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.
When Animals Dream ( 2014) – 7/10
danish country – moody, dark, sea
loyalty, love, protection
coming of age, confusion, isolation
The Witch (2015) – 3/10
Yes it’s creepy and the historical stuff is impressive. An open field next to an expanse of virgin forest invites a sense of isolation, powerlessness and despair.
But this family is soooo frustrating. First of all, it was hard to understand what they were saying half the time. The actress who played the mother gave warning. She plays characters that always seem one step away from lunacy. Guess she was the right choice for this role.
The father was mostly inept. Except for building the really cool tiny house, he couldn’t hunt or farm to save his family. The brother’s lustful glances at his sister marked him as easy prey for the devil. And the twins really needed some discipline.
The family’s obsession with religion was confusing. Their fervent prayers did nothing to steel them for the final onslaught. Who keeps a black, horned goat anyway? Aren’t you just asking for some kind of evil intervention?
Poor Thomasin, the only member of the family worthy of our sympathy. Final acceptance and promise with the preternatural malevolence.
Witness (1985) – 7/10
The Amish life in Peter Weir’s gorgeous film is lovely and without fear. Certainty and familiarity. A community with a shared faith and a willingness to leave fate in their god’s hands.
Harrison Ford at his handsome best. John Book, a plain name. Book is also certain but he alone is the creator and driver of his world.
The attraction between Book and Amish Rachel is palpable. A rare connection. That their paths will never cross again is the final bittersweet certainty.
Tis a fine barn English.
Welcome to Me (2105) – 2/10
Borderline Personality movie with a hollywood ending. Indulgent narcissism. Cheap laughs.
Kristen Wiig is funny but her range is limited. Dispirited characters. Yawn.
Whiplash (2014) – 7/10
Greatness at what cost? Well, that’s a question for the ages.
So what does it take to awaken genius?
For instructor Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons): a range of brutal strategies that bewilder, humiliate, anger and terrorise. Fletcher wants to train a ‘Charlie Parker’. Pushing students is how they surpass their limits. A ‘good job’ is worthless.
For student Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller): an unwavering drive and willingness to endure physical and emotional torment. Andrew is 19 years old and wants to be remembered as a gifted musician. A fleeting career and life will suffice; mediocrity will not.
Repeated references to jazz musician Charlie Parker. Charlie Parker’s music is very cool. Charlie Parker died at age 34. Better to burn out than to fade away?
Impressive sound track.