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Search Title: Search Director: Year Seen:  

2022

Title: Director [Year]
"Identity" James Mangold [2003]
"Wrath of Man" DIRECTOR [2021]
"Heaven‘s Gate" Michael Cimino [1980]
"Heaven‘s Gate" Michael Cimino [1980]
"Heaven‘s Gate" Michael Cimino [1980]

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Liner Notes.

© 2022 WNM and the respective authors. "All Rights Reserved."


"Identity" [James Mangold] 2003

"Well put together in the sense that the first half was tense. That was done very well. That kept me watching, I‘ll give it that.

"Classic dark and stormy night, with a bunch of misfits thrown together. What‘s going to happen? The film heads downhill as people are murdered one by one ... moving into syfy horror.

"It alludes to the Ten Little Indians story from Agatha Christie. But later bodies start disappearing, into thin air so there is no human mad killer on the loose.

"This is where I started wondering. What is going on with the condemned killer guy? Then all is revealed as the condemned has dissociative identity disorder.

"Apparently, all this is occurring in that guys mind. We are watching his dreamscape. Are the people at the motel all his alter egos? Are they all people he killed?

"Apparently, the killer was conning the psychiatrist, much to that doctor‘s regret. He was conning us too.

"The idea that the silent small boy personality was the killer was lifted from Halloween [1978]. This was a pretty good paste-up film. Halloween [1978] added to And Then There Were None [1945] with a bit of The Old Dark House [1932].

"Quite a few psychiatrists call multiple personality disorder a ‘misadventure‘, the validity of such a diagnosis questionable, possibly iatrogenic."

--ggf

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"Wrath of Man" [DIRECTOR] 2021

""Wrath of Man" [2021] now on Amazon Prime is at least well made and put together in a way that makes you think some. IMDB gives in a 7.1 and Roger Ebert‘s successors give it four stars. I presume primarily due to its style.

"Directed by Guy Ritchie it stars Jason Statham. Ritchie directed and wrote the very highly rated "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" [1998] which we watched and enjoyed. He also did the very poorly rated "Swept Away" [2002] remake of the classic Lina Wertmuller film. Even Madonna couldn‘t save the remake.

"Statham is a reliable action film staple these days. For John‘s amusement, Statham starred in "The Meg" [2018]."

--ggf

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"Heaven‘s Gate" [Michael Cimino] 1980

""Heaven‘s Gate" [1980] directed by Michael Cimino, starring Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, Jeff Bridges and Isabelle Huppert.

"I suppose my first reaction is how can the critics in 1980 have gotten this so wrong?

"First and obvious is the film is truly, beautifully cinematic. Second and also obvious, to do what Cimino wanted cost an amazing amount of money, time and effort. Did he go too far? Probably, but it is there on the film to see.

"Heaven‘s Gate concerns the Johnson County war in the years 1891/92. Stockbreeders in Wyoming wanted their range, which they did not own, to stay open and free of settlers. To keep it that way they hired mercenaries to murder many of those settlers. The settlers took issue with that and serious violence occurred. The politics were quite corrupt.

"This film is not "The Wild Bunch" of 1969. It is an epic of over three hours and the events build slowly. I suspect some critics just got tired waiting for some good old western action, which does come in the last 45 minutes.

"The critics also did not ‘get‘ the main characters. This film flouts the conventions of a western. It is not black and white. Its principal characters are morally flawed. With the exception of the ‘heavy‘ Frank Canton and his cronies, they are not drawn in broad and obvious strokes.

"The central character is James Averill, sheriff of Johnson County, played by Kristofferson. He is an intellectual, wealthy, unhappy and out of place. He apparently abandoned his wife back east and has taken up with a madam, Ella Watson, played by Huppert. She is not committed entirely to Averill, which results in tension.

"One criticism that does stick is that the characters played by Hurt and Bridges are not central to the film. In a real sense their talent was wasted.

"Critics also complained that the film was too smokey and dusty. Cimino let the dust and smoke get in the way of the camera for some scenes. Again, he was interested in authenticity. Steam trains are smokey, bars were full of smoke and dynamite explosions create smoke and dust. How big a deal is this? Very little as it is only evident in a small parts of the film.

"Cimino had the immigrants speaking in their own languages at times, usually when they are animated, English still difficult for them. There was Russian, German and others. This can be a bit frustrating at times to a viewer who must understand the overall scene rather than the language spoken. But accurate? Very likely and the viewer still ‘gets‘ what is going on.

"What sunk this film? Its cost was extremely high: $44M in 1980 dollars. The critics killed it. It grossed only $3.5M and as a result United Artists nearly went bankrupt. Cimino‘s career was essentially over. For comparison Cleopatra cost $118M in 1980 dollars and grossed $158M.

"At 3.5 hours long, this is a watch the first 100 minutes, have dinner, then watch the final 100 minutes or so. I think it is worth watching if only for the scenery ... which of course needs a large screen, which you have."

--ggf

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"Heaven‘s Gate" [Michael Cimino] 1980

""Heaven‘s Gate" [1980] directed by Michael Cimino, starring Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, Jeff Bridges and Isabelle Huppert.

"I suppose my first reaction is how can the critics in 1980 have gotten this so wrong?

"First and obvious is the film is truly, beautifully cinematic. Second and also obvious, to do what Cimino wanted cost an amazing amount of money, time and effort. Did he go too far? Probably, but it is there on the film to see.

"Heaven‘s Gate concerns the Johnson County war in the years 1891/92. Stockbreeders in Wyoming wanted their range, which they did not own, to stay open and free of settlers. To keep it that way they hired mercenaries to murder many of those settlers. The settlers took issue with that and serious violence occurred. The politics were quite corrupt.

"This film is not "The Wild Bunch" of 1969. It is an epic of over three hours and the events build slowly. I suspect some critics just got tired waiting for some good old western action, which does come in the last 45 minutes.

"The critics also did not ‘get‘ the main characters. This film flouts the conventions of a western. It is not black and white. Its principal characters are morally flawed. With the exception of the ‘heavy‘ Frank Canton and his cronies, they are not drawn in broad and obvious strokes.

"The central character is James Averill, sheriff of Johnson County, played by Kristofferson. He is an intellectual, wealthy, unhappy and out of place. He apparently abandoned his wife back east and has taken up with a madam, Ella Watson, played by Huppert. She is not committed entirely to Averill, which results in tension.

"One criticism that does stick is that the characters played by Hurt and Bridges are not central to the film. In a real sense their talent was wasted.

"Critics also complained that the film was too smokey and dusty. Cimino let the dust and smoke get in the way of the camera for some scenes. Again, he was interested in authenticity. Steam trains are smokey, bars were full of smoke and dynamite explosions create smoke and dust. How big a deal is this? Very little as it is only evident in a small parts of the film.

"Cimino had the immigrants speaking in their own languages at times, usually when they are animated, English still difficult for them. There was Russian, German and others. This can be a bit frustrating at times to a viewer who must understand the overall scene rather than the language spoken. But accurate? Very likely and the viewer still ‘gets‘ what is going on.

"What sunk this film? Its cost was extremely high: $44M in 1980 dollars. The critics killed it. It grossed only $3.5M and as a result United Artists nearly went bankrupt. Cimino‘s career was essentially over. For comparison Cleopatra cost $118M in 1980 dollars and grossed $158M.

"At 3.5 hours long, this is a watch the first 100 minutes, have dinner, then watch the final 100 minutes or so. I think it is worth watching if only for the scenery ... which of course needs a large screen, which you have."

--ggf

Back to the Top.


"Heaven‘s Gate" [Michael Cimino] 1980

""Heaven‘s Gate" [1980] directed by Michael Cimino, starring Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, Jeff Bridges and Isabelle Huppert.

"I suppose my first reaction is how can the critics in 1980 have gotten this so wrong?

"First and obvious is the film is truly, beautifully cinematic. Second and also obvious, to do what Cimino wanted cost an amazing amount of money, time and effort. Did he go too far? Probably, but it is there on the film to see.

"Heaven‘s Gate concerns the Johnson County war in the years 1891/92. Stockbreeders in Wyoming wanted their range, which they did not own, to stay open and free of settlers. To keep it that way they hired mercenaries to murder many of those settlers. The settlers took issue with that and serious violence occurred. The politics were quite corrupt.

"This film is not "The Wild Bunch" of 1969. It is an epic of over three hours and the events build slowly. I suspect some critics just got tired waiting for some good old western action, which does come in the last 45 minutes.

"The critics also did not ‘get‘ the main characters. This film flouts the conventions of a western. It is not black and white. Its principal characters are morally flawed. With the exception of the ‘heavy‘ Frank Canton and his cronies, they are not drawn in broad and obvious strokes.

"The central character is James Averill, sheriff of Johnson County, played by Kristofferson. He is an intellectual, wealthy, unhappy and out of place. He apparently abandoned his wife back east and has taken up with a madam, Ella Watson, played by Huppert. She is not committed entirely to Averill, which results in tension.

"One criticism that does stick is that the characters played by Hurt and Bridges are not central to the film. In a real sense their talent was wasted.

"Critics also complained that the film was too smokey and dusty. Cimino let the dust and smoke get in the way of the camera for some scenes. Again, he was interested in authenticity. Steam trains are smokey, bars were full of smoke and dynamite explosions create smoke and dust. How big a deal is this? Very little as it is only evident in a small parts of the film.

"Cimino had the immigrants speaking in their own languages at times, usually when they are animated, English still difficult for them. There was Russian, German and others. This can be a bit frustrating at times to a viewer who must understand the overall scene rather than the language spoken. But accurate? Very likely and the viewer still ‘gets‘ what is going on.

"What sunk this film? Its cost was extremely high: $44M in 1980 dollars. The critics killed it. It grossed only $3.5M and as a result United Artists nearly went bankrupt. Cimino‘s career was essentially over. For comparison Cleopatra cost $118M in 1980 dollars and grossed $158M.

"At 3.5 hours long, this is a watch the first 100 minutes, have dinner, then watch the final 100 minutes or so. I think it is worth watching if only for the scenery ... which of course needs a large screen, which you have."

--ggf

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Last update on Jan 15, 2010 at 12:15:10.