The Quick and The Dead (1995) – Sam Raimi

Sam Raimi brings his frenetic style of zooming cameras and powerful camera angles to the western genre with a tale of revenge riding across the plains into an unforgiving town. Sharon Stone who looks absolutely stunning in western getup stars as Ellen, a woman bent on vengeance. She rides into a frontier town to take…

The Hateful Eight (2015) – Quentin Tarantino

Tarantino’s eighth film let him tackle the fringes of the western genre, and features a beautiful score by iconic composer Ennio Morricone. With his sharp ear for dialogue and engaging storytelling, Tarantino pays homage to the Italian Spaghetti Westerns and classic American films of the same genre, as well, apparently, to the 1982 classic Carpenter…

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) – 4K Review

I had never seen John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance before Paramount Canada offered me a copy of the new 4K version of the classic western. I had no idea it was such a political film and while I have always enjoyed performances by Jimmy Stewart, I’ve never really been a John Wayne…

Looper (2012) – Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson is a fantastic writer/director (no matter what some Star Wars fans may think), and with his science fiction thriller, Looper, he plays with a number of familiar tropes, especially those of the western genre as he explores, and plays with, causality, in this brilliant actioner that stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily…

Tombstone (1993) – George P. Cosmatos

Kurt Russell leads a star studded cast that completely wows in this retelling of the Wyatt Earp story. Joining the always superb Russell is Bil Paxton, Sam Elliott, Val Kilmer, Dana Delaney, Michael Biehn, Powers Boothe, Jason Priestley, Stephen Lang, Thomas Haden Church, Billy Bob Thornton, Micheal Rooker, John Corbett, Joanna Pacula, Terry O’Quinn, Dana…

TIFF 2021: The Power of the Dog dir. Jane Campion

Combining intimate drama with dramatic landscapes has been a signature of Jane Campion’s work, and in her latest film, The Power of the Dog, which she also wrote, that mixture still holds true, giving us a different kind of western. Set in Montana, 1925, the film centres around two ranching brothers, the hard-edged, Phil (Benedict…

The Grudge (2004) – Takashi Shimizu

Takashi Shimizu who wrote and directed the original J-horror version of The Grudge, Ju-On, delivers the North American adaptation that isn’t quite as creepy and unnerving as the source material, as it tries to find a blending of Western and Eastern film styles that doesn’t always work. I remember Ju-On freaked me out the first…

Silverado (1985) – Lawrence Kasdan

Occasionally a film comes along and revitalises the genre. Eastwood would return to the western trough countless times before he revitalised it with his own take on it, Unforgiven, but in the mid-80s, that shake-up was left to Lawrence Kasdan and his brother Mark. Lawrence had his fingers in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and…