Phils choice this week was Sicario, (2015) directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, and Josh Brolin. Not a bad cake mix, but the cherry on the icing is the cinematography by Roger Deakins ~ often cited as one of the greatest and most influential cinematographers of all time. I think any serious movie geek knows his name. I wonder though how many know that his wife Isabella, but known as James Ellis Deakin (for some reason I have no idea about) has collaborated with him since they married in 1991, and is listed as Digital Workflow Consultant deep in the small credits at the end of the movie.
Anyway, the cinematography is predictably wonderful. The direction is spot on, and although I found Emily Blunt’s goody two shoes FBI agent character implausible, she acted her socks off doing it. Benicio del Toro as the titular Sicario, which means ‘hitman’, is dark and menacing and cooller than ice and James Brolin as a flip flop wearing CIA officer was more than equal to the part.
The plot revolves around the American’s desire to revert the drug cartels in Mexico back to how it used to be when one cartel ran the whole shebang and was therefore easier for them to control, and in order to operate in foreign fields the CIA need an FBI presence to legalise their participation.
Johanne Johannsson deservedly won an oscar nomination and a BAFTA award for the soundtrack which really added to the ambience of the movie.
We thoroughly enjoyed this movie and as there is a sequel that also got good reviews, we will get to that too at some point.
Our Saturday night fun movie was Avengers Endgame. For the sake of continuity for Phil, I missed out Antman & the Wasp, and Captain Marvel, both of which he saw when I first got them, and as we watched Infinity War last week it made more sense.
Endgame deals with the fall out from Infinity Wars and what’s left of the Avengers attempts to reverse the destruction caused by Thanos, (James Brolin again) in that movie. There is a lot of sadness and pathos in the first half of the movie, which at 3 hrs and 2 minutes is one of the longest Marvel has produced. Everyone in the enormous cast brought their A game, whilst Joe & Anthony Russo’s directing skills kept everything tight. It’s funny in a lot of places and sends itself up as well as ribbing other time travel movies such as Back to the Future. Although there is always the CGI action and spectacle expected from an MCU movie there’s less here than in Infinity Wars and a lot more character and emotional scenes that show how invested the actors have been in this franchise, the love and friendship they have for each other shines through.
Critics have mostly been positive, Todd McCarthy in the Hollywood Reporter agrees “what comes across most strongly here, oddly enough for an effects-driven comic-book-derived film, is the character acting, especially from Downey, Ruffalo, Evans, Hemsworth, Brolin and Paul Rudd” . Rotten Tomatoes critics said “Exciting, entertaining, and emotionally impactful, Avengers: Endgame does whatever it takes to deliver a satisfying finale to Marvel’s epic Infinity Saga.” The neighsayers have criticised it for being overly long, but always mention the good acting from all involved.
At the box office it became the fifth highest grossing movie of all time worldwide, not bad going for a bunch of superheros.
Phil, good sport that he is, has stoically gone through the MCU with me, and at the end of Endgame told me it was the only one he’d really like to see again, another win!
Next week Phil hasn’t yet chosen his Thursday night movie, but we will be finishing this phase of the MCU with Spiderman Far From Home, which answers a few questions and sets up for the next phase, which starts in May with Scarlett Johanson reprising her Black Widow character as we get the origin of her story. I’m really looking forward to that one as it also stars Florence Pugh who is getting a lot of accolades for her performances in Midsommar and Little Women. Also this year in November The Eternals will be released with Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie and Kit Harrington taking major parts, eye candy all round!