– solid Western with Hanks on typically good form, albeit remarkable only in that there are so few these days. Surprisingly for Greengrass, despite two or three thrilling set pieces, this is predominantly a drama.
The Devil All The Time
– visually impressive and filled with fine performances, this string of striking but grisly set pieces is still a bit too gruesome and heavy to wholeheartedly recommend.
Let Him Go
– fire and brimstone in Gladstone in this slow and dreary neo-Western starring an achingly weary and world-weary Kevin Costner. It’s all too much effort and mostly nonsensical anyway. As if this year wasn’t hard enough.
Yellowstone S01 (TV)
– A promising start then it all falls apart. That’s the plot, as well as a review. This Montana set Western follows unsympathetic, even despicable characters, through an endless stream of farfetched and usually violent contrivances. The scenery is beautiful, the premise is strong, the execution is near terrible. Show creator Taylor Sheridan is a serious talent, a pity he’s only credited with story for the first two episodes (by far the best).
– endlessly grisly, abuse-filled Western with nothing to recommend it. Long, sadistic and gratuitous.
– meandering, peculiar and pretentious arthouse Western has a dream-like quality despite its black and white aesthetic. If there’s gold in the dirt, I didn’t see it.
The Dark Valley
– German Western is compelling revenge tale despite strange direction and an indulgent pace. Could have been much better but still worth watching.
Never Grow Old
– Uninspired Western featuring dreary performances from both Hirsch and Cusack, and a sombre plot that never surprises nor excites. Tedious.
– Excessively long and hate-filled Australian gothic Western whose endless bloody viciousness is primed to enrage audiences, not least because so many opportunities for dissent are passed over by the frustratingly pathetic Nightingale, who fails to fight for herself or anyone else throughout, and apparently prefers a sneering lullaby to a vengeful bullet. Hugely irritating.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
– Skilled film-making as always from Tarantino, and played with wit and vigour from the all star cast. It doesn’t feel as well-plotted and balanced as some of his other films, more like an extended montage of different genres, but it’s good fun, for sure, and an interestingly self-aware depiction of Hollywood personalities and culture.
Ned Kelly (2003)
– rose-tinted reimagining of the life and times of the eponymous Irish/Australian scoundrel. Youthfully exuberant performances from its all star cast don’t disguise the uninspired direction and dated style. Tame.
– Polished if formulaic gun slinger following a pair of washed up lawmen on the trail of Bonnie and Clyde. Unimaginative and a bit flabby, but serviceable.
The West Wing S07 (TV)
– it’s only upon concluding the West Wing story that you realise how truly momentous and significant an achievement it was, and even more strikingly, how much the standard of the last three seasons suffered as a result of Aaron Sorkin departing the political drama. I could easily watch it again, but if and when I do, I’ll stick with the first four series and happily forget the unpleasantness of its concluding chapters.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
– a droll medley of short stories set in the Wild West, laden with whimsy and black humour. Accusations of pretentiousness would be fair, but curiously, it remains mostly enjoyable, despite its indulgent pace.
The West Wing S06
– after a straight up comedy kick off, it settles into a regular beat that is engaging enough, if still far below the Sorkin standard. When characters and actors are as beloved as these, the script and storylines are practically irrelevant – they’re pretty much family at this point.
The West Wing S03 (TV)
– Sorkin’s writing is of such a high standard that it remains a joy to watch even after multiple viewings.
The West Wing S05 (TV)
– this one was the miss. Albeit still an entertaining show, its clear the calibre of writing slipped post Sorkin, and the new team are struggling to find their rhythm.
The West Wing S04 (TV)
– Not quite on a par with the first three seasons, this series really goes off the rails during its final episodes which are unconvincing at best, and totally un-West Wing.
– Ponderous Western; well shot, well acted, no less drawn out.
Ingrid Goes West
– Stressful, skin-crawling, creepy and unsettling, this is a one of a kind comedy that’s near masterful. Aubrey Plaza is uniquely talented and she delivers a phenomenal performance along with O’Shea Jackson Jr who is instantly winning as her lovable landlord.
– A truly magnificent Western. Epic, beautiful, profound, with a splendid cast and sharp witted script. Fantastic.
– poorly paced but worthwhile Western with echoes of Heart of Darkness. Surprisingly arresting turns from both Woody Harrelson and Liam Hemsworth.
The Magnificent Seven
– the 2016 version. Good old solid Western, well cast and well executed. It’s not going to blow any minds but you could do a lot worse than this.
– terrific Western, a contemporary love letter to the classics. The story is strong and traditional, and the acting is frankly breathtaking. To see the Sutherlands side by side for the first time in nearly twenty years is emotive in itself.
– very conventional Western, albeit featuring a medley of languages. Classic tale of revenge told fairly solidly, if unremarkably
– brilliant and unexpected Western. Wonderfully cast, Richard Jenkins in particular is a gem, and skilfully depicted; this is a simple tale, told very well.
– As the title unambiguously suggests, this is a slow western. Tongue in cheek performances and pleasant cinematography give it a certain charm and whimsy that just about triumphs over its slumbrous pacing.
A Single Shot
– Another outback drama with a terrific cast and wonderful acting cursed by a substandard story. Worth watching for Rockwell and the beautiful scenery, this is disappointingly lacking, I’m just not quite sure what…
– Dry, flat Western drama from Tommy Lee Jones that lacks even the slightest appeal. I’d rather sit on a horse waiting to hang.
The West Wing S02
– inspiring and absorbing as usual, with an extremely compelling main story arc. Sorkin at his best.
The West Wing S01 (TV)
– Such an enormous pleasure to rewatch this. Still one of the finest, wittiest, sharpest scripted TV shows I have ever seen. Every minute is fun and every episode exhilarating.
– If only this US political drama had a scintilla more pace. The plot, scripting, casting and acting are all top notch. It’s so close to perfection, and yet it lacks a little punch that post-Sorkin’s The West Wing and Fincher’s House of Cards, is almost a prerequisite of political depictions. Fantastic though, watch it.
– Dry, slow burning neo-Western drama that is surprisingly affecting, particularly as it isn’t especially gripping. Sam Shepherd is good, and predominantly speaks Spanish throughout.
A Million Ways To Die In The West
– Moderately entertaining western comedy that relies too heavily on puerile gross-outs and not enough on strong wit, but the funny lines, when they come, are more or less worth suffering through the rest of it. Maybe.
– A little slow at times, otherwise a solid character driven Western with some excellent dialogue and tasteful cinematography.
– Excellent western with a career peaking performance from Val Kilmer. The sheer stupidity of the Wild West is often an irritation, but it’s a hugely watchable film.
– a pretty spectacular feat of film making by Spielberg in all fairness. Not my thing, but if you don’t mind twee and you’ve a penchant for war time drama (and horses) then this will no doubt tick all the boxes.
– outstanding neo-western destined to be a cult hit. Extraordinarily well shot and offering excellent performances from a relatively unfamiliar cast.
My Name Is Nobody
– Farcical Western comedy, definitely grabs some laughs, but is it worth the runtime…
Cowboys and Aliens
– not your average Western! I liked it, but it’s high on the Hollywood gloss
Last Man Standing
– excellent western gunslinger with Bruce Willis
– very well filmed but boring and uneventful western
The Quick and the Dead
– above average western with great performances all round