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Review: The Peanut Butter Falcon

Most movies with Down syndrome characters treat them with kid gloves, painting them as lovable but limited people. But in The Peanut Butter Falcon Zak (Zack Gottsagen) is anything but a sweet sidekick. He’s a young man with a dream of becoming a pro wrestler, and to that end he escapes from the residential home where he’s being housed, and teams up with Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) a man on the run from some pretty angry people he’s wronged. What follows is a funny odd couple/road flick with lots of heart as Zak and Tyler elude their chasers and share an adventure in the wetlands of the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Everest

The biggest star of Everest is the mountain itself. So if you plan to see the movie, you’ve got to spring for the IMAX 3D. Bring popcorn – and oxygen! In many ways, the movie is reminiscent of Gravity (which I liked visually, but disliked narratively), only this time, the action takes place on a mountain instead of deep space. It’s an immersive experience that offers a glimpse into what drives certain adventure-seekers to pay big money to forego hot showers, oxygen, and terra firma, in a potentially fatal effort to summit the world’s tallest peak. The movie is based on the true story of one deadly day on the mountain: May 10, 1996. Climbers from two expeditions got caught up in an unexpected, violent snowstorm while making their final ascent toward the summit.

The Sessions

I’ll make this quick, because it’s an indie best reviewed by the indie-minded among us (note to Arty Chick – the screener is headed your way). I watched The Sessions for the same reason I watched Shame last year. I’d heard that the story was interesting and the performances excellent. And it’s true. It’s just not my cup of tea. And let’s just say it could make for one awkward date movie, unless you’re both heavy into psychology, therapy and the like. The film is based on the true story of Mark O’Brien, a poet who contracted polio as a child and became paralyzed from the neck down. He depends on an iron lung to survive and though smart and funny (in a dry, sarcastic kind of way), his situation does not exactly attract the ladies.

Martha Marcy May Marlene

You may not be able to remember the title, but you certainly won’t forget the movie. Martha Marcy May Marlene is one of those films that you find yourself still thinking about days later. It’s been getting a lot of buzz because of the performance by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s little sister, Elizabeth, and I have to say the buzz is not wrong. Her performance is outstanding.

Winter’s Bone

Winter’s Bone is bleak realism at its best. You may leave the theater happy, but only because no matter what, you’ll realize your life is a billion times better than the poor girl’s at the center of this film. Jennifer Lawrence plays Ree Dolly, a 17-year-old whose meth-making father has left her with a chronically sick mother and two younger siblings to take care of. When Dad was arrested for drug dealing, he put the house and some timbered acreage up as collateral for his bond and then disappeared. Early on, Ree is informed that unless Dad shows up in court, the house and land will be taken and she and her family will be left homeless. And this is in the most impoverished part of southern Missouri and it is winter.