Seven Great Movie Remakes

3:10 to Yuma’ (2007)

Based on Delmer Daves’ 1957, James Mangold delivers a thriller tribute to the golden ages of Wester. Propelled by the amazing duo of Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, the action and dialogue between the leading men makes this remake even better than Daves’ original.
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The Best of Christian Bale Showcased on Satellite TV

Christian Bale has been in the movies ever since a young age, but his popularity and drive do not seem to be diminishing one bit. Among his most famous roles to date, the Batman saga and American Psycho stand out, but he has built an impressive career in the past decade. If you haven’t seen some of his recent star turns, tune in to satellite TV networks in your area and check out his best films. Here are the top five, now playing.
1. American Psycho. If you want to talk about a star-making performance for someone who has been in films since a very young age, this film would be that for Bale. Playing a Wall Street yuppie who crosses the line and begins killing people, Bale was celebrated for his commitment – both physically and mentally – to the role. The novel by Brett Easton Ellis gets a fair shake in this faithful adaptation by Mary Harron. See this film uncut on HBO networks in high definition.
2. The Prestige. Two ambitious magicians go into something of a mortal struggle in early 20th century London in this Christopher Nolan film. Bale is one half of the riveting pair of leads, with Hugh Jackman as his opponent. To say the film is star-studded would be an understatement, as Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson and even David Bowie show up in prominent roles. In the end, it is Bale and Jackman in the duel of duels. Check out this excellent picture on premium satellite TV networks.
3. Public Enemies. Johnny Depp has the flashy role as robber and FBI-pursued John Dillinger, but it was Bale who received a lot of positive notices for his role as Purvis, the lawman out to apprehend Dillinger. It’s the type of role that Bale appears made for: a combination of grit and stubbornness make Purvis successful, something which Bale has in spades. Check out this new release in HD.
4. Batman Begins. Before Bale and Nolan in The Prestige, it was Bale and Nolan teaming up for Batman Begins, an ambitious and risk-taking walk into the sacred territory of everyone’s favorite superhero. You’ve never seen a Batman quite like this one. Bale at times is anti-charismatic, unfriendly and even crude. Of course, his heart is of that legendary Batman vintage, as pure as a summer day in the countryside. Look for Morgan Freeman in yet another brilliant role as well.
5. 3:10 to Yuma. One of the great Westerns of the fifties was remade with two characters who have that classic grittiness, Bale and Russell Crowe. Interestingly enough, neither is American, but both have that determination and ease with portraying a character raised on the prairie that makes them perfect for the genre. The plot can be followed without much concentration, like the most formulaic thrillers, but it is the performances of these two leads that make the film a winner. See it on premium satellite networks in HD.
Thanks to Marco for this!

Director’s Spotlight: James Mangold ~ 3:10 to Yuma

Can the term “overlooked” be applied to a film that grossed a sturdy $53 million at the domestic box office? Somehow, with this mid-tier release from Lionsgate, it feels that way. 3:10, a remake to a well-received but generally forgotten western, felt like it would fall into the category of “Really? Why’d they remake that one?” The reaction to the remake is one more of surprise than bated anticipation. Even though it opened at #1 during a dreary box office weekend in September 2007, 3:10 To Yuma was unremarkable at the box office, earning $14 million during its opening weekend. With Russell Crowe playing a tight-lipped villain, Christian Bale as the brooding leading man, and Ben Foster as Crowe’s wily right hand man, this high-concept but mostly low tech Western deserved a bigger audience.

Bale stars as a modest rancher, Dan Evans, who agrees to help bring infamous outlaw Ben Wade (menacingly played by Crowe) to take the 3:10 train to Yuma for a likely death sentence. The plot is simple, but Mangold adds depth by telling the story gracefully, giving both leads plenty of back story. Crowe and Bale are perfect foils for one another, and as they reach a climactic race for the train, they are forced to question their motives and values; by the time the film is over, its hard to tell villain from anti-hero. Looming over them through their trek are Wade’s persistent henchmen, led by Charlie Prince – played by the film’s true breakout performer, Ben Foster. Foster, one of Hollywood’s brightest young talents, steals every scene with wild eyes and reckless abandon.

Mangold, again the beneficiary of some truly wonderful performances, weaves together this simple story with more grit and depth and emotional resonance than anyone could reasonably expect going in. Painting this story against a gorgeously shot American landscape, Mangold directed what should have been a real breakout success. 3:10 to Yuma exceeded almost every one of my admittedly high expectations and I thought for sure audiences would connect with it the way I did.

Whether audiences are still not ready to re-embrace the Western (a test they will again sit for with True Grit’s remake later this year), or if audiences simple weren’t ready to give Crowe a shot at redemption, 3:10 to Yuma was mostly shrugged at by the general movie going audience. It picked up a couple of sound and score nominations at the Oscars – but Bale, Crowe, and Foster were never even considered in the running. Regardless, Mangold continued to build versatility in his resume (though, at this point, I think that’s fairly obvious), and he set out for his next challenge.

A Father’s Day Movie to Remember

Been thinking about Father’s Day. Our terrific movie voices Emily Rems and Rafer Guzman had some suggestions for movies, with great (or at least memorable) dad movies. You should check them out. They are a little serious and dark but really fun. They got me thinking. I loved Spencer Tracy as the dad in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” But more recently that amazing James Mangold movie “3:10 to Yuma” has fatherhood themes all through it.
Christian Bale plays the dad, holding out for principle even though it hurts his family and disgusts his son: Logan Lerman. There is the Russell Crowe character as the outlaw whose toughness and smarts impress a young boy disillusioned with his own dad. Then there’s a spectacular performance by Ben Foster who follows Crowe as though Crowe is his father, although truly he’s just an outlaw in a stagecoach robbing gang. In the end it is fatherhood and a man’s attempt to save his family that wins out over blind loyalty. It’s a gripping scene in the end and a total heartbreaker. Father’s Day yes… Happy, uh no.