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It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness. This movie is wilfully goofy but feels oddly irrelevant, focussing on a colourful central character who never quite seems like a real person. Woody Harrelson pours plenty of energy, humour and emotion into the title role, but it's difficult to identify with this optimistic curmudgeon. Still, quite a few moments are genuinely hilarious.
Harrelson plays Wilson, a guy who can't resist saying whatever he thinks, even though it annoys pretty much anyone within earshot. He over-shares with strangers, complains constantly about everything and refuses to stop offering unwanted advice. In his mind he's making the word a better place, but his life is a mess. And when his father dies, he realises that he has no friends left aside from his dog Pepper. Leaving Pepper with a neighbour (Judy Greer), Wilson tracks down his ex-wife Pippi (Laura Dern) and is shocked to learn that she gave birth to his daughter after they split up, giving the baby up for adoption. So Wilson goes on a quest to find the now 17-year-old Claire (Isabella Amara), barging into her life in the hope of rescuing his own.
There are very few characters in this film who can bear to be in the same room as Wilson, a man with no manners who has no idea that he is rubbing everyone the wrong way. And for the audience, it's not much better to be in his presence for the length of this 94-minute movie. Harrelson is charming, but the script has Wilson veering from giddy to angry to cruel and back, which is a serious challenge for the actor to play consistently. That Harrelson manages it is no mean feat. Opposite him, Dern and Greer are terrific as his long-suffering foils. And Amara takes every opportunity to steal scenes out from under her veteran costars.
Continue reading: Wilson Review
After the release of The Force Awakens at the end of 2015, Disney and Lucas films didn't mess around delivering the general public its first announcement/teaser for The Last Jedi back at the start of 2016. Now, well over a year later, we finally get to see some proper footage from the upcoming movie.
Many of the key cast from Star Wars: The Force Awakens will feature in The Last Jedi including Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren who famously slaughtered his much-loved father in a face to face battle that made for one of the most pivotal scenes in the history of Star Wars.
As ever with new Star Wars releases, the scrip and the story outline is one of Hollywood's most closely guarded secrets and few official details have been released to the public. We do know that the story will pick up where The Force Awakens ended with Rey going off into a mountainous setting to hunt down Luke Skywalker in a bid to train with him and learn his knowledge.
Continue: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer
In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply pointed stories about women's lives. So this drama weaves together three narratives with distinct female perspectives. Based on short stories by Maile Meloy, these tales only barely intersect, but they echo similar themes in a striking rural Montana setting.
In the central story, Beth (Kristen Stewart) is a young lawyer who drives four hours twice a week to teach a night class, where she develops a fan in a young rancher (Lily Gladstone) who has a secret crush on her. Meanwhile, Laura (Laura Dern) is another lawyer representing an injured worker (Jared Harris) who took a small financial settlement before learning that he would never physically recover. And then there's Gina (Michelle Williams), who is building a home in a gorgeous location with her strained husband (James Le Gros) and surly teen daughter (Sara Rodier). They need a pile of old sandstone that has been sitting for some 50 years next to the home of a man (Rene Aberjonois) everyone's afraid to talk to.
All of this is set against Montana's big-sky landscapes, sumptuously captured on-screen by cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt. Everything is crisp and wintry, and Reichardt cleverly designs the film in a simplistic, insightful way that quietly focusses on unspoken interaction between the characters. Yes, much of this movie is completely silent, as these women consider the realities of their lives. This of course allows the actresses to make the most of their characters, adding weight and depth to each scene, often without saying a word.
Continue reading: Certain Women Review
'Wilson', starring both Dern and Harrelson, is released in U.S. cinemas on March 24th.
At the Sundance Film Festival premiere of her latest film Wilson, in which she stars opposite Woody Harrelson in a drama about broken families, Laura Dern spoke about the “amazing” time she had on set – not just him, but his wife too!
“I mean, we worship each other! In every single way! I love him so much, I really had the most amazing time,” she said exclusively to us. “As I said to him – there’s only one person on the planet I worship more than you, and it’s your wife Laura [Louie]! She’s the most amazing person, we had basically a summer vacation together!”
In Wilson, an adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ novel, Harrelson plays a neurotic middle-aged who reunites with his estranged wife (Dern), and who meets his now-teenage daughter for the first time in the process (played by Isabella Amara).
Continue reading: There's Only One Person Laura Dern Loves More Than Woody Harrelson
This harrowing morality play is timely and riveting, but never remotely subtle. The setting is the mortgage crisis, during which savvy fast-talkers figured out how to make a fortune on the back of other people's tragedy. It's strikingly written and directed by Iranian-American filmmaker Ramin Bahrani with an attention to internalised detail, revealing an aspect of Western culture that's deeply disturbing.
It's 2010, and the economy is in freefall as families and small businesses struggle to survive. When Florida builder Dennis (Andrew Garfield) loses his job, he has no idea how he'll support his mother and son (Laura Dern and Noah Lomax). Unable to pay their inflated mortgage, they're evicted from the family home by ruthless estate agent Rick (Michael Shannon). Then Rick sees something in Dennis that he admires, and hires him to do some building work, eventually taking him under his wing and teaching him how to profit from the record number of repossessions. But this means taking advantage of government grants, banking loopholes and people whose lives have collapsed. And it isn't long before it starts eating away at Dennis.
Garfield gives an open, searching performance as this desperate young father who's grasping at any lifeline he can find for his family. It's a complex, difficult character, mainly because his moral dithering sits in contrast to Shannon's flashier, shark-like Rick, who's often scary in the way he's able to avoid empathising with people in pain. In a much smaller role, Dern is the polar opposite, a warm blast of straight-arrow morality who continually prods her son to do the right thing. Yes, these characters are somewhat constructed as three points in a triangle, but they beautifully highlight the issues involved. And the actors dig deep into the emotional ramifications.
Continue reading: 99 Homes Review
Dennis Nash is a struggling single father whose life is turned upside down when he's evicted from his home by a corrupt real-estate broker named Rick Carver. Facing life on the streets, Dennis is forced to work for Carver in the hope of reclaiming his home, but how will he cope carrying out the same ruthless eviction techniques that were used on him? As Dennis falls deeper into Carver's web, relationships suffer and his situation becomes more dangerous than he could have imagined.
Continue: 99 Homes Trailer
Patricia Arquette won the Best Supporting Actress gong for her role in 'Boyhood'.
Patricia Arquette has won the 2015 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She starred in Richard Linklater’s epic Boyhood, playing the role of Olivia Evans.
The 46 year old fended off strong competition from Laura Dern (Bobbi Grey in Wild), Keira Knightley (Joan Clarke in The Imitation Game), Emma Stone (Sam Thomson in Birdman) and Meryl Streep (‘The Witch’ in Into The Woods).
2015's Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette (L) with her 'Boyhood' colleagues Ellar Coltrane and Richard Linklater
Continue reading: Patricia Arquette Wins Best Supporting Actress At 2015 Oscars
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
'The Imitation Game' and 'The Theory Of Everything' stars among the 26th annual festival's honourees.
The 2015 Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards saw accolades going to some very well-deserved movies from the last year - with some even more well-deserved individuals picking them up.
Unsurprisingly, the Ensemble Cast Award went to the actors from 'The Imitation Game'; a movie depicting the era-defining career of codebreaker Alan Turing during World War II and his subsequent arrest for being homosexual. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, with the likes of Allen Leech, Matthew Beard and Alex Lawther - the latter of whom plays Turing's younger self. Directed by the BAFTA nominated Morten Tyldum, the movie has already been nominated for five Golden Globes, and it definitely looks to be in line for an Academy Award.
Continue reading: Biopics Win Big At 2015 Palm Springs Film Festival Awards [Photos]
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
Date of birth
10th February, 1967
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It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....
After the release of The Force Awakens at the end of 2015, Disney and Lucas...
In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...
This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....
Wilson (Woody Harrelson) may not be the most likeable of fellows; he has a penchant...
This harrowing morality play is timely and riveting, but never remotely subtle. The setting is...
Dennis Nash is a struggling single father whose life is turned upside down when he's...
Reese Witherspoon gives a beautifully stripped-back performance in this epic journey based on the memoir...
The cast and crew of forthcoming drama biopic 'Wild' talk about Jean-Marc Vallée's direction and...
When young Cheryl Strayed loses her beloved mother, her entire world seems to come crashing...
Based on the beloved novel by John Green, this film is so squarely slanted toward...