We’ve just finished the most excellent series on Netflix ~ Godless, can highly recommend it, movie quality, good story, fabulous cinematography and scenery, and top notch acting by all concerned.
It gave Phil the idea for this week’s Thursday Retro movie. Unforgiven (1992) produced and directed by Clint Eastwood, and written by David Webb Peoples, a strange name really but he also wrote Blade Runner, and 12 Monkey’s, so we can forgive him for that.
It stars, of course, Clint Eastwood with Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman and Richard Harris. You would think that nothing could go wrong with those names attached, and you’d be right! This is such a wonderful piece of work.
The plot will include spoilers as it is well old now, surely you’ve all seen it? If not, you really have missed out.
We start out at a brothel in Big Whisky, Wyoming, where a lady is being attacked by a two cowboys, Quick Mike and Davey Boy Bunting, because she giggled when she saw the size of Mike’s insertion equipment. He slashes her face with a knife several times. The sherriff (Hackman) won’t punish the bad cowboys but has them give the brothel owner Skinny (Anthony James) a bunch of horses instead, which mightily naffs off the ladies who work there, led by Strawberry Alice, (Francis Fisher) so they get together and pool their savings to offer a reward for anyone who kills the cowboys.
Then we go to Will Munny’s (Clint) hovel in Hodgeman County, Kansas, where his wife is buried after succumbing to Smallpox, and his 2 children are helping round up his herd of piggies. A young chap on a horse comes a-ridin’-on-up and it turns out he’s known as the Schofield Kid (Jaims Woolvett) on account of killing 5 men (a lie) and he wants Will to become his partner to shoot the aforementioned 2 cowboys for whomst there is now a $1000 reward.
Will used to be a very bad man, being all notorious and murdering and drinking, but married the sadly deceased Clara, who turned his life around so that he stopped being all notorious and was a good boy. He doesn’t really want to go off with the idiot Schofield Kid, he’s older now, and can’t shoot for shit, but he’s dirt poor and half of that $1000 wriggles into his brain, and although the Kid has left, Will changes his mind and sets off to join him, leaving his 2 little kids to look after themselves (which I freaked at but that’s just how it was!). Along the way, he rides over to his old pal and partner in crime Ned Logan (Freeman) and convinces him to go with him. They catch up with the Kid who isn’t that keen on having a third member, but it also becomes apparent the Kid has very short eyesight.
In the meantime, back at the
ranch Big Whisky brothel, Richard Harris turns up as “English Bob” a British born gunfighter, travelling with his biographer W. W. Beauchamp (Saul Rubinek) is Rubinek for real I wonder, I’m hearing it as Rubberneck in my head? No matter, onwards. Not long after Bob arrives, the Sherriff arrives, disarms Bob and kicks the living daylights out of him as a warning to other would be reward hunters, (the ladies are even more naffed off now). Exit Bob.
Our intrepid trio arrive in Big Whisky on a dark and stormy knight, and whilst Ned and the Kid avail themselves of prostitutical delights, Will sits in the saloon as he has a fever and isn’t well. The Sherriff arrives, and beats Will up as the other two escape through a back window. The three meet up at a barn outside town where, with the help of the ladies, Will recovers. They ambush the cowboys, and manage to shoot Bunting, but Ned loses his nerve when trying to finish him off, and decides he can’t do this, and heads home. Will and the Kid go to Quick Mike’s place and the Kid shoots him while he’s on the toilet, but then has a breakdown as he’s never killed anyone before. When one of the ladies arrives to give them the reward, she tells them that Ned was captured by the Sherriff and tortured to death. Will sends the Kid off home with the reward and instructions to give a 1/3 to Ned’s Missis and 1/3 to his kids, then he goes off for a showdown with the Sherriff. When he gets there Ned’s body is in a coffin outside the saloon with a notice on him warning would be assassins, and the Sherrif has a posse gathered to go and catch the Kid and Will, but there’s no need for all that, as Will walks in and shoots them all, then finally gets to go home.
It did really well with the Oscars, Golden Globes and BAFTA, Eastwood and Hackman won best actor and supporting actor awards as well as Director and Best Picture awards for Eastwood, it did very well at the box office, and the critics mostly liked it too. Richard Corliss in Time Magazine wrote that the movie was “Eastwood’s meditation on age, repute, courage, heroism—on all those burdens he has been carrying with such grace for decades”. In 2004, it was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
We really enjoyed watching these guys do their thing. Can anyone sneer and smile simultaneously as well as Gene Hackman? The interaction between Eastwood, Morgan and Woolvett is a joy to watch, and there’s enough comic happenings to prevent the movie being all killing and revenge. The scenery of course was gorgeous, with Alberta in Canada standing in for the Wild West and Jack Green Eastwood’s Director of Photography, and cowboys riding across the plains against wonderful backdrops of mountains and sunsets.
For my Saturday night movie, I chose Netflix’s latest release, ‘Project Power’ (2020). Directed by Ariel Schuman and Henry Joost, and starring Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Dominique Fishback. It is billed as a superhero movie, but that’s a misleading load of b****ocks, there are no cape crusaders, Captain this’s or that’s, Iron People, and no-one saving the universe from Alien invasions. What we get is a sci-fi crime drama/thriller.
I’ll try not to do spoilers as it’s so new, but Gordon-Levitt plays a cop, Fishback a rap talking drug dealer, and Foxx an ex-marine who was experimented on by a private defense company and genetically modified with bits of DNA from animals, to give him superpowers. He then has a daughter who is born with latent superpowers and is kidnapped by the defence company to have her DNA used to create pills that give the user a 5 minute blast of whatever latent superpower is inside them. The drugs are given to dealers to sell, of which Robin (Fishback) is one. She’s trying to pay for medicine for her poorly Mum and keep their household afloat. Gordon-Levitt buys pills from her to protect himself whilst fighting crime, and is told by his superior that Art (Foxx) is the main supplier and needs to be captured. Art is looking for the real main supplier so he can rescue his daughter.
So that’s the main gist of it, and the movie moves at a fast pace. Now and again someone pops a pill and has a 5 minute blast of a CGI power, but nothing we haven’t seen before in Matrix or X~men/Avengers and a fight ensues, or a spectacular foot chase. The three main characters are fun to watch, especially Fishback who holds her own against the seasoned experience of Foxx and Gordon-Levitt, and it’s set in New Orleans which is good to look at.
Average results from the critics, I’ll go to the consensus view from Rotten Tomatoes for this- “Although it wastes some of the potential of its premise, Project Power is a slick, fun action thriller – and features a star-making turn from Dominique Fishback. And I’d have to agree. Today I’ve been thinking about it in order to write the review, and there really are a lot of plot holes and unanswered questions, it felt like it was the middle of a movie trilogy. Still, a very cool ‘disengage brain’ movie with lots of action, surprisingly good acting, and nice to see Gordon Levitt back in the saddle.