Film Review – APPALOOSA (2008)

Appaloosa - Great Western MoviesAPPALOOSA (USA, 2008) ***
      Distributor: New Line Cinema; Production Company: Axon Films / Groundswell Productions; Release Date: 12 September 2008; Filming Dates: 1 October 2007 – 24 November 2007; Running Time: 116m; Colour: Colour; Sound Mix: DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS; Film Format: 35 mm (Kodak Vision 2383); Film Process: Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format), Panavision (anamorphic) (source format); Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1; BBFC Cert: 15.
      Director: Ed Harris; Writer: Robert Knott, Ed Harris (based on the novel by Robert B. Parker); Executive Producer: Sam Brown, Caldecot Chubb, Toby Emmerich, Michael London; Producer: Robert Knott, Ed Harris; Associate Producer: Kathryn Himoff, Candy Trabuco, Janice Williams; Director of Photography: Dean Semler; Music Composer: Jeff Beal; Film Editor: Kathryn Himoff; Casting Director: Nicole Abellera, Jeanne McCarthy; Production Designer: Waldemar Kalinowski; Art Director: Steve Arnold; Set Decorator: Linda Lee Sutton; Costumes: David C. Robinson; Make-up: Julie Callihan, Geordie Sheffer; Sound: Curt Schulkey; Special Effects: Geoffrey C. Martin; Visual Effects: Ladd Lanford, Mark Freund.
      Cast: Viggo Mortensen (Everett Hitch), Ed Harris (Virgil Cole), Renée Zellweger (Allison French), Jeremy Irons (Randall Bragg), Timothy Spall (Phil Olson), Lance Henriksen (Ring Shelton), Adam Nelson (Mackie Shelton), Ariadna Gil (Katie), James Gammon (Earl May), Tom Bower (Abner Raines), Rex Linn (Clyde Stringer), Corby Griesenbeck (Charlie Tewksbury), Timothy V. Murphy (Vince), Bob L. Harris (Judge Callison (as Bob Harris)), Daniel Parker (Mueller (as Daniel T. Parker)), Gabriel Marantz (Joe Whittfield), Cerris Morgan-Moyer (Tilda), Robert Jauregui (Marshall Jack Bell (as Bobby Jauregui)), Luce Rains (Dean), James Tarwater (Chalk (as Jim Tarwater)).
      Synopsis: Two friends hired to police a small town that is suffering under the rule of a rancher find their job complicated by the arrival of a young widow.
      Comment: Harris stars in and directs this slow-burning Western. He and Mortensen are peace-keepers for hire and when the residents of Appaloosa appoint Harris as marshal they hope he can loosen the grip that educated rancher Irons has on their town. Irons has murdered the previous town marshal and Harris and Mortensen go about their business of seeing justice done. Zellweger enters the story as the gold-digging new girl in town who seeks the companionship of the top dog, flitting between Harris, Mortensen and Irons. When Irons is arrested and put on trial, but subsequently escapes captivity the hunt is on. The character-driven script is injected with personality through its strong lead cast. The action is sporadic, but violent and deadly once it takes place. Whilst the plot is resolved, the main character stories are left in the air leading to a sense of unfinished business and a film that whilst engaging and well-mounted feels to be hesitant in coming to a conclusion. Tighter editing may also have helped to create a greater sense of urgency to the drama.

Film Review – ABSOLUTE POWER (1997)

Image result for absolute power 1997ABSOLUTE POWER (USA, 1997) **½
      Distributor: Columbia Pictures; Production Company: Castle Rock Entertainment / Malpaso Productions; Release Date: 4 February 1997 (USA), 30 May 1997 (UK); Filming Dates: 3 June 1996 – 14 August 1996; Running Time: 122m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: Dolby Digital | SDDS; Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Panavision (anamorphic); Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1; BBFC Cert: 15.
      Director: Clint Eastwood; Writer: William Goldman (based on the novel by David Baldacci); Executive Producer: Tom Rooker; Producer: Clint Eastwood, Karen S. Spiegel; Associate Producer: Michael Maurer; Director of Photography: Jack N. Green; Music Composer: Lennie Niehaus; Film Editor: Joel Cox; Casting Director: Phyllis Huffman; Production Designer: Henry Bumstead; Art Director: Jack G. Taylor Jr.; Set Decorator: Richard C. Goddard, Anne D. McCulley; Costumes: Deborah Hopper; Make-up: Tania McComas, Francisco X. Pérez; Sound: Bub Asman, Alan Robert Murray; Special Effects: Steve Riley.
      Cast: Clint Eastwood (Luther Whitney), Gene Hackman (President Richmond), Ed Harris (Seth Frank), Laura Linney (Kate Whitney), Scott Glenn (Bill Burton), Dennis Haysbert (Tim Collin), Judy Davis (Gloria Russell), E.G. Marshall (Walter Sullivan), Melora Hardin (Christy Sullivan), Kenneth Welsh (Sandy Lord), Penny Johnson Jerald (Laura Simon), Richard Jenkins (Michael McCarty), Mark Margolis (Red Brandsford), Elaine Kagan (Valerie), Alison Eastwood (Art Student), Yau-Gene Chan (Waiter), George Orrison (Airport Bartender), Charles McDaniel (Medical Examiner), John Lyle Campbell (Repairman), Kimber Eastwood (White House Tour Guide), Eric Dahlquist Jr. (Oval Office Agent), Jack Stewart Taylor (Watergate Doorman), Joy Ehrlich (Reporter), Robert Harvey (Cop).
      Synopsis: A career thief witnesses a horrific crime involving the U.S. President.
      Comment: Highly implausible and lacking in pace, this is made watchable by the presence of Eastwood as the burglar who witnesses the crime and Harris as the cop who tries to hunt him down. Hackman is solid as ever as the President but is given little to work with by the script after the tense opening scenes. Davis’ performance is completely misjudged as if she is acting in another, more comedic, movie. The plot plays out in routine fashion and lacks heightened drama in its climax. A disappointing effort from Eastwood after a golden run.
      Notes: Marshall’s final appearance in a theatrical film.

Film Review – RUN ALL NIGHT (2015)

Image result for run all night dvdRun All Night (2015; USA; FotoKem; 114m) ∗∗∗  d. Jaume Collet-Serra; w. Brad Ingelsby; ph. Martin Ruhe; m. Alan Silvestri.  Cast: Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman, Ed Harris, Vincent D’Onofrio, Genesis Rodriguez, Boyd Holbrook, Common, Holt McCallany, Malcolm Goodwin, James Martinez. A hit man has one night to figure out where his loyalties lie: with his estranged son, whose life is in danger, or his long time best friend, mob boss, who wants the hit man’s son to pay for the death of his own son. Despite following genre conventions and taking yet another pass at the estranged father and son brought together through adversity theme, this thriller has its moments. Neeson is in good form as the ageing hit man and Harris brings an element of class to his gangster boss role. Watch out for Nick Nolte in a brief uncredited appearance. [15]

Film Review – APOLLO 13 (1995)

Apollo 13 (1995; USA; DeLuxe; 141m) ∗∗∗∗½  d. Ron Howard; w. William Broyles Jr., Al Reinert; ph. Dean Cundey; m. James Horner.  Cast: Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, Kathleen Quinlan, Mary Kate Schellhardt, Emily Ann Lloyd, Miko Hughes, Max Elliott Slade, Jean Speegle Howard, Tracy Reiner, David Andrews, Michelle Little, Chris Ellis. True story of the moon-bound mission that developed severe trouble and the men that rescued it with skill and dedication. Thoroughly absorbing account, authentically portrayed and superbly acted – notably by Hanks as mission leader and Harris as flight control. Based on the book “Lost Moon” by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger. Won Oscars for Editing and Sound. A digitally remastered IMAX-format version was released in September 2002 and was 20m shorter. [PG]