Theatrical Releases: Wild

WILD || December 5th, 2014

DyingOfTheLight-poster Nicolas Cage. Anton Yelchin. “Taxi Driver” pen Paul Schrader writing and directing. Chances are if Cage is in it, I will see it. “Dying Of The Light” sees him as a veteran CIA agent who is told to retire following a doctor’s exam. But when a terrorist and sworn enemy of his resurfaces, he goes against the agency and tries to track him down himself. Sadly, it has a 5% on Rotten Tomatoes and is likely not very good, but I will always take a gamble on Cage.
25% MAYBE
LapDance-poster Don’t worry guys, Carmen Electra is still acting. I know you probably thought she quit, but she’s back as a supporting role in this erotic thriller aptly titled “Lap Dance”. Ali Corbin (“American Reunion”) plays Monica, who takes a job as an exotic dancer when times get tough and she needs to pay the bills. We have heard this whole story before obviously, but Corbin is sort of a bright young star following in the footsteps of say Ashley Hinshaw (“About Cherry”) using what God gave her to put butts in seats.
75% MOST LIKELY
LifePartners-poster Leighton Meester, Gillian Jacobs, and Adam Brody star in this heartfelt comedy entitled “Life Partners”. Meester is gay, Jacobs is straight, but they are best friends that do everything together. Until Jacobs meets the perfect guy in Brody and they get engaged. Finally all three of these terrific actors play against type and the trailer displays them in all their glory. This promises to be some of their best work yet.
RENTAL
Wild-poster Reese Witherspoon offers this labor of love that she stars in and produces entitled “Wild”. Based on the true story of bestselling author Cheryl Strayed and her solo hike that spanned more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, Reese plays the title character and can start raking in the critics awards and possibly another Academy Award nomination because of it. Also starring Laura Dern as Cheryl’s mother, this emotional tale will hopefully resonate like other Academy favorites including “Into The Wild” and “127 Hours”.
THEATER

ByTheGun-poster Leighton Meester doubles down this week with “By The Gun,” this time playing a supporting role as the love interest. Harvey Keitel. Toby Jones. Ben Barnes you might know from “The Chronicles Of Narnia” series or “The Big Wedding” but in 2015 you will know him from the Jeff Bridges’ film “The Seventh Son”. In this film, however, he plays an aspiring mafia man who suddenly cannot keep up with the tasks being asked of him. Meeting Meester’s character doesn’t help either. Of course, once you’re in there’s only one way out. Clears throat. Hence the title.
PASS
Comet-poster Justin Long. Even though I have not watched the American version of “Shameless” yet, Emmy Rossum feels like an untapped talent that will see her heyday soon. “Comet” sees these two falling in love in the most unconventional ways apparently. Part “Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind,” part “500 Days Of Summer,” these hipster romances are all the rage now. But any film that can take visual chances like this one, screaming of Michel Gondry is worth someone’s time. For some reason this reminds of the slightly more conventional Joseph Gordon-Levitt film “Uncertainty”.
25% MAYBE
ConceringViolece-poster Narrated by singer Lauryn Hill, “Concerning Violence” is a documentary containing “newly discovered archival material depicting some of the most daring moments in the confrontation with colonial power”. More existential than actual informative documentary, there is not much here for me. The trailer depicts a man in a helicopter shooting at livestock, in particular a goat that he eventually kills, with text and the voice Hill providing some over my head subtext.
PASS
FagbugNation-poster Searching for some sort of equality on the road, director Erin Davies drives a Volkswagen Beetle painted with the gay pride rainbow and the words “Fagbug” on the side through the 50 states of America, including Hawaii and Alaska. On the way she meets tons of people for and against the pride movement, documenting every inch of her trip, from breakdowns to gas stops to her little dog riding on her shoulders. “Fagbug Nation” does little in terms of moving people or even stating a specific goal, but it looks like she had fun making it.
PASS
TheFoxyMerkins-poster “Foxy Merkins… It’s a toupee for your vagina” are the first words spoken in the trailer for “The Foxy Merkins”. The rest of the trailer is the director talking to the camera as people walk in front of her coming out of what looks like a New York subway. Perhaps this is meant as humor but to me it just looks sloppy, especially when she bookends the trailer by telling people to come see it and randomly walking away towards a cross walk. The film is yet another gay / straight friendship, this one with absolutely no through-line. Perhaps if Tim and Eric had gotten a hold this, they could have helped get the awkward humor across but instead it falls completely flat.
PASS
JingleBellRocks-poster Apparently there is a movement of people combing thrift stores and record stores, completely unhappy with where Christmas music has landed. “Jingle Bell Rocks!” is a documentary that brings these people to the surface, as they search for the best Christmas songs you have never heard of. Including interviews with Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons of RUN-D.M.C. and The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne who are also enthusiasts. Sadly, I do not enjoy Christmas music of any variety and for that, even the promise of a unique X-mas soundtrack is not enough to entice me.
PASS
MissJulie-poster Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell, and Samantha Morton star in “Miss Julie,” a period piece love triangle where Chastain plays the lady of the house and Farrell and Morton play the servants beneath her. Farrell and Morton are to be wed, but suddenly Chastain steps in to play with their relationship, seducing Farrell into answering to her every request. Chastain alone is enough to peak my interest in this film, but Farrell’s work is undeniable as well.
50% PROBABLY
MurderOfACat-poster As much as I enjoy some of the people in this film, even they are not enough to make “Murder Of A Cat” look decent. A little too goofy for its own good, the film focuses on Fran Kranz’s character and his morning surprise of his cat having been killed with an arrow. What follows is a hunt to find his killer, which turns up characters like J.K. Simmons’ sheriff and the cat’s second owner, Nikki Reed. One of the suspects even ends up being a store owner played by Greg Kinnear. Despite these people, nothing can save this over-the-top, thinly written goofball comedy.
PASS
Pioneer-poster When they say director of “Insomnia” they mean the 1997 Norwegian film directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg, not the 2002 Christopher Nolan thriller, just so we are clear. “Pioneer” is another Norwegian film, this one set during the Oil Boom of the 1980s. Aimed mainly around the character Petter, who is a professional diver tasked with swimming to the bottom of the North Sea and tapping the oil, what follows weaves a web of conspiracy led by the villainous Stephen Lang.
PASS
PokerNight-poster Basically stealing the mask from “The Collector” and tying in some poker game played by a young detective and his senior officers, “Poker Night” is a kidnapping thriller where it appears that the main character is tied up most of the time. The selling point, the ensemble cast. Ron Perlman (“Hell Boy”, “Sons Of Anarchy”), Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad”), Ron Eldard (“Justified”), Titus Welliver (“The Town”, “Sons Of Anarchy”) and Halston Sage (“Neighbors”) all fill out this cast that the film seemingly may not deserve.
25% MAYBE
ThePyramid-poster Released a little too soon following “As Above So Below”, 20th Century Fox sneaks out this low budget horror repeat titled “The Pyramid”. After an excavation team discovers a three-sided pyramid and are told to stay away from it by authorities, they of course take their cameras and head in anyway. Using found footage, they wander the dark tombs, ending up in a labyrinth, being chased by “The Descent”-like creatures and losing members along the way. This all sounds way too familiar but might be worth seeing for comparisons.
25% MAYBE
RedKnot-poster “Red Knot” is all about the casting. A rich character study of a young married couple setting out on a spur of the moment expedition to Antarctica for their honeymoon, the confines of their marriage are turned upside down when they find out they may not be able to trust one another. Olivia Thirlby continues to be an actress to watch and this might not be any different. Outside of his role on “Mad Men,” Vincent Kartheiser could prove to be quite the acting powerhouse as well. The cinematography of this one is a bit drab and the material feels a little bit retreaded, but with these two in the driver’s seat, perhaps it could be worth it.
25% MAYBE
ShesBeautifulWhenShesAngry-poster How do we live in an age where we don’t have equal rights yet? With the passing of the law by a particular company this year which placed laws on the covering of birth control through insurance, the female community rose up and demanded to be treated equal, and rightfully so. If men needed birth control, of course it would be available. “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” is a documentary that spans over four decades, covering the women’s right movements then and now.
PASS
SkatingToNewYork-poster “Skating To New York” sees a group of hockey players dealing with both sports issues and family issues and deciding to take their lives in their own hands and skate across the frozen Lake Ontario, from Canada to New York. Of course, along the way, they face friends falling through the ice and other obstacles, but with parents getting divorced and losing the big hockey game, none of that seems to matter in comparison. What the film lacks is heart and any sort of stand out performance, at least from the looks of the trailer.
PASS
StillAlice-poster2 If you haven’t heard of “Still Alice” yet, you will. Julianne Moore is being raved about in her role as the title character who receives a diagnosis of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease when she suddenly starts forgetting things. Expect to see her nominated for an Academy Award for the performance and there are even early talks of her being the favorite to win. Alec Baldwin is the reliable actor we know and love him for in this, and Kristen Stewart continues down the road to being an actress to actually watch.
THEATER
TakeCare-poster “Take Care” looks painful. Leslie Bibb is a woman with a broken arm and no one to take care of her, so she calls her ex to come and be her assistant, making her food, giving her baths, and abandoning his new relationship to help her. What could possibly go wrong? The trailer is just a series of things not working out and why he sticks around is a mystery to me, but not one that I ever need the answer to.
PASS
ZeroMotivation-poster “M*A*S*H” meets “Orange is the New Black” is how the synopsis describes this new film from female Israeli director Talya Lavie, entitled “Zero Motivation”. One accreditation worth is it being the winner of the Best Narrative Feature Award at the Tribeca Film Festival, proving to be just as funny as it is dark. These young women look on-point for being satirical and droll with plenty of funny moments in the trailer alone.
25% MAYBE

THEATER

  • Still Alice
  • Wild

RENTAL

  • Life Partners

MOST LIKELY CATCH ON NETFLIX (75%)

  • Lap Dance

PROBABLY CATCH ON NETFLIX (50%)

  • Miss Julie

MIGHT CATCH ON NETFLIX (25%)

  • Comet
  • Dying Of The Light
  • Poker Night
  • The Pyramind
  • Red Knot
  • Zero Motivation

PASS

  • By The Gun
  • Concerning Violence
  • Fagbug Nation
  • The Foxy Merkins
  • Jingle Bell Rocks!
  • Murder Of A Cat
  • Pioneer
  • She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry
  • Skating To New York
  • Take Care

HELL NO

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