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Westerns

Review: Hell or High Water

Aug 22 // Rick Lash
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Hollywood is a strange place. It bombards you with marketing materials 24/7, always promising the next best, biggest and brightest, only to deliver on best and/or brightest with less regularity than a really good Major League...

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Deadwood

HBO says Deadwood movie in the works for real


It worked so well for Entourage
Aug 01
// Matthew Razak
It actually didn't work so well for Entourage.  When shows go off the air its often popular for fans to clamor for more in the form of a movie, even when that show concluded on its own and probably shouldn't go on. HBO's...
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Magnificent Seven trailer

The new Magnificent Seven remake trailer feels like a rompy riff on the source material


Playing cowboy in a cowboy movie
Jul 19
// Hubert Vigilla
John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven was an excellent riff on Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, full of distinct characters, solid performances, and that memorable theme song. I was a bit skeptical about Antoine Fuqua helming a ...
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Dark Tower

First look at Idris Elba in The Dark Tower


And a very photoshopped EW cover
Jul 14
// Matthew Razak
If everything goes to plan Stephen King's Dark Tower adaptations will be a long running movie and TV franchise and it all officially kicks off with this image (and a cover) of Idris Elba as the gunslinger Roland and a fe...

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Not that magnificent
When you're discussing The Magnificent Seven you're discussing some serious pedigree. The movies it is based on are two of the greatest of the genres (samurai and western) so remaking it is a daunting task. I thought tha...

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Magnificent Seven

First look at Denzel Washington in The Magnificent Seven


Still not as cool as Steve McQueen
Apr 19
// Matthew Razak
As far as remakes go (or in this case remakes of remakes) it's pretty easy to actually get excited for The Magnificent Seven. Antoine Fuqua is directing Denzel Washinton in a Western. After The Equalizer that's pretty ea...
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Maybe Roland will finally make it
I was pretty confident that this round of "we're making a Dark Tower" movie was going to end in the same way all the others did: cancellation. However, they got a director and then there were casting rumors and now we have ac...

The Hateful Eight 70mm photo
The Hateful Eight 70mm

Here's a list of cities showing Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight in 70mm


Cast will be at select 70mm screenings
Dec 14
// Hubert Vigilla
Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight is one of our most anticipated films of the year. (Look for the review by our own Alec Kubas-Meyer in the coming days.) The film will be out on Christmas Day in 70mm format before releasi...
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Dark Tower

Matthew McConaughey up for villain role in The Dark Tower


The Man in Black is all right, all right
Nov 17
// Matthew Razak
If you said to me that Matthew McConaughey was going to star in The Dark Tower films being made I'd instantly think he'd be playing Roland, the Stephen King series's protagonist. However, Variety is reporting that he's b...
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The Revenant

Second trailer for The Revenant nearly as crazy as the first


I ain't afraid to die anymore
Sep 29
// Matthew Razak
If the stories are true the shoot for Alejandro G. Iñárritu's The Revenant was particularly brutal and I think it shows. The first trailer was ballsy, but this one is just visceral as all hell. It...
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This looks... kind of normal
So I'm guessing I'll be hitting up an unpopular opinion here, but this first trailer for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight isn't really getting me that excited. It's probably the trailer itself and nothing to do with...

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Hateful Eight

New Hateful Eight image rides into town


Does this look like a bad photoshop?
Jul 02
// Matthew Razak
EW is giving its Comic Con preview this week and that means it has a ton of new looks including all those first looks at Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Just slight less exciting (or more, depending on your opinion of su...

Review: Slow West

May 25 // Per Morten Mjolkeraaen
[embed]219486:42403:0[/embed] Slow WestDirector: John MacleanRelease Date: May 15, 2015Rated: R   In its short runtime (just 85 minutes), Slow West introduces us to the odd couple, Jay (Kodi Smith-McPhee) and Silas (Michael Fassbender), who wander through the 19th Century frontier to a reach Jay's lost love, Rose (Caren Pistorius). Jay and Rose were born and raised in Scotland, and where Jay sees a love interest, Rose sees the younger brother she never had. For reasons unknown, Rose and her father (Game of Thrones' Rory McCann) emigrated to the outskirts of Colorado. They live in a small house in the midst of a vast field of corn and grass, like a picturesque postcard of colorful and untouched nature. Their home is an idyllic one, representing calmness and solitude, and where the only disturbance seems to be a friendly native that once in awhile shows up to partake in their freshly made coffee. It represents the destination of Jay and Silas' journey across the treacherous lands, and it is an enviable one. However, danger lies between them in more ways than one, as a small group of bounty hunters are following their tracks, lead by Payne (Ben Mendelsohn). This concept of beauty and calmness is recreated and reinforced by the cinematography of Robbie Ryan. He manages to use the New Zealand woodlands to capture a lost age on film, and every frame is composed with care and dedication. His magnum opus is a late action scene, where he singlehandedly strengthens the entire movie with his observant lens. As gunmen appear and disappear in a low cornfield – like a bloody game of Whack-A-Mole – the stationary composition makes for a fantastically hilarious scene, and one would have been dead on arrival in the hands of a lesser cinematographer. As the film rushes by – and it does – our two compadres cross paths with a handful of fun and interesting characters, from a Swedish family to a mysterious, lone researcher and, of course, a run-in or two with the bounty hunters. They are all caricatures of the Western genre. Silas is the archetypical lone wanderer who cares little – and says even less – but may find redemption through an unlikely friendship. Jay is the innocent and pure, who follows his heart and still believes there is love in a world where a single coin could have you killed. The bounty hunters are... bounty hunters, but Ben Mendelsohn almost steals the show as Payne. Although he only makes a few appearances, the man in the comically large fur coat makes plenty of it with a love for absinthe and drunken gibberish.  Although the dialogue is fairly scarce, Slow West seems intent on saying something with it. Mendelsohn's Payne is a fair example (so is Fassbender's Silas), but most intriguing is the lone researcher. I hesitate to quote him, as I always support the idea of seeing a movie as blind as possible, but his short appearance is mysterious in more ways than one. The best way I can describe him is with a parallel to the video game, Red Dead Redemption, where you can meet a man dressed all in black, who appears and disappears as he pleases – always with a thought-provoking word for you. What it all means, if anything at all, is up for you to decide. In any case, this mysterious researcher in Slow West lingers in my mind still.  And thus we've come to the movies biggest draw: its comedy. Slow West is absolutely hilarious at times. It is bleak and black, like something pulled straight from a Coen brothers movie or a less-polished Tarantino gag. At one point, Jay and Silas comes across a skeleton crushed by a tree, with an ax in its hand. They make dispassionate comments about Darwinism and move on. In the final action sequence, the entire crew must have had a field day a work as it may be the funniest explosive climax to a Western movie since Django Unchained. However, the comedy isn't omnipresent and disappears completely in certain scenes, leaving us with a movie lost between two states.This is not to say I dislike cross-genre movies, au contraire, I can really love them, but to attain my love, it has to function as a whole. Whenever a movie can't function like this – caught between two genres – the end result is one which struggles to find its own identity. A movie can be as beautifully shot, directed or acted as it wants to, but without its own identity – its own soul – it will never be remembered for long.  Slow West is without a doubt a fun and, above all, efficient ride. Too many movies overstay their welcome, and there's something to be said for a filmmaker who respects the audience's time. Maclean proves this with Slow West.
Slow West photo
Michael Fassbender is Sad Silas
John Maclean's feature debut, Slow West, is an ambitious one. It is a pastiche of the classic American westerns – a celebration of the genre – and comparisons and parallels to master directors like Quentin Taranti...

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Eight is great
If ever a film had a strange road to the screen it's The Hateful Eight, but after a cancellation and a strange live reading it is coming and we now have our first look at the titular eight. EW brings to us the line up of all ...

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The first trailer for Slow West is visually stunning


Michael Fassbender and Ben Mendelsohn star in hilarious and thrilling western
Mar 24
// Per Morten Mjolkeraaen
A24 should be everybody's favorite movie distribution/production company at this point. With movies like Spring Breakers, The Bling Ring, Enemy, Under the Skin, The Rover, Locke, Obvious Child, A Most Violent Year and the up...

Review: The Homesman

Nov 14 // Megan Porch
[embed]218594:41972:0[/embed] The Homesman Director: Tommy Lee Jones Release Date: November 14 2014 Rating: R The Homesman is Tommy Lee Jones' second feature film as a director. It's always interesting to see when an actor decides to branch out and try another aspect of film making. Sometimes it's a massive failure, sometimes it's a success. In this case, I'd call it a success. This film is not a typical gun-slinging fast pace western. It's a quiet, lonely tale about people who are forced to rely on each other in extraordinary circumstances. Jones handles the emotional nuances of the story well, while also making sure things don't feel like they're dragging.   Hilary Swank is easily the star of this film. There are a lot of questions about Mary Bee Cuddy that go unanswered, but I found that I didn't mind that. Swank portrays an independent woman in a time when such a thing was pretty scandalous, but at the same time, it's clear that her character does want some sort of companionship. We just never really know why she can't find it. Not only did Tommy Lee Jones direct, co-write, and produce this film, he also starred in it. His performance is pretty typical from him; he's good at crusty old men. Hilary Swank pretty much outshines him, but I did like their interaction. The two cameos in The Homesman include Meryl Streep and James Spader. Streep plays a preacher's wife at the end of the film and is lovely as always. My favorite part of this movie involved James Spader, who plays an innkeeper who refuses to let Briggs and company stay the night. Loneliness seems to be the major theme of The Homesman. The three women Cuddy is charged with each are on their own in different ways, and George Briggs starts out alone and ends up alone, as well. Cuddy, of course, is the one who truly suffers from loneliness the most. The three women are so far gone they're unaffected, and Briggs seems to prefer being on his own. But Cuddy puts on a strong face for her companions, even though on the inside, she may be hurting just as badly as the women she's helping. If you go into this movie expecting a traditional action-packed western, you will be disappointed. There are a few suspenseful moments, but all in all, it's more of a character study than it is a gun-toting adventure. The one actual fight in the film is clumsy and is basically just two guys rolling around on the ground, but I feel like that's more realistic than a lot of the badass fights other western movies have. All in all, I enjoyed The Homesman. It isn't a feel-good movie, and it certainly doesn't have a ton of action, but it left me with a respect for what people who lived in the frontier had to go through.    
The Homesman photo
Five crazy people in a wagon...
Life in the early days of pioneer life was harsh and unforgiving. The loneliness and desperation to make things work was enough to drive people to either do anything they could, or go mad trying. The glimpses of frontier life...

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Hateful Eight

Tarantino's Hateful Eight gets synopsis, full cast revealed


Nov 07
// Nick Valdez
After months of struggling with a leaked script leading to rewrites, production for Quentin Tarantino's next film, The Hateful Eight, begins next January. Because it's so close, the Weinstein Company has released both the fil...
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Denzel Washington to star in Magnificent Seven remake


Reuniting with director Antoine Fuqua and a whole lot of awesome
Sep 10
// Matthew Razak
A remake of The Magnificent Seven has been in the works for years now with Tom Cruise at one point attached (maybe he still is). But with Tarantino getting ready to drop The Hateful Eight, a Tarantino homa...
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Hateful Eight official release date an 70mm love


Because the bigger the Tarantino the better
Sep 03
// Matthew Razak
Ready for some great news? Not only is Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight coming out next year in fall of 2015, but it will also be getting one of the widest 70mm release in years. Tarantino has been long bragging abo...
FFS: The Gunfighter photo
FFS: The Gunfighter

Flix for Short: The Gunfighter, a western with Nick Offerman as the narrator


Jul 01
// Nick Valdez
From director Eric Kissack and writer Kevin Tenglin comes The Gunfighter, a short western where a man walks into a saloon and soon everyone can hear the narration of the film. It's short, hilarious, and definitely worth a watch.  So much infidelity.  [via Short of the Week]

Review: A Million Ways to Die in the West

May 30 // Nick Valdez
[embed]217776:41552:0[/embed] A Million Ways to Die in the WestDirector: Seth MacFarlaneRelease Date: May 30, 2014Rated: R A Million Ways to Die in the West stars Seth MacFarlane as Albert, a man who doesn't belong in his time period. He's essentially everything the "Wild West" is not. He's cowardly, intelligent, and doesn't know how to shoot a gun. After getting dumped by his girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried), he meets Anna (Charlize Theron), the wife of terrible criminal, Clinch (Liam Neeson), and prepares for a shootout with Louise's new boyfriend Foy (Neil Patrick Harris). And all the while, Albert is trying to avoid a horrible death brought out by living in the West.  Reviewing comedies is difficult. I believe I mention this every time I review a comedic film, but it especially bears repeating here. Seth MacFarlane has a particular brand of comedy, and your enjoyment of the film completely relies on how much "raunch" you're both willing to sit through, and find hilarious. I've got no problems with raunchy comedies, but I'm always going to consider the origin of each joke. At least in that way, I'm not going to sit here and tell you this film is "funny" or "not funny" and expect you to think the same. But, we can agree on one thing. A Million Ways is going to test your patience. Even when funny, A Million Ways drags out each joke and beats it like a dead horse.  A Million Ways plays out like an unearned Director's Cut version of itself. In a bit of self indulgence, MacFarlane's character Albert gets a ton of monologues/tirades in which he explains why the "Wild West" is such a bad place. Those speeches are indicative of the film's main problem: it's editing. It weirdly balances its comedy. In between scenes where jokes are fired in a rapid succession, you get long and stretched out patches that rely on the strength of one joke. And if the joke fails to land with you, you're going to definitely feel the length of the scene. Even when something works, however, it's continuous references throughout really kills all of its initial momentum. There are moments where gags don't get time to breathe without a character commenting on how "wacky" it is. For example, a block of ice kills a man, and rather just awkwardly soak in the absurdity of the situation, Albert yells how insane it is.  I wouldn't be focusing so much on why the comedy doesn't work if A Million Ways had something else of substance. Unfortunately, the film's unique premise (a cartoonish take on the "Wild West" from a modern perspective) is just a platform for easy jokes. Rather than create a story worth sitting through, we get a bare bones, generic western filled with excellent actors. It's missing a heart within its cynical view. There's almost no reason to stay engaged. But, as much as I didn't care about the events of the film, I did like seeing them happen. Anchored by great actors (except from Liam Neeson, who really can't do anything with what little he's given, and Sarah Silverman, who's just the butt of crude sex jokes), a lot of the film's jokes and pop culture references only work because Patrick-Harris' or MacFarlane's delivery. Say what I will about the humor, it's never done in a half-assed manner.  If you've read this far, you're probably still wondering whether or not you're going to throw your money at this. For this very situation, I have developed a litmus test. How funny does a thirty second poop joke sound to you (and that's not including all of the telegraphed build up to it)? Find it funny, add about ten to fifteen points to the score. Don't find it funny, take away ten points. All in all, A Million Ways to Die in the West is an okay film.  On a technical level everything looks good, the musical score is good, and the referential cameos are worth seeing, but everything else is hollow. A completely decent, forgettable comedy that'll get buried under every other great comedy hopefully coming our way this year.  Ted might've been a fluke. 
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We goin' straight to the Wild Wild West
Seth MacFarlane's directorial debut, Ted, was a welcome surprise. It was a mix of a charming friendship, un-ironic love of the 80s, and gratuitous amount of raunchy humor. Like the best episodes of MacFarlane's Family Guy, it...

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Seth MacFarlane's A Million Ways To Die In The West has an 8-bit game you can play


May 16
// Liz Rugg
A Million Ways To Die In The West, Seth MacFarlane's upcoming Western comedy movie, now has an 8-bit videogame counterpart online at Adult Swim. Perhaps capitalizing on the nostalgically easy-to-die-in games of the 80's 8-bit...
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Western The Salvation gets a trailer


Cowboys being cowboys
May 02
// Matthew Razak
It's always interesting to check out a Western by a director who isn't American. The genre is so ingrained in American culture that seeing it tackled from an outside perspective is always interesting. This one will be Dutch ...
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Tarantino drafting new Hateful Eight script


Did anyone really believe he wasn't going to make it eventually?
Apr 21
// Matthew Razak
The drama over Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight has been pretty crazy. After the script leaked online he swore he was going to put the film on the back burner, and then decide to hold a one-time only reading of the ...
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Quentin Tarantino live reading 'Hateful Eight' script in Los Angeles


The Spectacular One Reads the Hateful Eight
Apr 03
// Jonathan Wray
Quentin Tarantino, understandably upset when the script to Hateful Eight leaked out in January, decided to shelve the project indefinitely. Fans were upset, taking to the streets with torches and pitchforks.. nah, just kiddin...
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Green band trailer for A Million Ways to Die in the West


That title is way too long for any pithy headline
Feb 04
// Matthew Razak
Was the red band trailer for A Million Ways to Die in the West just too much for you? Then you're probably not going to want to see the movie because it's Seth McFarlane and that's what he's all about, but if you're sti...
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A Million Jokes to Die in the West
I'm not sure how I feel about the first (Red Band) trailer for Seth MacFarlane's Ted follow up, A Million Ways to Die in the West. While Ted surprisingly bent buddy movie tropes and reveled in nostalgia, A Million Ways at fi...

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8 new posters for A Million Ways to Die in the West


Get ready for some Western puns
Jan 29
// Matthew Razak
A Million Ways to Die in the West, Seth MacFarlane's Western comedy follow up to Ted, is busy putting the finishing touches on itself (sexual pun intended) for its May 30 release, and then means promotions are starting. No tr...
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Quentin Tarantino Sues Gawker Media


When I first saw this, I gawked.
Jan 28
// Mike Cosimano
Recently, Quentin Tarantino filed a contributory copyright infringement lawsuit against Gawker Media, famous for publications like Kotaku, Vallywag, and (of course) Gawker. The suit claims that, by linking to a download of Ta...
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New Django Film Announced


The "squee!" is silent
Jan 14
// Mike Cosimano
According to a press release from Point Blank Pictures, Franco Nero will reprise his famous role as the gunslinger Django in Django Lives: the canonical third installment in the Django trilogy. (Man, Django is a weird-lo...

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