Tag Archives: Jeremy Renner

Avengers: Endgame (2019) Blu Ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Avengers: Endgame Review

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus (screenplay by), Stephen McFeely (screenplay by)
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Bradley Cooper, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Tilda Swindon, Dave Bautista, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Elizabeth Olsen, Tessa Thompson, Benedict Wong

The major downside to catching Avengers: Endgame in theatres was the risk of subjecting my bladder to irreparable damage. In my younger days, simply holding-it for three hours was no big challenge. Back in college, I even once participated in a drinking challenge where we’d see who could go the longest without relieving ourselves. I didn’t win, but did manage to make it almost four hours.

Those were different times and Endgame is a different type of epic. We’ve all sat through three-hour films before, but thanks to the Infinity War’s open-ended resolution and plethora of unanswered questions – not-to-mention a year’s worth of fan theories and speculation – taking a bathroom break would risk missing a key scene, plot twist or revelation. I’ll give the Russo Brothers credit for one thing: Every scene in Endgame feels vital at the time, making it a tough movie to walk away from, even for a moment.

At the showing my family and I attended, not a single theatregoer got up to leave once the film started. Afterwards, the continuous sound of flushing toilets echoed throughout the lobby for five straight minutes. I, for one, made the mistake of buying a soda before the movie, which I began the regret around the 90 minute mark. By the third act, my screaming bladder made it a challenge to fully immerse myself the film’s numerous emotional payoffs.

So despite being a fitting, larger-than-life capper to Marvel’s 22-film story arc, Endgame ultimately plays better at home, at least for those of us not endowed with iron bladders. In addition to reacquainting myself with the story thus-far by revisiting Infinity War beforehand, seeing Endgame a second time – able to hit pause when nature called – was far more enjoyable.

While I still loathe the practice of stretching a single story across multiple movies, Endgame justifies its existence – and length – due to the sheer number of characters, story threads and loose ends to tie in a manner that meets expectations of legions of MCU fans. A taunting task, to be sure, which Endgame manages to pull off. The film remembers its past while acknowledging the future, and is well-aware of the finality its title suggests (for the story arc and some major characters). In that respect, Endgame pushes all the right emotional buttons.

But unlike the original Star Wars trilogy’s most iconic moments, Endgame meets expectations without really ever exceeding them. As viewers, we already have a laundry list of plot points awaiting explanation, questions to be answered and characters’ odds of living or dying. All those boxes are checked-off – often magnificently, sometimes poignantly – but there aren’t any revelations as jaw-dropping as learning who Luke’s father is. And even at three hours, there are simply too many characters for everyone to get adequate screen time (some don’t even appear until the climax). Fans of certain characters will inevitably be disappointed by what amounts to a cameo.

However, those are minor quips. Endgame is ultimately a slam-bang crescendo to this massive franchise, the likes of which we won’t likely see again for a long time. While sweeping and epic in scope, it’s still filled with the smaller, character-driven moments that have always made the MCU engaging (something DC is just now figuring out). I’ve personally never met anyone disappointed by the outcome. I’m sure they’re out there, but maybe their bladders were simply too full to enjoy it the first time.

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Wind River (2017) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier 

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Director: Taylor Sheridan
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Stars: Kelsey Asbille, Jeremy Renner, Julia Jones, Elizabeth Olsen

Plot:  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.

Running Time: 1 hour 47 Minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 87%   Audience 90%

Why I Watched This: Well look at the 5 from Rotten Tomatoes, it had huge buzz on the festival circuit and the trailer looked good as well.

Random Thoughts: One thing that I should mention is that of course Renner and Olsen are also in the MCU and have done Avenger movies to together but here’s something I knew that but never once thought about during the movie.

Writer Director Taylor Sheridan is on a roll and now that he’s directing he could be a huge player in the near future if he can keep the quality up.

What I Liked: First off this is a very well made movie, top to bottom it’s one of those films that grabs you keeps you in the moment.  I was very happy to find out for myself that the buzz was earned.  This is not only as well written, directed and acted film but an adult film, and I don’t mean language or violence I mean theme and approach.  The film is taunt but it never feels like just a thriller there’s just too much going on.

This might be a little overblown but I think this is Jeremy Renner’s best work, he’s so good here, he never over plays, he never goes for the big moment he plays it small he plays in mostly inside of himself.  He does some great work here with facial expression and his eyes, he’s a damaged man, a man who lost something and he’ll never get it back but yet he goes on and I think that one point is what makes this film special.  We’ve seen a ton of movie about grieve and a lot of time there used as plot points or to show why the lead is the way he is here we see a man who had dealt with something and is living his life and even though the case he’s walked into hit’s home he knows it’s not about him it’s about another family and the scenes where he talks to the father are some of the films best.  The best thing about Renner’s performance is that it feels real it doesn’t feel like showy or Oscar bait.

While we’re talking acting give credit to Elizabeth Olsen cause her role is that of the outsider and we really don’t learn much about her but she breaths life into an underwritten role and does really well. Also nice to see the great Graham Greene, so good and so underused he gets a good role here and he fits in very well, that’s the thing with the film the tone and the structure work very well, this film in almost all areas feels like a well oiled machine. I have to also give credit to Taylor Sheridan he pulled off a rare thing he made a thriller that didn’t seem cheesy or exploitive and a drama that didn’t feel like a cliched melodrama.  I’ve said a lot of good things about this film but I have one more and that this is a very good thriller, it’s tense and it has real stakes and you care what happens to these people and yes the location is great and it does well cold you get the scope of the place.

What I Didn’t Like: There’s not much I have two things one is a nitpick and one is bigger and maybe the only flaw for me in the film.  It’s the finale the reveal of the bad guys, this just didn’t feel right, these villains didn’t feel like real people, they were monsters and we know nothing of them and they go way over the top, I mean they did what they did because why?  Plus there’s more than one so all these guys are monsters, I would have bought if they weren’t thrown out at the end and honestly we know nothing of them, they’re pretty much just stock bad guys who do bad things cause they’re bad.  For a film so well written I excepted more. The other point is that in the end shootout a lot of people are killed and they’re not brought  up and we don’t see the aftermath this film is about lost and a bunch of people lost they’ve lives for this case and we moved on pretty fast to get to our two main characters.

Final Thoughts:  It’s a good film, not perfect but close.  I’ll also give credit for keeping the film under 2 hours and for keeping the pace and tension up.  It’s a must watch.

Rating: 8/10

Wind River (2017) Movie Review by John Walsh

Wind River

Director: Taylor Sheridan
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Stars: Kelsey Asbille, Jeremy Renner, Julia Jones, Elizabeth Olsen

Wind River is a film I’ve been looking forward to seeing for a number of months. In theory, a neo-western with some thriller/mystery thrown in is right up my street. Taylor Sheridan, the man responsible for Sicario and Hell or High Water’s great scripts, had written it and that probably played a large part in my anticipation. His writing talents are still undeniable, but he’s no Denis Villenueve (Sicario) in the directors chair. That’s not a scathing criticism as such because there’s not many who are.

In terms of story, it focuses on Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) for the most part. He’s a U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent (a fancy term for a hunter/scout) who’s out tracking a livestock mauling lion and its cubs for his in-laws when he finds the frozen body of Natalie Henson (Kelsey Chow); a young, eighteen year old woman. Now, gruesome as it is, that in itself wouldn’t be so mysterious. Until you factor in that she’s discovered six miles from the nearest settlement, without proper gear (it’s Wyoming in the winter), barefoot, bloodied and seemingly having been raped.

The investigation into the murder begins in earnest when FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olson), an inexperienced rookie based in Las Vegas, is sent out to determine whether the case is a homicide. She quickly finds herself completely unprepared for the wintery conditions she encounters or even able to make her way around the vast mountainous area (how did she become a special agent?), which leads to her enlisting Cory for his scouting skills and extensive knowledge of the land. And off they go, through an autopsy, on many a beautifully shot snow speeder journey, a tense shootout and a raid on a drug den, slowly uncovering the details of what happened. Emphasis on slowly.

Jeremy Renner is a fine actor and one that I really admire. He was fantastic in last years Arrival and he’s every bit as good in Wind River. It’s very much his film, the plot revolves around Cory, and of course, when it comes to finally apprehending the killer it’s him that grabs the bull by the horns. Cory is something of a tragic figure and the personal tragedy revealed in the middle of the film adds a degree of poignancy to his arc, that along with the personal connection to Natalie’s family, fuels his desire to see revenge meted out.

I was incredibly disappointed with Elizabeth Olson’s role in this film. I expected her to be the Josh Brolin or Del Toro from Sicario, the Ben Foster or Jeff Bridges from Hell or High Water. I.e. A meaty supporting role that was in someway meaningful. Sadly though, in terms of story or a meaningful role, she had neither, very little to work with and was largely portrayed as something of an incompetent irrelevance. A point only underlined by the ending when she’s manoeuvred out the way.

Gil Birmingham had little more than an extended cameo, but managed to put plenty of emotion into the few scenes he had and I felt genuine sadness for the characters loss. A loss further exacerbated by his only son turning to drugs. I’ll mention Bernthal purely because he’s the man and kicked the shit out of three or four guys single handedly, but it was the briefest of cameos.

So what exactly led to my earlier negative appraisal of Sheridan’s directing? Firstly, I felt that the pacing was out, especially in the first half and it took far too long to find and apprehend those responsible for what was a brutal murder. The reveal of the killer and what actually happened felt rushed, came in the final half hour and justice wasn’t served until practically the final scene. I did enjoy the scene nonetheless. Thematically, it definitely had a similar vibe going on to Hell or High Water with its frankly brutal analysis of modern U.S. life, this time focusing on an Indian reservation, but the decision to delve into that for the first hour or so definitely had an adverse effect on the pacing, something that was a real strength of the former.

Ultimately, I did enjoy Wind River and it was a solid enough film with a brilliant performance from Renner. The script was solid enough and it continued Sheridan’s highlighting of the disenfranchised elements of modern society. The frustratingly slow burn nature of the story for half the film, chronic underuse of Olson and poor pacing let it down in the end though.

Still, I’d certainly recommend giving it a watch.

Rating: 3/5

Kill the Messenger (2014) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

KILL THE MESSENGER

Director: Michael Cuesta
Writers: Peter Landesman,  Gary Webb (book)
Stars: Jeremy Renner,  Robert Patrick,  Jena Sims

Jeremy Renner stars as Gary Webb who is a journalist at a small newspaper. When Gary receives a tip-off that a witness at trial of a drug dealer is a government informant, and is importing drugs into the U.S.

After investigating the information  he uncovers evidence that suggests that the CIA are allowing U.S.-backed rebels in Nicaragua to sell large quantities of narcotics in the U.S.  in exchange for weapons.

Swaying whether or not to publish the story (which he feels is the right thing to do), his life begins to change as paranoia and his faith in his colleagues starts to take effect.

Renner is basically running the show and the story in “Kill the Messenge” and manages to carry the film although he is supported by well know actors (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Rosemarie DeWitt, Barry Pepper, Michael Kenneth Williams, Paz Vega, Robert Patrick and Ray Liotta) who really just make cameo appearances for the purpose of the story although I’m sure Director Michael Cuesta must have enjoyed dropping these stars in for the audience to gasp at.

Renner’s performance as Gary Webb is excellent and convincing by the actor who appears to be fully committed into becoming Webb (although if you google image the real Webb you will discover there isn’t much likeness between the actor and the real person, lets just say the movies “Webb” is more in line with the Hollywood look than real life).

The actor also manages to capture a wide range of emotions that the Webb would have encountered and had to experience and you can see the transformation by Renner from being a confident and sometimes cocky reporter to a struggling, tired and emotionally paranoid and scared husband and father.

The Writing in this movie is probably reliant on Gary Webb’s book Dark Alliance and although I haven’t read the book I’m sure this would have been a valuable source for Peter Landesman to work with.

Michael Cuesta’s directing is effective and appears to have collaborated intensely with Renner to capture the characteristics of Webb and allowing the audience to understand the position and stress Webb found himself in with the information that was brought to him.

Personally most of the movies I have saw Jeremy Renner in has been action movies, but here he really shows you his abilities as an acting heavy weight and thats without the ensemble of cameos dotted around the film. As an example the final scenes of the movie with Webb’s acceptance speech, and his ascending the escalator are so beautifully constructed and executed that “Kill the Messenger” is a must see movie.

The Cinematography and visuals fit the tone of the film very well. Stylised heavily with its grainy effects and the external footage it inter-slices throughout the film gives it an aged and exciting feel, similar to other movies from past decades. What ties it all together though is its clear focus.

Kill the Messenger turned out to be an unexpected great movie from my point of view as I was expecting it to be more in line with an action flick such as Enemy of the State, but had more of a “Snowden” feel to it with it’s heavy drama angle on the story. I highly recommend watching this movie from 2014.

Arrival (2016) Movie Review By John Walsh

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Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Eric Heisserer (screenplay), Ted Chiang (based on the story “Story of Your Life” written by)
Stars: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

Arrival in its most basic concept is a story of Alien ships arriving on Earth. Twelve of them to be precise, dotted around various different locations. It focuses on the ever more frantic attempts of two scientists, one a linguistic expert, Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and the other, an Astro physicist, Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), in their attempts to communicate with two large Alien creatures, before the worlds military declares all out war. Thankfully, at the heart of this sci-fi drama, is a considerably more complicated movie. Language is the key focus here, not the war or violent struggle for supremacy with galactic overlords that we normally see in films within this genre. It’s a wonderfully introspective look at humanity, how it deals with grief, compassion and most importantly communication.

Amy Adams, the standout performer in the film, delivers a confident, impressive performance as the linguistic professor tasked with the unenviable challenge of deciphering the alien language of two ‘Heptapod’, other worldly creatures, that seem resemble a cross between ‘Thing’ from the Addams Family and an Octopus. Louise has been asked to seek the answer to a simple question from the military, headed up by Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker): What do you want? It doesn’t take her long to understand that written communication is required, with the Whale like vernacular proving impossible to translate. After a few visits with the otherworldly beings, she even manages to partly decipher their complex, inky circle, writing style. As both she and Ian face a race against time to convey the crucial question to the aliens, we see glimpses at the wider worlds growing uneasiness at the situation. With various news reports around the world flashing up on tv screens, providing regular updates on the ongoings of China, Russia and Pakistan. All of whom seem ready to nuke the visitors on their doorsteps at a moments notice throughout.

Louise is not short on emotional depth either. “I used to think this was the beginning of your story” we hear her narrate at the beginning of the film, whilst several visions of her young daughter, who sadly dies in her late teens play out. These visions reoccur, becoming more regular as her work aboard the shell gathers pace. These prove to be absolutely vital to the story and the key to finally transcribing the alien calligraphy. Adams never resorts to overacting in these delicate scenes, instead settling on using subtle expressions and body language to convey her mood and feelings perfectly. Her characters emotional conflict during these moments creates a deep undercurrent in the film, helping to steer it through a middle act that is often on the verge of lagging.

Bradford Young’s visuals are on point and absolutely spectacular. The black obelisk, shell of a ship is gargantuan in size, as it darts upward from the ground, though never actually touching it, every bit unnatural looking in stark contrast to the natural land that surrounds it, seemingly for miles. The first time it’s revealed is a thing of beauty, as the helicopter carrying the team to the site slips out from the fog that seems to cling to the air. The inside shots of the shell are not neglected either. Whether it be the equally foggy domain of the ‘Heptapods’, the beautiful inked rings they project onto the invisible barrier or the smooth, black alien interior of the walls or floor. It looks every bit an extraterrestrial vessel.

Also, how could I possibly finish talking about cinematography on this film without mentioning the gravity flipping ninety degrees as the team of scientists climb in for the first time? Young’s work on this only further increases my excitement for the forthcoming Han Solo standalone, which will see him apply his outstanding talents to the world of Star Wars. The brilliant visuals are equalled by Jóhann Jóhannsson’s wonderful score, which really brings an eerie sense of trepidation to the early encounters in the film and an equally powerful, mellower hit of sadness at the end.

And speaking of endings. The film has been described as ‘thinking persons sci-fi’ and given the slow, deliberate pace it takes throughout, not to mention Villeneuve’s penchant for gradually releasing information to his viewers, it really would be hard to disagree with such an assertion. Arrival has a rather major twist in the final act, which I’d prefer to leave unspoilt, it truly should be experienced in the moment to be fully appreciated.

What I will say is that the ‘eureka’ moment is not too dissimilar in style to Christoper Nolan’s Interstellar. It’s a better film than Interstellar though, succeeding where the former failed in being at once epic, and yet also introspective and intimate. We hear Adam’s uttering the prophetic words “Despite knowing the journey and where it leads, I embrace it and welcome every moment of it”. Bringing up the conclusion to the film, with Max Richter’s goosebump inducing music On the Nature of Daylight playing sombrely in the background. It’s a profoundly powerful and moving end to what is an excellent film.