Tag Archives: prisoners

‘Sicario’ Offers Uneasy, Intense Thrills

Sicario_posterIf this film is good for anything, it’s reaffirming my desire to not visit Mexico anytime soon.

“Sicario” stars Emily Blunt as an ambitious FBI agent who gets involved with a government task force (led by Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro) in an effort to bring down a Mexican drug lord. “Prisoners” director Denis Villeneuve helms here.

This was one of my most anticipated films of the fall ever since the first trailer dropped. I adored “Prisoners,” the cast looked great, and cinematographer Roger Deakins is one of the best we’ve ever had. So even though “Sicario” isn’t the masterpiece I hoped it would be it is still an intense, wonderfully-wound thriller about the war on drugs.

The best things about “Sicario” are from the people who stand behind the camera. The film is shot beautifully, which like I said shouldn’t be a surprise since Deakins was the Director of Photography. He and Villeneuve implement aerial shots throughout the film, which shows us the vast scope of how much of a No Man’s Land the southern U.S. border and Mexico really are.

While marketed as an action film, you should know there isn’t much gunplay in here. Instead, Villeneuve makes the entire film have an uneasy, dangerous sense about it; you feel as if any character could pull put a weapon at any moment. The best sequence in the film takes place on the U.S.-Mexico border bridge, and it is as intense as any scene I’ve seen in a while, very possibly since the climax of “Prisoners” (which I’m still shaking from).

The acting in the film is solid across the board, but Del Toro stands out. Throughout most of the film he is a silent observer, you don’t know much about him or his motivations except “he goes where he’s sent”. But in the film’s final act, Del Toro flips a switch and becomes an incredibly different person, and this simple man suddenly becomes a multi-layered character study.

I wasn’t annoyed or off-put by “Sicario’s” slow pace, it adds that uneasy tension to the film, however outside of Del Toro’s character the film never truly builds to anything great. Blunt’s FBI agent is more of a pawn than an actual player in the film, and the plot itself plays out like a more sadistic version of “Breaking Bad” (to say, there aren’t any huge twists; the “twist” is pretty much given away in the trailer).

“Sicario” is one of the movies that you appreciate the more you let it soak in. It is certainly an adult film if there ever was one, and an uncomfortable one at that. There are mutilated bodies galore and the entire experience itself may make you want to take a shower, but I am glad I went on the ride. It is a good, not great film, which is a bit disappointing considering all the talent involved, but I still think “Sicario” is one of the better films of 2015.

Critics Rating: 7/10



Top 10 Films of 2013

There were plenty of good films in 2013, and a few great ones. Here are my top 10 films of 2013. If you disagree with my rankings, or even hate one of the movies on here, then too bad, they’re my opinions. Welcome to the internet, my friend.

Honorable mention goes to “Gravity”, which was number 11 on my list and was one of the most visually stunning films in the history of cinema.

220px-Saving_Mr__Banks_Theatrical_Poster10. Saving Mr. Banks

The movie about how Mary Poppins got made into a movie turned out to be as entertaining as it was emotional. Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson both nail it as Walt Disney and P.L. Travers respectively, and the songs were infectious.

220px-This-is-the-End-Film-Poster9. This Is the End

A very fun time at the movies. Huge credit to Seth Rogen who not only gave a funny performance, but wrote a hilarious script and gave a solid directorial debut alongside Evan Goldberg.

worlds end8. The World’s End 

In a year filled with apocalypse films, this British comedy from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost was as entertaining as a sci-fi as it was as a comedy. Edgar Wright’s direction was quick paced and electric and it had some great social satire.

220px-Monsters_University_poster_37. Monsters University

Disney-Pixar nailed it again with this prequel, and while it may not be as memorable as the Toy Story sequels or even the first Monsters Inc., “University” had some great laughs for both kids and adults and was gorgeous to look at.

220px-Iron_Man_3_theatrical_poster6. Iron Man 3

Immensely entertaining and featuring a very witty script from Shane Black (who also did a great job directing), this third Iron Man may not have been as good as the first film but it was pretty darn close, and was by and far better than this year’s other Avengers film, Thor 2.

12_Years_a_Slave_film_poster5. 12 Years a Slave

Great performances highlight this brutal look into American history. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender knock their performances out of the park and while this film is by no means entertaining, it is very good and the ending will leave not a dry eye in the house.

Dallas_Buyers_Club_poster4. Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto carry this movie to the heights it reaches as AIDS victims who open a pharmacy full of unsanctioned drugs. Both of these men transcend acting and become their characters, and the film was as fun as it was honest.

Prisoners2013Poster3. Prisoners

Unbelievably intense, this film had great performances from its star cast, including Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. It had several twists and turns and the ending had me on the edge of my seat and my eyes locked on the screen. I don’t think my heart has ever pounded so hard in my chest while watching a movie.

WallStreet2013poster2. The Wolf of Wall Street

Just a great film. Leonardo DiCaprio was nothing short of brilliant in his role, and the fact that this movie is based on a true story just makes it even better. Some of the best writing I have ever seen in a film. It is just an all-around crazy ride that you need to see to believe.

Captain_Phillips_Poster1. Captain Phillips

The moment the credits began to roll after this movie I knew I had just watched the top film of 2013. Tom Hanks killed it in the title role, including some of the best acting I have ever seen in the film’s climax. Meanwhile newcomer Barkhad Abdi was menacing as the pirate leader and Paul Greengrass’ direction was incredibly intense. The final ten minutes left me in shock and I couldn’t shake the movie off.