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Month in Review: June 2011

by on 2011/06/30

What a too-short, strange kind of month it’s been.

I waited for what felt like forever to tackle my beloved stack of westerns, but the time just flew, and I didn’t quite corral the entire herd.

Stragglers — including Dance With Wolves, The Professionals, Red River, and Rio Bravo — will just have to wait ’til next year. Others, like Desperado and One-Eyed Jacks were fortunately ably handled by our very own local hostess.

So here then are a subset of selections, Hacker Renders’ list of five: favourites, surprises, disappointments, least-liked, and hoping to see in the future…

…whatever a “future” is.


Favourite:
Tombstone (1993) on 2011/06/26

“One of my favourite-ever westerns…

“Tombstone restores my faith in the western’s potential to remain relevant, effective, and entertaining, long after their supposed Golden Age has passed. Whoever really wrote and directed it, it’s an admirable achievement.”

 


Surprise:
Seven Men From Now (1956) on 2011/06/07

“It took me a little while to realize what this modest gem reminded me of. Seven Men from Now, though hardly a gothic drama, feels in league with the films of Val Lewton: a low-budget affair, simple and poetic, involving, and agonizingly intense. Director and star, Boetticher and Scott truly prove less is more.”

Honourable Mention:
Unforgiven (1992) on 2011/06/30


Disappointments (tie):
The Searchers (1956) on 2011/06/20

“The Searchers is considered by many to be among the greatest of films, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it. I found it to be little more than an empty vehicle built on director John Ford’s visual craft.

“By halfway through I was already done.”

The Wild Bunch (1969) on 2011/06/28

“It’s hard for me to connect with The Wild Bunch on either a visceral or intellectual level, thus leaving almost nothing to recommend it. Aside from the first scene, it takes fully half the feature’s running time to reach a decent second half.

“By that time, it’s a simple case of too little too late.”


Least-Liked:
Shane (1953) on 2011/06/17

“I’ve spent a lot of time with Shane, perhaps too much…

“Shane remains a widely held classic, though one I have dwindling patience for. It’s a meat-and-potatoes western with too little meat (though no shortage of beefcake). I think I’m finally done with it, and I won’t say I’m sad to move on.”


Show Me:
Sukiyaki Western Django (2007) on 2011/06/05

“Sukiyaki Western Django takes the story of the original Django (1966) sets it in Japan (or perhaps more accurately, the Japan of another astral dimension) spatters it with red, then white paint, mixes in some shiitake mushrooms and a few magic ones in for good measure, adds a dash of Quentin Tarantino, and then flicks on the blender.”



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