August 26, 2011

[Unfulfilled Hopes] King Conan: Crown of Iron

Previously published at Hope Lies.

Conan the Barbarian, raised as a slave and gladiator after his village is slain, who gains freedom and seeks vengeance against Thulsa Doom, the sorcerer cultist who took his father's sword. Conan the Destroyer, who cut down the wizard Toth-Amon and led a band of warriors to kill a god and save a sacrificial princess. One of these films has sunk into the public conscious as an often poetic pulp exploration of freedom, what is best in life, and the riddle of steel. The other is a hacked out two-fisted sequel. Yet both left the promise of something greater to come with their shared final image of an aged and bearded King Conan brooding over his destined throne. There were attempts at a third entry, the longest of which, Conan the Conqueror eventually gave up on the return of Arnold and settled on Kevin Sorbo and the name of another Robert E. Howard hero as it was retitled Kull the Conqueror. It wasn't until John Milius, writer/director of the first, decided to return to the series he had to abandon for Red Dawn that another chapter seemed like a very real possibility.

August 17, 2011

Cowboys & Aliens (2011 film)

Previously published at Hope Lies.

Daniel Craig is the man with no name. Really, he wakes up in a desert with no idea of who or where he is. His only clues are a wound in his side, a photo of a beautiful woman, and a strange metal device clamped on his wrist. After beating down some stray ruffians and stealing a horse and some boots, this man rides into the town of Absolution, where he meets the usual western fare. You've got the weathered old Sheriff Taggart (Keith Carradine made up to resemble Jason Robards) and his rambunctious grandson (The Last Airbender himself, Noah Ringer); the befuddled local saloon owner with bad aim, Doc (Sam Rockwell), and his soothing Mexican wife, Maria (Ana de la Reguera); and the fatherly old Preacher, Meacham (Clancy Brown), who's always there with advice, liquor, a sewing needle, or laugh lines about how holding your gun compares to holding your pecker.