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    Once Upon a Time in the West (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 8th, 2011

    “People scare better when they’re dyin’”

    Mention the name Sergio Leone and you immediately think of Clint Eastwood and their Man With No Name trilogy. The truth is that Leone was the master of the spaghetti western and largely responsible for making Clint what he is today. When the Italian director decided to try his hand at Hollywood, he was welcomed with open arms, except they weren’t interested in anything but an American copy of a spaghetti western.
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    True Grit (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 2nd, 2011

    “People do not give it credence that a young girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father’s blood. But it did happen.”

    Just like the book that both this and the 1969 John Wayne film were taken from, the film opens with the sad story of a young girl who has come to Fort Smith to see that justice is done for her father. The words were written by Charlie Portis, a journalist who went on to write a truly great American novel: True Grit.
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    The Virginian – The Complete Third Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 23rd, 2011

    The Virginian set itself apart from the others in two ways. The first was found in the source material. The series was based on a 1902 novel by Owen Winsler, a man who actually lived in the Wyoming badlands during the time the series was set. The source material helps to add a sense of authenticity that might well have been a slight step ahead of the rest. It wasn’t as violent as the others, again reflecting a more realistic sense of direction.
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    The Virginian – The Complete Season Two

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 9th, 2011

    “This is Fairfax County in the state of Virginia. I was born here. It’s peaceful, beautiful, and a long long way from Wyoming; beautiful, too, in its special way. Vast, proud and lonely; it’s my country now, Wyoming. But not exactly a peaceful one.”

    Of course, if it were all that peaceful it wouldn’t have made for very compelling television. But The Virginian did make for compelling western drama in a television landscape that was as populated as prairies in those plains with western dramas.
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    Luke and Lucy & The Texas Rangers

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on February 25th, 2011

    A Wild West overlord is plotting to shrink the world’s population. This evil plot is running along smoothly until a shrunken Texas ranger escapes in a whiskey bottle and finds himself saved by a plucky sibling duo named Luke and Lucy, along with their gaggle of wacky friends. The group become honourary rangers and set out to battle evil.
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    Red Hill

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on January 29th, 2011

    Westerns are fun movies to typically review because they usually don’t deviate much from a basic formula. There is usually a criminal and there is usually a good guy out there to shoot that varmint. Technically, that is all there is to it. Furthermore, the budget (unless big stars are involved) is small, making for some creative storytelling. Today, we get to review an Australian western: Red Hill. Let’s see if it differs from the typical American one.
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    Have Gun Will Travel: Fifth Season V.2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on January 19th, 2011

    “’Have gun, will travel’ reads the card of a man. A knight without armor in a savage land…”

    Those words ended every episode of Have Gun Will Travel, sung by Johnny Western in a time that such words could be sung without irony. Outside of Richard Boone’s black-clad, craggy Rhett Butler gone-to-seed gunfighter, that song was all I could really recall about this venerable Western from television’s golden age.
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    Bonanza: The Official Second Season, Volume One

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on December 27th, 2010

    Three-time widower Ben Cartwright  (Greene) runs his famous Ponderosa Ranch with the aid of his three grown sons from three different mothers. There’s Little Joe (Landon), Adam (Roberts) and Hoss (Blocker). Set some time in the mid 1800’s, this long-running series followed the family’s many exploits. In the late 1950’s westerns accounted for six of the top ten programs on TV. Only Gunsmoke had a longer run than Bonanza. From 1959 to 1973, Ben Cartwright and his boys rode across the small screen.
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    Monte Walsh

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on December 21st, 2010

    Monte Walsh and Chet Rollins (Lee Marvin and Jack Palance) are two cowboys in an era where their kind is becoming extinct. After a hard winter in the mountains, they discover that most of the ranches they knew have vanished, the land being bought up by Eastern corporations. They find work on the ranch once owned by Jim Davis, though he now answers to accountants back East. And though life, at first, seems all right, bit by bit they witness the end of their era, as a way of life dies, and the men who lived it are pushed to suicide, desperation, robbery and worse.
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    Gunsmoke: Season Four, Volume Two

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on December 20th, 2010

    The setting for Gunsmoke was the by-now-famous Dodge City, circa 1870’s. Phrases like “get out of Dodge” would enter the popular lexicon as a result of this resilient series. Marshall Dillon (Arness) was charged with keeping the peace in Dodge City. The only other character to see the entire 20-year run was kindly Doc Adams (Stone). Star Trek’s own Doc, Leonard McCoy, took many of his traits from Doc Adams. He was the humanitarian of the city, always looking to help someone. Like McCoy
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    Jonah Hex

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 27th, 2010

    “War and me took to each other real well. It felt like it had meaning. The feeling of doing what you thought was right. But it wasn’t. Folks can believe what they like, but eventually a man’s gotta decide if he’s gonna do what’s right. That choice cost me more than I bargained for…”

    All of the good superheroes are getting used up. With so many Hollywood blockbuster films featuring those iconic comic superheroes, there comes a time when you have to start looking at the next tier of comic favorites.
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    Gunsmoke – Season 4 Volume 1

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on October 15th, 2010

    Gunsmoke, in all of its 20 seasons, making it the longest running prime-time drama of all time, has such a strong legacy that it feels odd to review it. Thankfully the challenge is an enjoyable one as the show is at a full head of steam in its fourth season (it was ranked #1 at this time) and each episode is still as engrossing today as it was over 4 decades ago.
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    Gunless

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on October 11th, 2010

    In the opening scenes of Gunless, a horse trots into what appears to be a tiny western town. Atop the horse is an unconscious man, slumped backwards in the saddle with a noose around his neck attached to a large tree branch that drags along behind them. An iconic Western opening if ever there was one. Reminiscent of Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter or Hang ‘em High. However, things soon begin to stray from formula when we realize that this tiny town is actually in “The Dominion of Canada” and the man turns out to be the Montana Kid, a notorious American gunfighter.
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    The Good, The Bad, The Weird (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on September 16th, 2010

    Manchuria, the 1930s. The Japanese army has just acquired a treasure map, and are transporting it across the desert wastes by train. But the man who sold the map wants it back, and engages a snappily dressed killer (Byung-hun Lee) to steal it back. He is, of course, the Bad. He stages a spectacular (and spectacularly violent) train robbery. As fate would have it, at precisely the same moment, the Weird (Kang-ho Song) is also robbing the train, and the Good, in the form of a bounty hunter (Woo-sung Jung) is on board, too. The Weird makes off with the map, and what follows is a series of chases as the various factions scramble to get that map.
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    FlashForward: The Complete Series

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 1st, 2010

    “On October 6, the planet blacked out for two minutes and seventeen seconds. The whole world saw the future…”

    For all intents and purposes, it appears just like any routine fall day throughout the world. People are busying themselves about their normal concerns. Suddenly everyone on the planet blacks out for exactly 2 minutes and 17 seconds. Just think about that part for a moment. Every human being collapses at the same moment.
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    Have Gun Will Travel: Season Four, Volume Two

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on August 7th, 2010

    “Have gun, will travel reads the card of a man. A knight without armor in a savage land…”. Those words ended every episode of Have Gun Will Travel, sung by Johnny Western in a time that such words could be sung without irony. Outside of Richard Boone’s black-clad, craggy Rhett Butler gone-to-seed gunfighter, that song was all I could really recall about this venerable Western from television’s golden age. Would it, like so many revisited shows from my youth, ultimately disappoint? Or would it hold up fifty years after it was originally broadcast, viewed as it would be by the far more jaded, cynical man I’ve grown into?
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    The Virginian – Complete First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 28th, 2010

    “This is Fairfax County in the state of Virginia. I was born here. It’s peaceful, beautiful, and a long long way from Wyoming; beautiful, too in its special way. Vast, proud and lonely; it’s my country now, Wyoming. But not exactly a peaceful one.”

    Of course, if it were all that peaceful it wouldn’t have made for very compelling television. But The Virginian did make for compelling western drama in a television landscape that was as populated as prairies in those plains with western dramas. This was the golden era of the television western
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    Tombstone (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 28th, 2010

    “Every town has a story… Tombstone has a legend.”

    When will Kevin Costner ever learn? He just doesn’t strike that hero pose. He isn’t even that good an actor unless he’s playing a G-Man type as he did in The Untouchables and JFK. In just a little while Russell Crowe is fixing to school him on the proper stature of Robin Hood. In 1993 and 1994 another Russell, this time Kurt Russell, schooled him on the iconic lawman Wyatt Earp. Tombstone was released Christmas day in 1993. Exactly 6 months later on June 24th, 1994, Kevin Costner released his epic film called Wyatt Earp.
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    High Plains Invaders

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 14th, 2010

    The SyFy Channel has been making original films for quite a few years. Unfortunately, they’ve mostly been known for their quite bad computer-generated f/x and rather silly plots and stories. It says quite a lot to me that I’m such a huge horror/science fiction fan but have never found one of these original movies to be even remotely good. Instead, I’ve found myself wincing with each new ridiculous script and every unimaginable lame creature the series has presented. The Maneater Series has been as guilty as any of the themed series in their efforts.
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    The Complete Love Comes Softly Collection

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 6th, 2010

    It would appear that Michael Landon, Jr. is attempting to cash in on his late father’s Little House On The Prairie appeal. He is one of the driving forces behind this series of made for television films. He has directed several of them and serves as an executive producer on them all. He has also been involved with some of the writing on the series. They are based on a series of books written by Janette Oke. They follow three generations of women in the days of the Western frontier. When I say that Landon is spending on his father’s legacy, you need look no further than the common elements of the films themselves to understand how I come to that conclusion.
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    Angel and the Badman

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on November 8th, 2009

    As explained by many authors in this site, remakes are becoming far too common. In fact, they are so many of these that we aren’t sure of the source material. An obscure movie comes out and apparently in 1953, there was a similar movie made. This movie also probably made the equivalent of $100 American Dollars at the box office. Well, perhaps not that bad. I received one of these movies to review recently and it was titled Angel and the Badman. Let’s see how this one fares.

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    Lightning Strikes Twice (Archive Collection)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on October 12th, 2009

    The people at Warner Bros recently decided to adopt a new strategy when dealing with some of their back catalog. They would propose a printing on demand option or what they would dub the “Archive Collection”. This would allow collectors to own classics of long forgotten films and keep costs at a minimal to Warner Bros. One such movie was named Lightning Strikes Twice which came out in 1951 with Ruth Roman. Hopefully this one was a gem and not something that should be long forgotten back in the vault.

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    Bounty

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 18th, 2009

    The mutiny on the Bounty is one of those stories that carries with it the adventurous dreams and ambitions of a young child. It’s the smells and sounds of the high seas. The intrigue of a mutiny and the charismatic stature of an imposing captain, the image of sailor’s worst nightmares. Aye, Matey. There’s nothing like it. (We interrupt this review because apparently Gino has been reviewing the wrong film. Please accept our apologies for the misinformation – ed.)
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    All Hat

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on August 6th, 2009

    The story originally seems to set itself up to be that of redemption for a young man who is fresh out of jail. While this story is around, there seems to be parallel stories that arise as subplot but soon race alongside the original tale like proverbial track horses (and horses also just so happen to be the nexus for said plots). Just as one seems to buck into the lead, another comes along to grab the focus.
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    Gunsmoke-Season 3 Vol. 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 27th, 2009

    Another release, and it’s another half season of that iconic western, Gunsmoke. Among the 20 episodes found on 3 discs you’ll find Claustraphobia. Dillon has to arrest his old friend Ollie who kills a man because he killed Ollie’s hogs. In Ma Tennis, you’ll meet the ultimate Mama’s boy. When a man ends up in Dillon’s jail, his mother breaks him out. In Sunday Supplement, a couple of newspaper writers come to Dillon looking for a juicy story, even if they have to instigate one themselves.
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