Happy Thanksgiving. The holiday is Thursday and some folks may be taking off more than just that day. If hitting the cineplex the see a movie is on your list of leisure time activity, here are my notes on five current releases that I've seen.
SICARIO: No one is talking about this movie but, man, what a crime thriller! There were times that I gasped at what happened. And I wasn't the only moviegoer in the cineplex audience to do so. I saw Sicario recently when I had a few hours to kill before heading back to where I'm staying. I knew that it had to do with the drug war in Mexico and that Emily Blunt -- who gave such rich comic performances in The Devil Wears Prada and the musical Into The Woods -- was cast a top-notch FBI agent. I read a couple of snarky review comments about the slim, pretty actress being cast in the role. The snarky comments, written by guys, struck me as sexist. Emily Blunt rocked that role.
THE 33: In my previous blog posts this month, you can see me interview cast members Antonio Banderas, Lou Diamond Phillips and Rodrigo Santoro. This film is based on the miraculous news story of 2010. On live TV news, we witnessed the rescue of 33 men, victims of a mining disaster in Chile. They were trapped far below ground for 69 days. With modern technology, we were able to see video of them underground before they were individually brought up to reunite with family and other loved ones. OK, I'll admit it: When I followed this story on CNN and saw video of 33 shirtless Latin men with hardhats and huddled together in a dimly lit space, I thought "If each one of those guys was holding a cocktail and if there was house music playing in the background, that would be just like a sexy club I visited one night in the East Village of New York City. Woof!"
THE MARTIAN: Actor Matt Damon is lost in space. Think about The Martian as you eat the mashed potatoes on your Thanksgiving dinner plate. This is a smart thrill ride of a movie that blends science, the Happy Days TV sitcom and classic disco music into one of the most entertaining pictures Matt Damon has starred in recently. Just like The 33, you have a man on an exploratory mission. Disaster strikes. He's unreachable and must be rescued. Keeping the faith is key. But this story has way more drama and action going on than The 33 does. Also, we're able to focus on one main character. The movie opens with a manned mission on Mars. Astronauts are walking on the planet. When a colossal, dangerous storm approaches, they must abort the exploratory mission, race back into the ship and blast off.