Film Review: WILSON (USA 2016) ***

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

wilson.jpgDirector: Craig Johnson
Writers: Daniel Clowes (graphic novel), Daniel Clowes (screenplay)
Stars: Woody Harrelson, Sandy Oian, Shaun Brown

Review by Gilbert Seah

Woody Harrelson had a supporting role of a neurotic teacher who did not care a f*** in the indie film EDGE OF SEVENTEEN last year. It is as if he expanded that character fully and incorporated the character as WILSON, a film in which the lead character is a lonely, neurotic and funny man who has almost given up on life. When the film opens, he quips that at present all his dreams when he was a kid (like wanting to grow up an astronaut, doctor) are all mired down in disappointment. Wilson (Harrelson) is separated from his estranged wife, Pippi (Laura Dern) but still loves her.

Wilson is likely the saddest protagonist seen in a film this year. Wilson does have a super cute terrier, that he walks daily. Every one would stop to pat this cute thing. Wilson would do a fake dog voice when this happens, creeping the patter out Wilson is also the type who should sit next to a stranger when there are lots of empty seats around i a bus or coffee shop just to strike up a conversation The film uses these segments both for comedy as well as to introduce the character of Wilson to the audience.

As WILSON is a film about losers based on a graphic mover by Daniel Clowes, who also wrote the screenplay, its humour is a bit weird and obviously not for everybody – though I cannot complain as it is very funny.

Alexander Payne (ELECTION, SIDEWAYS, THE DESCENDANTS) was originally hired to direct (he serves as one of the `film’s producers) but Craig Johnson (THE SKELETON TWINS) took over, doing a fine job. The best thing about the film is its unpredictability, just like life itself. Wilson never expected himself to be thrown in jail. While confronting his daughter to give her s*** for testifying against him, he is given good news about being a grandfather. The jail term served by Wilson also surprisingly does him good, forcing him to be social in the prison society. It is believable that such a turn in character can occur.

WILSON is the role that Harrelson was born to play – annoying, eccentric, smart-talking while occasionally being smart. But he would not likely receive an Oscar nomination for such a small film. Laura Dern, an often under-rated actress does a marvellous job as the ex-wife, who keeps her dignity amidst losing her daughter and family. Acting honours also goes to the cute terrier.

In a nut shell, WILSON is a film about a sad middle-aged man called Wilson who through sheer termination finally comes of age in the goring up process. A small little small budget film, WILSON is charming and an entertaining enough film.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48cCcaxIi_E&vl=en

 

_________

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

Happy Birthday: Woody Harrelson

woodyharrelson.jpgWoody Harrelson

Born: July 23, 1961 in Midland, Texas, USA

Married to:
Laura Louie (28 December 2008 – present) (3 children)

 

 

 

 

White Men Can’t Jump
1992
dir. Ron Shelton
Starring
Harrelson
Wesley Snipes
THE HI-LO COUNTRYThe Hi-Lo Country
1998
dir. Stephen Frears
Starring
Billy Crudup
Harrelson
Anger ManagementAnger Management
2003
dir. by Peter Segal
starring
Adam Sandler
Jack Nicholson
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MENNo Country for Old Men
dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring
Josh Brolin
Tommy Lee Jones
Seven Pound
2008
dir. Gabriele Muccino
Starring
Will Smith
Rosario Dawson
Semi ProSemi Pro
2008
Directed by Kent Alterman
Starring
Ferrell
Woody Harrelson
ZOMBIELAND Movie PosterZombieland
dir. Ruben Fleischer
Starring
Jesse Eisenberg
Emma Stone
Harrelson
2012 Movie Poster2012
dir. Roland Emmerich
Stars:
John Cusack
Thandie Newton
Chiwetel Ejiofor
movie posterTHE THIN RED LINE
1998
dir. Terrence Malick
Starring:
Nick Nolte
James Caviezel
  MOVIE POSTERRAMPART
dir. Oren Moverman
Stars:
Woody Harrelson
Ben Foster
MOVIE POSTERFRIENDS WITH BENEFITS
dir. Will Gluck
Stars:
Mila Kunis
Justin Timberlake
THE MESSENGER Movie PosterThe Messenger
dir. Oren Moverman
Stars:
Ben Foster
Morton
Woody Harrelson
MOVIE POSTERTHE HUNGER GAMES
dir. Gary Ross
Stars:
Jennifer Lawrence
Josh Hutcherson
MOVIE POSTERGAME CHANGE
dir. Jay Roach
Stars:
Julianne Moore
Woody Harrelson
MOVIE POSTERFREE BIRDS
2013
dir. Jimmy Hayward
Stars:
Woody Harrelson
Owen Wilson
MOVIE POSTERTHE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
2013
dir. Francis Lawrence
Stars:
Jennifer Lawrence
Josh Hutcherson
MOVIE POSTERNOW YOU SEE ME
2013
dir. Louis Leterrier
Stars:
Jesse Eisenberg
Mark Ruffalo
MOVIE POSTERSEVEN PSYCHOPATHS
2012
dir. Martin McDonagh
Stars:
Colin Farrell
Woody Harrelson
MOVIE POSTERA PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION
2006
dir. Robin Altman
Stars:
Meryl Streep
Lily Tomlin
nudeTRUE DETECTIVE Season 1
2014
Starring:
Matthew McConaughey
Woody Harrelson
MOVIE POSTEROUT OF THE FURNACE
2013
dir. Scott Cooper
Stars:
Christian Bale
Casey Affleck
MOVIE POSTERA SCANNER DARKLY
2006
dir. Richard Linklater
Stars:
Keanu Reeves
Winona Ryder

 

Movie Review: NOW YOU SEE ME 2

now_you_see_me_2NOW YOU SEE ME 2 (USA 2016) ***
Directed by Jon M. Chu

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Lizzy Caplan, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman

Review by Gilbert Seah

NOW YOU SEE ME 2, the sequel to the unexpected hit NOW YOU SEE ME has the same 4 horsemen return for another round of magic trickery to astound audiences, whether they love magic or not.

Except for Lizzy Caplan taking over the female role from Isla Fisher, most of the original cast returns. Jesse Eisenberg plays the main role of Daniel “Danny” Atlas, the group leader followed by Woody Harrelson as Chase, Dave Franco as Jack Wilder, Caplan as Lula and Mark Ruffalo as the FBI mole. There are two sets of bad guys here. One is the FBI – a favourite target organization hated by (most) Americans and non-Americas alike. The other is Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe) an unethical magnate that the Horsemen want to expose for unethical tactics, together with his father, Arthur Tresslr (Michael Caine).

Performances are key to a movie like this. It is not surprising for the filmmakers to assemble such an an impressive cast, all of whom inject sufficient seriousness and energy into the venture. But Radcliffe (HARRY POTTER) looks ill at ease at playing a bad guy as does Michael Caine.

The magic tricks performed in the film are especially outlandish. The are also performed really quickly with the solutions provided ever quicker. When the horsemen first appear again in public, they chose the most famous venues in London such as Trafalgar Square. The tricks include making rain disappear and people transported by plane. But the trickery is explained with the solution often so simple. The disappearing rain is accomplished through rain machines and strobe lights.

The best trick on display involves the horsemen forced to flee from their enemy. They leap off a rooftop through a chute and land up in China. If this act appears impossible, the revelation of how this occurs illustrates the power of imagination in a script that writer Ed Solomon constantly impresses. Though the film runs more than 2 hours, it is too long even though one hardly feels it.

Just as magic often uses doubles, the script cleverly adds a component of Merritt’s evil twin brother, again played by Harrelson, hamming it out the best he can in two different roles.

The business aspect of the film? NOW YOU SEE ME 2 hopes to pull in some big bucks for the flailing Lionsgate, the studio responsible for HUNGER GAMES and the TWILIGHT films, now in dire need of a big hit after the shares took a plunge last earnings session after a drop in quarterly revenue. But the bottom line is that this film provides just more of the same tricks – nothing more, nothing less. The first film was a surprise hit taking the box-office by storm. Lionsgate has lumped a larger amount of $90 million into the sequel, a sort of ‘we need a hit regardless of expense’. The film is up against stiff competition with WARCRAFT and CONJURING 2 both opening this same weekend. Looks like Lionsgate needs some magic on its own.