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Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Olsen’

Elizabeth Olsen, Aubrey Plaza

“INGRID GOES WEST” My rating: B

87 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Nobody does nuts like Aubrey Plaza.

Oh, she can play “normal” if required (TV’s Parks and Recreation”), but she really shines when the lets her crazy flag fly, as exemplified by her mental inmate in TV’s “Legion,” her suburban zombie in “Life After Beth” and her scary Medieval nun in the recent “The Hours.”

So Plaza is right at home in “Ingrid Goes West,” writer/director Matt Spicer’s very black comedy about an unhinged celebrity stalker.

As the film begins our heroine crashes a wedding and sprays Mace in the bride’s face.  (We later learn that the two women are strangers, but that Ingrid has been following the nuptial preparations on Instagram and is incensed at not being invited.)

When next we see Ingrid she’s being discharged from a mental facility. Shortly thereafter her mother dies, leaving Ingrid with $60,000.  She decides to relocate to Los Angeles so that she can be closer to a woman she has been obsessing over via social media.

Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen) is a perky, self-centered cutie who has become a celeb by displaying so much of her life on the Internet.  Like a Kardashian, she’s famous mostly for being famous. She has no discernible talents (she might find a gig as a personal shopper, though everything she bought would reflect her tastes rather than those of a client).

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Jeremy Renner, Gil Birmingham

“WIND RIVER” My rating: B

*113 minutes | MPAA rating: R

With his screenplays for “Sicario” and “Hell or High Water” Taylor Sheridan joined the ranks of our best storytellers of the contemporary American West.

He cements that reputation — though not without a couple of minor missteps — by writing and directing “Wind River.”

Set on the sprawling Wind River Indian Reservation in mountainous central Wyoming, this snowbound mystery is triggered by the death of an 18-year-old Arapaho girl. Apparently she ran for several miles barefoot through a blizzard before succumbing to sub-zero temperatures. But what — or who — was she running from?

Her body is discovered by Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), a hunter for the wildlife service whose job is to eliminate wolves, cougars and other predators dining on domestic livestock. Soon he’ll be tracking down two-legged predators.

On one level “Wind River” is a buddy movie pairing the woods-smart Cory with Florida-reared Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), an FBI agent dispatched to investigate what appears to be a murder on tribal land. He knows every snowfield and ravine within hundreds of square miles; she shows up without so much as a pair of long johns.

But as seems always to be the case with a Sheridan film, just as important as the mystery is the milieu in which it’s set.

In this case it’s a world of natural beauty and aching poverty, dying traditions and doped-up  youth. Here white assumptions collide with Native American realities. Resentments and prejudices can surface at any time.

Renner’s Cory is the perfect guide through these conflicting cultures. Born nearby and as comfortable in a cowboy hat as a fur-lined parka, he’s divorced from an Arapaho woman with whom he has a young son. In short, he’s a man with one foot planted in the white world and the other in Indian country.

Sheridan’s screenplay provides plenty of thumbnail portraits of colorful characters. (more…)

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“MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE” My rating: B (Opening Nov. 11 at the )

102 minutes | MPAA rating: R

One of the great thrills of moviegoing is coming across a young performer and realizing, within the space of just a few moments, that this could be a major star.

That’s what happens with Elizabeth Olsen in “Martha Marcy May Marlene,”  writer/director Sean Durkin’s moody, almost unbearably creepy look at a survivor of a Manson-type cult.

Durkin’s tightly-wound feature debut follows our titular protagonist as she surreptitiously slips away from the farm commune where she has lived off the radar for the last couple of years. She phones her older  sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson), who drives three hours to pick her up. Soon she’s living in the guest room of the posh lakeside vacation home of Lucy and her husband Ted (Hugh Darcy).

Martha and Lucy share a troubled history. Lucy is ambitious, well-educated; Martha a  rootless drifter.

But whatever sibling issues they’ve been through, it’s clear that the last few years have done a number on Martha.

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