Movies: Wonder, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Blade Runner 2049

Wonder

This is a remarkable film based on the R. J. Palacio’s 2012 bestselling novel about a family whose youngest member is born with Treacher Collins syndrome.  (It is a genetic disorder.  The condition is apparent at child birth and may be mild or extreme and include downward slanting or cleft eyes, a very small or underdeveloped jaw and chin, hearing/vision loss, misaligned teeth, small ears.  Symptoms may be corrected/improved with extensive reconstructive surgery.)

This film is a drama that displays a disarming empathy and grace.  More importantly it sends a powerful message about the current bullying climate.

The cast is quite compact.  Jacob Tremblay (of The Room) plays Auggie.  Izabela Vidovic shines as the sister.  The always superb Julia Roberts is the Mom with Owen Wilson as the devoted Dad.  Other stand outs include Daveed Diggs as the teacher.  Noah Jupe, Bryce Gheisar and Millie Davis as young classmates wise beyond their years.

This book/movie has captured a grammar school audience nationwide.  Our screening included two school groups who read the book as a class project.

It is rated PG for thematic elements including bullying and some mild language.  It is listed as a Drama and runs 1 hour, 53 minutes.

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

It is finally that time of year again.  Late Fall movie releases start to pop up like  Spring flowers.  Typically that means Hollywood’s heavy hitters make one (or more) last stand for Oscar worthy films.  To be sure, Three Billboards will be among them.

Over 7 months after the murder of her daughter, a frustrated and angry mother, Mildred Hayes channels her pain into three billboards near her home to bring attention and embarrassment to the town’s Police Chief.

It is skillfully written and directed by Martin McDonagh.  The acting is exceptional.  Frances McDormand delivers her best performance in years.  The prolific Woody Harrelson plays the Chief of Police, married with two young daughters.  Sam Rockwell plays a jaded over zealous police officer.  There are at least another dozen actors giving great performances that feed the story line.

It is rated R for violence, strong language throughout and some sexual references.  We do not feel this film is suitable for children.  The genre is listed as a Crime/Drama.  It runs 1 hour, 55 minutes.

Do not miss this film if you have any interest in the upcoming awards season.  This film has Oscar written all over it!

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Blade Runner 2049

This Blade Runner is a follow up to the original made some 30 years ago.  Now Officer K, Ryan Gosling, has discovered a long lost secret that will plunge what is left of Los Angeles society into chaos.

This rendition is a gripping, dark look at the world in the not too distant future.  Along with Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford from the first film appears almost two hours into the story.  Jared Leto and Robin Wright also give powerful, although relatively short, appearances.  There are another dozen or so other actors filling in various story lines.

Overall, it’s an intriguing  follow up to the 1982 blockbuster original.  The special effects are a stand out in this episode.  Expect to see several Oscar nominations for the technical categories, cinematography and costume design.

It is rated R for violence, some sexuality, nudity and language.  The genre is noted as Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction and Fantasy.  We think it is absolutely not appropriate for children.

Most reviews have been favorable.  Us, not so much.  Too confusing, too long (a whopping 2 hours and 44 minutes) and too many unanswered topics.

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