THE BROTHERS SISTERS (2018)

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A film by Jacques Audiard

Cast: John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal

Charlie and Elie Sisters live in a wild and hostile world, they have blood on their hands from the criminals, from the innocents … They kill anything on their path, after all  It’s their job. Charlie, the youngest, was born for that. Elijah dreams only of a normal life. They are hired by the Commodore to search for and kill a man. From Oregon to California, an implacable hunt begins, an initiatory journey that will experience this crazy link that unites them. A path to their humanity?

who would of know that Audiard a French director would done one day a western in a english language with Americans actors and a great cast at that. Reilly went to the Deauville film festival and ask Audiard to read this book because he wanted to make it a film and wanted to play in it to top it all off. He was a fan of Audiard’s film like I am saying to Audiard this one is has your name written all over it. Audiard loved the book and decided to do hi first adaptation. And what a film it is.

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The backdrop of the story is the gold rush that is going to take place. But here the brothers has to do one job kill a man. We follow the brothers who are like growing man in a 12 years old mind. The pairs are cold-hearted hit man for the dude named the Commodore. Charlie (Joaquin Phoenix) is this Heavy drinker running after whores while Eli is more looking after his brother. The opening of the film is outstanding in this shoot out in the dark night. The brothers do not give too much thought about killing a household full of people. What I like about it is the reason remain unknown. Just used your imagination. On the way we meet two other characters Hermann Kemit  warm (Riz Ahmed)  and Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal), a British-accented bounty hunter for hire. Along the way the brothers who are on the trail of the man they have to kill will and will leave themselves a bloody trail, after all they have a reputation. Here Rielly delivers a comic performance that is well in balance with the terrific acting of Phoenix after all they  demonstrate tremendous chemistry throughout the film. It is a tale about with a sentimental heart, in a dangerous blood trail deep in alcohol. A must see.

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HOSTILES (2017)

HOSTILES (2017)

A film by Scott Cooper

Cast: Scott Shepherd, Rosamund Pike, Ava Cooper, Christian Bale

Capt. Joseph J. Blocker (Christian Bale) one of America’s best is reluctant but agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family to his land in Montana so he can peacefully died of cancer and buried there.

The beginning of the film the directors takes you in the 1800’s where a man and his family of three kids and wife are peacefully minding their own business. But when suddenly a bunch of indians wants their horses and set fire to their ranch, so the husband defends his territory as the woman and kids runs away. no one is spared but the woman escape. That is the first part. the second part is going to collide and fits in the first part beautifully well.

Now the other part of the story is that Capt. Blocker who hates Indians because he lost so may of his friends who was killed by Indians. He wants them dead. The thing is here is that the Indians where here first so the  white man here decided to get rid of the Indians and get their land which creates their monstrous massacre . To them they are savages. Here is a man who has a lot of anger and have seen violence for seven years. Christian Bale here incarnates beautifully well his character so as his the cast: Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Ben Foster, Scott Wilson, Q’orianka Kilcher and Timothee Chalamet. So he goes on his journey where it is going to be dangerous and a detour will come his way. Taking a bunch of his men with them, are they going to make it alive?

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It becomes evident later on the journey where Blocker recovers his humanity by learning to tolerate the Indians . It is a question of redemption. The gorgeous look is by cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi. Also the film here is staying true to history where as the costumes and the design are authentic. It is a bit like a vintage western like they used to make in the old days. Here is a sincere  and intelligent, well written script where the mission is doomed from the start.

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SWEETWATER (2013)

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A film by Logan Miller, Noah Miller

Cast: Ed Harris, January Jones, Jason Isaacs

Jones is a former prostitute named Sarah in the late 1800s. She has moved on from that life, and married a Mexican man named Miguel (Noriega), which a local preacher does not like them much.. One day Sarah is looking for Miguel who has not come home. Suddenly as the days goes by the preacher wants her land and all hell breaks loose soon after.

Here is this little western who slipped under the radar a revenge tale. You have this crazy  sheriff who is not crazy about the preacher and a preacher well who is evil. Sarah who is this woman who owns land with her husband is already getting shafted at the bank that is stealing their money to top it all off the preacher wants their land. Here is a slow pressure cooker western that is solid but this time it is a woman who is getting revenge. The preacher here has his way of doing thing saying that is god way and most of the time it is violent. The sheriff however knows that the preacher is up to no good and is pissing him off. The sheriff plays by Ed Harris who plays this eccentric sheriff is the best character her in the film. The cast is terrific here plus I like the fact that Sarah has a purple dress on a horse looking for a prey and what she does with the peeping tom that’s got to hurt. Like I said I think this one has slipped under the radar give a try.

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MAN IN THE WILDERNESS (1971)

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A film by Richard C. 

Cast: Richard Harris, John Huston, Henry Wilcoxon

1820. A trapper, left for dead after having been wounded by a grizzly bear, tries to survive in a hostile nature with only one idea in mind: revenge his former companions, led by a visionary captain whose ship is dragged By 28 mules through a territory  infested with Indians …

The film focuses on an 1820 trapping expedition to the Northwest territory led by Captain Henry (John Huston), a former naval commander. The opening of the film where Henry and his crew are hauling a loads of furs on a boats on wheels pulled by 20 mules and what a raw site that is in this raw nature, they are trying to get to the Mississippi river before the Indians gets them. When two trapper goes hunting one get hurt by a bear and his left on the side of the road to die.

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The thing is is that here is a man who is left on the side on the road to die. But this man named Bass (Richard Harris) has this incredible will to survive. With broken ribs and a broken leg is trying to get to the convoy back to his friends to seeks revenge. Richard C. Sarafian has been able to capture the essence of nature where back in the day men was hunting to get food and fur. There is flashback when he was an orphan and so on. The dialogue is minimal. Sarafian relies on facial expressions and the ever-changing landscape to evoke a sense of wonder and mystery. It is the law of the jungle here one must feed himself and in order to do that has to kill. Kill to eat or die and get eaten. Which it is clear in Bass’s case. It is as realistic as it gets here. The formula is simple no heroes, no bastard here, and no clichés. Well done Mr.Sarafian. 

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THE DARK VALLEY (2014)

 

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A film by Andreas Prochaska

Cast: Sam Riley, Tobias Moretti, Paula Beer

Through a hidden path a stranger arrives in this little town hidden away by the mountains. The stranger wants to stay until spring but nobody knows where he comes from, they know this much they do not want him here.

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The stranger named Greider is hosted in a hostile and suspicious way, especially by the six Brenner brothers who terrorize the village and whose father owns all the land. He is lodged by a widow who lives with her daughter, Luzi, about to marry the young Lucas. Greider begins by photographing the village, its inhabitants, the valley, he tells Luzi that he lived in Texas, he wears strange serrated spurs and hides a Winchester-type rifle unknown in this  town. Flash back reveals the village’s heavy secret little by little you are beginning to know what the stranger is doing here in this little town, and it is not going to be pretty. Here is a patient, intelligent man waiting for the ideal moment to let his purpose be known. It is nothing that you are already seen in western but this one takes places in Austria’ alps. The film is  incompatible to the traditional American Western.

Also the story takes a spin once you know the secrets of the town and providing the flashback. Andreas Prochaska showers  this film in mystery and you are going to sense the blood bath that is going to follow. The cinematography captures the raw paysage of winter as well as spring. The dark valley here fells like a Clint Eastwood film like the one High Plain Drifter. This film however is an adaptation of the book I think of the same name I am not sure yet.

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BRIMSTONE (2017)

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A film by Martin Koolhoven

Cast: Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, Carice van Houten

In the American West, at the end of the XIX century. Liz, a young woman of about twenty years, leads a peaceful life with her family. But her life will shift one day when a sinister preacher visits them. Liz will have to leave  because this man hunts her without respite since childhood …

It is going to be a narrative in 4 parts pompously titled “Apocalypse”, “Exodus”, “Genesis” and “Retribution”.  The center of the story here is around the character of Dakota Fanning named Liz. She finds the preacher who is like a satanic preacher who is driven by lust, revenge and hatred. Liz here will be followed by her aggressor who without listing go is tuning liz’s life a living hell with a few twist and turn. Each chapter are like flashback.The film stretches nearly two and a half hours, and focus of how vicious and cruel is the west back then ruling by cruel and vicious man where woman will have little right to exist let along have human right before they get beaten. Beautiful performances by the actors here.  Dakota’s character here is a strong will woman who will learn how to survive but will make a lot of sacrifices along the way. As for Guy Pearce here incarnate this preacher who has its own demons who is sadistic in may ways. He lives into his own little world of pain, pervertion and violence. This western is going to feel like diabolical in many ways and yes it stands out with the other great western.

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BONE TOMAHAWK (2015)

 

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A film by S. Craig Zahler

Cast: Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox

Here is an original idea for a western , well it is a western / horror genre film. Shot in 21 days 45 miles outside of L.A. Bone Tomahawk never feels like your typical western.
The story goes like this a female doctor, and Two others are taken from a jail. It looks like it is the Indians who has abducted them but is it really Indians ? And if so what kind of Indians are they?

 
This film is going too become a classic cult film. The dialogue is outstanding here is  some of the great dialogue plus there are the fluid boundaries between criminality, the law and savagery, sacrilege and faith. Here is 4 guys one with crushes who is on a the trail to find and rescue the others that has been taken. It is the wild that is going to be a challenge and then later a plan to get the others. Pay attention to the dialogue here. I think Hollywood needs to learn from independent film making here. This western surprised me here big time a little warning there some gore into it and  it is going to be unpleasant to watch. The film is at its purest raw form.  Kurt and the rest of the cast are fantastic in it their chemistry are flowing through their veins. I am going to get that one in my collection.

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