Movie News & Reviews

DVD Picks: ‘A Walk in the Woods’ tops Dec. 29 releases

‘A Walk in the Woods’

(R, 104 minutes, Broad Green Pictures): The film is based on the best-selling memoir by Bill Bryson, who chronicled his attempt to tackle the challenging Appalachian Trail. Robert Redford plays Bryson as a whimsical curmudgeon who reveres the beauty of his country more than the people who inhabit it. Nick Nolte, whose mammoth stomach, unkempt hair and gravelly voice are perfect for his part as the unfit, funny, slovenly Katz, a recovering alcoholic school friend of Bryson’s who insisted on coming along for the trek. Comedy isn’t the hallmark of Redford’s career, but released from the shackles of his serious stereotype, he glorifies every gag in the script. There’s something here that is warmly entertaining as the stars gripe at each other across the country. These are characters you instantly like and want to succeed as they plod from failure to failure.

‘Bone Tomahawk’

(R, 132 minutes, Image): There’s a humming genre intelligence at work in the grim, witty horror-western “Bone Tomahawk.” It’s a classic oater setup, with small-town settlers kidnapped and an armed sheriff-led posse heading toward a violent confrontation — only the threat is a band of cannibal savages. The film is ultimately sold by its cast, who commit fully to Zahler’s discursive indulgences: Kurt Russell plays a wise, pragmatic sheriff; Richard Jenkins an eccentric deputy; Matthew Fox is a puckish gentleman vigilante; Lili Simmons is a doctor captured by villains; and Patrick Wilson is her determined husband. If the movie proves anything, it’s that Russell’s gruff, easygoing magnetism – also seen in the new Quentin Tarantino film, “The Hateful Eight” – is a sorely underused movie asset.

‘Heist’

(R, 93 minutes, Lionsgate): As vapidly generic as its title, British director Scott Mann’s “Heist” is a by-the-numbers crime thriller that squanders a decent cast, including Robert De Niro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Dave Bautista. When a botched riverboat casino heist forces the fleeing perpetrators to commandeer a half-empty commuter bus, they find themselves having to duck both the pursuing cops and the quietly menacing wrath of the casino’s owner (De Niro). Those expecting another “Speed” can unbuckle their seat belts. This particular vehicle, previously known as the equally nondescript “Bus 657,” crawls along an awfully familiar route, weighed down by all the usual suspects.

‘The Perfect Guy’

(PG-13, 100 minutes, Sony): “The Perfect Guy” is a glossy, cliché-laden revenge thriller about the perils of meeting Mr. Too Good To Be True. A successful lobbyist with a sleek glass house nestled in the Hollywood Hills, Leah (Sanaa Lathan) would appear to have it all, save for a stalled relationship with a nice-guy architect, Dave (Morris Chestnut). After breaking up with Dave, she encounters the dangerously handsome Carter (ridiculously charismatic Michael Ealy) in a café, and sparks immediately fly. But rather than realize the charmer who drives a vintage black Charger is the sort of soft-spoken loner whom pets tend to growl at, Leah impulsively inducts him into the Boyfriend Hall of Fame, with unsurprising repercussions of the restraining order ilk.

Also out Dec. 29

  • Hitman: Agent 47
  • Jenny’s Wedding
  • Ray Donovan: Season 3
  • Shameless: Season 5
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