Reese Witherspoon gives a beautifully stripped-back performance in this epic journey based on the memoir by Cheryl Strayed. The title has a double meaning, as it follows this wild child through the Wild West in a quest to find her centre. This metaphor is as obvious as Cheryl's badly over-loaded backpack, but while the messages are unmistakable the filmmaking and acting are raw and natural. And the settings are spectacular.
After a chaotic patch of wanton living, seen in flashback, Cheryl (Witherspoon) sets off to hike a thousand miles along the Pacific Crest Trail, from Mexico to Canada. She has no idea what she's doing, but bravely goes for it, overcoming feelings of loneliness before getting to know some fellow hikers along the trail as she traverses deserts, mountains and forests amid sunshine, rain and snow. All of this gives her a chance to make sense of a variety of memories involving her mother (Laura Dern), her ex-husband (Thomas Sadoski), her younger brother (Keene McRae) and her best friend (Gaby Hoffmann). And there are plenty of issues that need to be sorted out.
The film is structured in a way that lets us learn about Cheryl's past gradually. Important facts and events are dribbled in throughout the hike, shaping Cheryl's physical odyssey into a journey of self-discovery, which is more than a little gimmicky. Especially when "telling" quotes are printed right across the screen. Thankfully, Nick Hornby's script and Jean-Marc Vallee's direction never moralise about her history of promiscuity and drug abuse. These things are not the problem: they are symptoms of what's wrong with Cheryl. And this gives the film a maturity lacking in most Hollywood-studio films that are happy to find easy explanations and solutions.
Continue reading: Wild Review
Trician Helfer and Brian Van Holt - Celebrities attend NBCUniversal's 2014 Summer TCA Tour - Day 2 - Arrivals at THE Beverly Hilton Hotel. - Beverly Hills, California, United States - Monday 14th July 2014
When young Cheryl Strayed loses her beloved mother, her entire world seems to come crashing down around her. With her family members distancing themselves from each other in their mourning, she feels she has no-one left to turn to and starts taking heroin and indulging in promiscuous behaviour to comfort herself - if only temporarily. As expected, she and her husband soon divorce as her antics do not improve and she decides that she needs to find another outlet for her grief. Despite having had no previous experience, she decides to embark on a solitary journey across the Pacific Crest Trail; a 1,100 mile hike from California to Canada across brutal mountains and savagely dry desert. Has Cheryl made the biggest mistake of her life? Or will she finally be able to find peace with the world?
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Jimmy Bobo is a brutal hitman; the best of his kind, an expert in the convenient disposal of unwanted individuals. When his partner is killed in a ruthless attack by the formidable ex-mercenary Keegan, he vows to take him out but things get serious when he is approached by WDCPD detective Taylor Kwon who seeks his help to investigate the killer who has also murdered his colleague. Although reluctant and apprehensive at first, Jimmy accepts to work with him especially after his tattoo fanatic daughter Lisa is kidnapped by the enemy to lure him into the hands of Keegan who, not content with slaughtering Jimmy's partner, wants to kill him too.
This action thriller is based on the French graphic novel 'Du Plomb Dans La Tete' (which translates to the movie's title) by Alexis Nolent. Out of their usual main areas of filmmaking expertise, the movie has been directed by Walter Hill (producer of the 'Alien' film series and 'Prometheus') who co-wrote the screenplay with Alessandro Camon (co-producer of 'American Psycho' and executive producer of 'Bad Lieutenant'). 'Bullet To The Head' is sufficiently action packed, with a grand portion of humour thrown in there as Sylvester Stallone drops in the characteristic one-liners. It is set to be released on February 1st 2013.
The premise: Tommy Lee Jones plays a Texas Ranger who goes undercover in a girls' sorority house to protect five cheerleaders who have witnessed a murder -- is about as bad a concept as has ever been approved by a studio (at least until the Deuce Bigalow sequel comes out). But a funny thing about this film (about the only funny thing) is that the actors seem to be enjoying themselves -- especially Jones, whose droll, dry persona makes this film, if not a hoot, at least not a total travesty.
Continue reading: Man of the House Review
There's plenty of blame to go around, but it should probably start with the script by David Ayer and David McKenna, which starts with your basic bank hostage scenario that can only be solved by (cue music) the S.W.A.T. team. Hotdoggers Jim Street (Colin Farrell) and Brian Gamble (Jeremy Renner) move into the bank, disobeying orders, and Gamble ends up shooting (nonfatally) one of the hostages. Street gets demoted out of S.W.A.T., while Gamble quits the department entirely, holding a serious grudge.
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But can you technically call this new House a remake? Helmed with vague sensibilities by music video director Jaume Serra, this vacant lot bears absolutely no resemblance to its predecessor, save for the fact that they both feature suspicious wax museums. That's like saying Titanic is a remake of The Poseidon Adventure because they both take place on capsized luxury liners.
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Enter into the story Mia (Amanda Peet), a girl who appears to be innocent but who we quickly discover to be playing all sides against the middle. Mia meets Brad, Zeke, and Jonathan one week, then schedules dates for the next week, only to be surprised by all three on the same night. Knowing that she is found out, she decides that it will be impossible to do a relationship with any single one of them because she likes them all too much and offers them the choice of each one having a relationship with her or having them all leave. Because all of them are too cocky to let Mia go, they all end up dating her... alternating nights, bumping into each other on the way out, and generally growing to hate each other rather quickly.
Continue reading: Whipped Review
If you're looking for a review of "Cursed" or "Man of the House" in your newspaper this morning, you're not going to find one -- in any newspaper anywhere. Opening in theaters nationwide today, these two movies have been kept hidden from critics because, to be blunt, the studios think they're garbage and want to rake in as much money as they can before word gets out.
Of course, nobody will admit to this at Dimension Films or Columbia Pictures, which are releasing the junkers. But it's no coincidence that every movie Hollywood doesn't screen in advance -- either by not holding previews until the night before opening or not holding them at all -- is largely lambasted once critics and audiences have caught up with it.
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A Hollywood-slick military mystery-thriller packed with over-scripted, less than cogent twists, "Basic" is so full of cheap red herrings that watching it feels like gorging on a Long John Silver's all-you-can-eat buffet.
John Travolta stars as Tom Hardy, a cocky ex-Army Ranger turned possibly crooked DEA agent who is tapped by his former commander (Tim Daly) to interrogate survivors of a live-fire Special Forces training mission which went so badly awry that none of the survivors will talk about it with on-post investigators.
Of the nine soldiers that went into the Panama jungle during a hurricane under the command of hated, mercilessly hard-driving, order-barking Sgt. Nathan West (a perfectly cast Samuel L. Jackson), it seems only two came back alive. Everyone else, including the sergeant, was killed in either a friendly-fire accident or a heated showdown over command structure, West's psychological abuse and a possible drug-use cover-up.
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The superficial modern sex farce "Whipped" takes place in a world where all women are beautiful, shallow, sex-mad and stupid.
It's a world populated by runway models and girls nicknamed "Heidi the Hoover" who happily go home two at a time with overconfident Melvins in leather pants and pleasure these pigs all night long. Then some of these Barbie dolls subsequently steal guys' TVs while they're in the shower the next morning, proving how untrustworthy chicks are, dude.It's a world where groups of guys gather in chromey corner diners in Manhattan on Sunday mornings to loudly compare detailed notes on the quantity and quality of the babes they bagged on Friday and Saturday nights.
It's a world that could appeal only to folks whose lives revolve around frat parties because in this world everyone -- everyone -- is utterly devoid of any qualities that make people worth knowing. It's "The East Village of the Damned Blackguard Bachelors."
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