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
Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet and Gaby Hoffmann were among the stars of 'Girls' who were spotted arriving at the premiere of season four of the show, held at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
A new Amazon series is now available online, with Jeffrey Tambor as an ageing parent battling gender dysphoria.
Potentially one of the most important dramas to ever hit the internet is now being aired on Amazon Prime. Starring Jeffrey Tambor as a recently un-closeted transgender parent, 'Transparent' presents a heart-warming story of identity, love and acceptance.
Jeffrey Tambor in a very different kind of acting role
Tambor (known for his roles in 'Arrested Development' and 'The Hangover') takes on what could be the most challenging role of his career in 'Transparent'. The series depicts a loving parent named Maura Pfefferman - formerly known as Mort - who has decided after 70-years-old of living that she can no longer dress like the man she physically appears to be. In a brave move, she begins to transform herself into a woman, though it breaks her heart to see her beloved children so shocked and confused. Meanwhile, it seems she's not the only one who has been keeping secrets, and she's certainly not the only one battling inner demons.
An inventive take on the rom-com genre, this genuinely hilarious film is even more engaging because its characters and premise are unexpectedly honest. It also has a level of realistic unpredictability, as the feisty characters refuse to behave like the people we normally see in the movies. And the story is consistently laugh-out-loud funny even as the plot is essentially very serious.
It centres on struggling stand-up comic Donna (Jenny Slate), whose regular venue is an open-mic bar in Brooklyn where she's offered moral support by her sparky pals Nellie and Joey (Gaby Hoffmann and Gabe Liedman). She may not make much money, but she has a great life. Her boyfriend (Paul Briganti), on the other hand, is tired of being the butt of all of her best jokes. So he dumps her. Donna reacts by having a meltdown on-stage and then getting drunk in another bar with Max (Jake Lacy). He may be a stranger, but he seems like a nice guy, so she takes him home. A few weeks later she discovers that she's pregnant, and her emotionally supportive friends and parents (Polly Draper and Richard Kind) can't help her make the big decisions ahead of her.
This is a film about a young woman finally taking responsibility for her own life, facing up to some difficult responsibilities and moving forward. But since this is a comedy, it's of course not very smooth sailing. Slate plays the role with impeccable comical timing, somehow making the rather pathetic Donna thoroughly likeable. And the actors around her add crisp humour exactly where its needed, providing much more than mere comic relief: each one is an integral element in Donna's journey. One of the most cringe-inducing sequences features the terrific David Cross as a predatory old friend who offers Donna a riotously messy distraction.
Continue reading: Obvious Child Review
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?
Continue: Wild Trailer
Donna Stern is a comedienne from Brooklyn who has a very unfunny meltdown on stage after finding out that her best friend has been sleeping with her boyfriend. Subsequently, she loses her stage residency and seeks comfort in her supportive parents and the friends she can still trust. In a bid to ease her pain, she makes a brave move to venture out of her home and she eventually meets a handsome man of a similar personality named Max. He is intrigued by her unapologetic honesty and boundless energy but, after their one night stand, Donna finds herself with one more huge problem. She is now pregnant and feeling pretty dead set on having an abortion, but first she has to tell Max; something that proves harder than it sounds when it becomes obvious that he has made her feel happy again.
Continue: Obvious Child Trailer
Funded by fans, this follow-up to the cult TV show feels a lot like an extended reunion episode. But even those unfamiliar with the series will enjoy the twisty plot and smart dialog, plus the sparky Kristen Bell in the title role. And while there are rather too many characters for a stand-alone movie, they all feed nicely into the central mystery.
After escaping from the run-down seaside town of Neptune, California, nine years ago, Veronica (Bell) has become a New York lawyer. But just as she's on the verge of landing her first proper job, an old friend is murdered back home, waking her investigatory instincts. The worst of it is that her ex Logan (Dohring) is the prime suspect, so Veronica heads home to help him clear his name. Her private eye dad (Colantoni) just rolls his eyes when she slips back into her old mystery-solving role, working with her pals Mac, Weevil and Wallace (Majorino, Capra and Daggs). But three other classmates - Gia, Cobb and Dick (Ritter, Starr and Hansen) - are also involved. And the fact that she keeps putting off her return to New York annoys her boyfriend Piz (Lowell).
The most refreshing thing about this film is the way filmmaker Thomas refuses to play by the usual rules. Bell may have been offered a dream job, but we fully understand why she's blowing it off to help her friends. And the whodunit plot is just intriguing enough to hold our interest: we don't really care who the villain really is, but it's fun to watch Veronica dig through the clues and challenge every level of authority. And the script gleefully stirs in red herrings, side-plots and lots of suspicious-looking characters.
Continue reading: Veronica Mars Review
Veronica Mars spent her teenage years as a private eye alongside her detective father. Despite achieving a private detective's license at the age of 18, she plans to walk away from that part of her life now having seemingly had her fill of solving grisly murders. Now older and wiser, she has made it as a formidable New York lawyer, to the immense pride of her father. However, her new start is interrupted when she is called back to her hometown of Neptune during a high school reunion. Her former boyfriend Logan Echolls has been accused of murdering someone for a second time, despite her proving his innocence to a first murder as a teenage sleuth. Will her eye for detail and supreme intelligence prevail once again and help her solve another mystery, or has she lost her touch?
Continue: Veronica Mars Trailer
Films don't get much more offbeat than this trippy comedy-drama about Americans in Chile. Thankfully there are some provocative themes gurgling under the surface - not just in the constant drug-taking but also in the way the film depicts the self-involved behaviour of Americans abroad. And the characters are complex and witty enough to keep us engaged.
At a raucous party in Santiago, Jamie (Cera) is trying to open his horizons by indulging in as much alcohol and drugs as he can find. When he meets the free-spirited fellow-American Crystal Fairy (Hoffmann), he invites her along on a road trip with brothers Champa, Pilo and Lel (played by the filmmaker's siblings Juan Andres, Augustin and Jose Miguel). As they drive through the country to a deserted stretch of coastline, Jamie becomes increasingly intent on finding some San Pedro cactus, because he's heard that boiling it up and drinking it causes hallucinations.
Even though Jamie and Crystal are a mass of American obsessions and phobias, their enthusiastic naivete makes them both irritating and likeable. And like the brothers, we grow tired of their arrogant assumptions and random demands. When Jamie tries to get people to sell him some cactus, he whines "Look how much you have!" when they say no, completely missing the irony of his privileged background. And of course his believe that everything has a price. Both Cera and Hoffmann find fascinating edges to these characters, keeping them grounded while hinting that even their drug tripping is due to self-indulgence rather than inebriation.
Continue reading: Crystal Fairy Review
Vince Ferro is badly in need of money to support his family. His only source of income comes from working low paying construction jobs. One day, Vince overhears a conversation about a recently deceased man, who was about to start a well paid job around the time of his accident. The company the man was about to start working for have apparently not heard the tragic news.
Continue: 13 Trailer
Date of birth
8th January, 1982
Reese Witherspoon gives a beautifully stripped-back performance in this epic journey based on the memoir...
An inventive take on the rom-com genre, this genuinely hilarious film is even more engaging...
When young Cheryl Strayed loses her beloved mother, her entire world seems to come crashing...
Donna Stern is a comedienne from Brooklyn who has a very unfunny meltdown on stage...
Funded by fans, this follow-up to the cult TV show feels a lot like an...
Veronica Mars spent her teenage years as a private eye alongside her detective father. Despite...
Films don't get much more offbeat than this trippy comedy-drama about Americans in Chile. Thankfully...
A very unique and brutal subculture exists in America these days. It's a strange...