Five-star movie, one-star review

This is my first (and possibly only) ever movie review that I would like to share with you.

It started with a tweet – this tweet, following the release and subsequent promotion of Argo, which is directed by Ben Affleck:

At the time it was read out on air and retweeted by Kermode & Mayo (a.k.a. @wittertainment) so I felt I ought to follow up on my tweet. Sadly, cinemas are expensive, and generally not my favourite places to be. Last night I was delighted to see that Argo is already available on iTunes! I downloaded it, watched it, and afterwards was so in awe of what I had just watched that I just had to submit my review on iTunes:

If you can forgive [Ben] Affleck for not sticking to the exact story, I think you may love this movie. You see, while Affleck does drift off from the exact events that inspired this work, we all know its conclusion and to then make it into a movie that is so intense and so full of suspense, yet with enough focus on the characters – all of them – to keep them human… that’s no mean feat, yet Affleck nails it.

I disagree with other reviewers who call this a “re-writing of history”; when you watch Argo you may find, as I did, that there are various specific points in its screenplay where Affleck could have just veered off and really make this into a bloated, chauvinist re-writing of history (possibly riddled with plenty of action scenes, special effects, CGI and other pompous drivel)… yet at those very points you can see he has held back and kept it together; I feel that’s what makes this movie all the more intense. Argo is no flippant or shallow piece of ‘strong and clever American superheroes vs. nasty and dumb non-American evil-doers’ fiction, when Affleck could quite easily have made it into that, and other directors probably would have done so.

On paper, this movie probably wouldn’t have appealed to me, exactly for the aforementioned reasons raised against it by other reviewers (reasons that I disagree with now that I’ve seen the movie). It was Ben Affleck himself who made me want to watch it when I heard him being interviewed about it by Mark Kermode & Simon Mayo last year. He was so tremendously engaging and intelligent in that interview that I felt compelled to go watch this movie. Tonight I have watched it and I am immensely grateful that I did. It’s sublime.

I forgot to include a health warning with the above review, so I feel the need to correct that mistake here: I really only ever watch anything when I go to bed. Usually that helps me unwind and then I tend to nod off into a relaxing sleep (quite often even before the ending of whatever it is I am watching). On this occasion the suspense was so great that I found myself wide awake and mildly hyperventilating for at least half an hour afterwards. So please, be warned.

Further reading: ‘Argo’: The Movie vs. The True Story, Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History and The Houseguests: A Memoir of Canadian Courage and CIA Sorcery.

Further viewing (SPOILER ALERT): Argo: The Reel Story: How the movie Argo downplays Canada’s role in the rescue mission (CTV W5 2013).


Podwhat? Podcast!


(Previously posted on Facebook) (Last updated 28 January 2012 – further updates will undoubtedly follow.)


The new podcast “Ian Collins Wants a Word” will launch on 31 January 2012.
(Aside from that, you can catch Ian on radio weekly on Stephen Nolan’s show on BBC
5live on Saturdays after 10pm, and see him make regular TV appearances on BBC News and Sky News.)*

Some answers to questions (as previously posted in the Facebook page’s comments):

Q: How do I get Ian’s podcast(s)?
A: From Tuesday 31 January 2012 you can download it and/or subscribe to it using iTunes, or listen to it on

Q: Why can’t I find Ian’s podcast on iTunes?
A: Because it’s not there yet. It launches 31 January 2012 and won’t be visible before then.

Q: Is there an RSS feed/URL for Ian’s podcast?
A: Not yet. It launches 31 January 2012 and any direct link(s) available from then will be shared when they’re available.

Q: What is a podcast?
A: A podcast is a media file made available on the internet for download to a computer, portable media player, smartphone or other compatible device. Besides Google, a good resource for information about podcasts in general and iTunes podcasts in particular is Apple’s website: click here to read Apple’s web page dedicated to the topic; they also have a page where they answer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Q: But I don’t have / I hate Apple/iTunes/etc..?
A: You don’t need an iPhone, iPod or iPad to get podcasts; anyone with a PC or Mac can download podcasts using iTunes or listen to it on

Q: What about my Android phone/tablet?
A: Android users can sync podcasts like any other files from their computer to their device or use podcast apps as listed on this online article by The Next Web and no doubt other information will be available elsewhere on the web.

Q: That rules me out then, I have a BlackBerry…
A: No, it doesn’t. BlackBerry users can sync from their computer to their device using BlackBerry Media Sync (an extension to your BlackBerry desktop software); once the URL for Ian’s specific podcasts is known you may even be able to download them directly onto your BB using the BlackBerry Podcast App, who knows.

Q: Yeah, but…
A: Bottom line is: any device that can play media files will be able to play podcasts. As for the Ian Collins Wants a Word podcast, if iTunes doesn’t tickle your (device’s) fancy, any web-enabled device should be able to get you to where the podcast will be made available as well.

Q: How can I contribute to Ian’s podcast?
A: Give him a shout on the studio mobile 07789 18 32 62 (from outside UK: +44 7789 18 32 62). He wants rants, opinions, things that annoy you, whatever you like! it’s a normal UK mobile number so not premium rates or anything. If he likes the message he may include it on the programme.

* Ian’s confirmed appearances from now until the end of February are as follows
  (list is subject to change and may not include all TV appearances):
  – Fri 28 Jan ’12 (TV) Sky News 10.30 & 11.30pm;
  – Sat 29 Jan ’12 (TV) BBC News 11.15pm;
  – Sat 29 Jan ’12 (RADIO) BBC 5live 11.30pm & 12.00am;
  – Tue 31 Jan ’12 (PODCAST) Ian Collins Wants a Word;
  – Sat 04 Feb ’12 (RADIO) BBC 5live 11.30pm & 12.00am;
  – Tue 07 Feb ’12 (PODCAST) Ian Collins Wants a Word;
  – Sat 11 Feb ’12 (RADIO) BBC 5live 11.30pm & 12.00am;
  – Tue 14 Feb ’12 (PODCAST) Ian Collins Wants a Word;
  – Sat 18 Feb ’12 (RADIO) BBC 5live 11.30pm & 12.00am;
  – Sun 19 Feb ’12 (RADIO) LBC 97.3 1-4pm;
  – Tue 21 Feb ’12 (PODCAST) Ian Collins Wants a Word;
  – Sat 25 Feb ’12 (RADIO) BBC 5live 11.30pm & 12.00am;
  – Sun 26 Feb ’12 (RADIO) LBC 97.3 4-7pm;
  – Tue 28 Feb ’12 (PODCAST) Ian Collins Wants a Word.

 Join Ian Collins on Facebook or Twitter to always have his latest updates.

© 2012 Ian Collins / Jo Hughes. All rights reserved.