The Not So Old West: The Magnificent Seven Updated

Though there were some notable cinematic disappointments to come out of 2016 (I’m looking at you Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), this year we, at least, saw everyone’s favorite regal blue tang overcome her short-term memory loss to be reunited with her family and Ryan Reynolds finally redeem himself from the atrocity that was Green Lantern. After the release of Suicide Squad in August, I was expecting the box office to be relatively light on major blockbuster releases until early November, when Marvel’s Doctor Strange will grace screens. After all, seeing the world get devastated three different times in three different movies (see: Independence Day: Resurgence, X-Men Apocalypse and The 5th Wave) gets cumbersome. Even I, an action movie connoisseur, needed a break from the carnage and violence. But rising up from the dust coming in out of nowhere comes Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven, an explosive remake of the 1960 film of the same name (which, in turn, was a remake of the 1959 film Seven Samurai).

Best Western: Hell or High Water

Considering its high-profile cast and overwhelmingly positive reviews, it is a mystery why Hell or High Water went relatively unnoticed as an end-of-summer thriller. David Mackenzie directs, with Ben Foster and Chris Pine playing the Howard brothers, two Texan ranchers struggling against the foreclosure of their family farm who decide to organize a series of bank robberies to raise some needed funds. Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham play Texas Ranger Hamilton and his partner Alberto, respectively, who are investigating the thefts, constantly and threateningly close on the heels of the Howards. From the outset, the film holds its audience in unparalleled suspense. The soft country music foils the searing heat of the Texas sun, palpable thanks to the artful cinematography: every surface carries an auburn tinge, and as a result the entire film feels burnt.