Monday, September 03, 2007

Kathleen Previews New (sort of) Western

A new Western movie? My baby loves 'em. Naturally we couldn't wait, and with a "sneak preview" available last night, we didn't have to. "3:10 To Yuma" will be out in general release Sept 7, and for all you Western fans, we're flashing two thumbs up.

I sort of remember the original 1957 version. The title, anyway. Definitely the stars. I was a big Glenn Ford fan. But when I heard there was a remake on the way, I had to look it up to learn that this was a ground breaker in its day. The first "psychological" Western. It was (and is) based on an Elmore Leonard short story, which shows in the dialog. It starts out as your basic good vs evil Western, but as the layers of character are peeled back, it becomes delightfully more complex--certainly in the 2007 version. (I just put the 1957 version in my queue.)

You can't go wrong with Christian Bale and Russell Crow. They live up to our expectations in this one--intense, deliciously troubled, deep, but they deliver some humor, too, and it works beautifully despite the considerable blood-letting. It's fun to watch them play off each other.

Loved the camera work. They can do so much more to give you the feel of the action than they could 50 years ago. The only shots that didn't work for me were some of the closeups on horseback. They had to be riding some easy walkers. But that's just me. The Monument Valley setting was a wonderful toast to the classic Western, and how appropriate that Peter Fonda played a role. He's no Henry, but he's good.

And the story?

Hard-luck rancher, family man, good guy (Bale) takes on the job (on the promise of $200 reward) of getting a hardened criminal (Crow) to the train bound for Yuma prison, while the meanest gang in the West, hell-bent to save him, creates carnage. On the road, stuff happens. Black and white turn to grey in a world where there's precious little good, and two interesting characters gradually reveal themselves. Okay, the ending is a stretch, but it's based on a short story, remember.

Westerns. Anybody miss them besides me? What's your favorite? Who's the best cowboy ever?


Michele Hauf said...

Westerns are about the only movie genre I avoid like the plague (except slasher horror flicks; ugg).


Christian Bale.

I am so there!


Candace said...

Love westerns. Well, those old westerns made by John Houston and usually starring John Wayne. Red River. The Searchers. Rio Bravo. Rio Grande. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. And on and on... I have them all on DVD. Even the little known The Angel and the Badman. Well worth renting if you can find it.

I think the last western I saw at the movies was Silverado with a very young Kevin Costner. And Dances with Wolves. (Does that count as a western?).

I so did not like the last Eastwood western, Unforgiven. Too much gore. Too many evil people. Nobody you could root for.

I tend to like guys with white hats in westerns, metaphorically speaking. I want to see good prevail in the end.

Cathy said...

I grew up watching western's with my dad and my favorite is El Dorado with John Wayne, James Caan and Robert Mitchum.

Betina Krahn said...

I grew up with westerns and really love a great, taciturn cowboy. (Gary Cooper. sigh.) I can't wait to see this movie!

Great cowboys I have seen and loved:
Clint Eastwood in PALE RIDER.
Sam Elliot and Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer in TOMBSTONE
Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall in OPEN RANGE (My dad LOVED that one!)
Also the LONESOME DOVE stuff with Tom Sellick and Robert Duvall

And I used to watch every John Wayne movie. . . adored the predictable bar fight and gosh-m'am romance. Adored RIO BRAVO. But my favorites now are the ones he did later in life with Kathryn Hepburn: TRUE GRIT and the follow-up ROOSTER COGBURN AND THE LADY.

I have to say, I'm delighted to see Crow tuck into a role like this-- he is great whether he plays a goodie or not!

Thanks, Kathleen!

Debra Dixon said...

Kathleen-- Just caught up with this one today. Great! I've been on the fence about this and am delighted to know you thought it worth the time.

I love a good western and not being a horse person, the filmmakers get a mostly "free pass" on any of the horse riding. :)

Helen Brenna said...

I love all the traditionals, but has anyone else seen The Quick and the Dead? Sharon Stone (don't like her usually, but she's great in this one) Russell Crowe, Leonardo DeCaprio, and Gene Hackman. Cool movie.

Cathy, I didn't know James Caan had ever been in a western. He must've been pretty young.

Looking forward to seeing this one, Kathy.

Ktzmom said...

Helen - I have seen "The Quick and the Dead", Gene Hackman, Russell Crow, Sharon Stone, Leonardo DiCaprio, how can you go wrong?? I love this movie.

I am a fan of westerns although I haven't seen a ton of the "older" westerns I love Tombstone, although not as much as I love Wyatt Earp. I like The Quick and the Dead and Lonesome Dove. I bought that mini series Into the West but haven't had a chance to watch it yet. Can't wait to see this movie. Does Shanghi Noon count as a western???

Kaitlin said...

I'm a sucker for Clint Eastwood's spaghetti westerns...mostly because he was HAWT! :)