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The Book of Henry (2017)


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:

 

Wonder (2017)

Room (2015)

The Window (1949)

It (2017)

Stand By Me (1986)

St. Vincent (2014)

The Impossible (2012)

Stranger Things (2016)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

The Goonies (1985)

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Death Wish (2018)


Death Wish (2018)

Why do we like vigilante justice?  I think that it is because someone does exactly what we are thinking should be done or we would like to do, ourselves.  Also, vigilante justice in the movies is often portrayed as sticking up for ones that cannot stick up for themselves.  If you are like me, then you enjoy rooting for the underdog.

Death Wish is about a doctor who decides to take matters into his own hands after an attack on his family.  He decides to find the men responsible and serve up his own form of vigilante justice.

The movie was directed by Eli Roth and the noteworthy cast includes Bruce Willlis, Vincent D’Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue, Dean Norris, Camila Morrone, Beau Knapp, Kimberly Elise, Len Cariou, Jack Kesy, and Ronnie Gene Blevins.

I am not usually one to be into remakes.  It seems like Hollywood remakes or reboots just about everything these days.  Often, I say leave well enough alone, but sometimes the right remake idea comes along and the right actor is cast in the lead role.

In this case, Willis was very fitting for the role in Death Wish.  It was his best performance since Looper (2012).  He has been making a lot of B-rated straight to DVD movies lately, so it is nice to see him return to his former glory.  I am glad to see that he has not gone the way of Nicolas Cage (spitting out one piece of trash after the next).  Death Wish is a one-man-show and Bruce was clearly up for the task.

This movie is a scary concept because of how realistic it is.  What I mean by that is that it shows just how worthless the police department and justice system can be sometimes.  Too often, it is the people that deserve to see justice be done, that are the ones stuck without any justice at all.  It also goes to show just how vulnerable we all are.

The likable Dean Norris has quickly been typecast as the police or detective type thanks to the success of the television series Breaking Bad.  His part in this movie is good, but it does quickly make you think of Breaking Bad.

There are a few noticeable gruesome scenes in this movie that had Roth’s signature all over it.  So far, I believe that this film is Roth’s best work as a director.  He did a terrific job setting the tone of Death Wish and sticking with it throughout.

It has been a very long time since I have seen the original Death Wish (1974), but watching this version has made me want to go back and watch the original sometime soon.  The new film is a quality remake done with today’s technology.  The original movie is now 44 years old and it shows its age.

This movie is a murky suspense/thriller with good old fashioned popcorn-popping action.  Willis as the protagonist doing bad for good reasons will keep you on the edge of your seat hoping that justice gets done.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

Death Wish (1974)

Death Sentence (2007)

The Brave One (2007)

The Boondock Saints (1999)

Man on Fire (2004)

The Equalizer (2014)

The Punisher (2004)

Sin City (2005)

Harry Brown (2009)

RED (2010)

RED 2 (2013)

John Wick (2014)

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

Prisoners (2013)

Defendor (2009)

The Counselor (2013)


The Counselor poster

The Counselor (2013)

 

Ridley Scott is a man who knows how to direct a film.  I have seen almost all of the movies that he has directed, and I have never been disappointed in his work.  Sure, there have been a few movies of his that I did not enjoy as much as the others, but he has always done an outstanding job as a director.  I could list off his resume to prove my point, but his work speaks for itself.  His movies are always of the highest quality that they can be.  If you have seen his movies, then you know what I’m talking about.

The Counselor Fassbender Bardem

Knowing what I know about Ridley Scott’s films, I knew that I would have to see his latest movie, The Counselor.  Like most of Scott’s other films, The Counselor has a stellar cast.  What do you usually get when you cross a highly gifted director with a bunch of talented actors?  The answer is a powerful movie.

The Counselor is about a lawyer (Michael Fassbender) who turns his life upside down when he becomes involved in drug trafficking.

The film was written by Cormac McCarthy and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, Bruno Ganz, Rosie Perez, Sam Spruell, Velibor Topic, Dean Norris, and John Leguizamo.

The Counselor Pitt

I did not know quite what to expect before watching this movie.  I knew it was not going to be a happy-go-lucky film because it is about drug trafficking and living on the edge, but it had to be entertaining.

Surprisingly, the film was a little slow, at times.  It was also a little hard to follow until things became clearer in the middle of the movie.  I think this was because the film started in the middle of a story, rather than telling the story from the beginning.  Little by little, you figure out exactly what is going on, but it takes its time getting there while it jumps around.  With all of that being said, it took me some time to get into the story.

The scenery in the movie was flashy and beautiful.  There was a lot of money floating around in the film and this was made very obvious with all of the expensive sports cars and elegant mansions.  It was a great depiction of an extravagant lifestyle gone awry because of a few very bad decisions.  In fact, that seemed to be the overall theme of the movie.  Bad choices will come back to haunt you.  If you live on the edge for too long, eventually you are bound to fall off.

The Counselor Diaz Cruz

The Counselor had a lot of great and unique characters.  They were made great by the exceptional actors portraying them.  They were made unique by how they were portrayed.  Each of the five main characters looked like they came out of a dark comic book or video game about how drug trafficking can be dangerous.  Whether it was the hair, the make-up, or the clothing, they were certainly a bunch of characters.

The movie was in-your-face.  It was oozing with sexuality, violence, harsh language, and disturbing images.  All of this was done with originality.  There were times when the movie was hard to like, but because of how well-made it was, overall, the film was hard not to like.  I credit Ridley Scott for taking a hard to enjoy tale and making it likable.  The actors were the icing on Scott’s cake, but he chose the flavor and the taste.

I rate this movie a 7.5 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Rent.

The Frozen Ground (2013)


The Frozen Ground Poster

The Frozen Ground (2013)

 

Nicolas Cage and John Cusack have both been pretty much hit or miss for about the last 6 years.  Oddly enough, their downfall started around the same time.  I have been a huge fan of both actors ever since I can remember.  Even though they are both not consistently in great movies any longer, I still give them the benefit of the doubt every time I watch one of their new movies.  I guess I just hope that one day they will bounce back from whatever funk they got themselves into and start making great movies again.  One can always hope right?

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So, that is the attitude that I had before watching The Frozen Ground.  I would have been less enthusiastic about wanting to see the movie if it was only Cage or Cusack in it.  But, it’s not just Cage or Cusack, it’s both.  If both of these struggling actors are in the same movie then it is bound to be awesome right?

The film is based on actual events that took place in 1983.  It’s about an Alaska State trooper who teams up with a woman who was able to get away from a serial killer named Robert Hansen.  Together the duo works to find Hansen and bring him to justice for the murders that he has committed.

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The movie was written and directed by Scott Walker and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Vanessa Hudgens, Dean Norris, Kevin Dunn, Radha Mitchell, Michael McGrady, Matt Gerald, and 50 Cent.

The Frozen Ground has an overall dark tone which is fitting because of the dark subject matter.

The movie was missing a lot.  It was hard to follow and full of wasted talent.  There was hardly any character development, so you couldn’t really feel anything for the characters.

The Frozen Ground Cage

It is yet another letdown from Cage and Cusack.  The list of bad movies that each actor continues to make just keeps getting longer.

It really felt like both Cage and Cusack were just going through the motions.  However, the writing and filmmaking overall, really did nothing to help their cause.  Occasionally both actors would show a slight spark that would quickly go out.  I think that if they keep making movies like this one, their careers could be doomed.  It’s a real shame.

The film started out like it could have potential, and then it got boring quickly.  The scenes were choppy and the acting and dialogue all felt forced.

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Don’t waste your time or money with The Frozen Ground.  If you would like to try to preserve the memory of when Nicolas Cage and John Cusack both made good movies, don’t watch this one.

I rate this movie a 3 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Run.

Teaser Trailer for The Counselor (2013)


The Counselor Poster

The Counselor (2013) (Click on the title for my full review.)

A lawyer gets himself into a lot of trouble after he starts drug trafficking.

This film has an outstanding director: Ridley Scott and an amazing cast: Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Dean Norris, John Leguizamo, Goran Visnjic, Bruno Ganz, and Natalie Dormer.

The Counselor has my attention.

The film is set to release on 10/25/13.