NEWS OF THE WORLD is a somber and sober tale of post-Civil War Texas with few surprises as it wends its way through the mythos of the Old West, unfolding as it does as a metaphor. Or is it an allegory? Perhaps a microcosm of the world’s ills, both then and now? All those elements… Read More »
This fiercely iconoclastic western uses many tropes from that cinematic genre, from the classics of John Ford to the more recent idioms of Sergio Leone, but the references are merely window dressing. Part comedy, part tragedy, part feminist manifesto, and all engrossing, it subverts expectations at every turn while delivering a film that refuses to be pigeonholed.
HOSTILES is a film that takes itself very seriously. It should. Taking as its themes both human nature’s capacity for violence and its overweening need for mercy, it is not something to be approached lightly, something that director Scott Cooper took to heart in his adaptation of the late Donald E. Stewart’s manuscript. Set in… Read More »
JANE GOT A GUN tries to evoke Leone (check the duster Jane sports) and Ford (check the mesas that surround her), but without the intensity of the former, or the adventure of the latter. What’s left is a stereopticon of a post-modern morality tale that can’t overcome its own inertia.
THE HATEFUL EIGHT is an impudent, pugnacious comedy that uses the synthetic nature of its stylized homage idiom to be a whip-smart consideration of race, gender, politics, situational ethics, and very, very bad teeth. The genre is the western, but the tone is thoroughly modern as a group of the damned journey through the desolate… Read More »
Tommy Lee Jones is a dour man, at least on screen. His carefully cultivated persona is a laconic one of few words and little patience. It is a character that he plays to perfection, and in THE HOMESMAN,he imbues it with a wonderful, understated quirkiness that makes his star quality all the more charismatic. As… Read More »
Stark, intelligent, and supremely suspenseful, 3:10 TO YUMA is a masterpiece of psychological drama coupled with a darn fine action flick that uses the classic western as its idiom. And then turns it on its head. Though a remake of the film of the same name from 1957, there is a freshness and an edginess… Read More »