Movie Review: THE BOOK OF HENRY – the headlines are spot on. This movie is MST3K-awful, thanks to one of the worst screenplays in recent memory.

If it somehow seems unfair that so many people are piling on The Book Of Henry, I’m unashamed to say that not only is it completely fair, but it’s almost a civic duty to do so: the movie is absolutely awful.  And I don’t say that with any glee.  Most of the time, I’m angry when I have to give a bad review, because I genuinely love cinema, and it gives me no pleasure to rip a movie.  Some other critics take great pains to explain how terrible certain movies can be, but they do it with a great deal of panache and irony that it strikes me that if they were not turning their poisoned pens on movies it would be – and probably is – something else.  Me, I just get angry.

Continue reading “Movie Review: THE BOOK OF HENRY – the headlines are spot on. This movie is MST3K-awful, thanks to one of the worst screenplays in recent memory.”

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Movie Review: 99 HOMES – compelling drama told within the recent global meltdown, featuring standout performances by Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon

There’s a scene in The Big Short where three of the protagonists fly to Florida to see for themselves just how quickly the housing market is approaching critical mass, and when they get there and cagily discuss the situation with two clueless douchebro real estate investors, they leave convinced that all the projections they’ve been privy to are actually on the level.  It’s one of the best scenes in the movie, and in a weird way, it reminded me of movies where a team of biologists try to track down the source of a disease outbreak.  Considering how the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market triggered a global meltdown, the disease analogy seems pretty apt.

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Movie Review: CAPTAIN FANTASTIC – Viggo Mortenson’s beautifully nuanced performance isn’t the only great thing about this heartwarming family drama

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There’s a scene in Captain Fantastic towards the midpoint of the movie where Ben Cash (Viggo Mortenson) asks his daughter to explain what the book she’s reading is about.  The book is Nabokov’s Lolita, and when she begins, he cuts her off.  “That’s the plot,” he says, which forces her to go into greater depth in her explanation.  Why am I starting out with this?  Because this is a movie that is a great example of plot versus story.  It’s not unfair to look at every blockbuster over the last few decades and say that they’re not actually about anything.  You can daisy-chain their plot points together and they tell a rudimentary “this happened, then this happened” etc, but the stories themselves lack dimension.  Great movie stories are “about” something more than just what’s happening visually.  The best screen stories are those that can be about multiple topics revolving around a central hub.  This is what I felt while watching Matt Ross’s luminous movie.

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