Archives for posts with tag: Benicio Del Toro

“Sicario” takes us into the brutal world of Mexican drug cartels, their infiltration into the United States, and America’s response to this threat, legal and illegal.   This is a dark, twisted version of “Alice In Wonderland,” and could be titled “Alice The FBI Agent in Cartel Land.”

Emily Blunt is “Alice The FBI Agent” who volunteers to work with an inter-agency team to bring down high-ranking members of a Mexican, drug cartel that have set up shop in the U.S.  Josh Brolin is the secretive “Cheshire Cat” who leads the team — he grins and smirks often, but behind those smiling eyes is a cold-blooded soldier who will carry out his orders any way he can.  More shadowy than Brolin is Benicio Del Toro, the “Mad Hatter” who has an “appointment” with the leader of the Mexican cartel so he can fulfill his own agenda, whatever that may be.  Blunt can, at any time, remove herself from the inter-agency team and go home; but she wants to know how deep the rabbit hole goes and what is at the end of it despite the risks to her career, her sanity, and her life.

At the top of the list for my memorable, movie moments of “Sicario” is the part when Blunt and her teammates have an upper-echelon cartel member in their possession and they are on their way back to the U.S. border.  Traffic at the checkpoint is a nightmare and the area has become a parking lot.  The Americans know they are in a good spot for an ambush by the drug dealers, and within seconds they spot two cars loaded with serious looking Mexicans carrying an assortment of guns.

Taking the number two spot for my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Blunt’s team crossed over into Mexico in their black SUVs, and moments later they are escorted by a dozen Mexican police vehicles manned by fully armored cops carrying heavy weapons.  Blunt takes all this in with widened eyes which grow more fearful when she spots naked, headless bodies of men hanging from a trestle, presumably victims of the cartels.

It’s rare for a movie to keep up a high level of intensity through most of the story, but “Sicario” does just that.  There are many “critics” out there who are secretly paid by movie studios to use phrases like “grabs you and won’t let go until the end” in their reviews.  Well, “Sicario” does just that: it grabs your attention from the first shot to the last.  I was very entertained, Maximus!

— M

I have to be careful of my assessment of the Oliver Stone movie, “Savages,” because I watched it while hanging out with 4 of my best friends; and it was the first movie we watched that day, and we were all pretty chatty at that point.   And we all know what happens when there’s a lot of cross talk during a movie: some of the subtleties and nuances of the movie are missed, as well as some of the dialogue that can be critical in the true understanding of the movie.  With that said, here we go.

“Savages” has Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson playing pot growers/dealers in California who have the same lover played by Blake Lively.  The business and pot of Kitsch/Johnson are so good that it attracts the attention of a Mexican drug cartel, headed by Salma Hayek.  Hayek wants them all to be partners, but the two Cali white dudes say no, so the cartel kidnaps Lively to force the white dudes into making the deal.  Kitsch, being the balls out, Iraqi/Afghan war vet, eventually decides that a war with the Mexicans is inevitable since he believes there can be no happy ending to the mess they find themselves in.  So, Kitsch/Johnson and their crew of ex-military guys take the fight to the Mexicans; and that’s when things get really messy and brutal.

I decided to watch “Savages” based on the trailer and the Oliver Stone name.  First, the trailer makes you think that this is mostly an action flick. It’s not.  “Savages” is in the realm of drama/suspense/thriller, with a bit of action thrown here and there.  Second, this is not Oliver Stone’s best movie.  But it is an okay movie.  I like the way Stone shows us the private lives of the Mexican cartel members, so that we see what makes them tick, and not just see them as mindless thugs.   One cartel member is played by Benicio Del Toro; and all scenes with him are memorable, movie moments of “Savages,” as he looks like an evil, Mexican, Brad Pitt!  It is…very disturbing…and funny.  You know, like the way the Catholic church likes to talk about how we should strive to be good people, and yet the church has used its powers to shield child molesters within their ranks from prosecution.  Sure, sure, the Catholic church are making strides to come down hard on child raping priests; but only after the wrong doings of the church were revealed over a period of decades.

Speaking of wrong, Oliver Stone gives us a “what the hell?” moment at the endings of “Savages.”  Yes, endings.  We get two endings.  I won’t go into details in order not to spoil it for you; but the ending sequences takes the first prize for the most memorable, movie moment (or should I say moments?).    I will say that it ruined “Savages” for me.  Despite the trailer fooling me into thinking that this movie was going to be an all out war between two guys and a Mexican drug cartel, I was able to find the numerous merits of this movie regarding the acting, script, pacing, structure, direction…but those endings…

There is such a thing as being too stylish…and smoking too much s#*t.  If someone eased back on those two things, “Savages” may have been a very good movie, instead of just being okay.  At least I didn’t have to pay for seeing this movie (thanks, Library!).

M

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