Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Phil sees COWBOYS & ALIENS at the Camera 7 Pruneyard-August 19, 2011

The Western genre has been a staple of Hollywood long before there was even a Hollywood. One of the first westerns was THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY, directed by film pioneer Edward S. Porter and released by Thomas Edison Film Company in 1903. Since then, American audiences have been in love with Western genre. Names like Gilbert "Broncho Billy" Anderson, John Ford, John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Clint Eastwood, and others helped bring to life the stories of the old west. Now director Jon Favreau brings to the big screen his take on the Western, and adds a new ingredient to the mix: Science Fiction, and thus COWBOYS & ALIENS is fun-filled ride into the sunset. With aliens!

The film takes place in the Arizona territory in 1873. A lone drifter named Jake (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the middle of nowhere with no memory of who he is and how he got there. He stumbles in to the town of Absolution where the town is ruled with an iron fist by Col. Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). When a surprise alien attack kidnaps most of the town's citizens (including Woodrow's son), both he and Jake form a posse to rescue the townsfolk. Along the journey Jake meets a stunning woman named Alice (played buy the beautiful Abigail Spencer) who holds the key to Jake's memories.

Now there is enough action in this here film to satisfy the most die hard western fan and sci-fi geek. The CGI ships and aliens are really top notch, and the action scenes are intense. Both Craig and Ford bring some fine acting to this film, and with a title like this, one might expect some level of camp. But there wasn't any in the film, which surprised me. With the film SNAKES ON A PLANE, there was enough camp in it to make John Waters blush with envy. Director Favreau really focuses on bring action and excitement while anchoring it in reality. The sets and locations are what you  would expect from a western film. He keeps the film moving toward the big, epic final battle, with mankind's existence hanging in the balance.

John Favreau has had a very interesting career. He started off as an indie actor, starring in films such as NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND (1995), SWINGERS (1996), MADE (2001), and later appeared in mainstream films like I LOVE YOU, MAN (2009), and COUPLES RETREAT (2009). His big commercial break was directing the for mentioned MADE, and soon began directing other hits like ELF (2003), IRON MAN (2008), and IRON MAN 2 (2010).

COWBOYS & ALIENS is rip roaring sci-fi, western classic that delivers the goods! Being a cowboy has never been more difficult, and a lot more fun. So strap on your saddle and get a move on, cause we be tracking down some aliens partner!

COWBOYS & ALIENS is now playing in theater nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the South Bay. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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