View at Your Own Risk

A scene from 'The Wild.'

Samson the lion and Nigel the koala are part of the tame menagerie in Disney's film The Wild. Walt Disney Pictures hide caption

itoggle caption Walt Disney Pictures
Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page in 'Hard Candy.'

Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page in Hard Candy, a sort of Lolita meets Saw. Lions Gate Films hide caption

itoggle caption Lions Gate Films

NPR Movie Critic Bob Mondello sacrificed himself before the gods of cinema this week, so you won't have to this weekend. Here are two of his picks to view at your own risk.

The Wild: This must be the picture that finally drove Disney's execs back into the arms of Pixar. After seeing it, I'm guessing they were willing to pay whatever Steve Jobs wanted to re-up with a team with a little imagination. The digital animation's fine, but the script (a less interesting Madagascar, if that's possible) and the characters (a menagerie so tame that even the snake's looking for cuddle) would barely pass muster for a Saturday morning cartoon. The plot has something to do with finding your roar before the wildebeests take over as kings of the jungle, and the whole thing's noisy and crass and likely to bore all but the most undemanding 10-year-olds.

Hard Candy: Fourteen-year-old schoolgirl Hayley meets 32-year-old photographer Jeff online. They hook up, he takes her home, they make screwdrivers, he starts snapping photos, and bam, he konks out on the floor. When he wakes up, he's tied to a chair and Hayley's preparing to do some very grown-up things to him with a scalpel. It's Lolita meets Saw, or maybe Little Red Riding Hood as a feminist avenger. An impressive debut for Ellen Page (who was reportedly 15 during filming), the picture manages the neat trick of making you shift allegiances not once, but several times. It's undeniably effective, but ends up being disquieting for reasons that have as much to do with torture as with pedophilia. Slick and sick in about equal measure, it's hard to say just who Hollywood thinks is the target audience: Rape victims? Voyeurs? Sadists? Pederasts? There's something here to appeal to — and appall — all of them, but jeez... that's entertainment?

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