Archive for the ‘Western’ Category

Pat-Garrett-Billy-the-KidMore people have heard the stories behind the making of Sam Peckinpah’s last Western, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, than have seen the film – or so it seems. Made by a director in an alcoholic haze with the antipathy of studio bosses, the film has become the stuff of legends, punctuated by the apocraphyl tale of Peckinpah urinating all over the screen after a viewing of the dailies. Faced with a production that was over budget and behind schedule, the studio yanked control and hurried a version far from the director’s vision into theaters where it was panned. The film has been “rediscovered” twice since its initial release, with a “preview” edition in 1988 and a “special” edition in 2005. The AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, Maryland recently screened the special edition, simultaneously confirming AFI as the premiere conservator of America’s cinematic legacy and the film’s unique brilliance. (more…)

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jane-got-a-gunIf you’re going to make a revenge flick, don’t outsource the acts of vengeance. In particular, if you are scripting a rape-and-revenge movie, empower your heroine to do the heavy lifting and genital severing on her own. Maybe I Spit on Your Grave is not your cup of Earl Grey, but at least, that film had the courage of its convictions.

Jane Got a Gun, but she ain’t got the balls to use it for too much of this genre wannabe flop. (more…)

The Hateful EightQuentin Tarantino wants you to know that he has now directed eight feature films. “The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino,” appears in the opening credits of his latest work. His eighth film even has the word eight in the title. Short of pulling a Chad Johnson and changing his name to Ocho, there seems little else Tarantino can do to convey that (1) he has done seven films before The Hateful Eight, and (2) he attaches great importance to the number. To celebrate the accomplishment and further his self-sustaining image as a film buff extraordinaire, the director turned the premiere of The Hateful Eight into a week-long event by releasing a “Roadshow Edition” of the movie to be shown in 100 theaters before the wide release of the standard version. (more…)

The RevenantIs Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant the best actor?

It would seem, for the moment, that question has been answered by the Hollywood Foreign Press, which bestowed the Best Actor award (or more precisely, the Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama award) to DiCaprio at the recent Golden Globes. The win was expected. Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) and Bryant Cranston (Trumbo) were seen in films seen by far too few. Will Smith’s turn in Concussion generated next to no buzz. That left Eddie Remayne in The Danish Girl, work that was too soon since his last win for The Theory of Everything and too far out of the mainstream for some.

So, if the matter is settled until the Oscar nominations are announced, let’s tinker with the initial query.

In The Revenant, is Leonardo DiCaprio the best actor?

Now that is a very different question. (more…)