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A few words about...™ Argo -- in Blu-ray

A Few Words About

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#1 of 67 ONLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted February 28 2013 - 03:08 AM

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


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#2 of 67 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted February 28 2013 - 04:10 AM

I'm in total agreement with your comments about what makes a great screenplay and thus an entertaining film.


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#3 of 67 OFFLINE   john a hunter

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Posted February 28 2013 - 07:56 AM

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

#4 of 67 ONLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted February 28 2013 - 08:14 AM

Originally Posted by john a hunter 

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

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


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#5 of 67 OFFLINE   DavidJ

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Posted February 28 2013 - 03:09 PM

Agreed on all counts.

#6 of 67 OFFLINE   Christian Preischl

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Posted February 28 2013 - 10:27 PM

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 of 67 OFFLINE   Oblivion138

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Posted March 01 2013 - 11:57 AM

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 of 67 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted March 02 2013 - 03:45 AM

Originally Posted by john a hunter 

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


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 of 67 OFFLINE   Vincent_P

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Posted March 02 2013 - 04:13 AM

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.

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 of 67 OFFLINE   RBlenheim

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Posted March 05 2013 - 11:39 AM

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 of 67 OFFLINE   mstgator

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Posted March 05 2013 - 12:04 PM

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

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 of 67 ONLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted March 05 2013 - 01:53 PM

Originally Posted by mstgator 


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.


I'm thinking you're correct.  It's very difficult to get dirt and minus density on data.


RAH


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#13 of 67 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted March 06 2013 - 01:36 AM

Originally Posted by RBlenheim 

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

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


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#14 of 67 OFFLINE   AdrianTurner

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Posted March 06 2013 - 03:22 AM

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 of 67 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden

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Posted March 06 2013 - 03:59 AM

Originally Posted by RBlenheim 

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

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.


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#16 of 67 OFFLINE   PaulDA

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Posted March 06 2013 - 03:59 AM

That cut is not yet available in North America, so I don't know how much feedback you'll get at this point.
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#17 of 67 OFFLINE   AdrianTurner

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Posted March 06 2013 - 05:23 PM

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 of 67 OFFLINE   Jason_V

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Posted March 07 2013 - 01:40 AM

Originally Posted by AdrianTurner 

Anyway, a great picture, though I think in 2 years' time people will have a problem remembering which movie won Best Picture for 2012.


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 of 67 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted March 07 2013 - 03:25 AM

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 of 67 OFFLINE   Rob_Ray

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Posted March 07 2013 - 03:44 AM

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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