Echoing his witty writing style, Bill Bryson's memoir of his trek up the Appalachian Trail is adapted as a gently amusing comedy that combines big landscapes with sharp observational humour. Even though it centres on two old men, the film's message is almost identical to Reese Witherspoon's Wild, except that this movie never preaches at all. Instead, it meanders along with a wry smile and an ear for a snappy punchline.
Bill (Robert Redford) has moved back to America with his English wife Catherine (Emma Thompson) after living in Britain for 20 years. And now he feels the need to reconnect with his homeland. So he decides to hike the 2,100-mile mountain path from Georgia to Maine. Catherine insists that he takes someone with him, but the only volunteer is Katz (Nick Nolte), a wheezing ex-alcoholic with whom Bill deliberately lost touch. Even so, they set off on their walk, having a series of small adventures as they meet other hikers (including the hilariously too-perky Kristen Schaal), flirt with a hotel owner (Mary Steenburgen) and get into a bit of trouble when Katz has a romp with a married woman (Susan McPhail). They also encounter a couple of grizzly bears and find themselves trapped overnight on a narrow mountain ledge.
The question obviously isn't whether or not they complete the epic trek. No, this is a film about how self-discovery continues into old age, and so does the ability to discover new things in the world. Director Ken Kwapis makes the most of the picturesque landscapes, while including superb details that make the journey come to life. Although there are several sequences that were obviously shot in a studio with a fake backdrop and green-screen vistas. And some of the events along the way are badly contrived, dipping into silly slapstick. On the other hand, the running conversation between these two long-time friends is priceless.
Continue reading: A Walk In The Woods Review
He loved the 'undisciplined' side to co-star Nick Nolte.
When Robert Redford originally purchased the rights to Bill Bryson's 1998 memoir A Walk in the Woods, he intended it as a reunion film for himself and his lifelong friend Paul Newman. The duo's most iconic pairings were in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973). But Newman's illness made the role impossible, and when he died in 2008 the film almost died with him.
Robert Redford and Nick Nolte take one hell of a hike in 'A Walk In The Woods'
Then Redford met Nick Nolte in 2012 and cast him in his political thriller The Company You Keep. During filming, Redford realised that he'd be perfect as Bryson's messy, out-of-shape hiking pal Katz in A Walk in the Woods. "I liked him as an actor," Redford says. "You could see that he had an undisciplined side in life."
Continue reading: A Walk In The Woods Gives Robert Redford A New Old Friend
Bill Bryson has been living in the UK with his English wife for a long time but now feels his retirement is wasted on the luxury of home comforts. Now after moving back to the US, he wants adventure, and what better way to get it than by hiking the 2,200 mile long Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. It's a glorious woodland walk for anyone, but it's rarely finished by even the most experienced hikers and the thought of this ageing man taking on the dangers of the trail frightens his kids and his wife. It seems Bill is deadset on this challenge, and while his wife can't stop him doing it, she can at least insist he be accompanied by a friend. Unfortunately, the only person crazy enough to join him is his fat, former alcoholic buddy Katz, whose probably going to be more of a hindrance than a help, but will at least be exposed to some much needed reflection... and a few hungry bears.
Continue: A Walk in The Woods Trailer
This intriguing drama takes on some darkly resonant themes with such an oddly bright and cheerful tone that it forces the audience to pay attention. As it continues, the terrific Rosamund Pike uses conflicting emotions to explore the aftermath of a horrific assault. But while there's growing suspense in the plot, the bigger tension comes from the viewers themselves as they wonder whether it's going to unravel into melodramatic rubbish.
Pike plays Miranda, a cleanliness-obsessed nurse with ambition to get a better job and move to a bigger house, partly to stop her single dad (Nick Nolte) from worrying about her. Then a nurse colleague (Rumer Willis) sets her up on a blind date. William (Shiloh Fernandez) is flirty and sexy, but after he brutally attacks her he goes to prison, leaving Miranda to put her life back together. Surprisingly, she takes a proactive approach that includes contacting William and trying to achieve some sort of reconciliation. Miranda's father is horrified by this, especially when William is released on parole and turns up to help her fix up her house.
This insinuating set-up keeps the audience guessing whether this is a complex look at how people wrestle with the fall-out from a violent rape, or perhaps either Miranda or William are up to something more nefarious. So whether it's sparking hope or dread, it's relatively gripping. And Pike is superb as a quirky woman who continually faces her fears. This includes both connecting with William and trying to befriend her dad's scary dog Benny. "Hating him only hurts me," she says pointedly. Nolte is reliably solid as her wheezy, concerned dad. And Fernandez is utterly magnetic as the mercurial William. All of the characters are defined by rather simplistic filmmaking shorthand, but the actors give them plenty of weight.
Continue reading: Return To Sender Review
A young nurse training to work in surgery is encouraged to go on a blind date with her friend's single male friend Kevin. However, he doesn't seem at all how he was described when he shows up on her doorstep. Locking the door of her house once inside, he savagely assaults her before fleeing. It's only later, when a kind-faced man with a bunch of flowers arrives (the real Kevin), that she realises she had let a dangerous stranger into her home named William Finn. While being questioned by police, the nurse recalls seeing her attacker once before and he is soon rounded up and thrown behind bars. The attack has left her shellshocked, struggling to concentrate on her job and occasionally giving in to frenzy. She decides to start writing to William, but every letter is returned without being read. He eventually agrees to her visiting, and appears to show remorse just as the nurse appears to show forgiveness. She hasn't told anyone of her intentions, and her father is left terrified as she continues to speak to the brute as a free man.
Continue: Return To Sender Trailer
Darren Aronofsky continues to ambitiously experiment with genres in this Old Testament blockbuster, but this is his first real misstep as a filmmaker, as the impressive parts simply don't add up. Still, there are flashes of genius as the epic struggle between good and evil is echoed both in the grand spectacle and within the characters themselves.
It starts with the original sin, which divides Adam and Eve's sons - brutal killer Cain and peaceful caretaker Seth - into warring factions. A few generations later, all that's left of Seth's righteous line is Noah (Russell Crowe), his wife (Jennifer Connelly) and three sons (Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth and Leo McHugh Carroll), plus an adopted daughter (Emma Watson). After he has a vision that God is planning to cleanse mankind with a flood, Noah consults his grandfather Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins) and builds an ark to save his family and all of earth's animals. He also gets help from the Watchers, rock-encrusted fallen angels who previously assisted Cain's descendant Tubal (Ray Winstone), who goes into battle mode to stop Noah.
All of this is inventively set in a post-apocalyptic landscape left in ruins after generations of fighting. And Noah is the last true believer tending to creation, refusing to eat meat (although he wears leather accessories) and ruling over his family like a tyrant. This of course creates various carefully scripted conflicts for his family over the months they're stuck in the ark. But the moralising is never as deep as it pretends to be.
Continue reading: Noah Review
The Maroon 5 joked with Jimmy Kimmel about how deserving he is of the honour
Adam Levine was crowned the 'Sexiest Man Alive' by People Magazine this week, an honour that Levine himself thinks was duly deserved. Ok, he's probably not that big headed, but when he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Wednesday (20 Nov.) night, he was more than happy to play along with the joke and big himself up, and his sexiness.
He's sexy and he knows it
"A lot of people trivialize this sort of thing. They say it's shallow and think it's just a media stunt used to sell magazines and perpetuate the image of Hollywood being based on looks. And that's totally true," the Maroon 5 frontman joked to his host. He continued, "But I'm completely cool with that."
The trailer for 'The Company You Keep' suggest Robert Redford has returned to form as a director.
Robert Redford appears to be back on track. Some five years after his disappointing drama 'Lions For Lambs', the Oscar winning director has returned to similar territory with 'The Company You Keep,' a slick looking drama starring an all-star cast. And when we say all-star cast, we really do mean it.
Redford stars and directs in the story of Jim Grant, a public interest lawyer and single father living in New York. Shia LaBeouf plays a scruffy intrepid journalist who exposes Grant as a man wanted for a murder he allegedly committed in his days as an anti-war radical. When another member of the Weather Underground - played by Susan Sarandon - is arrested, LaBeouf's Ben Shepard smells an opportunity to make a name for himself with a national story. The superb Stanley Tucci plays his prickly finger-pointing editor (is it us, or was he born to play a prickly finger-pointing editor?) while the excellent Anna Kendrick plays a vulnerable FBI agent. Elsewhere, there's a gruff looking Nick Nolte, the old-hand Richard Jenkins and legendary western actor Sam Elliott. Oh, and there's Brendan Gleeson. And Terrence Howard. And Julie Christie.
Ben Shepard is a young and ambitious reporter determined to make a name for himself in the media world. When Sharon Solarz, a member of the radical left organisation Weather Underground, is arrested for her involvement in a bank robbery and subsequent murder 30 years ago, Ben smells an important story that could be his big break. Meanwhile, attorney Jim Grant, a single father of an 11-year-old daughter named Isabel who was also involved in the crime, is forced on the run from the FBI as Ben sparks a new manhunt, but on the way he changes course in an effort to expose the truth and prove his innocence. Ben discovers that the whole story is more complicated than he initially thought, particularly as not everyone appears to be who they say they are.
Continue: The Company You Keep Trailer
Far better made than it has any right to be, this cheesy 70s-style thriller is given a thoroughly engaging kick by veteran filmmaker Hackford working outside his usual dramatic genre. It's predictable and far too long, but Hackford grounds everything in gritty reality, avoiding obnoxious effects work while indulging in entertaining innuendo and riotously nasty action sequences.
None of this is much of a stretch for the cast, and Statham's Parker is essentially the same character he always plays: a ruthlessly efficient, indestructible criminal with a conscience. After a gang of thugs (including Chiklis and Collins) betrays him following a fairgrounds heist, Parker miraculously recovers from his hideous injuries and heads to Florida to get revenge. He uses local estate agent Leslie (Lopez) to find the gang's lair, and she's instantly attracted to the way he fills out his designer suit. Living with her soap-addict mum (LuPone), Leslie is looking for a wealthy man to rescue her. And she's already too involved when she realises that Parker isn't who he seems to be.
There isn't much to the plot, which is packed with contrived twists and turns and never follows through the intriguing possibilities along the way. At least the film avoids the usual action cliches, as Hackford sharply orchestrates each fight sequence to make it both lucid and startlingly brutal. This earthy approach keeps things relatively believable, until Parker emerges with yet another serious injury that doesn't slow him down at all. Meanwhile, Hackford injects plenty of eyebrow-raising flirtation that keeps us smiling. Statham and Lopez may not be stretching themselves as actors, but they clearly have a lot of fun circling around each other like dogs on heat.
Continue reading: Parker Review
Date of birth
8th February, 1941
Echoing his witty writing style, Bill Bryson's memoir of his trek up the Appalachian Trail...
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