Walton Goggins

Danny Trejo Sherrybaby

Our official review of Machete Kills is pretty negative. Rightfully so, it’s a major disappointment following the purposefully cheesy yet still politically relevant first film. This time it’s all just silly, kind of like an Austin Powers movie for the Latino audience instead of 13-year-old boys — though the 13-year-old boys may still be the best audience for this. I want to recommend it solely for Demian Bichir, though, because he is a pleasure to watch every second he’s on screen. Maybe it’s just how great he is relative to the rest of the cast and movie, but I’d give him another Oscar nomination for this. If you think that’s ridiculous, you haven’t seen the movie (because that is ridiculous). If you don’t see Machete Kills, no big deal, even if you won’t know what’s going on when Machete Kills Again… In Space arrives. This week’s gateway recommendations have nothing related to any spoilers in the movie. Most are just better films starring parts of the sequel’s ensemble. I also almost thought about including Star Wars, not because I think any of you haven’t seen it but because I think you’d want to clean yourself in the form of a re-watch after seeing all the bad references here. Seriously, even if we’d never had 35 years of parodies, copycats, fan films and other works derived from and informed by Star Wars, the allusions here would still feel stale. The following ten selections are worth checking out whether you bother with Machete […]

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Justified Season 4

On the whole, season four of Justified was pretty spectacular. With a few exceptions, almost every episode was filled with perfect writing, skillful, action-packed direction, some of the greatest acting performances on television, and really interesting character arcs. We also said goodbye to one of the show’s greatest assets, Raymond J. Barry as Arlo Givens in one of Justified’s greatest show openers ever, a vicious prison shanking. While Arlo’s passing was a loss to the show, we all made it through, and have one helluva episode to remember him by. Though most of this season did involve the marshallin’ stiffy-inducing search for fugitive Drew Thompson, who was Arlo’s buddy in Vietnam, and who brought cocaine to Harlan County. Drew, of course, turned out to be the kindly old Sheriff Shelby (Jim Beaver), who rescued dumb-but-sweet prostitute Ellen May (Abby Miller) from the clutches of Boyd and Ava, since she witnessed Ava kill Delroy… Now that Raylan officially brought in Drew/Shelby and skirted the Detroit mob, this season’s central “mystery,” now what? With most of the season’s plot wrapped up last week, this week’s finale did not have that much to do. Raylan had to tie up some loose ends with the Detroit mob, and Boyd had to get that whole Delroy thing squared away. The episode, entitled “Ghosts,”directed by Bill Johnson and written by Fred Golan and Benjamin Cavell, was certainly a very good one, but Justified could have done just a bit better. There were some unanswered questions left over […]

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Justified Season 4

While Justified never ceased being one of the best shows on television, it entered into a third season slump. After a near-perfect second season, featuring one of the greatest TV villains, Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale), it couldn’t help but underwhelm in its junior year, replacing her with a slew of uninteresting baddies. Season four, however, is proof positive that a show can redeem itself. It has remained Harlan-centric villain-wise, with the exception of Mike O’Malley’s Detroit mobster Nicky Augustine, who is a vast improvement over who he replaced, Adam Arkin. No offense, Arkin… but O’Malley is killing it. Villains aside, the reasons why Justified continues to triumph this season is because of the consistently amazing writing and direction. The dialogue is nearly poetry, with Boyd turning phrases that sound as if they come out of Shakespeare’s notebook – Nicky even tells him this week, “I’m going to need Google Translate on my phone if I’m going to keep talking to you.” This week’s episode, “Peace of Mind,” co-written by Taylor Elmore and Leonard Chang and directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton, is no exception. While perhaps less action-packed than last week, it features snappy dialogue, macho encounters, and a fluidity in the transport of people and places as the law and the criminals both chase after Ellen May (an excellent Abby Miller) who is also on the move – from Noble’s Holler, to her former pimp’s house, to the church, to Lexington.

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Justified Season 4

I love Justified. I love Justified so hard. Yes, there is the odd placeholder episode. Yes, there are smatterings of cheesy “reveals.” But when you get down to it, there is nary another show on television that is consistently exciting to watch, or that strikes the perfect, watchable balance between action and character development. That actually gets the plot moving week by week. That rewards fans of the show with little nuggets from seasons past, making the Harlan County crime universe a fully realized place where characters aren’t simply written off but are always lurking somewhere, acting behind the scenes. Oh yeah, and it has probably the most cleverly written dialogue on television, too.

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Justified Season 4

So on the latest Justified, “The Hatchet Tour,” we finally discovered the true identity of the infamous fugitive Drew Thompson. Did we really care who Drew Thompson really was? Not really. Though, my goodness, his true identity truly was a surprise. And the episode as a whole – written by Taylor Elmore and Leonard Chang, and directed by TV great Leslie Linka Glatter) – really, really delivered. It was well-paced, packed with important happenings, snappy dialogue… and was Justified doin’ Justified right.

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Justified Season 4

Tonight came with a huge shock. Before the opening credits. I haven’t fully come to grips with it yet, and I’m not sure if I can say whether or not it was handled correctly. Nevertheless, shocking it certainly was – and it created a huge void in the show.

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Justified Season 4

On the latest Justified, we learned that real men can enjoy an ice cream cone while they drive (Raylan)… but not drink red margaritas (Boyd). This piece of information is, of course, contingent on Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder being “real men,” which, please, of course they are. They can work in a mine, have daddy issues, and shoot a firearm like the best of ‘em. While entertaining (including these ice cream and margarita moments) and filled with many bright spots, this episode, “Money Trap,” proved to not be as clever as its title. It featured a who’s who in primetime drama elite as its guest stars, and some fun action sequences, how Boyd and Ava fare in high society, but perhaps stressed minor plot points more so than important ones (these were squeezed at the very end of the episode). The pacing, therefore, was a bit off, and the structure was perhaps a bit ill-conceived. This episode also paired Raylan with yet another vapid, potentially shifty, woman named Jackie Nevada (Shelley Hennig, an actress with somewhat limited acting range).

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Justified Season 4

This latest installment of Justified was a thrill for many reasons, the first being… frenenemies Raylan and Boyd are, again, holed up in the same room, fighting for the same cause (kinda), and engaging in some of their delightful trademark frenemy banter. Seeing Raylan and Boyd together for the first time this season makes you realize the absolute perfection of Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins onscreen together. Each line is delivered perfectly and the relationship between their two characters is just so nuanced. Adding to the greatness, there is also war bonding across party lines between Tim and Colton, an appearance form Arlo, Raylan waxing nostalgic about his mother, Ellen May coming into a greater purpose, and Gerald McRaney’s (and another of Olyphant’s fellow Deadwood alum’s) self-severed foot… Though if I’m nitpicking, we could still do without the whole Detroit invasion. And Mike O’Malley still on Glee, right? This minor transgression is, however, overshadowed by the fact that this episode brings us into even more of a hick milieu that even Harlan County proper: the realm of the hill people. And yes, a Deliverance reference is made (thanks, Boyd!). Them crazy hill people are always encouraged… and no one had to “squeal like a pig” or nuthin’.

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Justified Season 4

So, I guess Justified thought we were in need of some testosterone this week? Sure, why not. The title of this week’s installment is “This Bird is Flown,” and the meaning there is fairly obvious – in addition to the rooster component, Lindsey “flew” off with Raylan’s secret money that he procured from doing his off-the-books marshallin’. Though other than lamenting that he thought Lindsey “liked” him, Raylan takes the situation like the man that he is, procuring a new giant gun (ah, the phallic symbolism!) and brawling in the dirt with Randall, mano-a-mano. Sure, this episode mainly existed to tie up the Raylan/Lindsey/Randall storyline and didn’t cover too much ground in terms of the season as a whole, but it was a helluva fun watch and gave us a much needed break from hearing the names “Waldo Truth” or “Drew Thompson.” Or the term “marshallin’ stiffy.” Though Art and Tim were again sorely missed… it looks like they can’t coexist in the same episode as Rachel? Nevertheless, we also were treated to an interesting thread with Boyd and Ava deciding to off Ellen May, which paid off nicely with ending in an unexpected way. So while somewhat unspectacular, this episode was well-paced and oozing with masculinity… and obviously, Raylan, no woman doesn’t like you best.

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Justified Season 4

While this week’s episode, “Truth and Consequences” was certainly watchable, it was somewhat of a disappointment. Billy died from a snakebite, falling victim to his own blind religious fervor, which seems really premature. Joseph Mazzello really shined as Billy, especially this week, and it is upsetting that his time on the show was so short. Also, Raylan is duped by Lindsay and Randall, who were apparently in cahoots the entire time. Uh, really? Not only is it illogical, it’s not exactly fitting with Raylan’s history as the man least likely to be taken in by the blonde floozie. Raylan is one of the most astute characters on television – nothing gets past him. Also, the Drew Thompson/Waldo Truth mystery is getting boring real fast, y’all… and muddled to boot. The pseudonyms, the drug cartel, whatever… it’s either hard to follow or hard to care about (think, probably it’s the latter). These glaring issues are only compounded by the overall issue of this episode trying to cover too much ground in around 40 minutes. We really don’t need to hear about Rachel’s backstory – just cut that scene with her and Raylan out at the bar, it seemed really tacked on. I guess that was only there to set up her helping Raylan to track down Lindsey/Randall? Also, we got a taste of an interesting storyline – Johnny backstabbing Boyd via Wynn Duffy – but it was covered in one measly scene. That is good stuff and more would have been […]

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Justified Season 4

On last week’s impressive Season 4 premiere, Raylan faced off against imprisoned Arlo and his teenage flunkies on the outside as they tried to take a bag and ID from a 1983 plane crash/drug bust hidden in Arlo’s wall, Arlo shanked another prisoner, Ellen May shot a furry john, and Boyd suspects he has a new adversary in fundamentalist preacher Billy. Winona remains out of the picture, while Ava is still the First Lady of Boyd’s criminal empire. Raylan remains the best. This week’s episode “Where’s Waldo?” brings us many wonderful things. Raylan, Tim, and Art go on a stakeout together – a marshallin’ dream team. There is also perhaps the highest volume of rednecks in a single episode of Justified. We have the Waldo Truth family, a redneck backyard ultimate fighting ring, and a fundamentalist church congregation. And not only are they rednecks by socioeconomic background and/or geographical location, but they serve up some redneck realness. A redneck child throws Raylan double middle fingers! Ellen May gets “saved!” Yes, as established in last week’s recap, Justified is back to doing what Justified does best – luxuriating in the seedy criminal world/religious zealotry of Harlan County. Oh yeah, and crooked businessman Win Duffy (Jere Burns) is back and continues to stir the pot on yet another season – hurray!

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Justified Season 4

When we last left Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and company, his father Arlo (Raymond J. Barry) confessed to killing Devil, thereby letting Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) free to be the diminutive crime lord he was born to be; Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) lopped off Quarles’ (Neil McDonough) arm with a cleaver; and a pregnant Winona (Natalie Zea) wouldn’t take Raylan back. In only the first episode of Season 4, entitled “Hole in the Wall,” the wrongs of Season 3 are already righted. While thoroughly enjoyable, last season was plagued by having too many villains, and none of them possessed the incredible, Emmy-winning fortitude of Margo Martindale‘s Harlan County crime boss Mags Bennett. Two seasons later, we will never forget you and your Apple Pie. This season, Boyd is still the big bad it seems, and he’s going to be rivaled by a young preacher from a new fundamentalist church, Billy (former child star from Jurassic Park, Joseph Mazzello). Plus, Boyd is joined by his former buddy from Kuwait, Colton Rhodes (Ron Eldard), who is quite the loose cannon. Did you catch all that? Let’s dive in.

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DJANGO UNCHAINED

Quentin Tarantino has very quickly, but not so quietly, found a new niche for his filmmaking talents as a teller of tall tales with a historical bent. He’s less interested in historical accuracy than he is historical tomfoolery, but that never lessens the sheer entertainment he finds in mankind’s relatively recent foibles and misdeeds. From Inglourious Basterds‘ band of World War II Nazi-killers to his latest film’s vengeful slave turned bounty hunter, Tarantino has shown a knack for fitting his charismatic and electric characters into unexpected historical contexts with entertaining as hell results. It’s 1858 in America, and Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) is a dentist on a mission. It’s light on tooth decay, heavy on bloodshed and utterly unrelated to the field of dentistry. He’s a bounty hunter whose latest targets, The Brittle Brothers, present a challenge in that he has no idea what they look like. Undeterred, Schultz acquires, apprentices and befriends a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) who can identify the brothers. In exchange the ex-dentist will help the newly freed Django reunite with his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who currently belongs to a cruel but undeniably charming plantation owner named Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). What follows is a tale that would have made American History class a hell of a lot more memorable as Schultz and Django cut a bloody swath across the post-Civil War South through racists, enforcers and recognizable TV actors (Tom Wopat! Lee Horsley!) from decades past. The cinematic violence is paired with […]

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Well, guess it didn’t look as good as we all thought it did. THR reports (via /Film) that Paramount has decided to push its upcoming G.I. Joe sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, from its summer release date (one that’s barely more than a month away) in favor of a 2013 release date that will afford it less competition at the box office. Oh, and what’s that? Yeah, they’re also post-converting the Jon Chu-directed movie to 3D. Ugh. The film, once set to open on June 29, 2012, will now open on March 29, 2013. The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, Adrianne Palicki, D.J. Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee, Ray Park, RZA, Joseph Mazzello, Elodie Yung, and Walton Goggins and, despite following the money-making but underwhelming G.I. Joe: The Rise of COBRA, has long looked promising. While an unexpected post-conversion 3D job rarely instills confidence in people, announcing one when the film was set to open in just over a month is quite shocking.

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Right from its very beginning, Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming spaghetti Western wannabe Django Unchained was a project whose casting rumors involved far more actors than could have actually been included in its cast. In addition to names being thrown around that just turned out to be wishful thinking, actors like Jonah Hill and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were said to be close to taking roles in the film, but ultimately never signed up due to scheduling conflicts. Even Kevin Costner, who had signed on to play the role of Ace Woody, eventually had to be replaced by Kurt Russell because of scheduling issues. What’s the deal with all of these scheduling issues? What does Tarantino have going on out there in the desert? There may be no hard and fast answers to that question coming, but what is clear is that, even though shooting on the film has commenced, two more names have now dropped out of the cast. The Film Stage brought to our attention that, during an appearance on Howard Stern, Sacha Baron Cohen announced that he wouldn’t be able to make his planned appearance in the film due to promotional commitments for The Dictator. Soon after, Variety’s Jeff Sneider broke the news on Twitter that Kurt Russell had also left the cast.

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GI Joe: Retaliation

You can keep your Avengers. You can have your Expendables. You can even take your Ridley Scott directed space operas and your Christopher Nolan-crafted epic conclusions — alright, so maybe The Dark Knight Rises is taking it too far, but you get the idea  — for my money, the most macho film to be released this summer is the sequel to G.I. Joe, from the director of Step Up 2: The Streets, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never and Step Up 3D. Surely, I jest, but we all saw that badass trailer. If it proved anything, it’s that the key to a great sequel is to kill off most of the characters from the first movie, dash in a little bit of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wielding a ridiculous machine gun, some Bruce Willis wit, a redubbed version of “Seven Nation Army” and an aerial ninja fight. Admit it: none of that doesn’t sound awesome. Adding to the machismo flood that will undoubtedly come when G.I. Joe: Retaliation hits theaters on June 29 are these 9 character posters, featuring some new, some old and all quite dangerous folks from the upcoming sequel. It’s bound to be a very sexy, over-the-top affair. 

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In person, Walton Goggins is an incredibly nice guy. On television and in movies, he can be incredibly unnerving. It’s the eyes. Fortunately, according to Deadline Warren, Goggins has just been cast as Ohio Congressman Wells Andrews Hutchins for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. Hutchins, a man with a frighteningly short Wikipedia entry and all three of his names pluralized, was a Democrat who went against his party in order to vote for the Thirteenth Amendment which abolished (on paper) slavery in the United States. He was also the provost marshal for Ohio during the Civil War (a fact which might just come into play in the movie). Goggins joins Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Strathairn, Tommy Lee Jones, John Hawkes, Hal Holbrook, Bruce McGill, and Tim Blake Nelson in what is clearly Spielberg’s attempt to buy the pot at the Oscars. Undoubtedly, Goggins can hold his own. He’s emerging as one of the most talented character actors of this generation, and it’s great to see him get this kind of work. He’ll next be seen fighting aliens as a cowboy in Cowboys & Aliens and fighting a cowardly home owner in Straw Dogs.

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Returning for a second season is Justified, arguably the most well received new show of last year. Film School Rejects had the opportunity to sit down with series star Timothy Olyphant and got the skinny on what is to be expected of the new season.

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We’ve taken you behind the scenes, into director Jon Favreau’s mind, shared the movies that inspired the sci-fi western, and now we continue our set visit of Cowboys & Aliens with a look at its stars. Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Daniel Craig, and Paul Dano all took time out of a busy shoot to talk about the film and get our hands dirty. All professionalism goes out the window when talking to Harrison Ford. He was standing 20 yards away the entire afternoon of the set visit, posted up like a western specter on the top of an outcropping in his cowboy hat against the blazing sun. Now he’s standing toe-to-toe with me, and I’m not embarrassed to admit now that I lose my cool. I find myself shaking hands with a living legend and looking around to make sure that the other journalists lose their composure, too. There’s a one-sided giddiness that suddenly finds its way permeating the steel cool of those used to meeting the famous, and the latent buzz is pretty heavy in the air with Ford standing there. I imagine this is what God must feel like when he’s shaking Harrison Ford’s hand. The man of so many iconic roles doesn’t say much, but he smiles a wry smile when he does speak, leading me to believe that even he can tell that the group is seriously considering losing critical credibility in order to give him a great big hug and ask Indiana Jones to autograph […]

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“So anything you’re seeing is really spoiler stuff here, right?” That’s how Jon Favreau greets us as he takes refuge inside a pop up tent that is struggling to keep the New Mexican heat and dust out. He’s a force as he enters, a commanding man whose voice is a mix of sarcasm and sweet. Still, he’s about as unimposing as a man over six feet tall can be, and with his breathable pants and bandana he seems more likely to be taking a group of scouts camping than directing a science fiction western starring Daniel Craig. Plus, he’s right about the spoilers. Cowboys & Aliens doesn’t hit theaters until July of 2011, but FSR was invited to the set in the middle of August to watch the crew film a scene and to see who could avoid heat exhaustion the longest (it was Harrison Ford). We won’t be revealing any spoilers from the film, but we will be spending the entire week exploring what the set was like, discovering the movies that inspired the shoot, and talking with Favreau, co-writer Bob Orci, and the cast. Plus, hot off the old dusty trail, we’ve got two behind-the-scenes pictures to share with you after we take you into the canyon where the film was made.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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