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Is “Wonder” wonderful? “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” ionic? Popcorn Bag home video reviews!

KANSAS CITY, Mo --- An adaptation of R. J. Palacio's children's novel was a big hit at the box office. Did it deserve the attention? Russ and Shawn cover the video release as well as the latest from Denzel Washington.

 

1) WONDER (PG)

Lionsgate

If you decide to see “Wonder,” the adaptation of the bestselling children’s novel, be sure to have Kleenex handy. Young Jacob Tremblay is solid as Augie, a boy born with a serious facial deformity. His parents, played by Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, home school him to protect him from the cold, cruel world. Augie has some tough challenges when his folks finally decide to send him to public school.

While the movie is emotionally manipulative, it’s so well made and acted that you probably won’t mind. It gently promotes its message of kindness and is a welcome relief from Hollywood cynicism.

 

SHAWN says, “It’s a well-made TV movie-of-the-week with big stars.”

 

RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

 

2) ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. (PG-13)

Columbia Pictures/Sony

 

Denzel Washington puts on yet another acting clinic in “Roman J. Israel, Esquire,” a drama about an activist LA defense lawyer who, upon the death of this law partner, makes some reckless moral compromises.

 

It has some interesting moments but together they don’t quite add up to a fully satisfying whole.

 

SHAWN says, “Denzel Washington elevates what is essentially an unwatchable story.”

 

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 2 Popcorn Bags

 

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