Sunday, May 19, 2024

Tag: Benicio Del Toro

French Dispatch, The (2021)

Title: The French Dispatch
Rating: R
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Written by: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Hugo Guinness, and Jason Schwartzman
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Stephen Park, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Christoph Waltz, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, and Anjelica Huston
Release Date: 10/22/2021
Running Time: 108 minutes

Official Site

What did you think of this film?

On the occasion of the death of its beloved Kansas-born editor Arthur Howitzer, Jr., the staff of The French Dispatch, a widely circulated American magazine based in the French city of Ennui-sur-Blasé, convenes to write his obituary. Memories of Howitzer flow into the creation of four stories: a travelogue of the seediest sections of the city itself from The Cycling Reporter; “The Concrete Masterpiece,” about a criminally insane painter, his guard and muse, and his ravenous dealers; “Revisions to a Manifesto,” a chronicle of love and death on the barricades at the height of student revolt; and “The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner,” a suspenseful tale of drugs, kidnapping and fine dining.

Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No

Note: Different covers of The French Dispatch magazine, both including the stories told in the movie and many other untold stories, are shown during the entirety of the credits.

No Sudden Move (2021)

Title: No Sudden Move
Rating: R
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Written by: Ed Solomon
Starring: Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, David Harbour, Amy Seimetz, Jon Hamm, Ray Liotta, Kieran Culkin, Brendan Fraser, Noah Jupe, Bill Duke, Frankie Shaw, and Julia Fox
Release Date: 7/1/2021
Running Time: 115 minutes

Official Site

What did you think of this film?

Recently released from prison, Curtis Goynes descends into the tangled underbelly of a rapidly changing 1950s Detroit after teaming with a band of criminals for a seemingly simple job… with dire consequences.

Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No

Memoriam: In Loving Memory of

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

Title: Sicario: Day of the Soldado
Rating: R
Directed by: Stefano Sollima
Written by: Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Catherine Keener
Release Date: 6/29/2018
Running Time: 122 minutes

Official Site

What did you think of this film?
In SICARIO, Day of the Soldado, the series begins a new chapter. In the drug war, there are no rules – and as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border, federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) calls on the mysterious Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), whose family was murdered by a cartel kingpin, to escalate the war in nefarious ways. Alejandro kidnaps the kingpin’s daughter to inflame the conflict – but when the girl is seen as collateral damage, her fate will come between the two men as they question everything they are fighting for.

Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No

Memoriam: In Memory of Jóhann Jóhannsson

Special thanks to Saran for this submission

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)*

Title: Avengers: Infinity War
Rating: PG-13
Directed by: Anthony Russo, and Joe Russo
Written by: Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely
Based on the comics by: Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans,
Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Tom Hiddleston, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Idris Elba, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, and Chris Pratt

Release Date: 4/27/2018
Running Time: 149 minutes

Official Site

What did you think of this film?
“Avengers: Infinity War” picks up as the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, but a dangerous menace has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, Thanos will stop at nothing to collect all six Infinity Stonesin his quest to wield unimaginable power and his twisted will on all of humanity.

Assembling a team that includes members from every Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, the Avengers and their Super Hero allies must sacrifice like never before in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe. An unprecedented cinematic journey 10 years in the making with the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe in play, “Avengers: Infinity War” brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time.

Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? Yes

Click to see whats: after the credits

Is this stinger worth waiting around for? Vote DownVote Up (+220 rating, 290 votes)

Special thanks to Aws, and Mila for this submission

[wpolling_archive id=”159″ vote=”true” type=”open”]

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Title: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Rating: PG-13
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Written by: Rian Johnson
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio Del Toro
Release Date: 12/15/2017
Running Time: 152 minutes

Official Site

What did you think of this film?
The Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.

Are There Any Extras During The Credits? No

Are There Any Extras After The Credits? No

Memoriam: In loving memory of our princess, Carrie Fisher

[wpolling_archive id=”147″ vote=”true” type=”open”]

Perfect Day, A (2015)?


Title: A Perfect Day
Rating: R
Directed by: Fernando León de Aranoa
Written by: Fernando León de Aranoa and Diego Farias
Based on the book “Dejarse llover” by: Paula Farias
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Tim Robbins and Olga Kurylenko
Release Date: 1/15/2016
Running Time: 106 minutes

Official Site
Buy on Amazon

A group of aid workers work to resolve a crisis in an armed conflict zone.

What did you think of this film?

During Credits? Unknown


After Credits? Unknown

Is this stinger worth waiting around for? Vote DownVote Up (No Ratings Yet)

Sicario Review – 3.5 out of 5 Stars

A couple of weeks ago, I accused director Scott Cooper of destroying a seemingly infallible subject with his ugly, childish crime drama Black Mass. Now, I come to you with an opposite statement for director Denis Villeneuve and his new thriller Sicario. The plot is derivative, the characters are flat and the dialogue is artificial. That said, Villeneuve is such a brilliant filmmaker that he has basically taken a dead on arrival screenplay and given it substance and depth that writer Taylor Sheridan couldn’t have even fathomed. Sicario is an example of a film where everyone on board is trying there damnedest to breathe life into something that probably shouldn’t have even been saved in the first place. You’ll leave the film impressed by a lot of elements but unfortunately it isn’t quite good enough to deserve a repeat viewing or something beyond being called a solid piece of entertainment.

In Sicario, FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) becomes the witness to a horrific, grisly crime scene in Chandler, Arizona. In the hopes of finding the men responsible, she joins a group of elite agents run by the charismatic if deadly good ol’ boy Matt (Josh Brolin) and a mysterious, quiet man with a hidden past named Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro). As she digs deeper into the case, she finds that the line between who’s a hero and who’s a villain might not have been as simple as she originally thought.


I’m fairly shocked and disappointed at how muted my praise is for this film. This was easily one of my most anticipated films of 2015 for multiple reasons. The film is Denis Villeneuve’s real follow up to his 2013 movie Prisoners, an energetic and spectacular psychological thriller that was my number one movie for that year. Sicario brings together the same composer (Jóhann Jóhannsson) and the same cinematographer (Roger Deakins) that made Prisoners so captivating and it also features three of my favorite actors working today. At best, this was going to be yet another terrific thriller that managed to tackle dark, haunting ideas about human nature in an inventive and exciting way. And to Villeneuve’s credit, he delivered on that promise…sort of.

All the performances are fantastic even if they’re being contributed to weak characters. As I’ll get to later, I had a lot of problems with the script. This major flaw in the movie affects everyone in the cast in a way that ranges from mildly irritating to fatal. Emily Blunt is the one negatively affected the most by the script and it’s a shame because regardless she’s the one giving the best performance. Blunt is quite down to earth as this person who’s slowly becoming caught in the violence and terror going on across the border. The film has these excellent moments of quiet where they’ll be focused on the faces of the people involved and you can see the nervousness and the anxiety in her eyes as she desperately tries to be the voice of reason in this war that has no real end. She’s especially great in the scene near the start where she is reacting to this horrific discovery that has been at the house they’re raiding.

Josh Brolin is unfortunately being tied to a very contrived character that doesn’t ever require him to step outside the box. Once again, he’s been asked to play the funny but stern macho guy. You can tell that he’s trying but I think it says something that his best performance in 2015 was in Everest, a film filled with wasted performances by great actors. The performance other than Blunt’s that stands out is Benicio Del Toro as Alejandro. Like Brolin, I don’t think Toro’s doing something that’s especially different but I also think Toro is the person least affected by the script and it shows. In comparison to the other characters, Alejandro is this quiet guy who speaks only sparingly. In that sense, he doesn’t suffer the awkward dialogue and it makes his character feel much more complete and memorable than anyone else. To Toro’s credit, he’s doing what he does best in the best way possible and he’s very intimidating and unsettling in every scene he’s in without saying that much. In the final 25 minutes, Toro pretty much becomes the main character and the film goes to places with him that are terrifying to see unfold. This moment at a dinner table is one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen happen in a film in recent memory and it’s one of the few moments of brilliance in Sheridan’s script.

Of course the real stars of Sicario are the ones working behind the camera. The movie itself is mediocre but this film is perfectly directed. There is not a single aspect of the film simply from a direction standpoint that feels off or imperfect in any way. Villeneuve takes this fairly average crime film and transforms it into this visual journey into a psychological wasteland. The sound design allows for you to hear every movement of a car, every sudden gunshot and every distant uncertainty of the setting. The movie starts off with a bang and it makes sure that you’re worrying about what’s going to happen next for every scene.

He shoots the city, the people of both sides and the violence with the grace and the intimacy of a documentary. The best moments in the film are the ones where he is simply holding on these people from all these different angles living there lives. There’s a part where they’re interviewing a crowd of immigrants and it’s performed so honestly that you could take a shot from that scene and I wouldn’t be able to tell you if it was something from a movie or something done by Time Magazine. We get a glimpse of the vendors selling their products to people in their cars during traffic. We get this quiet moment of Kate dancing to country music with another man in a western bar. A scene with an important conversation pans down to see Brolin’s character wearing sandals during it. These tiny points are scattered throughout the entire film and they come together to create this world filled with a loneliness and an intensity that goes far deeper that you would expect.

There’s a scene where Kate’s car passes by these decapitated bodies hanging from a bridge. Most directors would zoom in on this and make a big deal about this type of violence but the way its shot here is very subtle and treated like some normal thing that happens on a day to day basis. This silent moment is a million times more disturbing than anything Depp did to show off in Black Mass. By the ending scene, it becomes clear in some way that Villeneuve has made the movie in this way to show that the horrors are being allowed to go on in the background of these people’s lives. The US is allowing the crime to continue and the citizens are so numb that they’ve become used to seeing things like that. You ultimately get used to it or you die trying. Sicario excels when it detaches itself from telling a story and it allows the viewer to get lost in these very detailed images of people following a routine because they have to.


I can’t give all the credit to Villeneuve though. Roger Deakins is one of the best cinematographers of all time and his work here is no exception to that statement. The aerial shots of Juarez that show the city from a distance carry the weight of walking into a dark, upsetting new world. He’s clearly the one responsible for why the film looks so raw but otherworldly at the same time. I adored how the film looks in the dark. Every shot in the third act looks incredible. From Kate going down a tunnel to a wide shot at a dinner table, the movie looks visually terrifying. The dark of night finally gives way to the full, untamed act of crime that is going on underneath it all.

Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score is equally effective in creating abstract horror. There’s this one line of music that gets used throughout the film and it becomes more and more foreboding as the movie draws nearer to its climax. Not bad for the guy who made The Theory of Everything sound like a Hallmark film. I have nothing but praise for this movie for its direction. This movie gives so much life and meaning and soul to its material through cinematography, music and where the camera gets pointed. Sicario’s best weapon is what made Prisoners so magnificent, it can reflect on the darkness of life by dragging you into this landscape that you can’t help but allow yourself to be dragged entirely into. Villeneuve allows you become this ghost traveling place to place, experiencing all that this world has to offer.

I have given this movie nothing short of praise so far and I’ve tried to give the movie as much as I could before I admit the awful truth that keeps me from calling Sicario great film. When you simply look at Sheridan’s script, Sicario is a very poorly written movie. I hate to throw a guy under the bus like this but the simple fact is that everything in this movie is operating at a ten and this screenplay is operating at around a four. It’s a very quiet film that allows for the actions to take over most of the time and in some ways it makes the screenplays flaw a bit more forgivable. But then I look back on Mad Max: Fury Road, a stunning blockbuster that came out this summer that featured very little dialogue. Despite being more focused on actions rather than conversations, you can still tell that that film had a smart script. The characters don’t usually talk but when they do, they have compelling and fascinating things to say. Like Fury Road, Sicario is great when it’s focused on the environment but unlike Fury Road, whenever its characters open their mouth, it’s embarrassingly easy to find heavy flaws.

The movie has two settings when it comes to its dialogue, lifeless exposition and uncomfortably fake character development. The way people explain things in this movie comes off as so void of emotion. You never get the sense that these are real people explaining what is going on but rather a writer using people as one sided devices to tell the audience his story. An example of this is a scene near the end where Matt reveals something to Kate about Alejandro’s past. This should be this big, shocking moment but the way Matt discusses it features no subtlety and you feel ultimately detached from what is going on with them.

I can sort of forgive dry exposition, what I can’t forgive are the cringe worthy scenes where the writer tries to make the characters seem more human and relatable. The movie makes multiple attempts at comedic relief and none of them resemble anything other than something pathetic. There is this running joke with bras between Kate and her best friend that I don’t think would even make it onto a light CBS crime procedural. The ways the story explains things lacks subtlety so it’s jarring and unbelievable to see Sheridan attempting to capture their reactions to things.

The best example of this is when Kate has returned from this quick, abrupt shootout during a traffic jam. It was quick, grotesque and it resulted in Kate being forced to kill. To Villeneuve and Blunt’s credit, her shock and horror is captured quite well when he is doing these close ups on her quiet reaction to what just happened. The camera lingers on her shaking while lighting a cigarette, a sad attempt to soothe what she has just witnessed. But once Kate gets back to base and gets into a fight with Matt, the dialogue feels so blunt and generic that it ruins whatever sense of dread the last scene created towards the character of Kate.

If most of the characters are there to explain the story, Kate is there to say a small list of lines on repeat that you’ve seen used multiple times in multiple movies. “This is not what I signed up for!” “You can’t do that, that’s illegal!” She might as well be wearing a shirt that tells us that she’s the naïve, relatable one. In two hours, Kate doesn’t succeed at a concept that was done far better by Terrance Howard’s character in Prisoners. Like Kate, he was the sympathetic, kind hearted person forced into doing a horrible thing; the difference being that despite being a smaller character, his arc stills makes far more sense and contains much more heart than Kate’s. Her character is so repetitive and empty that her ultimate conclusion in the finale feels weak and chosen by the writer less to tell a realistic story and more to bring home the message.

This is just one of the cases where I find Prisoners to be much better than Sicario. The experience can best be described as what Prisoners did with better direction, a less ambitious story and less interesting characters. Sicario’s final message about the darkness of humanity, while widely different from most mainstream movies we see today, still feels like a more contrived version of the things that made me fall in love with Prisoners. I will definitely recommend this movie with even the full ticket price because the film is so well made that it still deserves to be soaked up on the big screen. Unfortunately, everything meaningful about Denis Villeneuve’s direction and Blunt and Toro’s performances feels slightly wasted on a project that could’ve easily been done by a far less competent group of people. Sicario confirms Villeneuve as one of the best directors working today but I can’t help but wish this level of brilliance was going towards material that was also on his level.


Review by: Ryan M.

Release Date: 10/2/2015

Rating: R

Cast: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

Screenplay by: Taylor Sheridan

Sicario (2015)


Title: Sicario
Rating: R
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Written by: Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro
Release Date: 10/2/2015
Running Time: 121 minutes

Official Site

An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by an elected government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.

What did you think of this film?

During Credits? No

After Credits? No

Escobar: Paradise Lost (2014)


Title: Escobar: Paradise Lost
Rating: R
Director: Andrea Di Stefano
Writer: Andrea Di Stefano and Francesca Marciano
Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Benicio Del Toro and Brady Corbet
Release Date: 12/16/2014
Running Time: 120 minutes


In Colombia, a young surfer meets the woman of his dreams – and then he meets her uncle, Pablo Escobar.

What did you think of this film?

During Credits? No

After Credits? No

Memoriam: In Loving Memory of Richard D. Zanuck

Special thanks to Frank S. for this submission

Guardians of the Galaxy Review – 4 out of 5 Stars

In recent months, I have been quite critical of the Disney film side of Marvel. With the recent firing of master filmmaker Edgar Wright from Ant-Man, I have realized that the biggest problem with Marvel is that all of these movies seem to feature the same tone and general safety. Disney Marvel may have a better critical track record than recent DC but at the same time I don’t think Marvel will ever be able to make something like The Dark Knight trilogy because they often play way too close to the center of the box. I don’t think they make terrible movies (with the exception of Thor: The Dark World which is garbage) but not since Iron Man have they made a movie that has necessarily blown me away.


Moving on to the situation at hand, Guardians of the Galaxy has plenty of the clichés of the other movies of the franchise and of action today as a whole, yet there is so much energy, excitement, style and fun to be found here that it all comes off as extremely charming so much that the moves stands as my 2nd favorite Disney Marvel film to Iron Man.

A thief named Star Lord (Peter Quill) finds an orb that could be used to destroy the whole world and he must team up with a group of misfits including a talking raccoon named Rocket Raccoon and a talking tree named Groot as well as a strong madman named Drax and an assassin named Gamora to keep the orb in the right hands.

The first great choice the film makes is in the fantastic cast. Chris Pratt gives an exceptional action lead performance. Like Iron Man, Star Lord has a lot of humor in the character and Chris Pratt has enough charisma as an actor to be able to give energy to the comedic requirements. Also like Iron Man, the character still manages to be dark and human and Chris Pratt did both things extremely well whether he was making a joke or doing a serious line. Star Lord never came off as obnoxiously loud and upbeat but he never came off as dull and uninspired like so many action protagonists I’ve seen this year. Zoe Saldana did a good job of playing the female assassin Gamora and she played well off of the antics of the other actors. I don’t think that she is as good in this as she was in say either Star Trek or Avatar but she serves the purpose of the character fine and she never felt like dead weight. Dave Bautista was loud and intense enough to play the insane alien Drax in a role that feels like it was built around the actor himself. All of the human characters have great actors who did fine for the parts and Chris Pratt continues to show us why he is one of the more interesting comedy actors working today.

I do have to conclude that the best characters of the movie are in fact the CGI ones. Rocket Raccoon and Groot are two of the most interesting characters to come out of blockbusters all year and they alone deserve to give the film a nomination for best visual effects. Rocket is brilliantly voiced by Bradley Cooper and he does so well that it never feels distracting that he is played by such a huge actor. The character also got some of the best lines of the movie and managed to be really compelling in the more dramatic scenes especially as the film went into the 2nd act. Groot does not have many lines in the film beyond constantly saying I am Groot (while being voiced by Vin Diesel) yet all the same Vin Diesel makes the character very poignant and sympathetic with the few lines he is given. Also because of fantastic visual effects, Groot is given a ton of emotions while saying very little because of the detail and the texture done by the team behind the creation of him. Groot is layered, funny, and compassionate and the best character in the entire film.

The 2nd great thing that this film did was hiring director James Gunn. I have not seen anything this director has done but by the first shot it becomes clear that they did not hire a hack to make this film. He adds as much personality and style as you can with these movies. He gives the film a fantastic soundtrack filled such great music and the way that he adds the soundtrack to the story is done really well and leads to an amazing scene near the end. I have a soft spot for the usage of older music in modern movies (American Hustle, Django Unchained, and Seven Psychopaths) and the way this film used that sort of thing was more than impressive. Needless to say, the visual effects are the best I’ve seen of any movie this year built in with the amazing cinematography. The movie hits a lot of things that I look for in visual effects. They use the effects to create unique characters, the world they built is detailed and the design has a focus on originality and beauty. I get impressed by things like Transformers and Godzilla but it takes true craft to create such an ambitious and visually stunning setting as they have done here. Unlike Thor, this movie is colorful and built on a grand and gripping place that is hard to find in most other movies today. This is by far the most well directed of any of the movies Disney Marvel has released to date and the creative range that they gave everyone working on this movie definitely shows.


I said above that the movie is very clichéd. Don’t get me wrong on all the praise I’ve given it, this movie has a ton of problems. Most of the musical score that isn’t the soundtrack is very normal and the characters have a lot of stereotypes. The death of Star Lord’s mother isn’t done with a particular nuance that makes the age old idea feel inventive and the movie features one sided villains, a speech that brings the team back together again and a story that is quite predictable. This movie features just as much story problems as Captain America, Thor or The Avengers but here is the difference. The best example I can relate to is the recent Doctor Who series. That show features a trope filled storyline yet the characters are so interesting and fun to watch and the world they create is so fascinating and layered that not only is it really entertaining but in its own way it becomes surprisingly touching by the end of it all. Yeah it’s got problems, but there is a lot of confidence in the performances and in the director and it’s all being done with such a high level of talent and competence that you can’t help but get invested in the adrenaline of it all up to a point where I got goose bumps at a few points near the end.

This film is extremely problematic and I have no doubt that this franchise will eventually get run into the ground and the charm of the film will be lost by Disney. Yet, I walked away from this movie rather happy for many reasons. This is the most visually ambitious film I’ve seen from Disney Marvel and all of the acting and comedy is fantastic. You will get dragged into this movie because of the high level of energy that comes from every aspect. Guardians of the Galaxy is a nice, refreshing piece of entertainment through and through.


Review by: Ryan M.

Release Date: 4/4/2014

Rating: PG-13

Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro

Directed by: James Gunn

Screenplay by: James Gunn

Written by: James Gunn and Nicole Perlman

Based on the Comic Book by: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

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