«Wow! Really Amazing!
Awsome the music
Awsome the cinematography
Awsome the editing
And best of all...the voice! The girl was really intense...
Very good work, look forward to your next movie ;-)»
Shadows of the West
«Wow! Really Amazing!
«This was flat out brilliant. Great sound engineering, great editing, great acting and camera work, just brilliant!
The only "flaw", if you could call it that, was using the music box sound from "For a Few Dollars More". I kept hearing "Aim for the heart, Ramon" in my head when that was playing.
Of course, I hear all sorts of things in my head all the time, so maybe that was just me
I'm been too busy to watch many films lately and finally found time to get caught up, and wow. What a great way to start the weekend.»
«Wow Ben, I applaude you for the amazing work on this movie. The script was great and filled with emotion, I loved the plot, and the dialogue was flawless. The acting performances really helped bringing the character and script to life, some brilliant ones indeed. As allways, the directing was excellent, you really created an atmosphere that fit the story. I really loved this movie Ben, and again I'm really sorry for not being at the premiere. I sincerely think this is one of the best westerns I've ever seen on tmu/tmo.
★★★★★ - 5 Stars
«my second western to watch to day - and i just come to a realization that The Movies have some really good western sets. Also liked how you setup the lighting/contrast - removed that flat' look i often see in TheMovies -
enjoyed the story, ditto on voice imbalance,
especially liked K4's transition from cold blooded killer to a scared wounded one»
«After 2 years, it's finally here. Everything that needs to be said has pretty much been already covered by folks in their reviews. The look of the film looked so crisp along with the set dressing which I really admired, especially the lake and the shrubbery around it. The music fit perfectly. You can't beat a bit of Burwell and Morricone
As said, I do think some of the VOs were a bit quiet, especially my own. But apart from that, there was some great work from Ellie, Mac and Snow. K4 stole the show for me personally. Such a menacing character; he's always good in these types of roles. Mike took his role over well from the last VA and Blaze did well in his cameo.
Overall; this was a wonderful western that I really enjoyed!
★★★★★ - 5 Stars»
«Review part 1 of 2
By far your best work Ben, when we worked on the script two years ago I never once imagined the film would turn out as good as this. Aside from myself, the casting of the lead characters was superb, Ellie gave us an incredible performance as Katherine that was both tough and defiant yet sensitive and touching. If ever there was a time a VA was made for a part this was it. K4 played a brilliantly cold, menacing General Fox and Snowfender perfectly captured the sense of innocence inherent in what could easily have been a very hard, one-dimensional character. Mike was also brilliant as he was not only a brilliant replacement for John, but probably performed the role even better than the original actor himself. Blaze's brief appearances were also superbly menacing as always.
However, having said that, I felt some of the supporting cast cheapened the film a little bit through a combination of poor acting by some, poor recording quality by others, and at times there were also little accent slip-ups (there seemed to be more Brits than Americans in the cast weirdly enough - and I know I made a few mistakes with my accent ). It wouldn't be a big thing if it was just one character but there were actually a few dodgy ones which probably should have been redone or recast in all honesty - it kinda takes away from the authenticity and seriousness of the piece when you're constantly either straining to hear dialogue or trying to suspend your disbelief due to poor acting or accents.
Anyway, moving on...
I think your camerawork was for the most part absolutely superb.
The chase and insanity scene and the final showdown were beautifully shot, and some of the little touches like the foreshadowing of the noose in front of Zach and Katherine were really nice, refreshing to see in a TMU movie.
However, there were other times where I felt you lingered a little long on a single shot or repeated the same shot too much during a single conversation. I also felt in general there were too many mid-shots and not enough close-ups or establishing shots (but that might just be personal preference. I think it just needed a little more variation overall, but technically what you did was superb. All I'd say is watch out for little glitches (eg. sometimes we could see abrupt colour/texture changes on the ground, which looked a little strange and distracting, especially in the showdown scene with the tree).
The modding was terrific and really gave the film an originality which wasn't there in Phantom of the West. The vibrant skies were a great reflection of Katherine's passionate and changeable nature and overall I really liked the little tidbits of symbolism you added in, such as the green-edged desert sets and the little patch of green under the tree at the end, symbolising Katherine finding peace within herself. The tear mod was also a great touch and added a lot of emotion to that scene. Not to mention the excellent modding and set dressing involved with the lake Anne was looking at. The town was also very well done, great building mods which gave the setting a much grittier and more worn, desolate feel compared to the standard TM western set.
«Review part 2 of 2
The sound design was for the most part absolutely outstanding. It's clear a lot of effort went into it and it definitely paid off. The horse effects were superb. I also loved the creaking of the floors and ceilings at the beginning and the attention to detail with the wind rushing in whenever somebody opened a door was incredible. Having said that, there were times where I felt things were too quiet, in particular a lot of the scenes involving John and Anthony. Those scenes felt a little unfinished sometimes as far as the sound was concerned. Overall though the sound was both deep and intricate, and really helped to fully immerse the viewer into the gritty and dark western setting.
As far as editing was concerned, I really liked some of the effects you used. The blood was a joy to behold and the fast cuts at dramatic moments really helped add tension and ensured the story never got boring. However, regarding the fade transitions I agree with Biz for the most part. Sometimes they were a little jarring and seemed misplaced, or sometimes the fade was perhaps faster than it should have been and made the transition seem a little abrupt. Mostly you took your time and let the drama soak in but that meant that the few times you did cut a little quickly it made it seem like the pacing was rushed. Overall, great editing.
Now, the best part of the film, the music. I felt your musical choices were absolutely flawless and perfectly captured the dark, tragic feel of the film. There wasn't a single track that seemed out of place and instead of drawing attention to themselves and perhaps overdramatising the scenes like in Phantom, each track here was perfectly suited to each scene and added so much without becoming overbearing or intrusive, it was like the soundtrack was made for this film. I can tell you put a lot of time and effort into choosing the music and it definitely paid off.
I won't comment much on the writing since I was involved with that side of things but I do want to mention one or two things I might have changed in retrospect.
Lines such as "What did she even do?" and "I've seen a lot of people go insane from it" didn't really fit the overall mood of the film, making them seem out of place. In fact, I found those two in particular pretty comical hearing them back. Overall though I think the dialogue and stuff sounded really good.
Overall, I think this was a superb tragic western that was both original and incredibly emotional. The combination of great music, mods and acting made it a very deep and moving film which is a definite favourite for me. I am sure it will be up for several Ollies this year and deservedly so. Not many stick it out for two years and complete a movie after so long but I am so glad you were such a perfectionist about it and kept reshooting until you got it right, the effort really shows. Was a pleasure to be a part of this project and am looking forward to seeing where you go from this
***** - 5 stars
«The cinematography, post production work and the set design are all wonderfull. Great job modding out the movies and enhancing the tools you have to work with. Youve managed to create a unique and distinctive world to set you characters in. However the story failed to grab me as a stand alone feature and the editing seemed a bit jerky at times (I always see fades as a passing of time which was not necessarily the case here and many of transitions seemed a bit harsh). I thought the VOs were on the tinny quiet side and too often had to fight with the score to be heard.
Cant wait to see where you go next with all this blender experience and and your impressive movie making skills. »
«A brilliant expansion on the tragic story of "the Phantom of the West". This has to be your strongest film on both a technical and storytelling standpoint.
The script is excellent, going into more detail of Kate's experiences as an outlaw. You and Mac created a thrilling and dramatic tale that very easily could have been plodding and uninteresting, as we already know Katherine's fate.
The script is written in a way that breathes new life and offers new insight into the story of "Phantom", not only making for a great prequal, but adding a whole new layer of complexity to the plot and characters to the original.
The film is nearly impeccable on a technical level, and I had to remind myself that I was watching a film made with "The Movies". I do have a few minor complaints, however.
Your VA's were very hard to hear, which wasn't a huge deal, as the soldier says little in the film, but it was a bit annoying nonetheless.
Also, in the original film, Kate implies that Zach was killed over a land dispute, however this is changed in the film. Again, not a huge deal, but it's inconsistent with the original film.
Despite these minor complaints, this was a brilliant film on all levels, and a contender for the best western on TMU, IMO. Excellent work, here, and I hope to see more from you.
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