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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Wind River & Goon: Last of the Enforcers

Dearest Blog: Thanks to an extra-long holiday weekend, yesterday I was able to enjoy a Fantastic Friday Double-Feature.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
First on my agenda, a visit to Marquee Cinemas to see early awards hopeful Wind River.
When a young woman's body is discovered on a Native American Reservation, an FBI agent recruits the local game tracker to assist in the investigation.
Wind River is a somber, inspired-by-true-events tale that sheds some light on a violent reality faced by Native American women, a sad reality-check sold as a movie thriller. The picture is suspenseful and intense, with quiet power underscored by majestic winter scenery. A perfect cast is headed by Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, supported by Graham Greene, Julia Jones, The Magnificent 7's Martin Sensmeier, and Gil Birmingham in what may be my favorite performance of the year so far. 
There is a profound moment between two grieving fathers that, with zero showboating, is the best thing I've seen at the movies in 2017. (And I spend a lot of moments at the movies, so that's saying something.) Wind River's only fault is that that most of Jeremy Renner is mostly covered by a snowsuit for most of the time. It's worse than when whoever dresses the Avengers decided it was a good idea to put sleeves on Hawkeye. Hrmph.
Wind River runs 107 minutes and is rated R for "strong violence, rape, disturbing images, and language."
Wind River is a smart, moving film that will be on your mind long after you leave the cinema. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Wind River gets eight and a half.
Next on the docket, a home screening of Goon: Last of the Enforcers.
Doug "The Thug" Glatt mounts a comeback amidst mounting challenges on and off the ice.
Like the first Pirates of the Caribbean and Guardians of the Galaxy movies, the original Goon surprised movie-goers by being much more than they expected, a legitimately solid picture that wasn't just good for a comedy or good for a sports movie or good for what you'd expect from the creative team in question. Incapable of duplicating that element of surprise, even a good sequel naturally feels diminished, but I am pleased to report that Goon: Last of the Enforcers still has a great deal going for it.
Getting my petty quibbles out of the way first: Last of the Enforcers is amusing throughout and has moments of hilarity, but the humor is nowhere near as consistent as the original. The movie also goes overboard in its depiction of hockey violence. The best comedy is rooted in reality, and too many liberties are taken here, particularly during the climactic bloodbath. That out of the way, Goon 2 is a funny film that retains all the heart of its predecessor. It's bittersweet catching up with the old crew, several of whom have taken on new roles in the time meant to have passed between pictures. It goes without saying that more Liev Schreiber is always better than less Liev Schreiber, but being a supporting player does nothing to dim his brilliance; his aging tough guy Ross "The Boss" Rhea is again the very best thing about the movie. New characters serve their purpose well enough, but never manage to drum up a fraction of the affection I have for even the most minor players from the first film. Jay Baruchel doubles as director on this outing, so his screen time as Glatt's profanity-spewing best friend is limited, and the brilliant Kim Coates also feels underused. Returning Highlanders, though they probably have no less screen time than the first time 'round, sometimes feel pushed aside for the new guys, but the movie does give each his moment. Perhaps more importantly, it also does a great job of showing how they've grown together as a team. That, coupled with Doug's new life as husband and father-to-be, is really what makes Last of the Enforcers a great sequel that's well worth your movie dollar.
Goon: Last of the Enforcers clocks in at 101 minutes and is rated R for "pervasive language, crude sexual content, and bloody sports violence."
The original Goon was great enough to rob even the best sequel of the element of surprise, but Goon: Last of the Enforcers is a solid comedy with well-played, heartfelt moments that ultimately win the day. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Goon: Last of the Enforcers gets eight.
Until next time...

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