Browse Tag: mexico

RECAP: The Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch (1969): Sam Peckinpah

Sam Peckinpah made a career antagonizing his actors and bludgeoning the public over their heads with messages an imagery. In his 1969 masterpiece, the man who would consider himself an outlaw director made a film about the low down, most rootin’-est, tootin’-est cowboys seen in American cinema.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A wild bunch of thieves and do-no-gooders robs a railroad company, a train, and a Mexican general, outruns the US Army and bounty hunters, and all for the fun of it.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Logan

Logan (2017): James Mangold

Playing Wolverine for the seventh and final time (in a feature role), Hugh Jackman wanted to end his career as most folks’ favorite mutant with a slash. Can Wolverine go out any other way?

Joining Jackman, and also for the last time, is Sir Patrick Stewart as Xavier. These two actor/character combinations began life on film in the previous century, before 9/11, GMO plants, and Donald Trump. In other words, a world ago.

Wow, they delivered a great movie.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: In the future the X-Men have disbanded, leaving Wolverine (just “Logan” now, thanks) to care for a dying Xavier and help a new mutant.  Continue Reading

RECAP: The Magnificent Seven (1960)

The Magnificent Seven (1960): John Sturgis

Hollywood has remade so many films in its century-plus of moviemaking that it can be forgiven remaking remakes. Ideas might cost nothing, but filming those ideas is expensive.

Widely regarded (by Americans, anyway) as Japan’s finest film, John Sturgis remade The Seven Samurai as The Magnifcent Seven. America and Mexico never had samurai, so Sturgis and company threw in the best New World equivalents: gunslingers.

And the stars lined up in droves. Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn all feature. Clint Eastwood was busy that year, perhaps. The septumvirate helps elevate the film into one of the gold standards of Westerns.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Seven magnificent hired guns help save a Mexican village from perennial food thieves.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Sicario

Sicario (2015): Denis Villeneuve

What’s more dangerous, more convoluted than policing the drug trade? That question is raised by the 2015 drug update Sicario. What does “sicario” mean? According to the intro, it’s what the Jews called people who actively opposed Roman leaders. In Mexico, a sicario is a hitman.

Acclaimed cinematographer Roger Deakins picked up his 13th overall and fourth consecutive Oscar nomination, all of them losses. The visuals were terrific, but I found Johann Johannsson’s Oscar-nominated score the movie’s real star.

Deakins and Josh Brolin both worked on another movie focusing on the drug war around El Paso, 2008’s Best Picture winner No Country for Old Men.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: The US wages secret war against the Mexican drug cartels.  Continue Reading