Sicario 2 focuses more on Benicio Del Toro's character from the first one, losing Emily Blunt's character entirely as she had other commitments. The foreboding mood that was so prevalent in the first returns here and lends itself well to the narrative. However, a few oversights on believability and a lack of as many well developed characters keep this one from being as great as the first. Still, I love this universe screenwriter Taylor Sheridan has created and hope a third one gets the green light soon.
Whoa. How many times during Mandy did I think "dang, am I on acid?" Director Panos Cosmatos is intentional with this aspect, using color bends and blends to give Mandy an overall hallucination-like vibe to go with the 80's backdrop the movie takes place in.
All cool color effects aside, Mandy suffers from an extremely long start, one of those long Deer Hunter intros establishing the relationship between its protagonists (Cage and Riseborough). Its completely unnecessary in length, even if the look of it all keeps it from putting audiences to sleep. But once the Charles Manson like bad guy Jeremiah (played well and against type by Law and Order's Linus Roache) enters the fray, its a nonstop ride to the finish. Cage is in rare form here after so many bombs and its hard not to root for this to be the beginning of a comeback for him.
By now if you follow mainstream movies then you have heard the buzz on A Quiet Place. I won't give another plot breakdown here knowing that you have probably got the lowdown already. Just know that the hype around AQP is real, and the focus around sound (and lack of it) is a refreshing flip on both the creature feature and post-apocalypse arenas. The chemistry between the family here also adds to the engagement of viewers, an often overlooked yet important factor in any movie, but especially ones like these.
Watching Baskin is a little akin to watching someone else's really bad nightmare. It has that dreamlike aspect prevalent throughout where things happen with no explanation and when its all over, you will wonder just wtf happened. But that's ok. It doesn't all need to make sense. Just know its a really, really bad evening for five Turkish police officers responding to a distress call at an abandoned building. They will soon come into contact with a cult led by Baba, played by newcomer Mehmet Cerrahoglu with such a high level of casual sinister that you would swear he was a long tenured vet.
I enjoyed the first Strangers. It did a good job at focusing on mood and tension, not worrying too much on the plot. Just put a couple in the middle of nowhere with some killers in cool masks and let them go at it. Nothing mind blowing, but it worked.
This oddly timed sequel attempts to do the same but pretty much fails at nearly every level. This time we have a family in the killers' sights instead of just a couple, but their characters feel like generic cutouts doing the cliche idiotic things victims tend to do in bad horror films played by actors phoning in the performance. Their stalkers don't add much to the equation, sure they look creepy but there just aren't many scenes where we get a good shot of them in action. The lone exception is a pool scene in the last act, a small redemption that keeps this from worst ever territory. If you can watch that one scene, you can skip the rest with no regret.
With Bella and Marq
4 months ago
There's two movies inside of Apostle. The first is a thriller where a man suffering from PTSD after travels abroad is looking for his sister who is being held for ransom by a mysterious cult. This movie is pretty good. Its gorgeously shot, well paced, introduces lots of fleshed out characters and wraps up viewers into its snowballing tension. It also has a small undercurrent of something supernatural afoot.
Its that supernatural stuff that takes over in the third act, shifting from subtle to outright ridiculousness once the curtain is drawn back on everything that is going on. Its a dang shame too, because Apostle really had the punch to be something great.