REVIEW: ‘Power of the Dog’ is a well crafted character study that digs deep

The concept of masculinity is explored and deconstructed in this new Netflix feature, set where the prairies meet the Rocky Mountains.

“Power of the Dog,” directed by Jane Campion, takes place during the 1920s in Montana. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Phil Burbank in the film, a tough cattle rancher with a rough personality.

While Phil seems mystified by the life of a rancher in the western side of the nation, his brother George (Jesse Plemons) is less fascinated by the cowboy career and has ambitions of settling down. He does just that when he meets and later marries a restaurant owner named Rose (Kirsten Dunst). The film then follows how Phil often finds himself at odds with the rest of his family.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Power of the Dog’ is a well crafted character study that digs deep”

REVIEW: ‘Harder they Fall’ is full of western fun

Those who loved the scene in Django Unchained where a shootout had a 2Pac song playing over it should find a lot of enjoyment in this Netflix feature.

The protagonist of “They Fall” is Nat Love (Jonathan Majors), an outlaw who saw his parents killed in front of him as a young boy. Since then, he’s made it a priority to take out the people responsible, and by the time the movie gets underway, there’s just one left.

That individual is the dangerous criminal Rufus Buck (Idris Elba), who at the beginning of the film is imprisoned. However, during a train stick-up, Rufus is released. With news of Buck’s release spreading, Nat decides to go after the criminal and his gang with a group of outlaws he’s friends with.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Harder they Fall’ is full of western fun”

REVIEW: Eastwood’s ‘Cry Macho’ is a misfire

Clint Eastwood is once again sporting a cowboy hat in his latest movie, but this one doesn’t take place in the old west.

In “Cry Macho,” Eastwood portrays Mike Milo, a retired rodeo star and horse breeder who was just cut from his job. His former boss Howard Polk (Dwight Yoakam) hires him for a different job at the movie’s outset, though.

Polk’s son, Rafo (Eduardo Minett) lives in Mexico and is allegedly being abused. Mike’s job is to bring Rafo back to the United States, so the father and son can reunite. While reluctant, Mike takes the job, meets Rafo and the two go on a journey from Mexico City to the U.S. border.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Eastwood’s ‘Cry Macho’ is a misfire”

REVIEW: Not much good to report in ‘News of the World’

Before there was Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Walter Cronkite, there was Tom Hanks’s character Jefferson Kidd. At least according to “News of the World.”

In the film, directed by Paul Greengrass, Hanks plays Jefferson Kidd, a former Civil War captain who now earns a living by going from town-to-town in Texas to read the top headlines and stories from the nation’s largest newspapers. Set in 1870, reconstruction is still a work in progress, with some parts of Texas remaining dangerous while others are lined with United States soldiers.

The movie picks up with Kidd on his way to a different town for another news delivery. Along the way, he finds a young girl, Johanna (Helena Zengel), who’s near a broken down wagon. From paperwork in the wagon, Kidd learns that Johanna was taken in by a Native American tribe after the deaths of her parents, and that she was supposed to be taken to surviving family members in another part of the state. Kidd is then instructed by officials to take her to reunite with her family members, which is a tough, 400 mile journey.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Not much good to report in ‘News of the World’”

REVIEW: ‘First Cow’ is a strong film about gentle people

How now, first cow?

This feature from the studio A24 does in fact feature a cow, but it also includes a whole lot more. The movie is set in the early 1820s, during the days where pioneers pushed west for trades such as gold and fur. We’re immediately introduced to Otis “Cookie” Figowitz (John Magaro), a cook who’s part of a fur trading group making their way to a fort.

Cookie isn’t exactly on friendly terms with the others in the team, though, as they claim he doesn’t provide enough food. Once he gets to the fort, though, he does manage to start a friendship with a Chinese immigrant named King-Lu (Orion Lee), who he met earlier during his travels. Not only do the two form a bond, they also begin a money-making scheme where they secretly milk the first cow brought to the area and use it to make high quality baked goods.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘First Cow’ is a strong film about gentle people”

LAMB Special: Large Association of Movie Blogs Movie of the Month, Stagecoach

“The Grapes of Wrath” is probably the main reason John Ford is one of my favorite directors of all time. But it’s his extended filmography, including 1939’s “Stagecoach” that cements the legacy.

Recently, the 1939 black and white classic just so happened to win the Large Association of Movie Blogs’ Movie of the Month event for August. As a fan, I’m more than happy to talk about it.

Continue reading “LAMB Special: Large Association of Movie Blogs Movie of the Month, Stagecoach”

REVIEW: ‘Wind River’ Works As Crime Drama And An Emotional Character Piece

Taylor Sheridan, who wrote two the great “Sicario” in 2015 and the superb “Hell or High Water” last year, returned to write a third movie and this time he directed, too.

The film is “Wind River” and the name is based on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, where the picture takes place. The movie tells the story of Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), a tracker and hunter working for the Bureau of Land Management who comes across the body of a murdered woman on the reservation.

As a result, Lambert gets in contact with the Tribal Police Chief Ben (Graham Greene) who in turn gets assistance from an FBI agent named Jane (Elizabeth Olsen). As the three conduct the joint investigation, Lambert’s background is expanded upon and the audience learns that he lost a daughter and she was discovered similarly to the woman that he found.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Wind River’ Works As Crime Drama And An Emotional Character Piece”

REVIEW: ‘Hell Or High Water,’ A Modern Western And An Instant Classic

There’s been many good films released in 2016, but “Hell or High Water” is the first I can really call great.

The movie follows the Howard brothers, an ex-convict/roughneck Tanner (Ben Foster) and a divorced dad, Toby (Chris Pine). While the two are on good terms, they don’t exactly have the same way of doing things. However, the two decide to work together in a bank-robbing scheme to save their family’s ranch in Texas.

As a result, a duo of Texas Rangers are sent after the brothers. The pair includes Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) who’s about to retire and Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham), who has to put up with Marcus’ rough personality.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Hell Or High Water,’ A Modern Western And An Instant Classic”

The Hateful Eight review

Director:

  • Quentin Tarantino

Cast:

  • Samuel L. Jackson
  • Kurt Russell
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh
  • Walton Goggins
  • Demian Bichir
  • Tim Roth
  • Michael Madsen
  • Bruce Dern
  • James Parks
  • Rated: R

In “The Hateful Eight,” Samuel L. Jackson plays Major Marquis Warren, a former member of the U.S. Cavalry and now full time Bounty Hunter in the state of Wyoming. The movie begins with Warren needing a ride after the death of his horse and that need puts him in contact with another stage coach.

This stage coach has John Ruth (Russell) riding in it. A fellow bounty hunter who is taking a prisoner, Daisy Domergue (Leigh), in to hang for an alive reward. Ruth agrees to allow Warren come along. After picking up another stranded person, a sheriff played by Walton Goggins, the group makes it to a haberdashery where they come in contact with another group of people. The situation starts to become suspicious, though, when a murder occurs.

Continue reading “The Hateful Eight review”

The Lone Ranger review

Director:
Gore Verbinski
Cast:
Johnny Depp
Armie Hammer
William Fichtner
Tom Wilkinson
Ruth Wilson
Helena Bonham Carter
Rated: PG-13

I could have earned the title of the Lone Watch Checker seeing this movie.

‘The Lone Ranger,” based on the character from the TV show that started in 1946, follows the character John Reid (Hammer). Reid is a prosecutor traveling to the wild west and eventually meets up with his older brother who is a Texas Ranger. Reid’s brother, Dan, is after a criminal named Butch (Fichtner). John joins a posse with Dan and go to get the criminal, however they are ambushed and all killed.

However, John ends up coming back from the dead and becomes a spirit walker. He meets with an Indian named Tonto (Depp), and the two of them have a common enemy in Butch. They decide to team up and bring the villain to justice. To do so, John puts on a mask and becomes the Lone Ranger.

Continue reading “The Lone Ranger review”