reviews

What I’m Watching: Wind River

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Movie Review: Wind River

Wind River is a 2017 American neo-western murder mystery thriller film written and directed by Taylor Sheridan. The film stars Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tracker and an FBI agent, respectively, who try to solve a murder on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. Gil Birmingham and Graham Greene also star (Wikipedia).

Plot: Cory Lambert is a wildlife officer who finds the body of an 18-year-old woman on an American Indian reservation in snowy Wyoming. When the autopsy reveals that she was raped, FBI agent Jane Banner arrives to investigate. Teaming up with Lambert as a guide, the duo soon find that their lives are in danger while trying to solve the mystery of the teen’s death.

Trailer: Wind River

My Review:

It has been a while since I have seen a movie that didn’t involve or revolve around war, super heroes fighting a war, a talking raccoon, or a space ship.  This is just good old fashioned story telling about a murder that is going to be tough to solve. The story pits a jaded fish and wildlife expert with a green FBI agent with no field experience against the backdrop of the Wyoming landscape, which becomes an essential character in story.

The purist in me loves the elements of literary storytelling as it pits man vs nature as the story opens with a young Indian girl running for her life.  The temperature is below zero, she is barefoot, and the weather is so cold her lungs explodes.  A true warrior like her people, she ran six miles in that weather to escape a group of men who used her simply because they were bored.

The plot thickens as we come face to face with man vs society with the same white men who feel entitled to take what they wants simply because the local officials have no jurisdiction on the federal drilling site where they work.  One weekends, the band of brothers ride into town and pick and young Indian woman for their amusement. Cody Lambert’s daughter has been the victim of such a crime, having died several years before under similar circumstances. 

Cody is not your typical hero in this story since he is face to face with his worst enemy – himself. In order to bring peace to his own heart and in his own head, he has to help solve this murder. It is not redemptive in the sense that he finds his daughter’s killer, but he is able to bring closure to his friend, who is the father of the young woman from the opening scene.  A young woman, who was friends with his daughter. In the process, he also saves the life of the FBI Agent, and possibly his soul.

Wind River is a great date night movie with enough action to keep you entertained, as well as enough slow spots to jump up and grab a beer without missing too much.  I give this movie four strokes of my pen on a scale of five.

I enjoyed it. I hope you will as well.

Share your thoughts and feedback here.


 

 

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The Wiz Live Was a Hit!

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I don’t know if you saw the NBC annual live production of the Wiz, or if you saw the insane tweets, but let me tell you the show was terribly terrific.  I have read all the tweets and posts filled with complaints about The Wiz having an all black cast.  What I find amazing if not absolutely appalling are the number of people who are walking around with computers in their pockets and they use them for nothing more that taking self-gratifying photos of food and of themselves doing stupid acts.

Nothing is more insipid than failing to understand that The Wiz is a lot older than they are.

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The nearly three-hour television production attracted 11.5 million viewers, according to preliminary Nielsen figures. That’s up from last year’s Peter Pan Live!, which drew just 9.2 million, but well below 2013’s The Sound of Music Live!, which starred Carrie Underwood and drew a whopping 18.6 million. Among adults ages 18 to 49, Wiz won a 3.3 rating, up from a 2.4 for Pan but below Music’s 4.6.

The new fresh cast, featured Mary J. Blige as the Wicked Witch of the West, Queen Latifah as the Wiz, Uzo Aduba as Glinda. How could you not love it. The Cirque du Soliel dancers as the poppies.  I want one of those suits. Vulture.com said the Cirque “… influences could be felt throughout the production design, with their soaring sets and psychedelic, candy-colored costumes. You felt it especially during the dance numbers where the poppy flowers waxed creepy and sexy and the Emerald City crowd was channeling Andy Warhol’s Factory and Harlem ball culture.”

The choreography was on point and updated by Fatima’s funky moves with the Tin Man dabbing, The crows doing the Nae-Nay and the Scarecrow doing the Stanky Leg. It was a beautiful tribute to black dance.

Amber Riley shined. Neo was terrific. Newcomer Shanice Williams was amazing.
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As much as I loved the new versions, I still have a special place in my heart for the original.  Nipsey, come slide some oil to me.

Superstore is Actually Funny!

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I tuned in to the new NBC comedy Superstore out of curiosity.  I really like America Ferrera & Ben Feldman, and the first two episodes show promise.  There were several times I actually laughed out loud because I know these people.  The characters are very likeable and relatable.  I know several people who have worked in superstores from Fred Meyer to Target.  You can easily tell the ones who are fresh on the floor and the ones who have been there entirely too long.

In this series, Amy (Ferrera) is one of the employees who has been there too long.  So long in fact, she doesn’t even wear her own name tag because she doesn’t want the customers to address her by her name as if they were friends.  I understand.  I do it to employees all the time.

The show is a bout a superstore in a strip mall but I have some serious concerns if it is going to make it in the new era of television where everything is bigger, badder, bolder and catchier. This is a simple show about regular ole people who work in a job and in a town they wished they could leave.

The series will premiere in its regular Monday at 8:00 pm timeslot on January 4, 2016.  I say give it a go, it is good clean fun.

Gods of Egypt is Black A Lacking

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The lack of diversity in casting in Hollywood is coming under some closer scrutiny as of late.  The latest Hollywood blockbuster to roll under the bus is Lionsgate’s big budget release of Gods of Egypt featuring Gerard Butler, Geoffrey Rush, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Brenton Thwaites.  Yeah, each of the wonderful actors are Caucasian. The problem is, the majority of residents of Egypt are not.  Hell it is set in Africa and should have at least two black people in the leading roles, but alas it is black a lacking.

Let the blacklash begin.

Yeah, the blacklash is so big, even Bette Middler got in on it.bette

This bums me out because it looks like it is going to be a great movie, but now I have to protest that shit. On principle.

Look at this.  This looks awesome.  I think I will protest by getting at Red Box instead going to the movies. It’s my logic but it works.

Lionsgate did issue a statement on Friday, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, addressing the casting decisions.

Lionsgate: We recognize that it is our responsibility to help ensure that casting decisions reflect the diversity and culture of the time periods portrayed. In this instance we failed to live up to our own standards of sensitivity and diversity, for which we sincerely apologize. Lionsgate is deeply committed to making films that reflect the diversity of our audiences. We have, can and will continue to do better.​​

Proyas: The process of casting a movie has many complicated variables, but it is clear that our casting choices should have been more diverse. I sincerely apologize to those who are offended by the decisions we made.

Yeah, that is going to work.  Getting in bus, starting engine….

Grimm is Back!

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Grimm is back on Friday nights and it is going to be better than ever.  I know one thing is for certain, I sure as hell don’t want to live in Portland.

If you are lost, let me do a quick recap.

Juliet is dead.

Adaline has had Nick’s baby and it’s a boy named Kelly.

Nick’s mother, also named Kelly, is dead.

Truble has been kidnapped.

The police think they found the serial killer and has closed the case.  Renard is happy about that.

…and something wicked this way comes.  It has claws too.  Really big claws.