MMT Quick Review of ‘HAPPY DEATH DAY’ by contributor Samantha Hollins

The title Happy Death Day had me intrigued the moment my eyes peeked its existence on social media. After viewing the trailer with 50 Cent’s song “In Da Club” as the under score, I wasn’t sure if this film would scare the crap out of me or make me want to meet up with the girls for a chick-flick night out on the town. I started to wonder, “Why am I bobbing my head when I should be feeling goosebumps?” And then – yes – it happened! I started feeling the stain of intensity smeared on the final moments of the teaser. That made me more curious of what was to come. Okay, I was ready to go see this celebration of the Grim Reaper’s calling.

Deja vu…what, where and who is the mystery of this romantic-comedy-blood commemoration. Waking up to a self-centered day, that keeps going around and around and gets tangled up amidst her birthday, is college student Tree (Jessica Rothe).

The essence of the characters almost reminded me of the brat-pack films in the 80’s with a terrorizing turn of events. The unraveling of self-evaluation stabs the heart of this story with tender, yet quirky, hell-raising moments. The stereotypical flare through the iris of Tree’s privileged way of life is put to the test as she relives her flaws. It’s a non-stop deadly haze until her state of mind can truly wake up.

Emmy award-winning composer Bear McCreary (best known for his work on Battlestar Galactica, Outlander and The Walking Dead) created many layers of sound to accompany each shifting scene of emotion. I could feel the dark side of the score skulking under my skin before I could hear its eerie whisper whenever the villain ensued his prey.

If you need a little humor to take the edge off the scare factor, then this film will tickle your mind to ease as you prepare for the slasher extravaganza. Cheesy thrills turn into clever chills, reminiscent of a mixture of Harold Ramis’ classic film “Ground Hog Day” (starring Bill Murray) bleeding into the cult favorite horror film franchise “Scream” (directed by Wes Craven). These two genres crawling together will keep you wondering what mood will strike you next.

Blumhouse Productions has been releasing a vast array of thought-provoking horror films this year (including the block buster “Get Out“), fulfilling every scary movie lover’s taste. “Happy Death Day” (directed by Christopher Beau Landon) is the gift this fall that is now playing at a theater near you.

Samantha Hollins, aka Ghetto SongBird, is a multi-talented singer/songwriter, guitarist, poet/writer, photographer and all around creative soul, who passionately enjoys sharing her positive artistic energy and harmonic vibes. You can follow her, and get additional information about her next tour date, on her Facebook page here; and check out her reviews of Annabelle: CreationThe Beguiled, and The Girl With All The Gifts right here on MMT!

 

MMT Quick Review ‘THE FOREIGNER’

(Left to Right) Jackie Chan as Quan and Pierce Brosnan as Hennessy in hotel suite in THE FOREIGNER

Earlier this week, I was really excited about seeing the new Jackie Chan led vehicle “The Foreigner.” It had been years since I’d watched him on the big screen – last saw him in theaters (not including his voice work) in “The Karate Kid” remake – and have recently seen him on the press circuit promoting the film, and clearly excited about the opportunity to display himself in a less comedic and more dramatic fashion.

So, I had high hopes for this film which co-stars Pierce Brosnan as Liam Hennessy, a duplicitous government official who may or may not be involved in a London terrorist attack that led to the deaths of several people – one of whom was the daughter of Chan’s character, an elderly businessman named Quan Ngoc Minh.

Intent of taking matters into his own hands to locate the whereabouts and identity of the terrorists, Quan is lured into a cat-and-mouse conflict – he as a one-man battle force against a well-crafted terrorist cell intent on progressing its deadly cause.

Now, although I found the movie to be entertaining – and Mr. Chan’s acting actually quite good – the film was very ambitious in its material, had a lot going on story/plot wise, and kind of faltered for a bit to compensate.

It also required a huge suspension of disbelief to invest in Quan’s journey in the first place – I mean he goes into this pursuit completely blind to the facts. But once the action jumped in, it was easier to invest in the film and enjoy the ride on which I was taken.

That being said, I wish the script was tighter, and I’m not sure it’s one I would have on repeat, but I certainly would watch “The Foreigner” again for the Chan and Brosnan – and fight – scenes alone.

And it’s worth noting that the audience I viewed the movie with clapped several times – especially during the action and scenes of vengeance taken by the lead character.

But don’t get it twisted, Chan is a 63-year-old action star, and the character required more realism than any of his former roles – so if you’re a Jackie Chan fan, don’t go in expecting the norm as this is a dramatic thriller – read as not a straight action film and slower-paced.

Here’s the star at the LA première discussing his role and its differences from those in the past:

Really curious to hear/read your thoughts on this one family, so make sure to leave a comment or two after you see it! And to get an idea of the critical discrepancy, the film currently is 56% rotten (critic) with an 80% audience score on the aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.

Until next thought, Thomasena

 

 

MMT Quick Review ‘MARSHALL’ by contributor Darryl King

“Marshall” is the tale of two stories – it’s first an origin story about a historical legend who chose to fight for those who couldn’t fight for themselves.  The film focuses on a specific time in the life of Thurgood Marshall, perhaps as a character study to further understand the man.

But secondly, it’s about the friendship of two men who came from opposite sides of the tracks and are thrown together by circumstance, forged together through trials and bonded together by accomplishment.

“Marshall” is a film that adroitly merges both narratives as the backdrop about the early life of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, while centering on one of his early cases about a well-to-do white female socialite who accuses her black chauffeur of rape. As a lawyer in the NAACP, Marshall became the to go to lawyer for high-profile cases, aiding in growing the membership and impact of this organization.

But if you are searching for a history lesson about Thurgood Marshall, or an exposé’ on racism and/or the prejudices of those times, this is not that movie. While the movie does highlight some historical evidence of the times, and the particulars of his life, that is not the focus of “Marshall.”

And controversy aside, whether a dark-skinned actor can portray the light-skinned civil rights lawyer whose skin color was an important barrier for him has merit, But the film tells a different narrative, and changes the angle from ‘color’ to ‘cocky’.

“Marshall” is a slow-paced, intelligent, and emotionally impactful film with traces of levity that plays into the strengths of our main actors, Chadwick Boseman and Josh Gad. Masquerading as a buddy movie, “Marshall” often resembles films like those starring Richard Pryor & Gene Wilder. But does this film work?

Yes, it does mainly because of the talents of its director, Reginald Hudlin.  While other black directors have come into prominence in recent years, often forgotten are the exploits of the director of films like ‘Boomerang” and “House Party.”

If you enjoyed “Boomerang,” then you’re probably going to be pleased with “Marshall” – as Hudlin weaves a good-hearted narrative and establishes a world so sweet it practically renders this historical story fictional.

While that doesn’t offer “justice” to the legacy of Thurgood Marshall, that doesn’t hinder “Marshall” from being a good film. The film provides some historical antidotes as bookends and, other than a tantalizing scene in the midst of the film that brought a genuine smile to my heart, strays away mostly from the facts of the times.

Chadwick Boseman continues his stellar run of wonderful performances. His ability to draw the audience in with his delivery is what makes him special, allowing us to get lost in the narrative. He portrays Thurgood Marshall as a confident (cocky) and assured (arrogant) black man who is extremely competent.

Josh Gad (Samuel Friedman) usually plays funny characters, but in this he is easy-going, powerfully innocent and brings a balance to the brashness of Boseman’s character. The role of the wealthy white woman, I believe, needed a known actress to play the female antagonist, and Kate Hudson (Eleanor Strubing) instantly makes the viewer believe she is a woman who could be two different sides of the same coin.

In the end, “Marshall” is a feel-good movie with just enough traces of history to paint a portrait of the man who would later change lives in America. If this film inspires someone to delve deeper into the life of Thurgood Marshall, and his impact beyond his landmark cases, then this film has done its job.

And lastly to Chadwick Boseman, can you save some biopic roles for other black actors in Hollywood? We’ll grant you at least one more, Black Panther, because everyone knows that Wakanda and the Black Panther are real!

Darryl King is a video director, film writer and avid Marvel/DC comic book/movie lover. Checkout his reviews of The Dark TowerSpider-man: Homecoming, and Baby Driver right here on MMT.

 

MMT Quick Review MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE

Hey MMT Fam! I haven’t been to as many kid/family friendly movies this year, since little Miss Jayla had to take a break from attending. But she was back in full effect – and I don’t mean that in a good sense – for MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE, which her mother and I found entertaining but Jayla was in a mood and I can’t fully give the kid’s perspective this quick review.

But there were plenty of people there that I could “audience watch” – especially the adults, many of whom were clearly invested in “My Little Pony” as a hobby and whose excitement surpassed nostalgic memory.

In the film, Ponyville is invaded by a dark army and the Mane 6 – Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Rarity – must take a journey outside Equestria where they meet new friends and exciting challenges on a quest to use the magic of friendship to save their home.

“My Little Pony: The Movie” has an all-star voice cast including Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Liev Schreiber, Michael Peña, Sia, Taye Diggs, Uzo Aduba and Zoe Saldana, and features original music and songs performed by Sia – who also voices a character named Songbird Serenade – Diggs, Saldana, Chenoweth and Blunt.

Now I don’t think the story was as tight as the hit film “Trolls” and I felt there was a rush in character introduction – which worked for those who clearly followed Pony cartoons, which I never have. Also, there were many references that I’m sure I missed due to the aforementioned, although I did get a Hasbro “Hungry Hungry Hippos” joke.

But the story became enjoyable and the characters personalities weren’t hard to catch on to once they got going on their journey. I especially loved that “Pinkie Pie,” who I swear needs a sedative or two!

What I most appreciated was how extremely kid-friendly the story is, in a time where adult-themed humor has become a standard in what’s marketed to the young ones, and also the friendship message highlighted throughout.

And the soundtrack is really decent, and hooked me from the start with a flashback to The Go-Go’s “We Got The Beat.”

All in all, I’d recommend this film for kids of all ages, and yes that includes adults. 😉 Just brush up on the “Mane 6” if you want to follow along a little better than I did in the beginning!

Let me know your thoughts family if you’ve seen the film or when you check it out.

Until next thought, Thomasena

 

MMT Recommends THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE with mini review by subscriber Steve Rodriguez

Jay (voiced by KUMAIL NANJIANI), Kai (voiced by MICHAEL PEÑA), Lloyd (voiced by DAVE FRANCO), Nya (voiced by ABBI JACOBSON), Cole (voiced by FRED ARMISEN) and Zane (voiced by ZACH WOODS) in the new animated adventure “THE LEGO® NINJAGO® MOVIE,” from Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Animation Group, in association with LEGO System A/S, a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

There are some films that you hate to miss in theaters, and for me THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE is definitely one of them! Unfortunately, I missed the screenings for this film, but was excited that MMT had the opportunity to give out family four packs so a few of our subscribers could enjoy!

Released on Friday, September 22, “The Lego Ninjago Movie” is the next film in the highly successful Lego movie franchise – following 2014’s “The Lego Movie” and this year’s “The Lego Batman Movie.”

In the film, the battle for NINJAGO City calls to action young Master Builder Lloyd, aka the Green Ninja, along with his friends, who are all secret ninja warriors. Led by Master Wu, as wise-cracking as he is wise, they must defeat evil warlord Garmadon, The Worst Guy Ever, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad. Pitting mech against mech and father against son, the epic showdown will test this fierce but undisciplined team of modern-day ninjas, who must learn to check their egos and pull together to unleash their inner power.

MMT contest winner/subscriber, and creator of THE NO NOTES SHOW, LLC, Steve Rodriguez had this to say about the movie,

“The Lego Ninjago Movie has a wonderful story line as it depicts a family separated from each other, and the journey of reunification, while centering on five friends – who comprise a secret Ninja force to defend NINJAGO from the evil forces of Warlord Garmadon.

I loved the storyline because it identifies and speaks to the importance of family unity, values and bonding. I also enjoyed the individual characters created. Each of the ninjas displayed the value of true friendship, and showed how circumstances do not define us but we are defined by our character.

The film presented the wonderful message that even though wrong choices are made in the life, it is never too late to change and make things right. There is nothing more powerful than the bond love that holds a family together. I thoroughly enjoyed the messages relayed and felt it was very enjoyable to watch.”

And if you need any more convincing to check the film out, unlike myself, listen to this cool audio (courtesy of Warner Bros.) featuring cast members Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Munn, Kumali Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Zach Woods, and Jackie Chan, producers Dan Lin and Chris McKay and director Charlie Bean sharing thoughts on the film, behind the scenes antics and answering audience questions :

I would love to hear from other MMT winners that saw the film! Leave some comments if you’ve checked it out. 🙂

Until next thought, Thomasena

MMT Quick Review of ‘IT’

Out of all the horror films I watched as a kid, there were five in particular that scared me the most – “The Exorcist” (no explanation needed!), the original “Halloween” (still my favorite of all time but Michael Myers was a major creeper), the last story in “Trilogy of Terror” (that damned doll was a demonic creep), the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (you mean I can’t even sleep this off, this joker shows up in dreams?!) and the original “It.” Now the last one wasn’t because the film was the scariest of the group, but essentially I’d never watched a horror film prior to it where the central baddie killed “kids,” and I mean young ones – Georgie was only six, right? – unlike Kruger or Mike Myers  who were slashing older teens.

And now in theaters, breaking all kinds of records this opening weekend, is the remake of “It” – adapted from the classic Stephen King novel just like the 1990 TV film with one exception, it is spookier. But it’s 27 years later, and the horror genre has completely upped the ante, so of course the horrific shapeshifter known as “Pennywise the Dancing Clown” would be.

In part one of this update – yes, it is broken into two parts like the book and the original – we still find the “Loser’s Club” united in their battle to defeat the killer clown. A kid-driven narrative with an 80’s setting – a change from the older version which was set in 1960, and the novel which starts in the late 50’s – the audience is treated to nostalgic references such as New Kids On The Block and A Nightmare on Elm Street 5, so there are sure to be easy comparisons to the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things.”

Especially since one of the film’s actors comes directly from the aforementioned, Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Thing’s Mike Wheeler) as Richie Tozier the loudmouth of the group, along with young co-stars Jaeden Leiberher (Bill Denbrough), Sophia Lillis (Beverly Marsh), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben Hanscom), and Chosen Jacobs (Mike Hanlon).

The range of emotions displayed by this young cast, as they each deal with turbulent and/or tragic events in addition to the threat of Pennywise, is at a level far beyond their years. With heavy topics, such as bullying, abuse/neglect and incest, the cast had a lot to carry and they more than delivered.

The comic relief is also plenty in this film, which helps a scaredy cat like myself to counter the spooky. It also helped that there was still a bit of camp to the story, I mean you can’t help it when the big bad is a clown.

And speaking of clowns and performances, for those of us who remember the TV film, Tim Curry’s “It” is still a highlight for horror fans. He brought the creepy, campy comedy just right, which left huge shoes for Bill Skarsgard to fill in this 2017 version.

Director Andy Muschietti, whose feature début was the hit horror film “Mama,” mentioned in an August interview that he considered casting Will Poulter (Detriot) as Pennywise, which I’ll be honest I imagined would be perfect after watching him as one of the villainous cops in the film “Detroit.” But Bill Skarsgard made me a believer, and he definitely increases the scare factor with the character. Listen to Skarsgard and Muschietti discussing the Pennywise update in audio (courtesy of Warner Bros.) here:

 

In short, there was a lot Muschietti could do with the R-rating and big screen advantage that a 90’s TV show couldn’t, and thank goodness for that because “It” is one good scare. The cinematography and score were perfectly eerie when required and the acting is great. This “It” remake will have a lot of people waiting for part two, and stepping sideways by any sewer holes they may pass on an isolated street. 😉

Until next thought, Thomasena

 

MMT #Remember911 Giveaway and ‘9/11’ movie opening Friday, September 8

Most Americans have a compelling or noteworthy story to tell when it comes to discussing the tragic events of 9/11. Personally, I was working for a major mental health insurance company that managed several accounts of companies that were housed in the World Trade Center and/or severely impacted by the events that occurred on that day – including American Airlines, United Airlines, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. For a company that was used to the constant ringing of phones, and all day assistance of people dealing with various issues, the phone lines slowed when the first plane hit, and subsequently came to a complete halt when the second plane made impact with the Towers.

What I most remember, after that day, was speaking to consumers who called for months with harrowing stories of deceased family members/colleagues, escaping and survivor’s remorse, and persistent fears of returning to work – especially those employed in the airline industry. It was, without question, one of the most heart-wrenching and humbling experiences I’ve ever had.

Over the years since, there have been several films made with actual and theorized accounts of that day (including Paul Greengrass’s United 93) and today 9/11, starring Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg, Luis Guzman, Gina Gershon and Wood Harris, joins that group and opens in theaters nationwide.

“9/11” is based on a true story and adapted from the original play “The Elevator,” which chronicles the lives of five average, everyday people who find themselves trapped in an elevator during the events of 9/11 in the World Trade Center.

Do you remember where and what you were doing when 9/11 occurred? Send an email to contests@musicmoviesthoughts.com telling us, with the subject line “Remember 9/11” and your full name and address in the body. MMT will select one winner to receive:

1 – 9/11 poster Hand Signed Autographed by star Charlie Sheen

1 – “Hope” Pendant with necklace

1 – Guide to Talking To Your Children About 9/11 thanks to Tuesday’s Children

You can download a digital copy of the resource guide from Tuesday’s Children and learn more about its organization, which helps traumatized, grief-stricken children and families and communities left reeling from terrorism or traumatic loss, at the official “911” movie website here.

I also encourage you to check out the 9/11 movie Blog App where you can:

• Read and share the 9/11 fact cards, provided by Tuesday’s Children
• Watch behind-the-scenes interviews with Charlie Sheen, Gina Gershon, and Luis Guzman

Subscribers can also Tweet @musicfilmdiva and @9_11Movie, and use the hashtag #Remember911, to pay tribute to the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Remember, any tweets or social media shares tagging us (@MMThoughts on Facebook) always increases your chances of winning.

You can watch the full trailer and read the synopsis for “9/11” below, and get additional information at the official website here.

Good luck family. Until next thought, Thomasena

911 synopsis

9/11 opens in theaters on September 8 and features an all-star cast including Luis Guzman(The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3), Gina Gershon (Showgirls), Wood Harris (Justified), Jacqueline Bisset (Dancing on the Edge (BBC), Welcome to New York), Olga Fonda (The Vampire Diaries) and Bruce Davison (X-Men).

In the World Trade Center, a billionaire sits in his attorney’s office awaiting a divorce hearing against his wife. In a west side apartment, a bike messenger kisses his 5-year old daughter and sings her “Happy Birthday” before leaving for work. A maintenance man gets dispatched to help a tenant with his lock. In an upper east side apartment, a young model musters the courage to break up with her sugar daddy. As random as random can be, these individuals step into a crowded World Trade Center elevator.

Wrapped up in their own world, they all ride silently hearing only the sound of the elevator giving notice of each floor. When the elevator stops on the 34th floor, it empties leaving only these five behind. Moments later … their world changes as the collision of a jet into the North Tower incapacitates the elevator.

With no understanding of what has happened and is happening around them, these fives are forced to band together and fight against all odds to escape from the impending horrific collapse. During these critical minutes, a story of courage, faith, and the will to live unfolds.

Twitter: @9_11Movie 
Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/911Movie/

 

 

 

MMT Quick Review of SHOT CALLER

A successful businessman is incarcerated for a horribly unintentional, and completely irresponsible, crime. In order to survive, he must reinvent himself completely and go beyond any moral barometer he’s ever lived, for the safety of himself and ultimately his family. This is the basis of the film SHOT CALLER, which opened in select theaters (unfortunately the Philly market was changed/cancelled last minute) and video on-demand on August 25.

Starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) in the lead, and Omari Hardwick (Power, Middle of Nowhere) as a tough as nails detective trying to bring a prison related crime ring to justice – yes, the opposite of his beloved Ghost/James St. Patrick character on the Starz crime drama “Power” – “Shot Caller” is a flashback fueled, violent, and intense journey that deviates from the standard crime saga and offers some unexpected takes – but we’re spoiler free, so I’ll leave it there. 😉

What I will say is lead actor Coster-Waldau’s – although I question how believable the actions of his character (this is one prepared former businessman) would be in reality – gripping performance allows the audience to suspend disbelief and invest in witnessing his rise in a crime-ridden world and the disheartening choices he chooses for survival.

And for those who after last night’s season finale are experiencing “Power” withdrawal, like myself for approximately the next nine months, here’s an option for that “Hardwick in the crime world” fix.

Streaming now at online providers, including iTunes and Amazon, “Shot Caller” was both written and directed by Ric Roman Waugh and distributed by Saban Films.

Let me know what you think when you watch it family.

Until next thought, Thomasena

Synopsis:

SHOT CALLER follows the harrowing, often heart-rending journey of successful businessman Jacob Harlon (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) who is transformed into Money, a stoic, ruthless prison gangster after a DUI sends him down the rabbit hole of the American prison system. As he navigates the brutality of his new home, adapting to its violent codes of ethics and rites of passage that will ensure his survival, he slowly loses his previous identity and his relationship to his former life, including his wife and son. The grip of his new family, the prison gang, extends beyond the prison walls. Upon his release, chased by the law enforcement, threatened by his incarcerated “protectors,” Money must orchestrate one last dangerous crime. All is not what it seems. The ruthless process of fulfilling his obligations also becomes his path to sacrifice, retribution and self-definition.

Written and Directed by: Ric Roman Waugh

Starring: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Omari Hardwick, Lake Bell, Jon Bernthal, Emory Cohen, Jeffrey Donovan, Evan Jones, Benjamin Bratt, and Holt McCallany

MMT Quick Review and Giveaway for “Unleashed”

Happy Wednesday MMT Fam! While taking a much-needed birthday break, I also took time out to screen a pretty cute film, “Unleashed,” which was released in select theaters and on VOD last Friday, August 25.

In the movie, protagonist Emma (Kate Micucci) – a budding app designer – develops severe trust issues after a prior flame steals a very lucrative app that she created. Deciding a major change is needed, she packs up her belongings and moves with her beloved pets – Ajax (cat) and Summit (dog) – to San Francisco, where the pets encounter a “transformative” supermoon, becoming full-grown humans Diego and Sam respectively. A comedy of errors ensues, and the pair unwittingly help Emma on her journey towards trust and fulfillment.

Now I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure about the premise of this film at first, but the actors who played the pets/humans, Justin Chatwin (Diego) and Steve Howey (Sam), were a riot! Even with the predictable “single female loner with pet” and “perfect guy is staring you in the face” tropes, which led to an easily predictable conclusion, Diego and Sam’s antics and attempts to reintroduce themselves to Emma as humans to get back in their coveted space were remarkably funny – especially for a pet lover like myself.

And I loved the score, which featured some catchy original tunes along with a few popular old-school songs including “Fire” by the Ohio Players and “White Lines” by Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, both of which highlighted some of the pets crazier moments.

Written and directed by Finn Taylor, “Unleashed” has been a hit on the festival circuit and won “Best Feature” at several, including the Southside and Sonoma International Film Festivals.

So, any pet lovers in the MMT Fam? Are you #TeamDog or #TeamCat? You can win a digital copy or DVD of “Unleashed” by letting me know! Send an email to contests@musicmoviesthoughts.com (you must be subscribed to this website) with the subject line “Diego and Sam” and your full name and address in the body.

And tag @musicfilmdiva on Instagram or Twitter, or @MMThoughts (MusicMoviesThoughts) on Facebook with either hashtag (#TeamDog or #TeamCat) to double your chances! One winner will be selected at random and notified by Friday, September 8.

Good luck! Until next thought, Thomasena

Please note: Each household is only eligible to win Unleashed via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

WEBSITE:
http://themovieunleashed.com/

FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/unleashedthemovie/

 

 

 

 

 

MMT Quick Review WIND RIVER

“Wind River” is hands down one of the most compelling films I’ve seen in a while. From the opening scene, until the closing credits, I was gripped up, all in, invested in the journey taking place and the desperate search to find the truth behind an unspeakable crime and solve its mystery.

And with 4 1/2 stars and aggregate 87 % fresh critics and 93% audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes, I’d say almost everyone who’s seen it is in agreement with my estimation.

Led by actors Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, Captain America: Civil War) and Elizabeth Olsen (Godzilla, Avengers: Age of Ultron), and directed and written by Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water, Sicario), the  film is a character driven mystery that centers around a rape/murder on the Wind River Indian Reserve in Wyoming.

Cleverly written, the screenplay starts with the audience’s introduction to a tragic occurrence, then back tracks and takes great care with character development before a tumultuous ending – needed ploys for a film that makes direct and poignant political observations about the struggles of Native American reservation life; which include limited police force/presence, high prevalence of alcohol and substance abuse, and the lack of opportunity/jobs and high poverty rates that contribute to a higher than average suicide rate in the Native American community.

One of the most unfortunate injustices highlighted, that spoke to the center of the film, is the lack of a database to account for the missing in the Native community. Unlike every other demographic/group in the States, there are no statistics kept for Native American women. In addition, Native American women are at the greatest risk for sexual violence, and are twice as likely to experience a rape or sexual assault compared to other races.

Although the action is not continuous, “Wind River” is powerful nonetheless and when the action does hit, it gut punches and stays with the viewer.

Both Olsen and Renner excel in their roles, removing any reminders of their Marvel characters (Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye respectively) when together on-screen. Both of their names, along with director Sheridan, should be at the forefront during the coming award season.

I found Elizabeth Olsen to be especially engaging as FBI agent Jane Banner – a newbie agent who was not only unprepared for the climate/weather on the reservation, but certainly not prepared for the magnitude of the crime upon which she’d stumbled. But her character wasn’t slow, and had an eerily similar Jodie Foster “Silence of the Lambs” moment that had me leaving the theater remembering how “badass” she was even with her limited experience.

In sum, “Wind River” deals with some extremely heavy topics, and there definitely is a sexual trigger warning. I wouldn’t recommend it for those who can’t cope or the faint of heart, but would encourage even those looking for continuous action, which it doesn’t have, to see it. It is simply good story telling, greatly acted, with a powerful message that sits with you long after the closing credits.

Until next thought, Thomasena