Naomi Watts Weekend – The Book of Henry (2017)

Director: Colin Trevorrow

Writer: Gregg Hurwitz (Screenplay)

Starring: Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay, Sarah Silverman, Dean Norris, Lee Pace, Maddie Ziegler

 

Plot: With instructions from her genius son’s carefully crafted notebook, a single mother sets out to rescue a young girl from the hands of her abusive stepfather.


Tagline – Never leave things undone.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sweet Little Tale

 

Story: The Book of Henry starts as we meet 12-year-old Henry (Lieberher) who is the brains in the family with his little brother Peter (Tremblay) and single working mother Susan (Watts). Henry is a genius and knows how to support the family with his stock tips.

When Henry starts to suspect his neighbour Glenn Sickleman (Norris) of abusing his stepdaughter Christina (Ziegler) he wants to solve the problem, though none of the adults will listen to him. Henry writes a book on how to save Christina, which Susan finds and goes out to complete his work and save her.

 

Thoughts on The Book of Henry

 

Characters – Susan is the mother of the house, though she doesn’t have the full responsibility in the house as she lets her genius son Henry handle the finances in the home. She is a single working mother that does everything she can to help her kids, enjoys a drink with her best friend Sheila and videos to release the stress, she must go through a difficult process when Henry becomes sick and wants to follow his book to do the right thing. Henry is a genius 12-year-old boy, he keeps his family together while trying to leave his own legacy, he knows how to work the stock market which keeps the family a float and when he sees wrong in the world he wants to help change it, this brings him to write a book to stop the abuse of his neighbour by her stepfather. Peter is the younger brother to Henry, he always looks up to him and wants to help him with his innocent being the only thing that lets Henry have fun.  Sheila is the best friend and work colleague of Susan, she enjoys herself a drink and has great banter with Henry. Glenn is the neighbour and police chief living next door to the Carpenter family, he has a stepdaughter that he is abusing though he position of power makes it nearly impossible for him to get investigated. Dr Daniels is the man that must treat Henry, he must help the family through the difficult decision.

PerformancesNaomi Watts in the leading role is great through this film, we see how her character needs to develop after what happens to Henry. Jaeden continues to show us he is a fast-rising child star along with Jacob Tremblay who are both going to be talked about as a couple of the best of the current generations. Silverman, Morris and Pace give us good supporting performances throughout the film too.

StoryThe story here follows a genius son that helps run the family to help take the pressure of his single mother, he plans long term and wants to make the world a better place, though when sees abuse he wants to step in and help. He doesn’t expect the short term though, leaving his legacy to his mother to help solve the abuse he sees the neighbour going through. We do have moments that make the children feel like they are in ‘Pay it Forward’ which does have a better message about, doing something to make the world a better place, this story does get that message over and does make you want to help bring calm to the world. if I was being honest with the way the story is told, I feel it would have been nice to mix the planning Henry does with the actual plan rather than showing his plan before the incident.

CrimeThe film does have a crime base to everything going on, we get to see how Henry sees a crime being committed and the only way he can solve it is to have someone commit a crime for him.

SettingsThe film shows us the simple life the Carpenter family are currently living and how Henry is happy with this even though he can make them rich with a blink of an eye, he wants family over anything.


Scene of the Movie –
Take the shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The kids are way to talent in the talent contest.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that has taken a beating by the critics and sure there are a couple of weaknesses in this film, but the core of the story is one of the most interesting ways to show a child genius doing the right thing in life, well-acted and one people should be giving a chance too.

 

Overall: Nice story about leaving a legacy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – N – The Negotiator (2018)

Director: Brad Anderson

Writer: Tony Gilroy (Screenplay)

Starring: Jon Hamm, Khalid Benchgra, Rosamund Pike, Dean Norris, Shea Whigham, Douglas Hodge

 

Plot: Caught in the crossfires of civil war, CIA operatives must send a former U.S. diplomat to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind.


Tagline – The Americans want to keep their secrets. The Israelis want to raise the stakes. He only wants to save a life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes  

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Never Hits the Levels it Should

 

Story: The Negotiator starts as we see American Diplomat Mason Skiles (Hamm) involved in a tragic event in Beirut. Walking away from this career, he is dragged out of retirement when his old friend Cal (Pellegrino) is taken hostage by the Israelis.

Mason working with Sandy (Pike), Gary (Whigham) and Donald Gaines (Norris) must enter negotiations to free Cal without a body count in a high-tension situation in Beirut.

 

Thoughts on The Negotiator

 

Characters – Mason Skiles has been working in a diplomatic position for years, until a tragic event sees his wife killed in Beirut, he steps away from that world, living a business life back in America. He gets pushed back into the field when his friend is kidnapped and one of his former connections is the prime suspect to everything going on, he must use his connections to try and get a peaceful end to the situation. Sandy is the connection that must keep an eye on Mason, she is considered the skirt that will entertain the America to keep him there, she has her own connections though and will be the one that is happy to let Mason off his leash. Donald Gaines and Gary Ruzak are both involved in the operation with their own agendas coming through.

PerformancesJon Hamm in the leading role is the strongest part of the film as he has the most about his character who has been through the trauma and must use this mission to redeem himself.  Rosamund Pike struggles to make the impact you feel her character is meant to, while the rest of the cast just don’t get the time to make any sort of impact.

StoryThe story follows a negotiator that has walked away from the diplomatic position only to be forced back into the field to help his old friend who has become the latest kidnapping victim by terrorist group. This tries to create the same sort of atmosphere as the true events that went on during the Beirut problems with the Israeli terrorist groups that were at war with the Americans, we struggle to get sucked into the movie because the tension is never given to us enough to make us become interested in what is happening to the characters. the one that does have an arc is Mason which gets glanced over more than anything as we try to show him in the middle of a situation he knows how to play, though he isn’t meant to be in control of.

ThrillerThe thriller side of the film struggles to come through as strong as it should because of the lack of tension in the film, while the stacks are high, nothing seems in any way out of control.

SettingsThe film does keep the settings being used in the streets of Beirut which does show us how much trouble the city was in during the terrorist attacks.


Scene of the Movie –
The deal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The political side.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak tension based movie that just never hits the levels it should do like many of the films in this genre.

 

Overall: Just not on the strongest levels.

Rating

 

 

Julia Roberts Weekend – Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

secretDirector: Billy Ray

Writer: Billy Ray (Screenplay) Juan Jose Campanella, Eduardo Sacheri (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Dean Norris, Alfred Molina, Joe Cole, Michael Kelly

 

Plot: A tight-knit team of rising investigators, along with their supervisor, is suddenly torn apart when they discover that one of their own teenage daughters has been brutally murdered.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre Thriller

 

Story: Secret in Their Eyes starts as we see Ray Kasten (Ejiofor) meeting his old team and now DA Claire Sloane (Kidman) Chief Investigator Jessica Cobb (Roberts) and fellow political roles Reg Seifert (Kelly). We flash back to when they were a team of investigators with Bumpy Willis (Norris) when they are tracking terrorists only for one of their own daughters Carolyn Cobb (Graham) being murdered next to their investigation.

Ray has spent the last 13 years of his life searching for the killer and now he believes he has figured out the person responsible and wants the case re-opened between the old team.

 

Thoughts on Secret in Their Eyes

 

StoryThis is an American remake of the Oscar winning movie that has a very bland story which should be a very intense story, the scenes all flow so slowly you just don’t believe this is a case unfolding and the jumps in time are too often leaving us all over the place in the end.

Crime/MysteryThe crime story should be one of the most intense ones we have seen, but it doesn’t work out that way because the film spends way too much time balancing the murder case with a potential terrorist investigation without even giving us the mystery to try and solve ourselves.

Characters/PerformanceThe team are all believable as a unit but as solo characters you just don’t feel the desperation in Ray, the power in what should be a power-hungry role in Claire but you do like get to feel the grief through Jess’s character.

Ejiofor, Kidman and Roberts are all solid but just don’t reach the ability we know all three are capable off. The rest of the performances are all solid without stealing the scene.

SettingsWe have the setting in and around LA without managing to use any settings which are easy to help us identify where the film is set.

Final ThoughtsFor the talent involved this is a very slow, poorly acted thriller that lacks any suspense to the levels it could have got too.

 

Overall: This will always be forgettable in the arena of remakes.

Ratingcard

 

 

Michael Fassbender Weekend – The Counsellor (2013)

counselorDirector: Ridley Scott

Writer: Cormac McCarthy (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Bruno Ganz, Rosie Perez, Ruben Blades, Brad Pitt, Goran Visnjic, Edgar Ramirez, Dean Norris, Sam Spruell

 

Plot: A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wow this was Boring

 

Story: The Counsellor starts with one of the most awkward scenes I have seen in film as the Counsellor (Fassbender) is in bed with Laura (Cruz) talking uncomfortable dirty. The Counsellor is working on a one of drug deal with Reiner (Bardem) and Westray (Pitt) as he learns all the tricks of the trade to make this deal happen.

The Counsellor finds himself in the middle of a much bigger picture which involved a drug lord, law authority agencies with undercover agent which will put his life and his fiancée’s wife in danger.

The Counsellor is a crime thriller that is so empty of actual story you are left wondering what you just watched. We never learn any of the character’s motive to be involved in the deal or what they are actually doing. I really can’t explain just how boring this film really was to watch with nothing happening at all.

 

Actor Review

 

Michael Fassbender: Counsellor is a lawyer who is trying to get involved in a drug, he finds himself having a connection with each side of the dealing and when the drugs go missing he finds himself the prime suspect. Michael is solid and really struggles to make an impact in this film.fassbender

Penelope Cruz: Laura is the love interest of the Counsellor she isn’t involved with the drug deal but finds herself being seduced into a darker side by Malkina and in danger thanks to the drugs going missing. Penelope is ok with the few scenes she has in the film but you will almost forget what happened to her.

Cameron Diaz: Malkina is the girlfriend of Reiner, she comes off seductive in every way be it controlling her drug lord boyfriend or teaching Laura the bad ways. Cameron does well but doesn’t do enough to make is either like or dislike her.

Javier Bardem: Reiner is the drug lord that the Counsellor wants to go and make a deal happen with, he uses his experience to show him just what he can do if he gets screwed over. Javier is good in this role where he gets to be his eccentric self.

Support Cast: The Counsellor has a supporting cast that doesn’t do enough to make us know what their character is doing.

Director Review: Ridley ScottRidley is a director we would expect greatness from but what is this?

 

Crime: The Counsellor has a crime story I just didn’t really know what it was.

Thriller: The Counsellor doesn’t pull us in to this story at all.

Settings: The Counsellor tries to use pretty settings but nothing that makes us know what is going on.
Special Effects
: The Counsellor has solid effects with the kills only.

Suggestion: The Counsellor is one to stay well away from. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: Don’t make me laugh.

Worst Part: Everything.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $17 Million

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 18 Minutes

Tagline: Sin Is A Choice

 

Overall: Dreadfully boring film that goes nowhere.

Ratingcard

Trailer Alert – Remember

Plot – The darkest chapter of the 20th century collides with a contemporary mission of revenge.

Release Date: Non set

Stars: Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, Dean Norris

What Looks Good? Very haunting look at what would be a revenge film.

What Looks Bad? We might have seen similar before.

Summary: This does look like a very powerful film with a strong cast that I think could be a surprise hit for the year.

Questions:

Will I Be Watching? Yes

Will You Be Watching?

My Anticipation Rating – 90%

My Guess Rating – 90%

Will It Be Number One In UK? – No