The Book of Henry (2017)
With the popularity of the film Wonder (2017) and Room (2015), it seems like Jacob Tremblay is starting to pop up all over the place. However, this time around in The Book of Henry, Tremblay is not the main young actor in the film. It is Jaeden Lieberher in the starring role. Lieberher got a lot more recognition in his boost to fame part in the movie It (2017). Excluding the kids from the renowned Netflix Original TV Series, Stranger Things (2016), Tremblay and Lieberher are probably the most popular child actors right now. With Naomi Watts playing their mother in The Book of Henry, this movie looked entertaining.
The Book of Henry is about a genius 11-year-old boy who works together with his mother to try to stop the child abuse of their next door neighbor girl.
The movie was directed by Colin Trevorrow and the noteworthy cast includes Jaeden Lieberher, Naomi Watts, Jacob Tremblay, Dean Norris, Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace, Maddie Ziegler, Bobby Moynihan, Geraldine Hughes, Joel Marsh Garland, and Wass Stevens.
After you get past the fact that the premise of this movie is super farfetched, it is enjoyable enough. The story is all too convenient, but yet tastefully done. Many complications in the storyline were solved all too easily and in a very formulaic fashion.
I fault the writing for everything that is wrong with The Book of Henry. The filmmaking was good enough overall, but the story was just really lacking.
For their age, the young actors in this film are superb. Lieberher is the standout in the movie. I definitely expect to see these to young actors continuing to have successful careers.
I usually really like Watts as an actress, but did not care for her much in this film. I am not sure if it was because I did not like her or her character. She was dumbed-down so much for this movie that it almost seemed like she was miscast.
The irresponsibility and stupidity of Watt’s character is not believable when you see just how much of a mastermind her oldest son is supposed to be. He is so beyond crazy smart at 11 years old that it seems impossible to fathom. Get past that and The Book of Henry is average. It is a drama with some unexpected twists and turns. Some ideas about the story really worked, while others just did not.
I rate this movie a 5.5 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
Stand By Me (1986)
St. Vincent (2014)
Stranger Things (2016)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
The Goonies (1985)
Trailer for Replicas (2018)
Replicas is a film about a scientist who becomes obsessed with bringing his family back from the dead after they died in a car accident.
Keanu Reeves continues to make excellent choices in the movies that he decides to make. This appears like it will be a fun and dark Sci-Fi thriller. It looks like a sort of new-age Frankenstein. It is hard to go wrong with Keanu because he is usually likable in whatever film he decides to make. I am looking forward to this one.
The film was directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff and the noteworthy cast includes Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch, John Ortiz, Emily Alyn Lind, and Emjay Anthony.
The movie is currently set to release on August 24th, 2018.
The Disaster Artist (2017)
When I first saw the trailer for this film, I thought it was just going to be just another James Franco and Seth Rogen disaster of a movie. I feel like James Franco is a very talented actor who has made many terrible choices when it comes to the films that he decides to be a part of. I think that he has this need to want to be funny all of the time, when in reality, he is a much better serious actor than comedic actor. He seems to not take his career very seriously.
I blame Seth Rogen for James Franco’s often wasted talent. The two are best friends and it seems like Rogen has sucked Franco into the world of stupid and crude humor. Sometimes it works for them, but usually it does not. Either way, James Franco belongs in films opposite heavy hitting actors like Robert De Niro and Frances McDormand, like he was in City by the Sea (2002). He rises to the occasion and does his best work when he is surrounded by talent. His skillset is dumbed way down when he tries to be funny and is the most talented person in the room.
James Franco’s little brother Dave Franco has followed in his big brother’s footprints. Dave got his break in comedy and often, seems more believable than James when it comes to crude and stupid humor. Dave is likable, but is only famous because of his older bro. Dave lacks the acting gift that his brother continues to take for granted.
Needless to say, I waited to see The Disaster Artist on DVD.
The movie is based on a true story about two unlikely friends who move to Hollywood to try to become big movie stars. After they fail desperately, they decide to make their own movie together to try to get famous even though they are in hopelessly over their heads. The Disaster Artist is the story of Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero and how they came to make the movie The Room (2003).
The movie was directed by James Franco and the noteworthy cast includes James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Ari Graynor, Paul Scheer, Jacki Weaver, Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson, June Diane Raphael, Megan Mullally, Jason Mantzoukas, Melanie Griffith, Bob Odenkirk, and Tom Franco.
It is almost as if James Franco and Seth Rogen were sitting around one day, likely smoking pot, and they thought as a joke, it would be funny to make a movie about the worst movie ever made. Then, they went ahead and did it.
The movie The Room, The Disaster Artist is about the making of, has become a cult classic and apparently, widely known as one of the worst movies ever made. Ironically, The Disaster Artist won some awards for mimicking one of the worst movies ever made. James Franco won a Golden Globe for his role in the film. Let that sink in for a moment.
James Franco likely would have been nominated for an Academy Award for The Disaster Artist, but has had some bad publicity about sexual misconduct, as of late. This is easily why the Academy left him out.
Like the title suggests, The Disaster Artist is a true disaster. James Franco’s character is unusually bizarre and humorous, and has a dreadfully annoying voice with a terribly bogus accent. However, after a while, the voice is pretty comical. He played his senseless character very well. I am not sure that is saying much though. James Franco delivers a grand performance of being awful.
It is a tiny bit weird seeing the Franco brothers acting opposite each other, but also likable. Because of their dumb characters, it was just stupid overall.
The fact that James Franco directed did not mean a whole lot in this movie. I think it just says more about how he does not even try to be good anymore.
The film was cheap because it was trying to be cheap. But, it was still cheap and less than B-rated cheap.
Zac Efron and Josh Hutcherson both had fun cameos.
When Seth Rogen tries to be serious, it does not work. Serious is out of his league and his desperate attempt to mask this, bleeds through. This makes his character less believable and therefore takes away from the film.
It is worth noting that Dave Franco and Seth Rogen have been in 5 movies together and James Franco and Seth Rogen have made 6 movies together, excluding television and documentaries. This is not similar to Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn getting cast together often because it works. This is more like Adam Sandler getting his buddies together to make a comedy to pay the bills. It gets old and worn out. Still, I think it would be fun to watch the Franco Brothers get together and make a serious movie as a way to try again.
Once again, for James Franco, the talent is there, but he just does not channel it into the right work. The Disaster Artist is in fact, a misadventure full of squandered talent and wasted time. Is it skill to duplicate a train wreck and the whole process of a train wreck? Not in my book. It is entertaining at times, however.
I rate this movie a 3 on a scale of 1-10.
Here is a list movies that I recommend that are better than this one:
Ed Wood (1994)
City by the Sea (2002)
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)
127 Hours (2010)
Tropic Thunder (2008)
Get Shorty (1995)
The Aviator (2004)
The Best Movies of 2009
Below is my list of the best movies that I have seen that were released in 2009 (even if some were made in 2008). I have included trailers for each movie. Click on any of the highlighted titles for my full review of that film. I highly recommend all of these movies. I will continue to add to this list if I see any more movies from 2009 that are worthy of this list.
Public Enemies (2009)
The Hangover (2009)
The Box (2009)
The Road (2009)
Movies that were good, but did not quite make the list are:
State of Play (2009)
The Messenger (2009)
The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2009)
Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
Terminator Salvation (2009)
The Proposal (2009)
The Hurt Locker (2009)
The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009)
Couple’s Retreat (2009)
Crank: High Voltage (2009)
Initially, the main reason that I wanted to see this film was because of Anton Yelchin, may he rest in peace. This is his last movie to be released in theaters. He passed away in 2016. This movie was completed in 2017 and finally released last weekend, almost 2 years after his death.
This is a limited release film that sort of fell through the cracks.
Thoroughbreds is about two upper-class teenage girls who find themselves plotting and scheming to get what they want in their troubled home-life.
The movie was written and directed by Cory Finley and the noteworthy cast includes Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, and Paul Spark.
Thoroughbreds is a unique movie in a lot of ways. It is a well-written, dialogue driven thriller. There is a naturally chilling pace to the story. Everything seems relevant. It does not try too hard to impress and therefore, is impressive. The story is just told with precise timing. Even the cinematography was tactful and articulate in an almost, but not quite, Hitchcockian manner. This movie did not just go through the motions. It was premeditated and executed beautifully.
The soundtrack, although odd at times, matched the disturbing nature of the story.
Thoroughbreds was an opportunity for a couple of mostly small screen, lesser known actors to show their worth and carry a film themselves. They all showed that they were up to that task. I feel like they were quite successful in making the transition from small screen to big screen right before our very eyes. Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Paul Sparks were all superb. Olivia Cooke’s performance especially stood out. I guarantee that all three of these actors will start popping up all over the place in the near future.
I think that it is an odd coincidence that Anton Yelchin plays a troubled character in each of his last three films before he died. I also still think it was quite suspicious the way that he died.
I always enjoyed Anton as an actor and it seemed as if he had a very bright future ahead of him. It is a shame to see such a nice personality lost to this world, far too soon at the young age of 27. He had been acting for 16 years. He successfully bridged the gap from kid actor to adult actor and had the potential for so much more. He will be missed.
Thoroughbreds would probably have been more successful if it were released years ago. Today’s audiences do not have the attention span for real filmmaking anymore, it seems. This is the unfortunate truth. The depth of this movie will likely not be appreciated by many for what it actually is, a diamond in the rough.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
A Perfect Murder (1998)
Dial M for Murder (1954)
Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)
What is not to like about the thought of Denzel Washington being an attorney? His track record speaks for itself. He is a man who can become anyone. I do not remember the last time I was disappointed in a Denzel Washington movie. He is one of the most consistently extraordinary actors of our time. So, of course I wanted to see Roman J. Israel, Esq.
The film is about a stubborn savant, Roman J. Israel, Esq. He is a diligent and methodical defense attorney, who is hopelessly stuck in his ways. When his career is flipped upside down, it sends his ritualistic life spiraling out of control.
The movie was written and directed by Dan Gilroy and the noteworthy cast includes Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo, and Tony Plana.
Great quote from the film: “Every weapon is a tool if you hold it the right way.”
This is not a great movie. This is a meticulous, one man freight train, and immersive performance by an iconic heavyweight, Denzel Washington. This is eloquence in motion and an exercise in character.
In Roman J. Israel, Esq., Denzel becomes his character down to the gap in his front teeth, glasses, mini fro, headphones, precision in speech, mannerisms, and tendencies. He is a diligent and unique man who sticks to his guns, and is still stubbornly listening to records and using paper files. He is an eccentric-minded “Rain Man-like” attorney of sorts
The movie itself, is not anything special. It is good until about halfway through and then it starts to lose its momentum. Denzel keeps it afloat and it sort of redeems itself at the end.
Colin Farrell’s character wafts badass arrogance. His role is a good one, but feels like an afterthought.
Overall this is a great performance in an about average movie. Denzel takes a mediocre film and makes it watchable. It is an Oscar caliber performance. He is submerged in his character. He has multiple performances that are better than this one, but his character dominance in this movie brings it up a notch and makes it worth seeing.
I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
Training Day (2001)
The Hurricane (1999)
Déjà vu (2006)
American Gangster (2007)
Inside Man (2006)
The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
Man on Fire (2004)
Antwone Fisher (2002)
John Q. (2002)
Remember the Titans (2000)
The Bone Collector (1999)
The Equalizer (2014)
Out of Time (2003)