Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Wind River is directed by Taylor Sheridan, and it stars Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, and Graham Greene. When a local hunter stumbles upon a dead body in the wilderness of a Native American Reservation in Wyoming, an agent of the FBI is brought in to help solve the case. The agent works with the small local police department and the hunter to try and solve the mystery of what happened to the young girl found dead in the snow.
Taylor Sheridan is very quickly becoming one of the most talented people in Hollywood right now. Before now, he’s been a screenwriter on only two films, Sicario and Hell or High Water, both of which are absolutely fantastic films. His newest film, Wind River, sees him not only writing the script but also features him in the director’s chair as well.
In Wind River, Sheridan crafts a somber, heavy, and thrilling murder mystery that sticks with you when you leave the theater. This film opens with one of the most effective narrative hooks I’ve seen in a while. Immediately when the film starts, you’re intrigued and horrified at what you’re seeing. You don’t understand what’s going on, but you want to know more about it, and that’s what really keeps you on board throughout the entirety of this film’s runtime.
The tone in Wind River is very serious and almost depressing at times. It feels like a cross between Sheridan’s last film Hell or High Water and Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia. The film presents its story to you in a way that you completely understand what is going on. Even the gruesome details, though usually hidden, are completely comprehensible to the audience. You are always fully aware of what is happening in the film, even though you don’t know a whole lot about the actual situation. You’re discovering more and more about the incident at the same pace as the characters.
The film’s pacing was perfect for a movie like this. It wasn’t necessarily slow, but it certainly wasn’t your typical pace for an action blockbuster, that’s for sure. Not once in this film does it ever seem to dull down or get boring. Sheridan slowly feeds you more information through the script, and each new bit of information leaves you wanting more. As the film goes on, the pace begins to pick up more and more until the plot ultimately hits its tipping point. When all of the tension in this film comes to a head it’s almost too much to bear. You’re shocked at the situations unfolding in front of you and even more so when you realize that this is based on true events.
The performances in the film are very fitting. Save for one actor towards the end, every actor and actress in this film serves their purpose, and they do so masterfully. Jeremy Renner’s performance in this film is perhaps the best I’ve ever seen from him. Through a mix of his stature, facial expressions, and the pure emotion he delivered in his lines, Renner shows in this film that he can really give a powerhouse performance. Expect his name to, at least, be in some conversations come awards season.
The musical score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis was perfectly utilized throughout the film. Unlike many of the scores of great composers like John Williams and Hans Zimmer, this score is much more reserved and subtle. At points, if you’re not listening for it, you might not even realize that it’s there. However, when it is noticeable, it fits the film very well. The use of a small choral really drives it home and helps to build the tension and tone of the scene.
Wind River is a fantastic movie that will undoubtedly have you on the edge of your seat with every continued moment. The performances, musical score, and direction by Taylor Sheridan all come together to build a tone that almost makes the movie heavy while watching it. This is the type of movie that you only see once, but that you never forget about. I would very highly recommend seeing Wind River. It’s one of the year’s best.
So what did you think of Wind River? How does it compare to some of Taylor Sheridan’s other work? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, many of my reviews will now start to be published by the Daily Nebraskan, so follow me on Twitter for any new articles!
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Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Dunkirk is directed by Christopher Nolan, and it stars Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Fionn Whitehead, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, and Harry Styles. It’s based on the true story of the Dunkirk evacuation that took place during the second World War. The film tells the story of the evacuation from three points of view, a soldier on the beach, a pilot in the air, and a civilian on his boat. There has been a lot of anticipation surrounding this film, so was it worth the wait?
Many critics out there are calling Dunkirk the best film of the year so far. That’s a sentiment that, unfortunately, I do not agree with. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Dunkirk. It’s a great movie, but it has issues, and it’s certainly not the best movie of the year. The great things in this movie (of which there are many) easily out weigh the bad. I wanted this to be a fantastic movie. I wanted to think all of the things that many other critics out there are saying, but unfortunately, that’s just not the experience I had with the movie. It’s undoubtedly a great film, and I’ll definitely see it again at some point, but that doesn’t make it the best movie of the year.
Let’s talk about the things that I really liked about Dunkirk. First and foremost, it’s a beautiful film to look at. The cinematography here was absolutely breathtaking. Nolan, throughout all of his films, has really learned how to craft a perfect shot. There are many shots throughout this movie that I really found myself blown away by. It’s not because they were crazy and complex shots. No, they were very simple. There’s one in particular that I want to reference, but in fear of spoiling the movie, I won’t. Hoyte Van Hoytema was the Director of Photography for this film, and he did a fantastic job. He’s worked with Nolan before on Interstellar, and I hope to see the two of them work together again.
One of the best things about this film was the massive amounts of tension that it built. Dunkirk was one of the most nerve-racking films I’ve seen in a while. From start to finish, this film keeps you on the edge of your seat. Legitimately, Dunkirk was a more thrilling than many of the “scary movies” that come out today. Over the course of its runtime, it builds an incredible amount of tension, particularly in the scenes involving the air force pilot.
While the original score by Hans Zimmer isn’t one you’ll be getting stuck in your head or that you’ll be going out of your way to look up and listen to again, it was very effective in the movie. The score in Dunkirk frequently makes use of the sound of a ticking clock, which in and of itself will make people nervous. The sound of a ticking clock, for some reason, just really gets into peoples’ heads, and Zimmer really played with that in his score. The film already had immense amounts of tension in it, and Zimmer’s score only added to that. Hans Zimmer has undoubtedly become one of the best working composers we have today, and he almost never fails to deliver a fitting score to the films he works on.
Where this film let me down a bit was in its story. The odd thing is, it didn’t let me down with the story that it told. The story they were telling in this film was an important and interesting one. What let me down was the way they told it. As I mentioned earlier, the film is told through three perspectives, a soldier on the beach (Fionn Whitehead), a pilot in the air (Tom Hardy), and a civilian on his boat (Mark Rylance). All three stories were interesting, and I was curious to see what was going to happen with them, but when put together, these three stories made the film feel disjointed. Each of these stories was told on their own timeline. One took place over the course of a week, one was in a day, and the last was in only an hour. Despite that, all three stories are being told side by side as the film moves forward. That could’ve worked had they kept the timelines separate, but at several points, they (almost unnecessarily) try to tie them together with certain characters or events. It made the timelines a bit confusing, and in all honesty, the whole thing felt a bit gimmicky. It felt like it was a Christopher Nolan film struggling to be a World War II film, or vice versa. Nolan's films are often very complex, and feature interesting storytelling methods like that. That's a big reason why Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite directors. However, I don't think that was the best way to go about telling this particular story. I can't help but feel like Dunkirk would've worked more if they had picked one of these three stories to tell, or if they had shown us the events of all three in chronological order.
Dunkirk is a technical masterpiece. The cinematography is breathtaking, the score works brilliantly in the film, the sound design was very well done, and the actors give great performances. I would recommend seeing Dunkirk on the biggest screen with the best sound you can find, because as far as the technical aspects go, this film is an experience. Is the film perfect? No, not by any means. The way the story was told made it seem a little clunky and confusing. I would still highly recommend Dunkirk, especially if you’re already interested in it. Christopher Nolan is a masterful director, and that really shines through in Dunkirk. This may not be his best film, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Nolan finally got some Oscar love for this one.
So what did you think of Dunkirk? Do you believe it’s the best film of the year so far? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter! It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Okja is directed by Bong Joon Ho, and it stars Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, An Seo Hyun, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Steven Yeun. It's the latest original film to be made available for streaming exclusively on Netflix. It tells the story of Mija, a young girl in South Korea, and her best friend Okja. Okja, however, is what is known as a "super pig", a new species of pig that is much larger, more environmentally friendly, and can feed many more people. When an international company takes Okja from Mija, she will do everything she can to make sure her best friend doesn't become somebody's next meal.
Okja is a film that, while I didn't love it, I did find a lot of enjoyment in watching it. It definitely has some flaws, and there are a few things that could've been cleaned up a little bit, but for the most part, it was a really good movie. It tells the story that it wants to tell, and it's uncompromising in saying what it wants to say. I can't help but feel like most people are either going to love or hate this movie. There will be very few in the middle ground. Okja feels like a very niche movie. It's made for a very specific group of people, and those people will absolutely love it, though everybody else I'm not so sure.
Let's start with what I really liked about Okja. The story and messages of the film were very interesting, and they will cause most people watching the film to legitimately think about some of the decisions they're making in their life. There are a lot of different themes throughout this movie, but none of them felt forced. This film tackles big things like meat production, global industrialization, loyalty, believing in yourself, and a lot more that I'm probably forgetting. Okja is a very deep, and often times depressing film, but it's a film that handles all of its themes and messages extremely well. They never become too heavy handed.
This film didn't really have any major flaws, but there were a few things in it that annoyed me a lot when they happened. The first is something that I can kind of understand, and that was the CGI of Okja, the super pig. I'm not expecting Planet of the Apes level CGI from a low budget film like this, but there were several points in this film where it was painfully obvious that it was an animated animal walking around with this little girl.
The second thing that became annoying occasionally in this film was its humor, specifically, when it resorted to toilet humor. Toilet humor in a film like this felt really odd and out of place. I'm not a big fan of that type of humor in films in general, but admittedly, it does work in some films because it fits with the tone. Okja is not one of those films. By my count, they used that same joke three times, and each time it felt really out of place. There was some other humor in this film that worked well, but the little bit of toilet humor stood out like a sore thumb.
The performances in Okja were really good throughout the entirety of the cast. Tilda Swinton gave a stellar performance, as she does in most things she's in. The lead character of Mija was played by An Seo Hyun, and considering she's only thirteen, she gave an amazing performance. She has the potential to become a big star in the future if she plays her cards right. The performance that stands out to me the most was the one given by Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhall plays a very different character in this film than we're used to seeing. It was over-the-top and ridiculous, but I kind of loved it. Gyllenhaal was hilarious in this movie. From the second he walked on screen, I was blown away at the fact that it was Jake Gyllenhaal I was watching do these things. Also, his voice was really strange, but it worked oddly well. Gyllenhaal was walking a fine line between giving an amazing performance and giving an absolutely awful one. Personally, I think it leaned more to the amazing side because of how ridiculous it was, but I'm sure some people will definitely think he was awful.
Overall, I really liked Okja. Is it one of my favorites of the year? No, but it's a film that I don't regret watching whatsoever. It had a lot of important messages and themes that were handled very well. It never became overcomplicated, but it also didn't dumb anything down. The CGI on the super pig Okja was pretty spotty, and sometimes the film makes use of toilet humor that doesn't work. Okja featured some really strong performances, and Jake Gyllenhaal, in particular, was really interesting to watch. If you're looking for something to see on Netflix, I'd definitely recommend Okja, just be aware that it deals with some pretty heavy stuff at times.
So what did you think of Okja? What's your favorite Netflix original film? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don't forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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Hello, fellow moviegoers!
The Circle is directed by James Ponsoldt, and it stars Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, and Ellar Coltrane. The film revolves around a huge tech company known as the Circle. When Emma Watson’s character gets a job there, she quickly realizes that it’s not exactly what she expected. The Circle is involved with a lot of controversial surveillance of basically everyone around the world, and she’s not quite sure how she feels about it.
The idea behind The Circle was a really interesting one, and it’s one that is very timely. Surveillance and to what level it should be used is one of the most hotly debated issues of our time. The trailers for The Circle looked interesting enough, but they never really wowed me and made me excited for this film. Well, they did an honest job marketing the movie, because what you see it what you get. The premise is interesting, but the actual movie behind it isn’t all that great.
The conversation that The Circle is trying to start is one that is already being had. Which makes it a bit of an uphill climb for this film, because going into the film people already have their opinions on the issue. Unfortunately, due to the film’s mediocrity, I can’t help but feel like The Circle is going to be that film that people try to bring up during these debates, and then they can’t remember the name of it and spend way too much time trying to recall what it was.
The best thing about this film was definitely the cast. The cast for this thing is stacked with a ton of popular and great actors and actresses. Emma Watson was the lead, and she was surrounded by the likes of Tom Hanks, John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Ellar Coltrane (Boyhood), Bill Paxton, Karen Gillan, and Patton Oswald. Unfortunately, this great cast doesn’t nearly have enough to do in the film. All of the performances in the film were fine enough, but I can’t help but feel that they could’ve been so much more if the script had been better. The biggest disappointment of all was John Boyega’s character. They introduced him, and he was a really cool character to have in the story. It felt like he was about to become central to the story, and then he was randomly demoted to random shots of him standing in the distance.
Where this film suffered the most was in its writing. Plain and simple, it was a bad script. I realize that the film was based on a book (that admittedly I have not read), and to that, I say that either the story of the book was just as mediocre or it wasn’t translated well at all. Throughout the whole film, I was looking for a message, a lesson to be learned. What I found was that the film was too shy to commit to one. They hinted at a couple here and there, but none of them were given enough time to really sink in. To make matters even worse, when it finally looks like they’re picking a central theme, the end of the film happens and flies completely in the face of what that theme was. If they hadn’t done that, the film could’ve ended on a strong note. Unfortunately, The Circle feels like it ends right after somebody trips and falls. We don’t quite see them hit the ground, but we definitely see them fall. That’s what the ending to this film was like.
So overall, The Circle was pretty mediocre. It wasn’t anything special, which is really frustrating because it could’ve been a great and timely film for audiences to see. The script of the film didn’t really know what it wanted to be, and it showed through very clearly. The film does have a few great moments, but they’re so watered down by the rest that in the end, it doesn’t matter. The film never committed to a theme, and when it seems like they finally did, the film ends and completely undermines itself. I guess you could see The Circle if you really wanted to, but I won't recommend it to you.
So what did you think of The Circle? Did it have more of a lasting impact on you? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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