Critics Consensus

Sicario: Day of the Soldado Is a Grim and Gritty Thriller

Plus, Uncle Drew isn't exactly a slam dunk, and Glow season 2, Leave No Trace, Custody, and Dark River are all Certified Fresh.

by | June 28, 2018 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got federal agents in peril (Sicario: Day of the Soldado, starring Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin) and NBA stars in prosthetics (Uncle Drew, starring Kyrie Irving and Shaquille O’Neal). What are the critics saying?


Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018) 63%

2015’s Sicario certainly isn’t an easy watch, but critics lauded director Denis Villeneuve‘s 2015 crime drama as a hard-hitting thriller with a powerful topical punch — and now its story continues with a sequel, Sicario: Day of the Soldado. Villeneuve and star Emily Blunt are both out this time around, but incoming director Stefano Sollima (Suburra) still has returning co-leads Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro to work with, as well as another timely storyline pitting their CIA operative characters against Mexican drug cartels moving inventory — and terrorists — across the southern border. Unfortunately, while much of what makes up Day of the Soldado will be familiar to fans of Sicario, critics say this follow-up is missing just a little of what made the original so thought-provoking; by taking a more action-oriented approach, this sequel risks wandering into the wish-fulfillment realm of frustrated foreign policy cinema occupied by bombastic films like Rambo: First Blood Part II. It still makes for a solid action outing, but one perhaps seen apart from its predecessor — and with a heavy grain of salt in these politically charged times.


Uncle Drew (2018) 61%

With the notable exceptions of Space Jam, Dennis Rodman’s oeuvre, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar‘s classic work in Airplane!, it isn’t often that professional basketball players make the leap to big-screen stardom. But when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade — and when Kyrie Irving gave Pepsi a hit series of web shorts in which basketball stars in old-age makeup schooled unsuspecting opponents, Pepsi made itself a feature-length comedy out of the idea. Enter this weekend’s Uncle Drew, in which Irving and fellow NBA vets Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, and Nate Robinson pile on the prosthetics for a story about a pair of streetball rivals (Lil Rel Howery and Nick Kroll) in a battle for playground supremacy. Considering it’s based on a high-concept soft drink ad, critics say it’s reasonably successful as a crowd-pleasing sports comedy, even if its get-the-gang-back-together premise is overly familiar and the novelty of old-timers dunking quickly wears thin. Uncle Drew will likely satisfy NBA fans in search of some off-season action and curious moviegoers looking for light entertainment, provided their expectations are somewhat tempered.


What’s New on TV

GLOW: Season 2 (2018) 97%

Fearlessly led by its excellent ensemble, GLOW‘s second season adds a new layer of drama without sacrificing its self-effacing, delightfully silly humor.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Leave No Trace (2018) , Debra Granik‘s drama about a single father (Ben Foster) living off the grid with his teenage daughter in the forests of Oregon, is Certified Fresh at 100%.
  • The Cakemaker (2018) , a drama about a German baker who insinuates himself into the life of his recently deceased Israeli lover’s widow, is at 100%.
  • Custody (Jusqu'à la garde) (2018) , a French drama about an estranged married couple providing wildly different accounts of the past in a bitter child custody battle, is Certified Fresh at 93%.
  • This Is Congo (2018) , a documentary that charts the experiences of those living in the war-torn titular nation, is at 93%.
  • Three Identical Strangers (2018) , a documentary about identical triplets who are reunited after being separated at birth, is at 90%.
  • Winter Brothers (2018) , a Danish drama about two brothers who find themselves at odds with their local mining community and with each other, is at 86%.
  • Ideal Home (2018) , starring Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd in a comedy about a gay couple whose lives are upended by the sudden appearance of a grandson one of them never knew he had, is at 86%.
  • Dark River (2018) , starring Ruth Wilson in a drama about a woman who returns home to claim her family farm from her estranged brother, is Certified Fresh at 78%.
  • Love, Cecil (2018) , a documentary about celebrity photographer and costume designer Cecil Beaton, is at 78%.
  • Woman Walks Ahead (2018) , starring Jessica Chastain as Catherine Weldon, the New York artist who moved to North Dakota and formed a friendship with Sitting Bull, is at 55%.

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