This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story and characters in a way that feels bracingly true to life. It's also a rare movie that's infused with strong emotions right from the start, but never dips into any kind of sentimentality. Indeed, director-cowriter Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) holds his nerve as he takes the audience into some remarkably moving situations. And most importantly, it's the kind of film that encourages us to make the world a kinder place.
At the centre of the story is 10-year-old Auggie (Room's Jacob Tremblay), who has been homeschooled by his mother (Julia Roberts) and is now entering a mainstream school. Everyone in the family is nervous about this, including his dad (Owen Wilson) and big sister Via (Izabela Vidovic), because Auggie has a facial deformity that makes him a target for small-minded bullies. But his headmaster (Mandy Patinkin) is determined to help smooth the way, introducing him to the sensitive Jack (Suburbicon's Noah Jupe) and the popular boy Julian (Bryce Gheisar). While Jack becomes a friend, Julian's vicious taunts make Auggie's life difficult. Meanwhile, Via is left on her own to face the fact that her best friend (Danielle Rose Russell) seems to be drifting away.
The story is told from a variety of perspectives, which adds surprising insight as the film explores how Auggie's condition affects him and the people around him. The details are so finely observed that the movie often feels almost journalistic in its approach, which makes it that much more involving.
Continue reading: Wonder Review
August 'Auggie' Pullman is a 10-year-old boy born with Treacher Collins syndrome which has caused facial birth defects and he's had no fewer 27 surgeries. He has been homeschooled throughout his childhood but is about to enter his first year of mainstream school at Beecher Prep. His parents are, of course, worried that he'll be the subject of bullying - no matter how much they assure him that he's special. Unfortunately, that's just what happens to him, but there are at least some school kids that are determined to build a friendship with him and make him feel welcome. Some kids are reluctant to associate with him, but after hearing some revelatory things, realise that the people they want to be are the people that will love Auggie for who he is.
Continue: Wonder Trailer
By Rich Cline
With a powerhouse cast and an anaemic script, this violent revenge thriller never quite gets off the ground. It's watchable for the character detail, but resolutely refuses to make any logical sense as it charges through its corny plot. Fortunately the slick filmmaking and charismatic acting hold our attention, adding a hint of sophistication to the bluntly brutal story.
It's set in the Louisiana bayou, where former undercover agent Phil (Statham) is trying to have a quiet life with his young daughter (Vidovic). But the locals are wary of outsiders, and a schoolyard confrontation escalates into a feud between Phil and a resentful woman (Bosworth) who calls her gangster brother Gator (Franco) for help in getting even. Gator quickly discovers Phil's past, then enlists his trashy pal Sheryl (Ryder) to contact Phil's old enemies. But as these ruthless thugs descend on the bayou, they fail to take into consideration the fact that Phil has nearly super-human fighting skills.
There's plenty of possibility in this rather tired premise, but Stallone's boneheaded script never bothers to make things believable, skipping over key details and indulging in trite coincidences. Fleder manages to obscure this with his fluid, pacey direction, and the cast is unusually good for such a simplistic thriller. The charismatic Statham doesn't stretch himself much, occasionally attempting a bit of real acting in the father-daughter scenes (his romance with LeFevre's teacher is never developed). Bosworth and Ryder add some unpredictable edges to their stereotypical roles. And it's Franco who steals the film as an unusually thoughtful redneck thug. Although his moral quandary doesn't put off any of the nastiness.
Continue reading: Homefront Review
Phil Broker is an ex-cop sadly widowed and left with his 10-year-old daughter Maddie. The pair decide to move to a beautiful small Southern town with the most stunning lake views, a good size house and plenty of places for quiet horse riding. However, their utopic vision is ruined very soon when a bully targets Maddie at her school. Like her father taught her, she fights back and she and her father find themselves facing the wrath of one unhappy parent with connections to the local drug lord Gator. Soon their lives get very comfortable when Gator begins to torment them by breaking into their house while their out. When he discovers Broker's former occupation, he and his comrades arm themselves and set out to teach this newcomer a lesson. Broker can handle himself, but when his daughter his kidnapped, he finds himself fighting harder than he ever has before.
Continue: Homefront - International Trailer
Phil Broker is a former DEA agent who moves to a beautiful small town with his 10-year-old daughter Maddie after the death of his wife. It seems like the perfect place to live with its incredible lakes, horses and a large house, but things aren't always what they seem which Phil finds out when his daughter fights back against a bully at school. The mother of that bully takes revenge by getting in touch with Gator; a local drug lord who enjoys subjecting his victims to weeks of fear and paranoia. He breaks into Phil's house while he and Maddie are out and doesn't hesitate to leave a few clues that someone's been there. Phil proves to be able to handle himself, but that only puts him in further danger when Gator and his crew force their way into the house at night armed with guns and try to take his daughter from him.
Continue: Homefront Trailer
Electronics giant keen to improve online player's profile
The much-loved film Zombieland, starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone, is to receive its own pilot, with Amazon Studios pushing ahead plans to bulk up its online player profile. The pilot will be one of 12 pilots made available on the player for free, with their subsequent levels of popularity helping to decide which of them will then be made into a full-length TV season to air on Prime Instant Video.
“Zombieland is a fan favorite, and we can’t wait to see where this story line goes in a serialized format,” said Amazon Studios director Roy Price in a statement reported by The Hollywood Reporter today (March 25, 2013). “We’ve been announcing a lot of exciting exclusive content for Prime Instant Video, like ;Downton Abbey, Under the Dome and Justified, and we think adding original shows to that lineup is going to make Prime even more enticing for customers.”
Paul Wernick is among the writers of the show, and he commented “Zombieland will strive to break the rules: action, adventure, thrills, chills and laughs and all packed into a half-hour format. This is not your average show, but Amazon is not your average network." Kirk Ward (from The Island) has been cast as Tallahassee, while Maiara Walsh (DesperateHousewives), Tyler Ross (Milkshake) and Izabela Vidovic will play Wichita, Columbus and Little Rock, respectively.
Continue reading: Amazing Studios Confirms Zombieland Pilot: Can It Match The Movie?