Thursday, April 14, 2016

This 'n That Thursdays: Two Movies Worth Watching

From Heathens and Thieves

At the beginning of the month Dish Network, our satellite television provider, gave us temporary access to the Starz movie channels, a promotional gimmick they use periodically to try to encourage us to subscribe to more channels (sorry Dish, you've gotten far too expensive and it won't work!).  I got to see a couple of new movies that I really enjoyed, one of which I have been wanting to see and the other that I had never heard of before.  If you get the chance to see either or both, I highly recommend them.

From Heathens and Thieves

I am not a big fan of westerns, and there are only a few that I would recommend.  I had not intended to view "Heathens and Thieves" (2012), but I was flipping through channels while waiting for a different movie to start, and found it interesting enough to stop and watch it for a while.  I ended up skipping my original choice entirely so that I could see this one to the end, and I was not disappointed.  Unlike your typical rather violent, shoot-'em-up, hang-'em-high action western, this movie, while still full of action, spends a lot of time focusing on character development.  As I've mentioned before, I love character-driven movies (as opposed to plot-driven films).  The best aspect of this movie is that all of the main characters are complex and flawed, and even the worst among them has just enough redeeming character traits to make it hard to decide who, if anyone, is the hero and who is the villain in this movie.

"Heathens and Thieves" reminded me a lot of one of the few westerns I truly enjoy called "The Big Country" (1958), starring Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, and a host of other well-known actors.  The biggest difference is that in the latter movie, the good guy (Gregory Peck) was obvious, as was the heroine (Jean Simmons).  By the end of "Heathens and Thieves" I was still not convinced that anyone was a hero/heroine, and perhaps that was exactly the point.  In real life everyone has their flaws and in certain situations, such as the one in this movie, sometimes nobody comes out smelling like a rose.  If you don't mind some violence and especially if you are a fan of westerns, take a look at this movie, provided you can find it (which could be difficult as it seems to be an independent production with a limited distribution). 


From Polygon

"Inside Out" (2015) is a very popular animated Disney film from last year that I have been wanting to watch for a while (and have mentioned in a previous post), so I was glad to see that it was showing on one of the Starz channels.  I enjoyed this movie as well.  It is certainly more of a children's film, but it is a lot of fun to watch.  It also covers a topic that every child will relate to at some point in their lives, namely that we all have to eventually face the fact that life is ever-changing, and it will not always be what we want or expect.  It is refreshing to see a Disney movie heroine who is not a princess (or soon to become one by marriage), but just a typical young girl living a life to which almost any child can relate.  This is an excellent movie for the whole family. 


(Oh, and just FYI, should you ever come across a movie entitled "Muck" (2015) while channel surfing, click away from it as fast as you can.  Trust me, the title is a perfect descriptor for the entire movie, and I wish I could get back those few minutes I wasted watching this stinker! )

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