Snapshots - #37: It, Breathe, Mark Felt – The Man Who Brought Down the White House

It (2017), (♦♦♦♦): Four inseparable friends in middle school bond with other three newcomers. They all have in common that they are bullied by the same people. Over the course of one summer they'll fend off bullies and face a centuries-old demon in the form of a clown, named Pennywise, whom has been disappearing kids and terrorizing the town of Derry, Maine, every twenty-seven years since the town was founded.
Based on Stephen King's novel of the same title, It is a movie with a smart script and a sympathetic ensemble of nerds that deliver light humor, and deep thrills. It doesn't hurt that each and every character has his or her own arc, thus one gets to know their motivations and fears before Pennywise enters head on into the picture.
In a nod to 1980s movie classics such as The Goonies, and the Brat Pack ensemble, the newest adaptation of It takes place at the end of that decade, when it seems, at least from the Hollywood perspective, that every kid harbored a genius insi…

Argo (♦♦♦♦♦)

Tony Mendez, a CIA operative expert in extractions, has a seemingly bad idea: to stage a fake sci-fi movie set in Iran with the purpose of providing a cover story to free six Americans hiding in the residence of the Canadian Ambassador during Iran’s hostage crisis in 1979-1980.

Argo is a wow movie the like of which I hadn’t seen this year. It’s co-produced, and splendidly acted and directed by Ben Affleck. Out of the myriad of movie directors out there, no one does climatic, full of tension movies as Affleck does. He proved it when directed the devastatingly gritty The Town and Gone Baby Gone, but in my opinion he has outdone himself with Argo.

The movie delivers funny lines such as “If I’m going to make a fake movie it’s going to be a fake hit”, but it is the edge-of-your-seat tension enhanced by a climatic musical score that make the audience feel close to a “benign” heart attack if that’s even possible, at least I felt that way.

Ben Affleck’s performance is one for the ages: subdued emotions but bubbling lava under the surface as only he has been able to master. In another film, it would be considered a passive performance, but one can see reflected in his demeanor that he is as tense as a violin’s chords.

To top the atmosphere of doom that precedes triumph, are the scenes of angry Iranian mobs demanding the heads of any American who stand in their way, or the scenes showing hanged men from construction sites as proof of the fate dissenters may suffer.

Alan Arkin, Kyle Chandler, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman co-star.

Overall, Argo is a movie destined to become a classic, a film for generations of Americans to treasure as a testament of the power of courage and imagination. Not that it’s a seal of quality, but my eyes moistened when the Swiss Air plane took off and it dawned on the hostages that they were finally free.