Sicario: Day Of The Soldado – It’s probably no secret but I absolutely loved Sicario. Helmed by my favorite Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve and shot by the now Academy Award winner Roger Deakins, the film was a bleak and dark look at the battle over the border between the DEA and the cartels of Juarez, Mexico, a movie that felt very stand alone. When it was announced that there would be a follow-up movie I was hugely skeptical, not wanting this story to be milked into mediocrity. Day Of The Soldado was an unexpected shot in the arm as it had the same exact tone but furthered the arc of Benicio del Toro’s sort of titular character, this time focusing a bit on the cartel’s involvement in illegal immigration trafficking, something very relevant in these times. Benicio brings that quiet and subdued fire that lingered in the background of the first movie and absolutely drives this one with Josh Brolin adding that government bureaucracy that worked so well in the first film. This isn’t quite the caliber of the Villeneuve/Deakins collaboration but it’s a really nice following piece that deserves some attention.
American Animals – Sometimes, for suggestable individual, too much immersion in a fantasy world leaves you with an unhealthy limit in your disconnect. This is coming from a guy who watches so many movies that somethings start to blur together. In the case of this film, one of our characters watches way too many heist films and it ultimately influences an idea of ripping off a priceless art book from a university library. This brilliant film led by a great young cast including The Killing Of A Sacred Deer’s Barry Keoghan and American Horror Story’s Evan Peters which writer and director Bart Layton leads with an ingenious script that has the real four would be robbers giving their versions of the story to make up this mosaic of film. Easily, this one is one of my favorite films this year.
GLOW: Season 2 – It’s like a combination of some of my favorite things: great television and wrestling! The Jenji Kohan produced series returned with its second season Friday and is already again one of my favorite things that Netflix has ever produced. Season one was all about character development along with the progression of this ambitious women’s wrestling show from idea to finished product and now that the ground work has been laid, we can now go deeper. Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin take the top honors among an amazing women cast, all award worthy and definitely one of the best ensembles I’ve seen and it’s about time for Marc Maron to be recognized by the Emmys because his portrayal of director Sam Sylvia is such a highlight. Also, I can’t forget my boy Bash, played by Chris Lowell, a coked up joy whenever he’s onscreen.
Swiss Army Man – Back when I got to see the press screening of this film from the duo known as Daniels, I sat in the theaters with a dumbfounded look of joy on my face. What madness is this that the cinematic world had gifted me? For those out of the loop, the film follows Paul Dano, a man seemingly shipwrecked on a beach, who discovers a dead body on the beach played by Daniel Radcliffe. Upon discovering that this body is capable of everything he needs to survive, our main must also teach his new dead friend everything he knows about life, love and existence when he experiences a rebirth of sorts. This movie totally astounded me, making me want to watch it again immediately afterwards to absorb all of its sunshiny goodness as well as that Manchester Orchestra score. Well now you can over and over again because it’s on Netflix!
Another Wolfcop – Near the end of last year I had the privilege of interviewing Lowell Dean, the creator of the fun madness that is Wolfcop about his latest B-movie masterpiece and, well, the point is I had to gush to him how much I love both films and thanked him for making them. If you love grindhouse cinema like Hobo With A Shotgun or Troma films like, well, any of them, you owe it to yourself to pick up this Blu-Ray, which also comes in a two pack so you can experience them correctly. What’s it about? A hard-drinking cop who is also a werewolf. Simple enough? The movie is also Canadian through and through, filmed in Saskatchewan and featuring cameos from Lawrence Gown, honorary Canadian Kevin Smith and more. If you want blood, gore, Liquor Donuts and werewolf genitalia, you’ve come to the right place.