With all the excitement for fast cars, flying super heroes, dinosaurs and international spies each summer, some of us who enjoy our slow burn stories from the 19th century have to consider ourselves lucky if we get one western picture (from a big studio) in a year. But saddle up pardner, this year we get/got several. And if the quality of Slow West, The Keeping Room and The Salvation (and some might consider Far From Men or The Homesman 2015 western releases) is any indication, the two we’ve got coming up from Quentin and Craig Zahler are going to be real treats.
Bone Tomahawk brings Kurt Russell back into the western genre and also stars Richard Jenkins, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox and holy shit it’s Sean Young!
Though this is a directorial debut from Zahler, this trailer has gotten me pretty excited to get my boots dusty with Bone Tomahawk in between all of the explosive mega-blockbusters coming in this last gasp of 2015.
Bears, Hypothermia, Buried Alive and Tom Hardy, O My! Leonardo DiCaprio goes full on Grizzly Adams in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s long take snow-caked visceral revenge western. We were teased earlier this year with the bleak gorgeous images and ambitious shot-length strategy of the film earlier this year, but this new trailer offers a lot more Tom Hardy, who plays the villain of the piece, and a fair bit more of the plot of the film.
After being left for dead and buried alive after a bear attack, Hugh Glass (A Grizzly Adams bearded Leonardo DiCaprio) seeks out the sonuvabitch (Tom Hardy) who also had a hand in murdering his son. Vengeance and long-take action sequences ensue.
The whole thing looks to be gloriously next-level-big-canvas epic, as Alejandro González Iñárritu continues his mission (along with his Mexican cohort, Alfonso Cuaron) to re-evaluate film grammar and the long take the digital age of cinema.
Prominently featuring Kurt Russell and Samuel L. Jackson, I’m getting a very delicious Django meets The Thing vibe here. Paranoia, guns, shacks, prisoners, a laundry list of great character actors (Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Demian Bichir, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Gene Jones, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Zoe Bell) and a lot of excellent dialogue. It is oh so easy to be all in for this 70mm shot western.
Back in January, Kurt posted a short teaser for the SXSW 2015 Audience Award Winner Turbo Kid. He noted then that while it was directed by three mostly unknown Canadian directors–Anouk Whissell, François Simard, and Yoann-Karl Whissell–it’s produced by Hobo With a Shotgun director Jason Eisener and also stars Michael Ironside as the deliriously evil villain.
Today, we have the full trailer for your viewing pleasure… and I’m pleased to say that Turbo Kid looks absolutely glorious. Full of action and gore, over-the-top characters and humor, and an insane looks at a bizarrely contemporary dystopian future (or past?), it looks like some sort of twisted love child between Mad Max, Kick-Ass, and an old-school NES game.
The film hits select theaters and VOD on August 28th.
Outside of the lengthy “Game of Thrones” discussion this week (which covers the last two episodes), we manage to stay pretty spoiler free, despite a main review for part of the 2015 western resurgence in Slow West. Also, Andrew hits the theater for the latest Cameron Crowe joint from Hawaii and the Brian Wilson / Beach Boys biopic, Love & Mercy. On the “television” front, Netflix and Kurt hangout for about 12 hours in the compelling mess that is “Sense8” and Andrew finds enough commuting time to follow-up with Adnan and friends in the “Undisclosed” podcast. It’s a jam packed show full of fire and Australia; yes all of it (copyright Mark Kermode).
As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!
Ahh, westerns. We love ’em so much here in the third row, they have their own category.
Slow West premiered to positive reviews at Sundance this year and by the looks of the trailer, I can see why. The film, which is directed by John Maclean, stars Michael Fassbender as a gunslinger guiding a young man, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road), across the west to find his love. It co-stars Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, Killing Them Softly), Rory McCann (Game of Thrones), and Brooke Williams.
It looks a little less gritty and a little more fun–that’s to say a little less Wild Bunch and a little more Josey Wales.
Slow West drops in select theaters on May 15, 2015.
If you never saw Tommy Lee Jones’s 2005 directorial debut The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, do yourself a favor and get a copy of it. If you never watched his follow up feature, an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Sunset Limited (my review), then you’ve missed out on a masterpiece.
Needless to say, I’m eager to watch his next feature, The Homesman, which is his take on a classic western tale. He’ll also be starring in the film alongside Hilary Swank, who plays a woman who recruits Jones’s character to help her escort three mentally unstable women from Nebraska to Iowa.
If the plot doesn’t do much for you, maybe the rest of the cast will: Meryl Streep, Hailee Steinfeld, William Fichtner, James Spader, John Lithgow, Tim Blake Nelson, Miranda Otto, Grace Gummer (Streep’s daughter), and Jesse Plemons round out the cast.
While the film premieres at Cannes back in May, it hits theaters stateside on November 7, 2014.
How Seth McFarlane got Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron and Amanda Seyfried to star in this is beyond my ken. But here it is, nonethless: A cheeky, silly, gory and frankly two-bit parody of ‘The American Frontier’ that looks to be planned out on the back of a cocktail napkin. Blazing Saddles this aint. If McFarlane is going for the inanity and diminishing returns of the Wayan Brothers’ ‘xxxx-Movie’ franchise, all that is proven here is that Keenon Ivory and Marlon are better actors than he. I’ll give it this though, the posters are pun fun though.
Other than a musical performance of The Blue Danube by some townfolks at one point, there is little sugar in the western town they call Sweetwater. There is, however, unfettered corruption in all positions of authority. The bank, bears the ironic moniker of Hugh’s Integrity and Trust, but Hugh (the always excellent Stephen Root) takes great delight in the act of all but robbing his customers. The current sheriff is a lazy and incompetent blowhard and the local brothel madame (Amy Madigan)sold her own daughter into the prostitute trade without a second thought about it. The general store’s proprietor has a Porky’s style peephole for watching the few ladies in town strip down to their underwear when trying on the fancy dresses he retails. All are under the iron fist of Josiah, the preacher and literal shepherd who runs the biggest Ranch in the valley, called Holy Land (a western counterpart to Django Unchained’s Candi Land.) Josiah is tightly wound, spiritually crazy and exudes 24 karat hypocrisy through every pore of his alabaster skin. Jason Isaacs, here plays one of those great mustache twirling madmen who at one point crucifies someone on an upside down cross. Sweetwater is that kind of movie.
Saddling up a near A-list cast of character actors heaping on gobs of production-value, in the parlance of our times, Sweetwater is a western trashterpiece. The film might be an acquired taste, but for those who might detect its tannins and notes of ironic humour and wordplay in the story, there are many, many delights. In rapid succession we are introduced to a bearded Mormon-Prophet Josiah and his particular brand of apocalyptic preaching, the playfully competent prancing hired lawman, Jackson (Ed Harris – whose manner and wardrobe seem to be channeling Doctor Who), and the straight-backed frontierswoman, Sarah (January Jones) frolicking with her Mexican husband, Miguel (Eduardo Noriega) on their dusty ranch property in the dusky evening. We will watch all of these actors chew scenery in their own fashion over the course of the next 100 minutes. They will make elaborate speeches, offer flinty glares, and dwell a bit in their idiosyncrasies before the obligatory climax in which everyone will shoot at each other. But O Brother! What scenery will be chewed before we get there.