Tag Archives: Catherine Keener

Sicario: Day of the Soldado Trailer #2 (2018) “And Now You Hunt Them”

Sicario 2  is now Sicario: Day of the Soldado, and Columbia has released a synopsis and new trailer for the summer film:

In Sicario: Day of the Soldado, the drug war on the US-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) reteams with the mercurial Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) to start a war between dueling cartels by kidnapping Isabela Reyes (Isabela Moner of Transformers: The Last Knight), the teenage daughter of infamous kingpin Carlos Reyes. When the mission is exposed, and Graver orders Alejandro to terminate Isabela, the killer’s cold façade cracks.

Benicio del Toro in Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Soldado is the sequel to the 2015 Denis Villeneuve thriller Sicario about the drug wars between the Mexican cartels and the U.S. government along the southern border of the United States.  It’s one of the most taut, thrilling, and visceral films in recent years, and it left you with an ending that could have stood, but also could have easily been continued (it’s Hollywood, they chose to keep going).  Emily Blunt and director Denis Villenueve will not be returning (replaced by Italian Stefano Sollimo).  Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro will be back as will-and this is the most important thing-screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, who does not write bad scripts.  Sicario 2: Soldado will open in theaters June 29, 2018.
Benicio del Toro in Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Sicario 2: Soldado Trailer #1 (2018) “No Rules This Time”

Soldado is the sequel to the 2015 Denis Villeneuve thriller Sicario about the drug wars between the Mexican cartels and the U.S. government along the southern border of the United States.  It’s one of the most taut, thrilling, and visceral films in recent years, and it left you with an ending that could have stood, but also could have easily been continued (it’s Hollywood, they chose to keep going).  Emily Blunt and director Denis Villenueve will not be returning (replaced by Italian Stefano Sollimo).  Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro will be back as will-and this is the most important thing-screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, who does not write bad scripts.  Sicario 2: Soldado will open in theaters June 2018.
Benicio Del Toro in Sicario 2: Soldado

Movie Review: Get Out (2017) “An Instant Classic That Defies Categorization”

Daniel Kaluuya

I know this comes a bit late (I’m trying to catch up on my reviewing), but if you haven’t already gotten out to see Get Out, you need to get out to see Get Out posthaste.  That’s largely all I’m going to say about the movie itself.  Now…..get out. Continue reading Movie Review: Get Out (2017) “An Instant Classic That Defies Categorization”

My Favorite Scene: Captain Phillips (2013) “Taking the Shot”

Warning: graphic violence in the above clip; be advised.
If you’re going to get a person to play a heroic captain in Hollywood, you have to call Tom Hanks first, and then if he passes on it other people can take it.  Hanks is the captain.  Be it in space (Apollo 13), on the sea (Captain Phillips), or in the air (this Friday’s Sully), you want Hanks captaining your Hollywood version of a real emergency.  In Captain Phillips, Hanks played Captain Richard Phillips of the MV Maersk Alabama, a cargo ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates.  It was the first act of piracy against a United States ship in over 200 years.  Director Paul Greengrass is in United 93 mode here, not Bourne mode, and takes a documentary approach to the events as they culminate in Phillips in the ship’s lifeboat with the Somali pirates, who are facing the US Navy.  As snipers try to get a shot on the pirates without hitting Phillips, the captain, who has kept a stolid reserve throughout the ordeal, begins to crack. The struggle with the pirates in the lifeboat, both mental and physical, is masterfully portrayed by Hanks and fellow Oscar nominee Barkhad Abdi.  When the situation ends and Phillips finally releases that control; the emotion pouring forth is so genuine and so moving…it’s a scene to put in his portfolio with the best of his career. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Captain Phillips (2013) “Taking the Shot”

Movie Review: Captain Phillips (2013)

Captain Phillips, Tom Hanks

I was fortunate enough yesterday to be able to screen Tom Hanks‘ Captain Phillips.  Directed by Paul Greengrass (United 93), Captain Phillips tells the story of the 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking, in which a cargo vessel was taken by Somali pirates. It was the first act of piracy against a ship flying an American flag since the 18th Century.  Hanks plays the Alabama‘s captain, who was taken hostage by the pirates in the Alabama’s lifeboat leading to a confrontation with US Navy Special Forces.

The screening I attended was extremely special, and I was honored to be a guest, because it was a private screening for the employees of Maersk who work at their US headquarters (Maersk is a Danish-owned company) many of whom know the crew of the Alabama and were working during the 2009 crisis.  I almost wanted to watch the crowd as much as I did the movie.  What a surreal thing to have happen in the first place, and then to be watching a movie about your work; your colleagues.  Going into the screening, I can tell you a lot of them were skeptical about the “Hollywoodization” of the hijacking

Captain Phillips focuses, with the exception of an extremely brief introductory period that shows Phillips preparing at home in Vermont and the hijackers jockeying for position on the attack boats in Somalia, on the event itself.  Paul Greengrass is known for taking a single camera, documentary-style approach to his films be they fictional (Bourne Supremacy) or based on events (United 93).  Greengrass is an outstanding director, keeping the pacing of the film kinetic.  The Somali hijackers are not presented as cookie cutter villains, but they are also not romanticized or sympathetic (which-given the room I was in-I was glad they didn’t try).

The pirates demonstrated (both in the movie and by all accounts I’ve read) a complete misapprehension and dimwitted thuggishness in response to the ability of the Alabama’s crew to frustrate their early attempts to board and to trick and mislead them through the ship they knew so well while maintaining order on a ship armed with nothing more than fire hoses and a few flares.   As the situation escalates to the pirates holding Phillips hostage in a tiny life boat, the claustrophobic atmosphere kindles their increasingly frantic realization of the amount of force that had been brought to bear against them.  It’s one thing to demand tens of millions when you’re holding a gun on unarmed men; the same demand starts to ring a bit hollow when several ships worth of exceedingly armed men are listening to that same demand.

Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips

Greengrass chooses an almost sterile approach to chronicling the stand-off.  There’s no thumping, adrenaline pumping score.  No flashy shots or dialogue clearly manufactured by a screenwriter.  His approach to film in these events as he has said in multiple interviews and as the Maersk rep remarked to the audience before the film, is not journalism.  He wants to convey to the audience the tone, the feelings and the atmosphere of the event, but he’s still making a movie.  This is admirable and when the perfect balance is struck (United 93) it can be devastatingly effective.  He has, though, become increasingly distant in his direction leading to efforts (Green Zone) that feel more like a toneless documentary than a movie.  He was flirting with that line again with Captain Phillips and what pulls the movie along and keeps Greengrass from sabotaging his own efforts is Tom Hanks.

Tom Hanks has frustrated the living daylights out of me for nearly a decade in his choice of projects.  For every Charlie Wilson’s War, there’s Larry Crowne and the Robert Langdon  gobbledygook.  Then last year’s Cloud Atlas, which we’d need a separate post to contain my rant, pretty much had me given up on him altogether.  He is, in my mind, the most talented actor and the most versatile actor of his generation.  This used to show up in his film choices, resulting in some of the best performances I’ve ever seen.  Which Tom Hanks was in Captain Phillips?  I am relieved to say, the real Tom Hanks showed up for work and turned in a riveting and nuanced performance as Phillips.  His professionalism, control and insight on the Alabama probably saved this lives of his crew (not to diminish any of their efforts as well).  The struggle with the pirates in the lifeboat both mental and physical is portrayed with a level of masterful craft so that when the situation ends and Phillips finally releases that control; the emotion pouring forth is so genuine and so moving…it’s a scene to put in his portfolio with the best of his career.

The movie was not quite the home run I wanted and for that I blame Greengrass for erring too far on the side of the documentarian, however it is an outstanding film with a fantastic performance from Hanks that is not to be missed.  As far as the reaction from the screening, I heard nothing but praise from the Maersk employees.  Even those who had worked the crisis four years ago were struck by aspects of the experience that had never occurred to them, which is probably the ultimate compliment Greengrass would wish to receive.  Captain Phillips opens nationwide, this Friday, October 11th.
8.75/10
Captain Phillips, Tom Hanks, Paul Greengrass