7:30 PM, 23rd October, 2015
I took a test in Existentialism. I left all the answers blank and got 100. – Woody Allen
They advise you to write what you know. Irvine Welsh writes about being a heroin junkie, and Woody Allen writes about neurotic, tweedy intellectuals with existential angst who get themselves into all kinds of trouble over affairs with scandalously young women.
Abe Lucas (Phoenix) is a philosophy professor with sympathies for Sartre, a drinking habit and a case of chronic, listless misanthropy. Newly appointed to a cushy teaching post at a small Rhode Island universtiy, the brilliant-but-burned-out Abe rekindles some empathy for the human race when he gets involved with teaching colleague Rita (Posey), a married woman, and Jill (Stone), one of his young students.
But his troubles really begin when, overhearing a conversation at a diner, he makes an apparently motiveless decision to intervene, with homicidal intent, in a bitter custody dispute between two complete strangers.
Consciously referencing both Dostoevsky and Camus, it’s Crimes and Misdemeanors meets Match Point meets Manhattan in terrain Allen has visited many times before and is always confident traversing.
Keeping in trend with his recent career resurgence with the same attention to character that has made his last three films surprise hits at the box office, Irrational Man – Allens’ 45th feature, no less – should please both fans of the his and those looking for something offbeat, philosophical and downright weird to watch tonight.
9:15 PM, 23rd October, 2015
If you enjoyed Reese Witherspoon embarking on a trek through the wilderness in last year’s Wild, but wished there were more bickering old men (and less Reese Witherspoon) in the film, then A Walk in the Woods is for you!
Robert Redford stars as aging travel writer Bill Bryson, who decides to reinvigorate his life and reconnect with his homeland by hiking the Appalachian Trail, a spectacular and unspoiled 3,500 kilometre span of America. Bill’s wife (Thompson) insists that he at least bring a friend along for the journey. That’s easier said than done, however, when everyone he asks is either uninterested, or worse, dead.
Eventually, a former friend of Bill’s – overweight, seizure-prone, down-on-his-luck philanderer Stephen Katz (Nolte) – invites himself along for the trip, despite the two men not having spoken in decades. Together, the odd couple set off on an adventure of a lifetime and soon find themselves having to survive rugged landscapes, icy weather, uninvited guests – and each other.
Stunning scenery and amusing mishaps aside, the highlight of the film is undoubtedly Redford and Nolte. The film serves as a wonderful showcase for the two veteran actors, who appear reinvigorated by the opportunity to play it light for once, after a recent string of oh-so-serious roles. A wonderfully fun time, A Walk in the Woods is one journey you’ll want to tag along for.
(I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Redford originally intended to make this film with his friend and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid co-star Paul Newman, who sadly passed away before it got off the ground.)