Is Ben Affleck the next Clint Eastwood? That would be an actor who learns the art of filmmaking from the inside out and in the process develops an extraordinary talent to craft both commercial and compelling films.
With Argo, due out from Warner Home Video on Feb. 19 as DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack product offerings (both featuring UltraViolet), it appears that Affleck has moved several steps closer to being the next Eastwood, especially for Warner Bros., a studio that loves to have long-term filmmaking relationships.
And, with that street date, the home entertainment division is planning for Oscar activities to give this film quite the jolt … the gold is handed out on Feb. 24. Timing is spot-on.
For the record, the ARR works out to 130 days and the box office take was a solid $105 million (and still growing).
Two things. First, Argo is an absolute lock for a Best Picture nomination. There are four of these this year — Argo, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty and Les Miserables. Any other film(s) nominated would just be there to fill out the field.
Even Lincoln is suspect in winning Best Picture. But, Daniel Day Lewis can make room on his mantle for an Oscar right now — for those in Oscar pools that pick will be circled on every entry card. If President Lincoln had the instrument at his disposal he could phone it in … telegraph — tap, tap, tap — will have to do.
Second, what makes Affleck’s Argo so impressive is that he’s basically taken the “passion play” motif and made it compelling.
You can’t make a film about Jesus without hitting all the right marks — the 12 Disciples don’t suddenly ride to his rescue. You know the outcome from the get-go.
Ditto for Romeo and Juliet. They do this, they say that, they die tragically. That’s the way it is … how you get there (in filmmaking) is the trick.
With Argo, Affleck and first time screenwriter Chris Terrio are saddle with a story that has an absolute finish, with all of the details in between firmly established. It begins on Nov. 4, 1979 with the U.S. Embassy in Tehran being stormed and hostages taken, with the exception of six who managed to make it to a tenuous sanctuary at the home of the Canadian ambassador. On Jan. 27, 1980 the six boarded a flight out of Tehran (with Canadian passports in hand) and successfully evaded captured.
How they did it — how they got out undetected — is the trick to making the film work. You have to tell it straight, no shootouts, car chases or loud Hollywood-style explosions with half the city of Tehran going up in flames. This happened, that happened, they got out … end of story. Ben Affleck nailed it. Period.
As to bonus goodies included in the home entertainment releases. The DVD edition is limited to the featurette titled “Rescued from Tehran: We Were There.”
The Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack has that same featurette, plus four additional features — including one titled “Argo: Absolute Authenticity” — commentary by director Ben Affleck and the “Picture in Picture: Eye Witness Account” viewing option.
To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report