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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
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
Based on the beloved novel by John Green, this film is so squarely slanted toward teen girls that it is likely to annoy everyone else. Written and directed in a way that never allows even a hint of ambiguity, each scene and line of dialogue is on-the-nose, pushing the audience to a specific emotional response. This of course leaves everything feeling manipulative and false. Even so, the movie is rescued by another wonderfully layered performance from Shailene Woodley.
She plays the 17-year-old Hazel, who has been dealing with aggressive cancer for three years and has only just been stabilised by a breakthrough treatment. As she still needs to carry oxygen to breathe properly, her parents (Laura Dern and Sam Trammell) are understandably protective, but she's happy to get out on her own whenever possible. Then in a support group she meets 18-year-old cancer survivor Gus (Ansel Elgort), who is immediately smitten with her and flirts so aggressively that she finally agrees to be his friend, but nothing more. As she hangs out with Gus and his pal Isaac (Nat Wolff), another cancer patient, she begins to open up to her innermost dreams. So she goes along with a make-a-wish plan to travel to Amsterdam with Gus and her mother to meet the author (Willem Dafoe) of her favourite novel. And the trip changes her life in several unexpected ways.
Sensitive audience members will be sobbing from the beginning to the end of this film, simply because director Josh Boone tells them to. More cynical viewers will find it impossible to believe anything on-screen. This isn't because the plot is bad (it's actually quite thoughtful and provocative) or the actors get their performances wrong. It's because Boone and the screenwriters can't resist punching every note as loudly as they can. It's been so tidily shaped into a cinematic structure that everything feels fake, which makes it impossible for the actors to create characters who could exist anywhere besides in a movie.
Continue reading: The Fault In Our Stars Review
Hazel Lancaster is a bright 16-year-old girl suffering from terminal cancer who is forced to carry an oxygen and breathing tubes with her wherever she goes. Her mother forces her to attend a nearby cancer support group in a bid to help her come to terms with her illness and make friends who understand her situation. She meets a charming former cancer sufferer and amputee named Gus who is immediately taken by Hazel and the pair become inseparable; he sees past her tragic illness and is the only person who makes her feel as if she has a lifetime ahead of her. However, she soon begins to realise that her feelings for him are becoming stronger and stronger and she attempts to distance herself from him to avoid hurting him in the future. But Gus is determined that he loves her, and will stay by her side until the very end.
Continue: The Fault In Our Stars Trailer
Date of birth
10th February, 1967
Are ya caught up on @SHO_TwinPeaks ?? #TwinPeaks https://t.co/bA7ZG2zSZa
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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...
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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...