Movies at Home: Kurt Russell double-feature on Amazon Prime

March 17 is obviously St. Patrick’s Day, but with COVID-19 shutting down bars and restaurants in many locales around the U.S., our Irish celebrations will probably be muted this year.  Don’t be sad, it’s still St. Patty’s Day, and it’s also Kurt Russell’s birthday!  It’s true.  The man known as Snake, Rudy Russo, MacReady, and Star-Lord’s Dad turns 69 years young!

While you’re busting out the green beer in the comfort of your living rooms, why not turn to Amazon Prime and guzzle down two memorable Kurt Russell films.

“Bone Tomahawk” (2015) – Russell’s most famous cowboy-performance is Wyatt Earp in 1993’s “Tombstone”, but his best work within the genre is in writer/director S. Craig Zahler’s “Bone Tomahawk”.  Sheriff Hunt (Russell) leads a group of three other men (Patrick Wilson, Richard Jenkins and Matthew Fox) on a long, treacherous journey from their town of Bright Hope to a frightening community of cannibalistic cave dwellers.  Really?  Yes.  Now, most of the film embraces the pureness of  American westerns with saloon drinks and cowboy talk, but the last 30 minutes delve into gruesome horror that will be etched in our brains for eternity.  Don’t say that you were not warned!  On the other hand, Russell’s machismo persona nicely gels with the other three leads, as their verbal jousting and friendly banter will absolutely bring a smile to anyone who loves westerns.   A hidden gem.  (3.5/4 stars) 

“Breakdown” (1997) – Jeff and Amy Taylor (Russell and Kathleen Quinlan) are driving cross-country from the east coast to California, but they suddenly breakdown in the middle of the desert.  Luckily, a friendly truck driver (J.T. Walsh) stops to help out, and Amy hops in his rig to garner some help.  The problem?  Amy disappears!  Director Jonathan Mostow sets desperate tones – in the hot, lonely American frontier – early in the first act and doesn’t let go until the very end.  “Breakdown” feels like the Dutch/French slow burn “The Vanishing” (1988) but add American machismo and some wild thriller connections.  Russell is terrific as a panicked, determined husband with a new singular focus, and Walsh does what he does best: play a total creep.  Well, if you are looking for an entertaining thriller, don’t stall.  Check out “Breakdown”.  (3/4 stars) 

Image credits:  Paramount Pictures and RLJ Entertainment; Trailer credits: YouTube Movies and KinoCheck International

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