Movie Review-Argo

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By Christie Hudon

The reality of strained relations with the Middle East is not new.  I wasn’t alive for the Iranian hostage crisis that lasted from 79-81 and it was something glossed over (if mentioned at all) in history classes.  It took a film to make life’s realities more poignant and relatable; and that’s exactly what Argo, an upcoming film directed and starring Ben Affleck did.  Set in chilling days of political unrest that parallel our current state of affairs, Argo is a gritty, edge of your seat, true story.

When CIA operative Tony Mendez (Affleck) hatches a plan that is the “best bad idea” the combined intelligence agencies can muster, a Hollywood farce becomes a covert operation.  In order to spirit away hidden survivors before they become hostages, Mendez sets up shop with a past his prime director (Alan Arkin) and a rogue special effects artist (John Goodman).  Thus, Argo’s cryptic name comes from this film within a film.

As the movie begins, we are given a brief history lesson which paints an unsettling picture of Iran and US foreign relations on the eve of the 1980’s.  What follows is a heart-wrenching account of protestors surging over the gates of the US embassy as foreign workers look on helplessly.  I couldn’t help but shiver as I thought of what those in Libya must have witnessed just months ago.  The documentary-esque filming ends when we follow six US citizens who escape through a side door.  Now begins their sojourn as refugees in a hostile country.  It is their story that weaves into Mendez’s own and thrusts viewers back and forth between daily life in the US and Iran.

Tensions mount but are thankfully diffused by the irreverent Hollywood treatment Argo gets.  But even in lighthearted moments, the pain of the hostages and escapees is never gone.  This film hardly gives you time to breathe from the moment the vintage studio credits roll.  Argo is laden with violence and strong language that have a place in the story, not gratuitous but necessary at most moments to prove the helplessness and horror experienced by those living through the event.

This film is a perfect ensemble cast.  Affleck proves his directorial skills through powerful visual storytelling and understated characterization.  Choices like not using subtitles to make the audience feel as helpless as the escapees were subtle but effective.

A dramatic film dredging up a painful past was a risk in this climate.  I wonder if the filmmakers hoped to inspire with the cooperation between allied nations and the heroism of integrity.  I appreciated the reminder that even mired in governmental red tape, one person can have an effect on others.  The timing of Argo’s release isn’t accidental, but a welcome distraction that works as a reminder that there is always hope, and good stories to be told.

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Avengers at Disneyworld! A Fun Semi-fictional Fanfic

TO: Nick Fury furious@shield.net

Hey Nick,

Since you thought it was time for us “Avengers” to have a group vacation, I thought I’d let you know how things are going.  I’m not sure if Disneyworld was the best choice, it’s kinda hard to keep a low profile, but I agree that Tony can’t get into as much trouble here.

We went to Magic Kingdom last night and found ourselves in the middle of a “Halloween Party.” You wouldn’t believe the number of kids walking around in puffed up Ironboy and Captain Mini-America suits.  I’ve never seen Tony smile so much without being full of alcohol.  Of course Cap was all goofy grins as always.

Things were going well with Bruce until the crowds made him flip out.  We calmed him down with candy-they give it out for free apparently.  Loki showed up and went giddy over the parade.  I think the fact that villains got their own float really struck a chord.  Cap nearly got knocked out after pressing on the arc reactor several times in line.  Tony said “you want to press my button” and Cap meekly turned his attention to Bruce who was big and green and about to get a picture with Buzz Lightyear (I’m attaching the picture, I think I did a great job framing everyone).  You won’t see Hawk in it.  He got sick after riding Tower of Terror too many times yesterday.  You know his migraines.  I ordered him room service and The Dark Knight Rises from our movies-on-demand package.  I put it on your tab.

After Cap and Bruce rode Space Mountain (apparently Tony, Thor and Loki are a bit pansy-ish when it comes to rides), Thor was inclined to ride the “Mountain of Thunder” and giggled like a girl the whole time.  Cap was tickled pink at the 40’s esque music playing as we walked on and embarrassed us all by dancing through the line.  Finally, we visited the Haunted Mansion but Tony’s light kind of ruined the effect of the dark “scary” parts.  Nothing could dampen our spirits after that parade but Loki did seem a bit tired as the night wore on.  Maybe watching Thor strut around with that hammer was too much.  We were all exhausted around midnight and parted ways.  Thor went back to Asgard saying the bed there was fit for a god, unlike the puny mattress at the Grand Floridian.  I think it’s a great place.  I haven’t seen this many white walls and manicured lawns since I took someone out at the Taj Mahal.  Bruce drove home-but poor thing had to work the next day.   I guess he can’t live the loafing life as well as the rest of us.  Cap and I are getting massages tomorrow.

-Natasha