Tune to The 2 Guys Named Chris Show every Monday to get the scoop on the latest new films and releases to DVD from a Canadian point of view. Julie Crawford, Film Critic for The Vancouver Courier, gives her two cents worth every Monday morning on Rock 92.
October 15th 2012
by Biggie Josh Ellinger,posted Oct 30 2012 8:44AM
This is Ben Affleck’s film about the escape of six U.S. embassy personnel during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film opens with a quick history primer, newsreel footage blended with grainy Super 8, delineating the events leading up to the crisis. Then the American embassy comes under attack and overrun by protestors, who capture 52 Americans. Six employees manage to sneak out, and after they are turned away they are taken in by Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor and his wife at their embassy residence.
The CIA calls in exfiltration operative Tony Mendez (Affleck) who decides that “the best bad idea” they have is to disguise the six as a film crew scouting locations for a science fiction movie. Mendez enlists the help of a contact in the film industry (John Goodman) who hooks him up with a well-known producer (an excellent Alan Arkin), to create a credible backstory for the film.
It’s the prolonged tension and suspense that makes the film so successful: we know how it ends, but we’re on the edge of our seats nonetheless as they bring out one improbably delay after another.
Stay seated during the credits to check out photographs of the real players in the hostage crisis, and to hear Jimmy Carter’s take on things.
That’s My Boy
Adam Sandler fathers a child with his middle school teacher (Leighton Meester) before his bar mitzvah: she ends up jailed for 30 years for child rape, he becomes a celebrity. The child (Andy Samberg) grows up to change his name and disown his father, but on the weekend of his wedding, his deadbeat dad shows up for a quick reality-TV payday.
This is standard Adam Sandler fare: that bizarre baby voice, lots of bodily fluids, jokes about fat and old people. Crass is fine, so long as there is something inventive in between gags. Vanilla Ice has a starring role, and somehow Sandler convinced James Caan and Susan Sarandon to come on board for cameos, too.
Wes Anderson’s very quirky Moonrise Kingdom is about two 12-year-olds in 1965 who decide to run away together, play records, and get married on a scenic New England island. Suzy’s oddball parents (Frances McDormand, Bill Murray) go ballistic and soon the island sheriff (Bruce Willis) and an entire boy scout troop are in hot pursuit.
The production design is wonderful: the whole thing is like an old-fashioned children’s book brought to life. Talented cast also includes Ed Norton, Tilda Swinton and Wes Anderson regular Jason Schwarzman.
This was co-written by the creator of Paranormal Activity, so expectations were high for this horror film. A group of tourists hoping to go off the beaten path in Russia tour the deserted and off-limits town of Prypiat, just outside the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The abandoned apartment complexes that use to house the Chernobyl workers are not as empty as they thought: there are wild animals and a few creepy things wandering about, and then when the van won’t start and darkness falls, all hell breaks loose.
The film succeeds for as long as it does because of the genuinely creepy setting and the intimate, hand-held camerawork, but it isn’t long before the scares get a little repetitive. Only one or two extras on the bluray, too, so no earth-shattering special features.