Setter’s ‘Spectives: Driving Along With Spielberg’s ‘Duel’

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613Would you believe I’d never seen the Steven Spielberg movie Duel until last night?

A real shame, huh? Especially considering the fact that I’ve seen a host of other films helmed by the master director.

Duel, the story of an average businessman’s encounter with a homicidal, unseen truck driver on the lonely roads of California, was very tense and suspenseful. Great editing and cinematography, making the most of a tight script that was only hindered by a few bursts of internal monologues here and there … which it didn’t need.

I liked this movie a lot, and it was interesting to see such a strong picture so early in Spielberg’s career (the movie debuted in 1971). I’m not sure I’d want to watch it again; it’s not clear how the suspense and thrills will hold up. But it remains a well-crafted movie.

What film will come next for me? Only the screen has the answer.

Skip’s Quips: The Verdict on ‘Argo’ Is … Pretty Smooth Sailing

Blog Sketch 082813I somehow knew Argo was going to be good, yet for no apparent reason I’ve been avoiding it.

Until last night. Saw it for the first time. And you know what? It’s a more than decent suspenser. OK, as a friend noted, there were too many “ticking clocks.” But it was tense enough, with sharp direction from Ben Affleck, who also starred in the film. There were also good turns from Alan Arkin, who was a hoot as a cynical yet patriotic producer, John Goodman and Bryan Cranston. Cinematography and editing were solid; perhaps there was a bit too much herky-jerkiness with the camera. All in all, though, it was quite well done.

I’m not usually a big fan of Affleck’s work; as an actor, I find him rather mannered. But in this movie, he was relatively subdued, and it worked nicely. I hope his next opus will be just as strong.