HUMANITY AT ITS BEST AND WORST: Sicario and The Martian


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Warning: SPOILERS
sicarioSicario, the new thriller about the drug war written by Taylor Sheridan (a first film) and directed by French Canadian flavor of the month Denis Villeneuve (Incendies, Prisoner, Enemies), is, in many ways, two movies for the price of one.
The first is an action/adventure film full of car chases and gun battles and plot twists (many of which, if truth be told, I found just a tad tenuous at best) of the action/adventure variety.
The second is a treatise on the drug war.
The first film is often quite successful and impressive. The second is, at least from my perspective, quite shallow and unconvincing.
This means that for much of the time, Sicario is definitely and highly entertaining. Sheridan and Villeneuve, along with the incredibly soaring cinematography of Roger Deakins (one of our finest today), the film editing of Joe Walker, and the heart throbbing music of Johan Johannson, have crafted an edge of your seat story that never really stops and never really lets you stop watching. Continue reading

BIG THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES: Ant-Man


First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
 
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
 
Warning: SPOILERS
ant manWhen word came down that they (and we all know who “they” are even if we don’t know who “they” are) were making a movie based on the Marvel character of Ant-Man, well, let us say that there was a bunch of groaning and/or unintentional laughter followed by, “Oh, you’re serious”.
Among my comic book geek friends, Ant-Man, a superhero who could miniaturize to the size of the referred to hard working insect, as well as control them, had never been taken that seriously.
With the name not really helping much.
And when I first saw the previews, I didn’t see any additional reason for optimism. They seemed fairly, well, lame.
So now I’ve seen the movie itself and I have to say…it’s not bad and actually has some worthy virtues to speak of.
Who’d have thought it?
The basic premise is that an ex-con (but don’t worry, one of those heroic ones, a computer hacker robin hood, so that way we can cheer him on) gets lured into a life of superherodom by a retired scientist trying to stop an-ex intern, now owner of the scientist’s former company, from exploiting the scientist’s technology of shrinking objects and people and selling them to the highest bidder for world domination purposes (with that neo-Nazi group HYDRA somehow managing to have the most moolah to do it after being so soundly defeated by Captain America and Co. a year or so ago—where do they get their funds? The Koch brothers?). Continue reading