Sicario is a film about the war on drugs, specifically focused on Mexico and its biggest drug kingpin. What makes this story exciting is Benicio Del Toro as the Mexico “insider done wrong, hell bent on revenge” working with off-the-grid US undercover agencies? The pace of this film is intense and relentless thanks to Director Denis Villeneuve’s portrayal of drug war’s operating landscape. Great acting, Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin are perfectly cast. Superb storytelling, but not always easy to watch (and not recommended for young children).
English and some Spanish with English subtitles.
If, like me, you thought you could figure out the whole movie from the previews, guess again. This was an amazing film, suspense filled story, another home run for Matt Damon, and another spectacle for Director Ridley Scott. As you probably know by now, the Matt Damon character is left behind and presumed dead by his fellow astronauts during a freak storm forced an emergency takeoff in order to avoid disaster. But it is the rest of what happens on Earth, space, and Mars that makes this story interesting. It gets a little weak at the end, granted. But overall, great fun movie to watch.
Bridge of Spies
Tom Hanks is once again at the top of his game. This movie was created as a throw back to so many great suspense espionage movies of the cold war era. There are more twists and turns than a pretzel. Secret Agents galore, US, German, Russian. Lots of angst and tension to make you squirm a bit but nothing over the top. Another good solid Oscar likely movie from Spielberg and team. Must see if you are a Hanks or spy movie fan.
Minimal German and Russian with English subtitles.
Rating: 4 Globes
This was are-enactment of the CBS 60 Minutes, Dan Rather story about President George W. Bush and his military service. The critics hated this film. Robert Redford stars as Rather along with Cate Blanchet as Mary Mapes as the news producer. I thought both performances were very good. I was also intrigued by the premise of the legions of conservative operatives running defense for the then President. “Me think you protest too much!”
Labyrinth of Lies
This was a fascinating film about German society in the post WW2 1960s, less than 20 years since the war ended. A young prosecutor discovers a social pattern ignoring or overlooking the presence of former Nazi wartime criminals wholly integrated in German society. Against the then social tide, the young official was finally granted approval to investigate and ultimately prosecute 22 Germans in the 1963-65 Frankfurt Auschwitz trials. This is a true story, intelligently crafted and ultimately powerful and compelling. It is an incredible peek behind the curtain of history.
German with English Subtitles
Never heard of this film? Well, it is not to be missed! It starts very confusing, then it takes on a quirky inquisitive quality. Ah, finally making a little sense, this is a different kind of reality for this mother and child. Then more and more information is revealed until you realize what the story is really all about. I won’t tell you here because it would ruin the disturbing discovery and possibly the rest of the movie. This is truly groundbreaking movie making and it will be interesting to see Hollywood’s reaction. Excellent performances especially from the 5 year old boy. Where did that depth come from? Seek this one out and see for yourself. I found myself thinking about this one long after the movie ended.
Here is another great film we almost missed. It has limited distribution and until very recently little visibility. It is a Sony Classics release and will probably only last a week or two depending on your local film market. Do seek it out. You will be rewarded with a peek into the China of the Mao era, and maybe something to think about.
It is a heart wrenching story about a young couple torn away from each, the husband to a labor camp, the wife, injured in an accident loses some of her memory. The husband is released toward the end of China’s Cultural Revolution only to discover his wife does not recognize him.
Mandarin with English Subtitles
Rating: 4 Globes