Episode 99 : Robotollah Khomeini

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Added on Thu, 22 Nov 2012 15:03:49 -0800.
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You'd like our opinions on Taken 2, Rust and Bone and Argo, would you? Hmmm... Well, since they're lying around cluttering up the place they're yours if you can take them away today.

2008's Taken was a simple affair - Liam Neeson's daughter is abducted, so he punches and shoots his way through seemingly every thug and gangster in Paris until he gets her back, all at a breakneck pace. It didn't seem to leave much room for a sequel, but a sequel it has spawned. Taken 2 sees the families of the gangsters Big Liam despatched in Paris target him and his family in Istanbul in order to exact retribution, so our hero must once again stave in a lot of faces in order to rescue his loved ones. Unfortunately, though, far too long is spent in setting up the story and there's nothing like enough of the visceral action that made the first film such a hoot. In the end (and this is not something you'll hear often around these parts), Taken 2 simply isn't stupid enough. Not worth your time.

After losing parts of both of her legs in one of those freak 'I forgot to tell my orca not to eat me' accidents (though perhaps the animal was just as offended as I was by Katy Perry's music) Marion Cotillard's Stephanie sinks into a depression, which she only leaves after reaching out to security guard and bouncer Alain, the most casual of casual acquaintances. Alain, who has recently taken custody of his 5 year old son, has moved into the house of his estranged sister so that he can abandon his duties as a parent and instead focus on a career in the lucrative underground fighting scene. As Stephanie and Alain's relationship grows their character, their outlook and their priorities change, and this relationship comprises the meat of the film. Rust and Bone has been garnering awards and nominations, but it's difficult to see quite what the fuss is about. It's by no means a bad film, and the central performances are excellent, but neither the story nor the characters are particularly compelling and the film doesn't seem to be saying quite as much about the human condition as it is trying to. In the end it left us a little cold. It's certainly interesting and well-acted enough to recommend giving it a go, just don't expect to be blown away by it. Minus five stars for repeated, callous use of a Katy Perry song, however.

For his third feature as director, Ben Affleck moves out of his Boston comfort zone into Hostage Crisis-era Iran to bring us the unlikely, but true, tale of Argo. Argo was the name for an entirely fictitious, Iran-set Star Wars knock-off that was created as a cover story to extricate 6 Americans trapped in Iran after fleeing the US Embassy during its invasion by Iranian militants. Masterminded by CIA exfiltration expert Tony Mendez, the plan required political manoeuvrings, Hollywood glamour and a lot of faith and bravery from the 6 embassy workers to be pulled off, and the film moves painlessly between these 3 disparate strands. Affleck has taken great pains to make the period detail as authentic as possible, even going so far as to cast actors who looked as much like those actually involved as possible. While this latter step is clearly unnecessary, Affleck also made sure that those he cast could act well, too, and the performances throughout are superb. Argo is an excellent thriller and one of the best films we've seen this year, so we urge you to check it out at your earliest convenience.

That's all we have to offer you this week, but I'm quite sure there'll be something more available if you care to pop back soon. In the meantime please do contact us to let us know your thoughts etc., either via email, podcast@theoneliner.com , or on Twitter, @theoneliner. Adieu.