Steve McQueen’s fourth feature film marks the British filmmaker’s first foray into genre filmmaking fresh off his Best Picture win for 12 Years a Slave, and arguably a case for what may also be his best film yet. Based on the ITV miniseries of the same name created by Lynda La Plante, what McQueen and Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn have created is not just any other thriller but a very special one indeed – one where it feels every position carries a sense of power over one another. It’s a thriller that carries all the best elements of the genre, but also something so much more thoughtful in its presentation it feels outright irresistible. Yet this is only a fraction of where Widows’s greatness comes by, if more needed to be said about why Steve McQueen is one of this generation’s best working filmmakers. But knowing that a filmmaker like Steve McQueen and a writer like Gillian Flynn can join forces in creating what also happens to be one of the most emotionally visceral thriller films to be released in recent memory.
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I still stand by Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario being one of the best films to have come out in recent years but the idea of a sequel being made was always something that left me highly skeptical. While the involvement of Taylor Sheridan was one thing that held me onto the idea of making a sequel, I was also left wondering where else would they have to go in making a sequel. Part of that was answered when I saw Sicario: Day of the Soldado yet another chunk of that question was only left unfulfilled because it only leaves a bitter taste in the mouth afterwards. Gone is the nuance that made Sicario wonderful, and instead you have enough violence to build what could easily have been a great 80’s action movie if the movie never took itself nearly as seriously as it did. But because the film takes itself so seriously, it never rises above the machismo that is on full display here, thus lacking the same impact that Villeneuve had employed in order to make Sicario work so beautifully.
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Antoine Fuqua remakes another remake with The Magnificent Seven, his latest offering thus far. Being a remake of a remake, there’s always room to turn something into one’s own vision and that’s part of what I was hoping for in this new take on the story inspired from Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, but something about it also feels empty. What happened to the excitement of watching a group of seven fight for good? Sure, there’s fun to be had within certain moments of the film but perhaps they only work because of how the film presents itself out to be as a result of those involved rather than offering much to stand on its own. Quite surprisingly, that is actually not what bothered me most about this re-imagining of the classic tale. Continue reading →