Showing posts with label christopher walken. Show all posts
Showing posts with label christopher walken. Show all posts

24 November 2013

Blu-Ray Review - Heaven's Gate Restored Edition (1980)

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Western, Drama,
Second Sight
BD/DVD Release Date:
25th November 2013 (UK)
Michael Cimino
Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, Isabelle Huppert, Sam Waterston
Buy Heaven's Gate 2 disc restored edition:
[Blu-ray] / [DVD]

Heaven’s Gate, in the last thirty years or so, has created a reputation for being one of the most notorious flops in the history of film. In the past thirty years since its initial lukewarm reception it has been considered a masterpiece by many critics, but it’s equally reviled as being one of the worst films ever made, albeit that viewpoint has increasingly dwindled in recent years.

The making of Heaven’s Gate is as infamous as the film itself; it went wildly over budget, there are confirmed stories that the director Michael Cimino would literally wait for exactly the right cloud in the sky, and there are unconfirmed reports that a sizeable amount of the budget went on cocaine for the cast and crew.There’s been a very famous book on the making of called Final Cut, which was later made into a TV documentary which is included on this disc. It has been cited as the single film that took the power from the director, which was very much a thing of the 70s to more studio-controlled films, which is still sadly the case.

The story of Heaven’s Gate is relatively simple it’s about Jim Averill (Kris Kristofferson) who is a marshal in Johnson County, Wyoming. Averill is from money but has rejected his classes’ rejected attitude to the poor immigrates of Johnson County. The immigrates sometimes steal the rich cattle barons’ stock for food and the cattle owners have decided to create a kill list and have hired men to do the job and have got political power from Washington to do so. The rest of film shows the people of Johnson County and the war they fight with the cattle barons.

The film’s initial reaction from New York Times critic Vincent Canby has went down in history as one of the most infamous bad reviews with the line “it fails so completely that you might suspect Mr. Cimino sold his soul to obtain the success of The Deer Hunter and the Devil has just come around to collect.” The truth of the matter is it’s actually a better film than the much-loved The Deer Hunter and a more interesting film; it doesn't have the tour de force of the legendary Russian roulette scenes. It’s a considerably slower film but Cimino’s intention was to transport you to experience the west, as it was not some romantic version, which is so often the case.

The cinematography of the film is some of the best ever committed to film so some initial reviews like saving “there are no redeeming features” is absurd. Vilmos Zsigmond who was the cinematographer of the 1970s shot it. The famous roller skating scene is spellbinding and there are shots in the film, which are literally just jaw dropping in their beauty.

The cast Cimino complied is simply outstanding including Kris Kristofferson in possibly his finest performance. Christopher Walken is great as usual as one of the hired killers. The film’s supporting cast is complied which like people as Jeff Bridges, John Hurt and a very young Mickey Rourke and if you watch carefully you can spot a young Willem Dafoe in the cockfighting scene. The one flaw in casting is Isabelle Huppert as madam of a whorehouse in Wyoming but even that works cause the film is almost dreamlike at times.

Heaven’s Gate seems to have become a modern classic for many and rightfully so, it’s a film that has became legendary for the both the right and wrong reasons. It deserves the 2nd chance it’s now receiving with the recent theatrical and Blu-ray reissues here and across the pond in the USA. It’s well worth the 3 hours and 40 minutes of your time.


Ian Schultz

This is a shared review with The People's Movies

13 March 2013

Watch The UK Trailer For A Late Quartet Starring Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman

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Our friends at Artificial Eye Films have sent us over the UK trailer and Poster for A Late Quartet starring Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener.

Directed by Yaron Zilberman, A Late Quartet tells the tale of an renowned New York based Quartet on the eve of their 25th Anniversary cellist Peter Mitchell (Christopher Walken) announces he wants the upcoming season to be their last. Peter is diagnosed in early stages of Parkinson's disease leaving the the remain members egos to conflict and derail their friendship.

The film has been on the festival circuit since last years Toronto Film Festival  debut and to me the toughest challenge to any actor is playing in a film that's simple in structure but powerful in dramatics. A Late Quartet certainly has the drama and we look like we're in for a masterclass on how to act with the classic music brings a sense of tranquillity to the film too. Most of all after years of seeing him play a villain, tough guy, Christopher Walken does possess acting chops to be more dramatic, its ecstasy to the eyes!

A Late Quartet is due to be released in UK&Ireland on 5th April and co-stars Mark Ivanir and  Imogen Poots .


On the eve of a world renowned string quartet’s 25th anniversary season, their beloved cellist, Peter Mitchell (Christopher Walken), is diagnosed with the early symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. When Peter announces he wishes to make the upcoming season his last, his three colleagues find themselves at a crossroad. Competing egos and uncontrollable passions threaten to derail years of friendship and collaboration.

11 December 2012

Horror Channel to screen Classic Cronenberg Season

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Pascal Laugier, Simon Rumley & Sean Hogan present three of Cronenberg’s most influential masterpieces,Saturdays January 12 until January 26, 10.55pm

Horror Channel showcases three of David Cronenberg’s most defining films with a season that can’t fail to shock and awaken the senses. SHIVERS, RABID and THE DEAD ZONE all receive their Horror Channel premieres, exclusively introduced by top horror directors Simon Rumley (Red White & Blue), Sean Hogan (The Devil’s Playground) and Pascal Laugier (Martyrs).

Saturday January 12 @ 22:55

The season kicks off with the premiere of SHIVERS (1975), Cronenberg’s debut full-length feature that helped coined the phrase ‘Body Horror’. The infectious plot sees a parasite enter the bodies of people living in a Montreal apartment block and consequently turns them into libido driven, sex mad zombies. Clearly a fan of the genre, Cronenberg cast the unforgettable Hammer Horror siren Barbara Steele in what was to become one of the most iconic scenes in the film.

Sean Hogan on SHIVERS: “I chose Shivers because, much like the sexual parasites that drive the plot, the film burrows under your skin and leaves you with strange, dark feelings. It announced the arrival of a bold new voice in horror and after it, the genre was utterly transformed: The New Flesh had arrived”.

Saturday January 19 @ 22.55

Next up is the premiere of RABID (1977) in which Cronenberg is once again flirting with the themes of strange science and even stranger sex in this blood-lusty follow up to Shivers. This time a young woman becomes a test subject for an experimental skin graft when she survives a horrific motorbike crash – but her new skin demands feeding…Starring Marilyn Chambers, this is Cronenberg’s twisted take on the Vampire genre.

Saturday January 26 @ 22.55
Last in the season is THE DEAD ZONE (1983), in which Cronenberg teamed up with Stephen King when he adapted his novel THE DEAD ZONE. Filmed during a relentless deep freeze in Southern Ontario, this horror thriller stars Christopher Walken. As Johnny Smith – a man who wakes from a coma to find he’s lost five years of his life but gained psychic powers to foresee the future – something of a gift that soon becomes a curse.

Simon Rumley on THE DEAD ZONE: “This was one of the many classic small town American movies I watched when I was growing up and for a teenager from Kent it was intriguing and creepy and had, at the time, two of the coolest actors in the world - Christopher Walken and Martin Sheen”.

TV: Sky 319 / Virgin 149 / Freesat 138