Friday, April 2, 2010
TRUE GRIT CASTING ALERT! GEEZER ROLES!
Let me quickly say here how delighted I am to overnight go from two to six followers, and to get my first comment on a post! Update -- I've got a second comment! I usually don't post as early as lunch-time Friday, and I have several interesting updates, a review of the new film 6 GUNS, and an interview with its writer and co-star GEOFF MEED, which will be appearing this weekend. But for right now I am just puting up one item, in case anyone out there is a Texas-based actor or knows one. The following comes courtesy of the Acting Auditions website:
The Austin, TX casting director for the Paramount Pictures feature TRUE GRIT is urgently seeking the following roles:
FRANK JAMES – Late 60s- 80s. Must be able to portray a menacing look through his eyes!! Beady-eyed bastard. Very mean looking! Thug. Son-of-a-gun. Not a nice guy.
GRANDMA TURNER – Late 60s-80s. Must be able to portray a mean woman – decrepit & pruney looking (great wrinkles/facial lines). She snores loudly! 2 options: Old crone (mean old lady) OR a very large woman (too big to share bed w/Mattie)
GENERAL WOMEN – Frontier, hard-bitten types of WOMEN. Must have interesting faces (facial lines, crooked teeth, larger noses, weathered skin-type, hard features) Preferably longer hair w/no artificial color. They need rough frontier types – NOT modern looking. No makeup!
Filming will take place in the Austin area, Granger, and Blanco for 3 months.
Interested applicants should call the casting office asap! 512-637-6775.
People can mail photos – but calling them is preferred – as this is time sensitive!
True Grit Casting/Debbie DeLisi
c/o DW Studios Productions LLC
1901 E. 51st St., Red Bldg
Austin, TX 78723
6 GUNS - REVIEW
Most of the westerns we’ve got on the horizon have budgets from the tens to the hundreds of millions of dollars. They have expensive stars and are based on familiar properties – remakes of hits, feature versions of TV series, popular comic books. I hope they’re all good, and I hope they all do well, because every successful western helps all the others, and every failure hurts everyone. Unfortunately, almost by definition, their stories tend to be too familiar.
So it’s refreshing when someone comes up with a movie that may not have a colossal budget, but enough to do the job. Not huge stars, but familiar faces and talented actors. Not a safe literary property, but a well-written original story. And that’s what you have with 6 GUNS. It’s the first western from The Asylum, a studio with more than a hundred films to its credit.
6 GUNS is the story of a young wife and mother, Selena, played by comparative newcomer Sage Mears, who witnesses her family’s slaughter at the hands of men from her husband’s past. She falls into a deadly spiral of self-destruction, and what saves her is a little kindness, and a plan for revenge. Essential to that plan is Frank Allison, a bounty hunter played by Barry Van Dyke. Best remembered from his father Dick Van Dyke’s series, Diagnosis: Murder, Barry is at the perfect career-time for such a role: his lined and weathered face give him precisely the gravitas needed. Also on their side is Sheriff Barr, played by Greg Evigan, of B.J. And The Bear fame. He’s the sort of lawman who was probably very common in the old west, but is rarely portrayed in film – I’d spoil it if I said much more.
And they have worthy opponents -- a pack of five rattlesnakes, led by Geoff Meed, a villain whose face you’ll know immediately (see above), who not only plays the most despicable character in the story, but wrote the part for himself! Among the rest of the prairie scum is the film’s director, Shane Van Dyke, and his brother Carey, both sons of Barry.
Granted, a woman’s fight for revenge is not a new theme for a western, but when we’ve seen Raquel Welch or Sharon Stone go for it, they’ve gone through a nearly Sarah Connor/TERMINATOR-like transformation which gives it an almost comic-book unreality. Sage Mears’ Selena is so human, so frail and vulnerable, that the conclusion is not a given. Meed’s script, and Shane Van Dyke’s measured direction don’t rush the anguish to get to the shooting. But don’t worry: you get there. Cinematographer Alexander Yellin makes excellent use of striking locations and the White Horse Ranch, where most of the movie was shot, the camera thoughtfully placed to reveal more than just the action.
Some cruel and ugly things happen in this movie, but the camera doesn’t dwell voyeuristically on them. The action, like the acting, is well-handled. My immediate thought when the end titles rolled was: When do we get 7 GUNS? 6 GUNS is available now from Blockbuster, Netflix, Amazon, and wherever you buy or rent movies. To see the trailer, CLICK HERE.
DISAPPOINTING UPDATE FOR APPALOOSA II
The folks at Groundswell Productions, New Line's partners in APPALOOSA (2008)inform me that as of now, there are no plans for a sequel. On the positive side, as mentioned here before, G.P. Putnam's Sons will be publishing the last novel of the late Robert B. Parker's Virgil Long series, BLUE-EYED DEVIL, and will simultaneously issue the current hard-cover release, BRIMSTONE, in paperback, next month.
ENCOURAGING UPDATE FROM FRED OLEN RAY
I managed to briefly touch base with prolific action specialist, writer/director Fred Olen Ray, whose AMERICAN BANDITS: FRANK AND JESSE JAMES, toplining Peter Fonda, will be in video stores on May 18th. When I caught up with him, he was scouting locations in Yosemite. When I asked if that meant he was in pre-production for another western, he replied slyly, "Quite possibly."
JULIE ADAMS AT 'MONSTERPALOOZA' APRIL 9-11
Granted, Monsterpalooza is not, strictly speaking, a western event, but a celebration of 'The Art of Monsters', featuring make-up artists from the legendary Westmore and Burman families. But more relevant to our readers, along with other actors and actresses, Julie Adams, who starred in BEND OF THE RIVER, MAN FROM THE ALAMO, HORIZON'S WEST, and many other fine westerns (as well as CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON) will be present. You can read an interview with Adams in C. Courtney Joyner's fine book, THE WESTERNERS (reviewed in last week's issue). The event is at the Burbank Airport Marriott, admission is twenty bucks a day, and for more info, CLICK HERE.
SANTA CLARITA COWBOY FESTIVAL!
The 17th Annual Festival will be taking place at the fabled Melody Ranch, of Gene Autry fame, April 22nd-25th. There are many different events and activities, including eating, shopping, touring the Melody Ranch Museum, a wide range of music and dance performances -- including my personal favorites, The Quebe Sisters Band, screenings of High Noon, and of The Shootist - featuring screenwriter Miles Swarthout. There are a ton of different individual events and packages, so for more information and tickets, click here.
INTERVIEW WITH GEOFF MEED OF '6 GUNS'
As I waited to meet Geoff Meed, the author and co-star of 6 GUNS, at a Starbucks in Sherman Oaks, I idly wondered if I’d recognize him. I had nothing to worry about: he’s a very familiar, very mean-looking, face from movies and TV (see above). With a long string of acting credits, and three movies produced from his screenplays, I asked if he thought of himself more as a writer or an actor. “Pretty much just the guest-star bad-guy.”
When Geoff came from his home in Houston, Texas, to L.A. at the age of 23, he had two goals. “To either be a cop or be an actor.” With a laugh, he tells why he gave up on the LAPD. “I passed the test but failed the psychological interview. I gave the answers that the cop wanted to hear, but the schoolteacher didn’t want to hear it. And right after that I got a couple of (acting) jobs in a row, so I kinda let the cop thing go by.”
He’s been acting ever since, not always on the screen. He did a stint at the Universal Studios’ now defunct Western Stunt Show. “I’d been out here about a year, waiting tables, (working as a) bouncer, and a friend of mine saw an ad in Dramalogue. It was a great job. I did the high-fall in the west show. I think I did five western (shows), and then I went over and did three or four Conan (The Barbarian Stunt) Shows. I guess I did nine shows a day. I was pretty beat after that.”
What are his earliest cowboy memories? “The first western I ever saw, and it’s still my favorite, is ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. I loved anything Sergio Leone did -- all the ‘Man With No Name’ films: FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE. RED RIVER I liked, I liked Montgomery Clift. What’s the one with Clark Gable? THE MISFITS. But I really haven’t been a fan of any (new) westerns in a long time. TOMBSTONE I liked, because I know Michael Biehn. I did like 3:10 TO YUMA, but I’m thinking of those big Hollywood ones.”
His own experience with westerns started on TV. “I did a DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN. Played a sadistic bounty hunter. I remember I had a knife fight with Joe Lando. I did a real big episode of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN back in 1998, called VENDETTA. Tyne Daly has seven sons. Ed Lauter killed the eldest son. So I’m the leader of the brothers, and we all go after Ed Lauter, and get into a big gunfight with the magnificent seven. I think that episode won an Emmy for wardrobe.”
Geoff has been associated with The Asylum, the producers of 6 GUNS, for several years. I asked him how that association came about. It turns out that it started with the Universal Stunt Show. “Paul Bales, who is one of the Asylum officials, was one of the talent show managers at Universal Studios. I was always writing to keep myself busy. And myself and a couple of the guys thought, ‘Well, why not try and make a movie?’ So I wrote the script, for what would become UNIVERSAL SOLDIERS, and I found out that Paul Bales had left Universal, and was now the head of S.A.G. (Screen Actors Guild) Independent Filmmaking. I gave him a call, pitched him the script. And probably a year later, after he’d left and gone to The Asylum, he called and said, ‘Hey, you still got that script?’ So they bought it. That got my foot in the door over there.”
Interestingly, Geoff is not the first writer of westerns in his family. His father wrote several. “Douglas V. Meed. He wrote a lot of non-fiction stories. BLOODY BORDER was my favorite. Several short stories. Another was THEY NEVER SURRENDERED. That was about raiding Apache Indians that stole a baby and took off into the mountains. He’s passed away, but he wrote nine books. The characters in 6 GUNS I based on a lot of the real-life characters he had written about. Like Frank Allison was based on Dave Allison. Tommy Kleiber was based on Tommy Kleiber. The Cole brothers were good guys, tough good guys, but I made them bad guys for this, so I changed the names all around. Lee Horn (Geoff’s own character) was based on John Van Horn. Not big, famous guys, but pretty bloody guys. I think Dave Allison was pretty well-known. He was a sheriff out of Bisbee and Tucson Arizona.”
I asked Geoff how many drafts he wrote for 6 GUNS. “By the last day of shooting, thirteen. And the first draft I think I wrote in five days. There was a time when we had a little bit of romance with the two. We cut that out. And the sixth draft, originally I had (in the gang) a Jose and a Percy. I wanted a really grimy Jose, and a really sleazy-looking Percy. And they got a really good-looking kid for Percy, so I figured Tommy Kleiber, the El Paso Kid, fit him. And then Peter Sherayko (who replaced Jose) said he was Russian, so we made him Russian Pete. From the 7th to the 13th draft, I had to deal with location changes. Originally we were going to build the saloon at the Asylum (soundstage), but when we got to the wild west town, we figured, let’s just put it outside. The twelfth draft was literally like one page-full of changes.”
When you think of writer/actors, you think of Stallone writing ROCKY, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck writing GOOD WILL HUNTING, usually so they can write themselves a romantic lead. Geoff wrote himself the Jack Palance role. Did he ever consider playing the good guy in this one? “Did you read the 6th draft? My idea was that the only difference between the hero and the bad guy was literally side of the law – a flip of the coin. But Barry (Van Dyke) felt he should be a little more compassionate. The original vision I had for the hero, I could play that, but you want to get a star for that anyhow. So I just wrote the meanest bad guy I could, because that’s what I usually do anyway.”
Director Shane Van Dyke came onto the project without much lead time. “He came in two days before shooting. C. Thomas Howell was supposed to direct (and star in) this originally. And there were all sorts of complications. Shane had just done something for the Asylum two weeks before, and they asked Shane to do this like two days out. Glen Miller, the first a.d.(assistant director), and Alexander Yellin, the d.p.(director of photography), I don’t know how it would have turned out if those two hadn’t been involved.”
Most screenwriters jobs are finished when the cameras roll, but Geoff was on the set every day. Did he have any input? “Actually I did – that was one thing I really appreciated. Shane stuck 100% to what I wrote. There were things where things weren’t working, and he would always call me over, and we’d discuss it. I really appreciated Shane doing that.” And what’s it like having a director tell you how to deliver lines that you wrote? “I think the only line-reading that Shane gave me was when we’re at the bar, and I call to Scarlet, ‘Send one of your girls down.’ Shane said play it dismissively; don’t even look at her. And it played good – that’s the take they used.”
The lead female character, Selena Stevens, played by Sage Mears, is unusual, because she’s so frail and vulnerable, and we see her anguish -- she doesn’t transform overnight into a master gunfighter. “I’ve actually got to give full credit to The Asylum for that. Having seen Asylum pictures, I thought they’d probably want to get right to the gun battle -- that’s actually how the first draft was. And the three producers really wanted to show that long process, and I was really happy that they wanted to do that. I just took it and ran with it.”
The sheriff, played by Greg Evigan, is also unusual: he one of the weakest lawmen in western fiction. “I guess living in L.A. you see so much of that, false bravado. What was cool was Greg Evigan had read it, and he thought I wrote it to be this big, macho guy, so he read into it, ‘I see this guy as the big man on campus, but he’s actually a wimp.’ And I said, ‘That’s exactly how I wrote it.’ Only I didn’t want to hammer it. That scene where we (the gang) interrogated him, And I (hold up my own wanted poster and) say,‘does this look like anybody you know?’ That was the end of the scene as written. And Greg looks at it, looks at me, and says, ‘Nope.’ That was all improv. And all our laughter was real. Greg just did it so well.”
“Barry Van Dyke was really cool, and the thing I appreciated is he hung out all day. He was even there days he didn’t work. Which is admirable. I know Shane was there, but there are plenty of actors that wouldn’t care, that wouldn’t be there if his son was directing or not. He would be over on the monitor, if Shane was on the set he’d be watching, and it was cool having his experience and his eye, his contributions and suggestions.”
What’s next on the acting front? He laughs, “I just did a GUSHERS (gum) commercial. And I did another Asylum picture, AIRLINE DISASTER. I usually only act in whatever I write for them. But they called me up and asked me to do them a favor. I said I’ll do you the favor of playing the bad guy if you’ll do me the favor of letting me do the martial arts fight choreography in it.”
And how about writing? “I’m writing the story for a SyFy channel movie.” Are we likely to see a follow-up to 6 GUNS? “ Actually the word was that after copies of 6 GUNS showed up at the Asylum office, (sales and distribution partner) David Rimawi’s first e-mail of the day was, ‘When are we making 7 GUNS?’”
WESTERN MOVIES ON TV
Note:AMC=American Movie Classics, EXT= Showtime Extreme, FMC=Fox Movie Channel, TCM=Turner Classic Movies. All times given are Pacific Standard Time.
BEST DERN THING ON TV ALL WEEK!
Saturday, April 10th, from 9:00 a.m. on TCM, a QUADRUPLE BILL OF GREAT WESTERNS!
9:00 a.m. THE MAN FROM LARAMIE (1955) Tough-as-nails Anthony Mann/James Stewart story about a wandering cowpoke caught between an elderly rancher's ruthless sons. With Arthur Kennedy, Donald Crisp, Alex Nicol -- great performance. Story by Thomas Flynn, screenply by Philip Yordan and Frank Burt.
11:00 a.m. COLORADO TERRITORY (1949) Raoul Walsh directed HIGH SIERRA (1941), and he directs this western re-make, about an ex-con drawn back into a life of crime. Stars Joel McCrea, Virginia Mayo, Dorothy Malone, and Henry Hull -- who's in both versions. From the W.R. Burnett novel, screenplay by Edmund North and John Twist.
1:00 p.m. A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964) Sergio Leone started the Spaghetti Western Revolution with this story of a loner who drifts into the middle of a divided town, and plays one side against the other. Akira Kurasawa was not happy that his YOJIMBO was remade without permission or payment, but after all, YOJIMBO was a rip-off of Dashiell Hammett's RED HARVEST. Stars Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonte. There are fourteen writers who claim some credit. Screenplay by Victor Andres Catena and Jaime Comas Gil.
3:00 p.m. THE SHOOTIST (1976) John Wayne, James Stewart, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, Richard Boone, John Carradine, Henry Morgan. Poingnant yet exciting tale of a dying gunfighter. Duke's last, and one of his very best. D:Don Siegel, W:Miles Wood Swarthout, Scott Hale.
2ND BEST DERN THING ON TV ALL WEEK
Friday, April 9th, from 5:00 p.m. on TCM, a triple-bill of Inger Stevens westerns!
5:00 p.m. HANG 'EM HIGH (1968) Clint Eastwood came back from Spain for this Italianized western, a mysterious drifter seeking revenge. With Inger Stevens, Ed Begley. Directed by Ted Post, written by Leonard Freeman and Mel Goldberg.
7:00 p.m. FIRECREEK (1968) Pacifist sheriff Henry Fonda has to get tough when the outlaws come. With James Stewart, Inger Stevens. Directed by Vincent McEveety, written by Calvin Clements Sr.
9:00 p.m. A TIME FOR KILLING (1967) Confederate soldiers try to keep a low profile, to escape to Mexico. Stars an amazing cast -- Glenn Ford, Inger Stevens, Paul Petersen, Timothy Carey, Max Baer Jr., and very young George Hamilton and Harrison Ford. Directed by Phil Karlson, with uncredited work by Roger Corman. Screenplay by Halston Welles from a novel by Shirley and Nelson Wolford.
Monday April 5th
TCM 4:30 a.m. THREE GODFATHERS (1938) John Ford and Howard Hawks used to joke about whose turn it was to remake this story next -- this version directed on a tight budget by Richard Boleslawski may well be the best: it's certainly the toughest. Three outlaws risk their skins to save a newborn baby in the desert. Starring Chester Morris, Walter Brennan, and Lewis Stone -- good Ole' Judge Hardy as you've never seen him before. From the novel by Peter B. Kyne, screenplay by Edward E. Paramore Jr, and Manuel Self.
FMC 5:00 a.m. O. HENRY'S FULL HOUSE (1952) A collection of five O. Henry short stories directed by five directors: Henry Hathaway, Henry King, Henry Koster, Jean Negulesco, and doing the western segment, The Ransom of Red Chief, Howard Hawks. Writing this one segement, uncredited, were Ben Hecht, Nunnally Johnson and Charles Lederer! Starring Fred Allen and Oscar Levant as the kidnappers, and Rin Tin Tin star Lee Aaker as the 'victim', narrated by John Steinbeck!
TCM 6:00 a.m. BLOOD ON THE MOON (1949) Luke Short story of gun-hand Robert Mitchem hired to run out a rancher, then falling for his daughter. With Robert Preston, Barbara Bel Geddes, Iron Eyes Cody and Harry Carey Jr., directed by Robert Wise. Screenplay by Lillie Hayward.
TCM 3:00 p.m. Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, D:John Sturges, W:Millard Kaufman.
TCM 10:30 p.m. SHANE (1953) - Director George Stevens' masterpiece, from the Jack Schaeffer novel, screenplay by A.B. Guthrie Jr. Although all the leads -- Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin and Brandon de Wilde -- are excellent, to me it's the performances by Jack Palance and Elisha Cook Jr. that are unforgettable.
Tuesday April 6th
TCM 12:45 a.m. ANNIE OAKLEY (1935) George Stevens' delightful biopic of Little Sure-shot, starring lovely and gutsy Barbara Stanwyck, Preston Foster, Melvyn Douglas, and Delmar Watson as her kid brother. Story by Joseph Fields and Ewart Adamson, screenplay by Joe L. Sayre and John Twist.
FMC 3:00 A.M. BROKEN ARROW (1950) James Stewart is an ex-soldier, and Jeff Chandler is Apache Chief Cochise, trying together for peace. D:Delmer Daves, W:Albert Maltz(another writer's name may be one the credits -- Maltz was blacklisted and had someone 'front' for him).
TCM 11:00 p.m. Billy The Kid (1941) Robert Taylor, Brian Donlevy, D:David Miller, W:Gene Fowler. (Robert Taylor's 1st western!)
Wednesday April 7th
FMC 3:00 a.m. NORTH TO ALASKA (1960) Directed by Henry Hathaway. Gold prospectors Stewart Granger and John Wayne strike it rich. Stewart sends Wayne to Seattle to bring back Stewart's fiance, but finding her already hitched, he brings back Capucine instead. Sounds like a plan! With Ernie Kovacs. Written by John Lee Mahin and Martin Rackin.
AMC 8:45 a.m. DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990) Actor Kevin Costner's directorial debut won him an Oscar, and there were seven more: best picture; Dean Semler for cinematography; Neil Travis for editing; John Barry for his score; Michael Blake for his adapted screenplay; and Russell Williams II, Jeffrey Perkins, Bill W. Benton and Gregory H. Watkins for sound. Starring Costner as an army officer who befriends the Lakota Souix. With Mary McDonnel.
Thursday April 8th
AMC 10:00 p.m. SILVERADO (1985) Larry Kasdan directs from a script he wrote with his brother Mark. Lots of good stuff in it, but at 133 minutes, it's at least a half hour too long. Starring Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn and Kevin Costner.
Friday April 9th
AMC 9:00 a.m. THE COMANCHEROS (1961) John Wayne arrests Stuart Whitman, but they must join forces to defeat evil gun-running comanchero Lee Marvin. Great fun, written by James Edward Grant from a novel by Paul Wellman. It was Michael Curtiz's last film. When he became too ill, John Wayne took over the directorial reins, but refused credit. Fine Elmer Bernstein score. Biggest weakness: Lee Marvin is supposed to be horribly scared from surviving being scalped, but he actually looks like he's wearing a horse-shoe crab on top of his head.
FMC 11:00 a.m. THE UNDEFEATED (1969) D:Andrew V. McLaglen, W:James Lee Barrett, from a story by Stanley Hough. At the close of the Civil War, Confederate officer Rock Hudson leads a group of southern loyalists to Mexico and Emperor Maximillian -- unless John Wayne can stop him. Rock Hudson later described the movies as "crap." Ironic, considering it's one of his more convincing performances. With Ben Johnson and Harry Carey Jr.
AMC 11:30 a.m. JEREMIAH JOHNSON (1972) Sydney Pollack directs Robert Redford in the story of a real mountain man, culled from several different writers: Vardis Fisher, Raymond W. Thorp and Robert Bunker. The screenplay is by John Milius and Edward Anholt, and is co-stars Will Geer. Probably Redford's best western role (yes, I know SUNDANCE KID is good, too), and it was a wise move to eliminate his character's nickname: Liver-Eating Johnson.
FMC 1:00 p.m. THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER (1982) An Australian 'western' based on a poem by A. B. 'Banjo' Paterson, scripted by Cul Cullen, directed by George Miller. Stars Jack Thompson, Tom Burlinson, Kirk Douglas, and the lovely gal from the under-appreciated series, PARADISE, Sigrid Thornton.
AMC 2:00 p.m. SILVERADO (1985) Larry Kasdan directs from a script he wrote with his brother Mark. Lots of good stuff in it, but at 133 minutes, it's at least a half hour too long. Starring Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn and Kevin Costner.
AMC 5:00 p.m. THE OUTLAW JOSIE WALES (1976) Directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, with Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke, John Vernon and Sheb Wooley. Clint's a Missouri farmer who becaomes a Confederate guerilla -- reportedly Clints favorite among his films. Screenplay by Philip Kaufman, from Forrest Carton's novel.
AMC 8:00 p.m. PALE RIDER (1985) Clint Eastwood directs and stars as a mysterious stranger (can you believe it?) protecting a town from bad guys. Moody and effective, script by Michael Butler and Dennis Shyrack, and featuring Carrie Snodgrass and Michael Moriarty.
Saturday April 10th
TCM 12:30 a.m. THE FASTEST GUITAR ALIVE (1967) Confederate spies will ill-gotten gains at the end of the Civil War. Starring singer Roy Orbison, Sammy Jackson, Maggoe Pierce. Directed by Michael Moore, written by Robert E. Kent.
AMC 7:00 a.m. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF -- I'll write a capsule review this week
AMC 9:15 a.m. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GUNFIGHTER - I'll write a capsule review this week
FMC 11:00 a.m. Rio Conchos (1964) D: Gordon Douglas, W:Joseph Landon and Clair Huffaker. Stars Richard Boone, Stuart Whitman, Anthony Franciosa.
AMC 11:30 a.m. PALE RIDER (1985) Clint Eastwood directs and stars as a mysterious stranger (can you believe it?) protecting a town from bad guys. Moody and effective, script by Michael Butler and Dennis Shyrack, and featuring Carrie Snodgrass and Michael Moriarty.
AMC 2:00 p.m. THE OUTLAW JOSIE WALES (1976) Directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, with Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke, John Vernon and Sheb Wooley. Clint's a Missouri farmer who becaomes a Confederate guerilla -- reportedly Clints favorite among his films. Screenplay by Philip Kaufman, from Forrest Carton's novel.
AMC 5:00 p.m. THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (2009) Disappointing telling of the tale, with Brad Pitt as Jesse, and Casey Affleck dribbling and hyperventilating as Ford: he's so nuts from the start that he has nowhere to go, and Pitt comes off as a moron for trusting him. Beautiful photography by Roger Deakins, but not worth 160 minutes out of your life. Sam Fuller did so much better with I SHOT JESSE JAMES (1949) in 81 minutes, with Reed Hadley as Jesse and John Ireland as Ford. Written and directed by Andrew Dominik from Ron Hansen's novel.
AMC 8:30 p.m. THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (2009) Disappointing telling of the tale, with Brad Pitt as Jesse, and Casey Affleck dribbling and hyperventillating as Ford. He's so nuts from the start that he has nowhere to go, and Pitt comes off as a moron for trusting him. Beautiful photography by Roger Deakins, but not worth 160 minutes out of your life. Sam Fuller did so much better with I SHOT JESSE JAMES (1949) in 81 minutes, with Reed Hadley as Jesse and John Ireland as Ford. Written and directed by Andrew Dominik from Ron Hansen's novel.
That's just about it. I'm too tired to make sure everything is in bold that should be, and I've got a couple of capsule reviews to write -- I'll do it when I can. And next week I'll have reviews of a couple of new Spaghetti Western DVD releases from Dorado Films!
Hasta la vista, and Happy Easter,