Movies of the Week #42 (2017)

So much forgettable in a single week, disgusting. That’s what holidays do to your movie watching habits!

Movie of the Week

Wind River (2017)

windriver

Just before departure

  • Better Watch Out (2016): This little slasher pic takes a few slasher tropes and turns them on their head, in the ironic way that appears to be the sole redemption of slashers nowadays. Young-but-old-enough kid and babysitter appear threatened by criminal elements in what turns out to be something a little different. I guess BWO really conveys the power of the gun, just as it thrives on false expectations. Ultimately, it doesn’t really enthrall, ending on a terribly predictable whimper, but its redeeming take on the genre makes it somewhat commendable. 6/10

And we’re off

  • Wind River (2017): Taylor Sheridan is definitely starting to stand out as a memorable screenwriter. After the excellent Sicario (2015) and Hell or High Water (2016), he takes on double duty for Wind River in his directorial debut. The movie tracks the disappearance/murder of a girl in a winter wonderland featuring the modern day displacement of Native Americans. Ultimately, it’s more of a general story about social exclusion, with Jeremy Renner’s tracker-hunter character slotting in nicely, just like Elizabeth Olsen’s (female) FBI agent, sent into no-man’s-land to establish jurisdiction on the criminal proceedings. The grisly conclusion might take a strong stomach to digest, but it’s worth it. 8/10

The festering wait

  • Free Fire (2016): Long on the to-watch-list, director Ben Wheatley keeps it consistent with another movie that’s interesting conceptually, but just doesn’t hold up through its runtime. With a star studded cast, including Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer and Sharlto Copley, I just felt that the gun-running story started dragging past its half-way point and never really recovered. The “everyone trying to screw everyone else over” shtick is overcooked and the characters prove to be quite the uncharismatic bunch – except for Hammer and the ever-expansive Copley. A reasonably competent genre film, all in all. 6/10

The Stephen King-athon

  • 1922: I think this makes it the third SK adaptation released within the last two months – it’s like we’re back in the 90s! This story, about a hateful in-family dispute, stars a veteran Stephen King character-actor/actor-character, in Thomas Jane (Dreamcatcher (2003), The Mist (2007)), who pretty much steals the show. Unfortunately, I failed to truly get behind this rat-infested horror tale, perhaps because I am impartial to rats on a screen, or perhaps because the pacing is a bit slow. The whole thing still works, but again, mostly for genre fans. 6/10

Counter-balance

  • The First Time (2012): Had to appease the unappeased, after the SK bucket of rat feces I made everyone indulge in, so I made a drastic choice to go for a big bucket of slush. Surprisingly, in spite of an uninspiring, vaguely charismatic, chemistry-less, but suitably awkward lead couple, TFT proved to not be a total throwaway. There are the odd moments of authenticity which allow it to stand on its own two feet, although these prove to be too sparsely spread in what is, ultimately, just a teen movie about alienation and sex. If that’s what your looking for, and you happen to be fifteen, great. If not, well… 5/10

The old and the restless

  • Our Souls at Night (2017): Ritesh Batra, director of the highly likable The Lunch Box (2013)tries his hand on another story about companionship, starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. There is no question here of compatibility or aimless awkwardness, as Fonda and Redford are a couple of the most distinguished and versatile living American actors, both basically in their 80s now, but not looking it. Their two characters come together for a non-romantic relationship aimed at filling their solitary lives, after each had lost their long-time partners. It’s a gentle, sentimental ride, but ultimately OSaN failed to really engage me. In fact, it just kept reminding me of I’ll See You in My Dreams (2015), a film on the same subject which did it all and did it better, for reasons I can’t really recall. So maybe start with that and if you really like it, then give OSaN a shot as well. 6/10