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“Argo” – Escape artists

Dir. Ben Affleck
(2012, R, 120 minutes)

Argo is the third film by Ben Affleck as a director, and it’s probably his best; Gone Baby Gone was an impressive debut, and The Town was a somewhat disappointing followup. This new film doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s a taut, confidently made, straight-ahead thriller. It’s based on a true story, and generating suspense from documented events can be especially tricky – he’s building to an ending already in the history books – but Affleck succeeds.

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Dir. Gareth Edwards
(2010, R, 93 min)
★ ★ ★ ½

Monsters is a science-fiction thriller that’s light on science-fiction thrills, but in this case that’s not a criticism. I wrote a couple of years ago regarding the BBC miniseries Torchwood: Children of Earth that sometimes special effects are the enemy of imagination. With a lot of Hollywood money at stake, oftentimes directors and digital artists are limited to explosions and pyrotechnics that will appeal to the broadest possible audience. But with fewer resources, you might have to actually think of something for your movie to be about, and then as a bonus have the freedom to make it.

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