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Music

'The Lost Tapes' of Ian and Sylvia and the Great Speckled Bird

Stony Plain Records rounds up lost tapes from Canadian country/folk legends Ian and Sylvia Tyson performing as Great Speckled Bird in 1969. It was a very good discovery, indeed.

Recent
Film

The Coen Brothers Tackle Short Story in Film Again with 'The Ballad of Buster Scruggs '

Not their first foray into bringing the short story form to cinema, the Coen Brothers' The Ballad of Buster Scruggs affirms, sadly, that in this regard, cinema is the lesser storytelling form.

Film

The Improbability of Communication in 'The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez'

The inability to communicate truthfully and accurately runs like a red thread through the course of Robert M. Young's western, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez.

Film

The Coen Brothers' 'The Ballad of Buster Scruggs' Is American Myth in Vignette

In the Coen Brothers' The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, there's something altogether new about having revisionist western ideas filtered through their rich sense of character, black comedy, and their penetrating awareness of humanity's fatal imperfections.

Film

'The Sisters Brothers' Blazes a Brilliant -- if Twisted -- Trail

Jacques Audiard's revisionist Western shines thanks to moral quandaries and John C. Reilly's performance.

Film

When Jim Jarmusch's 'Dead Man' Walks Into Your Mind, He Never Leaves

It's not enough to describe Dead Man as simply an anti-western; it's an iconoclastic deconstruction of late 19th Century American values and mores, many of which remain unabated more than a century later.

Books

'Coyote Doggirl' Reveals Unexpected Life Under Familiar Western Terrain

Lisa Hanawalt's work is proof that even a genre as seemingly played-out as the western can reveal a rich landscape if the right hands are holding the reins.

Film

Becoming Douglas Fairbanks: 'The Half-Breed'

Throughout his career, Fairbanks scrubbed his scripts of racist elements. The Half-Breed is a rare example when racism is foregrounded as a theme.

Books

Graphic Fiction 'The Smell of Starving Boys' Inverts Images and Expectations

Loo Hui Phang emphasizes the nature of image-making from the first panel: an upside landscape as viewed through the inverting lens of the protagonist's camera.

Film

Sundance 2018: ‘306 Hollywood’ + ‘Damsel’

Sibling directors Elan and Jonathan Bogarin deliver vastly different stories about the power of the past.

Film

All Growed Up: 'The Kentuckian' and the Myth of Freedom

In this tale of the formation of Texas, a roof over one's head is antithetical to freedom.

Music

The Gibson Brothers: Brotherhood

Eric and Leigh Gibson continue to innovate with a collection of bluegrass covers dedicated to fellow bands of brothers.

Film

Double Take: John Ford's 'The Searchers' (1956)

Double Take heads out West and into the disfigured psyche of John Wayne's Ethan Edwards. Do we figure him? That'll be the day.

Steve Leftridge and Steve Pick
Music

Erik Deutsch: Outlaw Jazz

The New York keyboard extraordinaire reasserts himself to the top of the heap with the uncanny fusion of country and jazz.

Film

'For a Few Dollars More' Is a Rare Sequel That Is Superior to the Classic It Follows

The archetype of the spaghetti western finds its truest expression in this essential film from Sergio Leone.

Reviews

B-Film as Theory: 'The Shooting/Ride in the Whirlwind'

Two blasts of existentialist disquiet and hallucination from the stable of Roger Corman, these two Westerns launched the career of a major alternative filmmaker in Monte Hellman.

Reviews

This Young 'Billy the Kid' Ain't Nothin' Like the Man He Would (Briefly) Become

In a new look at the legendary outlaw, Christopher Bowman plays a teenage Billy the Kid whose fate is shaped by violence in the small New Mexico town where he lives with his mother.

Reviews

Everybody Was Right About ‘Heaven’s Gate’

There is arguably no more true complexity of thought to Michael Cimino’s script than there is to Lawrence Kasdan’s for Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Reviews

Patrick deWitt's 'The Sisters Brothers' Is a Rip-Roaring, Engrossing Read

If you’re looking for a crackling good yarn that elevates itself over simple genre trappings, you should look no further than The Sisters Brothers.

Music

Billy Joel: Piano Man (The Legacy Edition)

Columbia reissues the album that launched Billy Joel's career into the stratosphere 38 years ago, along with an intimate live radio set that fills in some of the blanks.

Film

Quentin Tarantino's Cinematic Reality

Quentin Tarantino is reliving his childhood cinema experiences, reinterpreting fractured moments of memory. Going to the movies is about an escape from our world, a mirror world at once familiar yet different.

Reviews

The Plots of Streets of Laredo and Dead Man's Walk Are Prone to Wandering Off Into the Frontier

If you are already a fan of Lonesome Dove, then you will probably enjoy Streets of Laredo and Dead Man’s Walk.

Reviews

'American Bandits' Ain't No 'Treasure of Sierra Madre'

Fred Olen Ray saw The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and was inspired to make his own James-based film. The aforementioned is a great movie, but alas, American Bandits is not.

Television

The Frontier Doctor's Fancy 'Queen of the Cimarron'

Frontier Doctor's church-prescribing gumdrop-toting hero comes face to face with the unthinkable: a tough-talkin' hard-done bad-girl with money on her mind (gulp).

Reviews

Western

Though not a “political film”, it’s tough to argue against some level of socio-political implication of two multi-ethnic foreigners traipsing around idyllic western France, looking for stability.

Film

Once Upon a Time in the West: Special Collector's Edition (1968)

Sergio Leone never met a portentous entrance he didn't like.

Elbert Ventura
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