At our weekly movie night this week one of our party suggested we watch a western called Tombstone, I was like: never heard of it. Its kind of in that era from 1970-1995 where I was either not born, or not old enough to watch mature movies and then they kind of just disappear off into the abyss. Well we revived one of ’em last night! – To the great enjoyment of us all.


THE SET UP?  The Earp brothers – Law men and peace makers retire and head to the silver-mining town of Tombstone to seek fortune and a more relaxed period of life. Along with TB-suffering friend Doc Holliday, the brothers (along with their wives) prosper in the new town but gradually feel compelled to protect the town’s citizens from the cowboys who are the unofficial and violent powers of Tombstone. The results made the Earp brothers, especially Wyatt a legend. The main plot is buoyed by great one liners from Doc and a r(ather annoyingly realised) romance between Wyatt and Josephine Marcus.



A powerhouse ensemble with too many biggies to mention, but notably:

Kurt Russell as Wyatt – average performance (kinda the same character as Executive Decision)

Val Kilmer as Doc – brilliant! If I was ever in doubt as to Kilmer’s acting abilities this totally trashes that.

Sam Elliott and Bill Paxton as the other Earp brothers – both pretty good players in this piece (both receive considerably less screen time than Russell and Kilmer).

Dana Delany as Marcus – average, not helped by Russell. 

Check out IMDB for full cast. 


WHY YOU SHOULD SEE THIS FILM? Kilmer’s first-rate performance. The one liners. To have another western in your viewing resume – never a bad thing. The only real negative aspect is the woeful state of the soundtrack (not the music but the SOUNDS – voice, sound effects, etc etc.) but that shouldn’t stop you from seeking out this early 90’s western gem.


ANY BITS? Apart from subtle debauchery, reasonably excessive violence (but not gruesome – the state of the sound effects is likely to grosse you out more), and some addictive substance related behaviour, there’s nothing to worry about. Oh, come on! Its a western! -We all expect a bit of rough-and-tumble-type stuff – its all in context and true to the time.



3:10 TO YUMA

INITIAL RANTING My dad rarely gets excited about movies, unless they are conspiracy theory shock docs, (generally regarding George W.), but for the past few days he’s been dropping hints that he’d like to see 3:10 to Yuma.

Not wanting to pass up the opportunity to take my old man to the movies we headed off for Yuma (but at 9:10 – bad joke?) tonight.

Sadly this cannot be a full and complete review of the film as a whole because we missed the first bit! – So annoyed, I never like going into a movie after its already started for real – you can tell if central characters are engaging in a heated argument as you enter the theatre that you might have missed some crucial information. Luckily American films tend to rehash important background information throughout the film to ensure the American audiences haven’t lost it altogether so we were able to accurately imagine what we missed.

THE SET UP? Dan Evans, a downtrodden, poverty stricken, family-oriented rancher volunteers to join a convoy to escort freshly captured smooth-talking outlaw, Ben Wade, across the west to a train leaving for Yuma at 3:10. In return for risking his life to bring the infamous highway robber to justice Evans is promised $200.
Will Evans make it to the train with Wade? Does Wade escape? What happens when Evans’ fourteen year old son insists on coming along? Does Evans get killed by the thugs eager to murder Wade’s captures?

Just reading this back, it kind of sounds like a boring narrative for a film, through the first half hour of the film I was sitting in those comfy chairs thinking “this is a boring narrative for a film” but before long you are rendered a captive audience (he he) as you witness the skillful resurrection of the western.

Ben and Dan
Russel Crowe is Ben Wade. I thought Crowe’s career was well and truly done a while ago, over a phone and a concierge. But in this instance I am overjoyed to be proven wrong, I kind of reckon Russ is a bit of a tool, but my gosh can the guy act! Crowe IS Wade. He inhabits the characters he plays so entirely its just a pleasure to watch him on screen. He is able to convey the complexities and areas of grey in the self-confessed blackhearted Wade through the simplest of actions.
Christian Bale is Dan Evans. As my first big screen crush I have a soft spot for Bale. He too is a very fine actor able to communicate so much to the audience through a gaze, a few simple words or darting look. Though in Yuma, I regret to say, he is out acted by everyone’s favourite tool.
Both Bale and Crowe have great presence on screen, but when both of them squeeze into the same frame Crowe takes the cake.
Logan Lerman plays Dan’s eldest son William. Though you might not have heard of this young actor chances are you’ve seen him in something (you can click on his name to double check). Lerman plays a fourteen year old in 3:10 to Yuma, I convinced myself throughout the film that this talented actor must be quite a bit older to act as well as he did. The kid just turned 16.
The cast is rounded out with a surprising array of dramatic, comedy and teen-movie actors which I won’t bother mentioning (see full cast list at first Yuma link) except for the (trying for another word than) brilliant Alan Tudyk who brings the classy comedic spark that aided the film.

WHY SHOULD YOU SEE IT? Besides the stellar acting and witnessing the revival of the much stalled western genre you will enjoy the demented score – 21st century take on the glorious old western music, the brilliant script and old school gun shot sound effects – with the pa-choooong following the expulsion of the molten bullet.

WHO SHOULD YOU SEE IT WITH? I’d say take your dad who probably would enjoy a western in the old classic style. He hasn’t seen one on the big screen in decades, so treat him! – If not, anyone else is fine.
gun boys
ANY BITS TO BE WORRIED ABOUT? In parts there is constant gunfire – so much so I thought my ears wouldn’t stop ringing from the pa-chooooong noise – and generally gunfire means violence. Be worried about being at the cinema on time to see the film.