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Wind River, A Netflix Hidden Gem



“A veteran tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service helps to investigate the murder of a young Native American woman, and uses the case as a means of seeking redemption for an earlier act of irresponsibility which ended in tragedy.”

This was a beast of a movie. I want to credit writer/director Taylor Sheridan for being one of the best up and coming Directors of the last five years. He directed my favorite movie of 2016, Sicario and the bank robbery thriller Hell or High Waterwhich also holds high acclaim. He captures raw and emotional grit and reality within the harshest environments in our hemisphere. He opts out of developing Hollywood-like characters and focuses on humanizing his personalities with deep emotional scars and sinful vulnerabilities that ground each individual in realism.

Wind River follows the same ambitions of humanization, revolved around the murder of a young Native American woman. It finds a way to be a simple crime story, but everything surrounding it is immersed in intrigue, deceit, and the pursuit of absolution.

Jeremy Renner plays a fish and wildlife tracker with some past regrets and is working diligently on this case to absolve himself of his iniquities. He does a fantastic job of expressing a special interest in using his environmental deciphering skills to figure out the events leading to the crime. Elizabeth Olsen plays an FBI agent out of her element who is extremely bright but has to overcome the odds of sexism on this reservation in order find the murderer.

The landscapes in the film are ironically beautiful and harsh at the same time. The snow-covered environment is breathtaking yet the story constantly reminds you about how brutal it can be.

Wind River is definitely a slow burn, but the way it comes to fruition is like a budding flower. I don’t want to spoil any part of the movie, but if you love a good murder mystery, Wind River puts together a highly competent story, great acting (especially from the Native American actors) and composes a tale of love, redemption, murder, and correction that will have you speaking about it long after the credits role.

Overall Grade: A-  

Was not disappointed at all by this film, and I suggest when you hear the name Taylor Sheridan, you do yourself a favor and enjoy his masterpieces.

Wind River
Crime, Drama, Mystery
August 2017
Director: Taylor Sheridan
Acadia Entertainment
1 hour 47 minutes
IMDB reference click here


Daniel Ortiz Rants on: Hereditary



After the matriarch passes away, a grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets.

1529023353143When I originally saw the trailer for this film I knew what to expect. This wasn’t going to be the run-of-the-mill horror movie that would rely on underdeveloped characters and cheap jump scares. This was going to be a horror thriller that would deal with family trauma and absolute weirdness. I hate to pat myself on the back, but I was right!

Hereditary deals with the downward spiral of a family and their tumultuous experiences after the death of their grandmother. They all try to cope with past and present events in their own way which ends up driving them further into a bizarre rabbit hole.

A lot of people loved the movie, but I have to admit I was split. The first, and probably biggest problem I had with the film was the continuous slow pace. I truly appreciate a movie that’s a slow burn because I understand the necessity to build up characters and/or an environment to help fully grasp the context of the story, but this was a bit too slow. Even when something major would happen, I expected the pace to pick up a little, but often it went back into the comforts of the slow burn. I found too much of a gap between the development of the story and actually seeing something happen.

Image result for milly shapiro

I found too much of a gap between the development of the story and actually seeing something happen.

I will say there was some creepy and disturbing imagery in this film, and some things that transpired that I was actually shocked happened. I was completely caught off guard by a specific scene that I thought would be the catalyst for a very dark turn, and even though things did get bizarre, it did drag between these moments.

My favorite character was Charlie, the young teenager played by Milly Shapiro. She managed to tread the line between totally creepy kid, and someone that you actually felt sorry for. It was never exactly specified what was wrong with her, but it played an intricate part in her dichotomy.

Anything else I say will be diving too deep into the film so I will leave it at this.

Overall Grade: C+

I felt there were enough good elements for me not to hate it, but the slow movement was sometimes too damn cumbersome. Also, this movie will have you talking about it after. Most of it was piecing together some of the confusing symbolism, and the rest was trying to understand why certain things were being done. I feel that the general audience is going to enjoy those elements or are going to find it to be the most frustrating part of the movie. If you like the pace of Rosemary’s Baby or The Exorcist, you will love this. If you’re looking for The Conjuring or Annabelle, you probably won’t.

Mystery, Horror, Drama
June 2018
Director: Ari Aster
Palm star Media
2 hours 7 minutes
IMDB reference click here

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse



One look at the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse trailer and you know this is some next level animation. 

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Daniel Ortiz Rants on: Deadpool 2



Action, Adventure, Comedy

May 2018
Director: David Leitch
20th Century Fox
1 hour 59 minutes

Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy of supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling mutant, Cable.

1526699421407Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way; Marvel is a solid 3 for 3 in 2018. Even though Deadpool is a 20th Century Fox property, it’s still in the same comic book universe as the Avengers. This film had me dying laughing, even more than the first. You have to be a die hard Marvel fan to catch some of the deep comic book jokes and references, but it doesn’t exclude the novice fan from being entertained.

I haven’t seen any actor own a character like Ryan Reynolds does with Deadpool. I truly respect how he plays this character with such reverence and care, that he still finds these creative ways to still apologize to his fans for Wolverine: X-men Origins. You’re completely forgiven Ryan!

The reason this movie was great is that it makes fun of its flaws before you ever get a chance to. It disarms you from getting a chance to say what the storyline is similar to, or what the scene reminds you of by telling you exactly where they stole it from, even before you realize they did steal it from a particular movie. A little confusing, but you will get it when you see it.

The action in this movie was doubled from the first film and they upped the ante. The pace was non-stop and they balanced it great between shock, adrenaline and a ton of humor. I have to say the X-Force was one of my favorite additions to this film. I used to collect the X-Force comics as a teen and the absolute sloppiness they handled them with was pure film magic and I have to admit, it was my favorite part. Great, great cameos on the team!

Josh Brolin, as Cable (fresh off of playing Thanos) and Zazie Beetz as Domino (from the T.V. show Atlanta) were great additions to the Deadpool franchise injecting vibrant energy  that the first movie lacked.

The biggest flaw with the film is the CGI. Even though the budget was bigger for this film, some scenes looked extremely choppy, but to their credit, they made fun of that too.

Overall Grade: B+

This film is pretty freaking hilarious and a break from the hit or miss nonsense of the X-Men movies. Ryan Reynolds gets an A+ from me for his energy in continuously developing this character. Even if you are not a die hard fan, you can still enjoy it.

Also check out my review on the first Deadpool movie here.

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