Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Dean Norris’

Jon Hamm

“BEIRUT”  My rating: B-

109 minutes | MPAA rating: R

“Beirut” is a decent LeCarresque thriller that doesn’t live up to its advance hype.

It’s O.K. Not great. It features  a solid central performance by Jon Hamm as a boozy former diplomat with a bad case of existential angst, and Moroccan locations that fill in nicely for the war-ravaged city of the title.

But too often this effort from writer Tony Gilroy (“Michael Clayton,” “The Bourne Legacy,” “Rogue One”) and veteran TV director Brad Anderson feels overly familiar. The plot, characters and situations offer a well-produced retread of material we’ve already seen many times before.

Gilroy’s screenplay begins in Beirut in 1972.  American diplomat Mason Skiles (Hamm) is presiding over a cocktail party in his residence overlooking the city known by many as the Paris of the Mideast.

Civil war is brewing, but Mason has dedicated his diplomatic skills to averting armed conflict among Lebanon’s native Muslims and Christians, not to mention the Palestinian refugees who are flooding the country and the Israeli military presence hovering at the  border.

It says much about Mason’s liberality that he is married to a Lebanese woman and the couple have taken in a teenaged Palestinian refugee named Karim.

In mere minutes, Mason’s world falls apart. CIA thugs show up to snatch Karim, having just discovered that the boy is the younger brother of a known terrorist. At the same time Karim’s sibling shows up to grab the kid. In the ensuing mayhem Mason’s wife is gunned down.

A decade later we find Mason back in the states using his negotiating skills to settle labor disputes. His heart really isn’t in his work, though. He’s a lush with nothing to live for.

 

(more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Jaeden Lieberher

“THE BOOK OF HENRY” My rating: C

105 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

All movies are manipulative, but “The Book of Henry” is an emotional mugging.

Colin Trevorrow’s drama  (with comic moments) is an audacious blend of cute and creepy featuring a precocious child, early death, sexual abuse and attempted murder.

Oh, did I mention it’s supposed to be heart-tugging?

The film stars the terrific Jaeden Lieberher (“St. Vincent,” “Midnight Special”) as Henry Carpenter, an 11-year-old with the mind of a middle-aged man.

Henry is, to put it mildly, a genius. He makes amazing Rube Goldberg-ish kinetic constructions in the spectacular forest treehouse he’s fashioned from found parts. He’s a day trader who has managed to wrack up $1 million in cash and securities (how an 11-year-old can get away with this is never explained).  Wherever he goes Henry is the smartest guy in the room.

Which is good for his single mom Susan (Naomi Watts) and  his tremulous little brother Peter (Jacob Tremblay of “Room”). Susan is a bit of  a flake, addicted to violent video games and boozy binges with her bestie (Sarah Silverman). She works as a waitress and drives a beat-up car even though Henry (being the responsible grownup) keeps reminding her that there’s plenty of money.

(more…)

Read Full Post »