The Native American reservation of Wind River is as far from perfect as one could imagine, a destitute landscape of snow and silence where forgotten people can’t rely on luck…they survive or die. But the inhabitants there can still dream of better places. They can make their way if they fight for it.
The film opens with a thoughtful young woman’s voice-over reading a poem about “a meadow in my perfect world” while we watch on the screen a battered young woman running for her life across a deadly nighttime landscape of moonlight snow and sub-zero winds. It’s another fifteen minutes or so before we witness her body discovered days later by Cory Lambert (an Oscar-worthy Jeremy Renner), a game-and-wildlife tracker hunting a lioness on the reservation, who has his own tragic past that casts a shadow on the current events. Into town comes a green but game FBI agent (a fabulous Elizabeth Olsen, evoking a young, steely Michelle Pfeiffer), who along with the reservation police force (lead by a stoically sardonic Graham Greene) and our determined tracker forms a posse to catch the predator who drove the young woman out into the cold and her ultimate death.
Writer/director Taylor Sheridan’s neo-noir meditation on grief and resilience is a brutal and beautiful thing that also operates on the surface level as a rip-snorting crime drama/police procedural which satisfies our hunger for the perverse while defying our expectations with novelistic depth of back-story and character. Continue reading →
I grew up watching Toho’s many incarnations of Godzilla. I loved Godzilla – especially the 1989 Godzilla: Monster of Monsters Nintendo video game. I loved all of the films too, from the iconic 1954 Gojira original to the ridiculousness of “Baby Godzilla” blowing bubbles to the overly melodramatic Godzilla 1985 to the righteously badass Marv Newland animated student film Bambi Meets Godzilla (for the love of god, Youtube it) – still my favorite in the canon, and in that one we only ever see the monster’s foot, so quit your whining about his 2014 screen time! Because of its Japanese origins stemming from real nuclear horrors, it was an inherently silly franchise that somehow always carried some weight, or the illusion of weight…as if it was far more serious or important than it really was. Also our fond memories of watching it as children fogged the reality of its natural stupidity. For some ungodly reason, fans still reeling from the rape of Godzilla in 1998 placed insanely lofty expectations on this latest film incarnation thinking that this Godzilla had to be something more – it had to match our fantasies…it had to be everything we ever dreamed of.
In steps Gareth Edwards, indie director of the silly emo but shockingly effective character drama, Monsters, that had two unlikely people falling in love while trying to get out of Mexico – a Mexico that just happened to be under quarantine due to some rampaging giant walking…squids? It was a fun little genre mash-up. Continue reading →
Three weeks…three really weird films from Netflix focused on three (or more) psychologically disturbed women.
Where do I even begin? Let’s start from the beginning.
The Skin I Live In – Pedro Almodovar
Remember the episode of Seinfeld where George was dating the woman who looked like Jerry and Kramer was far too eager to diagnose the “perverse sexual amalgam” and “George’s man-love for a she-Jerry?” Ah, funny stuff, right? Good times. Good times. Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In is kinda like that episode of Seinfeld only imagine George is a renowned plastic surgeon (played by Antonio Banderas) with a deeply personal motivation for creating the perfect skin-graft for burn victims and his girlfriend is the man who raped his suicidal daughter whom against which he holds a fetishistic vendetta. Wait…what? No…that’s not right.
Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In is like David Lynch’s Lost Highway re-imagined by a hysterical Spanish woman with a gender-identity crisis. Yeah…that’s it…that’s the ticket. Or maybe not. Continue reading →