Jaeden Lieberher

Several different movies, crashing together; in other words, it’s a multi-car pile-up

                                    The Book of Henry is not a Wes Anderson movie.

What if veteran comic book writer Gregg Hurwitz wrote a superhero origin story about a single mom, combined it with a treacly family drama about a cancer-stricken kid, and crossed that with a darkly comedic satire about cinematic depictions of gifted children? Well, you don’t have to guess what if, because this movie is playing in movie theaters now, although I’m guessing not for long. It may, however, play forever in the rotation of classic film fiascos. 

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The boy is Special, and so is the film

Roy (Michael Shannon, l.) will do anything to protect his very special son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher).

Writer/director Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter, Shotgun Stories) continues his collaboration with the terrific actor Michael Shannon to great effect in his utterly engaging new science fiction film Midnight Special. Unlike another film by a well known writer/director that opened today, Nichols’s film grips you from its opening minute and keeps you enraptured for its nearly two hour run time. A film that pays homage to others of its genre while still managing to be totally unique, Midnight Special is well worth your box office dollars. [read the whole post]

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We’ve got three final spotlights from the 37th Mill Valley Film Festival, which closed Sunday night after ten days of showcasing dozens of fresh and exciting titles. Festival highlights, photos, and videos are available at: http://mvff.com. We’ll see you at the Fest next year!

Wild
(USA 2014, 120 min)

Cheryl (Reese Witherspoon) at the start of her long and often arduous journey.

Director Jean-Mark Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) and writer Nick Hornby have turned Cheryl Strayed’s exceedingly popular memoir Wild into one of the best pictures of the year. Reese Witherspoon gives perhaps the fiercest performance of her career as Strayed, who, in the mid-1990s, hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) solo as a way to cope with several losses in her life. A powerful meditation on grief, healing, strength, and redemption, Vallée’s picture benefits enormously from the emotionally raw performances of is two lead actresses. Laura Dern, as Strayed’s mother Bobbi, seen in flashbacks, is devastating as a young mother whose capacity for hope and love is beyond measure. Shot on location at various points along the PCT, Yves Bélanger’s cinematography is breathtaking, and fittingly accentuates the emotional complexity of Strayed’s story.

Release Date:
– Opens nationwide on December 5th

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