Showing posts with label Clean eating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clean eating. Show all posts

Friday, August 25, 2017

"Wind River" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "Wind River" as well as DVDs "Night Train to Lisbon" and "Misconduct."  The Book of the Week is a cookbook, "Clean Eating Bowls."  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with " "Vivre Sa Vie," another Godard (I'm going to give him another chance!]

Wind River

When a game warden for Wyoming's Fish and Wildlife Service finds a dead body on an Indian reservation, an FBI agent is called in and they work together to track the killer.

Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is divorced from his Native American wife, Wilma (Julia Jones), but his ties to the Native American community still run deep.  They have a son together and his wife's family lives nearby on the Indian reservation and his work as a game warden for the Fish and Wildlife Service takes him there often to track bears, wolves and mountain lions that are killing livestock.  We learn, too, that he and his wife had a teen-aged daughter who died under mysterious circumstances, and it is still an open wound. 

There is a deep sadness about Cory even as he goes about his business of tracking down predators, and it comes to the surface when out looking for a mountain lion in a remote part of the area Indian reservation - Wind River - he discovers the body of a girl.  It's Natalie (Kelsey Asbille), a girl he knows, a girl who was his daughter's best friend.

Cory summons Ben (Graham Greene), the local tribal cop, but since only the FBI has jurisdiction over homicides on Native American lands, Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) arrives from Las Vegas by way of Fort Lauderdale.  She is young green, breathless and clearly underdressed for the Wyoming winter weather.  She is also clearly out of her element - this is her first murder case and she doesn't have a clue about Native American culture as she quickly insults Natalie's father, Martin (Gil Birmingham, who shows his acting versatility - he was Jeff Bridges' sidekick in "Hell or High Water").  But she is quick to see that Cory's tracker abilities would be helpful to her so she enlists his help. 

We soon learn that Natalie died from hypothermia after running barefoot in the snow from something or someone.  But we also learn that she was raped, maybe multiple times, and Cory and Jane set out to find out what happened to Natalie, and in so doing, expose the sometimes dark and troubled but also courageous and strong lives of so many Native Americans living in an unforgiving landscape.

When Jane says to Ben, "Shouldn't we wait for back up?" and he replies, "This isn't the land of waiting for back up.  This is the land of you're on your own," that says it all.

Set in a Wyoming winter, this film is a moody murder mystery, a fish out of water story, an exploration of family and loss and a tale of the clash of cultures, but it's also much deeper than that - it's a microcosm of the Native American experience with a murder at its core, serving as a metaphor for what Native Americans lost when the white man came to town and what many have had to endure ever since, bleak lives in a bleak landscape.

I have never been much of a Jeremy Renner fan.  I don't know why.   I find it strange when I think about it.  There is no reason for me not to like him.  He is a fine actor.  But we humans are fickle folks and our preferences are sometimes unexplained.  I mean I don't really like George Clooney that much either.  Why do I love Tom Hardy and not Jeremy Renner?  Well, I am going to remedy that right now.  Because of this movie, I am now a big fan.  This is Renner's best role to date and he has it all here.  He brings not only the sadness of a man who lost a daughter but the determination to not let that loss also kill him and this is brought home in a wonderful scene between him and Natalie's Dad, when they share their feelings  and grief about the loss of their daughters.

Elizabeth Olsen is a steady presence and a wonderful actress who doesn't get much in the way of publicity or accolades but she should because she has done some wonderful work.

I can't help but compare this to "Hell or High Water," and I guess that makes sense because this film was written by the same guy, Taylor Sheridan, who also wrote "Sicario."  This time, though, he directed as well, and it's clear that he is not only a top-notch screenwriter, but a top-notch director as well.  

It's refreshing to see Native American actors playing Native Americans, and we all know, that hasn't always been the case.  Graham Greene as Ben, the reservation law enforcement officer is a recognizable face but the rest of the Native Americans are relative newcomers, and they all bring an authenticity to the film. It's also refreshing to see an attractive man and woman working together (Renner and Olsen) and NOT falling in love.  A love affair between those two would have ruined this important film by diluting its themes of family, loss, alienation and retribution.

This is a really good, tight film. Based on a true story, the plot is compelling.  But this film is so much more than that.  At the end we are reminded that despite the fact that there are statistics on the many missing women in the United States, there are no such statistics for missing Native American women. It's a reminder of what the lives of the real natives of America have endured.

Rosy the Reviewer of the year's best films - a must see.  I predict some award-winning writing and performances.

***Some Movies You Might Have Missed***
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)!


Night Train to Lisbon (2013)

When a man rescues a beautiful young girl from jumping from a bridge in Bern, he finds himself embroiled in an adventure that couldn't be farther from his buttoned-down life as a college professor of ancient languages.

Jeremy Irons stars as Raimund Gregorius, a Swiss professor of ancient languages, an unadventurous, melancholy loner, who while walking across a bridge in Bern, sees a young girl in a red coat standing on the railing ready to jump off the bridge.  He saves her and takes her with him to his college, but when she disappears, leaving her red coat behind, he also discovers a book, a memoir by Amadeu do Prado. The book is stamped with the name of the bookstore, so, intrigued, he goes there, and while there, the bookseller leafs through the book and a train ticket to Lisbon falls out, a train ticket to Lisbon for a train leaving in 15 minutes. 

Wanting to find the girl, but very uncharacteristically, Gregorius drops everything and rushes to the train station, and not seeing her, impulsively jumps on the train.  While on the train he reads the book she had left and decides to find Amadeu do Prado.  But before he can, he is hit by a bicycle and his glasses are broken.  When he goes to have them fixed, he meets Mariana (Martina Gedeck), an optometrist and he tells her his story and mentions Amadeu.  It just so happens her uncle, Joao Eca (Tom Courtney), knew him and so Mariana and Gregorius travel together to the nursing home where he lives to learn more about Amadeu, a story of the Salazar regime, Amadeu's involvement in the resistance, and the story of "The Butcher of Lisbon," all shown in flashback with Jack Huston starring as Amadeu. 

The story finally reveals the mystery of the girl in the red coat and why she wanted to jump off the bridge and leads Gregorius to a life-changing decision.

I have always been a big Jeremy Irons fan ever since "Brideshead Revisited."  Nobody does brooding like he does but he can also do menacing.  That voice! Who can forget his voice as Scar in "The Lion King?"  Here he is mainly a foil for the story of Amadeu as he travels around interviewing people who knew him and discovering his story, but Irons is such an effective actor that he is still the star.

Written by Greg Latter and Ulrich Herrmann (based on the 2004 novel Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier) and directed by Bille August, the film uses quotes from the book throughout the film as if the book itself is leading Gregorius and changing his life, but despite an interesting story and a stellar cast, the film that unfolds in flashbacks is uneven and choppy and really confusing and doesn't live up to what it could have been.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a very literary and intellectual film that will not be everyone's cup of tea.

Misconduct (2016)

An ambitious young lawyer takes on a case against a big pharmaceutical company and finds himself in over his head.

Arthur Denning (Anthony Hopkins) is the owner of a major pharmaceutical firm and his girlfriend, Emily Hynes (Malin Åkerman) is kidnapped for a ransom and through a series of flashbacks the story unfolds.

Earlier, Emily had contacted her ex-boyfriend, Ben Cahill (Josh Duhamel), a rather shady attorney, and had intimated that Denning had been abusing her and she couldn't get away from him.  She also told him that she had proof of criminal behavior on Denning's part - that he was using false clinical trials to get his drugs approved. 

Cahill is married to Charlotte (Alice Eve), but that doesn't stop him from starting to have some steamy sex with Emily but he pulls back at the last minute.  But he makes the most of the encounter by using the information from Emily to pitch a class action lawsuit to his boss Charles Abrams (Al Pacino). Denning settles the suit for $400 million, provided that the stolen documents are returned to him.  But it all blows up when Ben finds Emily dead in her apartment with a bottle of pills in her hand and later her body shows up in HIS apartment.  Is he being framed? 

And then everything just goes to hell for does this movie.

Just what is going on here?  That's what I asked myself throughout this movie and that's not a good thing.

Directed by Shintaro Shimasawa with a screenplay by Simon Boyes and Stephen Mason, this is one of those convoluted thrillers with so many characters doing so many shady things that you lose track of what's going on.  I do, anyway.  And it's also one of those mysteries where the least likely character did it. I have also never heard such overdone, dramatic music in my life. The music is especially dramatic when Al Pacino shows up.  The music is as over-the-top as his acting sometimes is.

Alice Eve plays Charlotte, Ben's wife, and I can kind of see why he was thinking of getting it on with Emily.  Charlotte lacks charm, to say the least and Julia Stiles plays a spunky (doesn't she always?) securities analyst in one of the many sideline plots.

Anthony Hopkins is Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino is Al Pacino, both probably wondering what they are doing in this film and Josh Duhamel is handsome.

That's about all I have to say about this one.

Rosy the Reviewer says...this is one of those convoluted thrillers with so many side plots and red herrings that when it's over you say "Huh?"

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

188 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Vivre Sa Vie ("My Life to Live") (1962)

A story about how easy it is to end up as a prostitute. You know, it's very expensive to live in Paris!

It's Godard again.  I decided to give him another chance, and I kind of have to because of "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project," eight of which are Godard films.  I reviewed "Masculin Feminin" last week, and it was kind of a snooze-fest for me, but I have to say, I liked this one better.  I think I am more into prostitutes than young 60's poseurs.

This was an earlier film than "Masculin Feminin" by four years.  Again, divided into vignettes, or chapters, this film tells the story of Nana (Anna Karina) who, after leaving a loveless marriage, struggles for survival.  She ends up in a dead-end job selling records (remember those?) and wanders aimlessly around Paris.  When she can't pay her rent and is kicked out of her apartment she turns to prostitution.  Then she meets Raoul (Sady Rebbot) who becomes her pimp.  She finally finds love when she falls in love with a student, but when she tries to leave Raoul, she pays the price for her choices. It's all very dark.

Once again Godard employs his static camera, though this time, he likes to focus on the back of the head rather than the face with dialogue and action happening around the static image.  It's as if we are standing behind the characters, listening to their conversations.  In the opening scene, when Nana is breaking up with her husband, they are sitting at a bar and we just see the backs of their heads, with Nana's face reflected in a mirror across from the bar.  It's a brilliant ten-minute scene that captures the disintegration of a marriage and the camera acts as a person standing behind them.  The camera is us watching, trying to figure out what they are talking about. Godard also uses silence over the images (he did that in "Masculin Feminin" too) in between scenes. 

This is also what I call a leisurely film - not very plot driven and slow lingering real time camera work that just begs you to fast forward with the remote. But I didn't because I became fascinated by this character and what was going to happen to her.

Godard also tends to unfold his story with not a lot happening and then POW!  Out of nowhere something happens like a random act of violence.  He did it here, and as I mentioned in last week's review, he did that in "Masculin Feminin," so obviously it's one of this "things." But at least he didn't fall prey to what so many arty directors do - long movies.  This one was only 73 minutes long.

Anna Karina as Nana (Godard's then wife and muse in several films) was a beautiful, affecting actress with eyes you can fall into, but her character is an enigma.

Why it's a Must See: "...the first of Godard's mature masterpieces. Like much of his best work, it is both supremely analytical and supremely sensuous, achieving an austere, wintry beauty."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Nana's life was short and rather sordid, but it was her life to live.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Godard is growing on me.

***Book of the Week***

Clean Eating Bowls: 100 Real Food Recipes for Eating Clean by Kenzie Swanhart (2016)

How to not only eat "clean" but how to eat everything in a BOWL!

As you know, I not only love to cook (check out the latest "Rosy's Test Kitchen"), but I love to read,so it's only natural that I would love to read cookbooks.  I am also interested in healthy eating, the occasional pint of ice-cream and five or six chocolate chip cookies not withstanding, so I was drawn to this cookbook and intrigued by the idea of eating out of a bowl.  I checked with the babies who regularly eat out of a bowl...

and they said it's fun!

In case you didn't  know, "clean eating" is basically eating whole foods, or "real" foods — those that are un-refined, minimally handled, and unprocessed, making them as close to their natural form as possible and what I have discovered is that it's very veggie oriented, which, I guess, makes sense especially since most of us don't go out and hunt our own meat.

The idea of eating out of a bowl is also simplicity. 

Here is what Swanhart says about it:

"Diving into a clean eating lifestyle can seem daunting -- cutting out sugars and processed foods in favor of cooking fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats -- but bowls make it simple for cooks of all levels to make delicious, healthy meals.  With the abundance of ingredients that can be piled into a bowl, you will be able to focus on all the goodness you can eat, rather than thinking of it as a restriction."

Oh, OK, if I eat out of a bowl I will forget that I can't have anything I like?

Anyway, the book is divided into nine chapters - you have breakfast bowls, grain bowls, salad bowls, soup bowls, noodle bowls and dessert bowls.  But SMOOTHIE BOWLS?  I am going to drink my smoothie out of a bowl?

Here is a taste:
"Berry Blast Smoothie Bowl"

Put 1 c. frozen mixed berries, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 c almond milk (that you make yourself - sigh), 1 T. chia seeds, 1/2 baby spinach into a blender and blend away - and note:  It's important to put these ingredients in the blender in that exact order.  Not sure why.

Pour the smoothie into a bowl and top it with a sliced banana, 6 fresh blackberries, 8 fresh raspberries and two T. pomegranate seeds.

I wonder if I am pushing it if I use 7 blackberries and only 7 raspberries and skip the pomegranate seeds.  Would I get kicked out of the clean eating community?  Seems like there are a lot of rules.  Or what would happen if I just pour the stuff into a glass?

Anyway, there are some interesting and fun recipes here that lend themselves to a bowl:

  • Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
  • Scallop and Zucchini Noodle Bowl
  • Dark Chocolate Strawberry Bowl
  • Korean Bibimbap Grain Bowl

Swanhart ends the book with a list of NECESSITIES - things you need to have on hand - (more rules!) all of which you need to make yourself:

  • Simple Lemon Dressing
  • Jalapeno-Line Vinaigrette
  • Avocado-Cilantro Cream
  • Tahini-Ginger Dressing
  • Pesto
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Honey Almond Butter
  • Almond Milk
  • Homemade Granola

Do I really have to make all of that myself? Can't I just go to Whole Foods?

Oh, and in case I haven't depressed you enough, here are the "Dirty Dozen," which I know you can guess are the opposite of "clean."  These are the items that contain the most pesticides, so if you want to eat them, be sure you go organic.

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Hot Peppers
  • Kale/Collard Greens

As I said, I do like to cook and I do like to eat well, but trying to do everything in the healthiest way just seems like so much work and mental energy.  It's kind of depressing.

Rosy the Reviewer says... I am going to go ponder all of this over a bowl of fruit loops.  What?  Is that bad?

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday 

for my review of  
"Ingrid Goes West"


 The Week in Reviews

(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before 

 I Die Project."

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