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When I was young, I saw a film titled, "Man in the Wilderness" (1971), which I still remember. "The Revenant" is based upon the same story (also titled "The Revenant," but written nearly 30-years after "Man in the Wilderness" was filmed). Of the two, the latter is *way* more spectacular, and - from what I remember - just plain better: a lot, lot, lot better. Leonard DiCaprio's performance won him an Academy Award for Best Actor, and from the other performances I've seen in 2015, it is fully deserved. Both DiCaprio and Supporting Actor Tom Hardy give two of the greatest performances I've ever seen in a single film - off the top of my head, I can't think of one movie with two better performances. "Midnight Cowboy," maybe, or "Rush?" If you enjoy films dealing with the human struggle to survive against all odds (and don't mind a bit, okay, a *lot* of graphic oomph), you'll really like "The Revenant" - it's not condescending at all. It even mentions Pawnee! Is Emmanuel Lubezki the best Cinematographer in the world? Don't be so sure he's not. Unless you've seen the film, you'll have no idea what this is, but it's a clear homage to prehistoric cave art, and just a beautiful shot: How good is "The Revenant?" I'm going to try and find, and watch, "Man in the Wilderness" - right now, knowing full well that I'm going to be disappointed. And there's no way that "Spotlight" - good as it was - should have taken Best Picture honors from "The Revenant." --- ETA - Make sure to watch "Man in the Wilderness" *afterwards*, and don't make the mistake of assuming that "The Bear" scene will be any less troubling.
When I first heard that a film about David Foster Wallace was being made, I was thrilled. Then I began reading articles about how his widow did not support "The End of the Tour." In the articles, she speculated that Wallace, who disliked the spotlight, would not have wanted a film to be made about him. That made sense to me, so, on principle, I avoided seeing it. Several months later, when the movie came out on video, a friend who is a Wallace fan and one of the few people I know who has also read "Infinite Jest," urged me to see it. Curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to look for it online. It was available to stream for free, so I decided, why not? I enjoyed "The End of the Tour" very much. At first, I was put off by Jason Segel playing Wallace. The actor, well known for such comedies as "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "I Love You, Man," seemed oddly cast to me. As I watched the film, however, my impression changed. I think Segel did an excellent job capturing Wallace's quiet spirit. He became the author to me, and I found his portrayal touching and believable. The film is the story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter and novelist David Lipsky, played by Jesse Eisenberg, and Wallace, which takes place right after the 1996 publication of "Infinite Jest." The article was never published, but is based on Lipsky's memoir, "Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace," written after Wallace's suicide in 2008. The relationship between the interviewer and the interviewee is fun to watch. Lipsky is in awe of Wallace, perhaps a bit intimidated and jealous, and Wallace is guarded at first, but also refreshingly candid when answering Lipsky's questions. I feel like I have a better understanding of one of my favorite authors after watching this film. Who knew Wallace had a secret crush on Alanis Morissette, and why? There is a scene at the very end of the film that shows Wallace doing something I never in a million years would have imagined him doing. Seeing this endeared him to me even more. If you are a fan of big films with explosions and car chases, this is not the movie for you. If you like quiet films about ideas and relationships, you probably will enjoy "The End of the Tour." If you are a Wallace fan, and particularly a lover of "Infinite Jest," this film, I believe, is a worthy investment of your time and attention.