10/19 Quick Post

Hi everyone! This week we’ll have three more quick updates, this time by our friend Seth. Enjoy his take on Sicario and The Walk. Again, we may be reviewing these films with full length reviews in the near future, so stay tuned!

 sicario

Sicario
9.0 out of 10

Sicario had been on my radar for a little bit with star power such as Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin starring in it as well as the director of Prisoners and Enemy, Denis Villeneuve, helming the flick. The film takes place in the escalating war against drugs on the border between U.S. and Mexico where Emily Blunt’s character, Kate Macer, is an FBI agent elected to government task force, and slowly becomes slowly entrenched in the mayhem.  And Sicario is pretty brilliant.

The story is the weakest part of the film, with nothing really incredible in terms of its storytelling of the drug trade protruding, especially if you have seen Breaking Bad with its use of the cartel. But the film’s excellence is in its execution of a middling story. Villeneuve creates a slow burn throughout, leading to some pretty suspenseful scenes, paired with the cinematography of Roger Deakins who is a favorite mine, to set up a technically beautiful film.  The long, slow shots of the desert or of the task force vehicle driving may seem unnecessary, but is all used to set up the dirty, grungy tone of the film. Paired with the film’s physical beauty, the performances of Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro are some of the best this year, with the viewer feeling for the innocence of Blunt’s character and interested in the dark past of Del Toro’s character.

I would strongly recommend seeing Sicario, but not without the understanding that it is much more of a character driven, art piece than a straight up thriller like it has been marketed as. Very few films today are made with such precise care and intelligence.

the walk

The Walk
7.0 out of 10

I was skeptical when I heard about The Walk, the incredible true story of Phillippe Petit, a Frenchman who walked across the Twin Towers in the 1970s on a tightrope, because of how great the documentary about the story was in Man On Wire, so didn’t feel it was necessary to make another retelling And while this version doesn’t have the surprising emotional punch that the documentary had, it did showcase the scale of his feat. With Robert Zemeckis, the director of the Back to The Future trilogy, Forrest Gump, and Cast Away, helming the film, it has some pretty awesome visuals and camerawork, especially the walk on the wire itself. I saw it in IMAX 3D, and even though I know the result because of seeing the documentary, my palms were sweaty and eyes hurt to keep watching as he took each step out on the wire. Also the heist element in the second act leading up to the walk was also very well done as you felt the suspense of the whole operation as Petit had many associates to get him on the top floor of the towers and string a wire between them.

Yet what didn’t work for me was the part before the actual day and the characters themselves. Joseph Gordon Levitt plays Petit, and although he is trying his best to bring wonder and interest into his role, it seems odd to see a guy who you usually see speaking in an American accent still speaking English, but in a French accent as well as his odd voicovers on the Statue of Liberty that tried to force you to feel one way, which is never good. It would have made more sense to have casted an actual French actor in the rol. Also while some depth his given to his character, the rest are simply caricatures and stereotypes whether they were French and American, despite the good acting talent.

Yet despite the hokey nature of the first act and poor characters, The Walk’s finale is suspenseful enough to go see it in the biggest screen possible, and then go home and watch the documentary as well.

10/11 Quick Post

Hi everyone! Like I said in my last post, we’ll be posting less frequently due to the hell that is senior year. However, this week, Jenya whipped up quick blurbs about a few of the movies he’s seen recently. We may or may not have full length reviews for some of these– stay tuned!

everest

Everest

7.0 out of 10

People go up Mt. Everest and some die. Not much else to say, it’s solid all the way through and is exactly what you expect.

In this image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment, Johnny Depp portrays Whitey Bulger in the Boston-set film, "Black Mass." (Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP)

Black Mass

6.0 out of 10

Black Mass is by no means a bad movie but it is not an especially memorable film. It is best described as a perfectly created “Gangster Movie Paint by Numbers,” it fills in all the illustrations perfectly but there is no real standout feature except for Johnny Depp.

How I love being able to praise Johnny Depp again, who didn’t love him in Edward Scissorhands? Or Pirates of the Caribbean? Or Pirates of the Caribbean 2? Or his….role in Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and 4. And let us not forget Transcendence and Mordecai because I am sure you all did also. It has been too long without a good Depp performance and this is a great one. He makes Bulger come to life on screen and you can never really tell what kind of emotions he is feeling, switching from threat to compliment in a heartbeat, his greaser like personality mixing with the cold shred heart of a hardened gangster.

The film loses focus at times and makes Bulger play second fiddle to a really dull FBI agent character whose home life and corruption from his association with Bulger really weighs the film down, there also being a strange decision in the film to portray it as a retelling from several criminals on a plea bargain which ultimately came to nothing and did not further the story any more than just showing the scenes from the movie would have. Overall, a decent film to pick up on DVD although it is not a must see by any means.

 

shaun the sheep movie

Shaun the Sheep 

9.5 out of 10

I love this movie. It is nearly impossible to carry across the sheer joy this film puts inside of its viewer. It makes you feel like a kid again, its genuine and fun style and tone making it just a great event to bear witness to.

The animation is beautiful and refreshing to see since we now sadly live in a world where claymation is a rare thing to see as done as well as this film does. The characters look and express their emotions beautifully, the animators succeeding in bringing to life characters who do not speak any real words but mime and make sounds that spell out their moods, many touching scenes carried out through the masterful animation and excellent music.

Speaking of music, “Feeling Like Summer” was an amazing song that brought me back to my younger years with its light and fun melody mixed with some bomb-ass lyrics. Our Current music sucks in comparison to this awesome single. Dr Dre? More Like Dr. Lame! Maroon 5? More like Maroon Bore! Miley Cyrus? More like…eh still Miley Cyrus.

The characters were great, the slapstick was great, the pacing was great, this was just a fun and enjoyable movie to have the pleasure of watching, everyone should see it young or old.