You know that urge to leave the everyday world behind, head for the tranquility of the wilderness and never see another tall building again? Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) exercised that urge, and "Into the Wild" is a visualization of the Jon Krakauer novel that told McCandless' true story. "Wild" picks up two years into the exodus, filling in the details through flashbacks that wisely break up the 148-minute (and otherwise mostly linear) narrative. Even more wisely, though - and with a skill that's not to be taken lightly - these scenes dress up the narrative without holding hands and dragging viewers by the wrists. "Wild" is an adventure film beyond anything else, and whatever details one gleans about McCandless and his family are refreshingly open to one's own personal interpretation. Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Catherine Keener and Vince Vaughn also star.
'Human Giant: Season One'
The concept of what is and is not funny is about as subjective a topic as there is in the realm of entertainment, so simply declaring that this half-hour, three-person (Aziz Ansari, Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer) sketch comedy show is extremely funny isn't exactly satisfactory for everyone. So let's put it this way: If you enjoy the comedic stylings of, say, "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" or "Mr. Show," there's a better-than-excellent chance you'll love this as much or more. "Giant" blitzes through its material, capturing the energy of a truncated evening at your favorite improv theater and distilling it through the wonders of television editing. It's frantic and often very loud, but all that energy simply provides dressing for some seriously smart comedy.
'Things We Lost in the Fire'
By her own admission, Audrey (Halle Berry) hated her husband Brian's (David Duchovny) very troubled best friend Jerry (Benicio Del Toro). But when Brian is killed and Jerry attends the funeral, the grieving widow invites him to put his life back together in her home while she attempts to do the same. As one might surmise from this plot description, "Things We Lost in the Fire" isn't a particularly happy movie. But a film need not be cheerful to be hopeful, and "Fire" manages to dish out the old "Time heals all wounds" mantra in a fashion that at once is scorchingly painful and unassumingly, sneakily inspiring.
'The Kill Point'
A pack of disgruntled former soldiers (led by John Leguizamo as Mr. Wolf) has decided that if the government won't pay them what they feel they deserve, a bank heist may do the trick instead. Given that this Spike TV miniseries spans eight episodes and 342 minutes, one could venture to guess such an idea doesn't go quite as planned. (Enter Donnie Wahlberg as hostage negotiator Horst Cali.) That running time, by the way, is primarily what makes "The Kill Point" worth watching. Bank heist movies have seemingly done everything they can with the genre, but stretch the story out over close to six hours, and there suddenly is room for detail that otherwise wouldn't be possible.