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post #1 of 32 Old 02-14-2013, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
87





Studio and Year: Warner - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 120 minutes
Genre: Drama/thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Victor Garber, Tate Donovan, Clea Duvall
Directed by: Ben Affleck
Music by: Alexandre Desplat
Written by: Chris Terrio
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 19, 2013







"Based on the declassified true story"


Film Synopsis:

On November 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. But, in the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor. Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found out and likely killed, the Canadian and American governments ask the CIA to intervene. The CIA turns to their top “exfiltration” specialist, Tony Mendez, to come up with a plan to get the six Americans safely out of the country. A plan so incredible, it could only happen in the movies.


My Take:

The movie was fake, the mission was real. As a fan of films based on real life stories I was immediately drawn to Argo. As far as human interest stories go they don’t come much better. I was a young teenager when the hostage crisis broke out in Iran and I have clear recollections of many of the images, news broadcasts and nationwide focus that resulted. I honestly don’t remember the rescue of the six “Houseguests” being credited to the Canadians but just remember seeing them on the news and so forth. More than that I remember the seemingly unending plight of the hostages and the harrowing 444 days they spent pent up in that embassy in Tehran. Seeing them finally come home in 1981was truly a joyous event.

Argo focuses on the “Houseguests” a group of six Americans that slipped out of the embassy’s “backdoor” and found refuge in the home of the Canadian Ambassador Kenneth Taylor. The film paints a vivid picture of the steps taken to devise a plan to get an operative into Iran and back out with the six Americans in tow. This wasn’t going to be the run of the mill rescue in the kick ass and don’t bother taking names aspect. With 60 other Americans lives hanging in the balance escalating matters by direct means wasn’t on the table for the regime making the decisions.

The film makes every attempt to authentically portray the various scenarios that unfolded behind the scenes. This included the lengths necessary to conjure up a plausible reason for a movie crew to scout locations for their film in Iran as well as the trickling decisions and indecisions that at any moment could have spelled disaster. It all came down to a hand full of people, none of whom were anywhere near the top of the decision making chain, that made a plan and a goal to make it work come hell or high water. At the end of the day a little luck, a lot of guile and the support of a nation saw it through.

Argo isn’t your typical story of heroes but as far as films that depict daring, courage and tension go it’s assuredly riveting. It grabs hold right at the start and doesn’t let go. There isn’t time for deep character building which is fine since we see them as credible based upon the factual nature of the storyline. The screenplay does a superb job of establishing a foundational correlation between the characters while integrating thematic melodrama and effectively building suspense. The finale is an emotive white knuckle ride that defines the essence of excellent filmmaking.

The cast as an ensemble is simply marvelous. It is made up of a variety of quality actors both primary and supporting that lend credibility to the film. Standouts in my opinion are Bryan Cranston, Scoot McNairy, and the tandem of John Goodman/Alan Arkin the latter of whom literally steals every scene he is in. I also appreciated the plethora of cameos, including the likes of Zeljko Ivanek, Bob Gunton, Kyle Chandler, Richard Kind and my girl Adrienne Barbeau, who still looks great at 67.

“Argo” has earned numerous major honors to date, including Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture and Best Director; Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Picture and Best Director; and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Cast Performance. In addition, the film earned seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Arkin) and Best Adapted Screenplay; and seven BAFTA Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor (Affleck) and Best Supporting Actor (Arkin). Ben Affleck has also been recognized with a Directors Guild of America Award nomination.

I found Argo deserving of the accolades it has thus received. I appreciate its authentic approach, cohesive narrative, staunch direction and strong performances. It is a brilliant thriller that is among the best films released last year.


Parental Guide:

The rating is for language and some violent images.



AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


Audio: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692




Video: 88

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699


Argo comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.

This video presentation has a filmic quality that doesn’t always lend itself to razor sharp images however resolution is excellent as both people and objects are rendered with clear definition that at times is meticulously resolved. The color palette isn’t a diverse one and sticks mainly to tamped down secondary hues with splashes of primary colors that render a cooler overall aesthetic that coincide with the film’s period specific elements. Flesh tones are on the bland side but fit right in with the visual style of the video. Contrast is bold which adds dynamic emphasis to sequences containing bright elements. Blacks are nice and deep which provides plenty of pop when onscreen with mixed content. Scenes containing uneven and/or dim lighting reveal discernible detail in shadowy backgrounds and darkened areas. Grain is readily apparent in varying levels that at times draw attention to it. Otherwise I found little to complain about and thought that this one looked great.

This is primarily a dialogue driven film however there are elements in the film that require use of the entire system so its ability to clearly render them is essential. Dialogue is reproduced with transparent realism and lucid texture as it is appropriately balanced within the front soundstage. The surround mix utilizes the entire platform to deliver the more active sequences as well as to recreate the acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The rear channels contain a mixture of spatial ambience/musical extension as well as directional cues that effectively integrate with the front soundstage. This is an enriching audio presentation that mates well with the source material.


Bonus Features:

  • Eye witness account: feature length picture-in-picture interactive in-movie experience – Interjected video commentary with real the life participants depicted in the film

  • (HD) Audio commentary with director Ben Affleck & writer Chris Terrio

  • (HD) Rescued from Tehran: We were there – 16 minute featurette

  • (HD) Argo: Absolute authenticity – 11 minute featurette

  • Escape from Iran: The Hollywood option – 46 minute 2005 documentary

  • Bonus DVD

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy
700



Final Thoughts:

Based on true events, Argo is a captivating thriller that chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis-the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades. It comes to Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack from Warner Home Video featuring gratifying and faithful high definition video quality, excellent lossless surround sound and an excellent supplemental offering that is highlighted by an informative picture-in-picture in-movie track. Not to be missed Argo on Blu-ray comes highly recommended.


Here is a video series on Argo:





attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 32 Old 02-14-2013, 09:05 AM
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Most interesting... Thanks for your time, Ralph! cool.gif
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post #3 of 32 Old 02-14-2013, 09:06 AM
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I cannot wait for this one!
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post #4 of 32 Old 02-14-2013, 10:25 AM
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This is one that I really wanted to see in theaters but I just couldnt get there in time...cant wait to rent/own it.

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post #5 of 32 Old 02-14-2013, 11:51 AM
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Nice review. Man, Ben Affleck has done some great stuff in his career. Gone Baby Gone (director), The Town and now this one. I can't wait to see it!

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The movie is only loosely based on the the true story. Enjoy it as entertainment not as history.
http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2012/10/12/argo_true_story_the_facts_and_fiction_behind_the_ben_affleck_movie.html
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post #7 of 32 Old 02-14-2013, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dundas View Post

The movie is only loosely based on the the true story. Enjoy it as entertainment not as history.
http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2012/10/12/argo_true_story_the_facts_and_fiction_behind_the_ben_affleck_movie.html
See the movie first then read the article. While facts are stated the article reeks of cynicism and bias.

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post #8 of 32 Old 02-14-2013, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by blastermaster View Post

Nice review. Man, Ben Affleck has done some great stuff in his career. Gone Baby Gone (director), The Town and now this one. I can't wait to see it!

Yea I feel the same way. His career really took a turn for the worse once he hooked up with J Lo.

I'm glad he rebounded from all that and is making some great movies now.
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post #9 of 32 Old 02-14-2013, 10:26 PM
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Will be keeping an eye out for this one thanks Ralph

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post #10 of 32 Old 02-15-2013, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Will be keeping an eye out for this one thanks Ralph

Greetings,

Sounds good Frank.. smile.gif


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post #11 of 32 Old 02-15-2013, 03:27 PM
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Thanks Ralph. I'm thinking about buying this one unseen as it looks like a great movie. Wanted to catch it in theaters but it didn't hang around long at my local cinema.

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post #12 of 32 Old 02-15-2013, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by yadfgp View Post

Yea I feel the same way. His career really took a turn for the worse once he hooked up with J Lo.

I'm glad he rebounded from all that and is making some great movies now.

For sure I agree too. Women always screwing guys up lol.

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post #13 of 32 Old 02-15-2013, 11:34 PM
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Just finished it and I agree with Ralph on the presentation. As for the movie itself, it's the best movie I've seen from 2012 by far.

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post #14 of 32 Old 02-19-2013, 10:00 AM
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I saw this one at the theater and a fantastic film. Not sure what the replay value is...debating on the purchase.
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I remember seeing a made-for-TV movie about this rescue/escape from Iran on cable in the early 1980's. In that movie, there was no mention of the role that the CIA played in the rescue. All the credit was given to the Canadian Ambassador. In this version, he plays a much smaller role in the entire event.

Does anyone know where the Iranian scenes were shot in "Argo"? My guess is that the Iranians would not have allowed the film makers to film in Tehran.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal68 View Post

I remember seeing a made-for-TV movie about this rescue/escape from Iran on cable in the early 1980's. In that movie, there was no mention of the role that the CIA played in the rescue. All the credit was given to the Canadian Ambassador. In this version, he plays a much smaller role in the entire event.

Does anyone know where the Iranian scenes were shot in "Argo"? My guess is that the Iranians would not have allowed the film makers to film in Tehran.

Cal68

Apparently having a CDN Ambassador as the hero in a main stream Hollywood flick would not sell as many tickets:rolleyes: Shame really but like the old saying, why let the truth get in the way of a good story?tongue.gif
Seems Ken Taylor (CDN Am) is speaking up now after Carter's recent interview reminding folks where the credit is due.cool.gif
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post #17 of 32 Old 02-23-2013, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal68 View Post

I remember seeing a made-for-TV movie about this rescue/escape from Iran on cable in the early 1980's. In that movie, there was no mention of the role that the CIA played in the rescue. All the credit was given to the Canadian Ambassador. In this version, he plays a much smaller role in the entire event.

Does anyone know where the Iranian scenes were shot in "Argo"? My guess is that the Iranians would not have allowed the film makers to film in Tehran.

Cal68

Greetings,

You have to remember that up until 1997 when President Clinton declassified the CIA's involvement this rescue was classified information that wouldn't have been known.


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post #18 of 32 Old 02-23-2013, 02:39 PM
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I picked up a copy on Blu Ray on release day and I have to say that I was not so impressed. As Ralph said this is something from our past and it was interesting to relive it again. I remember as a kid watching the news nightly and praying for the hostages to be released and get home safe, I also remember all the yellow ribbons tied around everything. I certainly had no idea at the time what or how the hostages were taken, so again it was interesting to relive this again and see a bit of what went down, because personally I really forgot all about it. IMHO, I really do not think that this film is worthy of picture of the year. I think it was a good movie on a sensitive issue, but I think there are better films more worthy of the award. I actually think Looper was fantastic and so far the best movie I have seen this year. I also really liked flight and feel both these were better than ARGO. I have not seen Zero dark thirty, but I hear it was a fantastic film. I also picked up skyfall, but have not got to it yet.
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post #19 of 32 Old 02-23-2013, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

You have to remember that up until 1997 when President Clinton declassified the CIA's involvement this rescue was classified information that wouldn't have been known.


Regards,

+1

The 1980s movie was based on actual events "as they were known" at the time.

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post #20 of 32 Old 02-25-2013, 04:36 PM
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Good write-up on what's accurate a what was dramatic license:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argo_%282012_film%29

and an interesting blog from a former Jimmy Carter speech writer:
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/hendrikhertzberg/2013/02/argo-the-jimmy-carter-experience.html
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It's fiction, based on an actual event, nothing more...
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post #22 of 32 Old 02-27-2013, 02:30 AM
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Looking forward in watching this tonight, hopefully I will enjoy it compared to the rubbish I watched last night ( Killing them softly )

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post #23 of 32 Old 02-27-2013, 03:40 AM
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Great Movie! Great Review Ralph! Easily one of my favorites....

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post #24 of 32 Old 02-27-2013, 08:52 AM
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Finished watching it I ended up watching the extended version and I thought it was quite good.

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post #25 of 32 Old 03-01-2013, 06:21 AM
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Thanks for sharing, Frank! Oh, and thanks for the heads up on Killing Them Softly... wink.gif
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Thanks for sharing, Frank! Oh, and thanks for the heads up on Killing Them Softly... wink.gif

No problems Taranteacher, just rent it first if you want to watch Killing Them Softly.

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post #27 of 32 Old 03-03-2013, 09:36 AM
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From a filming and story standpoint it was good. Definitely deserves a spot on the shelf. I give it a 4/5 or 8/10 regarding A/V quality. Watching The Master now and while I can't comment on filming/story yet, it's definitely a 5/5 on A/V quality. Good Blu-ray.
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post #28 of 32 Old 03-24-2013, 08:54 AM
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Maybe I should just buy this one from Vudu and save a couple dollars, it doesn't sound like the quality is as good as some of the other blu-rays you have reviewed. Thanks for the detailed review.
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post #29 of 32 Old 03-24-2013, 08:44 PM
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My copy is due to be delivered on Wednesday - will report back after watching it...

Thanks for the review, Ralph! cool.gif

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post #30 of 32 Old 03-28-2013, 08:09 AM
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Okay, watched it last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. Glad to have it in my collection... highly recommended!

Thanks again, Ralph.

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