Star – Tommy Lee Jones
Genre – Western
Run Time – 122 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 6 Wins & 14 Nominations
Amazon – £3.00 DVD £4.73 Blue Ray
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I have seen a few westerns of late and they have all been rather good, this one no exception. Apart from the Comic book stuff it’s the only genre that is still consistently rolling out good stuff in Hollywood. Maybe because of its history in shaping the movies they respect the Western that little bit more. In fact I can’t recall when I have seen bad one and that’s all budgets and styles. .As long as you cast them well and stick to the winning formula the money seems to roll in.
The cast here includes three Oscar winners: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, and Meryl Streep; and two Oscar nominees: John Lithgow and Hailee Steinfeld. Tommy Lee Jones in a western is like Robert Duvall in western. These guys were made for it. It’s also the debut of Grace Gummer in her first major film role, Meryl Streep being her mother. How can you not like that line up?
Tommy Lee Jones ... George Briggs
Hilary Swank ... Mary Bee Cuddy
Grace Gummer ... Arabella Sours
Miranda Otto ... Theoline Belknap
Sonja Richter ... Gro Svendsen
Jo Harvey Allen ... Mrs. Polhemus
Barry Corbin ... Buster Shaver
David Dencik ... Thor Svendsen
William Fichtner ... Vester Belknap
Evan Jones ... Bob Giffen
Caroline Lagerfelt ... Netti Svendsen
John Lithgow ... Reverend Alfred Dowd
Tim Blake Nelson ... Freighter
Jesse Plemons ... Garn Sours
James Spader ... Aloysius Duffy
Its 1888 and the troublesome George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) has wronged again and a lynch mob are out for him. All alone with a noose around his neck he is rescued at the last by feisty independent Nebraskan farmsteader Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank), who is about to take three slightly bonkers women cross country to salvation in Hebron, Iowa where a religious order sanitarium await her arrival. There and then she makes a deal with Briggs that she will cut him down and pay him $300 dollars on top of that gesture if he will guide her and a secure wagon to the safe haven of Hebron.
After a harsh winter, three women from the community began to show signs of mental instability due to the hardships. Arabella Sours (Grace Gummer) has lost three children to diphtheria, Theoline Belknap (Miranda Otto) kills her own child after a poor harvest puts her family at risk of starvation, and Gro Svendsen (Sonja Richter), a Danish immigrant, is shown to be in an abusive relationship with her husband and suffers a breakdown after her mother dies. Reverend Dowd (John Lithgow) calls for the husbands to escort the women eastward to Hebron but they either can’t wait to get shot of the women or simply not up to the task, why Cuddy has to take charge and hire Briggs as the Honesman.
And so off the two go with the women secured in the carriage. One or two are volatile so must be chained down as they wail and holler for the first days of the trip. Cuddy also has issues with depression and melancholy and so the trip not much fun with the lugubrious Briggs holding the reigns. But he knows the wild country and done this before so the right man to have by her side. They are likely to face Red Indians, bandits, disease, weather and shortages of water and food, amongst other perils.
As they press on the two grow slightly closer and the women improve to. The adventure, fresh air and open spaces seem to be doing them well. Cuddy insures Briggs stays the course by posting his $300 dollars to the destination post office but also looking for something for herself from the trip. She is an impressive gal and growing on the honesman. But can they put aside their differences to complete the arduous trip?
I enjoyed this and yet another western with a different tone knocking around on DVD. Its excellent cast and arid landscapes set the mood quickly as we explore the harsh lives of the early settlers, often out in the middle of nowhere and live and die on their harvest. Loneliness and so depression and mental illness was rampant.
Meryl Streep only cameos at the end so not a movie to enjoy her but Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank really on top form as the belligerent Wild West survivors, comedy and pathos aplenty. I’m never sure if Swank is pretty or not and so hard to interpret in movie roles but TLJ is great in Billy Bob Thornton mode. They light up the screen with their to-and-throw.
Entertaining wise it always stays engaging because of its more abstract Western themes and more than a feminist streak her from a female directed film. The men are generally all violent and sexist and the girls the victims. I guess it was like that back then. A skilled director can make their points on that by not being so polarizing.
As I say it’s a good ride for two hours and not too violent or cheesy western. Some critics say it tells the story of American civilization and you can kind of see that but for me just an original above average western that’s interesting, moody and engaging.
Imdb.com – 6.6/10.0 (23,937votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 81% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 68% critic’s approval
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Not that many
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Bits and bobs behind the scenes
Detroit News –‘If only things had started out on more solid ground and headed toward some sort of resolution. If only’.
Minneapolis Star –‘The film has more surprising turns than a honeycomb has bees. Absurdity and calamity collide without warning’.
The Mail –‘ If Tommy Lee Jones wants to become a great director of a dying genre, he cannot simply hope to mimic what the masters did. He must instead explore the meaning of each image he creates.
Kansas Star –‘The Homesman, Jones gives us a revisionist Western that defies expectations at every turn. It's a genuine art film in the vein of Aussie productions like The Proposition’.
The Star –‘It reminds us repeatedly of how fragile civilization was in the Old West’.
Chicago Reader –‘As the protagonists near their final destination, The Homesman offers a critique of civilization that's almost as pessimistic as its critique of frontier life, suggesting that in every corner of America there have always been more losers than winners.
St Louis Dispatch –‘Swank, an Oscar winner for "Boys Don't Cry" and "Million Dollar Baby," is outstanding, getting to the essence of Mary Bee's pride and pain. And in the showier role, Jones impressively peels away layers of rambunctiousness to reveal George's humanity’.
Last night we went to see Alan Davies who was doing live stand up comedy at Lichfield Garrick as part of the Lichfield Festival which is running from 4-14 July. This was his first stand up for over 10 years as he has been concentrating on his TV career. When I first saw the line up for the Festival and saw that Alan Davies was performing I rang the booking office on the day they were released and bought two tickets as I am a great fan.
There were a few hiccups at the actual theatre, they had ran out of bitter in the upstairs bar and only sold Guiness in cans in the lower bar. There was also a power cut fifteen minutes before the show was due to start, but we finally sat down at 8.15 and the show started more or less straight away.
The comedy was mainly observational which is definitely my cup of tea and the show went on until 10.40 with a fifteen minute interval. Alan made plenty of references to the 80's where the pubs were full of smoke and closed at 11 o'clock sharp. Also when people only had one phone in the house where it lived in the hall on a telephone table complete with padded seat and a cupboard for the phone books. Obviously for any of you reading this who are under the age of about thirty this won't mean much to you, but for those of us who are it was really funny.
Alan interacted with the audience a lot and as it was quite a small venue this really worked and made it feel quite intimate. He made reference to Stephen Fry where he is a regular on the QI panel when he asked the audience a question and when someone gave a really clever answer Alan said "Fry would give you extra points for that" which received a huge clap from the audience.
I laughed out loud numerous times during the show and when I wasn't laughing I was smiling, to the point when my jaw began to ache. The rest of the audience also seemed to find him very funny and he had a very good reception.
On the way out as we were walking through the foyer my husband pointed out that Alan Davies was standing behind the counter where the leaflets were and was signing autographs. Needless to say the brochure was open at the page of his photo before you could say 'Alan Davies' and I was over there in a flash. He was really friendly and said hello and asked what I wanted him to write and even posed for a photograph! This is when I noticed that he seemed much taller than he appears on TV when I have watched him playing Jonathan Creek and on QI, or maybe it is because I'm quite small and was standing right by him!
So a lovely end to a great evening, will remember it for a long time - a massive five out of five for me.
Twelve 25-30 year old friends, in a mixed group attended Jongleurs, Bristol, to celebrate my 25th birthday. From the minute we arrived we were on countdown with frequent reminders to drink as much as we could "Get your drinks before the show..10 minutes left, five minutes, two".Constant calls to get enough drink to last you the first half meant most people guzzling four pint pitchers at a time!The atmosphere was of huge groups getting extremely drunk, rather than having a drink while enjoying the comedy, then being expected to dance in a very confined space. This level of drink resulted in myself being punched in the face and two male friends being assulted, unprovoked. I would never reccommend Jongleurs, will not be returning and am saddened by my birthday ending in injury due to a money hungry company.
My future Brother in Law had his stag do at Jongleurs in Leeds last night. Gotta say that I do not think it was worth the £18.50 we paid each for the tickets. The best act of the night was the warm up guy who did all the inbetween introductions etc.
The way their staff patrol the floor chastising people for minor indescretions is bordering on fascist.
I had got my mobile phone on vibrate (so that it did not cause a nuisance during the show) so that if there was any kind of emergency at home I would at least get to know about it. During the second act I received a text from my partner telling me that one of our 3 year old twin daughters was being violently sick. The minute I pulled the phone out of my pocket a female member of staff was on my back about it. I pointed out to her that it was on vibrate and that I had only received a text regarding the health of one of my daughters. I even went to the effort of showing her the particular message. Her reply was that she didn't care. The clubs policy was that all phones should be switched off and that if I used my phone again she would have me thrown out (yeah right!!! - I'm sure the press would love to get their hands on this piece of ridiculous customer service).
Various other members of the party were set upon verbally by staff for passing comments to each other during the show (not loudly I might add - so it wasn't affectig other peoples enjoyment), Standing up when we had a reserved table with chairs etc.
It wasn't just our party that got persecuted either we witnessed Jongleurs bully tactics being practised to many other customers during the evening. A couple behind us got threatened with being thrown out for clinking their glasses together in a toast to their anniversary. We weren't offended by it (and were the closest table to them) and they weren't being loud.
If this is how jongleurs treats their customers on a regular basis then they won't survive in Leeds very long.
I really hope that someone from jongleurs management reads this review and takes it on board. Your staff need some serious personality readjustment training. Customers are not going to tolerate this kind of attitude from staff. I accept that if someone's phone was playing a ringtone or they were having a loud conversation either on the phone or with friends that was ditracting from other peoples enjoyment of the show then a polite word in their ear is warranted, but nobody is going to tolerate a trip back to 1933 - 1945 berlin type customer service. "Ve Hav Vayz Ov Makin You Watch The Show!!!!"
Personally Me and my friends will never darken their doors again and we won't be recommending them to anyone else.
Jongleurs have taken what used to be the Mash & Air restaurant (apparently a favourite of Posh and Becks) on the corner of Canal Street / Chorlton Street in the heart of the Village and spent loads of money turning it into a comedy club. We went on a recent Saturday night (admittedly with free tickets - Thanks Toby! - as show is usually £12) to see what it was like. This was my first time in a comedy club. Starting off in the Bar Risa on the lower floor, we were impressed that most drinks were 2 for the price of 1 - apparently this is most nights! 8pm drew near and we were hearded upstairs to the comedy club itself -nicely laid out with a small stage, bar and tables arranged around the stage - there is also a balcony but this was not in use. The show was OK - 3 comedians, first 2 very good, last one not so good - he went on far too long, and considering the club is in the Gay Village, there was no need for the odd homophobic reference. My big complaint with the night was when I can to order a round of drinks - I went downstairs to the loo and discovered the stairs continued to the downstairs bar - and a member of staff was handing out passes so I could get back upstairs. Bought my 2-4-1 drinks, came back upstairs and was refused entry. Called for a "manager" and he refused to allow me upstairs and took me back down so he could refund my purchase, so I could then return upstairs and buy the same drinks (but not 2-4-1) in the club bar. I was less than happy and emailed the club - to be fair I had a very nice reply. The general manager was new and she has apparently changed the signs, briefed the staff and offered me 4 VIP tickets for the show of my choice - watch this space!. Their website is at http://www.jongleurs.co.uk/