Tag: Owen Wilson


Wonder

December 6th, 2017 — 7:18am

****

Wonder-rm

 

It might not be too difficult to remember your feelings or your children’s anxiety at the time of the first day of school. In this case it is magnified exponentially as we see the situation through the eyes of a young boy who has facial deformities since birth. In addition he has been home schooled by his mother (Julia Roberts) until he is now starting fifth grade. This movie is based on a bestselling novel by R.J. Palacio, which has been extremely popular with both parents and children.( See Book review by Leo Blumenfield  Age 10 in 2014) In fact after Ms. Roberts read this story to her children and heard that the movie was being made, she wanted to play the mother.

The storyline follows the experience of this young boy Augie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), as he encounters his new classmates. We also appreciate the complicated reactions of other kids both boys and girls in this New York City Prep School. In addition, we gain insight into his oldest sister (Isabella Vidovic), who has been growing up with a brother she loves, but yet whose circumstances have indelibly shaped her relationship with her parents (Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson). We see how not only does Augie and his family have to deal with the challenges of the boy’s life circumstances but so do his teachers, the school principal (Mandy Potankin), classmates and some of their parents.

Accolades have to be given to Jacob Tremblay, the star of this movie who was ten years old when the film was made. In his young career he has been in several well-received movies including The Room for which he received critical acclaim. Director Stephen Chbowsky also deserves recognition not only because that should be the case whenever a young child actor stands out but also because he co-wrote the screenplay and directed a very complicated emotional story.

We both felt  that we were not only experiencing a very well done movie that was examining children and adults’ complex understanding in responses to one of the sad and unusual variations of the human condition but we also were deeply and visceral touched and brought to tears by how the story was played out on the screen. (2017)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Family / Kids

The Grand Budapest Hotel

April 5th, 2014 — 6:25am

***Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 10.57.22 PM

The Grand Budapest Hotel- rm–  This movie is a mixture of a fairytale, a romp with the keystone cops and a sophisticated mystery.  We are introduced to the Grand Budapest Hotel somewhere in Europe in modern times during an off-season. It is clear that the hotel has an interesting history, as does the one of main characters who we meet. That is an older Mr. Mustafa (F. Murray Abraham) now the owner of this Grand Lady of a Hotel that still is magnificent.  He takes us back to what are probably the 1930;s when he was a young lobby boy of the hotel known as Zero (Tony Revolori). He became a protégé of Mr. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) the legendary concierge of the hotel with whom he is about embark upon a great adventure.  Gustave is the perfect gentleman who befriends the wealthy men and women who come to hotel. One in particular Madame D. (Tilda Swinton) leaves a valuable painting to him, which he discovers when he travels to pay his respects after she is murdered. His young faithful companion accompanies him. Their adventure leads to confrontation with police, soldiers, and time in jail with an escape, a bad villain and a fanciful tale. It all probably should viewed as an allegory for the good times of pre World War II in Europe that were turned into death and destruction with precious memories by those who survived. The director and screen writer Wes Anderson is known for bringing imaginative story lines to the screen such as Moonrise Kingdom, The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore and many others. In this case he based the story on writings of Stephen Zweig. The dialogue is fitting the upper crust that is being served by the likes of Gustave and his lobby boy but then periodically breaks down into paradoxical comments that bring out a good laugh and reminds you that there is satire going on here. The setting is old Europe and it was filmed in Germany where Anderson and his crew found or created not only the Grand Hotel but also magnificent castle like mansions, prisons and even escape tunnels. The cast was excellent which included Jude Law, Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Owen Wilson, Jason Swartzman, William DeFoe, Adrian Brody, Bob Balahan and others. Some had very small parts but all were on the mark to give a realistic performance in a fantasy movie. (2014)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Comedy, Drama, Mystery

Midnight in Paris

June 5th, 2011 — 6:43am

***

Midnight In Paris rm-   The movie opens with a couple of minutes of  various beautiful scenes throughout Paris which made us both independently  feel that we are ready for a return trip to the city of lights. Woody Allen wrote and directed the film. You can not help but feel that it is Allen speaking through the main character who is Gil Pender(Owen Wilson),  a disenchanted  Hollywood screenwriter, who is  working on his first novel and is visiting Paris with his fiancée (Rachel McAdams) and her parents (Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy). Gil is enchanted with Paris and would like to live there for awhile but his fiancée thinks  that is a foolish idea. She would prefer to go sightseeing with Carol and Paul,  good friends who just happened to be also visiting Paris. Paul  is a know-it-all (wonderfully played by Michael Sheen) who has the  intellectual connection to Paris as compared the emotional attachment which Gil has formed with this city. Paul has the audacity to debate some historical facts with a museum guide who interestingly enough is played by Carla Bruni, well known singer, model and wife of the President of France. Whereas Gil after a few drinks and some wondering the streets of Paris at night is offered a ride by some party going people in what appears to be a 1920s Peugeot Limousine. He finds himself whisked to late night parties where he meets F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Alice Toklas, Salvatore Dali and other illustrious persons of Paris of this bygone era. He returns on succeeding evenings where he was picked up to visit to the Paris of old. He even gets Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) to read the novel he is writing. He becomes enamored with the mistress of Picasso who prefers to be taken even further back in time as she yearns to be in the Paris of the renaissance. It is then that Gil realize that that it is human nature to want to be back in the good old days and that we never recognize that we all have to live our lives in the present. So maybe after all these years Woody Allen has had a successful psychoanalysis. The result is a very charming, “feel-good” enjoyable movie.

Comment » | 3 Stars, Comedy, Romance

Back to top