ethan hawke

In a Valley of Violence

Image result for in a valley of violenceThere are always moments when I bring up Westworld and someone responds “I don’t like Westerns.”  And often, I retort “well it’s more of a Sci-Fi than it is a Western.”  But, as someone who also never liked Westerns, I think I need a new retort.  Maybe I watched the wrong kind.

In a Valley of Violence is the right kind.  I saw this at a small festival for the sole reason that I trust Ethan Hawke.  Predestination had played the year before at the same fest and I wanted more of that.   I was totally blown away by how much fun Valley was and was revitalized in a desire to watch some cowboys.  The cast acts the hell out of this off beat script and it results in a real delight. It has all the ‘dog protectiness’ of John Wick and the “this dude made a western?” of The Quick and the Dead.

This is usually where I put the short synopsis to prime you for the flick, but it honestly would be really difficult to narrow this down to a few sentences.  In the tradition of a Western, rising actions are numerous.  The mysterious Paul stumbles across a town en route to Mexico where they run into this priest, and there are these girls, and a cop, and something about being an army deserter, I don’t know. Just trust this one.

Great if you liked: No Country for Old Men, John Wick, The Quick and the Dead, There will be Blood, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Gangs of New York

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Predestination

It’s Tuesday.  Perfect time for some thinking Sci-Fi in Predestination.

Ethan Hawke stars as a Temporal agent on the hunt for a criminal, the Fizzle Bomber, who has eluded him through time.  A Temporal agent’s duties involve intricate travels through time to ensure their law enforcement exists “through eternity.” On his final mission, he is to take out his elusive white whale.

Dripping with unseen hints, a story is told to the agent by a bar patron (who oddly looks a lot like Leonardo DiCaprio) of  Jane, of a shattered career, lost love, and the amazing feats of human kind.

You could see two different trailers for this film and think they’re completely unrelated.  But they’re not.  Watch closely.

Predestination is great for, among other reasons, the fact that it plays with our linear sense of time.  Typically, we see time as a straight line from past, present to future.  For our Temporal Agent, his past, present and future transcends our timeline and exists in a line linear to his age, but not through that of our universe. (Whoooaaaa).

This is one of the highest quality, in both production value and story, sci fi films that I have seen come out of the festival circuit.  Based on a short story by the legendary Robert A. Heinlein, and adapted for film by the makers of Daybreakers, this is not one to go missed.

Amazing if you liked: Daybreakers, Looper, Source Code, In Time, Snowpiercer, Minority Report