Monday, October 15, 2012

Wknd Box Office: Argo, Sinister, Here Comes the Boom, Seven Psychopaths

Here is an interesting article from reviewing some of the movies that came out over the past weekend. This follows this post some of the movies from last weekand THIS POST about some movies that have been released over the past few years that you might have missed! This all follows this post about guidelines to chosing good movies to watch yourself!

Wknd Box Office: Argo, Sinister, Here Comes the Boom, Seven Psychopaths

By Debbie Schlussel

I liked three out of the four new movies debuting at theaters, this weekend.

* “Argo“:

Argo: Great Reminder of the Islamic Threat, Despite Affleck’s Anti-US “History” Lesson & Jimmy Carter’s Whining

By Debbie Schlussel

“Argo,” in theaters today, is a great movie sandwiched in between two bad far-leftist monologues. Director Ben Affleck tries to justify the Iranian revolution and the violent, deadly actions of Iranian Shi’ite Muslims supporting Ayatollah Khomeini at the beginning of this film. And he gives Jimmy Carter free reign to whine and take credit at the end. But despite Affleck’s best efforts at that, the movie is gold sandwiched between these two slices of crap. No matter what, it’s a great, unvarnished reminder of the Islamic threat that keeps repeating itself. And so I still recommend it.

The Real Tony Mendez (Right), Retired CIA Chief of Disguises & Fake Documents, Today @ Age 70

“Argo” is the story of the six Americans at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran, who escaped when Shi’ite Muslim followers of Ayatollah Khomeini overtook our embassy and held everyone inside hostage for 444 days. The six found refuge in the Canadian Ambassador’s residence (the English and the Australians, it should be noted, turned them away to what could have been the Americans’ deaths). The movie is a thriller detailing the mission by CIA agent and disguise and forgery expert Tony Mendez (played by Ben Affleck) to get them out and safely back to America. To rescue them, Mendez pretends he is a Canadian movie producer of a science fiction film, called “Argo.” He goes to Hollywood and recruits Jewish producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) and “Planet of the Apes” make-up man John Chambers (John Goodman) to help him with his ruse, setting up an entire fictional production, complete with movie posters, actors doing read-throughs, and a studio office. I wondered why they recruited a Jewish guy, given that the Khomeini’ist Shi’ite Muslims (and all Sh’ite Muslims) hate Jews. I researched this, found no real-life producer named Lester Siegel, and learned that the character is a “composite” character and I wonder if the real producers involved were actually Jewish (I bet not). I also wondered why they featured scantily clad women on the movie posters and at read-throughs. And I was on to something as that issue of modesty comes up later in the movie, as you’ll see. And, finally, I wondered if the nail-biting, thrilling climax of the movie actually happened that way in real life. And, it turns out, my suspicions were correct–that’s the only part of the movie that isn’t true to what happened in reality. I enjoyed the movie, which is thrilling, well-told, and entertaining, BUT . . . and a big BUT it is.

Here’s the BUT: Sandwiched in between Howard-Zinn-fan director and star Ben Affleck’s anti-American “history” lesson about why the Iranian Shi’ite Muslim Khomeini freaks were right to hate America and and storm our embassy in Tehran at the beginning of this movie, and Jimmy Carter’s monologue whine about how he should have gotten the credit for the mission depicted in this movie, there was actually a great movie about a real life event. And, other than his America-hating history BS and one other “evil Americans” scene, the movie was clearly depicted as accurately as possible. The words, Muslim and Islam, however are predictably only mentioned during the diatribe at the beginning, in which a female narrator tells us how we destroyed Iran by deposing Mosaddegh and allegedly imposing the pro-American Shah or Iran. That ain’t exactly how it happened, but you know the drill. I don’t need Mr. Affleck’s chick voiceover artist to tell me that the Shah tortured people, when he did very little compared to the guys who took over from him. Oh, and he was an ally of the US and Israel, but who cares about that, right?

There are also a couple of news footage scenes (Affleck uses a lot of real footage and well-replicated scenes of actual scenes and events) of Americans kicking Iranian students in America. Frankly, Americans were far too kind to the few Iranians they attacked, and were very nice to most of them here. That’s despite the fact that thousands of Iranian students overstayed their visas here, became illegal aliens, and actively supported the Khomeini’ites. A former top INS official detailed how thousands of those Iranians protested in front of the White House and were arrested by the INS. And, yet, President Carter ordered that the Iranians be freed into the American abyss without ever being fingerprinted, identified, and/or booked. Affleck doesn’t show you that, either. (One thing I noticed missing: any mention of Ronald Reagan, who actually got the other hostages out.)

But once the actual story is told, Ben Affleck’s politically correct fantasy of Iran and Shi’ism cannot overcome the reality of what Muslims did to our embassy and our people. And he tells that story accurately and well, something that I must recognize in this review. Yesterday, I spoke with my friend, Kevin Hermening, who was the youngest of the American hostages taken by the Shi’ite Muslims for 444 days. I asked him about several of the scenes I saw, and he confirmed their veracity. I’ll be posting separately, later today, about my interview with Kevin. A U.S. Marine stationed at the embassy, Kevin will be seeing the movie in about a week and says he will call me with his detailed review, which I’ll try to post here. Kevin confirmed to me an important scene in the movie. The Iranian Muslims are shown taking the U.S. hostages in the embassy in blindfolds to a room where shooters are lined up in front of them. They all thought they were going to die. The shooters begin shooting, but the guns are not loaded. Kevin told me that’s exactly how it happened, and that, unlike in the movie, every single hostage was lined up for this mock execution they all thought was real.

Back to the six who escaped to the Canadian Ambassador’s compound. They are not the most likable bunch in the movie. They’re shown as whiny liberals, some of whom side with the Khomeini Shi’ite revolutionaries and think America should release the Shah to the Muslims to be tried and executed. Not all of them even wanted to leave the U.S. Embassy, believing the Muslims wouldn’t really take over and harm them. When Mendez comes to rescue them, they are stubborn and don’t want to be rescued. They’d rather risk their lives in Iran, despite the fact that the Canadian Ambassador must leave and will have to abandon them to the wolves. You get the idea that this is exactly how State Department far-left liberals who seek out posts in Muslim countries behave and act. (And you wonder if these people were worth rescuing if this is really what they were like.)

It’s a harrowing mission for Mendez, and the movie depicts the bureaucratic idiocy that is the CIA and how the Carter Administration wouldn’t even sign off on the mission until the last minute when it was forced to do so or face American deaths and bad PR. The movie is also funny at times and gets the stylistic stuff right: eyeglasses, ties, lapels, and men’s hair–all of them on the big side. (One thing I think many moviegoers will not get: the term “exfil” is used a lot in the movie, without anyone ever saying it’s short for “exfiltration.”)

Given all of this, Ben Affleck’s exercise in America-hating at the beginning and his open mic to Jimmy Carter to whine about “me, me, me” didn’t affect the unintended message of the movie: that the Shi’ite Muslims of Iran are brutal, evil people who hate Americans. Yes, there is the typical “good Muslim”–a housekeeper. But make no mistake: Muslims will not like this movie. I do.

The best part of the movie is when the plane clears Iranian airspace and an announcement on the plane’s intercom announces that alcohol is served.

Learn more about the real life Tony Mendez and his amazing, heroic mission. And make sure you stay through the credits to see how lifelike and real Affleck made everything–he shows many pics of the real people and places and the ones in the movie. You will have to plug your ears though. Or you’ll hear good ‘ole Jimmuh.

THREE REAGANS (Would be FOUR But for Ben Affleck’s Anti-US History Lesson & Billy Carter’s Bro’s Whining)

* “Sinister“: I’ve seen so many scary, creepy, violent, graphic movies that I’ve, unfortunately, become somewhat desensitized to this stuff. I rarely get scared by a horror movie anymore, and usually laugh at the obvious attempts by most of these movies to scare audiences with cheap stunts. But I found this movie very scary, very suspenseful, and even though I saw it at last night’s Midnight show so I could review it for you (the screening was on the Jewish holidays, so I had to miss it), I was awake and riveted the whole time, until the ending (the “whodunit” was a silly letdown). It’s a very, very creepy movie. On the other hand, it’s very bloody and the graphic violence depicted in it isn’t scary, just disturbing and unnecessary. It takes away from the movie.

Ethan Hawke plays a once successful true crime writer. He has one very successful book, and the rest were duds, with one getting it wrong and clearing an actual murderer. Now, he is broke and trying to write his next hit to get himself and his family out from under water. (Ironically, in Hawke’s last movie, which I reviewed on this site, this past summer, Hawke also plays a once successful writer with one very successful book, who is broke and trying to write his next big hit to get himself out from under water. But that’s where the similarities in the two movies end.) Hawke has moved his family into a home where a horrific murder took place–the murder which is the subject of the book on which he’s working. The entire family was hung from a tree, except the youngest daughter, who remains missing. The crime was never solved, and Hawke’s family does not know they are living at the scene of the crime. When they move in, Hawke finds a box of Super 8 home movies of the family . . . and of the murders. It spooks and disturbs him. Soon, strange things begin happening, scary noises and odd events occur. He’s finding connections between the murder and others in the past that took place. And his obsession with the story of the murders and writing the book keeps Hawke from doing the right thing and leaving immediately. He’s a selfish guy, a user, and self-absorbed to the max.

To tell you more would be to reveal some spoilers. But rest assured that it’s very, very creepy and chilling. Still, as I said, I’m bothered by the graphic violence, which serves no purpose but to desensitize people to violence and give evil people evil ideas. And it’s a crutch–a sign of a weak horror movie, as the best in the genre use the psychological to scare their audiences, as this film does in its scariest moments. Just like the title of this movie, whoever dreamed up the violence is sinister.

I’m torn as to what rating to give this. As a scary movie, it succeeds in psychological creepiness, thrills, and chills, and would get at least TWO REAGANS. But since it is far too filled with graphic violence, that negates much of what is good about it, and I can only give it (and I’m being generous) . . .


* “Here Comes the Boom“: If you’ve seen any of Kevin James’ other movies, such as “Paul Blart, Mall Cop” (read my review), you know what you’re getting here. It’s a light, funny, entertaining movie that is fun to take your whole family to (although there is some Mixed Martial Arts violence and a funny but disgusting vomiting scene). Yes, it’s predictable and has the less-than-believable happy ending. Yes, it’s really a light version of the far superior, “Warrior” (read my review). But it’s upbeat, positive, and an escapist nearly two hours of Rocky lite using a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) setting.  If you like MMA, you will like this.  But if you don’t, you will still probably like this.

The story: James plays a stereotypical public school biology teacher. He comes late to class, doesn’t care, and tells his students that nothing they learn in his class will be relevant to their lives, so there’s no point in learning it. But by opening his big mouth and promising the nearly impossible to impress the school nurse he wants to date (Salma Hayek), James finds himself in a situation in which he quickly matures and lives up to his responsibilities.

A music teacher (Henry Winkler) learns his job will be cut, just after he’s found out his 48-year-old wife is expecting a baby. He can’t afford to lose his job, and James promises that he will raise the money to save Winkler’s job and the school music program. But he’s unsure how to do it and desperate to impress the school nurse. First, he returns to teaching citizenship test classes for immigrants. One of them wants extra tutoring, and when he comes to the student’s apartment, he learns the student was a Mixed Martial Arts champion in Holland, and that there’s money in it, even if you’re the loser. James, who was a college wrestler back in the day, decides to go for it. He’s too old and out of shape, but he trains and keeps trying. And you know the ending.

Enjoyable, and you’ll laugh a lot. I did. It’s very cute and kind of patriotic, too. If you don’t like POD’s song, “Boom,” bring ear plugs. It’s in the movie a lot, as the title of this movie would indicate.


* “Seven Psychopaths“: This movie began with an interesting premise and could have been entertaining, but it degraded into a violent, bloody waste of time. Oh, and there’s even anti-American crap in it. Yay. Colin Farrrell is a Hollywood screenwriter trying to come up with an idea for a new script. He has two friends (Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken) who are dognappers. They kidnap dogs for a living, then return the dogs to their owners in return for cash rewards. Farrell comes up with an idea for a script about psychopathic killers, “The Seven Psychopaths,” for which he gets a lot of material as told to him by his friend, Rockwell. While this is going on, Rockwell and Walker unwittingly kidnapped the dog of psychopathic mobster Woody Harrelson, who wants his dog back and is on to them. At the same time, there are a number of killings which inspire Farrell. They are real life killings by a mysterious serial killer who only murders mobsters and gangsters.

Did I mention that one of the killers Farrell comes up with for his script is a killer of American soldiers? His goal is to murder them because his family was murdered by Americans during the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War. He wears a bomb vest and blows up a gathering of military veterans because, after all, they deserve it, right? Disgusting. What actually happened at My Lai is one of the most distorted, misreported, exaggerated events during the Vietnam War–a political Trojan horse used often in anti-American propaganda, particularly lies about the Vietnam War.

I could go on and on about the myriad plot twists and connections in the movie, but why bother? They don’t make it interesting. This movie’s just a depraved, stupid, gratuitously violent waste of time you’d best skip.

If I can say one good thing, it’s that I got a cool “freebie” from it: Sam Rockwell’s character wears a cute knit hat with a dog’s face and ears on it. And I now own one, too, thanks to the studio. Thanks, but I still hated the movie.


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