Posts Tagged ‘Western’

“THE PALE DOOR” Hell, Fire & Damnation

August 21st, 2020 No comments



Review by John Delia

Mixing the western genre with some horror and thrills seems like a good thing. In the film The Pale Door however, the genre mix is good, but the story loses its punch early on when you get to figure it all out. A bit predictable and clichéd, when the evil begins it’s more mindless than shocking. The sets look like From Dusk Till Dawn except that series had vampires instead of witches. If you haven’t seen Robert Rodriguez’s films or the TV series “From Dusk Till Dawn”, then by all means jump into the fray with The Pale Door. Read more…

“HELL ON THE BORDER” A Western Thriller

February 10th, 2020 No comments



Review by John Delia

A pretty good indie, the exciting film Hell on the Border: The Chronicles of Bass Reeves has been released on Blu-ray, DVD, Ultra HD and Digital HD. Paced with excitement and drama it’s not an ordinary western, because with the fact that it’s based on the true story makes the slice of life more personal. Starring David Gyasi in the lead role, it’s a chance for him to shine and he does here. As a black man in the Wild West 1800’s the semi biography of Bass Reeves, who put his mark on America fighting the lawless, becomes an adventure to remember. Read more…

“Brimstone” (Written Review & Trailer)

March 10th, 2017 No comments






Review by John Delia

Being able to deliver a good western isn’t easy, especially when most of the plots have already been brought to the screen. But, writer/director Martin Koolhoven takes a shot at turning the old west into a thriller that boggles the mind with its twists, turns and surprises and it works big time. His Brimstone stacks up against the best including Quinton Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant. Read more…

The Magnificent Seven (Written Film Review & Trailer)

September 23rd, 2016 No comments








Review by John Delia

Hitch up your “hoss” to the nearest tie post, take your saddle into the nearest movie house and treat yourself to a hum dinger of a good time with The Magnificent Seven. It’s not the old 1960 rerun, but a spanking new show with memories of the original. Branded with Antoine Fuqua direction this wild west ditty has some mighty woop ass scenes that can rival the likes of Tombstone and Silverado. Read more…

The Homesman, a Captivating Drama of the Old West (Film Review)

December 5th, 2014 No comments


HOMESMAN poster 1




Review by John Delia

So you’re not into the western genre? How about calling this movie a very compelling drama that takes place in the 1800’s west. Still not excited about seeing the film? Top it off with a stellar cast, an original story line and actors that give Oscar worthy performances. Titled The Homesman, it’s Tommy Lee Jones’ first attempt at directing and he makes the film an excellent story of early Americana.

Read more…

A Million Laughs in “Million Ways to Die” (Film Review)

May 28th, 2014 No comments




Review by John Delia

Taking his comedy show to the Arizona desert, Seth MacFarlane presents A Million Ways to Die in the West.  It’s a rollicking comedy that has more pratfalls than his previous film, even though Ted has a charm that cannot be duplicated.  That said however, MacFarlane pleases with his deadpan humor that never seems to get old.  He’s a master at creating a joke way before the punch line and it really works here.   Read more…

The Masked Man Thrills in The Lone Ranger (Film Review)

July 2nd, 2013 No comments

LONG posterReview by John Delia

Taking a chance on an old-timer favorite, producer and director Gore Verbinski brings a remake of The Lone Ranger to life on the big screen.  Loosely based on the 1956 movie starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels, his casting of Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp somewhat mirrors the two original players and delivers a solid hit.  It’s a wild west action thriller. Read more…

Django Unchained, Tarantino’s Very Creative Western (Film Review)

December 26th, 2012 No comments

Django poster 3


Taking a page out of history, Quentin Tarantino adds his version of the unsettling times in his newest film Django Unchained.  Much like his Inglourious Basterds this outrageous adventure generates tongue-in-cheek satire and raises eyebrows in it’s nearly 3 hours of ‘creative’ damnation. Taking the film with a grain of salt, the audience should get as much movie madness out of Django as they were exposed with Basterds.

The story finds bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) traveling in his tooth topped horse and buggy on a lonely deserted road two years prior to the American Civil War.  Traveling toward him on the same road a slave trader with several chained slaves are about to cross his path.  The two meet up, start a cautious conversation and Schultz offers to buy one of the slaves.  The slavers resist and a gun fight pursues with Schultz taking the slave Django (Jamie Foxx) from the group.  After Schultz turns Django into a budding bounty hunter, the two start out on a blood curdling rampage across the south.

Really unrelenting and intimidating the film shows the vicious side of Schultz with his plan to profit by taking down wanted killers, slave owners and just about anyone who gets in his way.  Teaching Django all his tricks of the trade, the two are an out of control wrecking ball that stops for no one.  The back-story on how Django became a slave gets weaved into the tale and that brings his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) into the story.  The fledgling bounty hunter searches for her while getting retribution for his slavery induced abuse.

Christoph Waltz as Schultz and Jamie Foxx as Django

Christoph Waltz as Schultz and Jamie Foxx as Django

The acting in Django Unchained equals Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds that received 8 Oscar nominations with Christoph Waltz taking one home for his efforts.  Here Waltz continues to show his amazing talent for dark comedy giving an outstanding effort as the dentist disguised quick draw artist that makes this film work in both action and dialog delivery. His ability to bring Shultz to the screen, although a similar persona to his Col. Hans Landa an incensed German SS killer with a fondness for taking down Jews in WWII, makes his character interesting, cunning and relentless.  He’s a hero of sorts who’s determined to be the best gun slinger in the South and lets nothing get in his way.

In support are two of the best performances of 2012, Jamie Foxx in the title role and Leonardo DiCaprio’s plantation owner Calvin Candie.  Foxx cruises to the top of his game with an outstanding performance as the abused slave who wants revenge rather than the monetary reward.  His scarred Django emulates the significance of the point of the story, a cruel injustice to humanity.  While it’s not easy to show how debasing it must have been being mistreated by slavers, Foxx’s incredible portrayal of his character easily wins you over.

DiCaprio takes on the role of Candie the misguided plantation owner with ease making him this naïve character who listens to his despotic head house slave Steven, played by Samuel L. Jackson, a suspicious, selfish and controlling confidant.  In a key scene where Schultz tries to bamboozle Candie, you can see the changes in DiCaprio’s boastful to an inquisitively nervous plantation owner as the act gets played out.

Director Quentin Tarantino

Director Quentin Tarantino


Direction and writing of Django Unchained by Tarantino certainly qualifies as one of his best efforts to date.  His ability to bring interesting characters to the screen, while delving into some of the most despotic subject matters, is unequaled in cinematic history.  While the subject matter of slavery brought out in this film does go over the top showing some very cruel scenes that may disturb those that have not come to grips with the past, the movie does move toward a reasonable resolve.  If you’ve seen Tarantino’s films he has made over the past three decades you’ll probably get a feel for his fondness for unconventional narratives that agitate, shock, embarrass, incite anger, ridicule and even make you laugh at content you really shouldn’t.

Django Unchained has been rated R by the MPAA for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language and some nudity. The film contains some very brutal scenes, very realistic killing and derogatory slang including the N word an inordinate number of times.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Django Unchained is on an equal level with Inglourious Basterds and entertains those who like to indulge in Tarantino films. (A)

Additional Film Information:

  • Cast: Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins and Don Johnson
  • Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
  • Genre:     Action/Adventure, Western
  • MPAA Rating: R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language and some nudity.
  • Running Time: 2 hrs 45 min
  • Opening Date: December 25, 2012
  • Distributed by: The Weinstein Company


BLACKTHORN, Review by John Delia

December 15th, 2011 No comments









Cast: Sam Shepard and Edwardo Noriega

Directed by: Mateo Gil

MPAA Rating: R for violence and language

Genre: Action/Adventure, SA Western

Running Time: 1 hr. 38 min

Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures



By John Delia


When you think of Butch Cassidy we immediately add ‘and the Sundance Kid’, but if you saw the original movie you know that the two died in a break to freedom in Bolivia.  But, what if Butch lived and escaped his untimely death?  This is the premise of the film Blackthorn starring Sam Shepard.  The movie is interesting, but a little too far fetched for me to handle.  If you are interested however in the unlikely possibility, or just want to see a well acted Bolivian western, then give this one a try.


According to historical legend the notorious Sundance Kid and his fellow train robber Butch Cassidy escaped the law in the United States and went to Bolivia, SA to settle down.  While there they got the itch back to stage some robberies and after some time were corralled by the Bolivian Army that didn’t like that too much.  In a standoff both Butch and Sundance were killed.


Sam Shepard as James Blackthorn

But years later we find James Blackthorn (Sam Shepard) living in the wilderness of Bolivia in a small secluded village.  Some 20 years have gone by and he has been writing to a son in the United States he has never met.  Feeling it is time to leave the mountains of South America and return to the states, Blackthorn barters his valuable goods in a remote town in return for some cash.


On his return along the treacherous road to his cabin to collect his belongings Eduardo Appocada (Edwardo Noriega) shoots him off his horse and the critter runs off with his saddlebags full of his money. Butch finally gets a drop on Eduardo and comes to the realization that he’ll have to depend on the man to get him back to his mountain home. When Butch finds out that Eduardo has a lot of money stashed away and will share it with him, he decides to help to guy in return for half.


Director Mateo Gil on the set of BLACKTHORN

The story as a stand alone road trip has some merit and gets film quite well by director Mateo Gil who wrote the film Vanilla Sky that as made into a movie starring Tom Cruz and Cameron Diaz.  But with Blackthorn he tries to make the improbable, probable and fails badly.  Although I get it that it is just a story, but the prospect of Butch Cassidy living in seclusion 20 years just doesn’t do it for me, especially when we are told he has a son he’s been writing to during that time.  Cassidy would never stay captive in any prison cell, let alone a hermit in a small cabin on a mountainside knowing he has a boy.


Sam Shepard does a good job as a lonesome cowboy who finds himself in a fix when he gets accosted, but nothing more to the plot than this.  I liked the drama involved, the cowboy ‘road trip’ and the characters.  If the film had just been about that, I would give it higher marks, but using Butch Cassidy as the draw here only makes the film shoddy at best.  The iconic lawless icon of the old west would turn in his grave if he saw the film.


Blackthorn has been rated R for violence and language by the MPAA.



FINAL ANALYSIS:  Corral your horse and wait for the DVD. (C ) 



COWBOYS & ALIENS review by John and Marisa

July 29th, 2011 No comments

COWBOYS & ALIENS A Mixed Bag for John and Marisa



Cast: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Noah Ringer, Abigail Spencer and Walton Goggins

Directed by: Jon Favreau

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of western and sci-fi action and violence some partial nudity and a brief crude reference

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Thriller,Western, Comic Book

Running Time: 1hr 58min

Opening Date: July 29th, 2011

Distributed by: Universal Pictures




By John Delia and Marisa Ings


Strap your six-gun to your waist, tie the string around your leg and ride over to see the movie Cowboys & Aliens a rip snorting account of a space  invasion.  Seriously now, there will be no guns allowed in the movie theatre, not even toy type.  If you want some action with great special effects that make a film come alive with awesome space creatures then check this one out.

Jake (Craig) and The Colonel (Ford) bring down a space fighter

Based on a comic book the story centers on Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig), a badass cowboy who awakens with memory loss.  With a weird bracelet attached to his wrist he rides into a small 1870’s town where he gets caught in the middle of an incident where Percy Dolarhyde (Paul Dano) the son of a domineering rancher gets arrested.  Shortly thereafter Percy’s dad, Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) comes to town to get him released. But, just when the Colonel and Percy think they can ride out of town the place gets invaded by space ships snatching people off the streets, including Percy.  When Jake finds he can use the bracelet to shoot down a couple of fighters, the Colonel enlists him to go after his son.

Jake awakens with an alien bracelet attached to his arm


Marisa Says: The combination of Science Fiction and Old West adventure is a great concept but that’s about all Cowboys & Aliens offers. With 8 writers and 16 producers (award winners included), one would think this film is the all around best to debut in summer 2011 but Cowboys & Aliens falls flat. The film does start with a buzz but by the end, my interest flat lined. I left the theater with questions and having to process what my eyes had just witnessed.


John Says: The acting here is very good with Daniel Craig doing his best western accent, Harrison Ford working his serious face and Olivia Wilde showing her, well you’ll have to see that for yourself.  Although the story’s a little campy and sometimes ridiculous, the actors are so much fun to watch in this ‘Gun Fight at the OK Corral’ facing the ugliest aliens in recent film history.  If you really want to enjoy this movie, leave your serious face at home.

Olivia Wilde as Ella doing her best 'Annie Oakley"


Marisa Says: Acting is not the issue in Cowboys & Aliens. Given the circumstances of depicting both cliché western and alien invasion genres, the actors performed well. In the beginning of the movie, Daniel Craig captures attention as outlaw Jake Lonergan.  The solitary Lonegran immediately proves to be a force to be reckoned with by beating anyone who stands in his way into submission. Besides being awkward and borderline stalker initially, Olivia Wilde is not given the opportunity to offer much to the film as Ella Swenson. Yet, Harrison Ford’s portrayal as a grumbling war colonial is well received and also brings a few laughs to the table.


Daniel Craig working with Director Jon Favreau on the set

John Says: The direction here by Jon Favreau (Iron Man) fits well with his style of science fiction fantasy, especially working with a huge popular cast.  He gets into the action quickly and keeps it coming so there isn’t any time for your mind to wander.  I like the way he introduces Jake Lonergan lying face down in the dust, slowly getting up and with a lost look on his face.  It’s classic western and he shows his audience that they are in for an unusual ride.


John Says: If there is a downside to the film, it’s the resiliency of the characters and fast recovery from mayhem, but it is a movie however and much like other Favreau work we are dealing with fantasy.  Also if I were a town’s person in the 1870’s and saw a metal airship come flying out of the sky shooting at the ground, I would be terror stricken, and a lot of them acted a little dumbfounded, yet ready for action. With flaws like this however, it’s really something easily overlooked if you are a true science fiction fan.


Marisa Says: I am a young woman who enjoys action-packed films but Cowboys & Aliens did not deliver on all the hype that is promised. The plot is just too simple for unique concept and does not bring anything new to the film scene nor does it offer any surprises. In 2060 when our predecessors encounter our “blockbuster” films they will see Cowboys & Aliens and say, “I can’t believe they watched stuff like this.”

Cowboy’s & Aliens has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of western and sci-fi action and violence, some partial nudity and a brief crude reference, but nothing your X-Box users haven’t already seen.


John Says: FINAL ANALYSIS: A fun Sci-Fi action film with a lot of whimsical exaggeration. (B)


Marisa Says: Final Grade (D+) The greatest thing about this film is its title