Thursday, December 17, 2015

Triple Feature: Straight Outta Compton, Maggie, Sicario

Whenever there are too many movies to review, just do a triple feature!

So, I'm really far behind on movie reviews! I've seen a ton of movies over the past week between flying back to the States on an 8 hour flight, being bored to death, and seeing friends by seeing movies. So whenever there's a huge backlog, it only makes sense to write several mini reviews right now. Especially when I have to review Star Wars: The Force Awakens tomorrow. So, here we go!

Maggie (Released May 8th, 2015)
Woooooooooow this movie is dull beyond belief. As a zombie movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, despite the fact that I knew it would be a drama, I wanted a bit more life and energy in this flaccid and weak project. I don't talk to much about zombies on here, and even though pop culture currently loves them, I have nothing but apathy towards them. Some zombie projects are good, some aren't, and this is everything I don't like about it.

The movie is really about this girl named Maggie who was bit and began to turn into a zombie, and the whole movie is the sloooooooooooow process of seeing her become a zombie. None of it is interesting, and the movie is presented as pretentiously as possible. Every shot of the movie is "artsy", and tries to emulate The Walking Dead, but it fails because it doesn't understand that we actually have to like the characters featured in this zombie apocalypse. There aren't any characters featured that are likeable except for maybe a random doctor who helps Maggie once or twice, but that's about it.

Oh, and did I mention that Arnold is in this movie? Cause the movie forgets this too. He kind of appears maybe once or twice, tries to help his daughter out and keep her alive, but it just amounts to Arnold standing around being indecisive. That's not who Arnold is! Arnold takes action! And this movie has no action, no energy, and nothing about it that makes me want to give it a second thought in the slightest.

Sicario (Released September 18th, 2015)
This movie seems like it's the response to No Country For Old Men. If No Country says that we can no longer understand the darkness of the criminal mind and how the old style of law enforcement is obsolete, Sicario shows that law enforcement can adapt to meet this darker criminal psyche and perhaps go even darker. This was the bleakest movie I've seen in years with no real heroes at all here and everyone comes out of this a bit darker and a bit more corrupt for it. I love this darker outlook, but I'm not so keen on the execution.

Make no mistake, Benicio del Toro is incredible here and deserves a Best Supporting Actor nomination for this role. He's chilling and relentless in his hunt for a cartel leader to the point of obsession. However, while del Toro is great here, everyone else isn't that memorable. Emily Blunt is just kind of there and is a cipher for the audience, but she has no personality besides trying to stay true to her moral compass, which in turn makes her a stick int he mud throughout the entire movie. Hell, the movie only really gets interesting in the last third where a brutal FBI operation takes place that leaves everyone in shambles and cements del Toro as the real main character of the piece.

It's funny that a lot of people are talking about this movie, because I've seen this movie done several times before. Sicario feels like the natural equation of No Country For Old Men + The Hurt Locker + The Counselor. If you've liked at least two of those movies, you'll get some enjoyment out of Sicario. If not, then you'll still have a pretty good time with this movie. It's close to being Oscar worthy, but not close enough.

Straight Outta Compton (Released August 14th, 2015)
Straight Outta Compton was the movie I never knew I wanted. I profess that I don't really know that much about rap, R&B, or anything about early 90's music. However, after seeing this movie, I'm really interested in trying to learn more about it. I loved this biopic about the members of NWA, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, and Dr. Dre in particular and made me want to learn more about them.

Even though this movie was over two hours long, I had no problem sitting watching it. It seemed to flow very easily and had a natural progression to it. Even when the movie began to drag towards the end and became more focused on being nostalgic about NWA, it still held my interest. But really, the movie is at its best when it's talking about NWA and its fallout. Their formation was interesting, but by juggling too many characters, I forgot about a lot of them. I know that there are five main members of NWA, but I never would have guessed who the other two were because there were just too many characters introduced at once.

Still, I had no problem with their being too many characters in the beginning because by the end, everyone had a great moment to them. The best character by far goes to Eazy-E, who had to portray a whole range of emotions and had the most character development and growth. This movie was a surprising smash hit at the box office, and I'm happy for it. In a year where most of the best movies were unexpected hits, this was the most unexpected of them all, and as someone who never even heard of NWA until this movie, this was the biggest surprise of the year for me. Well done!




No comments:

Post a Comment