Saturday, March 23, 2019

Miscellaneous Films

There are some movies filmed in the general area of Albuquerque that feature just a few, if any, filming locations that I could easily identify. Here are those films:

Last updated: August 18, 2019

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Ace in the Hole (1951)

AKA: The Big Carnival, Thirty, The Human Interest Story (working title). Drama involving newspaperman Kirk Douglas using the story of a man trapped within the cave-in of some Indian ruins to regain his career. Directed by Billy Wilder. Filming locations in Albuquerque, Laguna Pueblo, and landscapes around New Mexico, with bulk of film shot near Gallup.

From the link above, the Albuquerque Sun-Bulletin is shown to actually located at Pacific Avenue & Market Street, Los Angeles, California, United States

Minosa’s Indian Curios / The cliff
The old U.S. 66 (near the border leading to Arizona), near Gallup, NM, at about (35.398341°, -109.019957°)

Chuck drives to the church. San Jose Mission, Laguna, New Mexico, United States

I could not establish any locations in the Albuquerque area.

American Drug War: The Last White Hope (2007)

Gary Johnson interview site looks like it's near the base of the tram, but apart from that, Albuquerque-area locations are hard to determine.

Army of the Dead (2008)

Most locations I wasn't able to determine: the Cave, the Cliffs, the Old Radio Tower. The movie spends much of its time at the end of Rio Rancho, in the area where the 2004 movie "Dreamland" was filmed. I knew this area in high school. Nothing makes me sadder than seeing these beautiful lands getting ripped up by vehicles, and that's what they spend much of the movie doing.

Three sites seemed determinable: Unser Blvd. NE, Rio Rancho (35.356896°, -106.665854°); Near Dreamland Area - Guesstimate (35.242141°, -106.863067°); Overlook (35.245667°, -106.870925°).

Beyond the Blackboard (2011)

AKA: Let Them Shine. Hallmark Hall of Fame drama based upon a true story and the book Nobody Don't Love Nobody by Stacey Bess. A young teacher learns to teach homeless children with meager resources. Starring Emily VanCamp, Steve Talley, Treat Williams, Colin Baiocchi, Luce Rains, Isabella Acres, Lora Cunningham, and Judy Herrera. Filmed around Albuquerque.

Filmed in Albuquerque - set in Salt Lake City. Views of Salt Lake City used.

Could not determine location of Home. School offices might be the former school on 7th St. used in other movies, but uncertain. Recognized locations: Railyards, Roosevelt Park, and Gibson Hospital.

Big Sky (2015)

Drama thriller. An agoraphobic traveling to a desert treatment center must address her condition to fight off assailants. Starring Kyra Sedgwick, Bella Thorne, Frank Grillo, Aaron Tveit, Francois Arnaud, and Ricky Tollman. Filming locations: Albuquerque, Placitas, and Zia Pueblo.

Very unusual film. I had real troubles finding filming locations. It's clear my understanding of the Placitas area is sadly lacking. The only location I felt strongly enough about was the Fork in the Road, out on Pajarito Mesa (34.997542°, -106.859882°).

The Book of Eli (2010)

Post-apocalyptic film about a drifter (Denzel Washington) making his way across the country through harsh and hostile conditions to protect a sacred book. Also starring Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson and Jennifer Beals. Filming locations: Alamogordo, Albuquerque, Carrizozo, Cochiti Pueblo, Elephant Butte Dam, Santa Fe (State Penitentiary), Santo Domingo Pueblo, White Sands.

Interesting and compelling film, apparently filmed mostly near Carrizozo, but I did not recognize any Albuquerque-area filming locations.

Buffalo Girls (1995)

This TV Mini-Series featured scenes filmed in New Mexico, and also in England. I didn't watch it in detail, but it is clear from the horizon that it was filmed at the Cerro Pelon Ranch.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

Science Fiction Action Western. Starring: Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Harrison Ford, Noah Ringer, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Ana de la Reguera, Clancy Brown, and Keith Carradine. Filming locations: Abiquiu Lake (Abiquiu), Bonanza Creek Ranch, Diablo Canyon (Santa Fe), Ghost Ranch (Abiquiu), Plaza Blanca (Abiquiu), San Cristobal Ranch (Galisteo), Santa Ana Pueblo, Zia Pueblo.

I recognized very little from this movie (just too far outside my zone). Pedernal, Pinnacles (maybe just west of Ghost Ranch), Ghost Ranch area, Abiquiu Lake, and the Bonanza Creek Ranch.

Dark Country (2007 production, 2009 release)

Thriller about a couple whose honeymoon trip turns hellish after they find a body along the road. Starring Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman, Lauren German, Chris Browning, Con Schell, Rene Mousseux, Aynn Kirby, Jonathan Lund, Nikki Kelly. Filming locations: Albuquerque, Cerrillos, Cochiti Pueblo (Cochiti Lake), Rio Rancho, Santa Ana Pueblo, Santo Domingo Pueblo, Zia Pueblo

The Big Chief Trading Post near Zia Pueblo is easily-recognized in the film. There is a momentary appearance of a square underpass (maybe University Blvd. SE at Los Picaros Rd., in Tijeras Arroyo), and the police chase in the wash looks like it could be in Tijeras Arroyo (the dimensions are about right), but no specific determinations can be determined from the screen alone. The rest area - I don't know where that is.

Big Chief Trading Post, NM State Highway 44, just east of the main turnoff to Zia Pueblo. (35.494607ø, -106.728325ø)

Big Chief Trading Post, NM State Highway 44, just east of the main turnoff to Zia Pueblo.

Disaster Movie (2008)

Despite imdb's say-so, there is no sign that any scenes in the movie were filmed in Albuquerque. The movie seems to have been filmed instead in Louisiana.

The Dry Land (2010)

Drama. A returned soldier struggles with PTSD. Set in Texas with some filming there; NM locations include Albuquerque, Edgewood, Moriarty, Stanley, and Tijeras. Starring America Ferrera, Ethan Suplee, Wilmer Valderrama, Melissa Leo, Jason Ritter, June Diane Raphael, Ana Claudia Talancón, Benito Martinez, Evan Jones.

I recognize Edgewood as a primary filming location (mobile home scenes), and the Tijeras Canyon driving scene, but I don't recognize any specific place. The few urban locations in the movie do not look like Albuquerque(!) I am not familiar enough with Moriarty or Stanley to recognize them.

Due Date (2010)

Unlikely-buddy road comedy about a man who hitchhikes across the country to be present when his child is born. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Jamie Fox, Alan Arkin, Juliette Lewis, Danny McBride, Michelle Monaghan, Matt Walsh, Rhonda Griffis, RZA, James Martin Kelly, Joseph Harold, Jon Gould, Paul Reneteria, Robert Anthony Brass, Cesar Aguirre, Jeremy Ambler, Tymberlee Hill, Barry Hopkins, John Macho, Jeanette Stout, Mimi Kennedy. Filmed across the country. New Mexico filming locations: lbuquerque, Albuquerque Studios, Las Cruces, Las Vegas, Santa Fe.

Several NM filming locations along freeways seem to be in this movie, but I couldn't make any identifications.

Felon (2008)

Prison drama; a family man endures time in jail after killing an intruder in his home. Starring Val Kilmer, Stephen Dorff, Harold Perrineau, Sam Shepard, Nick Chinlund, Marisol Nichols, and Anne Archer. Filming locations: Old Main Penitentiary Set (Santa Fe), Rio Rancho, Santa Fe.

The only location I could clearly identify was that of the State Penitentiary in Santa Fe.

Gambit (2012)

Comedy crime caper. An art expert enlists a rodeo queen to help him sell a fake Monet to embarrass his boss. Starring Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci, Colin Firth, Cloris Leachman, Anna Skellern, and Tom Courtenay. Filmed in the UK and New Mexico. New Mexico filming locations: Albuquerque, Bingham (driving scene), Galisteo, Laguna Pueblo, Los Lunas, Rio Rancho.

I recognized two sites: Gas Station - Maybelle's Diner (from a 1992 movie), aka Wild Horse Mesa Bar, plus the Bar (Wild Pony).

Three sites remain unclear: Rodeo, Office, and Trailer - To'hajiilee?

Wild Pony Bar, 4555 Highway 314 SW, Los Lunas, NM 87031.

Ghosts of Mars (2001)

AKA: John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars. Science fiction / horror film involving a mining town on Mars besieged by people possessed by ancient Martian spirits. Production offices and interior studios were in Rio Rancho, with the bulk of the filming at a set on Zia Pueblo land at the gypsum mine south of San Ysidro. The production involved spraying 40 acres of the open-pit mine with a vegetable-based red dye to simulate the red sands and rocks of Mars; the built set was largely destroyed by explosions for the final scenes of the film. Stars Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Clea Duvall, Jason Statham, Joanna Cassidy, and Pam Grier.

Given the fantastical nature of the set, I couldn't confirm any filming locations, even the legendary gypsum mine site.

The Glass Castle (2017)

Biographical Family Drama, based upon the book by Jeanette Walls. Starring Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watt. Filming locations: To'hajiillee and Laguna Pueblo tribal lands.

One site is clear: Title - Road into To'hajiilee - (35.008121°, -107.097653°), but the Turnoff is unresolved, as well as: Fake Joshua Trees at To'hajiilee! - Mesa - Getting The Demon

In a Valley of Violence (2015)

Western starring Ethan Hawke, John Travolta and Taisa Farmiga. Filming locations: Albuquerque, Galisteo, Jemez Springs, Placitas, Santa Fe.

Cerro Pelon Ranch appears to be the town of Denton. Father's Ranch is in the Valle Grande Caldera (35.838944°, -106.494335°)

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

Sequel to Independence Day; the alien invaders return. Starring Liam Hemsworth, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch. Scenes filmed around Albuquerque.

Apart from a background displaying the Sandia and Manzano Mountains, I couldn't identify any Albuquerque-area filming locations.

The Lone Ranger (2013)

Starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp. Shot on locations around New Mexico including Abiquiu, Albuquerque, Angel Fire, Cimarron Canyon State Park, Flying Horse Ranch near Eagle Nest, the Gilman Tunnels, Pajarito Ski Area, Saddleback Ranch near Lamy, San Cristobal Ranch near Galisteo, Santa Clara Pueblo, Shiprock, Ute Creek Ranch near Ute Park, and the Valles Caldera.

The only sites I could easily identify in this movie were associated with Shiprock: On the Hogback - very approximate location ( 36.669584°, -108.835559°). Also, it's possible to identify locations adjacent to the Hogback.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)

Science fiction thriller; part of the Maze Runner series. Starring Dylan O'Brien, Ki Hong Lee and Kaya Scodelario. Filming locations around Albuquerque.

I recognize the Rail Yards and the Gilman Tunnels. I do not recognize the camp site. Apart from those locations, I do not recognize the many industrial-looking interiors.

The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)

Comedic/absurdist film about a parapsychology branch of the military, based on the book of the same name by Jon Ronson. Starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Robert Patrick. Filming locations: Albuquerque, Roswell (New Mexico Military Institute), White Sands, Willard, Zia Pueblo.

I couldn't identify any Albuquerque-area filming locations.

The Resident (2011)

AKA: Invasion of Privacy. Thriller. A young woman has an uneasy relationship with her new landlord. Starring Hilary Swank, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lee Pace, Christopher Lee. Filmed in Albuquerque.

I scanned this film, but no locations external to the studio in the Albuquerque area.

The Righteous and the Wicked (2011)

Western about strife within a gang of outlaws. Starring Craig Myers, Justin Tade, Jeremy Owen, Billy Garberina, Phil Duran, Alexander Thorne, A.J. Rome. Filming locations: Albuquerque, Bonanza Creek Movie Ranch, Makarios Ranch (Cerrillos).

I seemed to recognize Bonanza Creek Movie Ranch. Beyond that, not much.

The Spirit (2008)

Action Drama, based upon the comic book series by Will Eisner. Dark fantasy about a detective returned from the dead to right wrongs. Starring Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendes, Paz Vega, Jaime King, Gabriel Macht, Sarah Paulson, Stana Katic. Filmed entirely at Albuquerque Studios, with computer-generated scenery.

There are no identifiable locations in this film.

Transformers: The Movie (2007)

Science Fiction Action. Live-action adaptation of the toy franchise about alien robots bringing their war to Earth. Starring Josh Duhamel, Michael Clarke Duncan, Kevin Dunn, Megan Fox, Tyrese Gibson, Shia LaBeouf, Bernie Mac, Amaury Nolasco, John Robinson. NM filming locations: Alamogordo, Holloman AFB (Alamogordo), Albuquerque, Kirtland AFB, (Albuquerque), La Luz, Shiprock, Very Large Array National Radio Astronomy Observatory, White Sands Missile Range.

In my quick scan, I noted the Rail Yards, but no other Albuquerque sites (despite the references above to Kirtland AFB, La Luz, and even the VLA). Shiprock and White Sands are noted, though.

Twelve Strong (2015)

AKA: Horse Soldiers. War drama, based on the book by Doug Stanton. A CIA team works in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Elsa Pataky, Michael Shannon. Filming locations: Alamogordo, Albuquerque, Orogrande, Socorro.

Portions of this film were filmed in the Socorro area, and I was hoping to tease them out, but have not succeeded as yet.

21 Grams (2003)

Crime Drama. An accident brings together a group of very different people. Starring Sean Penn, Benicio Del Torro, Naomi Watts, Clea DuVall, Danny Huston, Marc Musso, David Chattam. Filming locations: Albuquerque, Grants, Milan, Moriarty, Zia Pueblo.

This movie contains a real odd mix of Memphis, TN, filming locations, together with New Mexico filming locations. In the synopsis and link above, I can confirm the Leisure Lodge address, and the Earnestine's location, located directly across from the El Rey Theater in Albuquerque, but I didn't see the Milan, NM, police station in my scan, and can't confirm the Zia Pueblo scrub site, nor the NM Industrial zone location.

Leisure Lodge, 1204 E Santa Fe Ave, Grants, NM 87020
Earnestine's, Setup up directly across from El Rey Theater

Two Guns (2013)

AKA: 2 Guns. DEA agent Bobby Trench and U.S. naval intelligence officer Marcus Stigman are working undercover for a narcotics business. After a distorted attempt to infiltrate the drug cartel, they soon learn the secret of their dubious affiliation. Starring Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, and Fred Ward. Filming locations in Abiquiu, Albuquerque, Estancia, Rio Rancho, San Cristobal Ranch (Galisteo), Santa Fe, Zia Pueblo.

Many scenes in this movie were filmed in the New Orleans area. For example, the Aloha Motel is located at 3300 Airline Dr., Metairie, LA (Room 42). A number of scenes were filmed in New Mexico, but the scenes frustrated my initial efforts to determine their locations. The only two scenes I could clearly determine were:

Border crossing - Lead Avenue Overpass - (35.080926°, -106.647291°)
Sandia Casino, near (35.203986°, -106.567818°)

I have vague ideas about some of the other scenes:

Road heading west, somewhere on south side of Estancia
Mesa.... Looks like Abiquiu country
Rio Rancho back country?
NM chase - MAYBE Zia Pueblo, or Abiquiu, west of Cerrito Blanco
Power lines - Zia Pueblo area? Resembles areas west of Cochiti and Santo Domingo, but are there power lines back there?

Two Men in Town (2018)

AKA: Bill's Law, Enemy Way. Drama. An ex-con who found Allah while in prison buddies with his parole officer. Starring Forest Whitaker, Harvey Keitel, Luis Guzmán, Ellen Burstyn, Brenda Blethyn, Tim Guinee, Matthew Page, and Sarah Minnich. Filming locations: Albuquerque, Belen, Columbus, Deming (Workforce Solutions), Las Cruces (Southern Correction Facility), Los Lunas, Sand Dunes Rest Areas (near Lemitar), Spring Canyon Park (Rockhound State Park).

I had trouble with these filming locations. Several locations in Belen are just out of reach. The only location I successfully determined was:

Gathering for returning Afghan veteran, 842 Desi Loop, Belen, NM (34.646338°, -106.806449°)

Woman Walks Ahead (2016)

Historical Drama Biography. In the 1890s a female artist travels from Brooklyn to the Dakotas to paint a portrait of Sitting Bull. Starring Michael Greyeyes, Sam Rockwell, Ciaran Hinds, Chaske Spencer, Bill Camp and Jessica Chastain. Filming in Albuquerque, Pecos, and Santa Fe.

I didn't review this movie very carefully, but can tell they filmed at Cerro Pelon Ranch.

Year One (2009)

Adventure/comedy about hapless tribesmen in Biblical times who end up in the city of Sodom. Starring Jack Black, Michael Cera, Olivia Wilde, June Diane Raphael, David Cross, Juno Temple, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Garbriel Sunday, and Vinnie Jones. Filming locations: Abiquiu, Caballo Lake State Park, Ghost Ranch, Sandia Peak (Albuquerque), Santa Fe, White Sands National Monument.

I didn't spend too much time on this one. There are a number of scenes from the Ghost Ranch and White Sands areas, but I'm not very very facile with those places. I note two sites in particular: Sandia Crest - Kiwanis Cabin area; and Caballo Lake State Park - Approximate Location (32.983437°, -107.289199°)

View of Sandia Crest, and city as seen from the Crest.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Eye (2008)

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Last updated: May 30, 2019

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Horror thriller about a woman whose transplanted eye lets her see into a supernatural world; remake of Gin Gwai (2002). Starring Jessica Alba, Rachael Leigh Cook, Parker Posey, Alessandro Nivola, Chloe Moretz, and Aaron Paul. Filmed around Albuquerque and Isleta Pueblo.

Notes on Individual Scenes

Left: Bobby Foster Rd. SE, near Q Studios, has been used for highway-related scenes in numerous movies.

General area of the roadblock location.

Road with ruined autos: All along Los Picaros Road, east of University Blvd. SE in Tijeras Arroyo.

San Agustín de la Isleta Mission

Los Llanos - 885 Habitantes sign. South side of Isleta Pueblo (34.905553°, -106.690890°)

La Bruja - Unresolved

Border Crossing - Unresolved

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Continuing Blog Upgrade II

I've been associating pictures with locations for all Albuquerque-area movies currently-listed in the Atlas of ABQ Filming Locations, and bringing them all up to a certain standard, and I'm more-or-less at that point now. (Posts accessible through sidebar - Atlas of ABQ Filming Locations.)

It's been more laborious effort than expected. Nevertheless, there is a tendency for film projects to use the same suite of filming locations, and it's interesting to see what they like, and significant to see the city the way Location Scouts do.

More films upcoming. I have about twenty so far, but there are a hundred, or more, to look at.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Reading Meaning into Sets, Props, and Filming Locations of “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul”

In recent years, I've become fascinated by the use of architecture, props, and sets to send coded messages in the backgrounds of the television series "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul."

Here is a slightly-updated version of the talk I gave on the subject at the 40th Annual Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference in Albuquerque on February 22, 2019. The talk runs nearly 40 minutes, and focuses on Season 4 of "Better Call Saul."

My hope is to encourage discussion and to enhance appreciation for the amazing work of Vince Gilligan and his entire team.