Outtakes

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WALK THE LINE (PG-13) Walk the Line is an engaging, star-studded production that gives us a more or less accurate accounting of Johnny Cash's life, but there's a generic feeling to the movie very much at odds with the edginess of its subject. The movie follows Cash's rise to stardom in the '50s and his subsequent fall, duly noting the marital problems, the drug problems, the inevitable cold turkey turn-around and the eventual comeback. The film is a little too concerned, though, with creating an overly tidy arc out of the events of Cash's life, and there's little here of the epic scope of Ray, no real sense of why Cash was important. Joaquin Phoenix does a serviceable job evoking Cash's physical presence, and Reese Witherspoon's perky Carter is a lot of fun to watch (and fun to listen to; she's a surprisingly strong country singer) — but, frankly, this couple could be almost any pair of innocuously attractive lovebirds. 3 stars

WOLF CREEK (R) Despite the considerable buzz generated at Sundance, there's not ultimately much separating director Greg McLean's nasty little thriller from your standard garden variety kids-stalked-in-the-wilderness-and-hacked-to-bits flick. The story here (based on true events, we're solemnly assured) is basic and simple: three young pals (Nathan Phillips, Cassandra Magrath and Kestie Morassi), on vacation in the Australian outback, find themselves stranded and then pursued by a sadistic and seemingly invincible killer. The killer gloats, the kids die and that's really about it. 2 stars

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