It will be hard to top Sicario, but with Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro back in the mix, the sequel is an extremely intriguing proposition.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado reteams federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and the laser focused Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) in a new conflict. With drug trafficking terrorists traveling across the US Border, the pair attempt to figure out a plan to escalate the fight by kidnapping a kingpin’s daughter.
The twist is she is seen as collateral damage, and now Alejandro and Matt are turning that conflict towards each other. Taylor Sheridan (Wind River), who penned Sicario, also wrote the sequel’s screenplay, with Stefano Sollima (Suburra) taking on the directing duties (Dennis Villeneuve helmed the original).
Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think!
The biggest bait and switch behind 2015’s Sicario was the shift in narrative from FBI operative Kate Macer’s (Emily Blunt) point of view to the vengeance mission from Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro). Alejandro warned Kate that she is unfit to battle with an environment filled with wolves (aka the drug cartels) since she is too focused on the law.
But barring a surprise cameo, Blunt is not featured in Sicario 2: Soldado, which means the gloves are completely off. With federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), a man who doesn’t mind bending a few rules to dole out his brand of enforcement, and Alejandro reteaming to take down another group of terrorists, terrorists south of the U.S. border should be very concerned.
Sicario 2: Soldado, which is once again penned by Taylor Sheridan (Wind River), hits theaters June 29, 2018. Check out the trailer and tell us what you think!
As expected, a behind the scenes video on the making of Star Wars: The Last Jedi was unveiled over the weekend at Anaheim’s D23 Expo. Though it’s great to see Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver sharpening their Jedi skills in the clip, the best moment came from late actress Carrie Fisher, who reflected on the transcendence of theStar Wars universe.
“It’s about family,” said Fisher. “And that’s what’s so powerful about it.”
Regulars Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, and Gwendoline Christie were part of the D23 experience, and joining them on stage were Star Wars newcomers Laura Dern (Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo), Kelly Marie Tran (Resistance mechanic Rose), and Benicio Del Toro (as a character named D.J.).
Check out the behind the scenes video and tell us what you think!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, directed and penned by Rian Johnson (Looper, Brick) opens nationwide December 15, 2017.
Though he’s understandably receiving rave reviews for his magnetic performance as a laser focused assassin in Sicario, Benicio del Toro delivers equally captivating work in Escobar: Paradise Lost.
Nick (Josh Hutcherson) is a surfer who’s hanging out in Colombia with his big brother Dylan (Brady Corbet) and Dylan’s companion Laure (Ana Girardot), as the trio see the picaresque beaches and surrounding area as their temporary haven. Even though a local gang initially threatens their seemingly peaceful existence, they won’t be deterred.
The equation changes when Nick falls head over heels with Maria (Claudia Traisac), the niece of drug lord Pablo Escobar (Benicio del Toro). Their immediate connection is palpable (Traisac and Hutcherson actually have wonderful chemistry), but love always comes with a cost, as being part of the Escobar family can lead to a violent turn of events.
Del Toro, who packed on a few pounds to play Escobar, brings the right amount of gravitas and terror to his part, while Hutcherson is just as convincing as the naive Canadian who’s in over his head.
The real surprise, behind Escobar: Paradise Lostdoesn’t rest on the actors’ performances, as Hutcherson and Del Toro are always up to the task (even in bad films, both tend to rise above the material). Rather, it’s first time filmmaker Andrea Di Stefano who brings a refreshingly different take on the proceedings, as his narrative is split into two separate stories (the first half deals with Nick’s romance with Maria and acceptance into the Escobar family and the second section delves into more action driven territory). Di Stefano and cinematographer Luis David Sansans also infuse the film with several visually breathtaking sequences (most notably a chase sequence that occurs near the edge of a mountain). Huge credit also goes to Di Stefano for not giving the film’s final moments a cheesy Hollywood ending but instead giving viewers a more realistic (and, in turn, evocative) closing.
Blu-ray Special Features: The 30 minute plus featurette “Catching Pablo – The Making of Escobar: Paradise Lost“ focuses on the creative process of Andrea Di Stefano, who sees his story as a modern day Greek tragedy. Hutcherson, Del Toro, Traisac, and Carlos Bardem (he plays Escobar’s right hand man) are also interviewed in the documentary which also details the painstaking yet eventually worthwhile challenges of shooting in Panama. Cinematographer Sansans also breaks down his working relationship with Di Stefano.
In the seminal book A Bend In The River, V.S. Naipul writes that “men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.” For FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) her world entails an unfailing search for justice, as she believes there is a sense of purpose to her line of work. During the opening moments of Sicario, director Denis Villeneuve’s finest hour, Kate and her focused squad discover corpses in a home that’s utilized by the vicious leader of a drug cartel. Her mission leads to casualties from her own unit, while she and her partner Reggie (Daniel Kaluuya) also sustain injuries from the confrontation.
When Kate is asked to join a clandestine task force to take down the man responsible for these crimes, she’s initially warned by her superior (Victor Garber) to think real hard about her decision. Though tired and possibly a bit intimidated, Macer joins the force, believing that she can actually make a difference.
Leading the force is devil may care official Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) who, along with his mysterious right hand man Alejandro (Benicio del Toro), have an exacting way of going about their business. Whether it’s traveling to Juarez to extract a criminal or dispatching adversaries in an underground tunnel during the dead of night, these two men believe that there are no rules in this bloody border war. Drugs and money have a way of corrupting both sides of the law, and the scores of people who die in the crossfire are simply collateral damage.
These are the brutal lessons Kate learns along the way, as arresting a drug lord and believing that justice will be served may be only a pipe dream. The film’s moniker is the Spanish word for assassin, and its title refers to Alejandro, a feared member of the Colombian drug cartels. His mission finds its roots in vengeance and power, and though he strikes an immediate bond with Kate, sentimentality rarely enters his picture.
A majority of Sicariodeals with Kate’s coming of age and eventual disillusionment as an FBI agent, and Villeneuve brings an immediate, propulsive feel to her opening raid on the house and to her indoctrination to Juarez (both sequences, shot with arresting flair from cinematographer Roger Deakins, are the movie’s high points). Eventually her journey gives way to Alejandro’s own mission, and though the third chapter is more genre driven (essentially, Alejandro is a one-man killing machine), it’s no less riveting to watch. Del Toro, one of cinema’s most magnetic actors, brings a life force to Alejandro that’s hard to ignore, and it’s a performance that rivals some of his best work.
On a pure visceral level, Sicariois a cinematic experience that is hard to top, and fans can simply enjoy the film as a solid action driven piece. The real takeaway, however, is the pure tragedy that lies beneath the surface. Whether Alejandro succeeds in his master plan or if Kate continues with the FBI is not the true relevance behind Sicario. They are chess pieces in a game board that may never be conquered, as gunshots and murder on both sides of the border will continue no matter what the circumstance.
Sicario(R, 121 minutes), which opens nationwide today, is a mesmerizing and ultimately heartbreaking story that’s hard to shake, and it’s one of this year’s best films.