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Posts Tagged ‘Emily Blunt’

Sicario (2015) — movie review
Today’s review is for the drug cartel crime fighting thriller, Sicario,  released a few years ago and which has a sequel just wrapping up in theaters now.  The movie title translates to “hitman” according to the opening credits.  It stars: Emily Blunt as FBI Agent Kate Macer; Antonio Banderas — just kidding — Benicio del Toro as Alejandro Gillick; Josh Brolin as CIA Agent Matt Graver and Daniel Kaluuya as Blunt’s FBI partner Reggie Wayne.  Gillick’s “character / role” is not entirely clear.  On the one hand, he is said to be an attorney who’s family is murdered by a drug cartel, and on the other had he is said to be a member of the Medellín cartel.  I think I would have to view the movie again to see which is true as multiple sources seem to disagree (Rotten Tomatos, IMDB, Wikipedia).  Really, he’s a combination of Paul Kersey (Death Wish) – vengeance / vigilante, John McClane (Die Hard) – one man against the gang / vigilante, and Frank Castle (Punisher) – super-efficient killer with multiple weapons / vigilante.
The basic plot is the CIA needs an FBI agent on a cross-departmental team to function on US soil.  Hence, they recruit Macer and Wayne to help “arrest” (i.e. track down and kill) some cartel leaders.  To do this, they pursue the cartel in both the US and Mexico.  Blah, blah, blah.  Shoot-em up.  Blah, blah, blah.  Feel sorry for Macer and Gillick.  Blah, blah, Gillick saves Macer.  Blah, blah, Gillick gets revenge.  Blah, blah, Macer let’s Gillick skate (to make a sequel).  Kind of a happy / unhappy ending…
So, is this a good movie?  Does it work as a thriller?  Is it realistic?  Yes.  Yes.  And, so-so.  I found the movie to be very interesting because it was the best depiction I’ve seen of night vision / thermal vision head gear.  The acting is solid and the characters are reasonably developed enough that you can start to feel for them.  The movie works quite well as a thriller.  The action starts strong with a pretty powerful (if gruesome) opening of the FBI breaking into a house full of dead bodies to arrest / kill gang members and free hostages and then it just goes from there.  Anyway, the Department of Justice wants to make a “bigger” difference in the drug war, so they join the CIA and DOD’s Delta Force to perform operations both in the US and in Mexico.  There are multiple action / set pieces and they work – in terms of both increasing theatrical tension and creating bonding of the law enforcement team (character development).
Is the movie realistic?  I do believe it’s realistic in terms of gang violence and military capability.  No.  I don’t believe it is realistic in the depiction of action.  The action happens the way we (as an audience) would like it to happen – person shot, person drops.  But, again, it’s only a movie, so I’m willing to cut Hollywood some slack.  They are trying to entertain us, not educate us.
The movie is rated: “R” and this is deserved due to the graphic depiction of gang violence.  Having said this, it shies away from the most graphic violence of Gillick avenging his own family by killing the drug lord (and his family first, in front of him).  Today’s post title is a quote of the final words Gillick says to the gang / drug lord.
So, final recommendation: strong.  The story is good.  The action and tension builds.  The characters / actors get developed during the film.  It has a satisfying (if not happy) ending.  With the proviso that it is not for the squeamish and is correctly rated as “R”, it is worth your time if you are into spy / crime / thriller / action movies.
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On This Day In:
2017 Wealth Within
2016 Soaring
2015 Gone To The Library…
2014 Choose To Lead
2013 Not Sent Yet
2012 Wall-Crawler Reboot
Learning To Count
On Worshiping God
2011 Emancipated Differences
2010 A Little More Technology, Please…

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As promised a week back, I am reviewing a couple more “Jane Austen” related movies I’ve seen recently and adding a few comments to the two movie reviews I’ve already done.
The new reviews are for “The Jane Austen Book Club” and “Bridget Jones Diary“.  The comments are for “Pride and Prejudice” – the BBC 1995 version and the “American” 2005 version.
The Jane Austen Book Club” (2007) — movie review
Six Californians – five women of varying ages and a man – start a monthly book club to discuss the works of Jane Austen, only to find that their own romantic relationships — previous and current — begin to resemble modern day adaptations of Austen’s novels.
Sylvia (Amy Brenneman), is shocked when her husband Daniel (Jimmy Smits), leaves her after 20 plus years and three children to become involved with another lawyer at the firm he works at.  Jocelyn (Maria Bello), her unmarried best friend, distracts herself from her unacknowledged loneliness by breeding dogs (“dominance issues”).  Prudie (Emily Blunt) is a young French teacher, in possession of a worthy husband Dean (Marc Blucas), yet distracted by sexual fantasies with another man / boy (Kevin Zegers) named Trey.  I say “boy” because Trey appears to be in high school / a student.  The eldest female, many times married Bernadette (Kathy Baker) yearns for one more chance at happiness.  Allegra (Maggie Grace), (Sylvia and Daniel’s lesbian daughter,) has problems with her lover – who is a writer using Allegra’s life stories as the basis for her own work.  And Grigg (Hugh Dancy), the lone (rich and athletic) male joins the book circle because he’s trying to form a relationship with Jocelyn.
As romantic movies go, this one is as good as most, but not particularly believable in any of the final results – all happily ever-afters.  Be that as it is, I thought it was an okay movie.  Mostly, it’s entertaining without being sappy or taking the easy comedic route that many “chick-flicks” devolve into in order to keep hapless male partners watching to the end of the movie.  What I found interesting were the few moments where the actors actually discussed the Austen books and more specifically the characters and views on love, romance, commitment and relationships in general.  And, as stated in my prior review of P&P book, it prompted me to promote the original work to the top of my reading list.
Final recommendation: moderate to strong.  Enjoyable as light entertainment, but I think your time is better spent actually reading Austen’s works.
Bridget Jones’s Diary” (2001) — movie review
This movie was recommended to me by my daughter as a loosely based modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride And Prejudice“.  It stars Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones (Elizabeth Bennet character), Hugh Grant as Daniel Cleaver (George Wickham character / the cad) , and Colin Firth as Mark Darcy (Mr. Darcy character / the hero).  I believe it’s more accurately described as an adaptation of the book by the same name as the movie.  The “only” two things I found similar to P&P was Firth played a character named Darcy in both the 1995 BBC version of P&P (and in this movie) and Darcy and Bridget have roughly the same relationship track to get to their happy ending.  Boy and girl meet.  Boy and girl detest each other. Boy comes around.  Girl comes around. Issues about the cad. Happy ending.
The movie is a rom/com.  Is it?  Mildly romantic, yes.  Mildly comedic, barely.  To tell the truth, I don’t get it.  The overall review on RottenTomatoes.com is 80% for both reviewers and audience.  Zellweger was nominated for Best Actress…  Really?  I don’t get it.  Somewhere in the character is a nice person struggling to overcome drinking, smoking, vulgar language and a terrible wardrobe.  Other than that, she’s just the kind of person you want to see your son bring home to meet you.  Truth be told, I found her three friends in the movie much more interesting than Bridget and wished there were more of them and less of her.  Hugh Grant was ok in the cad role, but I prefer him in the nice guy roles where his sardonic / ironic comedy work well with his charm.  The most enjoyable part / character in the movie is Colin Firth’s Darcy.  While lacking the physicality of the 1995 P&P role, he still presents himself as a man’s gentleman.  I’ve seen Firth in at least a half-dozen roles and continue to enjoy his work.
So, final recommendation: moderate (at best).  The movie wasn’t bad, it just didn’t appeal to me.  Probably because I was hoping for something more closely aligned to P&P.
Additional comments:
Having just read the original work by Austen, I’ve now gone back to re-watch the 1995 BBC adaptation and the 2005 movie version.  What did I find?  As much as I was critical of the annotations while reading the book, they were very helpful in understanding both versions of the movies.  In addition to seeing where there were cinematic variances from the original work – in locations and dialogue – the notes explained some of the details which I completely missed in both earlier viewings.  Reading the original work greatly enhanced my appreciation of the dialogue in both movies.  Reading the notes, my appreciation of the parks / woods, carriages, gowns, and buildings.  I guess I’m admitting I was incorrect in being overly critical of reading an annotated version of an original work.  Preference change?  Nope.  If you prefer nuance and greater detail – BBC and 6-plus hours of viewing.  If you prefer “Hollywood” looks and production – the two-hour 2005 is better.  One minor comment on “production”…  My DVD copy of the BBC version gets out of sync between the voice and picture in multiple places.  I don’t know if this is the discs or my PC, (it’s probably my PC,) but I found it annoying and a slight negative in this review / comparison.  And, finally, I tried to go back to see “Bride And Prejudice” (the Indian – modern-day version of P&P), but it didn’t come up on NetFlix.  I guess, I have to catch it sometime in the future when it comes back on-line.
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On This Day In:
2017 …And With It Civilization
2016 Just Like My Mother
2015 All Omissions Are Mine
2014 Precise Order
2013 Uh, No. Not Really…
Deep Regions
2012 A Pre-Valentine’s Day Message
2011 Easy Like Sunday Morning
May I Have A Little More, Please…
2010 Valleys and Peaks

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Today’s reviews are for an older movie I’ve just seen and an a newer movie I’ve seen multiple times and really enjoy.  The first is “Edge Of Darkness” (2010) starring Mel Gibson and the second is “Live, Die, Repeat: Edge Of Tomorrow”  (2014) starring Tom Cruise.
Edge Of Darkness  —  movie review
Edge Of Darkness” is a police / crime / mystery / revenge drama about a policeman whose daughter is shot/murdered on his doorstep as the father is trying to take his daughter to the ER.  At first, the assumption is that the police officer was the intended victim and the daughter an unfortunate accident.  The father shortly finds indications this is not the case and he begins to suspect the daughter was the real target of the homicide.  The father (Thomas Craven) is played by Mel Gibson (who is starting to look OLD) and the daughter (Emma Craven) is played by Bojana Novakovic / Gabrielle Popa depending on whether the daughter is old (Bojana) or young (Gabriella).  Blah, blah, blah…  Mel kills everyone and gets revenge.  The movie ends with a rather strange scene of the spirit of the daughter coming back to get the dying father and they walk down the hospital hallway into the “bright light”.
To tell the truth, I’d never heard about this movie before and did not watch the trailer until after I’d seen the film.  It (the film) was much better than I expected (despite the kind of lame ending).  Probably because I’m used to seeing Mel Gibson in rom-com kind of roles now that he’s gotten older, I don’t really think of him as the action/hero cop of his “Lethal Weapon” days.  He’s not that here (“Lethal Weapon” -esque), but he does have a few action scenes before the big shootout.  Anyway, the most interesting aspect of the movie was not the action or the police drama, it was the framing of the movie as a love story about a father and his only daughter.  This is initially done via family video tapes and then, later in the film, via (“Sixth Sense“) “I see/hear dead people” flashes by the dad.  I would say the movie almost over-hammers this point by going back to it again and again, but in the end, it worked for me.
Final recommendation:  strong.  I enjoyed the movie.  It has appropriate levels of action and the pacing seemed fine for the length (at just under two hours).  The movie is rated “R” for violence (and it is).  This is definitely not a “classic” for Mel or for the genre, but if you enjoy the “Deathwish” crime / revenge drama genre, you will almost certainly enjoy this addition to it.
Edge Of Tomorrow  —  movie review
Live, Die, Repeat: Edge Of Tomorrow” (the movie’s full name) is a SciFi blend of “Groundhog Day” meets “Independence Day” with a healthy dash of “Battle: Los Angeles” thrown in.  The movie stars Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt as the heroes / love interests.  Basically, Earth is attacked and Emily appears to have saved the day.  In reality, she hasn’t and Tom has to come behind her and finish the job on the nasty old aliens.  He does.
I did not see this movie at the theater and I regret it.  I was not a big Tom Cruise fan, so I thought, “I’ll wait for the video…”  This was a mistake!  This is definitely a movie which should be enjoyed on as big a screen as possible.  Oh well, my 50 inch screen from 2-3 feet away has had to do the job.  And, it has.  About a half dozen times (so far).  I have thoroughly enjoyed this film and it easily bears up to watching repeatedly.  Is that ironic, or what?  As usual, I digress…
Final recommendation:  Highly.  This is a very good to great SciFi movie.  It has an alien invasion, explosions, special effects, exoskeleton combat suits, action, humor, loud mouth Southern sergeants, a light touch of romance – everything!  And, it has them over and over again!  This movie made me go back and look for Tom and Emily in other movies and I’ve enjoyed many of them more than I did on first viewing.  I love it when a movie can completely change my perspective on one or two actors and this was one of those movies for me.
Now that I’ve effused, it’s not “really” a “GREAT” movie.  It didn’t win any Oscars and it’s not going to go down in history as a “classic”, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it multiple times and could easily watch it again today (or in the near future).  If you like this genre (military SciFi / alien invasion / time travel paradoxes), you will love this movie.  Take it to the bank.
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On This Day In:
2015 I Hope Not
2014 Study The Means Of Expressing Yourself
2013 That Stubborn Thing
2012 Like Mike
2011 Flawless Or Candid
2010 Browning…

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