"Into the Wild": I should have done my homework on this one; I didn't, and I got burned. The trailers promised an inspirational "inspired by true events" wilderness adventure. What the film delivered was a reasonably accurate dramatization of the last two years of Chris McCandliss's life; apparently writer/director Sean Penn found something admirable in McCandliss; I have no idea what that was, and the movie didn't sell the point. Yes, McCandliss was intelligent, driven, and charming. He was also utterly self-absorbed and self-destructively self-confident.
McCandliss gave away all of his money and disappeared immediately after graduating from college; the only word his family received from him was when his abandoned car turned up some three months later, and when his body was found and identified two years after that. In the meantime he hitch-hiked and rode freight cars across the country, occasionally stopping to work odd jobs, and launched himself into a series of ill-conceived and pointlessly dangerous wilderness adventures. Eventually he starved to death within 20 miles of a highway, mostly because he had not bothered to acquire a map of the area he was camping in. "He was charming, he was energetic, he lived stupidly, he died," is not the material for a watchable movie. I want my two and a half hours back.
"Martian Child": This is the film version of David Gerrold's fictionalized account of his experiences adopting and bonding with a small boy. It is by turns heartwarming and disturbing, and definitely worth seeing. The fictional child is more disturbed that Gerrold's son; Gerrold is gay, as is his avatar in the original story, but the character in the film is a widower. This latter change disturbs me a bit, and may well have been a bad move financially: a bit of anti-gay backlash might have actually HELPED the film's box office. On the other hand, that would have cut Amanda Peet out of the film, and I LIKE Amanda Peet...