Wind River

For awhile, I was up in Northern Minnesota. This is real life, true story. How north, you ask? Well, apparently a 45 minute drive would have taken me to Canada.

I bring this up for two reasons: One, it made me miss quite a few screenings, because they show movies up there months after everyone else saw them, certainly not before. And two, the movie Wind River is set in the wilderness.

Not almost Canada, but cold enough in the months of “barely Spring” Wyoming, in the mountains.

So basically, I am this story. If you squint really really hard.

Hunt
Oh hey. Avengers. I see you upgraded weapons.

Set in the titular Wind River, Wyoming, this takes us to a big reservation city where people want to just be left alone, raise their families, and not be fucked over by the white man. Basically like a lot of people in the world.

Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a cool white guy though, as you can tell with his white name. He is okay, because he works to help the area. He lives alone and is a hunter, and he works for the government sort of, taking out wolves or lions or whatever that are messing with people’s farms. He has an ex wife (Julia Jones) and a son (Teo Briones) that he has visitation for sometimes. Definitely some backstory there. Would be awesome if a new character was brought in so that it could be addressed at some point.

But before that, DEATH. Because while out looking for a momma lion and her cubs, he stumbles upon a dead body. A girl, Natalie (Kelsey Asbille) that he knows, barefoot, and miles away from any house. His plans have changed, and now they have to wait for an FBI agent to get there to investigate the possible murder. Which is where we meet Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), girl totally not used to the cold, here to check things out. Despite bad things that have clearly happened to the girl, specifically physical stuff, the death cannot be ruled a murder but natural causes. Weather is a goddamn bitch.

Banner doesn’t have a lot of time to investigate this before she will be called back to a new job, so she enlists Lambert’s help in order to get someone who knows the area and land to maybe make some leads quickly before she has to run off again. Can they figure out the mystery behind her death?

Featuring the awesome Graham Greene as the local cop, and Gil Birmingham as Natalie’s dad. Also all of these people: Apesanahkwat, Eric Lange, Tantoo Cardinal, Althea Sam, Tyler Laracca, Martin Sensmeier, Tokala Clifford, Jon Bernthal, James Jordan, Austin R. Grant, Blake Robbins, Hugh Dillon, Ian Bohen, and Matthew Del Negro.

Grief
And Birmingham’s face was played by William Wallace.

After watching, Wind River seems like one of those movies that I really love for basically every aspect, that other movie watchers will find to be boring or dumb. I hate it when that happens. I want those people to open their minds and realize they just witnessed something epic, so I write about it (while begrudgingly say that yeah, everyone can have an opinion), and make sure people get out there.

But honestly I can’t see that happening. I can’t imagine people going to watch this and not being impressed with it. It is just so damn good. There is no way this can have a disconnect between critic and the average movie goer. Anyone should be able to go in, see how much Renner, Olsen and Greene brought it the entire time they weer on the screen. They should be able to see how much Birmingham did with a lot less screen time. They should be appreciative of the cast that was very racially sensitive to the area.

And they should be able to see how well the plot unfolded. When the movie decided to reveal the secrets, they should feel how their stomach turned and their anger increased. The emotions would be on a ride if someone just let them.

Sure, Wind River started off a little bit slow, but once we get dead body, it should captivate the viewer, and you will see definitely one of the best films of 2017.

4 out of 4.

Hell or High Water

Hell Or High Water is a review I meant to have early in August. I mean, I even drove to a theater about 35 minutes away just to see it. I heard a lot of good things and I wanted to make sure I saw it before it was hard to come across.

And apparently a lot of other people heard the same news, because it was completely sold out. Sure, it was in a dinky 3 row theater, but those 15 or so people got there before me, and I got screwed out of a trip. So I saw Sausage Party instead and forgot about this movie.

But now Oscar season is rearing its ugly head. Good films are coming out in theaters. Good films are being released. People are talking, and I had not seen this movie yet. I knew that come hell or high water, I’d have to see this movie before December, or else I might get lost in the new film Oscar rage again.

Law
Thems the laws, you gotta just follow them.

The story is about two brothers, a smart one, Toby (Chris Pine) and a convict, Tanner (Ben Foster). They are together robbing banks, like a bunch of western assholes. But they have some rules. Never the bundles, just the loose cash, just right when they wake up so no one gets hurt, and just from one bank, Texas Midlands Bank.

You see, their mom died and they are about to lose the family farm. She owed the bank moneys from mortgages and extra money for bank reasons, and unless they get $40,000 ish before the end of the week, the bank will take their home. The same home that just had a big oil deposit found on its land. The boys would like to get the money from the oil rights, and so would the bank, which is why the bank is moving so fast. The Texas Midlands Bank.

So they figure if they rob from the banks, they can use their own money to pay off the debt and live a life of somewhat luxury after that. Decent plan. They are in the middle of nowhere Texas, so law enforcement isn’t the best. They do have a pair of Texas Rangers (Jeff Bridges, Gil Birmingham) trying to figure out what the hell their plan is, which is becoming increasingly difficult with Tanner playing the wild card.

Crime
If they are lucky people will just assume 21 Pilots are committing these robberies.

Westerns are weird. A once popular as fuck genre now only has one or two movies a year. The good news is the people taking on these western films tend to want to make them a great watch, so they put a lot of detail into the setting, cinematography, and more. I don’t know a damn thing about the director, David Mackenzie. He has directed over fifteen things, and sure enough, I have only heard of this one. So it is a nice surprise when what feels like an unknown director putting out quality work.

The story has a large cast of extras, but really only the four important characters. It is about the relationship with the brothers, the vagueness of their past, their extreme situation and a whole lot of morally gray area.

The chemistry between Foster and Pine feels natural and believable as brothers. It is one of the strongest points of the movie and should be acknowledged. It might still fall to the wayside of Bridges, old as shit, and still kicking butt. His character isn’t just a smart detective who knows everything, he is a bit bumbling, but he gets the job done and you can feel his anger at points right off of the screen. Bridges is probably a lock for a Best Supporting Actor nomination.

It has good acting, visuals, story, and chemistry. So why did I not love it like everyone else?

Honestly, I can understand a slower movie, I love a few of the slower movies this year already. It just took me so long to really feel invested in the characters. Sure, I did get invested, but the beginning with the first robberies and the chases, it didn’t do a whole lot for me. It took too long for me to care.

3 out of 4.