted another card game in the past, and he then robbed his own card game. Due to that, card games went away for a little while. Now they’re back. The local criminal bosses believe that if this one gets robbed, Markie will have to be behind it. That’s what makes these three dumb guys believe that this is a foolproof plan.
Because of all this, Jackie Cogan gets called in to restore a little order to this imperfect local economy.
The film opens with Frankie (Scoot McNairy) walking down a rundown street, and the film cuts between a politician speaking (Obama or George W., possibly) and him. The wording constantly gets off. This is both stylish and artistic, but it will get irritating to the impatient viewer. It becomes known that this film is set when George W. Bush was still leader of the free world, and America was in an economic crisis. The card game being robbed doesn’t particularly assist the local criminal economy in any way.
In that way, this is both a story of violence and despair, and a compelling and complex social commentary of 2008 America in the midst of one of the worst financial situations since the Great Depression. The concepts in Killing Them Softly are complex, but they aren’t hard to comprehend. The film suggests that America is not a place where one could easily raise their kids. It is not a community, it is a business. However, these concepts of economics and capitalism are not subtly explored. The political voice-over speeches are practically right in your face, as if they’re 3D. Though, this barely bothered me.
Jackie Cogan is an awesome character who is filled with philosophy and mystery. Though, he isn’t the only interesting character in this. There is also Frankie and Russell, who may be a little dim-witted, but they are nonetheless good characters. Russell is often really there just for comedic relief, and he is also a representation of the stupid people of America. Frankie may be sort of dumb, but he is much smarter than Russell. Both the characters are good enough to carry the film for their scenes. In fact, they practically carry the film for the first twenty minutes – with a little help from Curatola and Liotta. These actors remind us that a film can be good, even when Pitt isn’t onscreen. Also, Brad Pitt entering the screen to the sound of Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” is the perfect touch.
Brad Pitt, as usual, is a booming screen presence. Put him next to Richard Jenkins’ character, he’s cool and he has a mysterious bravado. Speaking of Richard Jenkins’ character, his name is never revealed. He is just the middle man of crime who pays Cogan. Though the question of who Jenkins works for is left unanswered. That is one of the pleasant ambiguities and mysteries of the film.
Though, put Pitt next to James Gandolfini’s character of Mickey (another hit man called in by Cogan to help out with killing the twerps), he’s nothing special. Only because he’s listening to Mickey talk his ear off. Mickey’s character hardly fascinated me. He talks too much, and he doesn’t kill enough. Don’t get me wrong, Gandolfini’s a great screen presence. I just wasn’t digging the character. So don’t you tell Gandolfini to put out a contract on my head. I don’t want to die, man. I’m just telling it how it is.
Scoot McNairy has proved to audiences that he is a solid supporting presence (Exhibit A: this; and Exhibit B: Argo) and also a good leading man presence (as shown in 2010’s Monsters). I look forward to more performances by this promising actor.
The story, the cinematography and the editing are the real highlights of the film. There are a few other vividly cool editing sequences, that leave me feeling impressed. There’s one scene where Pitt is firing a gun in the rain in a slow-motion sequence, that is stunning. It’s vividly cool, and is worth the watch simply for that. Don’t stay for just that, though. This is one of the best films of the year!
There is a whole load of killing, but not as much as it seems to promise. In that way, the advertising is sort of deceiving. That’s okay, though, the other things that it never promises make up for it. There’s a fair share of soft, but brutal, killing to satisfy all, even though the kills are far between each other. The social commentary it offers is also profound. Sometimes it gets talky, but it is never uninteresting. The film has its fair share of intensity. The soundtrack is great and the atmosphere it offers is one of the most unique of the year. The writing is great, and the actors are great. They don’t disappoint one bit. There’s enough violence, and enough politics and economics to leave both crime movie lovers and scholars with a smile on their faces by the time the end credits roll. Just don’t expect non-stop carnage, and you’ll be good.
Plot: A love story between influential filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and wife Alma Reville during the filming of Psycho in 1959.
Hitchcock is the much anticipated biopic of Alfred Hitchcock that depicts his relationship with his wife during the making of 1960’s Psycho. Anthony Hopkins seems quite fitting and chilling in the role. It’s hitting sixteen theaters this weekend (I wish it would be coming to more!!) and it will be a treat for lovers of the masterful director and lovers of a good love story.
Hitchcock Prediction: $360, 000
Plot: A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor … a fearsome Bengal tiger.
Ang Lee’s new feature, based on Yann Martel’s novel, seems visually beautiful and the story sounds quite intriguing. This time around, he’s directing an aggressive tiger, not a crouching one. This could very well be a frontrunner at the Oscars this year. It’s at 2700 theaters this weekend.
L.o.P Prediction: $28, 400, 000 (Wed-Sun)
Plot: A group of teenagers look to save their town from an invasion of North Korean soldiers.
This one has sat on the shelf since 2009, but now it’s finally here… To the sound of poor reviews. That won’t stop me from seeing it, though. Apparently the original wasn’t great, so maybe filmmakers could do it better this time. The original had an opening weekend to the sound of $8.23 million, but I’m hoping it’ll be much better this time around.
R.D. Prediction: $17, 200, 000 (Wed-Sun)
Plot: When the evil spirit Pitch launches an assault on Earth, the Immortal Guardians team up to protect the innocence of children all around the world.
DreamWorks Animation is a very hit-and-miss studio. It’s had winners like the first two Shrek films, the apparently great How to Train Your Dragon, the pretty good Madagascar trilogy, and Kung Fu Panda. But, they’ve also had losers like Shark Tale and Over the Hedge. Guardians‘ story seems very intriguing and original. While it does seem a little odd, I really want to check it out. It looks like a great adventure with an awesome voice cast.
R.o.t.G Prediction: $59, 500, 000 (Wed-Sun)
Plot: Put in charge of his young son, Ali leaves Belgium for Antibes to live with his sister and her husband as a family. Ali’s bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, grows deeper after Stephanie suffers a horrible accident.
Rust and Bone is a foreign feature and is Jacques Audiard’s follow-up to the acclaimed A Prophet. It seems intriguing and I might want to check it out once it comes to town.
R.a.B Prediction: $175, 000
Plot: After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
David O. Russell brings us a potential Oscar contender with the anticipated Silver Linings Playbook. This is his follow-up film to 2010′s The Fighter (that opened to $12.135 million in its wide opening weekend), and he actually surprised a few people by not choosing Mark Wahlberg as the former teach Pat Solitano. Russell is often at his best while directing Wahlberg. Though, regardless of its main star, it still looks charming, funny and thematic. The cast makes the film look even more promising. S.L.P comes to 367 theaters this weekend.
S.L.P. Prediction: $5, 250, 000
TOP 10 BOX OFFICE PREDICTIONS
TITLE/PREDICTION/STUDIO/ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE
1. Rise of the Guardians/ $59, 500, 000/ Paramount (DreamWorks)/ 76%
2. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2/ $52, 000, 000/ Summit Ent./ 47%
Skyfall raked in a majority of the dough this weekend, with $90 million (including Thursday’s earnings)! It so deserved it, too, because it’s just about one of the finest action films of the year, and it is generally one of the best of the year as well! And Lincoln took in an impressive $900, 000 at eleven theatres this weekend. Also, at least surprising to me, Pitch Perfect sneaked into the Top 10 this weekend at #8, but that’s pretty sweet for it! Well, now to the numbers!
And, if you missed any of my reviews of the movies in the Top 10 Box Office, just click the link on the title and it will lead you right to it!
I’ve been putting these reviews at the bottom of my results article because I’m trying to get a little bit more traffic for them (in case you readers missed the reviews). And I, just now, realized by revealing the scores, it isn’t any good at getting more traffic. Who wants to read a review when they already know the score I gave it? I don’t think I’d do very well working in advertising…
Paranormal Activity 4 took the top spot at the box office this weekend with a disappointing $30.2 million. But, the joke’s on the audience, because they just paid to see the same film for a fourth time. The other new release, Alex Cross, took 11.75 million at the box office. These two films performed poorly for the critical audience. The other new release, The Sessions, was well-acclaimed and earned $121, 000 at four theatres. All 41 films in theatres right now made for a[n] (estimated) weekend grand total of $129, 584, 600.
Top 10 Box Office, The Results (Estimates)
1. Paranormal Activity 4: $30, 200, 000
2. Argo: $16, 625, 000
3. Hotel Transylvania: $13, 500, 000
4. Taken2: $13, 400, 000
5. Alex Cross: $11, 750, 000
6. Sinister: $9, 030, 000
7. Here Comes the Boom: $8, 500, 000
8. Pitch Perfect: $7, 009, 000
9. Frankenweenie: $4, 434, 000
10. Looper: $4, 200, 000
Other two films I predicted:
Seven Psychopaths: $3, 305, 000
The Sessions: $121, 000
My Box Office Predictions (Title/My Prediction/Off by (+/-))
I will use the + sign if I estimated too high.
Ex: If I estimated PA4 at $31, 200, 000, I’d put: (+$1,000,000)
I will use the – sign if I estimated too low.
Ex: If I estimated PA4 at $29, 200, 000, I’d put: (-$1,000,000)
Comprendé?) And let me know if I should be doing it the other way, haha.
Tagline: The movie was fake. The mission was real.
Argo is one of the best films of 2012.
Argo tells the story of the Iranian revolution, and hostage situations that were involved with it. On November 4, 1979, the Iranian revolution reached its boiling point, the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was stormed by militants, and Americans were taken hostage. During this revolution, six American citizens manage to escape and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. It was only a matter of time before the citizens’ cover was blown, or they were rescued. A CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) specialist, Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck), concocted the best bad idea the CIA had to rescue the citizens, and get them out of the country with their lives.
This was a covert operation that wasn’t known to the public eye until the 1990s. The story is amazing, and extremely memorable. This story was back in 1979 and 1980, so it definitely makes for an early 80s atmosphere. It’s nice that this revolution gets revisited, it brings knowledge of something that happened a fairly long time ago. The impact it had on the world at the time seems large, but, apparently, not large enough for me to hear of it in this day and age.
It’s sort of fascinating how Affleck made it feel more like the 80s, and he did it in quite the innovative way: according to IMDb, he shot it on regular film, cut the frames in half and blew those images up to 200% to increase their graininess. The viewer can also tell that they’re in for an older styled atmosphere because of the old Warner Bros logo which was to match the time of the 80s.
Ben Affleck’s pure Hollywood acting career may be dust in the wind (or at least starting to feel a bit like that) but his directing career isn’t going South anytime soon. He has a real knack for making great and memorable films.
It’s an extremely thrilling and captivating film experience, and is the most riveting film of 2012 thus far.
There are history and politics thrown in here, but politics only crossed my mind a few times. It feels more like a great CIA rescue mission more than anything else. It’s intense and there’s some great comedy thrown in there. There’s one great joke that gets used a few times, but doesn’t get overused because it’s thrown at you at times you least expect it.
The rescue mission is a great gamble, because Affleck’s character is both risking his life and theirs.
The characters are fine, because they are real and none feel expendable at all. Affleck’s character has a son and a wife; and some of the Americans stuck at the Canadian Ambassador’s house are married. Each actor and actress wonderfully capture emotions of stress, anxiety and intense worry.
One of the most captivating things about Argo is the boiling suspense of the situation, and the viewer can just feel it build throughout. It also really is quite nerve-racking.The pacing is great, and it doesn’t feel slow in a lot of places. There are a lot of memorable scenes, and then others just build up the plot. There aren’t any bad scenes, though, so that’s great. Argo sort of plays out like an assassin giving you his first choke-hold, he’s inexperienced and you may feel the grip loosening from time to time, but then it strengthens again and doesn’t let go until the very end.
Something that annoyed me is the odd time when there wasn’t any subtitles when the Iranians spoke their language (Farsi, maybe?). Still, you can tell the emotions that they are feeling, so I guess it doesn’t matter very much, now that I think it over more.
The use of old footage really interested me some. It worked into the film well and didn’t feel out of place at all.
The film does live up to its hype, and to its trailer. The use of Aerosmith’s song Dream On, was extremely effective and amped it up about ten times as much. I wish they didn’t use some of the film’s best lines in the trailer. Yet again, studios do that a lot. They still were great when I heard them during the film though.
Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Victor Garber, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Kerry Bishé, Kyle Chandler, Chris Messina, Zeljko Ivanek and Titus Welliver make up this great cast.
Argo offers an incredible true story, a lot of fine action, and a lot of great suspenseful scenes. It’s one of the most riveting films of 2012, and definitely the most intense. The direction, acting, story, the amount of memorable scenes are all great. It’s such an impressive piece of cinema, and will be a real contender at the Oscars this year.
These are my box office predictions for the weekend of October 12-14, but only for the four brand new releases: Argo, Here Comes the Boom, Seven Psychopaths and Sinister.
Plot: As the Iranian revolution reaches a boiling point, a CIA ‘exfiltration’ specialist concocts a risky plan to free six Americans who have found shelter at the home of the Canadian ambassador.
Argo is Ben Affleck’s third feature film as director, the other two being Gone Baby Gone and The Town. Affleck’s last directing, and acting, gig – The Town – made $23 million in its opening weekend, and Affleck usually makes a pretty large box office splash. Town is a bank heist thriller, and that sort of concept may appeal to a larger audience than this, because political thrillers aren’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea. This though, has the whole ‘true story’ pitch, and it has a lot of fine performers like Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin and John Goodman. The film’s trailer makes itlook great, so hopefully the film will live up to its trailer.
Argo Prediction: $34 million
Here Comes the Boom
Plot: A high school biology teacher looks to become a successful mixed-martial arts fighter in an effort to raise money to prevent extra-curricular activities from being axed at his cash-strapped school.
Here Comes the Boom is the newest Happy Madison Productions film that is a martial arts action-comedy. It reminds me of 2008’s Never Back Down, which opened to $8 million. Sandler’s films often make over $100 million, when he’s headlining. Kevin James’ last headlining film, in relations with Sandler, was Zookeeper which opened to $20 million. His last action comedy was Paul Blart: Mall Cop that opened to a bit over $30 million. This seems like another mindless comedy, but those can be fun.
H.C.B. Prediction: $20 million
Plot: A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu.
Seven Psychopaths is a crime-comedy that is Martin McDonagh’s second feature film, and he also wrote and directed it. A huge attraction for this is the great cast that includes: Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Abbie Cornish. McDonagh’s last film was the British crime-comedy In Bruges that in total grossed $7.7 million, and a little under $450 thousand in its first weekend. It has grown in audience since its release, though. I think this one will make a greater splash because I’ve seen one trailer for this on a popular channel, and I can’t recall seeing any for In Bruges. This also has a better-known cast. The comedy may not appeal to all, but it seems just hilarious to me.
S.P. Prediction: $4 million
Plot: Found footage helps a true-crime novelist realize how and why a family was murdered in his new home, though his discoveries put his entire family in the path of a supernatural entity.
Sinister has been given a great advertising campaign. I’ve probably seen the trailer a good six times, but not because I looked it up or anything. The story seems pretty interesting and quite scary. A big advertisement hook has been it’s from the producer of Insidious and Paranormal Activity. Insidious grossed $13.2 million in its opening weekend, and $97 million in total – and P.A. grossed $193 million in total. The hype for this has been great, and horror lovers are going to be lining up to see this one.
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, Max Thieriot
Runtime: 101 min
Tagline: Fear reaches out… for the girl next door.
It saddens me that my favourite part of this was the Argo trailer before the movie…
Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) and her mother Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) have just moved out to the country. They are able to rent their home for such a low price because of the gruesome events that took place four years ago down the street. A small girl, Carrie-Anne, killed her parents in the middle of the night and it is believed she later drowned that evening, but her body was never recovered. The surviving son, Ryan (Max Thieriot), still lives in the house as a way to hold onto a memory of his parents. He was actually at a senile Aunt’s house during the time of the murders. Elissa soon strikes up a relationship with Ryan, and learns that the local horror story is far from over.
I liked the concept, but at times it really just bore me and lost my attention. Jennifer Lawrence is good in her role, as much as she can be for a horror film. The performances aren’t that special, but some characters are effectively creepy.
The execution of the film is poor and it feels dragged out in some spots. The scares are pretty good, but some are far between. The character of Ryan is pretty interesting, he’s living at a house where his parents were murdered as a way to hold onto them – despite the actual horrific memory it really is. His character is nonetheless well developed, even though some questions for his character are unanswered by the end of it all. His character is really the only one they spent a lot of time developing, so all of the others were pretty forgettable. Especially Lawrence’s character, she’s just another dumb horror girl protagonist.
The country setting was pretty nice, but average for the whole local town legend horror killer story type-thing. It was actually filmed here in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, but it really didn’t look like it. It’s sort of cool either way.
The twist was pretty good, what’s a good horror movie without a decent twist? The twist is pretty pleasant and shocking at the time, but as the film drags on, it just gets more and more ridiculous. It does make for a fairly memorable ending though.
The camerawork really felt eye-straining in areas. Especially when some of the shots were seen from the point of view of one of the primary characters – the visuals really hurt my eyes and the colors and the shakiness of the camera were really quite irritating. I mean it was unique camerawork in some areas, but all of it didn’t exactly work out in the film’s favour.
Lawrence’s character really does all of the things you’re not supposed to do in a horror movie, but really which horror protagonist doesn’t? They’re written to be stupid so they can lengthen the film and torture me even more!
I give props to Jonathan Mostow for coming up with the cool story, but David Loucka didn’t write the best screenplay I’ve seen.
Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, Max Thieriot, Gil Bellows, Eva Link, Allie MacDonald and Nolan Gerard Funk star in this film. Oh, and Joy Tanner, the mother from that Family channel show Life with Derek.
House at the End of the Street (boy, that’s a mouthful) is a great concept and story that got butchered with a poor screenplay and lousy execution. The twist is pleasant and lame, and the film overstayed its welcome for me. The whole visuals and trying-to-scare-you-but-it-doesn’t-really-work situations made it lame in some areas. Watch it if you’re really interested. It’s generally a decent horror experience that doesn’t offer a lot of memorable material, so you won’t miss much of any cinema chatter if you skip this one.