I Hate Valentine’s Day (2009) Movie Review

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Cast: Nia Vardalos as Genevieve Gernier and John Corbett as Greg Gatlin. Yes, there were many other characters, but the website I went to only had these two names.

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Pros: For romantic comedies, I’ve always enjoyed watching couples who have starred together in other movies (Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks). This is one of them. Nia Vardalos and John Corbett have an easy going and natural chemistry onscreen that makes you laugh and relate to them without any effort. The story is fun, light hearted, funny and the characters have a great comedic timing (which is essential in any romantic comedies). Comedic timing not only in physical aspects, but in dialogue takes practice and necessary for the scene to work. The fact that this movie takes place in New York City (Brooklyn) around a flower shop is right up my alley. In fact, any movie that takes place near a flower shop or book store has my attention immediately. The audio is clear throughout the movie which is always a plus. Other than those mentioned above, this was a great movie to watch.

Cons: I did not notice any cons with this movie.

Cinematography: Brian Pryzpek was the Director of Photography. Simple pans and colorful elements were positively structured throughout the movie.

Music score: The music score of different artists were nicely sewn into scenes without taking away from the characters important dialogue. The usual and quick melody to make a scene funnier was nicely put. I call these quick melodies “tip toe music” because of the simple note sounds.

Favorite quotes:

Sorry, I didn’t read your instruction manual.”

You act like you live in the opening credits of some French film, you control everything so it doesn’t turn into something real.”

I like French films.”

Well, they’re not real, just like you!”

Audience reaction: I laughed several times the first time I saw this a few months ago. I quickly rewatched it tonight and still laughed. A good, simple and light hearted movie for any romantic at heart movie viewer.

Relatebility: I think most girls in their life time go through a phase where they think they are unstoppable and in control of their emotions at all times. No man can break their heart or sweep them off their feet. Until that one special guy comes along and breaks even the most stubborn bachelorette. The girl then thinks, “What? What is happening? I’m not in control of my emotions anymore! This is insanity!” So, they either fight it or just melt like butter under the guy’s spell. Like I said earlier, this is a cute movie and despite the title of the movie, a sweet movie to watch with your sweetheart today. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Thor: The Dark World (2013) Movie Review

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Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Stellan Skarsgård, Renee Russo, Jaime Alexander, Zackary Levi and Kat Dennings.

Director: Alan Taylor

Producer: Kevin Feige

Pros: The biggest pro here is that this movie was a lot better than the original Thor in many ways. The cinematography was spectacular just as I expected, the music epic and we got to see more of Asgard. The writers were better too.  Sure, you may have noticed several one liners, but this was a 2 hour movie, so any more dialogue would have put it near the 3 hour mark. One of my favorite scenes from both movies was finally seeing Loki as he truly was. The scene I am talking about is where Loki is in jail and Thor drops by. Thor, knowing his brother very well, tells Loki to knock it off and drop his facade which Loki does. What you see is a broken, lonely person who has hit rock bottom. I loved this scene because Loki appears to be in control all the time yet inside his heart, he is not in control of his emotions, therefore trying to balance it out by controlling others. Definitely a character that psychologists everywhere would love to evaluate more.  Personally, I think he needs some butterfly kisses from Miss JavaGirl herself.  There is also the scene where Loki is scampering next to Thor after he was released from jail and he’s very chatty and eager. I thought to myself, “Now, there’s the Loki I first knew!”.

The costumes were intricate, lush, rich and gorgeous. You can tell many people took their time to make sure the costumes looked perfect up close.  Thor’s costume would even make Superman jealous. I loved Jane’s Asgard dress along with Frigga’s entire outfit. Seeing how the people dressed in relation to the Asgard culture was beneficial for the viewers. Yes, they may have dressed similar to LOTR characters, but how else are they suppose to dress? I quite frankly, enjoyed seeing their earthy and warm toned colors clothes.The make up on the elves and villains were also great. You have to remember, some of these characters had to sit many hours to get their make up on everyday. All those tiny bumps and lines take time for a makeup artist to create. This was a fun movie that had a lot of funny moments, nothing too deep as this is a family movie. We loved the spaceship chase scene that resembled Star Wars and the modern jets at the very end. Thank you Marvel!

Thor, matured in this movie and appeared to have a stronger realization of his responsibilities as a future King. It was nice seeing Zackary Levi and Idris have more of screen time. The funeral procession was so beautiful. The jaw dropping scene where the Collector states there are more Infinity Stones was genius for whoever came up with that idea. The idea that there are more stones out there makes you want to watch every Marvel movie there is to put the puzzle pieces together of all the stones. Whoever collects and wants all the stones will have complete control of the universe! In this movie, the Red Stone or “Aether” represented “Power”. In the Avengers, the blue stone that Loki used represented “Mind Control”. Will The Guardians of the Galaxy find the yellow stone which represents “Reality”? The clues have been put in the Marvel movies so it’s up to us to find those Easter eggs, so to speak. If you must know, each stone represents: Reality, Soul, Time, Power, Mind and Space. Put them all in the Infinity Gauntlet and that individual has the power to destroy or control everything and everyone in the universe. With the Infinity Stones scattered in the Marvel movies, this represents a huge opportunity to create many stories yet to be told from the Marvel studios. Overall, I think everyone did a great job in this movie.

Cons: Why was Darcy still an intern after two years? I had to find an answer because they put that in there for laughs. Luckily, I have a new scientist buddy called  Buck (punchnerds.com) who answered that question for me.  Buck said that usually interns only last 12 weeks or so.  Lastly, I wished they showed more of Loki and Thor mourning their mother.

Cinematography: Kramer Morgenthau was the Director of Photography for this movie. Kramer has 58 credits under his name which includes filming for the movie Fracture. I saw the same elements which impressed me from how he filmed Fracture to what he brought to Thor: The Dark World. Mr. Morgenthau uses warm tones, gold and browns in this movie which pulls viewers into what the characters are doing. The sets were so huge and grand, that certain lighting made even the smallest conversations between two characters that more stunning for viewers. I’ve watched his other projects, but I was curious to see how he’d pull it off with a bigger environment where everything is bigger in a grander scale. Kramer did not disappoint and showed us that he is capable of filming absolutely stunning scenes that one can only imagine in their wildest dreams. Choosing Kramer Morgenthau to shoot a city like Asgard, including many battle scenes, was a perfect choice from Marvel and I hope they continue to use him for many future projects. I was very, very excited to go into this movie to see what my favorite cinematographer had in store for me to watch. In my opinion, he’s the reason why I started my Cinematography category on my movie blogs. I think the Director of Photography in movies are and should be right up there with being asked questions of how the movie was made. They are rock stars in my eyes! Without them, there is no movie. They are the quiet heroes of movie making and should be respected and given just as much attention as the Producers, Directors and actors.

Some behind the scenes of making Thor: The Dark World. You can see Kramer Morgenthau doing what he does best.
Video Credit: MoviesComingSoon

Music score: Brian Tyler produced the music score for this movie. You can hear a sample of many scores he produced in the video above. Brian produced music that reflected Thor’s maturity from the first Thor movie into a more regal and royal King in waiting movie sound. You can hear a chorus that sounds heavenly with a touch of other worldly sounds to it in many of the scenes. There wasn’t a lot of happy music when Thor and Jane were together due to their romance being torn apart by the Aether in Jane and their distance from each other. I’m sure getting sound advice from masters of movie scores like John Williams (Star Wars) has helped Brian only be well on his way to becoming a movie score master himself. Music is what brings that lump to your throat when a scene needs a certain sound to conjure feelings of what the director wants the viewers to feel of the characters. Brian Tyler is someone to watch as he continues to inspire us all by taking us into worlds we never been before with his amazing music scores.

Favorite quotes:

Loki: “Trust my rage.” After Thor leaves and Loki gives him the death stare.

Loki: “Tadaaaah!” Loki very proud of himself for landing them all safely on the boat. Loki’s inner child came out.

Loki: “Oh dear. I think she’s dead!” Loki casually alarmed when Jane collapses in the boat.

Thor: “Every 5,000 years the worlds align, allowing an ancient darkness to strike.

The Collector: “One down. Five to go.” In reference to the stones that are still out there.

Audience reaction: When we watched this movie, there were children around 6-8 years old sitting in front of us. Amazingly, they sat for the entire movie and laughed at many of the scenes. The audience with us laughed mostly at the underwear scene, Thor hanging up his hammer, the alien dog creature at the end and many of Loki’s comments. There was a gasp in the audience when Loki was stabbed including myself. I almost teared up during the funeral, it was so beautiful. A solemn and sad send off only fit for a queen.

Relatebility: I didn’t particularly identify with anyone, but if I had to choose, it would have been Lady Sif. Lady Sif is such a cool character, I wished they showed more of her. I liked how she continued to be a protective friend to Thor, albeit I think deep down she wishes they could be more. Who knows, maybe something will happen between Lady Sif and Thor.

The family dynamics and brother to brother relationship I saw in this movie was very interesting. The whole idea of trust (within a family or relationship), letting down your barriers and following your heart seemed to be the key points in this movie. One more thing. The critics all seemed to have the same complaint of a few things about the movie. I asked Adventure Boy (who is 12) what his opinion were regarding those complaints from his point of view. I wanted to know if it bothered him as much as it bothered the critics. Here are his answers.

1. Did you notice that the rainbow bridge was fixed and do you care how it was fixed?

Answer: I do remember seeing the bridge breaking but not being rebuilt, and wonder where they got the resources and supplies to complete the bridge once again.

2. Did you notice if the actor Anthony Hopkins (Odin) seemed like he didn’t want to be in the movie and looked like he wanted to be somewhere else?

Answer: I don’t notice those kind of things.

3. Did you wonder where Odin went after Loki sat on the throne?

Answer: Either Loki killed Odin or Odin went to Malekith’s realm.

4. Did you think Jane and Thor had onscreen chemistry?

Answer: I feel that Jane was more attracted to Thor because she kept forgiving Thor of his absence during their “2 year break” from each other and stuff…… Then again, Jane did slap Thor like 2 times 😛

5. Did you understand why Malekith wanted to put the whole universe into darkness?

Answer: I felt that Malekith wanted the universe in darkness because 1. They’re called dark elves… I think… And 2. I think because when the universe is all dark the stones will be at FULL power, or all 6 of the stones will come together and make strength like never seen before, or possibly make a new enemy/monster!

6. Did you think Malekith needed more time onscreen and was he scary enough?

Answer: No, he had enough time onscreen, he isn’t spoiled….. At least I think so considering his background… And he wasn’t that scary… But obviously “SOMEONE” thought he looked creepy because his eyes were black (mask) and looked like a monkey……

7. Did you feel like the Avengers should have helped out Thor in London?

Aswers: I don’t feel like the Avengers should have because 1. The Avengers are scattered all across the world and probably busy And 2. Captain America definitely would not have went to help considering Loki offended him when he turned into Captain America (shape shifted).

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I just saw Thor…. apparently he’s stuck in a dark world! :O

HeeHee. Hey guys, I just saw Thor The Dark World and it was amazing. What I liked in the beginning is when Jane was on a date and the intern… Darcy…. ruined the date by bringing in a chair and eating some of their food while making Jane look dumb while smacking the device on the table lol.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= -=-=-=-=THINGS I LIKED ABOUT THIS MOVIE-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

I  liked how they made it when Thor went to Earth and it only rained in a circle, not make a whole city rain, but a small circle. I liked how Loki never dies (since when will he die -_-) even when he got stabbed in the chest with a sword and turned pale… well… he was pale to begin with :P. And I liked how Loki made Thor’s hand disappear.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=THINGS I DISLIKED ABOUT THIS MOVIE-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

When they introduced the Aether to Jane the Aether was in between two rocks and didn’t have anywhere to go. Also that the Aether didn’t escape in the first place to find people besides waiting…. I know I would of…

And that mostly all…. I’m not a hater….. I HOPE MALEKITH COMES BACK… DUN DUN…. DUN DUND DUN DUN!!!!!!! Only one person would know what I meant! XD

That was my blog on Java blog thingy! Hope you enjoyed!

I give this movie 10 out of 10 Aethers

-Adventure Boy

ALIEN (1979) Movie Review

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Cast: Tom Skerritt as “Dallas”, Sigourney Weaver as “Ripley”, Veronica Cartwright as “Lambert”. Harry Dean Stanton as “Brett”, John Hurt as “Kane”, Ian Holm as “Ash”, Yaphet Kotto as “Parker”, Bolaji Badejo as thee one and only “Alien” and Helen Horton as the spaceship called “Mother” (voice).

Basic movie facts: Did you know the whole idea of the Alien laying its eggs in the chest cavity of humans was inspired by ichneumon wasps? Ichneumon wasps carefully put their eggs inside of beetle larvae or caterpillars only to see the eggs hatch similar to the one shown in this movie. The script writers, O’Bannon and Shusett, made sure some of the main characters had “unisex” names which allowed casting easy, albeit the character “Ripley” originally was supposed to be played by a male. The front part of Alien was developed from a cast of a human skull. Bolaji Badejo, who played “Alien”, hails from Nigeria (specifically from the Yoruba tribe) and is 7’2″ feet tall! One of the golden nuggets about this movie is that the cast did not know the exact details of the birth of the alien extracting itself from the chest cavity. The reactions displayed are real at that moment. Simulations of the spaceship taking off with the actors inside sitting in their seats were done by crew members who had to physically move each actor’s seat back and forth. The only way to make Jonesy, the cat, stand in fear of the Alien during a scene, was to bring in a German Shepard. The cat was not afraid of the alien, just the dog. Ridley Scott made sure the audience never got a full frontal face view of the alien as he believe it would lessen the horror effect of the Alien. Which sounds more menacing? “Star Beast” or “Alien”. Star Beast was the original movie title for Alien. So glad they went with the latter. Star Beast sounds like a villain from the village of My Little Pony. The spaceship’s name was changed three times. The original name was “Snark” which to me sounds like a spaceship with major attitude. Lastly, the face hugger props had a hard time getting through customs because they were so grotesque.

Pros: I enjoyed the lack of music score in several scenes. This clever move of not using a score only heightened my already paranoid tension of something jumping out at me. Movies shot in the late 70’s and early 80’s have a character of their own and I enjoyed the grit feeling of this movie. There weren’t a lot of digital effects, so the feeling was authentic and organic. I found more suspense in this movie than the Predator movies which had more action (I’m an action girl), which isn’t a bad thing. Just when I thought the Alien had gone away, there was a twist and the Alien returned. I like twists and turns in movies. It was fun to be introduced to Jones, the cat, who had 30000 lives due to never being killed by the Alien during the entire movie. I enjoyed the hypersleep chambers, very Avatarish.

Cons: After the alien hatched from the chest, it ran away from camera view; I could have sworn it was Beaker from The Muppets making a quick cameo. I found it hilarious and Adventure Boy and I laughed nonstop for a good 2 minutes. That quick scene was too fake in our eyes, but it made for good entertainment. Other than that, I didn’t find too much to complain about.

Cinematography: Director of Photography was Derek Vanlint. He also filmed X-Men and The Spreading Ground. There were several long angle shots and slow movements of the camera to add to the creepiness of the film. Overall, it was good filming.

Music score: Jerry Goldsmith produced the music score for Alien and has an astonishing resume of 129 scores or conduction towards his musical talents. Jerry’s score would feed one’s imagination of something or someone tiptoeing through some dark chamber using oboes and clarinets. The score was decent and imaginative.

Favorite quote:
[Ripley has tried in vain to disengage the Nostromo’s self-destruct]

Ripley: Mother! I’ve turned the cooling unit back on. Mother!

Mother: The ship will automatically destruct in “T” minus five minutes.

Ripley: You… B***H!

[smashes computer monitor with flamethrower]
Quote provided by IMDb

Audience reaction: Adventure Boy and I watched this together and had many laughs throughout the movie. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the movie and Adventure Boy couldn’t wait to see the next one in the series. My own hands were my face huggers. I had to see some scenes between my hands that were plastered against my face. It made the movie all too real for me. Just kidding.

Relatability: There is no way I could relate to this movie.

**You can read Adventure Boy’s Kid Movie Review here of : Alien vs Predator (2004) Movie Review by a kid!**

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) Movie Review

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Cast: Nia Vardalos plays a 30 year old Greek woman named Toula Portokalos who is looking for love, but at the same time trying to understand her Greek roots and traditions. John Corbett playes Ian Miller, a High School teacher who is not Greek, yet falls in love with Toula and wants to be accepted by her family. Ian Gomez plays, Mike, Ian Miller’s bestfriend. Michael Constantine plays Gus Portokalos, Toula’s very Greek father who is steadfast in marrying his daughter off to a Greek man. Lainie Kazan plays Maria Portokalos, Toula’s very well meaning, but loud mother.

Basic movie facts: One night Rita Wilson saw Nia’s one woman stand up comedy show about her life as a Greek woman and decided to make her standup live into a movie. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are two of the movie producers of this movie. Ian Gomez who plays “Mike”  is Nia’s (Toula) real life husband. Many of the extras who played family characters  in the movie are real life relatives of Nia and Ian’s family. I recognized Ian Gomez in this movie only because he was in one of my favorite tv shows called “Felicity” where he played a gay guy. John Corbett I obviously knew from Sex in the City, duh.

Pros: This movie is one of my top 10 favorite romantic/comedy movies of all time. I laughed out loud throughout the entire movie which is a good sign that this movie could keep my attention. The dialogue was fun, funny and sarcastic. Nia’s narration was not too much and you could sense her personality through it as a result. One scene I thought was funny was when Toula served Ian’s (John Corbett) coffee cup leaving Ian Gomez looking at his real life wife (Nia=Toula), like, ok….whatever! I just thought that was such a funny scene!

Cons: None. It’s in my top 10, so all movies face immunity in this case.

Music score:  Original music was produced by Alexander Janko and Chris Wilson.

Favorite quote: There were so many quotes I wanted to use, but this one was crazy and funny at the same time. Aunt Voula: [to Ian’s parents] “Now, you are family. Okay. All my life, I had a lump at the back of my neck, right here. Always, a lump. Then I started menopause and the lump got bigger from the “hormonees.” It started to grow. So I go to the doctor, and he did the bio… the b… the… the bios… the… b… the “bobopsy.” Inside the lump he found teeth and a spinal cord. Yes. Inside the lump was my twin.”

Audience reaction: It was only me watching (with you out there, of course). I laughed and laughed! I hope you did too.

Relatability: The reason why I love this movie so much is because I can easily relate to Toula and her personality. There is a scene where she meets “Ian” in the travel agency and she forgets that her headset is on and she walks away only to be yanked back by her headset cord and falls to the floor. That is something that would happen to me. I can be such a dork sometimes. I’m also very shy when it comes to guys I like; I’ll hide behind something if I know he’s looking straight at me or cover my face with the dinner menu at a restaurant (that has actually happened on several occasions). I know that seems shocking to those who say I appear extremely outgoing, but I do have a very shy side to me when it comes to guys I am attracted to.  There is also a scene where Toula asks Ian why he likes her and that is something I find myself asking guys who have been my boyfriends. Sometimes I get a little insecure and just have to ask them why me? All these girls out there and you love me? Why? Haha. I found that scene very sweet and sentimental. John Corbett’s character, Ian, is a combination of all the great qualities of guys I have dated or have had as boyfriends in the past. The guys I’ve dated in the past have come from Holland, Russia, Sweden, Egypt and the United Kingdom. They have all shared their culture with me and I’ve learned about theirs. At the end, you can’t stop love no matter where they come from. It is up to us to look beyond our differences and get alone. We can each learn something from each others culture. Overall, this is a cute movie and not something to over analyze or else it will take away from the funny and sweetness of it. I recommend this movie to anyone!

 

*To see the entire movie, look at the blog post before this one.

The ScapeGoat (2012)

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Cast: Matthew Rhys plays two characters named John Standing (a school teacher) and Johnny Spence (an aristocrat) who have identical faces, but opposites set of minds. Let’s just say it’s the battle of the Yin and the Yang with this movie. Alice Orr-Ewing played Johnny’s neglected, eager to please wife, Francis. Sheridan Smith plays Johnny’s sister-in-law, Nina, who was secretly having an affair with Johnny. Andrew Scott played a character named Paul who is Johnny’s brother and the husband of the cheating wife, Nina. I’m sure dinner was always a fun time with this  family. Anyways, Jodhi May played Blanche, Johnny’s sister, who he seemed to have a constant battle with regarding family business.  Eileen Atkins, played the matriarch named Lady Spence who always had something clever to say to her son and still had that bit of fight within her even thought the movie made her look like she was about to take her last breath at any moments notice. Eloise Webb played “Piglet” or should I say, Mary Lou, Johnny’s very precocious and charming daughter who threatened to jump out of a window within 50 seconds if her “dad” did not run upstairs to kiss her goodnight. One of the funnier scenes, if I do say so myself. Sylvie Testud, played a sweet French single mother/artist named Bela. I was a little shocked John, who was pretending to be Johnny, slept with her, but it proves useful I guess later on in the movie, believe it or not.

Basic movie facts: This British movie was based on a novel by Daphne du Maurier which was written in 1957. The differences between this movie and the novel was that it takes place in the United Kingdom instead of France and the ending is very different from the novel. In a nutshell, John and Johnny meet and chat over how much they look alike. Johnny takes this opportunity to trick John into switching lives so that Johnny’s more sinister plans can unfold. This movie shows what a mess John has walked into, pretending to be someone he is not, but at the same time seeing the mess and wanting to fix it. A movie likes this leaves you captivated and anxious to see what happens next. This is not a boring film, believe me! I have low tolerance for boring films, but this one kept me at the edge of my seat. I really liked the ending too.

Pros: I’m always noticing camera angles and focusing dimensions when it comes to one actor playing two characters. There is a scene where Johnny and John are sitting at a table drinking coffee and the camera lens focuses from Johnny to John in the background. I thought this was very clever of the director as to keep you remembering and focusing on two very different characters, even though you know it is only one actor playing the two; it makes it truly seem like two different people sitting at the table. Matthew did an amazing job portraying both characters that you do forget it is actually him for a bit. The facial expressions between the two men are noticeable enough for you to know who is who towards the end. The cinematography was beautifully shot and very gentle with subdued hues and tones throughout the movie. This movie is not deep nor does it seem complicated to understand; it was simple with a twist of fantasy and humor. I admire how Matthew played John, who appeared utterly confused at his new surroundings, staff and family. This living situation changed him giving him a sense of family he never had before (instant wife and daughter) and a chance to renew a family that was falling apart. Is it me or do most British men seem nervous when they play some leading characters? All I kept thinking was how much Matthew Rhys reminded me of Hugh Grant in how nervous he acted at times. It was quite charming. So charming I wanted to watch “Notting Hill” again, a favorite movie of mine.

Cons: I couldn’t find much in regards of what I didn’t like about this movie. If I was forced to choose something at this moment, it would be that I didn’t like the slight haze throughout the movie. Other than that, I liked everything about this movie.

Music score: The music was beautiful in this movie, but I could not find much about it when I researched it. What a shame.

Favorite quote: There is a scene where John says to Bela, “I’m not sure where home is anymore.” Bela responds by saying, “Don’t worry. You will.”

Audience reaction: None. I watched this at home.

Relatability: I’ve always been told I look like somebody. I’ve had random strangers at the mall come up and hug me and start speaking Spanish.  After my initial shock of being mobbed by well intentioned strangers, I try to explain that I do not speak Spanish and I am not who they think I am. The most shocking and frightening experience I had with a Doppelganger was when I went out on a date with this guy and he whipped out this picture of his ex-girlfriend. Never in my life had I seen someone who looked exactly like me. It was so weird that my heart started beating faster because it took me by surprise. He later told me she had been deported back to her country because she overstayed her Visa. This made me furious because it dawned on me of why he asked me out on a date to begin with. I know I don’t have a twin and this person was not Brazilian, but it was incredibly strange to see an identical smile and face on a photograph with a person I didn’t know. What if the ICE were just driving around and they happened to see me and think that I (mistaking me for the other girl) had snuck back into the country and they threw me back on the plane to some foreign country? I shudder at the thought. Luckily, I have my passport and everything else to prove I am legal and a bona fide citizen of this country. What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever met your clone or twin? What if you did and you switched lives?

Argo- A Movie Review

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Cast Members: Ben Affleck played Tony Mendez who went by the alias of Kevin Costa Harkins, a CIA operative who coordinated a secret operation to rescue 6 diplomats who were in Tehran during the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979. Bryan Cranston played Jack O’Donnell a CIA manager. Alan Arkin played Lester Siegel a Hollywood producer who gave some comic relief during the drama with Ben’s character. John Goodman played a Hollywood make-up artist named John Chambers. Both Lester Siegal and John Chambers helped Tony Mendez come up with a fake movie production, fake write ups in the newspaper telling the public about this new movie being made to throw off the Iranians and come up with a fake movie production building that was only going to be rented out for a little while. Tate Donovan played one of the hostages named Bob Anders who was the oldest one in the group. Clea DuVall played Cora Lijek, the wife of Mark Lijek who was played by Christopher Denham. The Lijeks were newlyweds who had been in Iran for a few months before the hostage crisis began. Rory Cochrane played Lee Schatz who was an agriculture attaché. Scoot McNairy played Joe Stafford, the only one of the group who spoke Farsi which came in handy at a pivotal point in the movie. Kerry Bishé played Kathy Stafford, the wife of Joe Stafford. There are many other characters, but I just wanted to mention who played the six hostages, producer, make up artist and Tony Mendez to keep this podcast short. All in all, there were some very talented actors and actresses who played pivotal characters who helped weave this fake movie production into reality for the rescue operation.

Basic movie facts: This movie had some embellishments here and there and was not filmed exactly how it really happened. For example, the part where you see Joe Stafford speaking in Farsi to convince the guards about why they were there, was not mentioned in Tony’s book. In fact, Tony described it as they had been waiting in a waiting lounge for quite some time due to a 20 minute mechanical problem on the plane. After the 20 minute wait, they walked into the bus and got on the airplane. In the book, Tony does not mention the Iranians chasing them down the tarmac in police cars. So, I’m not sure that even happened. Maybe it did, I don’t know. Tony said that he wore a green turtle neck and tweed blazer during the entire operation, but in the movie Ben’s character wore something completely different. Little details like that, I find to be important to be exactly like what happened in real life. A bit of a fun fact thrown in here. Did you know that when Tony’s wife was asked who she would have wanted to play her husband, she replied Tommy Lee Jones? Tony even said that when he watched the movie, he wasn’t even sure if they were going to make it out of there! It scared him! Let’s what you call high drama for the sole purpose of entertainment.

Pros: This movie certainly captured the essence and spirit of what happened during the hostage crisis, whether some parts were embellished or not. What’s important here is that the story has finally been told and the heroes can finally be given their well deserved recognition for their part in helping rescue the six diplomats. This movie also showed how two countries who have close ties with one another, can help each other in a time of crisis. I never realized what a huge part Canada had in this operation. Thank you Canada for all your help! On another note, I admired how Ben was able to play a steady yet very calm demeanor as Tony Mendez. With a job like he had, this characteristic is highly important to have when you are faced with a very intense situation. There is no time or room to be anxious. His demeanor during the film, helped keep things in perspective and practicality. The filter for the movie was perfect and fit in nicely for that time period of the 7o’s and early 80’s. Anything clearer would have taken away from the “feel” of the movie for that time period. This movie won Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Picture.

Cons: I didn’t like how Ben kept looking around suspiciously all the time. As a spy, you have to fit in with your surrounding and not give yourself away and look all paranoid. I just felt the “looking around, over your shoulder” type of glances was way over the top. I felt like saying to the screen, “Dude, relax. Just look straight ahead when you walk. This isn’t James Bond”. No offense to James Bond, it’s one of my favorite franchises only for the sake of a silly spy entertainment that can’t be taken seriously. The Bourne Identity is even worse in depicting the spy community. Mission Impossible is my favorite because it just is. Period. You can’t go wrong with Mission Impossible! Anyways, there were moments where the audio went from very quiet to suddenly being loud due to a sudden change in scenery. I had to keep changing the volume on the remote. The audio of what the actors were saying would be muffled or too far away only for me to be jolted with a sudden sound. I wish the audio had been more even throughout the movie. There was a part which was so predictable where Tony is in his hotel room after he was told to abort the operation and the movie makes you feel as though he has to accept that fact. I knew that he was going to go ahead with the plan anyways because that’s what a person with a good conscience does whether that is right or not by the authorities.

Music score: I enjoyed the music score by Alexandre Desplat. Alexandre composed a moody, eclectic and ethnic sounding soundtrack for the movie Argo. Some of Alexandre’s music have been in movies such as The King’s Speech, The Ghost Writer, Harry Potter and the Incredible Mr. Fox to name a few, respectively. I’ve always been a fan of Arabic music and the exotic sounds embedded in the symphony. I dated an Arabic guy for a few years and I got very use to listening to his music that I grew to like it. Then again, I like music from all over the world. I can tell which music comes from what country such as Morocco or Egypt. I have a good ear. The song “Cleared Iranian Airspace” score was so beautiful and fit the mood of the scene for when the diplomats crossed over from Iran into Turkey. The mood was somber, tender, cautious but very reflective if not haunting. If anything, the song was memorable for all they went through. It almost brought tears to my eyes hearing this soundtrack for this scene. I think I might have tried to hold back tears because it was a beautiful scene and one I’ll never forget.

Favorite quote: I have a favorite, but I can’t put it on here. I do like the one where Jack O’Donnel says “This is the best bad plan we have… by far, sir.” in regards to the many different options they were brainstorming about how to rescue the diplomats. The alien spaceship in the desert was so far out there, it was the craziest one of all the other ideas they had floating around the office.

Audience reaction: None. I watched this at home.

Relatability: As a niece of a former diplomat who worked at an American Embassy in an undisclosed country, I could relate to this movie as a family member. As a child who went to school with children of diplomats in my country, I could relate in meeting their parents who were representing the United States in foreign ground. I gravitated to this movie because I love true stories of heroism and courage. I find it inspiring. I thought this movie was well made and well deserved of its awards. If you haven’t seen it, please do. I have one more thing to say. Thank you Canada!

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