A Million Ways to Die in the West

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I don’t know Seth MacFarlane. I’ve never seen Family Guy, or Ted, or his apparently squirmy presentation at the Oscars. I’ve never seen him interviewed or read an opinion piece on him. So I came to A Million Ways to Die in the West with no expectations whatsoever. Which was a good thing, I think. The movie’s basically a 90 minute running gag about the sheer awfulness of life in the Wild West where life is nasty, brutish and short (who said that?)

MacFarlane plays a cowardly sheep farmer who runs up against Liam Neeson, the nastiest man on the frontier. Charlize Theron is Anna who has to teach him to shoot. Charlize – who’s got a bit of a reputation for ill-humour, this side of the pond – is the biggest surprise here; her good-natured banter is perfectly timed, and the growing friendship with Seth is totally winning – their chemistry is actually delightful. Aside from that, the humour is expectedly coarse and smutty, and the western movie sets in and around Santa Fe look like studio sets, but whatever. It’s not Jane Austen, but if you can set aside your preconceived prejudices about moon faced Seth, it’s a fun way to pass an evening.

In Time

In In Time, Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried are given a single metaphorical conceit – time is money – and asked to streeeeeeeeeetch it out into an entire 90 minute movie….

The results are not entirely unpleasing or unsuccessful – it’s got dashing Matt Bomer for a bit at the beginning, so how could it not be? And some of the social implications of such a dystopian society are nicely done. But basically, Justy and Mands really get to run about a lot like a chemistry-less Bonnie and Clyde, robbing banks and dodging both the law and fellow criminals. Meh, I thought.

Mostly because I found it very very difficult to suspend disbelief. I was continually distracted by whether the movie’s universe is futuristic or alternative, or whether people would ever be stupid enough to ever actually replace money with time, and at what point the ditching of dollars for youth took place. Of course, I don’t think anyone would willingly give up control over their lives in this simplistic way – but then I wouldn’t have thought people would accept the concept of monarchy and eternal second class citizenship in 2012 either, and if this week in Blighty is anything to go by, apparently they do. In Time filmed in and around downtown LA, and I’m reminded I need to re-watch this film once I’ve stayed there during LTS later this month.