Posts Tagged ‘elizabeth olsen’

wind river

Corey Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is an animal tracker, living near a Native American reservation in Wind River Wyoming.  Corey is divorced from his Native American wife, Wilma (Julia Jones) and planning to spend the day visiting his son, Casey. (Teo  Briones) While tracking a lion, Casey finds a girl who has been raped and murdered. Casey knows the girl, Natalie, (Kelsey Asbille) Natalie was friends with Casey’s daughter, who also died under mysterious circumstances.  An F.B.I. agent named Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is called in to investigate the crime because it occurs on federal land,, but the coroner, Dr. Whitehurst (Eric Lange) rules the death resulted from hypothermia.   Corey and Jane then have to prove that Natalie was murdered.  They ask Natalie’s parents, and get nowhere.  They proceed to ask Natalie’s brother Chip (Martin Sensmeir) and he gives them the name of Natalie’s boyfriend, Matt. (Jon Barenthal)  Do  Casey and Jane find Matt?   Does that lead to Natalie’s murderer?

Wind River should have been a taut thriller with a murder mystery to resolve, but what it became was a fish out of water story about an FBI agent from Florida trying to solve an apparent murder on an Indian reservation in Wyoming, and because she doesn’t know the culture or customs of the native people, there are a lot of awkward silences between her and the victim’s family and friends.  Casey finds himself manslplaining to Jane what it takes to track down clues in the wilderness of Wyoming. The outsider theme overtakes the movie and subordinates the murder mystery, and the mysteries surrounding Casey.  The murder is resolved to quickly and easily, and the ending falls flat, it is also awash in violence, a lot of which could have been avoided.

Jeremy Renner is actually good in this film, for the first time since The Hurt Locker, I enjoyed seeing Jeremy Renner in a film.  He should stick to these small,  indie type films, he’s not an action star, he’s proven that in his roles in the Mission Impossible, Avengers, and Bourne film, the kind of low-key character he plays here is more his style.  The problem with this film is casting Elizabeth Olsen as Jane the FBI agent, everyone else in this movie is trying to play a character here and she is just playing herself, there is nothing there, no emotion, no energy, just a flat, monotone reading of a script.  There is no chemistry of any kind with Renner, they’re not friends, co-workers, they’re like strangers who don’t like each other, but are forced to work together, and I don’t think that was purposeful.  Graham Greene was great as the tribal policeman Ben, Greene gives Ben an easygoing wit and charm that lesser actors wouldn’t have.

The direction, which has been lauded by many critics is nothing special to me, the pacing is very slow, except when the ominous background music swells, that is a tip off that something suspenseful is about to happen.  There is nothing visually arresting in this film, and first time director Taylor Sheridan should have taken more advantage of those surroundings.  Sheridan wrote Sicario, which I did not like, and Hell or High Water, which I have not seen.

Wind River:  Full of hot air.

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captain america civil war

In Lagos Nigeria, while trying to prevent a terrorist attack and save Captain America, (Chris Evans) The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) inadvertently kill a number of Nigerians in an office building.  The Avengers have caused a great deal of collateral damage while trying to save people.  Towards that end, 118 nations have signed a treaty to have the United Nations regulate the use of the Avengers.  Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) gets lectured by the mother (Alfre Woodard) of one of his inadvertent victims.  He’s ready to hang up his suit, but Captain America doesn’t want to sign the treaty arguing that the Avengers should have the freedom to control their own actions. As representatives gather to sign the treaty in Vienna, there is a bombing, and the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is the main suspect, but Captain America can’t believe his buddy from Brooklyn is responsible for such bloodshed.  Who is responsible for the Vienna bombing?  Whose side will the rest of the Avengers take on the treaty? Iron Man’s or Captain America’s?

I had reservations about this film, a film about the Avengers fighting each other could be very dumb if handled badly, especially in light of Batman vs. Superman. And when I saw they were fighting over a treaty, I thought, ‘Is that all there is?’  But happily, the reason they are fighting goes much deeper than the treaty, and that is the heart of the story.  The rest of the story is engaging and surprisingly funny.  The characters are nicely integrated, and there are new characters introduced and that’s nicely done too.  There is an element of “The Manchurian Candidate” a great Frank Sinatra film, in this film, which Iron Man mentions himself.  In all, Civil War takes what could have been tired characters and a hackneyed story and breathes new life into them.  The only criticism I have is that sometimes the fighting sequences go on for too long, and the story gets lost, but other than that, this was a thoroughly enjoyable film.

The acting was mostly very good.  Robert Downey Jr. again stands out from the rest with his usual witty, off the cuff delivery.  He really understands Tony Stark/Iron Man, I really wonder how much of his dialogue is ad libbed.  Chris Evans understands Captain America too, but I wish they would give his character a little more complexity.  Sebastian Stan was ok as The Winter Soldier, he’s not a good enough actor to play a bad guy, in my opinion.  Scarlett Johansson is great as Black Widow, and deserves her own Black Widow movie for crying out loud. The actors who play the new characters are also very good.  Don Cheadle, a very good actor, is not good as Rhoadey.  I preferred Terrence Howard. Elizabeth Olsen, who I liked in the last Avengers film, has trouble maintaining her Sokovian accent, so this performance is not as good as her last one.Jeremy Renner is very bland for this type of movie, he’s bland in every movie I’ve seen him in except for The Hurt Locker, where he was very good. Paul Bethany gives a good performance as Vision and Anthony Mackie adds some humor as Falcon.

The Russo Brothers direct again, and it’s better than their last Captain America effort, the pacing is fast, the action sequences are well staged, if a bit long, and they get mostly very good performances from a very large cast.

Captain America Civil War:  Aye Aye Captain!