Times are tight in films and life 

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It's that time of year in Whistler. A time when looking at your bank account statements is enough to drive a person to drink, if only we could afford it.

For a lot of us, these next few weeks are when the complex ratio of the survival-party continuum really gets tested. To make matters worse, the TD Bank is rolling out a new line of bank machines that do away with the deposit envelope. That's great for the environment but it essentially kills the old trick of depositing an empty envelope, instantly withdrawing the money and then pretending you "spaced" on including the actual cheque when the phone call comes Monday morning. (Words of wisdom: that kind of creative financing and the fiendish thinking behind it never pays off in the long run and is also probably technically fraud. But it works in a pinch doesn't it?)

Indeed, times are tight all around. Avengers: Age of Ultron only made $187 million domestically last weekend. Can you believe it? That's not even close to the first Avengers' $207 million opening. I suppose the $439 million Ultron brought in overseas is a bit of a consolation but still who can ever truly be happy with only the second-best opening ever in the history of movies? Kinda disappointing.

Speaking of last weekend, the Mayweather-Pacquio fight netted each boxer something like $80 to $100 million each, which is peanuts right? Except that it was apparently the most underwhelming fight ever. I skipped it because real boxing is never as good as Rocky and the sport has a shitty history of ignoring blatant domestic abuse under the pretense that "it comes with the territory."

But don't too let your financial woes bring you down, movie fans, because times are tough all around. Even Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon has had to stoop into what looks an awful lot like a pay-cheque film. Hot Pursuit, opening Thursday at the Village 8, stars Witherspoon (Walk the Line, Wild) as an by-the-book cop tasked with transporting and protecting a sexy Latina witness (Sofia Vergara) with a gaggle of crooked cops and even more crooked criminals in, wait for it... hot pursuit. There were no press screeners available (bad sign) and although I always like a good double-entendre title this one could easily be called Cashgrab Crosswalk, because it looks pretty pedestrian.

On that note, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is still playing locally, but tense sci-fi showpiece Ex Machina and potential horror game-changer It Follows are still noticeably absent. Combined with the aforementioned financial woes of slow season, this means more play for the download of the week:

Wild is widely (and legally) available online now and Canadian director Jean -Marc Vallee (C.R.A.Z.Y., Dallas Buyers Club) and writer Nick Hornby (High Fidelity) deserve credit for crafting the best film about walking since Lord of the Rings. Based on Cheryl Strayed's 2012 memoir of a recently divorced sex-and-drug addict who finds herself, and more, on the 4,286-mile Pacific Crest Trail.

In a community like Whistler, Wild's themes of growth and revelation through suffering in nature make it easily relatable but Vallee also pieces the film's flashbacks and on-the-trail moments together in a way that builds tension and meaning from the first steps to the final look back. Reese Witherspoon stars and literally carries the whole thing on her back. A flick like this only makes Hot Pursuit look that much worse.

Speaking of outdoor fun, there is a whole slew of kick-ass adventure and mountain-culture films screening in Whistler in the next few weeks as we roll into the second annual GO Fest. The Whistler Film Festival is bringing in six flicks from six countries to screen at Millennium Place on May 16 and 17 for their Adventure Film Series.

More to come on just how rad this is next week, but the early standout is Jon Long's The Search for Freedom, which stars icons like Kelly Slater, Tony Hawk, Gary Fisher, Annie Boulanger and more in a flick focusing on the very concepts that keep this town humming — living in the moment, catching the flow, and creating a life based on a risk-reward system that will never make money on Bloor Street.

From wingsuit madness to motocross gnarl, this one is definitely right up our alley. (Also, Jon Long is a rock-climbing icon who wrote the treatment for the underrated Sylvester Stallone epic Cliffhanger, so that also rules).

Also this month, our new neighbours at Pinkbike are premiering their latest feature. Builder is the first full-length mountain bike film by Scott Secco and it features key riders each teaming up with a trail builder to create unique features and then rip the living crap out of them. Very much a stand-up-and-cheer shred flick this one goes down at the GLC on May 16th. Expect a party afterwards because few towns can premiere a film in a bar the way Whistler does. Better start saving your toonies.


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