Wonder is a drama directed by Stephen Chbosky and written by Jack Thorne, Steve Conrad, and Stephen Chbosky, based on the 2012 novel of the same name by R.J. Palacio. The film follows a child with Treacher Collins syndrome trying to fit in the mainstream. Having had a child born with a Bilateral Clef Lip, I was reluctant to see Wonder. Unlike the parents of Auggie, I never knew what the bullying was like for my child because I was divorced and had a prominent career that kept me from the close relationship between child, school and myself. After seeing Wonder, I was more mellon collie than ever, however it’s not a problem now, just a distant memory, since my daughter is a beautiful, highly educated women with a career of her own. Wonder reflects more on the bullying than anything else.
August “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) is a young boy raised in North River Heights in upper Manhattan, New York. He has a rare medical facial deformity, which he refers to as “mandibulofacial dysostosis.” Due to numerous surgeries (27), Auggie had been home-schooled by his parents Isabel Pullman (Julia Roberts) and Nate Pullman (Owen Wilson), but as Auggie is approaching middle school age, Isabel and Nate decide to send him to Beecher Prep, a mainstream private school. Fifth grade is tough for Auggie who is ostracized by nearly all the student body. He is bullied by being called a freak and rumors were spread that kids will get the “plague” if they touch him. He does befriend a boy named Jack Will (Noah Jupe).
Halloween is Auggie’s favorite holiday. He has to wear an old “Ghostface” mask and costume because his dog, Daisy, threw up on his “Boba Fett” costume. He walks around school unrecognized and is not tormented while incognito. As he walks through the door to his homeroom, he overhears his friend Jack telling Julian Albans (Bryce Gheisar) that he was “only pretending to be friends with Auggie.” Feeling betrayed, Auggie leaves school and wants to stay home during trick-or-treating. His older sister Olivia Pullman (Izabela Vidovic: older/Maccie Margaret Chbosky: younger), nicknamed “Via,” tells him she is still his friend and talks him out of it. Auggie later confides the incident to a new friend, named Summer Dawson (Millie Davis), but swears her to secrecy. When Jack notices that Auggie has become quiet and distant he asks Summer why, but she only gives him the clue “Ghost Face”. Jack is shocked when it dawns on him that it was Auggie wearing the Ghost Face costume, and thus had overheard everything he said to Julian. When Julian calls Auggie a “freak,” Jack becomes enraged and punches him in the face. A fight ensues between the two, which is soon broken up by their homeroom teacher Mr. Browne (Daveed Diggs). Jack is suspended for two days for his actions. Jack also apologizes to Auggie and the two friends reconcile. They even team up for a winning science project.
This is probably a good place to leave you wanting to see more of this very sensitive movie that is very well done. The acting is brilliant as is the make-up and directing. I really think everyone should see Wonder, especially “bullies” in hopes Wonder will strike a nerve. Anyone could and should put themselves in Auggie’s shoes, it’s not a very good feeling. I think this is a must see movie for everyone. Wonder can now be seen on DVD and Blu-ray. Check it out!
[Wonder is Oscar nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged amos conti, armen bagdasrov, august "auggie" pullman, benjamin ratner, bryce gheisar, charlotte cody, chewbecca, danny, darth sidious, daveed diggs, elle mckannon, isabel pullman, izabela vidovic, j douglas stewart, jack will, jacob tremblay, julia roberts, julian albans, maccie margaret chbosky, mandy patinkin, michael alan healy, millie davis, mr tushman, mr. brown, mr. davenport, nate pullman, noah jupe, olivia pullman, owen wilson, science fair judge, summer dawson, ty consiglio, via, victoria v cruz, wonder
I haven’t been this excited about a movie since 2015 began. I’ve seen thousands of movies but never one like this. No Escape is a thriller like none other. Owen Wilson who usually plays a comedic role, gave the character of Jack Dwyer a decent portrayal as a husband to Annie Dwyer (Lake Bell) and father of two little girls, Lucy and Breeze Dwyer. The movie opens with the Dwyer family flying from Texas to Southwest Asia where Jack is starting a new position heading up his water manufacturing company as an engineer. While at the airport, the family befriended a man they met on the plane, Hammond (Pierce Brosnan) who, along with his side kick, gave them a lift to the hotel because their ride never showed. From the moment they arrive, nothing is working. No internet, no TV, no telephone service, no messages from the company and noticeable traffic missing in the streets among other things. Disappointed and apprehensive, they called it a night with hopes of a better day in the morning. The next day when the hotel was unable to provide a newspaper, Jack had to walk a block or so to buy one from a local vendor. On the way back, all hell broke loose when a violent, bloody coup erupted. Unbeknownst to anyone, the Prime Minister had been assassinated earlier, then without regards for anyone else, the rebels went after everyone who wasn’t a member of the coup, especially Americans. The killings were ruthless and the scenes were so intense, I felt as if I was there. The situation was so hopeless, I didn’t see any way out. The worse part was the language barrier and the lack of information. Why was this happening and when was it going to end? Some of the scenes involved tactics that had me crying and softly repeating “OMG” over and over. I found it hard to get hold of myself. I am not usually this emotional but I couldn’t contain myself. I felt helpless and frightened, something I’ve never experienced at any movie. Intense is an understatement. I couldn’t understand why these rebels were so savagely cruel. No Escape was directed and co written by John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle (known for writing horror movies) who took us on a definite thrill ride you won’t want to miss.
Perhaps Inherent Vice is over my head or maybe it was just not my cup of tea or maybe it’s just a bad movie. I found it extremely hard to stay focused on it because the movie is all over the place with strange conversation. Why it won or was nominated for anything is more than I can comprehend.
The movie takes place in the 70s and stars a huge cast. Inherent Vice starts out with Shasta Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterspoon) visiting her x-boyfriend, Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) at his run down cabin. Doc is a private investigator, a hippy and a serious drug abuser. Shasta provides Doc with a new case involving her current rich boyfriend, Mickey Wolfmann (Eric Roberts). It seems Mickey’s wife and her lover plan to abduct him, then commit him to an insane asylum. Doc’s assignment is to stop this from happening.
Doc takes on 2 more cases which happen to be connected to the first case. The second case involves finding mickey’s bodyguard, Glen Charlock (Christopher Allen Nelson). Soon after taking on the second case and encountering many incidents, Doc takes on the 3rd case when he is hired by Hope Harlingen (Jena Malone) to find her missing husband, Coy (Owen Wilson). There are so many twist and turns and actors like Josh Brolin, Benicio del Toro, Martin Short, Reese Witherspoon and Maya Rudolph, to name a few. The dialogue is weird but the acting is great.
My 5.5 rating is mostly neutral. I’m not saying Inherent Vice is a bad film, just too different for me to truly enjoy. This, of course is my opinion — you should see it to form your own opinion. Inherent Vice is due to be released on DVD sometime in April 2015.
[INHERENT VICE is nominated for Costume Design and (Writing) Adapted Screenplay]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged benicio del toro, christopher allen nelson, coy, drug abuser, eric roberts, glen charlock, hippy, hope harlingen, inherent vice, insane asylum, jena malone, joaquin phoenix, josh brolin, katherine waterspoon, larry "doc" sportello, martin short, maya rudolph, mickey wolfmann, owen wilson, private investigator, reese witherspoon, shasta
Critics Gave The Grand Budapest Hotel a “Must See” rating. Choosing to see Budapest was a risk taking adventure for me as I don’t like slapstick comedy. Obviously, I saw it anyway. Hoping that it was going to beat out the competition, I let the other movies fall my the wayside in favor of The Grand Budapest Hotel, which was not exactly slapstick. I can’t say I made the wrong decision but I can say it was not a “Must See” movie. There was an unprecedented amount of stars in this movie starting with Jude Law who played an interviewer/writer and guest at the hotel. This is the story of Gustave H, played by Ralph Fiennes, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy, played by F. Murray Abraham as an adult and Tony Revolon as a young boy, who becomes his most trusted friend. This legendary concierge was a ladies’ man who had an infinity for blond, old, rich women. When one of them dies, he gets blamed for her death. This is when the movie takes form and any and everything goes. From Bob Balaban playing M. Martin to Adrien Brody who plays the dead woman’s son Dmitri to Willem Dafoe who plays a depraved killer named Jopling, I was intrigued. Stars like Harvy Keitel, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Edward Norton graces this film bringing it to a level of craziness I truly enjoyed. I was happy to see one of my most beloved actors, Jeff Goldblum who played deputy Kovacs as part of this wacky cast doing what he does best. If you like this sort of shenanigans, you will surely like The Grand Budapest Hotel. I was entertained and I thought it was funny. You might just want to wait for the DVD, as there were no special effects or any other reason to spend money for the price of a movie ticket.
[THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL is nominated for Best Picture, Directing, Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup & Hair Styling, Music: Original Score, Production Design and Original Screenplay (writing)]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged adrien brody, adult, bill murray, blond, concierge, crazy, deputy kovacs, edward norton, european hotel, f murray abraham, famous, friend, harvy keitel, jeff goldblum, jude law, ladies, legendary, lobby boy, old, owen wilson, ralph fiennes, the grand budapest hotel, tony revolon, wacky, wars, willem dafoe, young boy, zero moustafa