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Magnificent Sevens … myth, math and aftermath … Part 3

17 Oct

seven-samurai-10Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954) was the inspiration for M7 1960.

Often regarded as one of the greatest films of all time
– and the first “Action Film”
“It has remained highly influential, often seen as one of the most “remade, reworked, referenced” films in cinema. (Wikipedia)

seven-samurai-2 seven-samurai-3 seven-samurai-4seven-samurai-5 seven-samurai-6 seven-samurai-7 seven-samurai-8

Awards and nominations

Venice Film Festival (1954)
  • Winner – Silver Lion – Akira Kurosawa
  • Nominated – Golden Lion – Akira Kurosawa
Mainichi Film Award (1955)
  • Winner – Best Supporting Actor – Seiji Miyaguchi
British Academy Film Awards (1956)
  • Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Film
  • Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor – Toshiro Mifune
  • Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor – Takashi Shimura
Academy Awards (1957)
  • Nominated – Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White – So Matsuyama
  • Nominated – Best Costume Design, Black-and-White – Kôhei Ezaki
Jussi Awards (1959)
  • Winner – Best Foreign Director – Akira Kurosawa
  • Winner – Best Foreign Actor – Takashi Shimura

Magnificent Sevens … myth, math and aftermath … Part 2

12 Oct


House of the Rising Sun / Heavy Young Heathens

The CWF Charismometer: Test One Continued: 
Measuring Star Power / Charisma / Casting

Fuqua’s Folly? /  Formulathe-magnificent-7-2016-washington-fuqua

“So far, so good.”
– Vin

In a lot of ways a re-make of M7 1960 was a no win scenario. Except of one way: Money. In this, Fuqua knew his formula of Denzel Washington and Action Film couldn’t miss. Though he knew his movie couldn’t match the Original Western as a Western Classic, it was bullet proof as a money maker. Just as Director Sydney Pollack knew that Robert Redford’s Star Power guaranteed Box Office success in the 7 movies he Directed Redford (including Western Classic Jeremiah Johnson – over $50 Million profit), the Box Office take for the previous 2 Washington/Fuqua Action movies: Training Day (2001) ($57 million), and The Equalizer (2014) ($137 million) guaranteed that M7 2016 would be a success. The current Box Office for M7 2016 shows a profit of $46 million – and climbing. Combining all 3 Fuqua/Washington movies, we get about $240 Million profit. So far. Pretty good business. M7 2016 isn’t a Western Classic, but it’s sure going to pay the bills.

Amazingly Wikipedia claims the original Magnificent Seven (1960) was not initially well received in the US – but did well overseas. And despite unclear statistics on it’s overall Box Office, it’s a safe bet that it made it’s money back many times over – and it’s still selling well today on DVD and Blue Ray.

the-magnificent-7-2016-gold-bar

Casting?

“Once You’ve Met Them …You’ll Never Forget Them”
– A tagline from the original M7 1960

the-magnificent-7-1960

Most any Western Movie fan can name at least 6 of this guys.

Large ensemble Casts in a movie are a problem. Writers and Directors know how important Character Development is. Because if we don’t connect with the people in the movie, what exactly are you doing? And the larger the Cast, the harder this is. With M7 (1960) however, most of  the Actors had been around for quite a while – they weren’t unknown. They just weren’t Stars yet. We knew Brynner very well; McQueen was known from the TV series Wanted Dead of Alive; Bronson had been kicking around in support roles for years; Coburn had been in several Westerns already; Vaughn had done a ton of TV work; Dexter had also done a lot of TV work – and several movies; even Buchholz had been in about 17 movies by 1960; Eli Wallach had also done extensive TV and movie work.
The point is, we had seen them before. And it’s a lot easier to do movies with ensemble casts if the audience has some familiarity with the Actors.
Frankly, in that sense, the  Casting M7 1960 was brilliant.

Can you name these guys?
the-magnificent-7-2016-the-sevenJustice might have a number, but might lack a name.

If you get 4 of those guys, I’ll send you a Tootsie Roll and a box of popcorn.

In M7 2016 we have less familiarity with the Cast. We would definitely know Washington, and likely Pratt, Hawke, and D’Onofrio though D’Onofrio is so heavily made up, I doubt most people recognized him.
Most everybody else in the movie we are unlikely to know.
This puts M7 2016 at a definite disadvantage as far as the audience (us) is able connect with the Characters – and care about them – not a good thing for a movie.

the-magnificent-7-1960-2

the-magnificent-7-2016-gold-bar

Back when Tom Cruise started this whole M7 re-make debate,
I proposed my own Cast:
Tom Cruise, Viggo Mortensen, Guy Pearce, Willem Dafoe, Benedict Cumberbach, Brenden Fraser, Aaron Paul, Antonio Banderas.
This would have been a hell of a Cast …
but it also would have broke the bank.

my-magnificent-seven-my-castAnd I still hadn’t figured out who would Direct that thing.

the-magnificent-7-2016-gold-bar

the-magnificent-7-1960-3

Coming:

Magnificent Sevens … myth, math and aftermath … Part 3

Magnificent Sevens … myth, math and aftermath … Part 1

10 Oct

I finally went and saw The Magnificent Seven (2016) the other night.
I had initially said that I wouldn’t judge this movie by the original,
but it raises so many issues surrounding modern Film Making – and Westerns
that I couldn’t resist.

the-magnificent-7-2016“Justice has a number”
M7 (2016) tagline

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mgm-lioncolumbia-logo“Remakes? You probably shouldn’t go there.”
– My Favorite Westerns

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The CWF Film Critique System

Being a Film Critic of no renown, I have deferred my critiquing chores to my unfamous and trusted colleague Cecil W. (Wannabe) FordWannabe is not a respected Film Critic, but to make up for that by his high HO (Highly Opinionated) Rating – especially of himself. This, combined with his unique CWF Critique System (whereby each movie is subjected to Wannabe’s stringent CWF testing criteria) he arrives at a judgment. Maybe.

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Let us proceed.

The Magnificent Seven (2016) Review

by Cecil W(annabe). Ford

the-magnificent-7-2016-banner

 I like to think that NOTHING is impossible.
But my expectations were not high.
Why? Because a Remake of the Magnificent Seven IS pretty well impossible.
Denzel Washington says right there himself at the start of the movie:

Quote:
Denzel Washington
(Sam Chisolm):
“Took a job – looking for a some men to join us.”
Chris Pratt (Josh Farraday):
“Is it difficult?”
Denzel Washington:
“Impossible.”

This is not mere dialogue (quoted from the first movie): It’s Film director and Producer Antoine Fuqua’s open admission that there is no way he could make a movie that will equal the Original Magnificent Seven (1960).
No way.
You have to give him credit for admitting that. He knew it. And there are definite reasons for that knowledge – things that were beyond his control. I’ll get to those …

antoine-fuqua

The real question is: Why? Why make the movie? Why make movie that you know is going to be compared to the incomparable? If you know something is impossible, then Why attempt it?

the-magnificent-7-why

Antoine Fuqua’s last 9 movies have all made money – including M7 2016.
In Film Making that makes him a SuperStar.

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Time for Wannabe’s Test # One:

Test One: The CWF Charismometer
Measuring Star Power / Charisma / Casting

My first Test will employ the trusty CWF Charismometer. This will infallibly measure, Star Power, Charisma, and Casting – vital components in any movie – and the main factors that Fuqua, his Writers, and the Producers … or anybody – could not match from the Original Magnificent Seven.

We’ll start with Yul Brunner and Denzel Washington.

Charismometer says:

the-magnificent-7-2016-denzel-meter

Denzel is a Star. No doubt about it. And a good Actor.
And if he wasn’t in M7 2016, it wouldn’t hardly be worth a sniff.
But compared to Yul Brynner?
Well, it’s a good thing I tested Denzel first, because Yul blew my Charismometer  to smithereens.

the-magnificent-7-2016-yul-meterBOOOM!

This is the first reason  – and likely most important reason – M7 2016 couldn’t match the original.

I will next test the rest …

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Those Thrilling Stars of Yesteryear

Is it just me? or is the Star Power in modern Film not equal to the Star Power of yesteryear – 50’s and 60’s. 70’s???
John Wayne, Cary Grant, Charlton Heston, Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, James Stewart, Clark Gable, Bogart, Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy, Fonda, Brando 
I could go on and on and on. And then start on the ladies.
Yes. we certainly have Stars and some very good actors these days … but …

Part 2 … Coming Soon

 

Magnificent Seven 2016 … latest trailer

30 May

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Well … there’s gonna be lots of shooting and explosions …

Release date = USA 23 September 2016.

The Magnificent Seven … 2016

20 Apr

Unless you’ve been under a log you’ve probably heard  about this Remake of The Magnificent Seven. |
So we have our first Trailers.
(brought to my attention by Tim Neath over at https://timneath.wordpress.com/) Thanks Tim!

Have a look …

Go ahead … say something.
I dare ya.

The Magnificent Seven 2016 … UPDATE

14 Sep

Denzel Washington – the Magnificent Seven Equalizer ??

“What do you see when you look at me?”

Yul Washington

“Oh, hell. If that’s all that’s holding things up, I’ll drive the rig.”
– Yul Brynner / The Magnificent Seven

Wikipedia: September 14, 2015 “The Magnificent Seven is an upcoming American Western directed by Antoine Fuqua, a remake of the 1960 western film of the same name. The film stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lee Byung-hun, Luke Grimes, Wagner Moura, Haley Bennett, Matt Bomer, and Peter Sarsgaard. Principal photography began on May 18, 2015, in the north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The film is set to be released on September 23, 2016.”

Denzel Washington gets the lead role of Chris formerly played by Yul Brynner in the 1960 film. I consider this to be a rather smart bit of casting. In my mind it completely circumvents the main problem of the remake: who are you going to cast that has enough Star Power who can measure up to Yul Brynner??! By choosing Washington – the black Superstar – for the the part it seems to approach the role from a completely different angle that deflects such judgements. Washington also has enough Star Power and acting chops to pull it off.

Despite having made plenty of Action movies in his career, this will be Washington’s first Western movie.

No trailers as of yet …

But what about the other 6 Sevens??

Well … here they are:

mag 7 2

mag 7 3

mag 7 4

Up to you to figure out who’s playing who … if indeed the former roles have any bearing. I think they will, but …

This is all I know so far.

I’ll try to keep an eye on things and hopefully we’ll have a preview trailer soon.

I still liked my own casting better:

Yul Brynner … TOM CRUISE

Brynner - Cruise

Steve McQueen … VIGGO MORTENSEN

Steve McQueen - Viggo Mortenson

James Coburn … GUY PEARCE

James Coburn - Guy Pearce

Charles Bronson … WILLEN DAFOE

Charles Bronson - Willem Dafoe

Robert Vaughn … BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH

Vaughn - Cumberbach

 Brad Dexter BRENDAN FRASER

Brad Dexter - Brendan Fraser

Horst Buchholz AARON PAUL

Horst Buchholz - Aaron Paul

Eli Wallach … ANTONIO BANDERAS

Eli Wallach - Antonio Banderas

… onward !!

 

 

A Magnificent 7 remake ____ here we go again …

13 Sep

The Magnificent Seven: Denzel and Fuqua to Remake Classic

By Point of Geekson September 10th, 2014 at 4:31pm

One of the greatest westerns ever made, The Magnificent Seven, will be remade for the big-screen. The western which featured many of the biggest stars of its time, was actually a remake itself of Akira Kurosawa’s epic, Seven Samurai. An important point to make before there are cries from film purists claiming it is blasphemy to remake this classic. The project has gone through many hands in the past few years as multiple producers and stars have looked to repackage the film for the current generation. Most recently there was a version to star Tom Cruise, according to ScreenRant, other veteran actors such as Morgan Freeman and Kevin Costner were sought after to make up the posse.

 

The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The Magnificent Seven (1960)

The project is now in the hands another director and actor team, who have found a high level of comfortability and teamwork. Director Antoine Fuqua and Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington, first forged their partnership on the film Training Day, where Washington won his second Oscar. After their second pairing in this month’s upcoming thriller, The Equalizer, they are more energized than ever to keep their professional partnership going. After confirming that the duo are indeed remaking The Magnificent Seven ….

…. It will be interesting to see how the remake is handled. With Washington assumably taking over the role previously held by Yul Brynner, it will be fascinating to see how race is handled in the film. It would be hard to not acknowledge how the additional hardship of being black in the wild west America would affect the character(s).

Even of more interest is whom Fuqua and Washington (who seems to be in a producing capacity as well judging by Fuqua’s comments) choose as the other six members of the legendary posse. The search for backup is a huge part of the original film and finding six other actors that won’t be overshadowed by Washington may not be a simple task. Not to mention Westerns certainly are not the dominant film genre any longer. It will take a quite a dynamic cast to drum up a buzz, since the original came out over fifty years ago. It should be a delight watching this project come together.

Top 10 Movie Ensemble Casts: The Magnificent Seven

MFW comment:

Am I against a remake of M7? No.
Would I say M7 fans wouldn’t like to see one? Of course they would.
I would also say that it’s a daunting task – especially the casting – as is mentioned.
Over the years we have already seen several attempts to remake M7 – even a TV show.
None of them fared too well – compared to the original.
The problem is simple: On any such remake of a Classic Film there are going to be inevitable comparisons – as what happened with Johnny Depp’s The Lone Ranger.
So it’s a tough deal.
And the only thing that saves some remakes (to any degree) is that there is a whole new audience that holds no allegiance or knowledge of the Original. They don’t care – and don’t know – about the incredible Star Power and charisma of Yul Brynner – not to mention the other members of the cast – most of whom went on to long an illustrious success in filmdom.
Yes ..we all hope that somehow Washington and Director Antoine Fuqua can come up with something that rekindles the inspired work of John Sturges original movie …
But we are ready to be disappointed as well.

M7 boothill

[Chris (Yul Brynner) is driving the hearse up to Boot Hill; Vin (Steve McQueen) is riding shotgun]

Chris: We’ll get there.

Vin: It’s not getting up there that bothers me. It’s staying up there that I mind.

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