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Merrick here...
Here's an early look at James Mangold's new film - the remake of 3:10 TO YUMA. Mangold directed COP LAND (which I enjoyed quite a bit), IDENTITY (which I did not enjoy quite a bit), and WALK THE LINE - a film I loved. I've been eager as hell to see how 3:10 shakes out. If you missed the recently released trailer, CATCH IT HERE. Russell Crow and Christian Bale in the same film together kick ass to fathom. Here's THEIRONGIANT's review. Please keep in mind the film won't be released until October 5 - which means many elements may be tweaked, adjusted, and whatnot by the time it rides into town.
I caught an early screening of the 3:10 to Yuma remake last night in Woodland Hills. I've never seen the original, so I apologize if I give this movie props for things it just copied from the original (which I really want to see now). The screening organizers claimed we were the first public audience to see the film and that this cut was still unfinished, but the latter I found hard to believe. The picture looked polished, timed, and final, and outside of Avid-y opening titles and a lack of closing credits, the only things that screamed out "rough cut" to me were the sound mix and temp music. I'm curious as to whether or not picture is locked, even if this movie doesn't come out until October, because it looks pretty spotless. I love westerns, I really do. It's a genre of film that I don't always actively seek out, but am always game for when the opportunity arises. After seeing the trailer and cast for this flick, I was really excited. Batman and Gladiator facing off? I'm there. Throw in one seriously badass Ben Foster and Peter Fonda and I really have no excuse not to go. With that said, 3:10 to Yuma well-exceeded my expectations. The performances are phenomenal. Crowe plays Ben Wade with such intensity and charm, he can just as quickly kill with his sidearm or his smile. He's an enigma of a character for the other players -- unpredictable and truly dangerous, God-fearing but fearless, seems to tell the truth through his lies (or makes you believe he might be lying or bluffing when he's telling the truth), and has a strong sense of right and wrong that isn't exactly in line with the law or the encroaching railroad builders. He doesn't give up his thieving ways, but also doesn't concern himself with the risk of capture and imprisonment. Crowe gives such a nuanced, collected performance that it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role. He well-embodies the idea of being both equally good and bad. Bale, on the other hand, gets to play a character on the other side of the spectrum from Bruce Wayne/Batman. Bale's character Dan is a frustrated rancher, drawn into the "prisoner transfer" posse by a casual yet frightening encounter with Wade early in the film. Bale plays down his usual leading man intensity and gives a realistic yet heroic performance that is both determined and sad. Even though Bale's character isn't physically capable, he is the only true foil to Crowe's Wade, someone who's morality and devotion to his land and his family inspires Wade to befriend him, or at least try to. A disbelieving, untrusting character, Dan is a man who, because of years of being ridiculed and dismissed, is finally finding an opportunity to show his true colors. An evil Ben Foster and Peter Fonda round out the cast, both turning in solid, albeit supporting roles. Ben Foster is viscious and determined, playing Wade's right hand man. He reminded me a lot of Michael Biehn's character in Tombstone (a rival just as good, perhaps even better than his leader?). Fonda plays a bounty hunter tasked with bringing Wade in. Gretchen Mol has a small role in the first half of the film which she handles well enough without pulling attention from the lead characters, and Logan Lerman plays Bale's son, William. He has an excellent subplot that, while conventional, is so well-executed I found myself intrigued to see the outcome regardless. The cinematography is familiar for a western and isn't intrusive. There are no trick shots, and there is no distracting shooting style. There are some great tracking shots following horses, but otherwise the movie is very simply captured. Music, again, was temp, but worked well with the tone (I think they used some Traffic in there). Sparse and quiet. The editing is spot on, which is another reason why I want to believe picture is locked. Pacing is even, action is well cut, and I really don't see any reason for Mangold to continue working on this cut. The performances are most likely what 3:10 to Yuma will get the most praise for. Still trying to place it in my annual top 10, and may wait until the movie hits theaters so I can see it again in its final form and position it then, but I'm pretty sure it's top 5 material. Mangold continues to surprise me with his success working with actors (I can't believe this is the same guy that gave us Identity -- UGH).

Readers Talkback
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  • June 19, 2007, 10:40 p.m. CST

    I think it sucks that the LINKS page is gone

    by murawsky

    I think it sucks that the LINKS page is gone

  • June 19, 2007, 10:45 p.m. CST


    by Black And Gold

    Looking forward to this one. Looks like we've got two hot, dusty westerns to be excited about this year.

  • June 19, 2007, 10:46 p.m. CST

    The trailer looked good...

    by vettebro

    I hope is not another "Quick and the Dead". I was very dissapointed with that one. I expected a lot more from Sam Raimi.

  • June 19, 2007, 10:59 p.m. CST

    Speaking of Iron Giant, Brad Bird says

    by wadi77

    He got something for The Incredibles sequel. <p>

  • June 19, 2007, 11 p.m. CST

    I liked Identity.

    by lost.rules

    Damnit! Hope this movie kicks ass!

  • June 19, 2007, 11 p.m. CST

    Silence, you actually know how many times?

    by Bronx Cheer

    You keeping track? Is there a Hall of Fame for Firsters? I have one word for you, friend: Wow.

  • June 19, 2007, 11:02 p.m. CST

    The only film of his I didn't like was Girl Interrupted

    by lost.rules

    Talk about UGHHHH!!!!!!!!!

  • June 19, 2007, 11:10 p.m. CST

    Thanks for coming clean...if you can call it that!

    by Bronx Cheer

    I'm curious. Do Firsters save screenshots of their achievements?

  • June 19, 2007, 11:14 p.m. CST

    People instantly declare this a remake.

    by MaxTheSilent

    Do these dumb-asses know it is based on the awesome short story by Elmore Leonard?

  • June 19, 2007, 11:17 p.m. CST

    whoa, that's hard to read, but promising...

    by The Dum Guy

    I wasn't too let down by Identity (think about it as having a really bad dream, and then realizing the bad guy was you... but the ending did suck)<br><br>I liked the original and for it's time it did work really well (not that I was alive, but the sexual innuendos was ahead of it's time).

  • June 19, 2007, 11:17 p.m. CST

    Sheeot Bronx...

    by vettebro

    Why don't you make arrangements to hook up "the silent dork". You two are made for each other...

  • June 19, 2007, 11:21 p.m. CST

    I mean "hook up with the silent dork"

    by vettebro

    Sorry for the typo folks...

  • June 19, 2007, 11:21 p.m. CST

    "a 9-inch cock...", isn't that kinda small?

    by The Dum Guy

    ...I kid.

  • June 19, 2007, 11:51 p.m. CST

    vettebro, I'm just asking questions. Not cruising,

    by Bronx Cheer

    not in this TB anyway. I'm into some serious man crush talk over at the BatPod TB...take care, hon.

  • June 19, 2007, 11:56 p.m. CST

    Identiy was fun...and it was also well made.

    by nopix

    I liked the look and style of the film.

  • June 20, 2007, 12:03 a.m. CST

    I figured out Identity form the preview

    by BadMrWonka

    bot other than that, it was terrible.<p>this one looks great, though. definitely seeing it.

  • June 20, 2007, 12:06 a.m. CST


    by The Real MiraJeff

    As soon as I read Merrick's opinion of Identity I knew someone would mention it in the talkbacks and sure enough, you guys did, so here I am... to completely defend Merrick. Identity wasn't bad, but it sure as shit wasn't very good. Sure the ending was clever to some but I thought of it as an unnecessary evil, a bit of a cop out. Why couldn't that have been a straight-up whodunit? Why is there always a lame twist in those type of movies. It should be noted for the record that my all-time, number 1 DREAM project would be to adapt Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians, the finest mystery of ever written. I revere that genre. I love the idea of taking 10 strangers and picking them off one by one, but the way Identity did it felt kind of cheap. Plus I didn't like that the little kid personality wins out in the end. Puh-lease. If Identity had one cool thing going for it it was that baseball bat down the dude's throat. Still can't shake that image out of my head. Bottom line, Identity is overrated. More crap for the masses trying to be all edgy. It's sad, but trust me, it's true. Can't wait to see Cusack take on 1408 though. He's still be alright in my book, if I actually had one.

  • June 20, 2007, 12:21 a.m. CST

    Quick and the Dead

    by aboriginal

    Crowe's already got my props for westerns, this is icing in the cake.

  • June 20, 2007, 12:30 a.m. CST

    I'm not saying Identity was a great movie, but it was

    by lost.rules

    good at least. Can't wait for 1408. 100%, for the moment, at Rotten Tomatoes right now.

  • June 20, 2007, 12:37 a.m. CST

    I'm not saying Identity was a great movie, but it was

    by vettebro

    Forgettable. That "twist" ending was just as good as the "St. Elsewhere" finale.

  • June 20, 2007, 12:45 a.m. CST

    the cinematography was VERY obtrusive!

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    half the shots out of focus. "Look, they're underlining the moral ambiguity in the film! Who is good and who is evil? It's fuzzy, just like the image on screen!" I really hope they fuzzied it up in post, because the movie is hard to watch because of that.

  • June 20, 2007, 1:03 a.m. CST




  • June 20, 2007, 1:17 a.m. CST


    by MaxTheSilent

    If you love TEN LITTLE INDIANS so much then I point you to MY dream film project; and adaptation of Charles L. Grant's novel RAVEN. A short, obscure book but one with extraordinary atmosphere and a sense of dread. An unheralded masterpiece of the 'siege' genre.

  • June 20, 2007, 1:31 a.m. CST

    I've always wanted to adapt "Andorra" by Peter Cameron

    by BadMrWonka

    problem is, the Andorra in the book isn't really like the real Andorra, and it would be expensive as hell to shoot...<p>maybe move it to like a little town in Mexico, that would be cheap...

  • June 20, 2007, 1:36 a.m. CST


    by The Dum Guy

    I am curious about what exactly the premise of your' script is? I'm not trying to pry, but I always have hoped that AICN followers would one day join the ranks of the Hollywood elite (or just the ones able to make movies).<br><br>Anyway, I was just wondering what fifty grand gets ya, without promise of production... And, once again, ConGrats.

  • June 20, 2007, 1:55 a.m. CST


    by BadMrWonka

    once the check is in my posession, then I'll consider it a done deal. LA seems to be a town where promises quite literally don't exist. plus, if the production company that has it in motion to purchase it, decides to make it on a REALLY small budget, then they don't have to pay me $50,000. but we'll see. because if they do decide to make it on the cheap, they probably won't change much, and there is a slight chance (let's say 3%) that they might let me direct it. that's if it has like a $200,000 budget I mean. but we'll is the synopsis, in brief, with plenty of SPOILERS! although, if this actually gets made, and you have been spoiled and are upset, I will buy you a steak dinner...and a fabrige egg...<p>the script is about a family in a small town, the father is out of the picture, and the mother is very religious, the son, Sean, is the main character. a man in their community who is known to be an abusive drunk towards his family goes too far and murders (accidentally) his wife, in front of his daughter. when he's given a comparably light sentence, and goes into alcohol treatment, it causes the boy's mother to comment on how it was not justice, and that the only justice would be for the man to be killed. eye for an eye, etc. the boy is confused and unguided, and he takes it upon himself to kill the man. he buys a gun from a friend and shoots the man outside his AA meeting.<p>after he does this, he flees the town and goes to live with a distant relative, all the while the town goes on functioning, with many people knowing or suspecting that Sean committed the crime, but no one really wanting to prosecute him, because many of them agree with his actions, and many jsut don't feel strongly enough about it to do anything. <p>eventually Sean comes hom, and he finds out that in the interim time (about a year), the daughter of the man he killed (who had gone to live with her grandmother, since deceased) had run away from her foster care and was missing. sean feels ravaged with guilt and decides he's going to go search for her, against his mother's wishes. he makes some inquiries about her whereabouts (on the way meeting a deputy who witnessed his crime, but has been helping his mother cover it up) and plans his trip. <p>on the night before he is to leave, the girl shows up at his house, with a gun, planning to kill Sean. she sees his bag packed, and his notes about her, and wakes him up to find out what his plans were. they end up talking, and eventually she calms down and decides not to kill him. they leave, and walk and talk (it's very early morning) and she forces him to go to the cemetary where her parents are buried, even though he doesn't want to, obviously.<p> the girl leaves, and Sean waits for a few minutes, then walks towards his house. on the way (it's now 7am or so) he walks by the police station, on the other side of the street. and he watches as the deputies are walking into the building, getting ready for the day. he steps off the curb and walks toward the station. and that's how it ends.<p>that's right, the Soprano's stole my ending...there's a subplot about Sean's little brother, much more with the mom, the deputy, the chief of police, sean's relatives that he stays with, etc. but anyway, that's the nickel tour...

  • June 20, 2007, 2:14 a.m. CST

    hmm... not bad, but it depends on the actors.

    by The Dum Guy

    I must say good ideas are most likely ruined by those that don't understand them.<br><br>I hope for your' sake that, you get what you invisioned promised.<br><br>As an aspiring film-maker (at this point I don't care what I end up doing in film, I just want to be involved in the process of making one good film). I haven't done anything of notice, but for you Wonka, you have done a great deal in your' road to success, and I congratulate you. Cheers, if you are drinking (Is it true most writers drink? It seems so.)

  • June 20, 2007, 2:49 a.m. CST

    Congrats Wonka...

    by CopOnTheEdge

    ...and I'd like to invite you to the best screenwriter community I've found on the web (and I've joined them all, most are lame and unprofessional, but this one's run by a pro and very serious). It's called The Writers' Building and it's located at There's tons of benefits and cost savings are huge. Love to see you, and any other serious screenwriters, on there!

  • June 20, 2007, 3:08 a.m. CST

    Badass Ben Foster is preferable

    by ImFixingtoDie

    I'll take him in HOSTAGE or ALPHA DOG over Angel anyday, though that was mostly Ratner's fault for just fucking the subplot.

  • June 20, 2007, 3:11 a.m. CST

    I like this James Mangold

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    Pretty good writer and director, I think. Someone up above said Girl, Interrupted was not good, but I liked that one a lot. Really good performances. Mind you, I'm a sucker for unstable women. Also, Heavy is a very good film.<p>Anyway, I'm looking forward to this one. I didn't used to like westerns, but they're growing on me. Good cast in this one, too.

  • June 20, 2007, 4:11 a.m. CST

    Looks excellent other than the fey kid

    by IndustryKiller!

    Christian Bale. Russell Crowe. Some gangly looking This looked like a battle royale between two of the best actors working and then they gotta go throw a kid into the mix. I typically love these sort of "act-offs" but when you dilute the pot with a kid you start to lose me. Did I miss the memo on bitchy kids being added to weigh down good actors? Cause it seems Mangold and Spielberg certainly didn't.

  • June 20, 2007, 4:22 a.m. CST


    by schnipple

    Hope they make a comeback! This looks decent, nothing groundbreaking. Mangold is becoming a competent director for the studios with their more solid features sans any vision. He is unobtrusive to the point of being bland at times. Much more excited by the Jesse James feature by the guy who did Chopper. What's the word on that?

  • June 20, 2007, 4:33 a.m. CST

    I loved the original movie

    by CuervoJones

    Please don´t remake The Man from Laramie!

  • June 20, 2007, 4:58 a.m. CST

    My dream project : Legacy of heorot

    by bioforge

    A damn good scifi/horror project with heart. One day ...

  • June 20, 2007, 6:53 a.m. CST


    by HeWhoCannotBeNamed

    Holy shit! Is there another Vachss lover on this site? Or is your name referencing something entirely different?

  • June 20, 2007, 6:55 a.m. CST

    Ten little indians?

    by DrFarben

    I have a paperback copy of that book from the fifties and that's not its original title, which was even more offensive.

  • June 20, 2007, 7:23 a.m. CST

    The original title was . . .

    by Nice Marmot

    Ten Height-Deprived Indians

  • June 20, 2007, 7:49 a.m. CST

    this sounds franklintastic!

    by just pillow talk

    A good ol' fashioned western faceoff with two quaility actors...I'm there!

  • June 20, 2007, 8:18 a.m. CST

    sounds like they nailed it

    by filmcoyote

    Reading this review it could have been written about the original just changing Crowe and Bale names to Glenn Ford and Van Heflin. Loved the original but absolutely think it could be done again now and this casting is superb. I adore Copland, which is essentially a western, and really liked Walk the Line. Hell, I was enjoying Identity until the last 20 minutes. Mangold, Crowe, Bale = I'm there.

  • June 20, 2007, 8:31 a.m. CST

    THEIRONGIANT is a sexy tomboy beanpole

    by Germster

    That is all.

  • June 20, 2007, 8:46 a.m. CST


    by MJAYACE

    Crowe in my opinion is the best and most charismatic prime actor working today. Was watching AFI's Al Pacino tribute last night and saw parts of Crowe's performance in the Insider reminded me why. Bale is also fantastic--I thought his work in the Machinist, Reign of Fire and even Batman were top notch. Hopes for this movie are high, especially since Westerns as a whole the last 20 years have been marginable (except Unforgiven, Tombstone and a few TNT specials!).

  • June 20, 2007, 8:53 a.m. CST

    Ten Little...

    by greyspecter

    ...Niggers was the original title, sad to say. Still a top five all time mystery-thriller. They actually made a movie (made-for-tv possibly?) of it which didn't really impess me. always thought that'd be a good one. One of my dream projects is The Forever King by Mary Cochran. Arthur legend with modern day setting and a twist.

  • June 20, 2007, 9:02 a.m. CST

    Sucker for Westerns

    by greyspecter

    at least, good ones. Has there ever been a genre with two great actors who are so identified with it as Eastwood and Wayne with westerns? Can't think of one. Those two starred in probably 19 of the 20 best ones. Tombstone, and maybe Quigley Down Under are the only exceptions. (Quigley Down Under! Alan Rickman! Tom Seleck!)

  • June 20, 2007, 10:12 a.m. CST

    I hated Walk the Line

    by Garbageman33

    I like Johnny Cash as much as the next guy, but from the moment 7-year-old Johnny said to his saintly brother (as hamfistedly as possible) "Why are you so good?" I knew I was gonna loathe it. Like the audience was so dumb, they wouldn't have figured out that Johnny's parents liked his brother better. I hate movies that pander to their audience. And that movie did a lot of pandering.

  • June 20, 2007, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Garbageman: I kind of agree, though I didnt hate it.

    by Barry Egan

    I thought Walk the Line told the worng Johnny Cash story. The film never gave you an sense of why Cash is such a huge presence in American music, why he is such an icon (by the way, the word "icon" gets thrown around a lot but in the case of Johnny Cash it fits). Instead, Mangold chose to tell the story of Cash's relationship with June Carter, which is fine but not he movie I wanted to see.

  • June 20, 2007, 12:50 p.m. CST


    by Pastehead

    I think Mangold's first film, HEAVY, is still his best. Can't wait to see 3:10 TO YUMA. Never saw the original adaptation, but I did read the original short story by Elmore Leonard, which is fantastic.

  • June 20, 2007, 1:47 p.m. CST

    The problem with most biopics

    by Garbageman33

    Is that they try to cover too much ground. That's why I liked Capote so much. It focused on a single, pivotal time in Capote's life.

  • June 20, 2007, 3:28 p.m. CST

    couple of things

    by Bloo

    This looks great, I love Elmore Leonard's western's and really wish more of them would be adapted. A buddy of mine was an English teacher(now a principal) and he didn't relieze that Elmore Leonard had written anything but crime novels. I'd just really like to see more Leonard western's get adapted.

  • June 20, 2007, 3:31 p.m. CST


    by Bloo

    another recent great western was the one with Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall, can't remember the name off the top of my head but it was really good as well. I also thought All The Pretty Horses was decent. Don't know if you would classify it as a "western" per se, but definatly had elements of the western and thought it was great

  • June 20, 2007, 3:32 p.m. CST

    really? he can kill me with a smile?

    by the_man_from_Rio

    must be one of those "i got paid 5 million bucks for this movie" smiles.

  • June 20, 2007, 3:41 p.m. CST

    BadMrWonka your script actually sounds good

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    I might watch that.

  • June 20, 2007, 10:51 p.m. CST

    i hope

    by steelerman

    its as good as the original, which was awesome

  • June 20, 2007, 11:29 p.m. CST


    by BadMrWonka

    thank you sir. if you live in LA, I'll get you a cameo!<p>The Dum Guy gets a speaking role as a mini-mart cashier, cos he asked about the script first...;o)

  • June 24, 2007, 10:37 a.m. CST

    I strongly reccomend seeung the original.

    by kikuchiyoboy

    It's a nice tight little western.