After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into the director's chair for this thriller, which mixes a real-life issue with a compelling procedural mystery. It's a gorgeously shot film with especially well-developed characters who bring intensity and emotion to every scene. And they're expertly played by Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen.
It's set on the Wind River native American reservation in Wyoming, a spectacular mountain landscape under a blanket of winter snow. An 18-year-old woman (Kelsey Asbille in flashbacks) has been found murdered in the wilderness, and FBI agent Jane (Olsen) has arrived to investigate. With no experience in this kind of situation, she gets help from local Fish & Wildlife officer Cory (Renner) as well as the reservation sheriff Ben (Graham Greene). But Cory is finding this case very difficult, as the victim was the best friend of his daughter, who was killed two years ago. This gives Cory a special desire to solve the case, no matter where it leads.
Without ever getting flashy, the plot grinds along with a variety of revelations that continually add more detail to the case, characters and, most intriguingly, community. Local customs and practices continually add unexpected wrinkles, all of which guides the very specific journeys Cory and Jane are taking through this situation. So in addition to a pointed comment on the situation of native Americans in US society, the film is also a powerfully introspective drama about two people travelling their own paths through this terrain.
Continue reading: Wind River Review
To most of the world, Molly Bloom is a beautiful young skiing extraordinaire, but behind closed doors she is a serious poker prodigy. She has been running an exclusive, underground gambling club in a luxury suite for ten years with a clientele that includes the likes of Hollywoo's biggest superstars, celebrity athletes, business tycoons and even the Russian mob. Unfortunately for her, the latter lands her in the sights of the FBI who raid her poker game one late night and arrest her for operating an illegal gambling business. The only person she can talk to now is her defence lawyer Charlie Jaffrey, but even he takes some convincing to change his perspective on this shrewd and uncompromising woman. And who is really going to believe that she isn't in cahoots with the mob?
Continue: Molly's Game Trailer
US Fish and Wildlife Service agent Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is an expert hunter and tracker living amongst the snowy terrain of Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. He's used to freezing temperatures and animal corpses, but when he discovers the body of a dead girl while out doing his usual tour of the landscape on his snowmobile, he enlists the help of the town's chief of police who brings in an FBI agent named Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen). Unfortunately, she isn't quite the agent they were expecting and, being from Florida, is far from familiar with this kind of weather. But when it becomes clear that they have a homicide on their hands, the three of them band together to uncover the identity of the assailant - or, indeed, assailants.
Continue: Wind River - Trailer and Clips
The fact that this magical romance has been retitled A New York Winter's Tale in the UK tells you what the filmmakers think of the audience: we can't be trusted to get anything on our own. Writer-director Akiva Goldsman lays everything on so thickly that there's nothing left for us to discover here. And he botches the tone by constantly shifting between whimsical fantasy and brutal violence. Sure, the manipulative filmmaking does create some emotional moments, but inadvertent giggles are more likely.
It's mainly set in 1916, where young orphan Peter (Farrell) is running from his relentlessly nasty former boss Pearly (Crowe), a gangster angry that Peter isn't as vicious as he is. Then Peter finds a mystical white horse that miraculously rescues him and leads him to the dying socialite Beverly (Brown Findlay). As they fall deeply in love, Peter believes he can create a miracle to save Beverly from the end stages of consumption. And Pearly is determined to stop him. But nearly a century later, Peter is still wandering around Manhattan in a daze, trying to figure out who he is and why he's still there. He gets assistance from a journalist (Connelly), who helps him make sense of his true destiny.
Yes, this is essentially a modern-day fairy tale packed with supernatural touches. But Goldsman never quite figures out what the centre of the story is, losing the strands of both the epic romance and the intensely violent vengeance thriller. Meanwhile, he condescends to the audience at every turn, deploying overwrought camera whooshing, frilly costumes, dense sets and swirly effects while a violin-intensive musical score tells us whether each a scene should be wondrous or scary. At the centre of this, Farrell somehow manages to hold his character together engagingly, even convincing us that Peter is around 25 years old (Farrell's actually 38).
Continue reading: Winter's Tale Review
Peter Lake is a wanted burglar in a desperate struggle to escape an old gangster boss of his, Pearly Soames, in the cruel world that is 1916. One day, he breaks into a dazzling mansion that he thinks is empty, but then discovers the owner's beautiful daughter Beverly Penn at her piano who appears unafraid of him. Struck by her beauty, he embarks on a whirlwind romance with her that is marred when Peter discovers that she is dying of consumption. That's not the only thing Peter has to contend with as Soames repeatedly tries to kill him, but to no avail as Athansor, a white horse and guardian angel, is always there to save him. During one of those rescue feats, Peter finds himself in modern day Manhattan without a clue who he is and with no signs of aging. Determined to use this to his advantage, he sets out to save the one person he still remembers.
This heart-breaking fantasy romance is based on the novel of the same name by Mark Helprin and has been adapted to screen by Oscar winning director and writer Akiva Goldsman ('Batman Forever', 'I Am Legend', 'The Da Vinci Code'). Not to be confused with the Shakespearian play of a similar name, 'Winter's Tale' is a tremendous story of reincarnation and eternal love and will released in UK cinemas on February 21st 2014.
Just as Bella (Stewart) turns 18 and begins her senior year in high school, her beloved Edward (Pattinson) decides he has to leave town for her safety. In a deep funk, she eventually turns to neighbour Jacob (Lautner) for company, but their friendship takes a twist when he starts getting hunky and tetchy and hanging out with gang-leader Sam (Spencer). But it's not steroids; the gang members are actually werewolves, locked in mortal combat with vampires. And she needs (and wants) to keep both Edward and Jacob in her life.
Continue reading: The Twilight Saga: New Moon Review
The film focuses on two Sioux brothers living on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation - one of the largest pieces of land granted by the government for "re-settlement" of Native American tribes. Rudy (Eric Schweig) is the local arm of the reservation's law enforcement and spends the better part of his night shifts rounding up drunken Indians and breaking up domestic disputes on the reservation. His brother Mogie (Graham Greene, looking like a beached whale) is one of the reservation's infamous drunks, due in part to a stint in Vietnam and the typical, abusive father.
Continue reading: Skins Review
"The Green Mile" begins with a little deja vu. Like Tom Hanks' last mid-Century, Oscar-baiting drama, "Saving Private Ryan," it's bookended by a modern framework that finds an old man reluctantly reminiscing about a difficult year of his life, more than half a century ago.
Because of the familiar faces and the similar prestige posturing, this platitudinous structure invites a little eye-rolling as Dabbs Greer (Reverend Alden on "Little House On the Prairie"), playing the aged Hanks, begins to spin what becomes an engrossing three-hour yarn about a year of extraordinary horrors and miracles on death row in a Louisiana state penitentiary.
Hanks plays prison guard Paul Edgecomb, an unjaded joe in charge of death row who treats people on both sides of the bars with humanity and civility. Set in 1935, the central story opens with the arrival of a kindly colossus of a condemned killer named John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan).
Continue reading: The Green Mile Review
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