Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a worthy sequel to the surprise hit Sicario which doesn’t quite live up to the reputation set by the 2015 directed Denis Villeneuve original.  Focusing down on an even deeper grey morality, Sicario: Day of the Soldado may lack the visual stylings that the team of Villeneuve and Roger Deakins delivered previously but it almost makes up for it with a hell of a cast, some tense drama and one ballsy ending. So not as essential as Sicario (nothing touches THAT scene in the original) but well worth a watch…

Best Bit: The stoppage

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Sicario, Wind River, Traffic

 


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Podcast: The Smoking Lamb #103 – The First Purge, Hereditary, Sicario 2: Soldado

Podcast: The Smoking Lamb #103 – The First Purge, Hereditary, Sicario 2: Soldado

The Podcasts The Smoking Lamb Podcast

It’s The Smoking Lamb Movie Podcast. A weekly, no-holds-baa-aa-arred, and R-rated look at the world of movies.

On this episode: Its a movie medley this episode as you lot are treated to three reviews!!! As well as a Top 5 on Movies That Are Prime For A Remake. Check it out and BLEAT THE WORD!

Check it out and BLEAT THE WORLD and don’t forget to follow up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

#TheSmokingLamb #MoviePodcasts #Podcasts #FilmPodcast

 

Sicario – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Sicario – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Wow Sicario was rather unexpected.  What a film – a tense, brutal and at time uncompromising look at the war against drugs on the borders of America. With a great cast (including Del Toro in a recent career best performance), some stunning cinematography, expert direction and a well paced 60’s style, Sicario easily jumps into my top 10 of 2015 and is for sure one of the best films of this year. Just be prepared for a film that at times is a hard watch.

Best Bit: Border crossing

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Miami Vice, Bullet, Narcos (TV)

Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

 

 

 

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Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018) – Review Round Up

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018) – Review Round Up

All Things Film Blog The Blogs

Want to know what the critics think of the latest hot releases but don’t want to have to search for them?  Well look no further as we round up the reviews from 5 of the most influential sources for the latest BIG RELEASE movie.  This time out: Sicario: Day of the Soldado

 


“Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a dark, gritty, and well-acted action drama … that already feels dated.”- 7.2

 

“Digs in its dramatic claws from the outset and keeps the tension high and dramatic twists coming in ways that should spark a solid commercial life. ” 

 

 

“Thrillingly paced, ravishingly shot and eerily topical, Sicario 2 retains much of its predecessor’s dark charm despite its shuffled creative personnel. ” – 4/5

 

 

“Tense, tough, and shockingly ruthless at times… ”

 


“Sicario 2 isn’t a subtle movie, but it’s certainly an absorbing one. ” -4/5

 

 

Overall Critics Say

 

 

 

 

 

Full credit to original sources.  Links to websites provided.

 

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Wind River – Motion Picture Maniac

Wind River – Motion Picture Maniac

Motion Picture Maniac

Taylor Sheridan is very quickly becoming one of my favourite creative forces working today, I must admit I was a little worried there for a second, I loved Sicario but when I found out his script had been revised in a few places by the director and the cast, I became rather afraid for Hell Or High Water. I thought to myself “what if Sicario was only great because of Villeneuve? What if Sheridan’s original untouched draft was actually terrible because we never really know how much of what gets changed in the world of Hollywood now do we?” Fortunately Hell Or High Water took those fears out the back and shot them execution style by being really sharp and funny and great, allowing me to get excited about the release of Wind River as opposed to fearful; excitement that paid off this time around because this movie rocks.

Wind River tells the tale of a tracker played by Jeremy Renner, a bereaved and broken individual making a living by shooting predators you might find feasting on your live stock. One day, while out in the freezing wilderness, he finds the body of a young woman, barefoot, miles from civilisation and frozen solid; the FBI send in Elizabeth Olsen as an agent, completely outside of her comfort zone and unfamiliar with such brutal weather, to solve the case. The two team up to find out who dunnit and now we have a movie, an extremely well done one too.

The plot sounds simple enough, person gets killed, circumstances are very weird, send in the polar opposites to solve it, we’ve all seen that kind of thing done before and it would come across as old and clichéd if not for Sheridan’s understanding of how to fill in the blanks, the man has admitted he likes writing relatively simple stories in order to give way to the characters and bloody hell; it works a treat. The narrative runs on character like a vehicle on fuel, this isn’t like an episode of some TV show, this is a harsh yet smooth, slow but tense, and meditative yet merciless look at a man making do with poetic redemption; who happens to be helping to solve a murder.

The acting is brilliant across the board, Jeremy Renner sells the broken man trying to look like he’s over the bad thing that happened to him once with gusto, Elizabeth Olsen is more than efficient in, not just her character’s self aware naiveté of her situation, but in the head spinning action scenes as well, I know, I know, any idiot can shoot a gun but selling fear and determination takes something, what’s it called? Ah yes – great acting! Gil Birmingham, who also had a role in Hell Or High Water, plays the father of the murdered girl and he manages the pain one would have after losing a child so well you start to wonder what the excuse is for everyone else on the Hallmark channel whom fails to cut it.

When it comes to the action scenes, I’m no stranger to seeing people get shot in films, I’ve seen them all and very rarely does a film still get me to jump out of my skin when a trigger is pulled and a loud bang comes out of the barrel; Wind River did it. When people die in this movie they really die, there’s nothing fake looking about it, people don’t dramatically wave their arms about the place, oh no, these shootouts are grizzly and painful, one thing I don’t think we’re used to quite just yet are dead bodies falling and landing in awkward positions, some people die before they hit the ground and there’s just something very disturbing out the way they look when it’s over. This is not an action film, it’s a drama, make no mistake, but it is so much a drama that when an automatic machine gun is whipped out and unloaded (something I’m no stranger to seeing in movies) it terrifies me; not many movies can still do that nowadays.

The harshness of the white snow, combined with mostly hand held camera work, creates the impression that the cold is the real villain here, a product of the bleak area our characters are forced to exist in, either for just a short time or for their entire lives. Wind River itself is dangerous to the souls of the heroes, a dead end frozen hell that is bringing out the worst, but hardly most surprising, side of humanity. This movie is not without humour, but for the most part things are pretty dark, just like Sheridan’s other works there is no light at the end of this tunnel, and what light there is more likely to give you snow blindness rather than show you the way to freedom.

I was really excited to see this movie and I couldn’t have been happier, I love the cinematography, the characters, the dialogue, Sheridan’s talent, not just on the page, but translating it to the screen, the darkness of it, the brutal personality, the aesthetic, everything. It’s a great film and easily earns a spot on the best list at the end of the year with no hesitation; I can’t wait for Soldado and I look forward to seeing what Sheridan does next. It’s sort of strange seeing as his only other directorial effort before this was a little forgotten horror flick called Vile that came and went with such little attention given, some have even mistakenly referred to Wind River as his directing debut, it doesn’t look particularly good, its internet ratings aren’t all that promising so what happened? Did he take notes from all the directors who adapted his scripts to become good at this sort of thing or is Vile some kind of secret brilliance, I’m curious to find out.

Hell or High Water – A Quick Capsule Review

Hell or High Water – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
A really strong entry for the modern day Western & crime drama genre, Hell or High Water delivers a compelling story with expert low key direction and solid performances from the cast (not least Bridges and Pine).  Whilst this film didn’t quite grab me as much as its has other critics (it’s not the modern masterpiece some have claimed) it’s a damn fine film and probably in my Top 20 for 2016.

Best Bit: The final shot

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: True Grit, Sicario, Blood Father

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Arrival – A Quick Capsule Review

Arrival – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
I really liked Arrival but it’s not the film of the year for me, as many critics have branded it.  It is however a very good, well made and visually stunning Sci-Fi film that has one of the performances of the year in Amy Adams central linguist.  What lets the film down is it’s “Ha! Aren’t we clever” ending which doesn’t really work and some rushed ideas (not least a storyline about the base solders)  that just seem to be there to force conflict.  These points aside it’s certainly still damn good but there have been much more enjoyable films this year.

Best Bit: Amy Adams

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try:  Contact, Interstellar, Sicario

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Blog: Sicario – A Quick Capsule Review

Blog: Sicario – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
That Sicario got snubbed at the Oscars for direction and best film was a massive surprise because,e on balance, this was one of the bets film of 2015 by far.  A tight thriller with some impressive action beats, it also features one of THE best and tense traffic jams veer committed to film.  A powerhouse of performance, amazing cinematography that will no doubt see Deakin’s snubbed again  (it’s a tradition after all) and a greta script just don’t seem to be enough to impress the Academy.  Shame – for everyone else this should be a must watch

Best Bit: Traffic jam

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Miami Vice, Black Mass, Training Day

IMDB Rating: 

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Blog: Motion Picture Maniac – Top 10 Best Films Of The Year 2015

Motion Picture Maniac

Quick word of warning, these are all movies that I personally loved, looking at other top tens throughout the years I’ve noticed that quite a few people can get particularly passionate about the subject of the best films of a year, so I just want to say if you don’t like my picks then go ahead and make your own list, that’s what makes them so fun, the fact they can all be different.

Now, films like The Revenant, Creed and The Hateful Eight won’t be coming out over here in the apparently “not as cool as America” UK until January, worth a mention seeing as they’ve appeared on other top ten lists and I don’t want people thinking I didn’t like them now do I? I just haven’t seen them, and to keep the list neat and tidy, I have a rule that dictates that it doesn’t matter if a film was released during 2015, if IMDB counts it as a 2014 release, I can’t include it, which is also why you won’t be seeing Whiplash, Kingsman or John Wick on this list.

Now let’s get started:

  1. Straight Outta Compton

A movie I did not expect to like, a film that had more than a few reasons to be terrible, a film that completely blew me away. Energetic doesn’t even begin to cover it people, rap has always been a polarizing music genre but the film about NWA seems to have something for everyone, along with the perfect acting, snazzy dialogue, lack of ego and sense of scope, the film never forgot to bring the boom and burst it from the screen, it’s a music biopic that’s great; that’s saying something.

 

  1. Sicario

A modern western with more intensity than an apple on Halloween, with soul piercing performances by Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin, perfect cinematography and direction and a harrowing tone that refuses to leave you alone, Sicario is a beautifully gritty film, vile in all the right ways, teaming with the filth of corruption all building to ending that made me want to bathe in bleach, this is a powerful and hard hitting film that left me broken and hopeless, a job well done I think.

 

  1. Carol

I can’t say I love this movie enough, a romance made with professionalism and maturity that does away with the tropes of lovey-dovey rubbish and actually succeeds in producing knots in throats, Carol is the kind of film that stays with you, a poignant love story with true emotional payoff, the kind that can reinvigorate romance as a genre and restore it to long lost glory. I cried during this film, I mean I really cried, the acting, the direction, the story, the characters… Good God the greatness.

 

  1. Avengers: Age Of Ultron

OK, I think here is where I have some explaining to do… oh wait, no I don’t; it’s my list, haha. The entire way through, I waited for something to rub me the wrong way, but that never happened. I’m a big comic book freak so I suppose it makes sense that I loved this movie, I loved the characters, the chemistry they have together, the fun the actors seem to be having and the action is insane, from the climactic group shots among waves of destruction to the fight between Hulk and Iron Man. I know explosion based action has fallen out of fashion thanks to Transformers, but just because Avengers has plenty of things going boom doesn’t mean it’s exactly like the sexist/racist masterpieces of crap that are the transformers films. Yes there are a lot of characters but this is Avengers, that’s kind of the point.

 

  1. Legend

I seriously don’t get the hate against this film, Tom Hardy delivers a fantastically realized duel performance as the Kray twins, people who look alike but couldn’t be more different, it’s not just about gangsters, it’s about a man torn between his family by blood and his family by marriage. The film is fun, energetic, bursting with witty dialogue, captures and tells its story perfectly and in my opinion is completely flawless. I’ve heard people are down about the tone but I simply cannot agree, it starts out fun and vibrant but begins to casually descend into darker territory as it draws to a close, very well handled I thought. I’ve heard some negative comparisons to Goodfellas, like the film just wants to be Scorsese, but if you ask me, a film about the Kray twins in the style of a Scorsese movie sounds more than awesome.

 

  1. Inside Out

Pixar has always been a safe bet in my opinion and Inside Out isn’t just an example, it should be a staple of just how good they can be, this is a film that stands beside the Toy Story films and Finding Nemo in terms of greatness, I suppose it’s a given that a film about emotions should also be teaming with them. It tackles a subject that very few films have dared to, particularly animated family films, it’s about depression, growing up, the way in which we can look back at our lives or how we move along with them, it brought tears to my eyes during quite a few scenes and should be shown in psychology classes; I could actually make children smarter – happy days.

 

  1. Ex Machina

Looking at this film one would think Alex Garland had been directing for years, but no, this is his directorial debut, and a more than impressive one at that. Ex Machina is a haunting and deeply disturbing experience that never puts a foot wrong, every scene, every shot, every moment reeks of bright futures for all involved and you would think a film of such seriousness and frightening atmosphere would be ruined by a quick blast of disco dancing, but that’s actually one the reasons Ex Machina is so unique, and of course – great.

 

  1. Black Mass

Johnny Depp is a great actor who has long been kept at bay from achieving his full potential and in Black Mass he doesn’t just excel, he rockets through the roof and into space. Johnny is absolutely terrifying in this film, his portrayal of real life gangster Jimmy “Whitey” Bulger is so scary, so nerve racking and unrelenting I forgot I was watching a gangster biopic and thought I was watching a full on horror film. This is a brutal and nasty film that fills it’s stage with a cast of villains and the results are spooky to say the least. Its scope is huge, its handling of its story is spot on, the false or wrong moves, everything just feels right, it’s perfectly shot, perfectly written, perfectly paced and yet, just like Legend, it received negative comparisons to Goodfellas, is that some kind of fad, comparing everything to Goodfellas? Is that what all the kids are doing now?

 

  1. The Martian

This is why we make and watch movies, Ridley Scott’s grand sci-fi adventure epic is 100% a perfect film, I don’t care what anybody says, I think it’s as flawless as a film can be, literally everything about it is beyond great, from the acting to the cast, the effects to the sets, the story to the humor, the cinematography to the editing, everything, and I do mean everything, was out of this world. At the end I wanted to cry, not just at the emotional payoff but the fact that everything went down so well and I could feel it, I could feel the perfection everywhere I looked. It’s upbeat, powerful, fun, charming, poignant, uplifting and all around likeable. Now only one question remains, what the hell was Ridley doing when he made Exodus and the Counselor, how could those be so terrible when he can make something as grand as this?

 

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road

Honestly, what else could the film of the year have possibly been? Mad Max Fury Road is one of the best action films ever made, if we were to put together a portfolio of those that define film as a whole, this would certainly be one of them. This movie is to action what Carol is to romance, what Lord of the Rings is to fantasy, what Star Wars is to sci-fi, George Miller has crafted an experience like no other, it seems to be the year of both Tom Hardy and practical effects, as much as I love films like Age of Ultron and Man of Steel as I have no problem with CGI, the practical effect has become what CGI was back when it was this great new thing. It’s exhilarating, a truckload of fun, impactful, just plain awesome and the fact that lines of dialogue have taken the Internet by storm and its characters have been hailed as some of the best ever prove that there’s a place in the history books for this one, oh yes.

 

Honorable Mentions

It’s frustrating because I really wish I could include these films on the list, but there simply isn’t room, you could say I should just make it a top 20 but that’s a bit of a cop out is it not? Just imagine that including them as honorable mentions is still an indication of their greatness and that they haven’t been pushed aside or deemed not good enough.

Star Wars Episode 7 – The Force Awakens
Star Wars is certainly back guys, no more of that prequel rubbish, I lovely return to form, can’t wait for Rogue One.

 

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
In a world where 5th installments often suck, Rogue Nation is freakin’ brilliant, constructed masterfully in every way, it has a gun disguised as a musical instrument for heaven’s sake.

 

Steve Jobs
Now that’s more like it, after the abomination starring Ashton Kutcher, simply good would have done, but this was simply great instead, an example of a brilliant biopic that all others should follow.

 

Maggie
Dark, gritty, well directed, haunting, atmospheric and who could have believed it, Arnold Schwarzenegger can actually act, he’s great in this, no really, he’s legitimately great.

 

The Gift
Joel Edgerton has always been a great actor, but is he a good director? Absolutely, while not being the horror thriller the trailer would have us believe, it’s certainly a thriller, with no shortage of thrills, can’t wait to see what he does next.

Author: Jamie Robinson

 

Phil’s 5 Best Films of 2015 (Updated)

Phil’s 5 Best Films of 2015 (Updated)

Quick Review Year In Review

So 2015 is almost over and it’s that time a year again where everyone reflects back on their best and worst films of the year. So here it is: my pick of the BEST films of 2015.

Film of The Year: Whiplash 
In Brief: Lets be honest this was my No1 film of the year from the moment I watched it.  Excellent performances , superbly made and expertly edited – this was one of those once in a decade type films.  A must watch and 100% my tempo.

 

 

2. Inside Out 
In Brief:  Pixar delivers big after a few years of “meh” movies.  It made me laugh.  It made me cry.  It made me remember why I fell in love with films again.

3.  Shaun The Sheep
In Brief:I have a real soft spot for Shaun The Sheep – a funny, charming animated feature where barely a word is spoken.

4. Birdman
In Brief: For most of the year this ran a very close second to Whiplash and even now it ‘s still one of the bets film of the year.  Innovate, different yet totally captivating.

5.Star Wars The Force Awakens
In Brief: It’s Star Wars and after the horrid memory of the prequels still leaving a bitter taste so much could have gone wrong.  It didn’t.  It delivers.  It sets a high bar.

Bubbling under:
6. The Martian, 7. Sicario, 8. Kingsmen: The Secret Service , 9. Pitch Perfect 2 , 10. Unfriended , The Infinite Man,  John Wick ,  Focus,  The Theory Of Everything, Going Clear , Cinderella ,  Man Up, Son Of A Gun