I watched 3:10 to Yuma a few days ago. Russell Crowe plays an outlaw that a rancher (Christian Bale) must escort to a train.
Crowe and Bale often play characters well, and this movie is no exception. Crowe's Ben Wade is magnetizing, by turns charming, hypnotic, and coldly efficient. Rancher Dan Evans is a real hard luck case, and as the film is watched, the viewer cannot help but wish he would unleash the stone killer that must certainly be lurking inside him. Ben Foster plays one of the most interesting characters, as Wade's lieutenant with an obvious crush. Foster must believe doing odd things with his voice is important, because his mumble in this role is as distinctive as his squealing tone in Thirty Days of Night.
3:10 to Yuma has a great cast, and is well acted. I subtract half a star for stretching my suspension of disbelief a little, and I'll give it back just because Ben Wade is such a wonderfully bad man, as he plays his life with enjoyable zest. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Here's the review I know you all have been waiting for: Brokeback Mountain. In all likelihood, you've already seen this cinematic masterpiece. If not, minor spoilers follows.
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal play young men with ranching backgrounds who meet while working herding sheep on forestry lands during the summer in the late 1960s. One thing leads to another, and romance follows.
Ledger's Ennis Del Mar takes a string of get-by ranching jobs while entering a doomed marriage, while Gyllenhaal's Jack Twist eventually squanders a marriage to Lureen Newsome (played by the toothsome Anne Hathaway). As a child, Ennis saw a gay couple horribly killed, and when Jack Twist keeps driving down to "go fishing" with him, he refuses to leave to set up dude ranching.
The scenery in the mountains is often gorgeous, and the two actors play their roles well, but the story is dreary. Perhaps director Ang Lee meant to show how persecution of homosexuals can ruin lives, but the movie often seems to mostly exist to show two hot young male commodities having angry man-sex. Heath Ledger seems to have lifted Billy Bob Thornton's grumble from Slingblade, but it's good enough that I'll give the film an extra half star. 2.5 out of 5 stars.