Wind River. Man, this was great. I’ve been catching up on 2017 movies, and when I see ones like this and The Lost City of Z and Good Time, I start to wonder why we weren’t talking about them all year long. Wind River sits with its pain, a steady undercurrent of mourning, and explores how we accept loss, or find ourselves in some other endless form of pursuit, resignation, denial. Native American mistreatment is also a big theme, shown with visuals – contrast modest homes vs. trailer parks – or just ignorance, like when our well-meaning FBI agent bumbles through an interview with a victim’s family. At times the script feels more written than spoken, but that’s not so bad when the words are great. Director Taylor Sheridan also wrote the excellent Sicario and Hell or High Water.
Arrival. Second viewing. (The first.) The mind-bending scifi stuff doesn’t dazzle as much, having seen it twice and read the story a few times. I like the sappiness, though, and I wish they’d play it up more. But I think if they had, I probably wouldn’t have liked it as much the first time…
Arrival. I loved the short story collection that this movie draws from. I wish they’d played the extremes just a bit more. Maybe get even more nerdy with the science/linguistics, and even more fragmented/playful with the chronology. Can’t have everything, though. It’s about as good an adaptation as you can ask for that’d still get wide release.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It’s an odd one. Absolutely gorgeous at times. I like the olde-timey lens distortion and sepia tones. And the slow-burn obsession is awesome. Reminds me a bit of Public Enemies, with the possessive attraction to a charismatic criminal.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. It’s fun! I wish it were as stylish as some of its predecessors. I wasn’t picking up on a McQuarrie directorial stamp like we saw in the De Palma, Woo, and Abrams movies. Also a little bit disappointed with Hunt this time around. Seems like he was a bit overmatched at times – more like something you saw in the early stages of Edge of Tomorrow, or something out of Indiana Jones. I’m use to a Hunt that’s more ruthlessly (absurdly) competent. But still, really solid, and I love the pace. That Ferguson is Cruise’s equal (superior?), the opera scene is top-notch, the villain is perfect, and it’s nice to see an action movie that doesn’t feel like it needs a built-in romance. Filed under: Tom Cruise, Mission: Impossible.
The Town. This movie is so great. (Previously.) Follows that wonderful formula that Heat, uses: criminals + leader + wildcard teammate + romantic complication + the pressure to do just one more job = everything falling apart. Hall and Hamm’s characters seemed stronger on second viewing. Renner’s character? I can’t enough.
Doug MacRay: You can’t be up there killing people.
James Coughlin: Hey, you brought me.
The Avengers. The basic plot mechanics are a bit tired, but I am not ashamed to admit how satisfying it is to see the whole gang together after seeing others in the Marvel series. A couple neat camera moments (Cap in the rearview and a POV shot that flips along with the car it’s inside of). Nothing quite like the joy/terror of Hulk being Hulk. I really wish Renner had more to work with.
American Hustle. Disappointed with the ending, but that’s heist movies for ya. I should note that most of my disappointment was because most of the movie has such an enjoyable, playful ambiguity to it. You spend so much time on your toes, wondering what these folks are really up to, because there’s no real obvious villain or goal, and then it all wraps up too neatly for my taste. But Amy Adams is so good, the sets and stuff are a trip, and there’s some fun visual gags in there. I’d also recommend David O. Russell’s Three Kings, which has a lot of the same energy and restlessness.
The Bourne Legacy. If you tend to like the Bourne movies, you’ll like this Bourne movie. Favorite moments: the wolf rivalry, the climb from basement to upstairs window and the con to enter the factory. We even got a little fruit cart cameo. I’d love to see more more movies that show how insane and terrifying drones are.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Forget the skyscraper scene, that dust storm chase was dope. Pretty stock otherwise, but with smartphones! I’m glad I saw it (it’s the second-best of the modern MI series, after the first one), despite all the times it made me groan. Oh, and Patton’s Jane Carter has nothing, nothing on Carano’s Mallory Kane.
The Town. I would have preferred less gunfire and more of everything else, but geez. Affleck. Dude can direct! I’m excited to see what else he comes up with. Gotta check out Gone Baby Gone and Argo soon. Also, I love Renner in this. What a nut.
The Hurt Locker. I’m happy to say that the good parts were very, very, very good. Overall? Just okay.