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Tim (356 KP) created a poll about in Actors and Actresses

Dec 30, 2018  
Poll
Benicio del Toro

One of my all-time favourites!
Great!
Meh...

0 votes

Poor

0 votes

Cannot stand him/her

0 votes

Vote
  
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Erika (6219 KP) rated Sicario (2015) in Movies

Mar 11, 2018  
Sicario (2015)
Sicario (2015)
2015 | Action, Drama, Mystery
Wow, the last two scenes with Benicio Del Toro were amazing. I'd been putting off watching this one, for no good reason. I was finally prompted to watch it because the sequel is coming out here pretty soon.
The whole cast was great. The tension was perfect, and I was enthralled the entire time.
  
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Andy K (9154 KP) Mar 11, 2018

Love this movie!

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)
Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)
2018 | Crime, Thriller
Benicio Del Toro (0 more)
Not quite as good as the original
Before watching Sicario 2, I really wanted to try and watch the original movie again, but never got a chance. I remember it being brutal and intense, with outstanding performances from Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro. I remember it gripping me from beginning to end. But, strangely, I couldn't remember very much about it at all other than basic plot details. I know I would recommend it in a heartbeat though, so I was excited for what the sequel would bring.

In Sicario: Day of the Solado (or just Sicario 2: Soldado here in the UK...), the brutal intensity is introduced right from the start. A suicide bomber blows himself up at the U.S. - Mexican border. Then, in a Kansas supermarket, terrorists enter and detonate two bombs, followed by a third which is detonated while a woman and child plead to be set free. It's shocking, upsetting, and sticks with you uncomfortably for a while, serving as a push to get you behind federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) as he's brought in to start a war between the Mexican drug cartels. The plan has something to do with securing the border from terrorists, which kind of doesn't make much sense, but after the events in the opening scenes, you just want somebody to get out there and kick some ass. And with the promise that he's allowed to play things "dirty", you know that Josh Brolin is more than capable. He locates and recruits Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) to help him out, with the promise of getting revenge against the family responsible for the death of his own family. They kidnap the daughter of a top gang boss, and attempt to blame it on a rival gang. But things don't go according to plan.

Like the original, there are plenty of intense, well executed scenes, but this just didn't grip me in the same way as the first movie did. Benicio Del Toro is just brilliant, but the lack of Emily Blunt was noticeable. Still a very enjoyable movie though.
  
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Dean (4020 KP) rated Traffic (2001) in Movies

Apr 30, 2019  
Traffic (2001)
Traffic (2001)
2001 | Drama
Great cast (0 more)
A good drama that follows different entwining stories related to drugs in America. The film covers all aspects of the drug problem from the drug cartels in Mexico, the police officers on both sides of the border, the political side of things and the users. It's good how the stories all connect similar to Babel, Crash. This has a great cast and Benicio Del Toro is the best of them in my opinion. A little slow at times on some stories but overall a great film.
  
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Matthew Hoobin (1371 KP) rated Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) in Movies

Jul 13, 2018 (Updated Jul 16, 2018)  
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
1998 | Comedy
Warped but aimless
Based on the drug-fueled exploits of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, this twisted and surreal flick features Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro as two poorly developed and ultimately detestable characters on a strange, hallucinatory journey. Depp is almost unrecognizable in the role at times, and his narration helps keep the film from being incoherent in the face of his cartoonish movements and inflections. There are some humourous moments, some uncomfortable ones, and some brief creature effects by Rob Bottin and crew, and with the lighting and cinematography, the visuals do a fantastic job of conveying the bizarre, paranoia-inducing effects of psychoactive substances. I think a more significant commentary on the impact of the Vietnam War and the perceived loss of the American dream would've helped, but the cautionary psychedelic imagery is a riot.
  
Licence To Kill (1989)
Licence To Kill (1989)
1989 | Action, Drama, Thriller
Probably nobody's favourite Bond film, but it doesn't deserve the stick it gets for supposedly putting the franchise on hiatus for half a decade (behind the scenes issues at MGM/UA were responsible for the delay). A gritty tale of drug-dealing and vengeance, rather closer to the tone of Ian Fleming than any Bond film in twenty years; not that different in tone from some parts of the Daniel Craig era.

The complaint that it just doesn't feel like a Bond movie - too much crunch, not enough glitter - has some truth to it, and Dalton is arguably playing it all just a bit too straight, but the action sequences are well-mounted and it moves along pacily enough. Also has a scene where Benicio del Toro gets squelched by giant spiked wheels, so much to enjoy here on many levels (only joking, Benny).
  
Sicario (2015)
Sicario (2015)
2015 | Action, Drama, Mystery
Those expecting Sicario to be a high action film will be disappointed. Instead what they will find is a slow burn suspenseful drama with fantastic acting and a more realistic take on the drug war than Hollywood traditionally likes to show us.

Emily Blunt delivers another strong acting performance as a “girl scout” FBI agent who raids drug houses in Arizona. She is somewhat of a “Bad Ass” among her crew, as her life has become dedicated to the job and she believes in the cause. So when Josh Brolin comes in as the head of a “spook” CIA taskforce and recruits blunt to make some “noise” and go after the head of Mexican drug cartel, she jumps at the chance to stop the men responsible for the drug houses and make a real difference. The only problem is that as the low man on the taskforce, she is not told much which frustrates her when things start to not appear by the book.

To make things worse, Benicio Del Toro is a suspicious part of Brolin’s taskforce who doesn’t seem to fit into the puzzle. It is through Del Toro that we learn the truth about the operation and the real meaning of the word Sicario. Del Toro’s performance burns with silent chaos as you just know he is the “coolest guy” in the room, both in style and nerves. He is someone who is not to be trifled with as an ally or an enemy but still maintains a sincerity towards Blunt and her idealism. This is one of his best performances in years.

Ultimately Sicario is a slow paced suspenseful action film that feels real. Even though the pacing is slow, at no point did the film drag as you are constantly wondering what is really going on just like the strong and refreshing female lead in an action film like this.
  
Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)
Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)
2018 | Crime, Thriller
Better than the first
I’m one of the few people that really didn’t rate the first Sicario film. It wasn’t bad, but neither was it the brilliant film everyone rated it to be, so I went into the sequel with a certain amount of trepidation, but for the most part I was pleasantly surprised.

I’m afraid to say that Emily Blunt really isn’t missed. Instead we get much more of Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro, and you can’t complain about this as they’re both fantastic actors and put on brilliant performances in this. The film itself is very gritty, dark and brutal, right from the opening scenes with the suicide bombers to the gun battles and cartels scenes later on in the film. It’s very tense, and this is definitely not a feel good film at all but it’s still a gripping film to watch. The only thing that really let this down for me was the ending. Without spoilers, it’s partly ridiculous, partly a letdown as characters were going completely against the character they’d been portraying for 2 hours and also a blatant setup for a sequel. I’d have been a lot more satisfied with this film if it had been wrapped up better, but as sequels go, it’s impressive when one surpasses the original.
  
Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)
Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)
2018 | Crime, Thriller
The U.S.-Mexico border been a hum for human and drug trafficking, but when the cartels begin trafficking terrorist across the border the Pentagon decides enough is enough. It is time to try a different tactic. That is when agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) is brought in. Graver has been around the border before but also has been successful in the Middle East. He is brought in to start a war between the cartels. Graver knows that they only way to fight the cartels is to fight dirty. He knows what has worked before and he knows it will work here. He plans a daring daytime kidnapping of Isabel Reyes (Isabela Moner). She is the youngest daughter of the head of the Reyes Cartel, which Graver found out was responsible for helping certain terrorist get across the border. These particular terrorist eventually blew up a store in Kansas City. Graver flies to Columbia and enlists the help of a sicario, or assassin, Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) and together they set out to execute the kidnapping and kick of a war of cartels. But as they soon find out even the best laid plans can go wrong south of the border.

The follow up to the critically acclaimed 2015 film Sicario, this movie is an intense action thriller. The cast is good but Del Toro is outstanding. This character really suits him. Italian director Stefano Sollima (Suburra) does a great job taking over for Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival). The story is really well done. Writer Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water, Wind River) really put together a film that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The pace was good and the sound really added to the intense mood. I thought it flowed well with the first film, having the same writer helps, and it is a credit to Sollima. There were a few parts that went a little far in believability but overall it felt realistic.

Overall, the film was fast paced and as I mentioned before intense. There are a few twists and turns that keep you guess as to how it will all end. The movie earns it R rating with violence and a decent amount of blood. I enjoyed the first film and my expectations were high for this film. The story is similar enough that you feel like it connects to the first film but it stands on its own.
  
Savages (2012)
Savages (2012)
2012 | Drama, Mystery
6
6.7 (3 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Over the past 15 years, Oliver Stone’s films have been kind of hit or miss to me. It’s as if Stone is still trying to make the same controversial films he became popular for in the 80’s and early 90’s. Only, as an audience, we have become keen to his filmmaking style and therefore his more recent work suffers from the apathy of a “show me something new” culture. Still, despite his failures, Stone does not makes apologies for his work while he continues in his quest to make films about controversial subjects. This time around Stone strives to take us into the violent world of the Mexican drug cartels though a film adaptation of the novel Savages by Don Winslow.

As the film opens we are introduced to “O” (Blake Lively) who, as our narrator, acquaints us with the open yet loving relationship she shares with our two protagonists, Chon and Ben. Chon (Taylor Kitsch), an ex-Navy SEAL, is unquestionably the muscle of the trio’s operation. Chon was the original financier for his high school friend Ben, (Aaron Johnson) the peaceful, charitable, botany genius who has created the most potent marijuana in the world. Together these two embody the perfect man for O, while the three of them enjoy the spoils of the small marijuana empire they created in southern California.

That is until they gain the attention from a Mexican cartel intent on creating a stronger foothold in the southern California area. The cartel offers them a partnership and explains that by teaming up their business will triple in three years. But when the trio refuse the offer, the ruthless head of the cartel, Elena (Selma Hayek), instructs her enforcer, Lado (Benicio Del Toro), to kidnap O and hold her hostage so the boys will cooperate. Soon our heroes use their network of connections, like crooked DEA agent Dennis (John Travolta) and financial broker Spin (Emile Hirsch), to battle the cartel in a series of savage maneuvers to get back their one “shared” love.

Stone has been known to inspire his actors to give Oscar worthy performances. Sadly, you will not find any such performances here. That is not to say that the acting was terrible. It just seemed that the characters themselves are uninspired which is a shame because I would have liked to have seen some growth in this young cast, especially from Taylor Kitsch.

I feel that many critics will be hard on Taylor Kitsch because of his previous epic fails of 2012 (John Carter and Battleship) however I am surprised to admit that, for this movie at least, he gets a pass in my book. Not because he delivers a fantastic performance that makes me believe he’s truly an up and coming talent, but rather because he is convincing in his portrayal of Chon. When O describes our protagonists as each being one half of the perfect man, she refers to Chon as “Hard Steel,” which is exactly what Kitsch plays him as, a one-dimensional, emotionally devoid character with no growth or any real redeeming qualities other than the ability to go to war. Regardless of whether or not Kitsch has any additional acting range not showcased in this film, I cannot penalize him for his performance in this movie. He fit the part that he was cast in fine.

Blake Lively (Gossip Girl, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) plays O, short for Ophelia. And yes she channels the mad, love-struck, melancholic character from Hamlet after whom she is named. And while it is easy to make those comparisons to the character of this film, they only appear to be on the surface, if anything. And herein lies the problem. Regardless of how you feel about her open relationship with Ben and Chon, the more I learned about her, the less I cared. Like Kitsch’s character, O is boring and one dimensional. She is the product of being a pretty little rich girl whose mother is off somewhere with husband number twelve. She has been getting stoned every day since she was young and the only place she finds herself loved is in with the company of Chon and Ben. Tragic, I know. While watching the film I honestly thought to myself, if I was Ben or Chon, I would say, “Fuck it. Cut her loose and let’s go to Asia.” She has no redeeming qualities other than being good looking and a good lay. So why would they go through so much trouble for her? The trio’s relationship is weakly tied together by her telling us through narration but never really materializes on screen. At times you get some of a feeling that Ben actually loves her but that love is never really reciprocated from O. It is safe to say that that I did not derive any loving connection from Lively’s performance, though her deliver as a narrator was tolerable.

Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass) is the one redeeming performance from this young cast. In contrast to Chon, O describes Ben as “Soft Wood” which makes him the better half. Ben is the one character who actually goes through some kind of character arc and growth. Using the wood analogy, we watch him bend from the peaceful Buddhist businessman to the man who will sacrifice everything, to get back this woman he loves. Nowhere is this better embodied than when Ben is faced with the tough choice of sticking to his peaceful beliefs or incinerating a man in cold blood during one of their moves against the cartel. I found myself actually curious about what Ben would do next. Unlike Chon and O, Ben has some depth and struggles with his personal beliefs, his love for O and what needs to be done. Needless to say, Johnson delivers a believable performance that actually helps move along the action and was the only protagonist that kept me interested in their battle.

In addition to Johnson, the film is littered with several strong supporting cast members who all deliver solid performances. Selma Hayek is strong as Elena, the leader of the cartel that challenges Ben and Chon. She is a ruthless and shrewd businesswoman and yet has a better “sense of morality” as she explains during her interactions with O and her own daughter. Her enforcer Lado is played by Benicio Del Toro who, with the help of an uncomfortable rapist mustache, comes off as an extremely menacing character. Del Toro solidifies himself on screen by being down right creepy and yet intelligent in his own savage way. During every moment of screen time you expect him to kill someone just because it is good for business.

A needed bit of change of pace is provided by an unexpected performance by Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild) as Ben and Chon’s witty financial broker, Spin. As well as by John Travolta who plays Dennis, the dirty DEA agent who’s in Ben and Chon’s pocket. In fact, even though Travolta’s screen time is maybe a total of 12 minutes, his performance steals the show with his sole bit of comic relief, for lack of a better explanation. Perhaps the strongest acted moment of this film is during a standoff scene between Del Toro and Travolta that in many ways makes me want to know more about those characters. And what that movie would be about.

In typical Stone fashion the movie is shot in a variety of film angles and stylistic devices used to foreshadow and at times create a foreboding presence. Visually the movie provides a strong and believable feeling for the world these characters live in and the way that they operate their business. In addition, narration is used at points to move along the action and provide the audience with insight that otherwise would not have been possible on performances alone. I personally have no problem with narration as long as it is set up from the beginning and used to advance the story, which it is. However in the final act, the movie introduces a film device from left field that completely kills the already weak pacing of the movie. I cannot get into it without giving away the story, but I can see how this device could completely ruin the movie for those patrons who are already disinterested by the time the final act rolls around. Especially for those who do not find any connection to any of the characters. In which case, the pacing of this film will seem slow and drawn out.

I am torn about my review of this film. Savages is something that I wanted to like more than I did. Two of the three protagonists are one dimensional and if it was not for Johnson and the strong supporting cast I might have found the movie boring. It was also completely different from the expectations set by the commercials. Those looking for an action movie will feel misled and will more than likely be disappointed with the film. Not that there is not any action, only it comes between very long periods of dialogue and slow pacing. By the end of the movie, you are either invested in these characters or just waiting for the lights to come up in the theater. And in typical Oliver Stone fashion the movie tries to make us question our own perception of just what it means to be a savage.