Wonder (based on the R.J. Palacio novel) is a movie targeting tweens that follows a year in fifth grade with Auggie who was born with a genetic abnormality which required him to undergo surgeries and medical treatments. Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson play the parents and the movie is saccharin sweet with too many tear jerking moments and spoon fed life lessons. Predictable and formulaic. Sheesh, even the family dog dies. In the end, we get a full school auditorium applauding the brave young Auggie. An emotional lift but maybe the world is not all that kind.
Roman J. Israel, Esq. is the kind of movie you expect to have redeeming value but it misses the mark. Denzel Washington chose this lifeless story as his follow-up to his Oscar-nominated performance in August Wilson’s Fences. Denzel is Roman, a lawyer in a two-man criminal defense law firm in Los Angeles when his partner, William Jackson is admitted to the hospital. Roman now is front man in criminal cases in the face of an uncertain future. And, oh yeah, he has well researched idea about a movement for landmark legal reform.
Murder on the Orient Express is star studded production with Kenneth Branagh as the world-famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s novel. Branagh, the star and director behind the digitally-enhanced stab at bringing this ensemble vehicle back to life. Who done it? Well, everyone is guilty in this one.
Lady Bird is written and directed by Greta Gerwig and stars Saoirse Ronan as 17-year-old Christine, aka the self-proclaimed Lady Bird, who impatiently expresses her post-graduation intention to flee from her staid Sacramento and take off to the East Coast “where the culture is.” She derides her hometown as the “Midwest of California”. She lands her opportunity to go to college in NYC and only then does she fully appreciate her home town and her mom.