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Directed by Dallas Buyers Club's Jean-Marc Vallee and based on a best-selling memoir by Cheryl Strayed, Wild stars Reese Witherspoon as a formerly heroin-addicted divorcee who decides to regain control of her spiralling existence by taking a 1,000-mile hike across the North American west.
Through a series of flashbacks, the narrative weaves in and out of Cheryl's present journey through the perilous but inspiring outdoors, and her past - the traumatising catalyst of her mother Bobbi's death, her descent into sex and drug addiction and her crumbling marriage. Her past hardships only highlight the several obstacles we see her overcome on her journey, including threats from rattlesnakes, a vanishing water supply, and the gargantuan backpack she lugs around, nicknamed 'The Monster'.
Nathaniel's adventures in Toronto. Running on fumes...
Color me surprised that my favorite among the consensus Best Picture hopeful Oscar launches from festival season (the others being Foxcatcher, Imitation Game and Theory of Everything... though I have yet to see Birdman which didn't play here) is Jean-Marc Vallée's Wild, an adaptation of the memoir by Cheryl Strayed. How could a months long solo hike across the Pacific Crest Trail be so cinematic? The answer is in its smart mosaic, visual and aural, as Reese hikes through expansive physical and intimate mental terrain. The present and the past converse and overlap consistently in the sound design like fragments of song sung, hummed or played as if remembered - who is singing? and snippets of dialogue the same evocative way.
- NATHANIEL R
Cheryl Strayed’s heartrending 2012 account of her 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail presented no shortage of obstacles en route to the bigscreen, not least in the way it used the great outdoors as the backdrop for a resolutely interior journey. But director Jean-Marc Vallee, screenwriter Nick Hornby and star-producer Reese Witherspoon have met the challenge head-on with imperfect but rewarding results in “Wild,” that represents a fine addition to the recent bumper crop of bigscreen survival stories. Resting squarely on Witherspoon’s sturdy shoulders (along with the back-crushing backpack she carts around throughout), the Fox Searchlight release should be admiringly received by critics and arthouse audiences come Dec. 5.
Still, the film could face some competition from John Curran’s equally accomplished “Tracks” (set to open Sept. 19 Stateside), this year’s other adaptation of a bestselling woman-in-the-wilderness memoir, and it remains to be seen whether it can improve on »
- Justin Chang
Telluride, Colo. — Fox Searchlight’s world premiere of “Wild,” starring Reese Witherspoon, kicked off the 41st Telluride Film Festival on Friday, screening to a packed Chuck Jones theater audience that included Witherspoon, co-star Laura Dern, director Jean-Marc Vallee and surprise guest Oprah Winfrey.
The pre-screening buzz on the adventure drama was all about Witherspoon. It was deserved: she offers a tour de force performance that moves her solidly into the Oscar race in the best actress category, where she last won in 2006 for “Walk the Line.” But the film should compete in many other categories, including supporting actress for Dern, who plays Witherspoon’s mother.
See Also: Photos from Telluride Film Festival’s Opening Day
Vallee, who last directed “Dallas Buyers Club,” easily »
- Tim Gray
Telluride — There is a moment near the end of "Wild" where Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) runs into a young boy and his grandmother out on a weekend hike. Strayed has walked hundreds of miles on the Pacific Crest Trail in an attempt to deal with personal, emotional pain that has plagued her most of her young adult life. After learning of Strayed's heartbreaks the young boy (Evan O'Toole) sings her the song "Red River Valley." In the hands of a lesser director this scene could have been overly saccharine and misplaced. But director Jean-Marc Vallée makes it as artful and touching as it needs to be. Clearly, we should not have doubted him. Vallée was one of the main creative forces of "Dallas Buyers Club," but did not earn a Best Director Oscar nod. Instead, he made due with an editing nomination. This was disheartening in some respects because there »
- Gregory Ellwood
Healthy, even heated competition between film festivals is nothing new. Cannes was founded in the late ’30s as the French response to Venice. In recent years, Shanghai has felt the heat from the government-backed Beijing, while both SXSW and Tribeca have sought to position themselves as viable alternatives to Sundance.
Rarely, however, have such tensions spiked quite so visibly, or with such high stakes involved, as in the case of Telluride and Toronto.
Nestled deep in the Rocky Mountains, the 41-year-old Telluride Film Festival is an intimate four-day affair that screens a highly selective program for Hollywood elites and deep-pocketed movie buffs. The 39-year-old Toronto Film Festival is an 11-day press and industry behemoth, Byzantine in its complexity and Canadian in its efficiency, which unspools about 300 features and attracts journalists, publicists, filmmakers and dealmakers from all over the world. Two very different events, forced by the vagaries of art, commerce »
- Justin Chang
Authorities rescued three men making a pilgrimage to an abandoned bus in the Alaska wilderness made famous by the book and film Into the Wild. Three hikers, two from Wisconsin and a third with no known address, needed help last week after one of them tripped and hurt himself with an ax, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported. They ran into trouble on Aug. 6 on the Stampede Trail just north of the entrance to Denali National Park and Preserve, about 180 miles north of Anchorage. The Tri-Valley Volunteer Fire Department responded and gave the three hikers a ride
- The Associated Press, Ashley Lee
The name Craig Roberts has been high on the list of promising film talent ever since he took the screen by storm in Richard Ayoade’s film, Submarine, in 2010. That role brought with it well-deserved recognition, and a slew of varied offers, including The Double, Bad Neighbors and 22 Jump Street. Now, Roberts is turning all that good will into tangible opportunities behind the camera, by beginning pre-production on his own directorial debut at the tender age of just 23 – Just Jim.
Written by Roberts himself, Just Jim features the lead character realizing that he will be considered part of the socially acceptable group of teenagers, if he can successfully negotiate with his handsome and mysterious American neighbour. While Roberts is expected to play the lead, Emile Hirsch has been cast in the role of his neighbour. The cast is rounded out by Aneirin Hughes (Young Dracula), Nia Roberts (Doctor Who), Richard Harrington »
- Sarah Myles
Roberts plays a teenage loser who life is turned around by the appearance of an enigmatic, handsome neighbour (Hirsch). Aneirin Hughes, Nia Roberts, Richard Harrington and Matthew Aubrey also star. [Source: Screen]
"Well, Iggy Azalea, I just worked with her two weeks ago. I guess you'll be the first person that knows this - we casted her in Fast & Furious 7. She has a cameo in Fast & Furious 7." [Source: Billboard]
- Garth Franklin
The story centres on Jim, a teenage loser who life is turned around by the appearance of an enigmatic, handsome neighbour.
Just Jim was selected as one of three finalists of Ffilm Cymru Wales »
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
If you’re into travel-log movies like Into the Wild or the more recent The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, then this Reese Witherspoon starring drama should be right up your alley. Wild is a movie about self-discovery, the story of Cheryl Strayed, a woman who took a 1,100 miles journey on foot as a way […]
On Wednesday, Fox Searchlight Pictures debuted the first poster for their upcoming film, Wild. Today the studio has released the first trailer for director Jean-Marc Vallée’s (Dallas Buyers Club) new movie. Check it out below.
With the dissolution of her marriage and the death of her mother, Cheryl Strayed has lost all hope. After years of reckless, destructive behavior, she makes a rash decision.
With absolutely no experience, driven only by sheer determination, Cheryl hikes more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, alone. Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her.
- Melissa Thompson
The film is a true story based on the best-selling memoir Stryaed who documented her self-destruction from heroin and the collapse of her marriage after her mother’s death left her devastated. At a cross-roads in her life and on a quest for her own forgiveness, Strayed set out to walk a thousand miles on a solo trek across the Pacific Crest Trail from Mojave Desert in California to Washington State. With no prior hiking or backpacking experience, Staryed’s journey through self-discovery and healing leads her closer to nature and the root of her personal demons.
Wild might remind you of that other personal journey, Into the Wild which saw Emile Hirsch slog through the Alaskan wilderness on a hitchhiking journey. Like that film, Wild’s Strayed encounters several colourful characters »
- Rachel West
‘Tis the season for red, white and blue patriotism, which finds perfect cinematic expression in the pro-American military thriller Lone Survivor, which recently debuted on Blu-ray. Based on The New York Times bestselling book “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of Seal Team 10,” Lone Survivor doesn’t stop to ask any big questions about what we’re doing in the Middle East, let alone offer any Kubrick-ian treatise on the nature of war. Instead, it simply dramatizes with harrowing effectiveness the true story of four heroic Navy SEALs who fought against the Taliban to the bitter end out of unmitigated love of country and their fellow American soldiers. Hit the jump for my complete Lone Survivor Blu-ray review. Academy Award nominee Mark Wahlberg (2006 Best Supporting Actor, The Departed) stars in the film as real-life hero and “Lone Survivor” author Marcus Luttrell, a Seal sniper who, »
- Harrison Pierce
The Academy has announced the new class of invited members for 2014 and, as is typical, many of which are among last year's nominees, which includes Barkhad Abdi, Michael Fassbender, Sally Hawkins, Mads Mikkelsen, Lupita Nyong'o and June Squibb in the Actors branch not to mention curious additions such as Josh Hutcherson, Rob Riggle and Jason Statham, but, okay. The Directors branch adds Jay and Mark Duplass along with Jean-Marc Vallee, Denis Villeneuve and Thomas Vinterberg. I didn't do an immediate tally of male to female additions or other demographics, but at first glance it seems to be a wide spread batch of new additions on all fronts. The Academy is also clearly attempting to aggressively bump up the demographics as this is the second year in a row where they have added a large number of new members, well over the average of 133 new members from 2004 to 2012. As far as »
- Brad Brevet
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 271 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures.
Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2014.
“This year’s class of invitees represents some of the most talented, creative and passionate filmmakers working in our industry today,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “Their contributions to film have entertained audiences around the world, and we are proud to welcome them to the Academy.”
The 2014 invitees are:
- Michelle McCue
Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong’o of 12 Years a Slave were two of the 271 artists and industry leaders invited to become members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which determines nominations and winners at the annual Oscars. The entire list of Academy membership—which numbers about 6,000—isn’t public information so the annual invitation list is often the best indication of the artists involved in the prestigious awards process. It’s worth noting that invitations need to be accepted in order for artists to become members; some artists, like two-time Best Actor winner Sean Penn, have declined membership over the years. »
- Jeff Labrecque
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced its 2014 invitees to join the Academy, and the list has plenty of familiar faces.
Of the 271 invitees, 20 are actors, 11 are directors, 19 are writers, and 12 are composers. Many were nominees or winners of Oscars this year.
"This year's class of invitees represents some of the most talented, creative and passionate filmmakers working in our industry today," said Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs in a statement. "Their contributions to film have entertained audiences around the world, and we are proud to welcome them to the Academy."
Some of the actors who will join the fold this year include: Best Supporting Actress winner Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years a Slave"); Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("Enough Said"); Best Supporting Actor nominees Michael Fassbender ("12 Years a Slave") and Barkhad Abdi ("Captain Phillips"); Josh Hutcherson ("The Hunger Games"); Clark Gregg ("The Avengers"); Best Supporting Actress nominee June Squibb ("Nebraska"); and Jason Statham. »
- Katie Roberts
Pop quiz: What do Chris Rock, Claire Denis, Eddie Vedder and Josh Hutcherson all have in common? Answer: They could all be Oscar voters very soon. The annual Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences invitation list always makes for interesting reading, shedding light on just how large and far-reaching the group's membership is -- or could be, depending on who accepts their invitations. This year, 271 individuals have been asked to join AMPAS, meaning every one of them could contribute to next year's Academy Awards balloting -- and it's as diverse a list as they've ever assembled. Think the Academy consists entirely of fusty retired white dudes? Not if recent Best Original Song nominee Pharrell Williams takes them up on their offer. Think it's all just a Hollywood insiders' game? Not if French arthouse titans Chantal Akerman and Olivier Assayas join the party. It's a list that subverts expectation at every turn. »
- Guy Lodge
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has invited 271 individuals to become members, with the list reflecting the org’s determination to bring more diversity to its ranks.
Every year, the list of invitations includes several recent Oscar nominees. That’s true this year as well, with letters going out Wednesday to a cross-section of people including 2013 contenders Barkhad Abdi, Lupita Nyong’o, Hayao Miyazaki, Pharrell Williams, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, plus such creatives as Megan Ellison, Chris Rock, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Steve Coogan, Jason Statham, William Chang Suk Ping, Joan Sobel, Tracey Seaward, Mads Mikkelsen and Chantal Akerman.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs told Variety Thursday, “This is a continuation of an initiative to bring in new voices. Filmmaking has gotten more diverse, and audiences have been responding. There are terrific filmmakers around the world at the top of their game and we want to recognize them and bring them into the Academy. »
- Tim Gray
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