Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

US, Spain / 112 minutes / color / IM, Route One, Union Investment, Gran Via, Moot Point, SITE, Willies, Ingenious, STX Dir & Scr: Billy Ray Pr: Mark Johnson, Matt Jackson Story: La Pregunta de sus Ojos (2005; vt The Secret in Their Eyes) by Eduardo Sacheri and the screenplay for El Secreto de sus Ojos (2009; vt The Secret in Their Eyes) by Juan José Campanella and Eduardo Sacheri Cine: Danny Moder Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Dean Norris, Michael Kelly, Joe Cole, Zoe Graham, Alfred Molina, Patrick Davis, Ross Partridge, Eileen Fogarty, Don Harvey.

One of my favorites of all the pieces I watched/rewatched specially for my Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir (2013) was the Argentine/Spanish movie El SECRETO DE SUS OJOS (2009; vt The Secret in Their Eyes), directed by Juan José Campanella and based on a novel by Eduardo Sacheri. Here’s the guts of the entry I wrote about it: Continue reading

The Book of Henry (2017)

US / 105 minutes / color / Sidney Kimmel, Double Nickel, Focus Dir: Colin Trevorrow Pr: Sidney Kimmel, Carla Hacken, Jenette Kahn, Adam Richman Scr: Gregg Hurwitz Cine: John Schwartzman, Jack Donnelly Cast: Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay, Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace, Maddie Ziegler, Dean Norris, Bobby Moynihan, Tonya Pinkins, Geraldine Hughes, Maxwell Simkins, Jackson Nicoll, Donnetta Lavinia Grays, Philip Smreck.

I came across a disparaging reference to this movie a while ago in article whose author mentioned it alongside Collateral Beauty (2016 dir David Frankel) in a list of examples of movies in which he felt promising premises had led to stinkers. By chance, Pam and I had watched Collateral Beauty a couple of nights before and had far more enjoyed it than otherwise. Naturally, therefore, I was keen to check out The Book of Henry, a resolution that hardened when I discovered the screenplay was by Gregg Hurwitz—one of the most intelligent of our current crop of thriller writers—and that, while critics had by and large savaged the movie, audiences had by and large very much liked it.

And, guess what, I’m on the side of the audiences.

Naomi Watts as Susan.

Wannabe children’s writer/illustrator Susan Carpenter (Watts) is raising her two kids, 11-year-old Henry (Lieberher) and his kid brother Peter (Tremblay), as a single mom. Even though her job is as a waitress in a diner, Continue reading

Counselor, The (2013)

vt The Counsellor
US, UK, Spain / 117 minutes / color / Fox 2000, Scott Free, Nick Wechsler, Chockstone, TCF Dir: Ridley Scott Pr: Ridley Scott, Nick Wechsler, Steve Schwartz, Paula Mae Schwartz Scr: Cormac McCarthy Cine: Dariusz Wolski Cast: Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Bruno Ganz, Rosie Perez, Sam Spruell, Toby Kebbell, Rubén Blades, Edgar Ramírez, Natalie Dormer, Goran Visnjic, Richard Cabral, John Leguizamo, Fernando Cayo, Dean Norris.

Counselor - 4 Malkina goes through charade of making confession

Malkina (Cameron Diaz) goes through the charade of making confession.

A lawyer (Fassbender) who has represented various figures in the drugs trade—and who’s referred to throughout only as Counselor—is tempted into taking part in the trade himself, investing in a cocaine shipment being brought from Mexico in a sewage truck. His friend Reiner (Bardem) facilitates the deal, as does another friend, Westray (Pitt), although the latter does his best to warn him off, using an account of a vicious snuff movie to illustrate (a) that, just as if you watch a snuff movie you’re guilty of complicity in the murder, so, if you invest in drugs trafficking, your involvement is far more than merely financial, and (b) that, whenever you think there’s something so sadistic and depraved that even the Mexican drug cartels wouldn’t do it, you’re wrong.

Counselor is much in love with Laura (Cruz); he goes to Amsterdam to purchase from a jeweler there (Ganz) a diamond of extraordinary loveliness for their engagement ring. Reiner has an imposing girlfriend of Mexican extraction, Malkina (Diaz), a one-time stripper who has come north to use her brains and looks to make good—in which effort she has been remarkably successful, more successful than anyone knows. Her hobbies including watching her twin cheetahs chase down and kill wildlife. Reiner is, rightly, afraid of her at the same time as he is completely infatuated with her.

Counselor - 1 The proposal to LauraCounselor (Michael Fassbender) proposes to Laura (Penélope Cruz).

Visiting an imprisoned client, Ruth (Perez), Counselor learns that her son (Cabral), nicknamed Green Hornet, has been arrested for Continue reading