Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Dark Tower

Writer/Director Nikolaj Arcel’s The Dark Tower suffers from too many screenwriters, including Arcel, Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinker and Anders Thomas Jensen.  The result is a convoluted story that is distasteful for young viewers even though the principal character is an adolescent admirably played by Tom Taylor.
Adolescent Jake Chambers (Taylor) has psychic visions from which he creates drawings that make everyone think he is crazy and should be sent to a school for the mentally impaired. 

Jake  escapes through a portal to Mid-World and learns from Roland, the Last Gunslinger (Idris Elba), that The Dark Man (Matthew McConaughey) is having gifted children kidnapped and is draining the energy of their brains to try and bring down the Dark Tower that protects several parallel universes from the Darkness beyond them. 

The film is not as bad as some of the other science fiction drivel that’s been out this year, but you have to be a real fan to enjoy it.  I give The Dark Tower a 3 out of 5.

Ingrid Goes West

Writer/Director Matt Spicer’s Ingrid Goes West opens with Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) crashing her supposed best friend’s wedding, to which she was not invited, and pepper spraying the bride.
After her stint in a mental institution, Ingrid becomes fixated on Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), an Instagram celebrity and, taking the $60+ thousand dollars she inherits from her mother’s recent death, heads west to Venice Beach, California, where she stalks the woman and copies her every habit.

Returning Taylor’s “lost” dog, which Ingrid has kidnapped, she ingratiates herself into the life of Sloane and her husband (Wyatt Russell) until Taylor's psycho brother (Billy Magnussen) unveils Ingrid for whom she is and, ostracized from her new “friends,” Ingrid, eventually, attempts suicide.

This film may resonate with some American Millennials, but the rest of humanity…not so much.  It’s the only film I’ve ever seen that, after which, I felt I had to go home and shower to wash off the vapid energy.

The acting and production values were good, but I can only give Ingrid Goes West a 2.8 out of 5.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Wind River

When a top-notch Writer/Director like Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water, Sicario) is in charge, you can bet that you’re going to be in for a treat.  Wind River is proof of that.
Jeremy Renner plays a tracker/hunter for the Fish & Games Bureau in Wyoming.  Sent to find a mountain lion that has killed a steer, he comes upon the body of a murdered young Native American girl (Kelsey Asbille).  Because the body is on an Indian Reservation, the FBI is called in and Elizabeth Olsen shows up as a fairly new agent, who grew up in Florida and is not at all experienced with snow in the high country.

The interaction between Renner and Olsen plus the intricacies of the case make for an exciting film.  And the performances Sheridan draws from Renner, Olsen, Asbille, Graham Greene, Gil Birmingham, Julia Jones and the rest of his fabulous cast all make for an immersive audience experience. 

If you want to take a break from all the fantasy films with fantastical action, Wind River will give you a real life adventure you will not forget.  I give it a 4.2 out of 5.