Wild

Go take a hike: Redford, Nolte lead us on pleasant enough Walk

Bill (Robert Redford, left) and Stephen (Nick Nolte) wonder what they’ve gotten themselves into.

A Walk in the Woods, based on Bill Bryson’s popular 1998 memoir of attempting to hike the Appalachian Trail, is inevitably going to be compared to Wild, last year’s film of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, on the opposite side of the country. Aside from similar plots, though, the two films have little in common; Wild is the better picture by far, but A Walk in the Woods holds its own as a sort of lightweight, droll counterpart. What Wild did for solo women hikers on the PCT, A Walk in the Woods might do for the grandfather set on the AT.

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Film critics Carrie and Chad on who will – and who should – win the 87th Academy Awards

The 87th Academy Awards air this Sunday, February 22nd on ABC at 5:00pm PST (red carpet coverage begins at 4:00, if you want to dish on fashion highs and lows). There are some tight races this year – Best Picture and Best Actor are especially hard to call. Here are Carrie and Chad’s predictions – and hopes – for the major categories:
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Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2014

Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2014. Here is Carrie’s list, presented in alphabetical order. And you can see Chad’s list here.

1.) Boyhood

Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane are outstanding as a mother and son who grow and change together.

Filmed intermittently over 12 years, Richard Linklater’s film chronicling a boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from ages six to 18 in real time is both a technical marvel and a cinematic masterpiece. There has been nothing like it before on screen, and there will no doubt be nothing like it again. Utterly unique in scope and vision, the film lets us watch a life develop in front of our very eyes, with all of its attendant hopes, dreams, achievements, and disappointments. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke play Mason’s parents, changing and growing right alongside him and his older sister (Lorelei Linklater). An absolutely dazzling achievement that will leave you breathless and awed, Linklater’s picture is sure to be the one to beat for Best Picture come Oscar time. (You can also read Gordon’s full-length review here).

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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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