Argo (2012) (Blu-Ray/DVD + Ultraviolet Copy)

Director Ben Affleck has compiled a wonderful and small list of films that bring substance, relevance, and real depth of cinema to the table. Once a man on the verge of fading in to obscurity, Affleck has now really re-invented himself as a man who has something to contribute to the world of cinema that doesn’t involve a smile and a cleft flash. Ben Affleck has revealed himself to be an understated and often under appreciated cinematic artist, who can often explore the worlds he chooses with great complexity and restraint. “Gone Baby Gone” remains his truly unnoticed masterpiece, but Affleck has managed to completely topple the last film, with thrillers and dramas that provide audiences with something unique and bold, while exploring themes of redemption, salvation, and hatred.

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Argo (2012)

Ben Affleck is quickly on his way to becoming one of my favorite modern film directors. His complete re-invention as a mediocre actor to a very understated and incredibly complex director has been an experience worth watching unfold, and “Argo” is the further metamorphosis of a man who has miles to go to show everyone he’s anything but a pretty face. Affleck’s portrayal of an expert expatriate is nowhere near the sensationalistic character the director has the potential to depict him as. Affleck stars as Tony Mendez, a conflicted and troubled agent who has to sneak in to Iran to save the lives of a small group of people stuck in the middle of a violent revolt.

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A Day Without a Mexican (2004)

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What if American’s Mexicans suddenly disappeared one day? Well, in effect, what if America’s “laziest race” disappeared one day? Well, then we’d have a nation of lazy Caucasians, wouldn’t we? And we’d have an actual group of people, whom are Americans who will not work. And we’d be at war with one another. And we’d be calling each other sub-human, wouldn’t we? “A Day without a Mexican” is not just a satire on the Mexican sub-culture, but an indictment on America on the Hispanic sub-culture. But I’m trying to figure out what the hell was going through the writers minds when making this.

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Team America: World Police (2004)

team-america-world-police-1168-16x9-largeTrey Parker and Matt Stone once explained in an episode of Charlie Rose that they’d never reveal their religious or political affiliations, because they didn’t want to alienate their audience. But “Team America” is an indictment of literally every issue under the sun, from Hollywood, to the government, to Bruckheimer films, right down to crappy shows like RENT. “Team America” is at its best though when it spoofs not only Bruckheimer’s insanely over the top films, but when it spoofs blind patriotism.

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Trudell (2006)

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Is it ridiculous to think the government killed Trudell’s family? Is it dumb to think the government had it out for Trudell at all? Not when you pile on the evidence. Lennon, Hoffman, Kennedy all were radical thinkers whom are still discussed as men possibly done in by their own government, but the documentary “Trudell” is apologist in every way and form making exception for Trudell who, simply put, incited violence and in many ways had the potential for terrorism. Not only was committing the crime of burning an American flag a possible clue, but he called for revolution and war. The fact he hated America didn’t make him less interesting to me, but the mere fact that he had the potential to be a terrorist in the sense of Guevera makes him a slight threat, thus a reasonable worry for the government.

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The Constant Gardener (2005)

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With amazing cinematography, and brutal tension “The Constant Gardener” is a gorgeous and heartbreaking murder mystery involving Feinne’s character Dr. Justin Quayle whose wife Tessa dies in Africa. He travels to Africa to identify her body and then is intent on discovering he murderer after he discovers it was foul play. Much like an array of films that were released in 2005, “The Constant Gardener” pushes its message that is still resonant in American society both about the corruption in the medical and pharmaceutical industry, and our lack of support with Africa and their AIDS pandemic.

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Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005)

gnglEdward R. Murrow: You cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

I was saddened after watching “Good Night and Good Luck”. Not because it’s the focus of someone who spoke out against what he didn’t believe in, but because it’s the mark of what reporting used to be, and how excellent it was to watch a real reporter go against what he perceived as wrong and un-American. Sure, you can tell me that perhaps Edward R. Murrow wasn’t as valiant as he appeared, but I won’t buy it. Not because of this film, but mainly because he stood up for what he believed in and nearly sacrificed his colleagues jobs and his own reputation in the process.

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The Majestic (2001)

ovqMCmOpQG7YSzsCR2IoqPgglyEI love this movie for bringing to mind the old Frank Capra movies from the fifties telling the story of the average Joe brought about into a large situation where the character comes of age and self-discovery. Peter Appleton (Jim Carrey) is a movie writer for B-movies living in the 1950’s during the war where McCarthyism sprung forth upon America. He is blacklisted among others as a communist sympathizer and loses his job. Down in the dumps, one faithful night he goes for a ride and gets into a car accident. He is discovered that morning by an old man and is taken in a sweet little town. Struck with amnesia, he is accidentally mistaken by the townsfolk as a lost war hero and is instantly accepted within their confines, ultimately changing theirs and his own life. But what will happen when he eventually gains his memory back?

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