In today’s day and age of remakes, reboots and retreads, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to come across major studio films that are truly worthy of moviegoers’ hard-earned dollars. The probability of finding a quality family film is even less promising, as the desire to pander to younger viewers often proves far too tempting for most filmmakers to ignore (even if they manage to defy formulaic storytelling to create something fresh). Even the once-flawless track record held by Pixar Animation Studios has been tainted in recent years (thanks a lot, Cars 2). These nearly insurmountable odds make Paddington, the new live-action film based on the decades-old British children’s book character, that much more of an accomplishment. Continue reading
If this year’s Oscar hopeful Wild offers a realistic take on the effects of personal tragedy and the difficulty in coping with the resulting revelation that life must in fact go on, Australian horror film The Babadook takes the same themes to terrifying new heights.
Essie Davis stars as Amelia, a single mother who – after her husband’s death – is faced with caring for her young son (Noah Wiseman) amid complaints from both family members and teachers that something is seriously wrong with her son. These mounting issues are only made worse when a disturbing children’s book about a sinister creature arrives on her doorstep. But is the Babadook real or just a figment of a traumatized child’s imagination? Continue reading
To a certain generation, Reese Witherspoon may still be best known for her fresh-faced performances in such varied films as Election, Cruel Intentions and Legally Blonde. Her onscreen charisma and ability to imbue wide-eyed innocents with both charm and surprising insight initially led Witherspoon to a career largely as a comedic actress, but in the last decade, she’s made a decisive move towards a more diverse filmography, leading to her Oscar win for Walk the Line in 2006. Wild is not only a continuation of that trajectory but, in fact, may be the actress’s crowning achievement. Continue reading