Meryl Streep

‘Ricki and the Flash’ needs less drama and more rock & roll

Jonathan Demme must enjoy weddings. His last theatrical endeavor, Rachel Getting Married, focused on the chaos one family is thrown into after a daughter returns home for rehab for her sister’s wedding. Ricki and the Flash takes the same fractured family dynamic, but the wrecking ball this time is mom. Ricki Rendazzo (Meryl Streep), left her husband and three kids behind when she decided to chase her dreams to be a musician years ago. Flash forward a couple of decades and Ricki’s life hasn’t matched up with her dreams.

‘Into the Woods’ nearly killed me

Normally, I’m a fair and agreeable chap who approaches each movie with an open mind. I must warn you, however, that my review of Into the Woods will be neither fair nor agreeable. I will not be fawning over director Rob Marshall, who seems clueless as to what his own movie is about, nor will I be singing the praises of Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim, who has probably written grocery lists more pleasing to the ear than these tunes. What I will be doing is trying to deconstruct one of my most grueling cinematic experiences of 2014.

‘The Homesman’ sees Tommy Lee Jones direct the weirdest western in quite some time

Set during the pioneer era, The Homesman subverts the usual trajectory of westerns set in this time by instead focusing on a journey from what will eventually become Nebraska territory in the West to more Eastern Iowa, wherein defeat via the frontier is a primary concern, whether it be a defeat of the mind, body, soul, or all together. Director Tommy Lee Jones’s last theatrically released film was The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005), a contemporary neo-western with shades of Sam Peckinpah in its flavour. The Homesman may have the set dressing of a more traditional, old-school genre entry, but this film, adapted from Glendon Swarthout’s 1988 novel, is much more offbeat than one might expect.

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