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Quote:Building tracks in the movie bizDanielle HatchCUE CARDThursday, September 13, 2007When Matthew Hacker started his own business building and repairing railroad tracks, he never thought he'd be lending his skills for the creation of a movie set. But just before Thanksgiving 2006, the owner of H&H Trackworks Inc. in Bartonville found himself in Santa Fe, New Mexico, hammering away on 1,600 feet of railroad tracks that were part of the set of "3:10 to Yuma," a Western that stars Russell Crowe and Christian Bale and is currently playing in theaters.The film's producers contacted Ed Landreth, a retired railroad engineer and consultant in Albuquerque, about finding a company to construct the track. But they gave very little notice to get the work done, so Landreth scrambled to find a taker, calling around to different engineers he has worked with throughout decades in the business. One of those phone calls was to Tom Mendenhall, an engineer at H&H. Mendenhall called his boss to relay the offer. Hacker, who lives in Lacon, was sitting in a restaurant in Henry when he got the call. Mendenhall told him they had a movie set to build, if they could get out to Santa Fe to construct it.Hacker's reaction?"I thought it was bull (expletive)," Hacker said. But the engineer assured him it wasn't a joke, and asked how much he'd charge to build 1,600 feet of track."I said (for) $40,000, I'll load up my stuff tonight and head that way," Hacker said. "Well, the next morning I had a $40,000 check overnighted to the shop."Hacker packed up his wife, who sometimes travels with him when he goes on trips, and four employees. The crew drove 21 hours, with trucks and trailers full of tools. The movie's producers provided the heavy machinery. "H&H really came through for the movie producers," Landreth said by telephone from Albuquerque. "I don't think they recognize how lucky they were to get a reputable business on such short notice. ... I was flabbergasted when (H&H) sent a crew out." It took the crew four days to build the tracks in weather that wasn't exactly balmy. "It was windy and very, very cold," Hacker said, with temperatures around 20 degrees and a windchill of below zero. There were hundreds of builders there constructing the set, and it was so cold they had to delay painting the buildings. But it appears that all the hard work paid off. The Lionsgate film, a remake of the 1957 classic, is about a down-and-out rancher (Bale) who agrees to help escort a notorious outlaw (Crowe) to the train station, where he'll be transported to court in Yuma, Ariz. The movie, directed by James Mangold, is the highest-grossing film at the box office right now, lassoing in $14.1 million in its first week of release. There's already been talk of the film's creators riding off into the sunset with an Oscar in tow.Hacker said he didn't earn any more pay for the railroad tracks on the movie set than he would have for a job anywhere in central Illinois. And H&H isn't even listed in the film credits. But the experience could lead to more opportunities for the company, which Hacker decided to start in January of 2006 after encouragement from his father-in-law. Hacker already has been asked if he would be interested in adding another 1,600 feet to the existing track for an upcoming film. But for now, it's pretty much business as usual for Hacker, who spoke to the Journal Star by telephone from a job in Watonga, Okla., where he was repairing railroad tracks after rain damage. In fact, he's been so busy that he hasn't had a chance yet to see the film, which opened Sept. 7. He said as soon as he gets back into town, he's going to take his wife to the theater and see how it turned out. "It would be exciting if we do another one for a movie set," Hacker said. "But if we get to do it, we get to do it. If we don't, I'm not going to lose any sleep, either."
Sep 13 07 9:36 AM
Quote:Oozing with grit and testosterone, 3:10 To Yuma is muscling its way onto the big screen and deserves to chisel its way into your conscience too.This fabulous remake of the 1957 Glenn Ford Western focuses on the plight of Civil War veteran Dan Evans (Christian Bale) in late 19th Century Arizona as he strives to ensure his family still have a roof over their heads and meals on their plates. This is a tricky proposition after much of their ranch is desecrated by the legalised hoodlums in search of money.In a bid to earn some cash, Evans volunteers to help transport the captured outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) towards the train that will take the merciless gunslinger to his trial. But Wade and his roaming gang have other ideas At the forefront of the movie are two dazzling performances from Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, with initially contrasting representations of masculinity that are ultimately closer than one originally suspects. Whilst Westerns are renowned for letting the guns of the protagonists do the real talking, 3:10 To Yuma wisely dwells upon their underlying psychologies and director James Mangold wonderfully captures the fears and torment that lurk in their eyes. Dont think that this film is a talky picture though, as theres plenty of violent action sequences to enjoy.Bales ignored war hero Evans is very much the audience's identification figure as he desperately ploughs on with his dangerous mission. (.....)his willingness to sacrifice himself for his family all mean that we have a vested interest in his fate. An underlying hint of impotence also gives the character an extra dimension when placed alongside the overtly virile nemesis.On the flipside, Crowe is full of manly prowess and charisma, with the power to make those around him succumb to his will. (...) his villainous turn thankfully doesnt descend into one-dimensional caricature territory.The real thrill of the film lies in watching these two men, sat on various sides of the moral fence, gradually converge and respect each other. ...The final act of the film firmly propels it into the realms of modern classic. Without going into detail and spoiling the end, it is thoroughly satisfying in terms of witnessing the culmination of genuine and surprising character development throughout the narrative. It also carries the weight of real emotional impact.3:10 To Yuma delivers an absorbing mix of strong storytelling, exhilarating action sequences and powerful performances. So just make sure you hose (his typo, I assume he means horse, LOL) down your Stetsons and gunsling your hook down to the nearest cinema to catch this masterpiece of brooding masculinity.
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Quote:red and green with a white bunny
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The Captain's Sweet One
Quote:THEATER COUNTS > 2007 > Week #37 September 14Updated Thursday afternoons Rank LW Title Distributor Theater Count / Change Week # 1 1 Halloween (2007) MGM (Weinstein) 3,051 -424 3 2 4 Superbad Sony / Columbia 2,910 -159 5 3 2 Balls of Fury Rogue Pictures 2,758 -323 3 4 - The Brave One Warner Bros. 2,755 - 1 5 6 3:10 to Yuma (2007) Lionsgate 2,667 +15 2 6 3 The Bourne Ultimatum Universal 2,610 -400 7
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