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"Argo" is a Fake Movie but its Box Office is Real

Argo F*** yourself!"

That's what I imagine Ben Affleck and team were saying to their box office competition this weekend. In the Best Picture hopeful's third weekend, it climbed to the top of the charts which is a fine very good extremely significant sign that it's going to have legs and thus a indefatigable sturdy stride towards February's Oscar ceremony. Those getting f***ed included Cloud Atlas (some are wild for it -- see below -- some think its silly but the nearly 3 hour running time and gargantuan budget have made profit a ridiculously ambitious dream), and Chasing Mavericks... When was the last time Gerard Butler had a real hit? Was it The Ugly Truth? The specialty box office was good for The Loneliest Planet (reviewed) and The Sessions which will continue to expand as it moves into awards season.

Did you know that ARGO was inspired by this Wired article by Joshuah Bearman?

Box Office 15
01 ARGO  $12.3 (cum $60.7)
02 HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA $9.5 (cum. $130.4)
04 PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 $8.6 (cum. $42.6)
05 TAKEN 2  $8  (cum. $117.3)
07 HERE COMES THE BOOM $5.5 (cum $30.6)
08 SINISTER $5  (cum $39.5)
09 ALEX CROSS $5 (cum $19.3)

a rather, uh, "enthusiastic" text received from Beau. Some people just go crazy for this movie!

11 PITCH PERFECT $3.9  (cum $51.3) podcast fun
12 FRANKENWEENIE $2.4 (cum $31.7) capsule | notes on the original short
14 LOOPER $2.1  (cum $61.5) Review
15 SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS $1.4 (cum $11.9)

What did you see this past week? 

I saw Anna Karenina but Cloud Atlas eluded me in part because I am allergic to three hour movies, in part because I haven't rushed to see it because I disliked every single film the Wachowski Siblings made after The Matrix (which I didn't even love as much as Bound so it's frankly been all downhill with them since their debut). But mostly I missed it because my favorite theater stopped showing movies at 2 pm today (!) -- presumably due to Hurricane Sandy (quite the troublemaker)  -- and the subways are also closing up tonight which is big trouble. Boo. Thankfully I have screeners to keep me company and Sunday night is always good television (Revenge + Homeland. Holla!)

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Reader Comments (29)

whats the news on ak any oscar noms besides costume.

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermark

I saw Argo. Except for some minor problems with the ending and some super-fake moustaches, I liked it a lot. It might turn into this year's Moneyball. The movie that everybody loves, but in the end no one votes for.

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I thought Cloud Atlas was fine, but a little too simplistic. Weird considering its enormous scale and untraditional structure.

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterConrado

I stand by what I said. The film had everything, intelligence, heart, entertainment, Ben Whishaw's behind.

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeau



October 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermorganisaqt

Cloud Atlas? I'm with Beau on this. Incredibly moving and beautiful. Possibly the best thing I've seen this year (so far).

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWalter L. Hollmann


October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeau

"Argo" is a very satisfying movie. Director Afleck does an excellent job of creating suspense and the smart script is both funny and exciting. But I think director Afleck should have stayed behind the scenes this time by casting himself as the hero the movie looses some of it's realism. He gives himself too many movie star moments including a gratuitous shirtless scene ( but hey I'm not complaining about that...)

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

You're allergic to three hour movies? What kind of film afficionado are you? Do you realize how many great three hour films there are?

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterthatone

Yes, but did you watch The Master yet?!? :)

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

Nathan you're driving me stir crazy from your lack of effort to see The Master. You keep blowing it off, like an overdue homework assignment. When you eventually see it, I hope its qualities kick you square in the ass, and fills you with regret. You could have seen it theatrically, but everything else took priority, including lesser movies and television.

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter4rtful

4rtful: Don't be too hard on Nat. He's had a rough go of it lately, what with pneumonia and all.

Some films just slip by us. Remember? ;)

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeau

It's driving me up a wall because it's exactly the kind of film you make a priority. If you're as serious about movies as you claim you are you'll make a point unless there's some dramatic unforeseen circumstance. In Nathan's case, he choose the beach over Joaquin Phoenix at the beach in The Master, he received pneumonia for his foolish procrastination. He even left the country recently. He's avoiding it as it's some unbearable task.

The Master is the movie of 2012. It'll go up in esteem as the years past and will certainly be on best of the decade's list.

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter4rtful

wow 4rtful, its his life. I'd choose the beach over a PTA film any day. If it was rainy and depressing then I'd go, but after having pneumonia, I'd choose the beach any time.

Not to be rude, but this is Nat's blog and we should be grateful for what he does cover and all the work he puts into it. Perhaps if you're so eager to see The Master covered on a blog you should start one yourself and leave Nat in peace. He'll see it eventually.

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermorganisaqt

LAWL. Oh 4rtful, you're so sexy when you're on the offense. ;)

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeau

thatone -- i'm half joking. My preference is 90 minutes, done! I do love some 3 hour movies but usually I find it indicates padding. But not for my ass in the chair.

4rtful -- this is the first time anybody's ever suggested that a horrible sickness was a punishment from god for a movie sin. And I kind of love it. It's like I'm a heretic and flaunting my evil in the face of the heavens! HERETIC: THE CINEPHILE UNFAITHFUL.

p.s. is going to Puerto Rico really leaving the country? It didn't require a passport!

morganisaqt -- thank you for the defense.

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

Pssh. Don't say nothin' to me. That's fine, Nat!


October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeau

I want to start all my posts from now on with "If you're as serious about movies as you claim you are" because, really, where's the proof.

Film Forum was showing up to 4:00 so I was able to see Holy Motors today and that will certainly give me something to think about while trapped inside for the bext day or two.

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAR

I'm fascinated by the theory of reincarnation so I was into Cloud Atlas...that being said, it confused the hell out of me. I left thinking, What was that? I give it credit for being ambitious and doing something different.

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBia

I also saw "Cloud Atlas," and while I liked parts of it, I actually think the movie suffered from a slight lack of imagination, as strange as that sounds. All the stories feel sort of the same. They all have the same pacing. They have the same modern, polished sheen. They all reach their climactic moments seemingly at once.

I would have loved to see the filmmakers embrace the pseudo-anthology nature and different voices of the book and really attempt to put a different spin on each piece. Maybe shoot Frobisher's piece in black and white. Give Ewing's section a Merchant-Ivory feel, with a macabre twist. Film Luisa's section in a "French Connection"-style ultra-gritty 70s style.

It's an interesting movie, but I can't help feeling that they could have taken it a step farther and really embraced the artistic potential in the concept.

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.

I've been having a classic movie week. I saw Bleu and Chungking Express during the week, and The Apartment and All About Eve this weekend; all for the first time - that's some major bucket-listing.
I have plans this week for The Paperboy and Argo. I feel the same as you about long runtimes and about Cloud Atlas, but my boyfriend is finishing the book as I type, so I know the movie's in my near future to.
I don't want to pile on to the See-The-Master chorus, but I'm interested in your thoughts on it whenever you get around to it. I thought it was interesting, but not particularly engaging.
I'm also curious if you're enjoying, in some way, having your readers see something major before you do, which must be a pretty new blogging experience for you.

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

I saw Cloud Atlas and loved it. Doesn't deserve all the kicks it's taking. And the run time didn't feel overly long, which was my main worry about it. Although not *quite* as enthusiastic as Beau, I think it is easily the best film I've seen this year.

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTravis

Ben Whishaw's behind FTW! I haven't seen Cloud Atlas, mind you, that's just a general principle.

I didn't see any movies this weekend. Hopefully Sandy moves the fuck along so I can get out to a theater soon.

October 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

The Cold Light of Day, at home. I still can't go to a dark but suddenly lit with flashes movie theater. So, I chose this one because the location is my hometown, which always adds some additional fun/interest in recognizing the different spots. And indeed, it did. Henry Cavill could escape running from the Campus where I studied in the north of the city to Pza Mayor, in the oldest part of town, in the city centre, in just 10 seconds. Not only that, he would jump an incredibly high fence to enter El Retiro Park (and surprisingly, the local policeman chasing him, too) while if you know the spot, you know there's an open entrance gate a few feet away. But besides that, which adds some unintentional harmless fun, and the fact that it's a better touristic postcard (Bullfighting arena included, from outside, no bulls in sight) than Woody Allen would ever dream of, if he ever chose to film here), the movie is just plain bad.
The plot is more simple than Sigourney Weaver's wardrobe for the entire movie, The action as stereotypical as can be (how many times can you shoot a car chase through the stairs of narrow streets in any given European city?) and the acting as wooden or as give me my paycheck and I'll go home with my family as soon as I can, as you can get. I love Sigourney Weaver, but I think she should stop taking these thankless supporting roles to which she adds only her presence, or she'll become the next DeNiro. Cavill's performance was particularly embarrassing in the most emotional moments (this performance and the other one with Freida Pinto -my god- in that movie, make me have serious doubts about his Superman). and Willis' is just a cameo. To my surprise, the standout was Echegui who had little to do, but could manage to get some comic moments out of nowhere.
The movie has holes everywhere, Henry Cavill's character can have coherent conversations with the locals in spite of not speaking Spanish and the other characters around not speaking English (!!) until a surprisingly good translator shows up in the plot (Verónica Echegui). The plot is incredibly weak, it's one of those instances where you think the premise shouldn't have gone further than a first conversation, but instead someone decided to greelit it without any further development. I'll give it something positive, though. The last car chase was exciting, and in spite of its lack of quality, it doesn't really aspire to be anything that is not (no, it's not a reflection on modern society or the burdens of being a hot guy) so it isn't infuriating.

October 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

I haven't seen "Cloud Atlas" yet, but I loved the book. And I like that reactions to it have been all over the place from effusive praise to shrugs to befuddled dismay. Finding out that we see Ben Whishaw's behind is an added benefit. I fell in love with him in "Bright Star." There's just something about the way he talks.

October 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Just saw Argo on Saturday. Quite impressive. Well-paced, smart entertainment with a balanced moral point of view. I doubt it has a lot of Oscar pull but a very solid effort by Mr. Affleck. Arkin and Goodman are national treasures.

October 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

darren aronofsky ‏@DarrenAronofsky
the master is masterful. beautiful statement on human change. have I ever seen a performance like joaquin's work? #scenestealer

October 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter4rtful

It was my sister and Mom's birthday party this weekend so we were supposed to go to see Silent Hill 2 but all the showtimes didn't work with the party scheduling.

So instead we rented The Haunting of Whaley House on DVD, since it's loosely based on the main haunted house here in San Diego. Straight-to-DVD quality, bad acting, and so much 'dramatic' moments in a horror film that dragged it so much. Alas, fun to make fun of.

Hope to catch some movies in theaters soon! Wishlist: Argo, Silent Hill 2, Cloud Atlas, The Master, The Paperboy, Pitch Perfect, Dredd, ParaNorman, Smashed, and The Good Doctor.

October 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

Saw Argo Friday night and it was sold out. So sold out, that we had to sit in the very front row and lean all the way back to look up at the big screen. Even under such awful conditions (relatively speaking) it was damn good. Even though I knew how it ended I was still on the edge of my seat during that entire last scene at the airport. And I LOVED the period costumes and hair!

Saturday I saw Perks of Being A Wallflower, which I thought was VERY special. You'd think that I'd be hugely biased because it's one of my favorite books, but I am actually tougher on adaptations of books I love. The only bad thing I can say about the film is that I think they could have included some stuff from the book without it being too long. But as it is, it's the best high school coming-of-age movie since the heyday of John Hughes. And the casting is PERFECT, a real treat for people who loved the book. I wish they had promoted this one a bit more aggressively, as it's probably the second-best film I've seen all year, behind only Beasts of the Southern Wild.

October 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny
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