Ever since the re-emergence of the western genre in the early 90s with Tombstone and Unforgiven, westerns have been here to stay with a decent handful of them every year. One of the best ones recently is out this week (June 25 in Canada), The Kid. Directed by Vincent D’Onofrio, The Kid stars Ethan Hawke as Sheriff Pat Garrett as he hunts for notorious outlaw Billy the Kid (Dane DeHaan). While their cat and mouse game is occurring the two get mixed up with a young boy named Rio (Jake Schur) and his sister Sara (Leila George) who are on the run after Rio kills their abusive father for killing their mother. Their uncle, Grant Cutler (Chris Pratt) is trying to find them to exact revenge for the killing of his brother, and when their family affairs cross paths with Garrett and Billy, all hell will break loose.
The Kid is a wonderful western with an amazing cast. D’Onofrio does a great job behind the camera giving the film a steady pace and interesting visual style. Hawke is fantastic as Garrett breathing new life into a character that has been portrayed countless times. Schur is also a standout as the young boy bringing a great authenticity to the role and really giving the film its heart. And special mention must be given to Pratt. Although his role is limited to only a few scenes, he plays against type as a real piece of work villain that I wish we would have seen more of. The Kid is well worth checking out and another great modern western to add to the genre.
Next up is Gloria Bell. Julianne Moore plays the title character, Gloria, a divorced woman in her 50s that leads a content life but is in search of something more. Gloria frequents a local dance club and enjoys socializing and dancing and when she meets Arnold (John Turturro), she thinks she may have found someone to share her life with. And when Arnold seems to have trouble separating from his old life and his needy grown daughters, Gloria begins to question everything she wants in life.
Gloria Bell is less a traditional narrative film and more of a voyeuristic look into a woman’s life. The film is very intimate and Moore is excellent, but it really isn’t a film you particularly enjoy, but more experience. It is deliberately paced, purposefully uneventful and sometimes a depressing look into an ordinary life. But it is still a fascinating exploration of humanity and is very honest. The real reason to check out Gloria Bell is Moore’s excellent performance, making it worth the investment.
Lastly this week is a new 4K edition of one of my favorite movies of all time and perhaps the greatest sports movie ever made, Barry Levinson’s The Natural. Robert Redford stars as Roy Hobbs, a talented baseball player who loses his chance at the big leagues when tragedy strikes. Years later Hobbs returns to baseball joining a losing 1930s league team as a middle aged rookie. Along with the bat he carved out of a tree when he was a boy, Roy starts to inspire his team, his disillusioned coach Pop (Wilford Brimley) and the entire baseball world when he leads the team into victory. But the mysterious owner of the team is counting on the team continuing to lose and will stop at nothing to put an end to Roy Hobbs.
The Natural is one of those rare films that has legitimate Hollywood movie magic. All the performances are top notch from Redford’s innocent and brilliantly underplayed Hobbs to Brimley and Richard Farnsworth as the loveable coaches to Robert Duvall, Kim Basinger, Michael Madsen, Glenn Close, Barbara Hershey and Joe Don Baker all turning in stellar roles. But it is director Levinson and writers Robert Towne and Phil Dusenberry who perfectly adapt Bernard Malamud’s book that really give the film its magic. And this new 4K edition is also the hi def debut of the director’s cut of the film, which I actually much prefer. If you have never seen The Natural, do yourself a favor and check it out.
Also of note this week is the new Encore Edition of Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born, the new horror flick I’ll Take Your Dead, and the new family animated film Wonder Park.
Until next week movie lovers!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday June 4, 2019
A Film Trilogy by Ingmar Bergman (1961-1963)* - Criterion Collection
A Star is Born Special Encore Edition
Batman (1989) 4K
Batman & Robin (1997) 4K
Batman Forever (1995) 4K
Batman Returns (1992) 4K
Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Bright Angel (1990)*
Doctor Who: The Animated Collection
Double Team (1997)*
Excess Baggage (1997)*
Flushed Away (2006)*
How to Make an American Quilt (1995)*
I'll Take Your Dead
Jury Duty (1995)*
LEGO: The Adventures of Clutch Powers (2010)*
Lost in Space: Season One
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)*
Mindwarp & Brainscan Double Feature
Mo' Money & High School High Double Feature*
Mr. Baseball (1992)*
Opportunity Knocks (1990)*
Shark Tale (2006)*
Stepmom & The Deep End of the Ocean Double Feature
The Andromeda Strain (1971)*
The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas (2000)*
The Haunting of Sharon Tate
The Kid (US Only)
The Last Warning (1928)*
The Man Who Laughs (1928)*
The Natural 35th Anniversary 4K
The Trigger Effect & Body Count Double Feature
The Venture Bros: The Complete Seventh Season
The World We Make
Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan: Season One
Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral
Veronica Guerin (2003)*
Voltron: Legendary Defender – Seasons 3-6
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit*
*Catalog Blu-ray debut