Spectre summons up the ghosts of the Bond franchise to diminishing returns

3 Stars (3 / 5)

The evocatively titled Spectre, 24th installment of the Bond franchise, is a film steeped in continuity but light on originality.

While capitalizing on the back-story laid down for Daniel Craig’s super-spy in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall – the first incarnation of the character to have much by the way of continuity – it finds the time, over the course of 138 minutes – which also makes Spectre the longest film in the franchise – to riff on nearly every previous episode from the series’ 53 year history.…

Sicario is a moody, sun-bleached thriller set south of the border

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Somewhere between the Wild West and Iraq lies Juarez, Mexico.

A brightly colored urban sprawl with a population of just over 1.3 million, in 2008 its murder rate was the highest in the world: 130 per 100,000. According to Sicario, the latest film from director Denis Villeneuve, it’s a city where mutilated corpses hang from overpasses, a warning from the cartels.…