Review: Sicario

On a current affairs note, Denis Villeneuve’s effective cops, cartels, and spooks procedural, Sicario, stands a good chance at giving Donald Trump a popularity bump in the Republican primary.

The film offers atrocities galore in the Mexican border-crossing and drug-trafficking space. Graphic imagery abounds. Headless corpses are suspended from city bridges, unabashedly out in the open in Mexico, while still others are wrapped in plastic and buried in the drywall of a suburban home on the USA side of the border. The film is clear and concise in laying blame on the 20% of the drug using public in the first world. The 1% which drives supply-chain market forces into an ever escalating cycle of violence and crime in the second world. This in turn always threatens to spill over semi-permeable international boundaries. Sicario is talky when it needs to be, but it never loses its focus on being, above all else, a wicked little genre film hellbent on demonstrating, and demonstrating often, the effortless cool of Benicio del Toro.

The intensification of the drug war, by way of ethical slippery slopes, is shown from the point of view of seasoned SWAT leader, Kate Macer, played by Emily Blunt in equal measure as a steely badass and naive moralist. She (and we) are always the last to know everything. Macer is thrown to the wolves by her boss (Victor Garber) when she is recruited by a covert and vague CIA operation headed by Matt (Josh Brolin with a Kevlar smile and flip-flops) and the mysterious Alejandro (Benicio del Toro), who is some sort of private contractor. The trio jets around various US and Mexican border cities, trampling citizens rights with impunity. They, as it is euphemistically phrased, ‘shake the trees’ in Juarez, Mexico, illegally avoiding any semblance of due process. They get into a rather impressively staged shoot-out in a traffic jam on the Mexican side a border crossing. The prologue of the film indicates the word ‘Sicario’ is either Hebrew or Mexican for ‘hitman’, but at its core, the film postulates the ever-shifting goalposts of federal law enforcement (both American and Mexican) while slowly revealing the broken conscience of both States – as if someone thought to remake Soderbergh’s Traffic and shoot it over the template of Michael Mann’s Heat; all awash in dust motes, artillery and desert sunsets.

Would you like to know more…?

TIFF 2015 Review: Sicario

On a current affairs note, Denis Villeneuve’s effective cops, cartels, and spooks procedural, Sicario, stands a good chance at giving Donald Trump a popularity bump in the Republican primary.

The film offers atrocities galore in the Mexican border-crossing and drug-trafficking space. Graphic imagery abounds. Headless corpses are suspended from city bridges, unabashedly out in the open in Mexico, while still others are wrapped in plastic and buried in the drywall of a suburban home on the USA side of the border. The film is clear and concise in laying blame on the 20% of the drug using public in the first world. The 1% which drives supply-chain market forces into an ever escalating cycle of violence and crime in the second world. This in turn always threatens to spill over semi-permeable international boundaries. Sicario is talky when it needs to be, but it never loses its focus on being, above all else, a wicked little genre film hellbent on demonstrating, and demonstrating often, the effortless cool of Benicio del Toro.

The intensification of the drug war, by way of ethical slippery slopes, is shown from the point of view of seasoned SWAT leader, Kate Macer, played by Emily Blunt in equal measure as a steely badass and naive moralist. She (and we) are always the last to know everything. Macer is thrown to the wolves by her boss (Victor Garber) when she is recruited by a covert and vague CIA operation headed by Matt (Josh Brolin with a Kevlar smile and flip-flops) and the mysterious Alejandro (Benicio del Toro), who is some sort of private contractor. The trio jets around various US and Mexican border cities, trampling citizens rights with impunity. They, as it is euphemistically phrased, ‘shake the trees’ in Juarez, Mexico, illegally avoiding any semblance of due process. They get into a rather impressively staged shoot-out in a traffic jam on the Mexican side a border crossing. The prologue of the film indicates the word ‘Sicario’ is either Hebrew or Mexican for ‘hitman’, but at its core, the film postulates the ever-shifting goalposts of federal law enforcement (both American and Mexican) while slowly revealing the broken conscience of both States – as if someone thought to remake Soderbergh’s Traffic and shoot it over the template of Michael Mann’s Heat; all awash in dust motes, artillery and desert sunsets.

Would you like to know more…?

Trailer: Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario

In Mexico, Sicario means ‘Hitman.’ In Canada, Denis Villeneuve directing means ‘Must See.’ Emily Blunt being a competent bad-ass, Benicio Del Toro being cool as ice, and Roger Deakins shooting the hell out of the picture. The film plays like a Michael Mann police procedural action version of Ridley Scott’s The Counselor, and you have no idea how hard that hits my sweet spot.

This is my most anticipated movie for the remainder of 2015.

Cinecast Episode 360 – It’s Like Mustard

 
Sone famous once said that a person’s character can be defined by what he chooses to complain about. What do you despise? Is it Max Brooks? Is it Steve Guttenberg? The video streaming entity such as Vudu? Or is it someone/something else? By all means sound off! So yes, we explore the depths of our personal hatreds on this week’s Cinecast, but equally so, we also share some fondness, nay love, for Charles Grodin, Jean-Marc VallĂ©e, Brent Spiner, Chris Tucker, Louis C.K. and yes, even Mel Gibson.

Documentaries and Ozploitation occupy the bulk of this week’s conversation. Steve James’ documentary, Life Itself (aka you’re better off just reading the book) and Russell Mulcahy’s creature feature, Razorback. But, and this is important. don’t even bother downloading this show until you’ve purchased your 4-pack of Midnight Run sequels. Yeah, it’s that kind of show.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


 
 

 
 

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Cinecast Episode 356 – Bearfucker

 
Welcome to the time-discombobulated episode of the cineast. First things Last: Kurt’s son number one, Willem joins in for a detailed discussion of Edge of Tomorrow, with emphasis on details and minutiae. It’s tucked at the end of the show. Andrew and Kurt discuss the specifics of the new Rowthree design before getting into the 1984 project with taciturn Chuck Norris and side boob, but slapped in between Gamble joins in for a lighter-on-the-spoilers discussion of the Tom Cruise movie, so we can Live. Die. Repeat. There is a bit of a love-in for the action stylings of Neil Marshall as he helms the penultimate Season 4 episode of Game Of Thrones with an eye for continuity and geography at Castle Black. Finally there is a Watch List where Kurt & Gamble debate (again) the merits of Orange is the New Black. Also: Roger Dodger, Rango, Full Metal Jacket, Blade Runner and Deathproof. So grab your G.O. juice and your copy of Italian Vogue and hop into the fray.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!

 


 

 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…
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Trailer: The Edge of Tomorrow

Tom Cruise simply can’t get enough of science fiction action pictures. If Oblivion was kind-of sort-of a bigger budget Moon, then Edge of Tomorrow is a bigger budget Source Code. Mr. Cruise, must be a fan of the cinema of Duncan Jones ? I have little doubt that Edge of Tomorrow will be a perfectly fine piece of entertainment when it arrives in the cinemas in the summer of 2014, but here in 2013, it already feels rather like we have been through this a few times already. Even the music in this glossy trailer feels like it is taking a page out of the marketing for Battle: Los Angeles. But hey, Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton is pretty swell in the supporting cast department.

Based on the novel, “All You Need is Kill” Hiroshi Sakurazaka and directed by Doug Liman (Go, The Bourne Identity) Cruise plays a soldier fighting in a war with aliens finds only to find himself caught in a time loop of his last day in the battle. While I’m a big fan of writer Christopher McQuarrie, seeing Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman contributing to the screenplay might contradict my ‘perfectly fine piece of entertainment’ theory in the preceding paragraph, as everything they touch turns to over-plotted under-developed diarrhea.

Cinecast Episode 275 – Flaming Zemeckis

Continuing with another week centered around an interesting title to talk about, Corey Pierce from CriticalMassCast joins us for a (SPOILER!) filled discussion on structure, themes and mouth-feel of Looper. Corey explains the ‘Rule of Awesome’ when it comes to these types of movies, and whether or not to nitpick. Kurt obsesses about the visual queues in the film and Andrew contemplates Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s adoption of Bruce Willis’ body language. We move on to grading homework, wherein Matt Gamble joins us for colour commentary and general merriment. The Watch List has Corey giving a mini-review of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, while Kurt falls down the Kubrick rabbit hole with visual essays both good and bad. Micro-discussions on The Fountain, Christopher Guest, Electric Cars, The Game, Alan Rickman and Compliance ensue.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


 
 

 



To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_12/episode_275.mp3

 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…
Would you like to know more…?

Review: Looper

[SPOILER ALERT – It’s excellent. Seriously, though, if you are adverse any advance hints of plot or character in Looper, consider this review peppered with very mild spoilers that make any sort of considered review even possible in this case.]

Empiricist founding father John Locke proposed a curious scenario with of all things, his socks. It goes something like this. If you had a hole in your sock and had to patch it over, you’d probably call it the same sock, more or less. But if you developed another hole, then another, to the point where all the original material of that sock was replaced, would it still be the same sock? Rian Johnson’s fantastic time travel film asks the question, after 30 years of life (and life lessons) are you still you? Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis are playing Joe, an assassin who kills for the mafia of 2070, even if the present is 2044. Time travel may have been invented somewhere between that span of years, but it was immediately outlawed and then equally immediately co-opted by the mafia as a unique way to dispose of people that they want gone. Send them back to 2044 and have a ‘Looper,’ a member of Joe’s profession, kill and burn the remains effectively destroying the evidence decades before anyone will need to look for it. The catch is that Loopers eventually have to be retired themselves, and are generally retired by themselves, unbeknown by themselves until they see themselves. Keep up with me now, we’re in the in the tall cane. Shockingly, these young assassins generally have a big night on the town after they retire themselves. But, like Logan’s Run or Minority Report, we all apt run in the end when given enough wind of what’s coming. So, when Young-Joe botches the murder Old-Joe, he has a bit of a conundrum. Actually, he has a full blown existential crisis, complicated by the fact that Old-Joe might just be Locke’s over-patched socks. That is to say, is Young-Joe really stepping on his own toes by telling Old-Joe to piss off? Or, going a step further, hunting him down for his mafia masters? From the other side of the equation, consider if you at fifty met yourself at twenty, wouldn’t you want to punch that young twerp in the face?

Would you like to know more…?

TIFF 2012: Looper Review

[SPOILER ALERT – It’s excellent. Seriously, though, if you are adverse any advance hints of plot or character in Looper, consider this review peppered with very mild spoilers that make any sort of considered review even possible in this case.]

Empiricist founding father John Locke proposed a curious scenario with of all things, his socks. It goes something like this. If you had a hole in your sock and had to patch it over, you’d probably call it the same sock, more or less. But if you developed another hole, then another, to the point where all the original material of that sock was replaced, would it still be the same sock? Rian Johnson’s fantastic time travel film asks the question, after 30 years of life (and life lessons) are you still you? Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis are playing Joe, an assassin who kills for the mafia of 2070, even if the present is 2044. Time travel may have been invented somewhere between that span of years, but it was immediately outlawed and then equally immediately co-opted by the mafia as a unique way to dispose of people that they want gone. Send them back to 2044 and have a ‘Looper,’ a member of Joe’s profession, kill and burn the remains effectively destroying the evidence decades before anyone will need to look for it. The catch is that Loopers eventually have to be retired themselves, and are generally retired by themselves, unbeknown by themselves until they see themselves. Keep up with me now, we’re in the in the tall cane. Shockingly, these young assassins generally have a big night on the town after they retire themselves. But, like Logan’s Run or Minority Report, we all apt run in the end when given enough wind of what’s coming. So, when Young-Joe botches the murder Old-Joe, he has a bit of a conundrum. Actually, he has a full blown existential crisis, complicated by the fact that Old-Joe might just be Locke’s over-patched socks. That is to say, is Young-Joe really stepping on his own toes by telling Old-Joe to piss off? Or, going a step further, hunting him down for his mafia masters? From the other side of the equation, consider if you at fifty met yourself at twenty, wouldn’t you want to punch that young twerp in the face?

Would you like to know more…?

We Suggest You Do Not Watch The New Trailer for Time-Travel Action Film Looper

Actually, it is not only us; the director himself, Rian Johnson, tweeted: “If you’re already set on seeing Looper, I’d avoid any trailers from here on out. They don’t ruin the movie, but they tip a few little things” a few minutes ago. If you are already committed to seeing this film in September, as most of us in the third row most certainly are, then hey, why spoil things by watching the below advert for the film.

(But then again, I could not help myself and it is flat out fantastic!)