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3 items from 2014

Sin City: A Dame to Kill | Review

21 August 2014 5:30 PM, PDT | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

Love the Sinner: Miller & Rodriguez Bring Back Hyperstylized Noir with Mixed Results

It has been almost a decade since the visually innovative Sin City thrummed into theaters, cloaked in lascivious shades of film noir nightmares. In between now and then, co-director and creator Frank Miller stepped out on his own in 2008 with The Spirit, an abysmal record of why perhaps Robert Rodriguez was a necessary cohort to return on the sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Suffering from the regular pitfalls of the overly ambitious sequel, this chapter will surely disappoint those hoping to experience the same level of creative vicissitudes because this go round is a brittle, wearied tethering of varied storylines. But, imperfect their latest creation may be, it isn’t without significant entertainment value. As cheaply as it tends to favor its multitudinous women, doling out an equal helping of misogyny with its crackpot male fantasy version of empowered females, »

- Nicholas Bell

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How Hawks' 1948 Classic 'Red River' Drew a New Map for the Western (New Criterion DVD Review)

18 June 2014 3:05 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

"Funny how different you feel," cattleman Nadine Groot (Walter Brennan) relates near the end of "Red River," "when you know you're going somewheres." He's right, but his is a sojourner's satisfaction, marking the conclusion of a long expedition. For viewers of Howard Hawks' mythic 1948 Western, the foremost pleasure is in the odyssey itself.  Adapted by Borden Chase and Charles Schnee from Chase's novel "Blazing Guns on the Chisholm Trail," first serialized in The Saturday Evening Post and included in The Criterion Collection's new dual-format boxed set, the film opens on a westbound wagon train passing through North Texas in August, 1851. Ambitious, stubborn rancher Tom Dunson (John Wayne) -- "a mighty set man," Groot explains -- possesses an unshakeable conviction that land further south is the keystone of his imagined empire, and even the love of a good woman (Coleen Gray) cannot slow his pursuit. He leaves her with his mother's bracelet, »

- Matt Brennan

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New on Video: ‘Red River’

12 June 2014 8:06 AM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Red River

Written by Borden Chase and Charles Schnee

Directed by Howard Hawks

USA, 1948

Howard HawksRed River is supposedly the film that convinced John Ford of John Wayne’s talent (apparently opposed to his abilities to simply perform or suggest a powerful screen presence). Ford had, of course, worked with Wayne previously, and Wayne had appeared in dozens of other films prior to this point, but when Ford saw what Wayne did in the role of the aged, bitter, driven, and obsessive Thomas Dunson, it led him to comment to his friend Hawks, “I didn’t know the big son of a bitch could act.” If it were only for Wayne’s performance, which is excellent, Red River would be a vital entry into the Western genre. But there is more, much more to this extraordinary picture. That’s why it’s not only one of the greatest Westerns ever made, »

- Jeremy Carr

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