The Magnificent Seven is Fun to Watch

Take heart. Life today is a picnic compared with that of the 1850s Wild West. Conditions then were much harder than they are in any modern, crime-ridden country today. The Wild West was a dusty, lawless place where people were killed daily by guns. “Protected” by ineffectual sheriffs, townspeople in those parts were forced to take the law into their own hands to protect themselves. Only after many bodies and an impressive supply of ammunition did the goodies stagger to a triumph.

The Magnificent Seven (a 2016 remake of the 1960 original of the same name) follows this typical Western formula. Right down to the stirring background music, saloon scenes and main-street duels, this modern movie delivers plenty reminders of Westerns of long ago. The triumph of good over evil, high jinks, humour, and avenging the death of loved ones makes the viewer forgive the film’s violence and unbelievability.

The Magnificent 7. Photo supplied by: Ster Kinekor

The Magnificent 7. Photo supplied by: Ster Kinekor

Chisolm (Denzel Washington), the main goody avenger, is hired by widowed Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) – the only woman in Rose Creek with balls – to chase out the bandits who have taken over their mining rich town. Chisolm, with great street smarts, gathers himself six other men, promising them payment to help him in the defence of Rose Creek. The bunch is an unlikely “magnificent”. Billy Rocks (Vincent D’Onofrio) is a bear-like man with a high-pitched voice and a penchant for praying over his victims. The rest are made up of a red Indian, a Mexican, a gambler, an Eastern knife fighter (who kills victims with anything sharp, including a hair pin) and a war veteran struggling with PTSD. But they’re all fantastic with weapons.

Denzel Washington is characteristically stylish, and the action, which includes dynamite explosions and great horsemanship is exciting and fun to watch. There is no swearing or sex in The Magnificent Seven. Just lots of good-old sharp shooting. Lovely family viewing (if you’re over 16).

The Magnificent Seven opens at Ster Kinekor theatres countrywide in South Africa on 23 September 2016.


The disappointments of Boyhood are rife

A review by Roxanne Daniels

As the life of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) seems only disappointing, so the movie became disappointing as I watched it. Although nominated for six Oscars and has been ranked as #137 on IMDB’s list of top 250 movies, I did not enjoy this film. It follows the life of one boy (along with his family and friends) for 12 years. What is unique about the film is that it was a 12 year project, using the same actor for the boy as he grew up into a lanky teenager who did all the ‘teenager things’; trying sex, drugs and alcohol.

Mason is exposed to divorce at a young age, seeing his mother (Patricia Arquette) divorce three times from drunken irresponsible men before he leaves to go to university. Although Mason‘s onscreen father (Ethan Hawke) is one of those men his mother divorces, he turns out to be faithful to his son offering loving advice along the way despite his own mishaps.

Even though his mother picks herself up, goes back to school and acquires her dream job in teaching psychology, she offers the least hopeful advice and guidance despite her best efforts to raise her son well.

For the duration of the film there was little hope along the way with none of the chief characters agreeing that they have purpose in this world. They all seemed to bumble along waiting to discover meaning which never came.

Perhaps it was the minor characters that added some light to this film; Mason’s step grandmother confidently gave him his first Bible on his 15th birthday with the thought that it would add direction to his life. A foreign worker who spoke little English when fixing some pipes for Mason’s mother, turned up later in the film having heeded her advice; he had gone to school, learned English and became a manager at restaurant while studying a Bachelor’s degree. He thanked her with happiness.

I was left feeling bereft for the characters whose lives were closely followed, but happy to be reminded that I have my own purpose and meaning in life. I only wish that Mason could have that too.

Boyhood is out on DVD in South Africa and has been nominated for six Oscars. The Oscars award ceremony takes place on 22 February 2015.

Ellar Coltrane plays Mason, the boy whose life is closely followed for 12 years. Photo: Creative Commons.

Ellar Coltrane plays Mason, the boy whose life is closely followed for 12 years. Photo: Creative Commons.