Brad and Raul continue on with their month looking at the films of Denis Villeneuve. This week we are looking at his crime thriller film, Sicario. This is the first time in a long time both of these two have seen the film. One of Denis’ best in his filmography. Listen to find out what we think about this film!
IMDb Synopsis: “An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by a government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.”
Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho works well to craft a film that just hits its mark as it juggles a lot to present a cohesive film.
Edgar Wright is back on the silver screen after his Academy Award-nominated film, Baby Driver. Yes, it has been four years since the last time we saw something new from the English director known for films such as Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead,and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Last Night in Soho like a lot of films released this year was supposed to be released last year but after two delays it finally graced the silver screen. Does this rank up there with the rest of his films? How does the latest Edgar Wright movie stack up against his filmography?
Last Night in Soho is directed by Edgar Wright from a script by Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns based on a story by Wright himself. The film stars Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Michael Ajao, Terence Stamp, and Diana Rigg. The film follows Ellie played by McKenzie, as a young adult who lost her mother at a young age going off to fashion school to become a designer in London. Ellie is in love with the music and overall design of the ’60s. She does not really seem to fit in at her dormitory with the other housemates so she seeks out a new living arrangement. Ellie finds herself at a new flat in London that takes her on a journey of visions of 60’s London and an aspiring singer, Sandie. Thus, after an exploration of these visions things start to spiral out of control.
Last Night in Soho works most of the time when it is not juggling a convoluted third act and uneven pacing. The film is shot by Chung Chung-hoon who is well known for collaborating with South Korean auteur, Park Chan-wook. The cinematography works for the film and what it is doing but having someone like Chung-hoon as DP you’d think that it would have more style to it. The performances are fine but of course, Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy give some well nuanced and interesting performances. The story is interesting and Wright trying to bend genres like horror, Giallo, and a drama together makes for an interesting film but it falls under the weight of a lackluster second half. The film explores important themes about the personal agency of victims that deserve their own separate conversation. I commend Wright on basing this part of the film on many victims’ stories that he talked to. If it did not have many problems like its script then this would be another hit from Edgar Wright, but I still recommend people go watch this. It is still very much an Edgar Wright film and fans of that will be satisfied.
Watch Last Night in Soho in theatres and will be available soon on PVOD.
No Time to Die wraps our current Bond era well enough as we say farewell to the films of Daniel Craig.
It is finally here after several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We can finally say that we have watched the final Daniel Craig James Bond performance. Of course, I went to the movie theater for this one and watched it on Cinemark’s awesome XD format. I had my large Coke Zero Sugar along with my large popcorn and I sat on a comfy sat as I enjoyed a movie that I had lost investment in. Yes, that is right I had lost interest in this film because of these constant delays. A long time ago during a time called pre pandemic times this movie was on my most anticipated of 2020 film list. Of course, most of the movies found on the list did not release that year but unlike Dune that has held my interest this one did not keep me “hyped” through its multiple delays. I think that it helped that I was not over the roof excited for this film because this was a pleasant surprise.
This 25th installment of the Bond franchise is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (Sin Nombre, Beasts of No Nation, True Detective) and written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Fukunaga, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Killing Eve). The film stars an ensemble cast of Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, and Ralph Fiennes. Of course, we know that our road to this film has been bumpy. Originally, this film was set to be directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) from a script written by him and John Hodge then they left in August of 2018 because of creative differences. Production started in 2019 and Fukunaga replaced Boyle but then Daniel Craig was injured. Once production started again then in June of 2019 an explosion happened that damaged a soundstage damaged and left a crew member with minor injuries. Production wrapped in 2019 and then the pandemic hit in 2020 so we had multiple delays of the film until it finally released in the United States on October 8th. Was it worth the wait? I definitely think that it was.
I quite enjoyed No Time to Die from its stunning cinematographer by Linus Sandgren to the performances and story beats. Of course, Hans Zimmer always does a great job and this score is no different. The story is interesting enough to keep yourself locked in, but I felt there could have been edits made to its runtime of 163 minutes. The film does not need to be this long but I understand we want to soak in as much time we can with Daniel Craig’s final performance as James Bond. Seydoux does a great job reprising her character from Spectre and the chemistry with Craig is there through it all. Malek plays an interesting villain that really gets under the skin of Bond. I did not expect them to do as great as a job they did with his villain but I was surprised at how much his character was well developed. The performances from everyone else were good too but it was Lashana Lynch who truly surprised me and left me wanting more from her. I’m crossing my fingers that we get her back in some sort of role in the next films or as our next iteration of Bond. Ana De Armas’ presence is small but enjoyable, I just wish they would have done more with her.
Other than those minor gripes, No Time to Die beautifully wraps up this era of the Bond films. I love how we feel the presence and the unresolved trauma of the past films in this one. It feels like everything from Casino Royale to Spectre served a purpose to make this version of James Bond we see. It was tough to walk out of this one knowing it was Craig’s final Bond performance but the film does it justice. I am eager to see what this new era of Bond films will bring to the table.
La Llorona (2020) excels to create an interesting new take on the folk tale filled with horror and insightful nuances.
Just like many Latinos, I was told the fear inducing story of La Llorona at a very young age. I was about six years old and my abuelita told us the story of this “weeping woman.” Now, the version I was told goes as follows. La Llorona was an indigenous woman who lived by the border. She had two kids, a boy and a girl, who she loved very much but she fell in love with a man who lived in the United States. La Llorona falls for the man but his feelings aren’t as strong as hers. After a rocky relationship he leaves her and she stays in Mexico while he travels up north for work. La Llorona believes that nothing could be wrong with her that could cause this man to leave her. She comes to the conclusion that her kids are at fault and one night she takes her children to the Rio Grande River to drown them. As they lose their life being drowned La Llorona realizes that she has done wrong and proceeds to drown herself. As she meets her creator, her God tells her that she cannot enter their kingdom until she finds her children and truly understands the severity of her acts. La Llorona comes back down to Earth and every night she weeps “mis hijos (my children)” as she searches for them. If you encounter her she may take your children from you especially if they roam the river alone.
I would like to remind you all that I grew up on the border so this kept me far away from the river which was possibly the goal of this story being told to me at such a young age. The story of La Llorona has gone through changes various times that we don’t really know the actual story or where it originated from. One thing is true though, all of its incarnations have been fear inducing. The story of La Llorona has been translated onto the silver screen before but was done terribly at adapting such a terrifying story. On the contrary, what I watched on Shudder was far from being terrible.
La Llorona (2020) is set in Guatemala as General Enrique Monteverde is tried for genocide after him and his army murdered many of the local indigenous population in the 80’s. At first, Monteverde is tried and found guilty of genocide but because the old man is not in the best of condition he is allowed to stay at his home under a form of house arrest. After losing all but one of his helpers at the home he employs a beautiful indigenous woman with long black hair and a white gown. Once Alma the new housekeeper starts to work for them and various protests happening every day, something starts to feel very strange within the home as the effects of isolation start to settle in.
Jayro Bustamante’s La Llorona (2020) is exhilarating, nuanced, and downright incredible. First of all, let me talk about the bare minimum, La Llorona is an indigenous woman and the fact that she is played by an indigenous actress is beautiful to see. Not only is she casted appropriately but her and the various indigenous people in the film talk different dialects of the Mayan language. Such important characteristics that seem to be the bare minimum are never represented in Hollywood. The way that this Guatemalan film incorporates the folk story makes for an incredibly interesting retelling. The modern retelling and commentary of Latin American politics within this horror film is vastly nuanced. Instead of focusing entirely on the folklore of La Llorona, the film uses the story more as a backbone to create the bone chilling atmosphere of the picture. Maria Mercedes Coroy as Alma/La Llorona is incredible and goosebumps inducing. Every deep stare from her feels like it is looking deep into your soul. Everything from the performances, cinematography, and fluid direction makes for quite a picture. La Llorona (2020) is truly a masterful effort from Bustamante and their team of creatives.
This film is one of the best of the year, and I highly recommend you all watch it as soon as possible. Watch La Llorona (2020) on Shudder.
Christopher Nolan’s back at it again, a triumphant return to save or at least help keep cinema progressing in these uncertain times we are living.
What for me might be his best comes after a myriad of delays and issues through some of the most trying months in recent decades, and he still delivers the cinema experience. The film was a welcome and dearly missed feeling for 2 hours and a half (add on up to half an hour depending on your cinema’s add and trailers). I completely forgot about 2020 and everything that has been happening as of late.
From Nolan’s masterful sound design, the way it blends brilliantly crafted gunshots and other audio effects with Ludwig Göransson’s massive and bo bass-driven score to the way these tease Travis Scott’s “The Plan”-written for the film by Göransson, Scott and WondaGurl (Ebony Naomi Oshunrinde). There are multiple times the film is bringing in enough of the intro to the song to notice without feeling overbearing to the point it feels natural when it plays later.
If you weren’t all-in on John David Washington already, I don’t know what your excuse can be post-Tenet. The man leads this film without any hiccups when it comes to action while going toe to toe with Robert Pattinson and Kenneth Branagh dramatically. His performance builds and maintains chemistry with Elizabeth Debicki and forming one formidably charismatic duo with the aforementioned, Pattinson. If this film dragged or had many issues, this duo could probably mask quite a few, given that it doesn’t have any glaring ones of note, they shine all the brighter. These core four are surrounded quite well with some notable smaller roles where Michael Caine, Clémence Poésy, Himesh Patel, Dimple Kapadia, and Aaron Taylor Johnson all do very well with their screentime.
Tenet is a film that plays with palindromes, metaphors, and contrasting ideas while planting enough seeds throughout, for there always to be something in the background to enjoy upon a rewatch or further inspection, and while Nolan plays with the ideas of inversion the actions scenes involving these are sublime. Even the smaller, more mundane aspects have you walking out of the cinema as if you were the one inverted for at least a few steps. And I don’t know in the end, as a viewer I can’t get over the birds.
We may have no friends at dawn, but if you enjoyed Tenet, you have one in this fellow viewer. Tenet is playing in theaters internationally and will be opening limitedly in the United States on September 2nd.