Archive for Western

Goddard Textiles, TSG Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox,

Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, Chris Hemsworth, Nick Offerman, Russell Crowe, Alvina August, Mark O’Brien

The El Royale is a run down hotel on the border between Nevada and California near Lake Tahoe. Half of the rooms are in one state and the other half are in the other, decorated especially for each state, but there is a red line running down the middle of the main lounge that divides the room in half. The hotel used to be a hot destination, but is dying since they lost their gambling license and all the slot machines are out of order. Now no one stays here. A tired old priest (Jeff Bridges) shows up at the same time as a lounge singer (Cynthia Erivo) who is staying at the El Royale because it is very cheap. When they enter the lobby the find the hotel empty except for a traveling salesman who is also looking for an attendant. Over time, a few more people show up, but nobody is what they appear, all are hiding deep secrets, and things are going to go bad due to a whole bunch of bad choices as well as a great number of misunderstandings, and it truly is Bad Times at the El Royale for everyone.

I was intrigued by the trailer and really wanted to get to see it in the theater, but for some reason I never made it. I was excited when this was released on DVD, and was anxious to see it. It was well worth the wait, and I’m glad I finally got to see this. In fact, it was so much fun, I watched it twice. This is a mystery from start to finish, and it was really fun trying to figure out who the people really were. As you go along, as soon as you figure it out, you find out you’re completely wrong. As the pieces are revealed bit by bit, the puzzle comes together, and it was a really exciting movie. This reminded me a lot of “The Hateful Eight” in the way that nobody actually was who they claimed to be. This was a very insightful film, very dark, but yet somehow really beautiful. The way they built the set completely from scratch, and built the entire lobby building as a single set, allowing them to do long and complex shots in a single take without a cut. It was very well crafted and I enjoyed the movie twice from start to end, and really enjoyed the extra features that were were included on the DVD with info about how and why the film was made the way it was. The actors were superb. Jeff Bridges and Jon Hamm were outstanding. Cynthia Erivo did all the singing herself, and she was exceptional. Though this movie is pretty dark, there are enough puzzles and loose ends to keep us very interested in what’s going to happen. I am glad they didn’t tell us who was in the film at the end. I’m sure I know, but I’m only guessing. I really enjoyed this film.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Cas-Mor Productions, Gallery Films,

Dustin Leighton, Tom Noga, Clint James, Grady Hill, Candy Stanton, Sanford Gibbons, Peter Sherayko, Isaac Farm, Ashley Gomez, John Durbin, Dustin James

Frank Harden (Dustin Leighton) is a lone gunslinger looking for a Mexican girl who had been kidnapped and sold into prostitution in the town of Redemption. Redemption is still fighting the Civil war as two sides struggle for control of the town. But the Apostle (Tom Noga) is also on the trail of the men who murdered her family and carried the girl off. This is a LOW LOW LOW budget western, and one of the few Westerns still being made these days. A rare film indeed.

Robert Conway wrote and directed this attempt at a Spaghetti style Western of the old Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood days. It’s a complex story that that’s not really thought out that well. Seems like the story is being written on the fly as the movie is being made. Like the Spaghetti Westerns of the 70’s it’s all about being a western, but no so much on acting and story line. To be honest, this is a horrible story, but it’s so rare to have a new Western, I had to give it a shot. To be honest, I really didn’t dislike it, although I can see why people think it’s so horrible. It is quite serious, no tongue in cheek stuff like the “Trinity” films with Terrence Hill and Bud Spencer (also 70’s films) that I loved a lot back in the day. This is murder, treachery, and shots to the head, one after another. There’s no hero here, just different degrees of bad guys. Frank is a guy who is having a bad run of luck as he doesn’t kill for fun or for money, but just for pure revenge against anyone who crosses him. As a result, is him against the whole town in the end, and he’s much worse for wear. So Frank is the main character of the storym he;s certainly not a hero by any means. He is perhaps the hardest sucker to kill that I’ve ever seen. It’s a weird little western, that will leave you wondering what the hell is going on, but at least nearly no one is going to survive anyway, and that’s as it should be. If you like well made movies with good stories, RUN AWAY!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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1821 Pictures, Boies / Schiller Film Group, Handsomecharlie Films,

Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Noah Emmerich, Ewan McGregor, Rodrigo Santoro, Boyd Holbrook

Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) is a frontier woman trying her best to make a home for her husband, Billy (Noah Emmerich) and child. But Jane has a past. A gang of outlaws is chasing after them, and when her husband returns home badly injured by being shot, he tells her the gang is on the way to get them and to get away. But Jane does not back down, so she heads into town to find a former lover Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) who is not very happy to see her, and she asks him for help to stand up to the gang.

Westerns are rare these days, and there’s nothing better than a good western. I was delighted to see this one come out. There have been a few lately (I’m thinking of The Hateful 8, for example) and I anxiously dug into this one. It is quite raw. The violence is real, and the story is the king in this film, as Natalie Portman pulls out an awesome performance. I was not expecting her to pull off a role like this that would appear out of her wheelhouse, but she played the wild west housewife who ain’t going to take crap from anybody very, very well. Joel Edgerton as Dan Frost is also a very good performance and brings all the different emotions and feelings out very well to. But this is also a very nice script. Just a simple story of danger and revenge and self defense, but it all comes together very chillingly. The violence is harsh, and we witness the cruelty of this battle, and like the great westerns of old, the suspense and the waiting keeps us on the edge of our seats. An excellent performance by all, and kudos for a tremendous screenplay that the director and the actors pulled off in a good show. If you love Westerns and don’t mind the R rating, this is a shocking thriller of a western that ought to be well worth seeing.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Patriot Pictures,

Robert Duvall, James Franco, Josh Hartnett, Devon Abner, Adriana Barraza, Angie Cepeda

Scott Briggs (Robert Duvall) is a rancher with a long buried secret. He has two sons played by James Franco and Josh Hartnett. A lady Texas Ranger, Samantha Payne (Luciana Pedraza) locks onto a 15 year old case of a missing boy, and sets her mind to solving the cold case by proving that there it was a murder, but there is much deeper trouble in the past that just won’t be buried any longer.

This is a dramatic western story that really hits home. It features the usual hard headed and stubborn old man played so well by Robert Duvall. He has the gay son (Franco) and the good son (Hartnett) that wants nothing more than to please his father. The story is very intense and deep, and leaves a lasting impression. It is very touching and will move you. The acting is intense and it’s an all star cast. Nothing is black and white, but all shades of gray in-between. This reminds me of Duvall’s film from 2014, “The Judge” as Duvall plays a very similar character. This kind of crotchety old man is right in his wheel house these days. But it does give you a lot to think about, and I must admit that I enjoyed this modern take on western justice, honor, integrity, and the opposites of these. A morality tale, as most westerns are, perhapss the hardest thing to live with is guilt.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Kickstart Productions, Mythic International Entertainment, Raindance Entertainment,

Ed Harris, January Jones, Jason Isaacs, Eduardo Noriega, Stephen Root, Jason Aldean, Vic Browder, Luce Rains, Dylan Kenin, Keith Meriweather

Sarah Ramirez (January Jones) is a young bride facing a harsh life with her husband trying to eke out a living on the range. Her and her husband run into trouble with a fanatical religious leader, Prophet Josiah (Jason Isaacs) and his followers who have determined to chase them out and take their land. When her husband is killed, she meets up with a wandering Sheriff named Jackson (Ed Harris) who is looking for clues of what happened to a couple of his relatives who disappeared in the same area where Prophet Josiah rules with an iron hand. Sarah, a daughter of a prostitute and a former prostitute herself sets out for revenge, with a little help from Sheriff Jackson, for the death of her husband in this thrilling old fashioned western.

I look back fondly on the old westerns. I used to see them for 35 cents for a double feature back when I was a kid, on Saturday mornings. I enjoyed the westerns on TV, but for some reason these stories have fallen out of favor with the public. Gene and Roy taught us good values and the good guys always won in the end. This film cropped up in my queue and with January Jones and Ed Harris, I decided to give it a try. I had a couple hours to kill and it was on Netflix Watch Instantly. I am glad I did. It was an old fashioned western, for sure, but very modern in the way the story is told. No punches were pulled and the religious fanatics are really sheep following a insanely evil wolf. Filled with R movie violence and treachery, this is not a movie for the squeamish. No shooting the guns out of the bad guy’s hands in this one. But it still has the fell and formula of the westerns of old. It was a good story, and the characters played by January Jones and Ed Harris were excellent. Ed Harris truly had a great time in this film, and he really got to do some over the top acting. He was really enjoyable in it. If you’re in the mood for a wild ride through a western story of old, this is the one for you. I enjoyed it.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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