A Few Words About A few words about...™ Argo -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Ben Affleck's Argo. I like the sound of that. Bright guy. Well respected, with major, deserved, traction in the industry. And with just cause. No matter how you splice it. Argo is a terrific piece of entertainment. "Based on the declassified true story." Probably more than I've seen before, discussions are weighing the merits of how close a fictionalized feature film, "based upon actual facts," (and we're not discussing low-budget horror films with found footage here) should be to reality. Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln... The simple truth is that in most cases, pure facts don't necessarily make for a great screenplay. There must be a basis in form and function, audience attachment to the characters, and structure. If one desires pure truth, you'll probably not find it on film, even in documentaries, which are, in and of themselves, structured works that generally take a specific point of view. And by that I mean, they generally take a side, and play toward it. Even though Argo may not be absolute history from beginning to end, even if the final minutes in Iran are not based upon absolute fact, they make for a terrific film, and I believe that within that framework, Mr. Affleck and his associates have proven their abilities to create an edge of your seat drama, in which we care deeply about the characters, and the finality of which gets the basic tale of the aid from both Hollywood, and our neighbors to the north firmly in place. Technically, Argo is a brilliant piece of mixed media. Digital via Arri Alexa; 35mm as well as S35; S16 and 8mm. One source also mentions the use of Techniscope. Argo is a veritable master's class in cinematography and the gear that goes with it. As a Blu-ray, the film is perfect. Having gone through a 4k DI, what one is seeing in one's home theater, presuming that the environment has been properly calibrated, is pretty much what was viewed in the cinema, and dependent upon the cinema, sometimes better, albeit a bit miniaturized. Argo is not a film that won the Best Picture Academy Award as a fluke. This is a substantial, entertaining, and beautifully produced motion picture. Very Highly Recommended. RAH
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I'm in total agreement with your comments about what makes a great screenplay and thus an entertaining film.
     
  3. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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    I thought the credits mentioned the German Hawk anamorphic lenses so I presumed most of was shot that way. Am I wrong?
     
  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Apparently, along with the following:
    Zeiss Super Speeds, Ultra Prime and Angenieux Optimo, and Canon plus other for other formats.
    Love what they did.
    RAH
     
  5. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer
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    Agreed on all counts.
     
  6. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

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    I hate that they replaced the title cards - such as location descriptions and the "Where are they now" type text at the end - with player generated subtitles. They look fine, but particularly with the latter the timing always seems slightly off (the picture already dissolves to the next shot but the title card still hovers there for a second too long).
     
  7. Oblivion138

    Oblivion138 Second Unit

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    I didn't think it was really an issue on the BD, though it was certainly noticeable. On the DVD copy, however, it just looks bad. The DVD subs are far too "chunky" to really integrate at all. I understand the reasoning behind it...the ability to display that text in a variety of languages makes the disc more globally friendly. Whether or not it detracts from the viewing experience is subjective. It didn't bother me on the BD presentation, but boy am I glad I'm not stuck watching the DVD.
     
  8. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Cinematographer

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    Affleck used HawkScope for the parts of the film set in the United States. The Iranian portions use Super 35 that has been blown up to add extra graininess and immediacy to the film.
     
  9. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Screenwriter

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    I believe he actually shot the Iranian scenes in 2-perf (i.e., Techniscope). At least, that's what I recall from the American Cinematographer article. Vincent
     
  10. RBlenheim

    RBlenheim Agent

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    I agree about the film, it's great. But, as to the Blu-ray, why are there some specks in the beginning title cards? (One can even see them in the blackness at the very beginning.) I can't understand how a film this new had these discernable flaws. Bob Blenheim
     
  11. mstgator

    mstgator Agent

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    I was thinking that was intentional on the part of the filmmakers to give it an "old school" feel (like using the old Warner logo). I could be off base though and somebody just screwed up.
     
  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I'm thinking you're correct. It's very difficult to get dirt and minus density on data.
    RAH
     
  13. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I'm pretty sure it was like that when I viewed the film in a movie theater last year.
     
  14. AdrianTurner

    AdrianTurner Banned

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    I've not seen this yet - the picture hardly opened in the UK so I picked up the Blu-ray yesterday. Does anyone have an opinion about the 'Extended Cut' over the theatrical version? It seems to have an extra 9 mins of footage.
     
  15. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    They are there on purpose as they were in the "digital prints" in theaters. It is probably an attempt to evoke films of the era in which it is set. It worked for me.
     
  16. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    That cut is not yet available in North America, so I don't know how much feedback you'll get at this point.
     
  17. AdrianTurner

    AdrianTurner Banned

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    I saw the Extended Cut last night. I must confess that I had absolutely no recollection of this story apart from the overall thing about the hostage saga and how that undermined Carter's Presidency. I thought the movie was excellent, the last hour especially tense, and the sense of late 70s period brilliantly evoked without making a meal of it. At the end I did wonder which 9 minutes I'd cut out to get the film down to the theatrical version and I thought maybe all that family background stuff with the wife and kid moping at home was entirely expendable. I like my CIA operatives to be fairly existential, without a backstory which only serves to make them human and sympathetic, and why should they be? Anyway, a great picture, though I think in 2 years' time people will have a problem remembering which movie won Best Picture for 2012.
     
  18. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    I think we have that problem now with the last decade to 15 years. With a few exceptions, Best Picture winners have become "very good" movies and not "great" movies. Wall-E is easily better than half of the Best Picture nominated films in 2009 but was only nominated in the Animated category.
     
  19. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I think Argo is easily the most memorable and best Best Picture winner in 5 years but when it gets down to it, I don't think that many people (outside of big fans of that particular movie) remember what movie won the Oscar in any given year.
     
  20. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
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    There was a time when I could recite every Best Picture winner from Wings to the current day, but the last twenty years is all a blur. I have no idea whether that's due to my getting older or to quote Norma Desmond, "It's the pictures that got small."
     

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