Review: SICARIO (2015)

Sicario is the new film by Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, who also did PRISONERS a couple years back. That was a gripping thriller that boasted some excellent performances, looked good enough to make you want to lick the screen and, even though it wasn’t particularly explicit, went to some intensely dark places. And you know what? That description also works pretty well for SICARIO.

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Emily Blunt plays Kate Macer, an FBI agent working on the border who keeps tripping over dead bodies left by the Mexican cartels. She’s been there for a while but the violence is only getting worse, nothing she does seems to have any impact. Along comes Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), a “consultant” who leads a task force that fights back against the cartels. The guy seems a bit shady but he promises Kate that she’ll be able to make a real difference if she joins him, so she does. It’s not a fun ride though. Nobody tells her anything, they just say “Watch and learn,” and she gets roped into doing all kinds of shit without really knowing what’s going on. More and more it starts to seem like these motherfuckers treat rules and regulations the way a yellow curry treats your asshole.

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Review: SPECTRE (2015)

Bond is a big deal for me. I grew up with the franchise, have seen every film many times and have loved every actor that played the part (except for that Aussie dude, obviously, and Roger Moore once he got so old that he couldn’t chase a bad guy without pee running down his leg). As long as they keep making them, I’ll keep adding them to my collection… even if they turn out to be as disappointing as SPECTRE.

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I’ll be honest, I already had my doubts about this one. Bringing back Spectre, the classic crime organization run by Ernst Stavro Blofeld, just wasn’t an exciting thought for me. It’s nice they got the rights back and can finally use those properties again, but by now they’d already set up Quantum as an obvious substitute for Spectre. And that’s not an easy thing to sweep under the rug, they made a big deal out of it in the Craig films. “We’ve got people everywhere!” Mr. White exclaimed hysterically at the beginning of QUANTUM OF SOLACE, and indeed Quantum turned out to be so large and powerful that Bond never made a dent in it, let alone figure out who was actually running things. I don’t know about you, but I’d actually become invested in that storyline. I was hoping to see them finish it during Craig’s run, maybe get a satisfying payoff after all that build-up. Yeah, never mind that, says SPECTRE to its befuddled audience. Forget about fucking Quantum, those guys were peanuts, why are we still talking about those losers? Spectre is the real big dog, always has been. To prove it, the film even wheels out Mr. White again to deliver another, even more unstable speech, but this time it’s about Spectre and its shady boss. “He’s everywhere! He’s in your house! He kisses your loved one, he puts your children to bed, he cleans his asshole with your toothbrush and then just puts it back like nothing happened” (paraphrased).

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