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Drama

The book of Henry (2017)

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SThe Book Of Henryummary

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.

Genre : Drama/Thriller
Country : USA

Cast :
Jaeden Lieberher: Henry
Naomi Watts : Susan
Jacob Tremblay : Peter

Director :
Colin Trevorrow

My opinion on “The book of Henry”

“Violence isn’t the worst thing in the world.
What is then?
Apathy.”

I’m sure that some movie critics of reputable newspapers (“The Guardian” and the like) and magazines are awful, out-of-touch guys, who pine away on a dusty attic avoiding any contact with other human individuals. Pessimists who cringe at the sign of a bit of emotions and sugar-sweet feelgood moods and hide like a slug that encounters a grain of salt on her path. The result is an allergic reaction of disgust and aversion, after which they begin to spit their guts and criticize the targeted object. Is “The Book of Henry” really overly-sentimental? Is it so sugary that your blood glucose levels suddenly go berserk? Is it so un-freakin-believable that a Jerry Springer show looks like a realistic show? And does the second part of the movie about revenging a child molester feel extremely exagerated? Maybe yes. However, calling this film the biggest crap of the year, demonstrates short-sightedness and empathy similar to that of a mummified Egyptian pharaoh.

The Book of Henry

Amiable and entertaining.

Whatever they claim, “The Book of Henry” is an amiable and entertaining evening filler. Something I’m yearning for after an endless series of nerve-racking or extremely serious movies where you need to stay focused, so you won’t lose the thread after another plot twist. I admit I watched the first chapter with more pleasure than the second chapter. Not because of the acting. But contentwise it was sometimes a bit too much and after a while it lost a bit of its credibility. For instance. I doubt you can buy a high-tech sniper rifle in the U.S. just by saying some obscure name and waving with a bundle of dollar bills. Let’s skip the formalities! And someone calling the authorities after seeing an emotional performance of a ballet dancer, was quite bizarre. Especially when bruises and the timid behavior of the girl herself (plus Henry’s testimonies) didn’t ring any bells before.

The Book Of Henry
Teenage fun, drama or thriller. What’s it gonna be?

You can say the film is kind of bizarre. Not only because of the family situation in which the Carpenter family finds itself. That’s already extremely strange. Also the sudden twist in the middle of the story is bit of uncommon. Not often a main character leaves the story so early. Even though he isn’t completely out of the picture. And that’s why I’m talking about two chapters. The “pre” and “post” Henry period. Perhaps the mix of genres is a cause for criticism. At first, it looks like an innocent youth movie. Then it goes from a melodrama to a thriller with a revenge motive. Granted, that might be too much as well.

The Book Of Henry


First class acting
.

I enjoyed the acting the most. Jaeden Lieberher as bright Henry. A young boy looking at the world with very different eyes due to his unimaginable intelligence and at the same time he’s still like an average, everyday boy. The way in which he confronts his classmates with the real facts is both sobering as extremely funny. Lieberher plays this with seemingly little effort. A brilliant mind but played in such a way that he remains human. Only I thought that his cartoonish machine he designed, using wires, hammers and wooden mechanisms, was quite contradictory to his high intellectual abilities. Naomi Watts (gorgeous role in “Demolition” by the way) is a known quantity, although she’s acted of the screen a bit by her dominant son and all she seems to be doing is hitting the buttons on her PS4 controller. Even in the second chapter, Henry is holding her hand and is in charge of everything. But especially Jacob Tremblay, as the younger brother Peter, really surprised me. Not because of his impact on the story. But the professionalism he displays in shaping his personality. A likable and highly amusing character. Maddie Ziegler knew how to play the emotionally broken neighbor girl in a sublime way. A rendition in which the repressed emotions impressed more than Henry’s occasional hyperkinetic behavior.

The Book Of Henry

A dumb thing to do?

Perhaps it’s my age that makes me more melancholic and I’m touched much faster. However, I think most viewers approach this movie in a wrong way. I read somewhere that Henry’s preconceived plan (which he has worked out in detail in his red booklet) is the opposite of his intellectual ability. A burst in his wisdom because it’s revenge he’s after. However, perhaps this was the only solution he could come up with after deductive and analytical reasoning. How does anyone react when witnessing that a criminal offense goes unpunished? And legal measures don’t have the desired effect? Perhaps it takes more time for average intelligent people to come to the same conclusion.

The Book Of Henry

I’m a fan of the underdogs.

I’m afraid I’m the only one with a positive opinion about this movie. Apparently, I like to root for the underdogs among movies. I’m sure that critics and opponents of “The book of Henry” will say that Trevorrow, after this cinematic adventure, delivered better work in the more realistic blockbuster “Episode IX“. Even if he would add a scene with Chewbacca, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker dancing the can-can, these experts of stories on celluloid will probably approve it and claim that the man has added a willful interpretation to the Star Wars story. But he mustn’t give in to willfulness when it comes to other movies (grinding teeth intonation). I am pleased that rebellious movies like “The Book of Henry” are made in Hollywood and not only the sometimes saltless crap that’s being released. Because those are the movies where I say “Well, this was a great movie” when it’s finished.

It’s not my policy to draw attention to someone else’s opinion, but I couldn’t resist now. Although I don’t fully agree with it, I surely could appreciate the cynical tone of this review. Read it here

My rating 7/10
Links : IMDB

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Drama

Netflix’s Damsel: Millie Bobby Brown’s Medicore Fantasy Drama Fails Angela Bassett and Robin Wright

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Robin Wright, Millie Bobby Brown and Angela Basett in Netflix's Damsel

Netflix’s latest 109-minute original movie, starring Millie Bobby Brown, unfortunately fails to conquer its audience. The twisted dark fairy tale turns into a fantasy survival thriller as the “damsel in distress” faces betrayal and hardships. Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and written by Dan Mazeau, Damsel offers a beautiful concept with a weak story.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

The opening narration of the movie, “There are many stories of chivalry where the heroic knight saves the damsel in distress. This is not one of them,” sets the tone of the movie as Elodie (Millie Bobby Brown) was ‘sold’ to another kingdom as a bride only to be betrayed by her husband soon after getting married. Hurt, alone, and frightened, the protagonist soon learns that she has been ‘sacrificed’ for the benefit of the kingdom to a dragon. Survival seems hard for the princess as she comes across the dangers of the majestic creature. Brown’s character soon finds out that she is not the first to be sacrificed. Several brides like her have been thrown away for generations like a stick thrown to a dog.

Damsel offers an unusual and strong concept with captivating visuals and cinematography. The traditional classy costumes and rich makeup style match the theme well. As usual, the Stranger Things star offered outstanding dialogue delivery with expectational expressions.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

As much as Millie Bobby Brown’s magnificent performance needs to be applauded one cannot help but notice the waste of fine talents. Yes, we’re talking about multiple award winners, veteran actresses Angela Bassett and Robin Wright, who are highly recognized talents out in the world, famous for their spectacular roles in multiple critically acclaimed projects. Brown’s heavy presence leaves no room for Bassett and Wright to shine. It leaves other actors such as Ray Winstone, Nick Robinson, and Brooke Carter far out from the spotlight.

Damsel includes some heart-wrenching action scenes along with many emotional turning points that make Elodie question her life. She is living in fear, facing betrayal, figuring things out, and most importantly, trying to survive all alone in a dark cave. The bland dialogues in between disrupt the flow of the movie, but the rushed conclusion lashes all hopes to the ground! All the buildup was quickly washed away as the movie ends cursory.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

The period movie challenges patriarchy, inequality, and gender roles. The protagonist Princess Elodie is an open-minded, strong, progressive-thinking character who can do anything for her people – even if it means giving up her dreams and life in an arranged marriage. The women in the movie are bold, strong, rational, and, protective. It is only fitting that Netflix’s Damsel was released on International Women’s Day as the distressed damsel shows she needs no man in shining armor to protect her from the dangers present in the world. She is a brave, daring, sharp-minded young woman who takes revenge and expresses power when it was needed. Game of Thrones may have set a standard for dragons, but this one is no less. We’re sure Khaleesi would be proud of Elodie!

Damsel is available to stream on Netflix.

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Action

Napoleon: Explosive and Victorious!

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Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Plot

Napoleon is a spectacle-filled action epic that details the checkered rise and fall of the iconic French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, played by Oscar®-winner Joaquin Phoenix. Against a stunning backdrop of large-scale filmmaking orchestrated by legendary director Ridley Scott, the film captures Bonaparte’s relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his one true love, Josephine, showcasing his visionary military and political tactics against some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed.

Vanessa Kirby as Josephine Bonaparte and Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Movie Review

The movie starts off on a high note, showcasing the end of one of France’s major historical figures while Napoleon watches on. The storyline is centered around some of Napoleon’s highlights in his military career such as the siege of Toulon, the Battles of Austerlitz and Waterloo, as well as his exile to St Helena. Every moment combined with dramatic effect delivers a well-rounded historical war-drama.

We are taken to picturesque locations supported by an epic soundtrack delivered by Martin Phipps (listen below).

Napoleon (Original Soundtrack by Martin Phipps)

The costumes and military regalia is done to perfection. The display of explosive artillery adds to the battle highlights, and watching the movie in a IMAX theatre adds even more value in terms of sound and picture quality.

Even though the movie contains historical inaccuracies, a well dramatised historical account of Napoleon Bonaparte is offered, and Joaquin Phoenix delivers a performance worthy of a medal. Vanessa Kirby plays the part of Empress Joséphine, and delivers

One movie would never be enough to share all of the highlights of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, but I feel this movie really summed up some of the stories quite well. The movie is filled with non-stop action between the battlefields and political halls of France. Ridley Scott delivers a war movie that gives us a shortened but powerful glimpse of the legacy of Napoleon Bonaparte. Give him a medal!

I would personally have loved a see an entire series dedicated to the stories of Napoleon Bonaparte.

I rate this movie 4 out of 5. Not for sensitive viewers. Lots of action with a few violent scenes. There are a few sexual scenes but with no graphic nudity.

The movie trailer doesn’t spoil too much of the movie content and is a brilliant appetizer for the history buffs among us. There is no post-credits scene though, so no need to wait till the end.

Watch Napoleon at a cinema near you!

Napoleon Official Trailer (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

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Comedy

Netflix’s Crashing Eid Review: Love, Culture, and Differences

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Crashing Eid

If you are curious about other cultures, or maybe want to see how your culture is represented in mainstream media, then you should binge-watch Netflix’s Arabic Comedy series Crashing Eid this weekend. It’s a 4-episode long series with each episode of roughly 47 minutes. The series revolves around culture, love, differences, family, and drama.

The story focuses on Razan (Summer Shesha) as she finds love for the second time in her life but struggles to convince her family for marriage. Razan is shown to be living in the UK with her daughter Lamar (Bateel Qamlo) and finds her British-Pakastani boyfriend Sameer (Hamza Haq) as a suitable match for herself. She proposes to him for marriage before traveling to Saudi Arabia, her home, to celebrate Eid. Her family is convinced that she is back in Saudi for good but Razan has other plans. She tries to tell them about Sameer but constantly fails due to fear and lack of ‘perfect’ timing. She tells Sameer that her parents have agreed to their marriage as she panics to tell him the truth.

Summer Shesha and Bateel Qamlo in Crashing Eid

Summer Shesha as Razan, Bateel Qamlo as Lamar in Crashing Eid

Here comes the twist – Sameer reaches Saudi to surprise Razan and to meet her parents! She tries her best to handle the situation and hide their relationship with the help of her daughter Lamar. At the end of the episode, the truth uncovers itself and everyone is left disappointed. The story follows Razan’s family drama, bitter relations with her mother, previous abusive marriage, her brother Hasan’s (Yasir Alsaggaf) struggle to connect with his son after losing custody, etc. Her previous marriage with her cousin affected her relationship with her own mother as she blames Razan for the failed marriage.

Summer Shesha’s portrayal of a strong woman struggling with every close person in her life but still managing to face everything with bravery is appreciable. Khalid Alharbi deserves applause for his sweet, loving, and understanding role as Razan’s father.

Yasir Alsaggaf, Summer Shesha and Amani Idrees in Crashing Eid

Yasir Alsaggaf, Summer Shesha, and Amani Idrees in Crashing Eid

Despite a fun twist challenge, representation, and Khalid Alharbi’s brilliant performance, a few parts lack perspective. The story doesn’t completely revolve around Razan yet it fails to involve Lamar’s (Bateel Qamlo) emotions in the family drama. She is seen upset at times but it’s never completely addressed. She plays the role of a typical elder daughter helping out her mother in everything and neglecting herself at times. The ending felt rushed as it doesn’t properly elaborate on how Razan’s mother (Amani Idrees) suddenly changed her mind about her daughter. Emotions take time and that’s what felt rushed.

Summer Shesha, Hamza Haq and Khalid Alharbi in Crashing Eid

Summer Shesha, Hamza Haq, and Khalid Alharbi in Crashing Eid

Crashing Eid  offers strong cultural representation, women empowerment, and how love can help you deal with almost everything. It focuses strongly on social taboos surrounding women and Muslim culture.

Crashing Eid is now available to stream on Netflix.

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