Tag: eli wallach

MOVIE REVIEW | Tough Guys (1986)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s an outright hilarious, and not always deliberately so, take on 50s and 80s stereotypes. ”

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“We’ll steal the whole Goddamn train and ride it to Mexico.”

The best thing about modern entertainment technology is, we have absolutely everything at out fingertips.  Pretty much any movie I have ever heard of is a few mouse clicks away, or streaming right into my telly when I want to watch it.  The worst part is, we have absolutely everything at out fingertips.  When there are things out there you know you’ll love, there’s no need to ever take a risk on something you know little about.  But when I was a kid, having only four TV channels meant often having to settle for whatever was on.  That meant sitting through some real shit bombs, but it also mean stumbling across movies that I love to this day.  Movies like Tough Guys.

30 years before the movie starts, Archie (Kirk Douglas) and Harry (Burt Lancaster) became legends as America’s last train robbers.  Caught and convicted, they spent three decades in the clink and are finally released.  Fish out of water in a world that moved on, their legend has faded and almost disappeared, and they’re no longer the young, good time gangsters of the 50s.  They’re old men in a new, 80s world.  A world where Harry is forced into mandatory retirement and Archie has to take a minimum wage job pouring frozen yoghurt for spoilt kids.  All the while, veteran cop Deke (Charles Durning) is convinced they’ll reoffend, and is determined to be there when they do.  Also on their tail is a vengeful, shotgun wielding half blind man (Eli Wallach) with a score to settle. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Magnificent Seven (1960)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “This is a move that takes some of the broadest and most over used character types, puts them through some of the broadest, most over used character arcs, and comes out the other side with seven truly unique men, each with their own fully formed, fully engaging stories.”

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“If you get killed, we take the rifle and avenge you. And we see to it there’s always fresh flowers on your grave.”

It’s rare that movie remakes ever come close to reaching the notoriety of the originals that inspired them.  Way more common are remakes being met with cynical distrust or dismissal.  So it’s even more rare for a remake to become as well known as its original, especially when that original is widely regarded as one of the absolute greatest movies of all time.  That original is Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai, a genuine epic masterpiece that deserves every bit of praise it has ever received.  It’s remake is an exercise in mainstream genre crowd pleasing that may not have the prestige of its inspiration, but makes up for that by being one of the most purely entertaining movies ever, The Magnificent Seven.

After the Mexican bandit Calvera (Eli Wallach) raids a small village for what is obviously just the latest of many attacks, the villagers decide to fight back.  They cross the border into America, looking to buy guns for self defence.  They meet Chris Adams (Yul Brynner), who convinces them to hire gunslingers instead.  A group of gunslingers he will himself assemble, despite the modest amount the villagers can afford to pay.  His recruitment starts with drifter Vin Tanner (Steve McQueen), after the two bond over their inability to cope with the taming of the formerly wild west. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | New York, I Love You (2008)

“But only if you’re comfortable with this, and if you’re not then you can just forget it, and you can quit, but if you are… then open this door.”

Anthology movies never really work.  Very few get good reviews and even less make good box office.  But despite this track record of little to no success, every few years, someone manages to convince another batch of directors and writers to contribute their own short film to something bigger, tackling some sort of common theme.  In the 80s, powerhouses like Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese couldn’t make it work with New York Story.  In the 90s, break out rock star film makers like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez couldn’t make it work with Three Rooms.

Not only do the film makers get tricked into thinking that somehow, this time, it might just work.  But I do as a viewer as well.  Sure, the above geniuses took a big swing and a miss at their own versions of the anthology movie, but surely, the next batch will get it right.  Won’t they?  It’s that optimism that lead to me buying the DVD of New York, I Love You back when it came out.  But it’s the practical part of my brain that has let it sit on my DVD shelf, collecting dust for the six or seven years since.  I want it to be good so much.  But I also know that the odds are against it.  But today, I bit the bullet.  I watched New York, I Love You. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

“You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.”

The title, the theme song, the lead actor.  Few things represent a movie genre more than The Good the, the Bad and the Ugly represents the Western.  John Wayne would come pretty close, but it’s his entire western filmography that gives him that reputation, not one particular movie that springs to mind.  But even people who have never seen this movie, the title, the music and the lead actor would be likely to spring to their minds when westerns comes up.  So what makes The Good, the Bad and the Ugly such a quintessential, mind springer of a western?

Tuco (Eli Wallach) is the Ugly, a Mexican outlaw plying his trade in Civil War America.  With a $2,000 bounty on his head, he’s captured by Blondie (Clint Eastwood), the Good.  But he’s not so good, because soon Blondie and Tuco have a lucrative partnership where Blondie delivers Tuco to small town authorities, collects the reward, then helps Tuco escape, so they can split the money and run the scam on the next town. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***SWANSONG WEEK*** The Misfits (1961)


“Honey, nothing can live unless something dies.”

Before I decided to do this Swansong Week, I’d never heard of The Misfits. I just decided Marilyn Monroe was legendary enough to be included and went to the last movie listed on her IMDB page.  Then, as the opening credits began to roll, I discovered I was in for something big.  The actors alone would make The Misfits more than worth your time.  As well as Monroe, you also get Clark Gable (also giving his last movie performance), Eli Wallach and Montgomery Clift.  Plus, behind the camera is director John Huston.  Then, you have all of this immense talent working from an Arthur Miller screenplay.  How could The Misfits be anything less than amazing?

The recently divorced Roslyn (Monroe) is going out to celebrate with her friend Isabelle (Thelma Ritter).  With Roslyn’s car is undrivable after an accident, they get a lift to a divey Reno casino with mechanic Guido (Wallach).  At the casino, they meet Guido’s friend Gay Langland (Gable), an aging cowboy who immediately sets his sights on Roslyn.  Soon, they all end up at Guido’s house out in the desert where he’s let things go after the death of his wife.  Gay convinces Roslyn to take a chance on him and stay in Guido’s house with him.  She does, they begin to fall in love and play house. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | How the West Was Won (1962)


“About 150 years ago, an idea took shape in the mind of a man named DeWitt Clinton. And in the way Americans have of acting out their dreams, it came to be.”

One of the biggest problems in big budget movies, is the tendency for studios to pile on more. More big name stars, mores special effects and action, more romantic interests, more, more, more. The theory being, if they put enough crap in there, everyone will find a reason to hand over their hard earned at the cinema. 99.9% of the time, this only makes movies worse. The more surface level glitter they throw on there, the more substance has to be taken out to make room. But sometimes, more really is more, and it actually pays off. And it pays off big in How the West Was Won.

Five short stories, following several generations of one family across half a century and an entire continent, the movie opens with Zebulon Prescott (Karl Malden), leading his family from the East Coast, to the new frontier in Illinois. Along the way, they meet and befriend a mountain man, James Stewart as Linus Rawlings. Soon, a Prescott daughter’s in love with him and they’re saving each other from ruthless bandits. (more…)