Blackthorn

This Week in DVD

It’s a fairly quiet week in the world of DVD releases, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some quality titles hitting shelves. Two fantastic films arrive today, and while they barely made a ripple at the box office that doesn’t mean they’re not worth your time. Other movies out today include the wonderfully suspenseful Julia’s Eyes, the ridiculously overrated Midnight In Paris, the just plain ridiculous Columbiana and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Warrior Two men, one a high school teacher with a family (Joel Edgerton) and the other an ex-Marine hero (Tom Hardy), find themselves on different paths to the same goal: winning a high-profile MMA tournament and the large cash prize that goes with it. The story moves back and forth between the men and their situations until they finally merge together in the ring. Sports stories in general aren’t really my thing, but I do enjoy a tale well told. Director Gavin O’Connor and his two leads (as well as supporting player Nick Nolte) fill the film with heart, great character and honest suspense. Most surprising of all, both men have an equal shot at victory and viewers will be thrilled and satisfied whichever way it ends. Lots of fantastic films were missed by audiences by year, but this is one underdog that deserves a second shot at victory. Check out Robert Levin’s full review.

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The Reject Report

It’s time to pop the head off that other report, the one we don’t like. I don’t know. Take your pick. This is the Reject Report, where we mash down our buttons so fast and furiously we knock out the competition that comes before us. That’s precisely what two new films are looking to do to their own competition this weekend. We’ve got a huge robot movie starring Hugh Jackman and a political drama starring Ryan Gosling and George Clooney. Plenty of eye candy in the theaters this weekend, but only one of these movies is going to have what it takes to take that box office top spot. Perhaps you would say one of these movies is going to have to have real steel? Perhaps not. Let’s see how our combatants are looking this weekend.

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When Mateo Gil’s Blackthorn was first announced, the film sounded like a cheap attempt to capitalize on the good name of the classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. But while George Roy Hill’s film (from William Goldman’s near-perfect script) mixed adventure and humor, Gil’s take on a late-in-life Cassidy strikes something more serious, a film that shows a character rarely portrayed as the hero in gun-slinging Westerns – the ruined elder.   The film reimagines the fate of Cassidy (played here by Sam Shepard), finding him living out the sunset of his life in Bolivia under the name James Blackthorn. But Cassidy is lonely sans Sundance Kid, and longs to return home to die. As he sets out on his faithful stead, all seems aligned for the once-wild man to quietly return home to the United States. But when Cassidy gets mixed up with a brash young law-breaker (Eduardo Noriega), thanks to both circumstance and temperament, that plan’s off – and a new one is on. The first trailer for Blackthorn hints at the more melancholy side of Cassidy in between a rash of pistol-shootin’ battles alongside his new sidekick, and that’s the intriguing element of Gil’s film (with a bullet). Saddle up and check out the trailer after the break.

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Spanish director Mateo Gil’s look at the last days of Western legend Butch Cassidy, Blackthorn, has been picked up for distribution. The film made its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival, and is set to play at Cannes as well, but Magnolia Pictures has already scooped it up and is prepping it for a theatrical release later this year. The film stars Sam Shepard, who is no stranger to screen westerns, as Cassidy, and sees him supported by names such as Stephen Rea, Eduardo Noriega and Nicolaj Coster-Waldau. This is Gil’s first English language film, and the first feature length film that he has directed at all in 12 years. He is a prominent screenwriter, however, and has written things you might have heard of like the Javier Bardem film The Sea Inside, and the basis for Vanilla Sky called Abre los ojos. Why is Magnolia taking a chance on this film? The man who negotiated the deal, Tom Quinn, explains, “With an amazing cast and incredible locations, Mateo Gil has created a Western for the ages. Sam Shepard is unforgettable as Butch Cassidy, with a command performance that is a high point in an amazing career.” That sounds exciting to me, but I imagine that Magnolia picking up this film has a little something to do with the fact that True Grit just made a jillion dollars at the box office as well. Is this some early indication that the Coens’s success in the Western genre could be bringing […]

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