Our Greatest Living Film Critic, III

Vol. III, November 2018

Wind River (2017)

Watched Wind River (2017), a crime movie by director Taylor Sheridan, part of a thematic trilogy including Sicario (2015), and Hell or High Water_ (2016). It’s called the Hey Wait A Minute, There’s Crimes Going On In Rural Areas trilogy. In this leg of the stool, Jeremy Renner is a Bureau of Wildlife hunter, and Elizabeth Olsen is an out-of-her-depth FBI agent, and they’re both trying to track down the killer of an Arapaho girl on the Wind River reservation in Wyoming. Lots of second unit snowmobile footage. The big twist at the end is that, even though Jon Bernthal is in this movie, he didn’t do it! They laid on the symbolism a little thick, and the Native American connection is tenuous, bordering on perfunctory. A good movie, but probably the least good of the trilogy. Jon Bernthal probably did do it after all, otherwise why would they cast him? I give it 3 cans of bear mace out of a possible 5 cans of bear mace.

Harakiri (1962)

Watched Harakiri (1962). An impoverished ronin shows up at the house of a feudal lord, asking to be allowed to commit harakiri in the lord’s courtyard. His request is granted. A year later, another ronin shows up, with the exact same request. A mystery and a lot of flashbacks ensue, and by the end of the movie the entire samurai class is symbolically destroyed. Tatsuya Nakadai is very good in this role. I give it 4 bamboo swords out of a possible 5 bamboo swords.

Prime Cut (1972)

Watched Prime Cut (1972). What a strange, disturbing movie. Enforcer Lee Marvin goes to Kansas City to collect a debt from meat processing plant owner Gene Hackman. Movie begins with a six minute sequence of an actual slaughterhouse, from stockyard to hotdog. Whole movie is less than 90 minutes, including credits. Pervasive, surely unintended 1970s creepiness in every scene of this film. Home to the North by Northwest (1959) chase scene, but with a combine harvester (just run sideways dummy). Surprisingly satisfying stunt sequence of a tractor trailer driving through a greenhouse. Sunflowers are apparently hard cover in a shotgun fight. Lee Marvin’s most badass line was: “too bad Weenie, that’s yer hotdog hand.” I give it 2.5 Lees Marvin out of a possible 5 Lees Marvin.

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Watched Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), with Spencer Tracy as a one-armed visitor to a menacing desert town with a secret its residents want to keep hidden. Pre-famous Lee Marvin plays a heavy. Pretty good movie. It’s High Noon meets Dashiell Hammett. I liked that the town’s paranoia about being found out was the only evidence they did anything wrong. Terrible choreography in the bar fight scene, but rightfully famous for its tension. They couldn’t shoot a close-up of an oncoming train with a helicopter, so they had the train go in reverse and played the footage backwards! I give it 3.5 lemonades out of a possible 5 lemonades.