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FLICKS: Stand Up Guys & Argo

Posted on 31 January 2013 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


Stand Up Guys opens tomorrow and it seems to be a film that is designed for our South Florida neighborhood. The film opens with the style and cinematography of an early low budget exploitation film from the 1970s. It features actors who developed a cult following for their performance from this era of motion pictures: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin. With a touch of Rip Van Winkle, Stand Up Guys will be a contemporary hit.

Val (Pacino) is released from prison after many decades. He is met by Doc (Walken), a former partner-in-crime. While the two greet each other warmly, both know that Doc is assigned to kill Val. Instead of turning this event into a maudlin moment, these two Stand Up Guys decide to party hearty.

Director Fisher Stevens styles Stand Up Guys with a sense of swansong darkness. This noir set-up provides a life-affirming movie about old guys who teach a new generation how to be a Stand Up Guys. The center section provides the most humor, in which Pacino and Walken rescue Arkin from a nursing home.

Arkin is currently in the race for a Best Supporting Oscar for his work in Argo, directed and starring Ben Affleck. Much like Dustin Hoffman’s Oscar-nominated performance in Wag the Dog, Arkin portrays Lester Siegel, a veteran showbiz producer who must pretend to produce a movie in Iran, circa 1979. For those needing a history lesson, during the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian government held Americans hostage during the Carter Administration for 444 days. While the 52 hostages were the headline story, eight potential hostages slipped away and hid at the Canadian Embassy.

With Hollywood hocus pocus, CIA operative Mendez (Affleck) devises a plan. Working with award-winning makeup artist John Chambers (John Goodman), Mendez poses as a Hollywood producer who wants to film a Star Wars inspired movie with Islamic sympathies. The Trojan horse is daring, and Argo truly deserves its Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

Last weekend, the motion picture box office suffered. But, many Oscar nominated films are still playing on the big screen, and there are some good motion pictures, like Stand Up Guys, opening on the big screen.

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