Couch Theater – Feb. 15, 2018

#Middlebury #CouchTheater

“Wonder” (PG) – Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) is about to start fifth grade after having been homeschooled for most of his sheltered life by his parents, Isabel (Julia Roberts) and Nate (Owen Wilson). That would be anxiety-provoking enough, but Auggie has a cranial abnormality, for which he has had 27 surgeries in his short life. He sometimes wears an astronaut’s helmet. People – especially kids – react when they see him. But this isn’t just Auggie’s story, and that is, perhaps, its greatest strength. It’s about kids figuring out how to treat their peers (and themselves); a sister struggling to be both supportive and seen; friendships and family; and ultimately the power of kindness and the many forms of bravery. You will love it, and your kids will love it. It’s based on the bestseller of the same name by R.J. Palacio.

“The Ballad of Lefty Brown” (R) – Lefty Brown (Bill Pullman, perfectly cast) is not a charismatic leader on the 1890s frontier; he’s more of a wing man or a sidekick type. Confidence is not the word that comes to mind when talking about Lefty. But after the shooting of his friend, a newly elected senator named Edward (Peter Fonda), he is thrust into the role of justice-seeker-in-chief. It sits awkwardly on his shoulders. Joined by a fame-hound, wet-behind-the-ears kid Jeremiah (Diego Josef), and hardened but recovering alcoholic tracker Tom (Tommy Flanagan), Lefty must find Edward’s killers and bring them back in order to clear his own name. Everything about this movie is a love song to classic Westerns. Director Jared Moshe casts the wilds of Montana brilliantly, and his adoration for the genre is abundant.

Richard Turner in “Dealt” (Sundance Selects photo)

“Dealt” (NR) – Card tricks are fascinating, and Richard Turner is the king of both card tricks and being fascinating, as this well-done documentary shows. He’s a self-described “card mechanic” (because he can “fix” a game), and his nimble fingers belie any hindrance to his art. You see, not only is Turner gifted in sleight-of-hand, he’s also blind. Director Luke Korem explores Turner’s hefty talent as well as his back story and supporting players, including his tireless wife, his sister (also blind) and his son: Asa Spades.

“Blade of the Immortal” (R) – Director Takashi Miike – who’s promoting this as his 100th film – does his glorious thing, combining an art for sword-induced blood spray with a penchant for humorizing gore and vengeance. Samurai Manji (Takura Kimura) lives forever in feudal Japan, an ageless immortal. He is recruited as a bodyguard to Rin Asano (Hana Sugisaki), who seeks revenge on the warlord Kagehisa Anotsu (Sota Fukushi), who murdered her parents. There will be bloodbaths and dismemberment, but there also will be expert choreography and incredible fight sequences.

New TV Releases
“Animal Kingdom” Season 2
“The Deuce” Season 1
“The Kids in the Hall” The Complete Collection
“Three’s Company” The Complete Collection

(c) 2018 King Features Synd. Inc.


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