Archive for Western

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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EuropaCorp, Ithaca, The Javelina Film Company,

Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep, Miranda Otto, John Lithgow, James Spader

Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) is a tough old single broad living out west in a small farming community. She’s definitely a lady, longing for a husband and children, but destined to a long lonely single life due to the fact that men say she’s too bossy and way to damn plain looking. Times are very hard in the little town, and three of the wives have suffered very horrible tragedies and have lost their minds. A danger to their husbands and families, the minister in the little church has made arrangements for them to be taken back across the plains and across the river where they will be cared for by a church there where they have some relatives. But who can make the 5 week or so journey across the dried up plains to accompany these women. Mary Bee talks the reverend into letting her take the journey as she has no family to support and can cook and take care of the women and she is just as tough of any of the men. She rounds up an goofy old outlaw, George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) whom she rescues from being hanged and coerces him into accompanying the 4 women on the journey. Needless to say it is a long hard journey filled with danger and hardships, and only their will to go on keeps them going.

This was a very surprising film to me. I was really blown away by it. I have not seen a western in a long time, and this was a really great story. The script is excellent, and it’s filled with top notch performers like James Spader, Meryl Streep, John Lithgow and others. The setting is dreary and dark and very realistic and you really feel the pain of the times they are going through. The performances of Hillary and Tommy Lee are simply outstanding, but it’s the humor set against that harsh reality of frontier life that is so impressive. This is an excellent film, and certainly a hidden gem. I don’t know how I never heard about this film and just stumbled across it by accident, but it was a serendipitous moment when I put this one on. There are some problems, mostly in the timing of the story as there are conflicting statements about what time of year this story is set, but it’s easy to overlook that, as it’s not that important. It’s sometimes hard to watch, as it’s so realistic, and it’s definitely stark, but I couldn’t turn away, and I was disappointed when it was over, as I wanted to know more. This is one film well worth tracking down, especially if you’re fond of really great Westerns.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Ocean Blue Entertainment,

Ed Harris, Michael PeƱa, Eva Longoria, Amy Madigan, Aden Young

A former Arizona sheriff’s wife, Olivia (Amy Madigan) is killed while riding her horse along their ranch property near the Mexican border. When her husband Roy (Ed Harris) comes to find her, it appears to him that she was killed by some Mexican guys who were sneaking across the border, and he sets out to find them and see they are punished. But there are many layers to this film, and as he peels back layer by layer, the story may be quite different in the end.

This is, first and foremost, a western. Western’s are very rare in today’s cinema. That fact on it’s own is a big plus for the film. But I’ve seen several pretty good border crossing movies, and I truly think this is the best of the genre. This movie doesn’t really pick sides, but is an excellent look at all the different sides of the issue. As in real life, there is no black and white, but many shades of gray. The acting in this film is wonderful. Ed Harris is perfect as the ex-sheriff who is love with his wife, but who resents her kindness to the people who enter illegally. The story is very rich, and excellently crafted, and they told the story in a beautiful way. We know the truth from the moment it happened, but the truth, although Roy tries his best to find it for good or bad, is not the important thing. It’s how the facts affect everyone in a different way. I felt this was one of the best acted, best told stories I have seen in a long long time. This is a film that ought to be gathering much more attention than it did, and it’s certainly one of those hidden gems that come and go without attracting a lot of buzz, but if you’re lucky enough to stumble across it, it’s well worth your time. I really enjoyed this story, and I bet you will too.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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