Category Archives: Western

Get three coffins ready.

The Dark Tower (2017) Movie Review

Over the course of his prolific pop-literary career, Stephen King has published eight novels under the heading of The Dark Tower series. The series is a dense genre-bending tale of The Gunslinger, brimming with a desolate Western vibe and fantasy tropes.

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The Dark Tower, the long-awaited film adaptation being helmed here by Nikolaj Arcel, is 95 minutes long. It merely skims over that Western vibe to focus on the six shooters and the giant lasers.

You might already see Continue reading The Dark Tower (2017) Movie Review

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The Bad Batch (2017) Movie Review

Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut as a feature director came in the form of the genre-bending vampire romance film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. The film, shot in supple black and white over a soundtrack of trance-inducing electronica and angsty punk, was a beautiful piece about maintaining relationships in an environment rife with isolation.

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On paper, Amirpour’s second film The Bad Batch exists in a similar world. Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) is released from “Bad Batch” prison into the desert wilderness of the Texas-Mexico border.

A dystopian world in which cannibalism is a viable form of survivable (viable to the point of being morally questionable as opposed to morally intolerable), isolation is all Arlen has. Especially after she is captured by a family of cannibals and Continue reading The Bad Batch (2017) Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven (2016) Movie Review

Antoine Fuqua’s reboot of the seminal 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven (itself a Westernization of the 1954 Akira Kurosawa film The Seven Samurai) has a distinctly modern feel to it. Bandits have been replaced by violent capitalists. The fear of the outsider has been replaced by the fear of the wealthy. Of course, there is the fear-of-the-other narrative that introduces Denzel Washington’s Chisolm that screams modern relevancy. It is, however, a commentary only hinted at.

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What we get in lieu of commentary is Continue reading The Magnificent Seven (2016) Movie Review

Hell or High Water (2016) Movie Review

Two brothers (Ben Foster and Chris Pine) lay waste to rural Texas, robbing banks at sun-up and hightailing it before the police (led by Jeff Bridges) can even get their morning coffee. In the midst of this blur of action that is the opening to Hell or High Water, we can notice a few things: brilliant staging, an adept grasp of setting and atmosphere, an engaging balance of tone.

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With each bank robbery, we learn more about the two brothers. Their characters are fleshed out to the point where it isn’t difficult to Continue reading Hell or High Water (2016) Movie Review

The Hateful Eight (2015) Movie Review

The “Roadshow” 70mm exhibition of Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film, The Hateful Eight, begins with a three minute overture. It is a haunting piano, string, and xylophone melody that plays over a red splash screen. This overture, and the films full score, are handled by master film composer Ennio Morricone.

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Morricone’s career spans decades, and his work has included iconic scores in Sergio Leone Westerns. It is thus apropos that he tackles this films soundtrack, which is at times the dominant attraction, crescendoing into Hellish tremolos from thunderous strings. It is a brilliant score that mixes Western and Gothic motifs.

Tarantino begins The Hateful Eight by Continue reading The Hateful Eight (2015) Movie Review