The Power of the Dog (2021) Movie Review ‘Slow Bland Movie’

The Power of the Dog – Slow Bland Movie

 

Director: Jane Campion

Writer: Jane Campion (Screenplay) Thomas Savage (Novel)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Genevieve Lemon, Kenneth Radley

Plot: Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Power of the Dog starts when George Burbank (Plemons) meets Rose Gordon (Dunst) leading to their marriage and moving into the ranch with George’s brother Phil (Cumberbatch), a strict man who has created fear around him from everyone he knows.

Phil takes pleasure in making Rose’s son Peter (Smit-McPhee) fear him, before slowly taking him under his wing, showing a side of him not many people have seen before.

Thoughts on The Power of the Dog

Characters & Performances – Phil Burbank is the charismatic rancher who has created a fear about him that everyone respects, knowing he is the best in the area, however he will keep to himself, not liking letting people into his life, until his new step-nephew gives him motivation to show who he really is. Benedict Cumberbatch does create a presence on screen with this role, being the character we are drawn to most. Rose is the barmaid that falls for Phil’s brother George, she takes her son back to the ranch, but her time there will see her struggle with her own addictions in the world. George is the brother that marries Rose, he is more forward thinking in the land, looking at business over anything else. Peter is the son of Rose, he has a creative mind, which is easily mocked by Phil, before the two have a new bond about finding their place in world.

StoryThe story here follows a fear demanding rancher that reluctantly decides to take his new step-nephew under his wing, showing a different side to himself that no one else has seen before. This is a story that moves at an incredibly slow pace, going nowhere fast, leaving us wondering is anything is going to happen, as most of the film is just following the ranchers doing cowboy things and an alcoholic spiralling out of control. This isn’t a very engaging story, falling flat by the end of the film.

ThemesThe Power of the Dog is a western that does have one of the most beautiful backdrops of any movie you will see this year, making this the only real highlight of the film, as everything else involved in the western genre, has been done before.

Final Thoughts The Power of the Dog is a movie that doesn’t seem to get going, moving at such a slow pace.

Road to Revenge (2020) Movie Review ‘Enjoyable Western’

Road to Revenge – Enjoyable Western

 

Director: Kellen Garner, Christopher Sheffield

Writer: Kellen Garner (Screenplay) George Nelson (Story)

Starring: Kellen Garner, Alexis Moeller, Aaron Gunn-Forsberg, George Nelson, Jeremy A Lopez, Chade Green

Plot: After a ruthless cattle baron announces his bid for governor, four estranged siblings set out on a quest for revenge for the death of their family. Setting aside old feuds and impossible odds, they will face off with a man who owns every gun hand in the territory.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Road to Revenge starts when Lucy (Moeller) and Travis Royal (Garner) look to collect on a bounty on an outlaw Micah Grady (Lopez), seeing them put aside their differences to make this a possibility.

When the siblings arrive in a town run by William Slade (Nelson), they run into two other estranged brothers Brody (Green) and Pete (Ginn-Forsberg) who already have a plan to bring down William Slade.

Thoughts on Road to Revenge

ThoughtsRoad to Revenge will bring us a western that will see an estranged family coming back together to take out the man who killed their mother. This does play out in a very unique way, with the four siblings all having their own ideas on how they want this to play out and them needing to work together and put a new plan together, with each of the four having their own strength, one that will give them the advantage if they find themselves alone. The villain William Slade is the calm cool collected type that will talk down to anyone, a man that has always seen money pay for everything in his life. This is a film that will play along the way you would imagine a western about revenge, giving us the strong leads that will have the fight for what is right, along with a villain who will do anything to stay in control. Most of the action is held back for the final act, where everything is unleashed in the film.

Available November 16 – VOD in US & Canada

Final Thoughts Road to Revenge is a nice western that gives us a family we could see on many different adventures.

The Harder They Fall (2021) Movie Review ‘One of the Best Modern Westerns’

The Harder They Fall – One of the Best Modern Westerns

 

Director: Jeymes Samuel

Writer: Jeymes Samuel, Boaz Yakin (Screenplay)

Starring: Jonathan Majors, Zazie Beetz, RJ Cyler, Edi Gathegi, Chase Dillon, DeWanda Wise, Idris Elba, LaKeith Stanfield, Regina King, Delroy Lindo

Plot: When an outlaw discovers his enemy is being released from prison, he reunites his gang to seek revenge in this Western.


Tagline – New Blood in the Old West

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Harder They Fall starts as we meet Nat Love (Majors) who has been chasing down the man that killed his parents for years, he has his own outlaw gang with Bill Pickett (Gathegi), Jim Beckworth (Cyler), Cuffee (Deadwyler) and Mary Fields (Beetz). They clash with another gang The Crimson Hoods, but Nat shows his honest side to keep a member alive.

Elsewhere Trudy Smith (King) and Cherokee Bill (Stanfield) are leading the release of Rufus Buck (Elba) the leader of the Buck Gang. With Rufus taking over the town of Redwood, he demands money from the residents, leaving Nat to lead his gang in to take Rufus out and release the people of the town.

Thoughts on The Harder They Fall

Characters & Performances – Nat Love grew up to become an outlaw after seeing his parents murder, he has his own gang which are known to do the right thing, which will see him making the decisions to let people live, he does want to bring down Rufus Buck for an incident in their past and he will not stop until he does. Jonathan Majors is great in this leading role, being the calm leader who never loses his cool. Rufus Buck is the leader of a rival gang who go through towns taking money from everyone, he has wronged Nat in the past and now he will use his new found freedom, he is looing to continue his reign of terror. Idris Elba is becoming one of the best villains in cinema with how his approaches roles, this is no different, where he will standout with the way his conducts his character in every scene, always looking to dominate the screen. We do have ana amazing supporting set of characters too, with Trudy Smith being the righthand person to Rufus, never letting anyone take advantage of her, will not having the patient others might have. Cherokee Bill talks about not wanting violence, but has the reputation for being the fastest hand in the land, which will bring cocky Jim Beckworth showing his respect, but also wanting to challenge for that title from Nat’s gang. Stagecoach Mary is the woman that Nat will do anything for, she will help with the gang and their plans. The supporting cast all shine, with RJ Cyler making us want to see more from his loud moth figure of Jim, while LaKeith Stanfield makes us want to see more from this character. This is why this supporting shines, we could easily see more from any of them in this film.

StoryThe story here follows two rival outlaw gangs that clash over their past and money, like most gangs in the western era, which will see the one who plays fairer needing to find a solution to repay the more dangerous one before it is too late. While the core of this story is every western, we know, it is the style this one uses, that will make it stand out, using the story to develop the characters to make us enjoy seeing the world unfold. The story will give us chances to see the revenge driven story, a pride one and the typical greed one.

ThemesThe Harder They Fall is an action western driven by revenge, that will see two outlaw gangs clash in a final showdown, which will be where we get the biggest action sequence, along the way we get the sequences that will show the strengths and weaknesses each character might have before this happens. The sets look brilliant, but too polished to feel like we are in any way a living western world.

Final Thoughts The Harder They Fall is an excellent western that world builds wonderfully to unleash an unpredictable final showdown.

Old Henry (2021) Movie Review ‘Slow Build, Smashing Conclusion’

Old Henry – Slow Build, Smashing Conclusion

 

Director: Potsy Ponciroli

Writer: Potsy Ponciroli (Screenplay)

Starring: Tim Blake Nelson, Scott Haze, Gavin Lewis, Trace Adkins, Stephen Dorff, Max Arciniega, Brad Carter

Plot: An action western about a farmer who takes in an injured man with a satchel of cash. When a posse comes for the money, he must decide who to trust. Defending a siege, he reveals a gunslinging talent calling his true identity into question.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Old Henry starts when farmer Henry (Nelson) gets an unlikely visit from an injured man with a satchel of cash, Henry knows nothing good can come from this and looks to try and keep his son Wyatt (Lewis) safe.

When the man Curry (Haze) wakes up, he warns of the men searching for him, led by Ketchum (Dorff) who have come across multiply counties in search for Curry, leading to stand off between three sides.

Thoughts on Old Henry

Characters & Performances – Henry is the mild-mannered farmer who has lived a quiet life for years away from any confliction, raising his boy away from gunfire. When he clashes with Ketchum, he finds himself needing to dive into a past life, when it comes to defending his home and son. Tim Blake Nelson plays this character wonderfully, filled with all the confidence in his characters presence in every moment, even against the odds. With Henry being such a captivating character, Ketchum the leader of the outlaw gang searching for the man, doesn’t feel like such a threat, despite having the numbers, he feels like he is hoping to scare people, rather than having that evil menace about him. Stephen Dorff tries to make this an interesting villain, but he doesn’t get to give us the type of figure we need for this film. Curry is the stranger Henry takes in to help recover, he knows the danger coming his way and tries to warn Henry and his son. Scott Haze does everything he needs to with this role, sadly much like Ketchum the character feels list in the bigger shuffle of what is truly going on. Most of the characters we meet in the film do feel overshadowed by Tim Blake Nelson and his Henry performance.

StoryThe story here follows a farmer living a quiet life away from everyone with his son, when they get an unwelcome visitor and a group of outlaws hunting him down, with the farmer needing to look into a past life to make sure his son stays safe. This is a story that will start with a slow build, one that will make us wait for the big sequence which will leave us in shock with what the story has kept hidden for so long. With how most of the story plays out, it is everything we would have seen before, with the innocent figure getting caught in the middle of a battle between criminals, which is fine because when it comes to the final outcome, the story rewards the patience of waiting.

ThemesOld Henry is a western that keeps the action to the minimal, waiting for the explosive ending to unleash the biggest sequences. The locations are used well, with most of the film being set on the land of Henry, a small farm away from the main world, showing us that someone is trying to live a peaceful life.

Signature Entertainment presents Old Henry coming to Sky and streaming service NOW in 2022 

Final Thoughts Old Henry is a captivating western, one keeping you wanting more and leaving you shocked by the end.

Geronimo (1962) Movie Review

Director: Arnold Laven

Writer: Par Fielder (Screenplay)

Starring: Chuck Connors, Kamala Devi, Pat Conway, Armando Silvestre, Adam West, Lawrence Dobkin

Plot: In 1880s Arizona, General Crook and his troops are trying to subdue the last tribe of Apache led by Geronimo.


Tagline – The Most Defiant Warrior Of Them All!

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Geronimo starts as the great Apache leader Geronimo (Connors) looks to surrender, being offered land, shelter and food by the American military, Captain William Maynard (Conway) looks to keep them under control, but he is quick to go against their agreement, selling the very land given to the Apaches.

Geronimo looks to lead the Apaches away from their captive position, giving them their freedom back, leading to a bigger battle against the American military.

Thoughts on Geronimo

Characters & Performances – Geronimo is the last great Apache leader fighting against the American military, he decides to surrender, hoping for a better future for his people, only what he is offered is nothing like the agreement and he becomes restless with the life he has been given, looking for an easy escape back to the traditions of his people. He leads his people out of the new land back into the battle for a final stand against the men trying to take their land. Chuck Connors does give us a performance where he looks like an above the rest leader, dominating the screen with his presence. Teela is the Apache that is looking to change the way they see the world, looking to bring education and break tradition to bring a future where both sides could work together, clashing with what Geronimo believes. Kamala Devi brings the beauty to a role which shows the shallow side of the Hollywood way, she does got toe to toe with Chuck through the film. Captain William Maynard is the man that was fighting for Apaches for years and now he thinks he can control them and use them, he is everything the Apaches are fighting against, the people who will take everything they have earnt. Pat Conway makes this character everything that we need to hate through the film. The film does contain the loyal fighters to Geronimo as well as the soldiers fight with Maynard, some follow him, others will question his decisions.

StoryThe story here follows the legendary Apache leader Geronimo who was the last one standing against the America military looking to control all their land, he will offer his surrender, only for the terms to be turned on, leading him to lead his men back into battle, just trying to keep their freedom alive. This is a story looking back at how badly the settlers in America treated the natives, how they forced them into following their rules, only to take everything they have earnt away from them. It does show how certain sides will look to change things for the better, but the stubborn blood hungry ones will do anything to stop change happening.

ThemesGeronimo is filled with the combat action between the two sides, seeing how both deal with the problems in battle, getting whatever they want from each other, we get to see the wild west with the open beauty views that the Apache would like to live in compared to the plains they are offered.

 

Geronimo is a western that shows one of the last great battles between Apaches and American settlers trying to take their land, it does fall into the stereotypes of what people imagined instead of learnt about both sides.