Review: The Mustang

Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre Stars: Matthias Schoenaerts, Bruce Dern, Gideon Adlon At the beginning of Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre's feature debut, on-screen text advises us that there are upwards of 100,000 wild mustangs roaming the United States, and that many of these are rounded up and captured; some sent to prisons to be broken by inmates, … Continue reading Review: The Mustang

Review: The Sisters Brothers

Director: Jacques Audiard Stars: John C Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal Charlie (Joaquin Phoenix) and Eli (John C Reilly) are hired hands. The year is 1851. These brothers - the Sisters brothers - are in the employ of The Commodore (Rutger Hauer), and do his bidding for tidy reward. At the beginning of the picture … Continue reading Review: The Sisters Brothers

Review: The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen Stars: Zoe Kazan, Tom Waits, Liam Neeson The Coen Brothers have made Westerns before, and more than just the two 'obvious ones'; the Texan noir of No Country For Old Men and their adventurous remake of True Grit. In truth the West has scored through much of their cinema which is resplendent … Continue reading Review: The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs

Why I Love… #100: The Furies

Year: 1950 Director: Anthony Mann Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Walter Huston, Judith Anderson This year I've been fervently trying to even up my experience of the so-called golden age of cinema, in doing so I've made attempts to embrace one of the genres that I have previously spied with dubiousness and suspicion; the western. To the … Continue reading Why I Love… #100: The Furies

Review: Sweet Country

Director: Warwick Thornton Stars: Hamilton Morris, Bryan Brown, Sam Neill There is a point in Warwick Thornton's Sweet Country in which the director shows us the sun. Acting as his own cinematographer, Thornton passes the lens of the camera across the sky and our distant star is recast as a remorseless beast sporting white-hot tendrils. And … Continue reading Review: Sweet Country

Review: The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Director: Antoine Fuqua Stars: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Haley Bennett Denzel Washington - doggedly the least-interesting A-list actor working today - heads up the cast of this wholly unnecessary retread of John Sturges' 1960 film, itself a derivation of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai; a film which frequently finds itself in the top end of critics' polls of … Continue reading Review: The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Review: Hell Or High Water

Director: David Mackenzie Stars: Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges, Ben Foster The economics of what keeps the rich rich and the poor poor often seem like a rigged game, especially in our present financial climate. It is with intense anger at this capitalist monopoly that David Mackenzie's modern Western Hell Or High Water finds relevancy. Hell, it's … Continue reading Review: Hell Or High Water

Review: The Revenant

Conventional wisdom tells us that violence and vengeance form a circle, but that notion suggests the return to a beginning place, a place of innocence where said violence existed only in potential. What if, instead, it were a spiral, emanating from a microcosmic central point, it's range growing ever-wider as it sprawls out into the universe? How … Continue reading Review: The Revenant

Review: The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight appears, upfront, to be a western. Quentin Tarantino's 8th feature film (as he takes great pride in advising us right out of the gate) takes place several years after the end of the Civil War in the coldest wastes of wintry Wyoming. It begins, as Django Unchained before it, with a bounty hunter stopping … Continue reading Review: The Hateful Eight

Review: Bone Tomahawk

While we wait with varying levels of impatience for Tarantino's The Hateful Eight, another western starring Kurt Russell has crept its way onto UK shores with little fanfare. Writer / director S Craig Zahler's Bone Tomahawk is a rich find in the present cinematic landscape, though you may be hard pressed to locate it. That's a shame. Because it … Continue reading Review: Bone Tomahawk

Review: The Homesman

A western with prominent female characters? It's not unheard of but, by and large, the genre is foremost perceived as a boy's club, as much as the gung-ho WW2 flick or the all American baseball movie. Women in westerns are usually either prostitutes or nagging wives. A sorry state of affairs. So when one comes … Continue reading Review: The Homesman

Why I Love… #65: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Year: 2007 Director: Andrew Dominik Stars: Brad Pitt (Jesse James), Casey Affleck (Robert Ford), Sam Rockwell (Charley Ford), Sam Shepard (Frank James), Jeremy Renner (Wood Hite), Paul Schneider (Dick Liddil), Garret Dillahunt (Ed Miller), Mary Louise Parker (Zee James) Genre: Western With my local cinemas stuck in a loop giving victory laps to the big … Continue reading Why I Love… #65: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Why I Love… #23: McCabe & Mrs Miller

Year: 1971 Director: Robert Altman Stars: Warren Beatty (John McCabe), Julie Christie (Constance Miller), Rene Auberjonois (Sheehan), William Devane (The Lawyer), Michael Murphy (Sears), Antony Holland (Hollander) Genre: Western It begins unlike most other Westerns, and so it continues. Where so many before it presented us the dust plains of the West, McCabe & Mrs Miller … Continue reading Why I Love… #23: McCabe & Mrs Miller

Why I Love… #8: The Good The Bad & The Ugly

Year: 1966 Director: Sergio Leone Stars: Clint Eastwood (‘Blondie’ / ’The Good’), Lee Van Cleef (‘Angel Eyes’ / ’The Bad’), Eli Wallach (Tuco / ’The Ugly’) Genre: Western The Good, The Bad & The Ugly was always one of those titles. It ranks in the IMDB’s top 10. Its three hours long. It’s constantly revered … Continue reading Why I Love… #8: The Good The Bad & The Ugly

Review: True Grit

***originally written 14 February 2011*** At the end of the Coen Brothers' True Grit there is a slightly surprising credit. Executive Producer Steven Spielberg. Surprising in the sense that if you were to jump back ten years or so, you couldn't imagine more unlikely bedfellows. Only slightly surprising in the sense that, despite what the … Continue reading Review: True Grit