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Movie Review: Argo

Mike Finkelstein has always known that truth is stranger than fiction…how else could he explain his life so far? But that belief was just proven yet again when he went to the movies one day, and saw just how far one CIA operation went to get back their men. Here is his review of “Argo”.

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Mike Finkelstein has always known that truth is stranger than fiction…how else could he explain his life so far?  But that belief was just proven yet again when he went to the movies one day, and saw just how far one CIA operation went to get back their men.  Here is his review of “Argo”.

PLOT: During the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the American Embassy is overrun and 52 Americans are taken hostage.  Six US diplomats, however, manage to escape and make their way to the home of the Canadian Ambassador.  But when the Ambassador and the US Government start to realize that time is quickly running out until the group is found and the Ambassador is punished, it’s up to CIA ex-filtration specialist Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) to get everyone out alive.  His plan—the “best bad idea” in United States history—enter Iran as a Canadian film producer, and leave the country with the six diplomats as his crew.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW: Imagine, if you will, a scenario where the CIA would send an undercover agent to rescue hostages.  The agent would pretend to be a Canadian film producer, the hostages would be his crew, and together, they would sneak out of the country without anyone being the wiser.  It almost sounds too ridiculous to be true, yet, somehow it is.  And thanks to one of the most talented directors in Hollywood today, we have ARGO, a film that does justice to that captivating true story, and proves yet again that truth is always stranger than fiction.

If you were to go back about a decade and said the name “Ben Affleck”, you probably wouldn’t have heard anything more than a few chuckles and scoffs.  (GIGLI and JERSEY GIRL, anyone?) Flash forward to today, and it is safe to say that the man is a force to be reckoned with.  With his exquisite attention to detail and respect to history, Affleck has created a tour de force of a film with ARGO, and has given us a number of scenes that felt all too real…something that hit home when we later see that many moments were recreations of photographs taken during the revolution.

Every moment that we spend in Iran, whether it be the first ten minutes or the last hour, is a moment where your body is locked with tension. As the embassy gates are breached, we are sitting ducks with the Embassy workers.  We see them next to us being blindfolded and taken.  When we sit with the six diplomats in the Canadian Ambassador’s home, everything is on the line, and with a superb cast of character actors that include Tate Donovan, Christopher Denham, Clea Duvall, Rory Cochrane, Kerry Bishe and Scoot McNairy playing our diplomats, we are reminded of their fear every second by way of simple facial expressions and private break downs.  We are with these six.  We are in their shoes.  And oh yes, we are feeling their nerves.

But what makes ARGO so great is not an overdose of drama, but that perfect balance of comedy that comes with it.  Chris Terrio has written a screenplay that not only keeps the audience constantly engaged, but lets them breathe with some wonderful one-liners sprinkled throughout. (Most of which come from “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston, who plays Mendez’ CIA buddy Jack O’Donnell…I guess when your job is so serious, you need the funnies to stay sane).  The humor runs especially high with Alan Arkin and John Goodman (he’s popping up everywhere…), who plays real life PLANET OF THE APES makeup artist, John Chambers.  The two help Mendez navigate 1970s Hollywood, while at the same time exposing it for all its ridiculousness.  Both completely steal the scenes they’re in, and when you know you’re about to be stressed out for the next hour, it was a blast to follow these two loonies around for a bit.

As for Affleck, himself, it seems like being a director on his own films has improved his acting tenfold.  Affleck is completely immersed in the script, which lets him easily disappear into the skin of the quiet, discrete, and almost hesitant Tony Mendez.  Somehow, in return for giving up those ‘leading man’ roles that were digging his career grave and instead focusing on work that he loved, Affleck has actually become the George Clooney-esqe leading man that he has always been capable of, and it’s a pleasure to see him reach his great potential.

The story of ARGO is almost too ridiculous to believe.  Hell, even after leaving the theater, I still had trouble accepting the fact that all of this craziness actually happened with the approval of the United States government and CIA.  But that is exactly why the story needed to be told.  And luckily, under the guidance of one of the best directors out there today, we not only received a beautiful, edge of your seat thriller, but a film that does complete justice to an amazing true story that proves the magnificence of the human soul.

GRADE: A-

Mike’s LIKES:

1) BEN AFFLECK:  After GONE BABY GONE and THE TOWN, Ben Affleck has given us yet another extraordinary film, making him one of the most respected directors in Hollywood today.  His directing and acting skills are growing immensely, and if he doesn’t get an Academy Award nomination for this entry, expect one (as well as a win) to come somewhere down the line.

2) RECREATION OF REALITY: As you watch the end credits and see the side by side comparisons between scenes in the film and photographs taken during the Iranian revolution, you realize the extreme about of detail put into this film.  Both impressive and moving…

3) HUMOR: Chris Terrio found a perfect balance between comedy and drama in his screenplay.  Outlandish, but never offensive or over-the-top, the first half is a perfect balance for what we are about to endure during the second half.

4) JOHN GOODMAN/ALAN ARKIN: These two just looked like they were having an absolute blast playing their respective roles!  Completely destroying Hollywood in their wonderfully sarcastic way, I loved every minute they were on screen.

Mike’s DISLIKES:

1) NONE: Overall, ARGO is an excellent political thriller that both makes you laugh and keeps you on the edge of your seat for the entire two hours.

EXTRA FACTS:

1) The real-life version of the Argo script used by the CIA was actually the unmade feature film “Lord of Light” based on the novel by Roger Zelazny.

2) “Argo” was the ship Jason and the Argonauts sailed in to retrieve the Golden Fleece.

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The Pentagon Has Released Official UFO Videos Because 2020 Is The Absolute Worst

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Aren’t swarms of locusts supposed to be the next installment of this plague?!

Can we finally declare 2020 as the worst year ever? In January there were fears of a third World War. In February the coronavirus began its rapid spread. In March the world essentially shut down due to social distancing and quarantining. And now in April…with only two days left in the month…we have official government footage of unidentified flying objects. I’m sorry but Milton Bradley’s game of “Life” never prepared me for any of this!

The Pentagon has confirmed the authenticity of three videos that have been circulating the web but didn’t really answer what is visible in them. In the videos, now declassified by the Department of Defense, navy pilots capture “unidentified aerial phenomena” aka unidentified flying objects aka UFOs! Pentagon officials were sure to state that the videos do not show “any sensitive capabilities or systems,” meaning we probably won’t be seeing any little green men any time soon.

The first video dates back to November 2004 and the other two from January 2015. Of the Pentagon’s confirmation of authenticity, Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said the videos were released “in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos.”

So great. We now know that these strange videos are real but what exactly are we looking at? Well, the Department of Defense says it has no concrete answer as to what might be floating around the skies and has classified the phenomena as “unidentified.” And…just like that I suddenly feel less defended.

Social media is having a field day with this revelation of course. The #AliensAreReal has been trending high on Twitter since the news broke. One user referenced Independence Day and said the aliens are “getting ready for July 4th.” Of the bad timing, another wrote “Et tu aliens?” And finally one user couldn’t help avoid sarcasm and wrote”Where’s the space force when you need it?”

Well 2020, you have worked your awful black magic once again. What’s next, cat videos get banned from the internet?! You’ve taken everything else from us!

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Priest Accidentally Forgets To Turn Off Filters Before Live Streaming Mass

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The internet is having a field day with the innocent mistake of biblical proportions.

With new social distancing guidelines, many churches have closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And while that doesn’t justify all the wine you’ve been chugging during your self quarantine, it does have many people practicing their faith from their homes. One Italian priest was just trying to recite a little prayer for his followers when he accidentally left a filter feature on during the broadcast! In the clip the priest is digitally adorned with a space helmet, workout gear, a fedora and sunglasses and more.

Social media went nuts for the video, which has now gone viral. One comment reads “He just doubled his holy power.” Another reads “Father, Son and Holy Influencer.” One commenter couldn’t resist a good pun and said the video is having a “Mass effect.”

Enjoy your daily blessing and take a look at the funny video below!

 

Priest in Italy live streams mass, activates filters by mistake from r/funny

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Danny DeVito Passionately Urges New Yorkers To Stay Home…And Twitter Agrees!

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For the love of Danny DeVito, stay home!

The world is in a dark place right now and I am not sure how much more bad news we can handle. That’s why when I saw Danny DeVito’s name trending on Twitter I froze. Our great nation could very well crumble if anything bad was to happen to such an icon right now. With extreme trepidation I clicked on the social media link and was relieved to see that good ol’ Danny boy is just strumming up hype because he is passionately urging New Yorkers to stay home.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been driving New Yorkers to stay home and has taken every precaution short of shutting the state down completely to help prevent the virus from spreading. Because New Yorkers can be hard headed, it doesn’t hurt to have some famous friends reiterate your message. Big names like Lala Anthony, Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller have all made appearances on Cuomo’s social media pleading with New Yorker’s to heed the governors warning. Only one celebrity was able to make it to Twitter’s trending page however and that was none other than Danny DeVito. DeVito’s message is simple…stay home! In the two minute video, DeVito reminds fans that it’s not just up to the elderly to isolate themselves. “Young people can get it and they can transmit it to old people and the next thing you know – I’m out of there” says the actor. We must save him!

Twitter went into a frenzy with many users agreeing that we need to stay home for Danny. One user wrote “When Danny speaks, I listen.” Another passionately wrote “If you idiots kill Danny DeVito I SWEAR TO GOD.” One promoted DeVito from the icon status I previously awarded him and said “WE GOTTA PROTECT WORLD TREASURE DANNY DeVITO.” 

Take a look at the video below and for the love of the newly minted national treasure, stay home!

 

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