The towering technical achievements and bravura sequences of ‘The Revenant’ are enough to warrant a visit to this grim wilderness
‘Bone Tomahawk’ Movie Review – is a character-driven Western with a horror spin that engages despite its languid pace
To describe Bone Tomahawk as a “horror-Western” is good shorthand, but could be a little misleading. The film indeed has horror elements but novelist turned screenwriter/director S. Craig Zahler seems more interested in spending time with his four main protagonists as they travel across country, letting their different personalities and world views, and the harshness of the terrain, challenge them on their journey
Westerns have never recovered from the oversaturation of the genre that killed off viewer interest decades ago, but every now and then a gem pops up. Recent successes like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma and the Coen brothers adaptation of True Grit all did well because they tweaked the genre slightly, but director Kristian Levring goes with an old school approach. A faithful recreation of those revenge Westerns made so popular in the 1970s, The Salvation envelopes many elements of previous Clint Eastwood classics and wraps it into a tidy package.
Load ’em up and prepare to move out partner. Plume is your typical revenge fueled western that takes place in an alternate reality filled with ancient magic.
Set during the pioneer era, The Homesman subverts the usual trajectory of westerns set in this time by instead focusing on a journey from what will eventually become Nebraska territory in the West to more Eastern Iowa, wherein defeat via the frontier is a primary concern, whether it be a defeat of the mind, body, soul, or all together. Director Tommy Lee Jones’s last theatrically released film was The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005), a contemporary neo-western with shades of Sam Peckinpah in its flavour. The Homesman may have the set dressing of a more traditional, old-school genre entry, but this film, adapted from Glendon Swarthout’s 1988 novel, is much more offbeat than one might expect.
Even though historically speaking, Zorro and Django were contemporaries, they couldn’t be more different. First, there is their ages. Zorro is 95 years old whereas Django hasn’t even celebrated his second birthday as a fictional character. They come in different social classes and cultures (Mexican aristocrat and former African American slave) and are children of different genres with Zorro taking his cues from the pulp and superhero genres while Django is a product of blaxploitation and the Western.
Red Dead Redemption is often considered one of the best video games of the previous generation, a reputation it hardly deserves. The game routinely takes control away from the player when agency is needed, and gives too much freedom when it’s superfluous. Red Dead is totalitarian in its gameplay and narrative presentation, but provides a hollow, laissez faire open world in an attempt to compensate. These problems culminate to create a game that misunderstands, and straight up ignores, the interactive nature of the medium it’s in. Despite its dazzling production values, Red Dead Redemption fails as a video game because of its unengaging, scarce, and meaningless interactivity.
I’ve got to be honest, I’m a sucker for westerns. The lone cowboy and his trusty horse roaming the open and untamed land is admittedly romantic, but I also find it incredibly thrilling. A time filled with endless possibilities and complex stories that go beyond the good guy/bad guy dynamic. After all, the good guys don’t always have to wear white.
Lucio Fulci’s Massacre Time is playing at Fantasia in conjunction with the Festival du Nouveau Cinema as part of the The Django Project. The series takes a look at the western genre, as appropriated by other cultures, as it blends with irony, excess and pop-art. Though best known for his giallo thrillers, Fulci’s Massacre Time is an exuberant and exciting spaghetti western. Starring Franco Nero in a role obviously evocative of his work in Django, he plays a prospector who must return to his home and reclaim his family’s ranch from a man named Scott and his sadistic son Junior.
From its very beginnings as a genre, Western film has trafficked in the iconic, in the larger-than-life imagery of the tall tale and the never-ending, expansive wilderness that forms the crucial backbone to these stories. More than perhaps any other genre, Westerns deal in types, with their characters standing in for the Other, the Immigrant, …
High Noon and Rio Bravo share a fascinating and perhaps singular position in the annals of American cinema as companion pieces of social commentary that also managed to succeed as two of the greatest and most influential Westerns, and indeed films, of their time. Created seven years apart, with Rio Bravo intended as a direct …
Man of the West Directed by Anthony Mann Written by Reginald Rose US, 1958 Anthony Mann directed more than 40 films but is mostly known for his remarkable collaborations with Jimmy Stewart during the 1950s. These five westerns aren’t as well-known as the genre legends but match them in quality and depth. In Winchester ’73 …