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.

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.

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.

The Magnificent Seven

I didn’t watch The Magnificent Seven before now, because it is from one of the studios that I don’t get invites to. But despite that, I did WANT to see it, and then never got out to the theaters. And now it has been out for awhile and I still dicked around.

My bad. I wanted to see the movie because yes, I knew the story. It is a remake. But I liked a lot of the actors involved and wanted to give it a shot. A whole lot of shots. A village full of shots.

Basically now I just find myself in a gun mood, and want to watch fake cowboys shoot other fake cowboys. They have theme parks with that theme.

Let’s see…One…two…three…uhh, um…yeah seven. Looks like seven people here.

In the late 1800s, the town of Rose Creek is getting besieged! Or maybe just hoodwinked a little. A big time robber dude, Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), is trying to buy out an entire mining town for his own profits. He is not giving them a good deal, using threats and intimidation and actually killing to get his way.

So Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) and her friend (Luke Grimes) go out in search of help, eventually finding a warrant officer, Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington). He doesn’t want to until he hears about Bogue, which causes him to agree and start looking for other people to join his crew.

We got a gambler (Chris Pratt), a Mexican outlaw (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), a Comanche warrior (Martin Sensmeier), a tracker (Vincent D’Onofrio), a guy good with knifes (Byung-hun Lee), and of course a famed sharpshooter (Ethan Hawke).

Needless to say, they don’t have a lot of people. But they have some townsfolk, who are miners and farmers. Their lead villager (Matt Bomer) is pretty good too. If they set up defenses, put the towns people in easy areas to defend, they can probably stop a pretty big force of asshole outlaws from taking over. But it is a gun fight, so some people are going to get scared, and a lot of people are going to die.

Also starring Jonathan Joss in pretty intimidating role.

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With lights that bright, there must be an angel or something in that corner.

The point of The Magnificent Seven is to watch some famous people act like cowboys, shoot each other, hopefully have some really cool skillful tactics, and be a bit enjoyable. And sure, it did feel pretty enjoyable.

I know I was hoping for a lot more to happen during the final siege. Or maybe a secondary skirmish after the initial one to give us more shenanigans. The big siege just didn’t live up to my expectations and hype. Some cool moments, sure, and I cared what happened to the characters, but it was just overall a little bit disappointed.

The good news is with a diverse cast of characters, it plays out like an RPG. Everyone has their own little bit of plot and characterization, it isn’t just 3 people and 4 “guys who shoot good” or anything. No, they said these seven people were magnificent, so they made them all really talented and different. Which is another major point of this film.

But you know what? It ended with a narrator describing their story and referring to them as magnificent, then credits. My eyes physically left my head to do a bigger roll at that moment. It is so…dumb. Just ugh.

Hopefully there is no sequel to this movie, but hey, just give me another reboot and do it better and I will be happy.

2 out of 4.