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TRACKS

With this film and Reese Witherspoon's Wild later this year, true stories of women on grueling journeys of self-discovery is a hot plot line. Here it's Mia Wasikowska playing Robyn Davidson, who hiked 1,700 parched miles of Australian Outback with four camels and a dog.

USA Today's Claudia Puig wrote: "Not only is Wasikowska's performance subtle, contemplative and pared down, but she actually looks bedraggled and blistered, as if she really is traveling the sun-baked terrain. Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts were once attached to the film, and it's hard to imagine either playing the role without vanity or glamour as Wasikowska so winningly does."

On the other hand, New York Daily News film critic Elizabeth Weitzman wrote: "Director John Curran (The Painted Veil) shoots the gorgeous and unsparing Outback with a solemn respect that parallels Davidson's connection to the land. But fidgeters take note: While Curran aptly reflects the solitary romance and despair of the trip, he also captures an ever-so-slow moving pace."

Tracks (PG-13) opens Friday at Veterans 24 in Tampa.

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THE LIBERATOR

Still proud of that fifth-grade report I wrote on South American founding father Simon Bolivar, and the "A" that it earned. Too bad The Liberator (PG-13) wasn't produced then, or a little show-and-tell might have added a plus sign to the grade.

The Liberator stars Edgar Ramirez as Bolivar, tracing his life from an aristocratic childhood to the presidency of the sprawling Gran Colombia nation, later divided among six countries.

Variety film critic Dennis Harvey called The Liberator "a respectable, sprawling endeavor that covers nearly three decades of tumultuous events. Yet it lacks that essential spark that would turn it into a great biopic rather than a competent one, and make history seem alive rather than merely illustrated."

Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter chimed in: "To tell the extraordinary story of Simon Bolivar on screen in two hours represents a Sisyphean struggle of the first order but, as such ventures go, The Liberator gives it a half-decent shot - half, because the film would need to be twice as long to even begin to tell the whole story."

The Liberator opens Friday at Regency 20 in Brandon, Veterans 24 in Tampa and Woodlands Square 20 in Oldsmar.

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