Wind River

Wind_River_(2017_film)Wind River (2017) – 3/10

This movie had a lot going for it.  Lovely, desolate winter landscape.  Haunting soundtrack by Nick Cave.  A murder mystery on a Native American reservation.  A sad and bleak existence.  The mystery slowly unfolding.

But then little things start to bother me.  Like why does quiet, brooding Jeremy Renner tell the whole story of his daughter’s death to newbie FBI agent?  Why does he encourage the father of the brutally raped and murdered Native American woman to embrace the pain? He only just found out about his daughter’s  death, maybe give him a little space and a shoulder to cry on.  OR maybe he  should help the mother, who is quietly cutting her arms in the next room?

The clues lead to an oil drilling site.  The all male drilling team reside at the site and have suspicious facial scrapes and bruises.  We know they did it.  They know they did it.  A pretty tense moment is ruined with a flashback scene that we don’t need to see.  We already know they did it.

Back to reality and a shoot out that leaves only the FBI agent and the murderer alive.  Frontier justice takes care of the bad guy.  The end.

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Logan Lucky

Logan_LuckyLogan Lucky (2017) – 7/10

‘Almost heaven, West Virginia’.  Steven Soderbergh directs this hilarious, novel heist flick.  Worth the watch to see some fav actors transformed.

Channing Tatum (Jimmy) and Adam Driver (Clyde) are the ‘unlucky’ Logan brothers; laconic and dim witted.  Despite good intentions, misfortune follows.  Daniel Craig is the bleach blonde ‘Joe Bang’.  Joe has a twinkle in his eye and can ‘MacGyver’ found objects into explosives.

An intricate scheme that belies an intelligence masked by colloquial delivery.  Fun.

American Made

American_Made_(film)American Made (2017) – 4/10

I kind of don’t get why Tommy C made this movie.  It’s a ‘biographical crime film’ but when you check out the facts, it appears that extreme liberty was taken.  This guy, Barry Seal, is not a hero.  He was a drug smuggler; nothing to be proud of.  Ahem, it is still a crime even if you’re doing it for the ‘good guys’.

Watch it for pure entertainment and that Tommy C smile, not for a history lesson.  Extra two points for compelling me to find out more about Iran-Contra.

RoboCop

RoboCop_(1987)_theatrical_posterRoboCop (1987) – 7/10

Cyberpunk dystopia in the late 80s.  Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall – the good one – and Starship Troopers) directs.

Things are so bad in Detroit, Michigan USA that a strong police presence is needed 24/7.  City planners invest in enforcement droids, with fatal malfunctions.

Peter Weller is the fresh faced Murphy, newly assigned to the Detroit PD.  Impatience and imprudence on his first mission with new partner Lewis (Nancy Allen) have dire consequences.  Murphy is mortally wounded and revived as the cyborg RoboCop.  Memory of his past life erased; all that remains of Murphy is his face, rewired brain and a simplified digestive system.

RoboCop is relentless and successful.  Detroit is being cleansed.  But in true dystopian style politics, greed and fear lead to a backlash against the new order and RoboCop. Justice ultimately prevails and RoboCop rediscovers his humanity, he’s Murphy again. Or MurphyRoboCop.

Weller’s portrayal of RoboCop is engaging.  Stalwart and stiffly robotic.  Jerky yet fluid movement.  Tireless engagement to ‘Serve the public trust, Protect the innocent, and Uphold the law’.  Through RoboCop’s eyes Weller reveals a sense of Murphy’s tragically, sad predicament but ultimate strength of character.  Added to this is an occasional twinkle of humour and we glimpse a hero.

 

 

Blue Ruin

Blue_Ruin_film_posterBlue Ruin (2013) – 7/10

A taught, indie revenge flick.  This movie is so quiet.  It entwines the viewer with desolate solemnity and then mires you in events that grow progressively more tragic and inevitable.

Dwight is homeless when we meet him.  He lives in his car near the ocean. Rummages for food in rubbish bins and takes the occasional nervous bath in homes left unguarded.

Circumstance mobilises Dwight to seek revenge for the murder of his parents.  His tie to the murderer’s family are complicated and slowly revealed.  They are all on a path to ruin.  Dwight has a final, redemptive act.  Only the innocent remain, left to sort through the chaff or not.

Alien: Covenant

Alien_Covenant_Teaser_PosterAlien:  Covenant (2017) – 5/10

Well, I’ll just start by saying that it’s a very high bar against which to measure any movie in the Alien franchise.  While this sequel to Prometheus is better, it pales in comparison to the original two.

Visually interesting – Aesthetically compelling scenes:  space, the alien planet, the ancient city and the interstellar ship.

Cra-cra android – Michael Fassbender does a competent job juxtaposing David’s ‘Hannibal’ like evil against Walter’s steadfast loyalty.  As David, his search for ‘the creator’ and disdain for humanity leads to the origin of the alien we know and love so well.  Just have to add that Walter’s American(?) accent sounds pretty phoney.

Stupid villagers/engineers – Let’s all gather in the town square where we’re really vulnerable and our entire civilisation can be destroyed.  These are superior beings?

Pacing – No suspense, no slow build.  The other alien movies seemed so much longer than this one because of the slow build and palpable tension.  Covenant is frenetic and uncontrolled, like a pin ball game, bouncing off walls and bumpers.  Directionless coupled with poor decision making.

Crew – Well, we just don’t care about them.  Our hero (Jack McCoy’s daughter) is ok and it’s probably not fair to compare her to Ripley but I wanted more stature, more poise. And, didn’t she notice at the end of the movie that the wounds on ‘Walter’s’ face weren’t healing?  Come on.  But I guess she had been through a lot.

And while this is not a military operation, per se, you would think that the crew of an interstellar ship transporting 2000 colonists and 1000 human embryos would have some training in how to respond in a crisis situation.  Seriously here’s how that initial scene on the lander unfolded . . . ‘oh I have to lock you in the med lab cause there’s something really dangerous going on; no you can’t come out and it doesn’t matter that I also have infected blood spatter on my face; oh my, things don’t look so good, I know, I’ll get a gun and open the door to the med lab to help; wow didn’t expect the situation to be so difficult to handle; whoops there goes the shuttle up in flames.’  Witness the little alien scampering away to wreak havoc on the rest of the crew.

The Alien –  Really wanted the alien, newly birthed from Captain Oram’s chest, to don a top hat and start singing ‘hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime, summertime gal’.  Now that’s a classic.

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland_posterTomorrowland (2015) – 7/10

Shamelessly optimistic and wonderfully imaginative Disney film.  Watch it with an open mind and a desire to be inspired.

Actors George Clooney and Britt Robertson engage with a vulnerable sincerity.  Geniuses both; the older, disillusioned Frank and the youthful, determined Casey.

They save the world, literally.  Corny but true: hope or despair?  You choose.  Feed the winner.