Wonder

As a middle school teacher, Wonder is a book I have seen before existing that I have blatantly ignored. It had an interesting cover, sure, but a guy can’t just go and read everything that is hip and cool with the kiddos.

I was still excited for this one, as I knew a lot of librarians and English teachers and students who talked highly about the book. So sure, I would watch it and hope for the best, and not worry about comparing it to the book.

Oooh, I wonder wonder what’s in a wonder film.

Family
Maybe that helmet is full of wonder balls.

August “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) is a boy who had a lot of problems right out of the womb. He has been in the ICU, and has had many surgeries. There were many problems, and basically, he now has a really different looking face when compared to other kids. Because of his issues, he has been homeschooled his entire life by his mother (Julia Roberts), who put a degree on hold. His dad (Owen Wilson) works and tries to keep the humor in the house, and his older sister, Via (Izabela Vidovic), just has to deal with most of her problems on her own.

His family thinks it is time for him to finally join the real world. It will be hard for him to go to a real school, but it will be harder the more they put it off. So he is signed up for an academy for middle school that starts in the fifth grade and does a lot of advanced science work. Auggie loves science, dreams of being an astronaut, and has been using a space helmet to hide his face when going out in public.

Middle school is going to be a hard adjustment for Auggie. But he doesn’t realize is that many kids are finding it to be a hard adjustment. And that school itself is a hard adjustment, across its various levels. Auggie will realize the value of friendship, betrayal, and more, and that he also is not the center of his own universe.

Also starring Noah Jupe, Mandy Patinkin, Bryce Gheisar, Elle McKinnon, Daveed Diggs, Ty Consiglio, Kyle Breitkopf, Millie Davis, Ali Liebert, Danielle Rose Russell, Nadji Jeter, and Ben Ratner.

Woods
When they recreate frame by frame that scene from Deliverance? A bold choice from the director.

My first initial thought about Wonder: The movie only made me cry three times, what a shitshow. A good film needs five cries minimum.

But then I got over my not super salty cheeks and thought about the film and story as a whole. The film isn’t just about a dude with a messed up face learning to cope. It is about his whole family moving on with his condition. It is about his sister finding herself, i is about his friends realizing their own fuck ups. Shit, it is even about his sister’s friend realizing she is a fuck up.

It is a really easy conclusion to come to as well, because the film is formatted in a way to (quite obviously) show several different point of views. I have been told the book does it more frequently and better, but I did really appreciate it when it happened in the film. I got giddy with each iteration. If anything, one of the reasons the rating isn’t hire is because the film didn’t go deep enough in this method. Don’t introduce point of views and do it half-assed. Basically every time it did so, it did it only once, and then didn’t do it for enough characters. Let me see all of the other side characters who acted weird, go all in damn it.

I was able to connect with a lot of the characters, including Auggie, despite only having a minor facial deformity myself. Except the deformity I have made me really really attractive, so I guess people stared at me for other reasons.

Acting is swell, and honestly, a shout out to Wilson. He was more than a generic joking dad. He had some really sweet and tender moments as well, less than the mom character, but he did a lot with his lesser screen time.

3 out of 4.

Homefront

I can’t believe I almost forgot about Homefront! Maybe because it doesn’t feel like a holiday movie? No idea. But this was the last movie I had on my mind when I went to go see movies coming out before Thanksgiving.

I guess what I am really saying is that a Red Dawn remake made a bit more sense than Homefront for the holidays.

Stathan
Don’t stare too long. You will start assuming the smoke is some sort of strange facial hair.

Phil Broker (Jason Statham) is a former DEA agent. He is an excellently skilled fighter, in hand to hand combat and in gun shooting, sure, but really he was terrible at his job. The movie opens with him undercover in a Biker gang, four years of work. They are doing a drug bust finally, and from what I can tell as a movie viewer, he does everything wrong. Like reveal that he is undercover to the people he is bringing down, instead of pretending to get arrested too. He goes on a full on chase, and it ends with the death of the leader’s son, and the leader locked away.

So of course Phil goes into retirement and hiding. It is actually unclear if it was necessary, I guess. Because it isn’t witness protection, he just moves to a middle of no where place in Louisiana (which is somehow still in that same biker gang’s turf). So I don’t think he is hiding too hard.

Well, he lost his wife, and is now a single dad, with his daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic). He just wants to live a peaceful life, but there are rednecks here who hold grudges over the smallest things. Like when Maddy beats up a Bully, after warning him. So his parents (Kate Bosworth, Marcus Hester) hate Phil now.

So the brother in law, Gator (James Franco) gets involved, a local meth dealer boss here. So of course he knows people, has connections, blah blah blah. The tiny event turns big, and now the biker gang knows where he is, and people might die.

Annnd that’s about it. Winona Ryder plays a former crack whore (that’s the movie term, not mine), Omar Benson Miller a friend of Phil, and Clancy Brown the local sheriff.

Franco
Believe it or not, his character is not high right now.

So, right from the beginning, this movie began to disappoint. The undercover bust was one of the worst attempts at catching a criminal base that I ever saw. First, somehow their tactic included kill, not apprehend, as many of the gang members as possible. They took out the lights way before they were in position. The only prisoner they got was the leader, which is almost pointless. And of course Phil gave himself away at the first opportunity and didn’t even try to stay undercover.

I guess they had to find a bad way to get the movie started.

But after that, this was mostly a bad drama/action movie without a lot of the thriller moments implied from the trailer. With the trailer and the title being Homefront, they showed a lot of Statham in his house, preparing to defend it from a huge amount of attackers. A nice home invasion story, which would be the conclusion. Well, it wasn’t the conclusion, and he didn’t stay in the house. Right when they got there, he left the house, and then they did a bunch of shooting in the woods. The shooting itself went super quickly, and was in the dark, so we couldn’t see a lot of how it went down, depriving me of the action I deserve.

The drama components were bad. Too many scenes were tense for no reason. Statham was a huge dick to the local sheriff, who just wanted to know what was going on. Absolutely no reason.

He was a dick. And he wasn’t entertaining for me. That is all. Waste of potential of a movie. Franco was decent though.

1 out of 4.