I read Bill Bryson's A Walk In the Woods right after I read Cheryl Strayed's Wild, and it was the perfect counterpoint: fewer dying moms, more funny moments communing with nature. It's such a funny book it seems like it would be a pretty easy job to translate to the screen, which is something star Robert Redford has been trying to do for about 10 years, originally hoping to team up with his best loved co-star Paul Newman.
Obviously, that didn't pan out. Instead we have Redford paired with Nick Nolte in a movie that is supposed to be a comedy, but fails completely and utterly to be funny.
Maybe the first problem is that the Bryson who originally attempted to walk the over 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail was a middle-aged guy in his 40's. Redford and Nolte are in their 70's. Even if they're supposed to be, say, 15 years younger in the movie (ha, nice try, if so), it still changes the tone from "This idea is folly! You aren't in your 20's anymore you know," to "Oh god you're both gonna die." Pratfalls lose their comedic edge when all you can think about is broken hips.
I'll grant that in some ways the casting of Nick Nolte as Katz seems perfect; I can think of few actors who you can take one look at and instantly think: This guy is in no condition to walk across the street let alone two thousand miles. The problem is, it's uncomfortable to watch. Nolte's face is perpetually crimson; he doesn't walk, he stumbles; and his gravelly voice has gotten so rough that at times it's impossible to understand what he's saying. It's like watching a heart attack personified.
Both Redford and Nolte have been in comedies — some good ones! — before. But they have no comedic chemistry at all, and throughout the film, they come off like actors who have zero understanding of comedic timing. Perhaps this is the fault of the director Ken Kwapis, or screenwriters Rick Kerb and Bill Holderman. All I know is two hours of Redford just sitting on screen reading the book out loud would yield more laughs than this movie does.
This stirring meditation on Eastern European sex-trafficking HAHAHAHA just kidding.
Named anything else, this would probably be a completely fine Netflix/On Demand discovery, but by branding it as a Transporter movie the filmmakers have bought trouble. When I was watching the film, I couldn't help but consider the From Dusk Until Dawn TV show, which suffers from a similar issue: the main guy in the FDUD series is no George Clooney, and Ed Skrein is no Jason Statham. But since both properties are branded with the iconic franchise names, you can't stop thinking how much better either would be with the OG actors in their rebooted roles.
Admittedly unfamiliar with fighting, combat sports, and martial arts, one-time rapper Skrein is, god bless him, doing the best he can in this Transporter-typical Eurotrash tale of some sex-workers who decide to get theirs. But his best isn't good enough, especially when he's confronted with battle.
To compound matters, there's a potentially fun father/son subplot, as This Year's Frank Martin is joined by Frank Senior, played by the delicious laundry pile of charisma known as Ray Stevenson. Stevenson is so good, so charming, and so cool that he makes junior look like a total fucking amateur.
The film tries hard to be a Transporter movie, with the great car gags (one at an airport stands out above the rest), attempts at the innovative fight staging, gorgeous scenery, and casual misogyny the franchise is known for. But it's hard to enjoy all that when you're wishing Statham was at the wheel. -- Eve Batey
Jobs Jobs Jobs! A few years back, there was the disastrous biopic starring Ashton Kutcher as Jobs, and before the end of the year, we'll get another one, this time starring Michael Fassbender. So now's as good a time as any to see Jobs played by Steve Jobs. This documentary looks at his beginning, his end, and his legacy.
Brazilian drama about a nanny who has had to live away from her own daughter for years, and the clash that happens when said daughter must move to Sao Paulo and live with her mother's second family/employer.
RIP Wes Craven! As tribute to the horror movie icon, who died this week at the age of 76, the Roxie will be screening the original — AND BEST — A Nightmare on Elm Street all weekend. Come for Johnny Depp getting eaten and spit out by a bed; stay for the cinema's most disturbing dirty phone call. And whatever you do, DON'T FALL ASLEEP!
Because that's like totally rude to your fellow moviegoers.