Sicario: Review

Sicario is a great film. It’s a film that should get big numbers but probably won’t because of the current box office offerings and that’s a real shame. I dare to say this will be a film that will be looked back on as a classic in ten years but was overshadowed by blockbusters. It has suspense and delivers a tense and very believable world.

A large credit of that should go to the cinematographer. The film is incredibly authentic and grounded and complimented by the camera work. As for the actual acting; the stand out performance comes from Emily Blunt.

Emily Blunt does a fantastic job portraying a woman way over her head without falling to far into being a girl who is the typical helpless damsel that the industry usually pushes out. Some of my favorite parts of the film were the interactions or lack of interactions that Emily’s characters was receiving. How that sexual barrier in a male dominated police/military was portrayed was really compelling.

It’s a violent/graphic film but it’s done extremely well. Characters choices and motivations feel weighty and hold a sense of purpose. There are a couple scenes in this film that will probably bring up some controversy but I don’t believe film makers should back away from difficult topics and I applaud the people who went through with including some of the themes in this film.

One portion of the film that stood out to me and could be seen as a potential negative in a mostly positive review would be the tunnel scene in the film. I’m not sure if it was a bad cut or it could have done with some better editing but when Emily Blunt’s character exits and confronts one of the central cast members outside the tunnel it’s done in a very off putting manner. It felt like something was missing or edited out. It’s a small thing sure but it felt a little rough around the edges.

There’s nothing as satisfying as a well done ending and Sicario delivers. Greatness in simplicity, was what they achieved. It was filled with truth , sadness and reveals perfectly the reality of it all.

I highly recommend this crime thriller!

Gone Girl: Review

“Did you kill your wife?” This is the slogan for the movie and the most important question asked in this film, but all is not what it seems in this mysterious drama. Ignoring misogynistic claims from the community, which are actually  sort of legitimate, I’m going to just focus on whether this film is good or bad. Gone Girl is a thriller that absorbs you in its story. The adaptation from the best selling novel from Gillian Flynn, translates relatively nice onto the big screen.

Thanks to the great directing from David Fincher and the source material. Major plot devices and elements aren’t sprung on you at the last possible moment for shock purposes. Rosamund Pike’s performance as the alleged killer’s wife Amy will certainly be receiving some nods come awards time. Ben Affleck portrayed the alleged killer’s role with a level of charisma and skill that is really great to watch. His performance up to and including the trial is really a a strong and pleasant reminder of what we could possibly be receiving when he masks himself as the caped crusader.

Gone Girl is  considerably dark; a theme and mood that Fincher is becoming synonymous with. Fincher flourishes in this adaptation of this mysterious and gloomy story. He somehow manages to invoke sympathy from multiple angles in this story, a difficult task considering this particular narrative. There are limitations to what can be done with adaptations, such as these. I couldn’t really comment on the faithfulness of the film to the source material but I was left wanting more at the conclusion of the movie.  We are given a fantastic build up and a relatively anticlimactic ending. This I must reiterate has no impact or takes away from the overall film in any way.

I was left satisfied and was thoroughly engrossed throughout. Affleck is truly on a great streak right now. We can only hope that his involvement in the Batman film does not force him out of roles like this. This might be on the last films we see before we can only see him as the Bat. I highly recommend going out to the theater and seeing this or pick it up on Blu-ray!

The Counselor: Review

From the writer who brought us The Road and No Country for Old Men, comes the tale of a naive lawyer who tries his hand in the dangerous but lucrative business of drug running. This is a film that had sparks of brilliance but ultimately failed due to having a  plot that doesn’t effectively translate to the big screen.

The screenplay is full of witty and intelligent dialogue. Sadly it was hard to suspend belief while watching because this attribute applied to almost  every character. Almost  every member of the cast was too smart for there own good, It was bit hard to follow the narrative when you are bombarded with long winded conversations. These extended scenes of dialogue paid off at times but on the other hand it just seems as if the characters were just going off on tangents. This really threw off the pacing of the film.

The focus on the characters of the story is trademark Ridley Scott. His direction in the film really allowed for the development of some interesting personalities. We are treated with some some impressive lighting and camera work. The dark scenes set in mexico offer a great visual and atmospheric contrast to what is happening under the surface.

The movie sports an impressive and ensemble Cast. Javier Bardem, is always an interesting guy to watch on screen. Bardem plays the role of Reiner; a drug dealer who invites the counselor in on some of the action.  He  brings a unique flare to the characters he portrays. He exudes an exotic essence of culture and his personality was one of the more memorable in the film. And he also manages to bring to the film what is becoming a signature attribute of his; his knack for having the wildest hair-dos. The most technically impressive acting which shouldn’t come as a surprise, was the performance from Michael Fassbender. He has an ability to portray some varied and powerful emotions.

Brad Pitt gives a good performance but I think he needs to work on a new accent because it seems like its been dragging on for a couple films now. One of  the biggest surprises for me though comes from the casting decision of Cameron Diaz as the antagonist. I have to give it to Diaz. She really portrayed the cold and calculating girlfriend of Reiner expertly. My blood was boiling just about every moment I saw her on the screen. She might be known for more lighter  roles but she definitely has more potential then being the usual pretty face in romcoms.

The Counselor is a clever and sexy drama but probably won’t provide enough thrills to keep the average movie-goers attention. The film has moments of suspense but it is overshadowed by some bad decisions in its pacing. With all the talent attached to this film Its surprising this film wasn’t better. The pieces just didn’t fall together. The dialogue occasionally felt like the characters were showing off. The story was convoluted and ended in a somewhat abrupt manner. The Counselor was saved by splashes of humor, violence, and some utterly superb writing for most of the dialogue. In the end, I’d say definitely pass on this one until the Blu-ray or digital release.

Score: 6/10

American Horror Story: The Replacements | Review

It’s becoming very clear why American Horror story has been getting its record ratings, since the show premiered this fall. This week’s episode has it all; incest, brutal scenes of violence, bestiality, and betrayal. Ryan Murphy is showing he isn’t afraid to tackle some controversial topics. Things are beginning to heat up in the coven as the girls are becoming more in tuned with their powers.

One of the interesting prospects of the previous episode of AHS was Cordelia’s fertility issues. Cordelia had already tried everything from natural remedies to black magic rituals. This led to Cordelia resorting to asking for help from her rival tribe. The show gave us a glimpse at the ritual she would have to perform with Tibitia- the leader the rival clan. Cinematography of the Tibitia ritual was a treat to watch.  The camera work throughout this show is unique because it is constantly changing. Overhead cameras, gold fish eyed views, close ups, slanted angles, and other dynamic camera techniques give the viewer a wide and varied perspective of whats going on.

Much like the  last season on AHS, ,  Sarah Paulson plays another troubled and struggling character. Cordelia is dealt a very bad hand and must play it out to the end. She finds herself stuck in between a feud between Tibitia and Fiona . Her goal of bearing a child is being challenged. Her performance is solid as usual. We’re looking forward to seeing more from her in the upcoming episodes.

Meanwhile, Madame Lalaurie must deal with adapting with modern day society and facing her past demons. This all offers some much needed comedic relief. Since the premiere of the show there has been a drastic role reversal for her character. We’ve seen her ability to portray a sadist and now we are seeing how she can easily meld into a more tortured character.

Kyle has more air time this week. Evan Peters manages to show some emotion playing Kyle, even though he’s a mute Frankenstein. Zoe Benson must deal with the resurrection of Kyle and his emergence back into society. This proves to be quite difficult. I hope Kyle regains his humanity because the way he is now is pretty difficult to imagine where the story will leave him. Misty Day also has an appearance which is welcoming. I always smile when I see her character. I don’t know why I like her so much. I think it because she really conveys a carefree soul, even through all the things she’s been through.

Jessica Lange, is superb as usual. Too be blunt she is this show. She really takes demand of the screen. Lange takes on her character Fiona’s flaws and strengths and transforms them into an acting spectacle. Fiona battles with her mortality and becomes a surprise mentor for the ladies of the house. The episode ends on a note which will probably upset some.

Overall, this episode was supreme…(See what I did there?)

9.5/10

What did you think?

Captain Phillips | Review

Paul Greengrass, best known for his work on the Jason Bourne series, bring us another compelling thriller to the cinemas with his latest work Captain Phillips. Stories based on true events are usually a dime a dozen but this film succeeds in creating a suspenseful and interesting film through his signature documentary style film work, a great cast, and solid screenplay.

The film got some flack for portraying Captain Phillips as a bit too much of a hero. In truth, he was a bit of a stubborn and smug guy who ignored countless warnings from his crew. Despite some criticisms, the film successfully toes the line between staying somewhat true to the story and yet bringing us a Hollywood script that is actually interesting to watch.

Tom hanks brings one of his top performances the the film. He portrays  the moralistic and stoic character believably. His accent took a bit to get use to but as the film progressed it began sounding a little a less John F Kennedy impersonation and more Bostonian. The real star of the film however is Barkha Abdi who masterfully steps into the role of Abduwali Muse. Abdi a Somalian taxi driver made his acting debut in the film and was chosen from an extensive 700 man cast pool. He brings to life the desperate nature of Muse’s situation and his way of life.

The film had some impressive production values and felt exceptionally grounded. Paul Greengrass thoroughly researched Somalian piracy and the events that happened on that day. Greengrass and the crew filmed on an actual ship and life boat instead of a green screen. And to further accurately recreate the location of the story he filmed the Somalia portions of the film in Malta. Paul Greengrass’ attention to detail and signature documentary style camera work paid off immensely for the authenticity of movie.

The film kept me on the edge of my seat. The dialogue for the Somalian cast was truly effective and some of the improvised lines really brought the characters to life. The film was a rare example of how to do a film based on factual events. Reasonably paced, a fine cast, good cinematographic techniques, and a interesting script to boot; there isn’t hardly a criticism to be found here. Besides a seemingly overused and somewhat Hans Zimmerian-ending track for the finale I can’t really think of any flaws. Captain Phillips is an intense and engrossing film and I highly recommend.

Score : 9/10