Film Friday #215

Wild (2014)

In  1995 Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) made the decision to walk the Pacific Crest Trail, a hike of over a thousand miles through desert. mountains and snow in an attempt to reclaim her life. Cheryl makes this grueling journey, almost entirely alone, using the time to contemplate the decisions she has made in her life that have lead her to this place with the catalyst being the death of her beloved mother (Laura Dern). As Cheryl battles fatigue, injury, the elements and her own fears she slowly starts to discover and forgive herself. With themes of domestic violence, addiction, grief and the nature of happiness, this biopic is hardly light fare but Witherspoon brings a realness to Cheryl that makes her a sympathetic character who takes us on this cathartic and ultimately uplifting journey with her. Although Cheryl is the architect of her own demise and could and should very well have made better decisions in life, her journey does not feel entitled or self-indulgent and it’s hard not to root for her throughout. It takes a lot for one performance to carry almost an entire film and Witherspoon absolutely brings it. It may not have been the most challenging role for her to portray but she does a lot with what she is given, ably supported by the always wonderful, Dern. It has to be mentioned that the scenery throughout the film is so beautiful that it actually made me contemplate going on a hike for fourteen whole seconds before I remembered that I hate being wet/dirty/hot, sleeping outdoors, nature and bears. I really enjoyed Wild despite the fact that I went in with pretty low expectations and it’s definitely one I would recommend. 4/5

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Cheryl had just remembered that she left her spare teapot behind

Into the Woods (2014)

The residents of a village near some woods all have fondly held wishes. A baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) desperately want a baby, Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) wants to escape her horrible step-mother (Christina Baranski) and step-sisters (Lucy Punch and Tammy Blanchard) and go to the Prince’s (Chris Pine) festival and Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) wishes his cow would give milk. The baker and his wife live next door to a witch (Meryl Streep) who boulders in one day and tells them the reason they can’t have a baby is that she cursed their house because the baker’s father stole her magic beans back in the day and then did a runner. In order to lift the curse the baker and his wife will need to bring her four things – a cape as red as blood, a cow as white as snow, a slipper as pure as gold and hair as yellow as corn. So they head into the woods where they will cross paths with not only Jack and CInderella but also Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) and more than one giant… but even when wishes come true does happily ever after actually exist? Okay so this is a musical and I’m not what you’d call a fan. The reason I don’t like musicals is because I find the kind of over-blown emotion insincere. However there are a few exceptions (Grease!) and after all the good reviews I read for this one I thought it might be another exception to add to the list. In this case the problem isn’t actually the songs or any OTT acting. The songs are fine and so are the performances. (Although I am not sure why Meryl Streep has had so many nominations for her performance. I love Meryl but all this film really requires her to do is a lot of shrieking and spinning around). It’s more that it just doesn’t really go anywhere and there are some tonal issues. This is a Disney production so the whole thing is very cutesy… which would be fine if that was the extent of things. However there are indications that Into the Woods wanted to go darker. Johnny Depp turns up as the wolf who is very obviously a metaphor for a sexual predator, but the representation stops short of where it could have gone. There is also a scene where the baker’s wife has it off with Prince Charming, which is completely outside the tone of the rest of the film. And it’s these tonal mismatches that stopped Into the Woods from working for me. I wish they’d gone all the way over to the dark side because that would have been very interesting and unique but instead this is a weird confection and I just don’t get the appeal. 2.5/5

abd

Waking up the morning after the Golden Globes Meryl somewhat regretted drinking all those Jagerbombs

LOL (2012)

Lola (Miley Cyrus), known as “Lol” to her friends lives in Chicago with her mother, Lily (Demi Moore) and siblings. She has a close-knit group of friends including her boyfriend, Chad (George Finn) and best friend, Kyle (Douglas Booth). After returning from the summer break Lol discovers that Chad has cheated on her and wants to break up. She is devastated but Kyle sees this as his chance to finally make his move. At the same time Lily is just as confused about love. She isn’t over her divorce and feels intimidated by the dating scene. In the lead up to the a a school trip to Paris, Lol and her friends will test their boundaries as they try to understand what it means to grow up. Every review of this film absolutely slates it. They are probably the worst reviews I have ever read. Now don’t get me wrong, this is by no means a good film. It’s predictable, the acting is pedestrian at best, it doesn’t really have much of a message and the characters are all pretty annoying. However it’s also not completely unwatchable and having once been a teenage girl (although it was quite some time ago) I could relate to some elements of it in a nostalgic way. It seems like many people are using a hatred for Miley Cyrus as the basis for their reviews rather than the actual content of the film. Realistically LOL is forgettable and harmless and I have seen far far worse films. If you like teen movies, it’s not the most horrible thing you could chuck on while you’re doing the ironing. 2/5

Dear Diary, today I showed loads of people my vagina...

Dear Diary, today I showed loads of people my vagina…

La Bare (2014)

A couple of years ago a little movie called Magic Mike came out. It starred Channing Tatum as a male stripper. You might remember it. It was quite successful. La Bare was made by one of the other stars of Magic Mike, Joe Manganiello, who decided to go behind the scenes of La Bare, the most famous male strip joint in the world to see what goes on. This documentary delves into the history of the club, the lives of the dancers and the rigors they through to be at the top of the male nude performance game. And boy is it a lot. Like the film teaches us to be a good female stripper you need to just look sort of good naked. To be a good male stripper you have to put on a pretty impressive show or most women will just be repulsed. it starts out entertaining but frothy but then takes a darker turn exploring the life of one of the dancers who was killed in a weird club shooting. Overall if you’ve seen Magic Mike there isn’t really much else to be gained from La Bare, which is not only less exciting but also features far less attractive men. I watched it for purely scientific reasons so you don’t have to. 2/5

Things were getting interesting in the IPC basement

Things were getting interesting in the IPC basement

26 Comments

  1. finally someone who I can relate with when it comes to Into the Woods! I recently wrote about it myself, and it almost felt like everyone except me absolutely loved it.
    here’s my opinion on the movie, if you care to check it out =)
    http://wp.me/p2DYTl-mR

    1. Abbi

      I just popped by and left you a comment. For me it was one of those cases where the whole was less than the sum of its parts.

  2. I really want to see Wild now, heard so many great things about Reese Witherspoon.

  3. Didn’t get to see Wild, but I’m like you–not sure I would like it, but I’ll bet I’ll enjoy the journey. Outdoors sweat, aches and pains don’t bother me. I love to hike and camp. And I like Reese W. in general anyway. Why the hell haven’t I seen this?

    1. Abbi

      I think you would really like it. She’s such a relatable character and the journey is so beautiful.

  4. For science… best defence of all time.

    Looks like another mixed bag lady!

    1. Abbi

      That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

  5. theipc

    For Science…. you gals are sure studying up lately!!

    I like it!!!

    That must have been the basement at my rent house – In the place where I live……. that’s where I keep the virgins….. and the smelting pot….

    1. Abbi

      I am nothing if not a servant to science!

      Not surprised that a man of your status requires multiple basements.

  6. Probably won’t see any of them, but well reviewed as always. Have an awesome weekend 🙂

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! Hope you do too!

  7. I didn’t get the chance to watch Into the Woods yet, and only saw the trailer, but I remember that bit of the baker’s wife and the prince and went like, “wait, what???” so, yeah, I see your point there.

    1. Abbi

      Loads of people loved it so don’t let me put you off 🙂

  8. I can’t wait to see Wild. It looks really good and I’m a big fan of RW.

    1. Abbi

      I think you’ll really enjoy it. It’s one of her best performances yet.

  9. Great post. Can’t wait to see Wild. Won’t be watching LOL or La Bare anytime soon. And we feel similarly about Woods. I also wish they would’ve gone the darker route. Everything was so silly and I hated most of the songs. Loved Meryl and Emily Blunt, though.

    1. Abbi

      I think Into the Woods could have been amazing if they went really dark but by hinting at it and then sticking to a mostly Disneyfied version it all just falls flat.

  10. I’m here to raid your Film Fridays! And work my way to Cinema Paradiso which I did read but wasn’t able to comment on at the time. 😉 Seen none of these and would probably rather be tortured than look at Miley but I’d like to see Into The Woods & Wild. It’s too bad that Into The Woods sounds a little disappointing…

    1. Abbi

      You are always welcome for a raid! Miley’s not SO bad. Lol! A lot of people really enjoyed Into the Woods so it’s definitely worth seeing to form your own opinion.

  11. It’s hard not to think about “Into the Wild”, the Christopher McCandless memoir starring Emile Hirsch, while watching Wild. It’s definitely different though because as you pointed out, Cheryl Strayed is a much more sympathetic character.

    1. Abbi

      There are definitely parallels but with McCandless you feel like he’s trying to escape reality while with Strayed you feel like she’s trying to find her way back to it.

  12. I still have to get caught up on Into The Wild despite it looking very boring in trailers! I doubt I’d even watch it if it wasn’t from the director of Dallas Buyer’s Club.

    As for Into The Woods…GARBAGE!

    1. Abbi

      Wild isn’t what I’d call high octane. It’s more of an emotional journey but I really enjoyed it.

      Glad I’m not the only one who didn’t like Into the Woods.

  13. I greatly approve of the subtitle on the Cyrus pic. Well said.

  14. I didn’t write a review for it last year but LOL wasn’t all that bad. It was actually better than I expected. I’m not a fan of Miley Cyrus and she’s not all too great in the acting department but the story here is alright. Like you said, there’s far worse. Although a tad forgettable because I’m not exactly sure I remember the story itself much..haha!

    1. Abbi

      Yeah it’s definitely better than I expected as well. I watched She’s All That over the weekend and it was definitely better than that!

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