Review: Reese Witherspoon is the one being tamed in the moving new 'Wild'
Credit: Fox Searchlight
A-

Review: Reese Witherspoon is the one being tamed in the moving new 'Wild'

A deceptively simple film with a powerful punch

 No one is more efficient or merciless about punishing us than ourselves. The older I get, the more regrets I accumulate, and there comes a point where you can either let yourself get crushed by the weight of them, or you can figure out a way to forgive yourself and let things go.

"Wild," the latest film from director Jean-Marc Vallee, is not what I expected. I knew it was about a woman hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. That's 2,663 miles, from the US border at Mexico to the US border at Canada. I didn't know why she was hiking or what kind of drama the film would try to wring from the trip, and honestly, the concept didn't hook me in a way that made the film a priority. What I saw, though, was something tough and honest and unsentimental, and it's a pretty major piece of work for star Reese Witherspoon.

Read Full Post
Roberto Orci beams out of the director's chair for 'Star Trek 3'
Credit: Paramount

Roberto Orci beams out of the director's chair for 'Star Trek 3'

Could Edgar Wright end up taking the helm instead?

No matter how involved Roberto Orci has been involved in the new "Star Trek" franchise as a writer and a producer, it was always going to be a huge gamble to put him in the director's chair for "Star Trek 3."

I've heard some people offer the opinion that on films of a certain size and budget, directing is just factory work, and anyone can do it since they're propped up by their various department heads and their second units and their cinematographer and… hogwash. That argument can be negated by looking at the way certain filmmakers are able to clearly express personal themes and styles even when they're working in the blockbuster space. It is not a job that just anyone can do.

Read Full Post
Benedict Cumberbatch is officially 'Doctor Strange' really officially this time

Benedict Cumberbatch is officially 'Doctor Strange' really officially this time

How many times can we say we're excited about the same thing?

I am going to link you now to an article from October 27th of this year.

Every word of that is applicable today as Marvel finally actually makes the official announcement that professional handsome man Benedict Cumberbatch is set to star in "Doctor Strange."

Read Full Post

2014 movies that won't make my list - Killer kids, super geniuses, and Saint Bill

I've got my top ten list locked now, which is always a liberating moment for me. Now I can start celebrating all the movies that didn't make the list, because as usual, there are about 50 movies that I genuinely enjoyed, that I think are worth seeing, and that I would tell anyone should be part of their 2014 film experience.

Read Full Post
Keanu Reeves and Eli Roth join the Sundance 2015 midnight line-up
Credit: IFC Films

Keanu Reeves and Eli Roth join the Sundance 2015 midnight line-up

It sounds like we're in for a wild ride in Park City

Each year, the midnight shift at Sundance belongs to me, and that's the way I like it. I've had some of my most memorable experiences at the festival happen as part of the midnight screenings, and I look forward to this announcement every year.

I'm surprised to see "It Follows" there. That's been playing festivals since Cannes, and while it's good, I wouldn't expect to see Sundance use one of the slots for a film that's been seen as much as this one has already.

Read Full Post
'Bond 24' is officially titled 'Spectre': Who's in the cast?
Credit: AP Photo

'Bond 24' is officially titled 'Spectre': Who's in the cast?

How many more Daniel Craig films do you think we'll get?

There are not many things that would have me out of bed and waiting for them at 3:00 in the morning, but I love the Daniel Craig era of James Bond, and I'm ready for the follow-up to "Skyfall."

Sony's done a tremendous job of treating James Bond like the crown jewel of the company, and they're treating this next movie like a major event. My guess is that we're not going to have too many more films with Craig playing the role, so I want each one to be special at this point.

Read Full Post

Ladies Day with Reese and Jenny and Julianne and Swank

Rolled out of bed and started in with films, fresh off the stack, in whatever order they were piled in there. And in order, I watched "Wild" with Reese Witherspoon, Jenny Slate in "Obvious Child," the emotional bulldozer that is "Still Alice," with Julianne Moore, and finally the new Tommy Lee Jones Western that he co-stars in with Hillary Swank, "The Homesman."

Read Full Post
Review: Rosario Dawson shines in Chris Rock's winning 'Top Five'
Credit: Paramount Pictures
A

Review: Rosario Dawson shines in Chris Rock's winning 'Top Five'

Satiric romantic comedy hits targets with precision aim

I honestly didn't know Chris Rock had this in him.

As a stand-up, Rock is one of the greats. The way he evolved was incredibly impressive, and by the time he released "Bring The Pain," he was in complete command of his craft. He knew how to ride an audience to victory.

On film, though, I don't think Rock has ever even approached mastering things the way he has with live performance. He's done stuff I've enjoyed, and one of the things that made his early work noteworthy was just how extreme he was. His scene in "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" was one of that film's biggest laughs for me. For literally years afterwards, the thought of "One rib!" would kill me all over again. He got to play with Eddie Murphy in "Boomerang," and I remember being excited to see the two of them in a scene, knowing how huge an influence Eddie was for him. He's good in "CB4." But he's in a lot of films where there was absolutely no sign that anyone knew what to do with him and his particular personality.

Read Full Post
Film Nerd 2.0: What 'War Of The Worlds' and 'The Parent Trap' have in common
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Film Nerd 2.0: What 'War Of The Worlds' and 'The Parent Trap' have in common

This is not what I expected when I started showing the boys Tom Cruise movies

I am not sure I expected that watching "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" would lead to my deepest conversation so far with my kids about divorce.

Leave it to Tom Cruise.

Not long ago, Toshi was pushing for more movies about spies. Anything, really. He has been reading about spies since I showed him his first Bond film almost two years ago, and since most of that series is inappropriate for him, he's been chafing, desperate to see something new.

Read Full Post

POS/OMG

When I was picking up my screeners from the HitFix office yesterday, I started to sort them to try to decide what I would watch first, and I put "Locke," Steven Knight's film starring Tom Hardy, near the top of the stack.

Read Full Post