Movie Double Take

Movies Are Good!

Movie Review: The Accountant

 How I approach every morning at my job.

How I approach every morning at my job.

Allie’s Take:

 It’s Bob’s favorite month of the year (he loves Halloween and fall!) and we just got back from a tropical honeymoon, so obviously the first weekend we had without plans since we’ve been home, during the fall in New England, we went to see the new Ben Affleck movie.

Sorry Bob.

But if you know me, it should be no surprise that I saw this movie on opening weekend, when there were 5,000 other fall activities to do in Boston and my Hawaiian tan is quickly fading into the oblivion of soon-to-be Boston winter.  Because, Ben Affleck.

The Accountant stars Affleck (and J.K. Simmons, and Anna Kendrick, and John Lithgow…star-studded cast here).  Affleck is a mathematics savant with high-functioning autism who is an accountant, but secretly involved in a dangerous and illegal crime ring, and the film follows him as the government tries to figure out who he is.  There are a variety of twists and honestly this is the type of movie I would have to see again to completely understand—it’s packed with many plots and characters and the math talk is just too much for me on a Friday night—but it is not the smartest movie out there.  It probably could have done with a cleaner script and plot, as there are some things that don’t quite add up (ha, ha, pun intended).  But it does keep you entertained throughout.

As an Affleck fan, it’s also hard to miss the parallels to other movies.  I can’t spoil the ending so I wont mention how that matches another Ben movie, but how you like them apples:


Stars: 5 out of 5 (it’s Ben Affleck)

Bring with you: A calculator


 "Ben, what are you doing?  We are supposed to use a paperless filing system!"

"Ben, what are you doing?  We are supposed to use a paperless filing system!"



Bob’s Take:

 The Accountant is a preposterous movie. The premise feels more like a skit on an episode of SNL that Ben Affleck would appear in to demonstrate that he has sense of humor about himself than an actual film. It's astonishing that none of the many competent people in the cast and crew responsible for the production of the film said, "Wait, wait, we're actually making a movie about a murder-happy autistic accountant action hero? Really? Maybe this is isn't such a good idea." 

The flaws of the film are numerous and obvious. The movie has more characters than it knows what to do with, the dialogue feels like it was written by a robot fed nothing but 90's thrillers and rejected Oscar contenders, and nearly all of the many twists are as telegraphed as a magician with a pigeon shaped lump in his sleeve. 

But you know what? The Accountant totally goes for it. This is not a movie guilty of phoning it in. It wants to give you everything: romance, action, intrigue, surprise, suspense, emotion, laughter. And for as many elements that don't work, there are enough that do. The movie is consistently entertaining and well-paced enough (outside of a giant information dump at the end before the climax) that you can never slow down to dwell on just how implausible or ridiculous any individual element may be.

The Accountant is not a great movie, but is an endearingly charming one, and worth a watch if you like ambitious thrillers.

 Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

How does it compare to other action about autistic accountants? Best in field.

Movie Review: High Rise


I have no idea what this movie was about.  It was pretentious and rambling and I literally fell asleep in the theater.  It involves someone savagely maiming and eating a dog.  I did not like it. 

Stars: 0.5 out of 5

Bring with you: Nothing.  Don’t go.

Go watch instead: Another Independent Film Festival Boston movie (see our other review of Boyhood, which was also saw at IFF, here.

 Allie during the movie.

Allie during the movie.


Like a college freshman trying to impress a bored peer by quoting Kierkegaard, High Rise is painfully empty of any original ideas and not nearly as intelligent as it thinks it is. The central premise of the film is that residents of a high rise slowly go insane and destroy one another as tensions between upper and lower classes simmer into all-out warfare. While the foundation (adapted from the J.G. Ballard novel) is fine, the result is an incredibly indulgent and shallow movie light on characters, interesting dialogue, and clarity of ideas and heavy on visual flair and little else. 

The characters aren't well developed enough to be considered one-dimensional, and any semblance of social commentary feels like an afterthought, to the extent that it feels like the director added in a line in here in there about capitalism in the second cut, once he realized the film was about nothing at all. High Rise is a half-baked waste of time. 

Bob's Rating: 1/5

How does it compare to other science fiction films about dystopian futures?

Worse than: Soylent Green (and nearly all others).

Better than: 27 Dresses

Guest Review with Bob's Dad: Mr. Holmes and Mad Max: Fury Road

Summer's ending but there's still time to catch up on some of the bigger releases. Here's a movie single take from Bob's dad on two movies Bob and Allie didn't get to see.  


Mad Max:Fury Road

 I must admit that I cannot remember the original Mad Max.  It is the movie that made a star out of Mel Gibson. I saw this movie at my favorite movie theater, the Crandell in Chatham, NY. It was the last week that it was showing there, my wife was out of town, and (spoiler alert)it is not the type of romantic-comedy to which my wife usually drags me.  I saw the movie in 3-D.  Let me say a few things about this movie:  (1) it was one of the best movies I have seen all summer.  (2) There is no reason to see it in 3-D.  The movie takes place in the desert, and sand looks pretty much the same in 2-D or 3-D. (3) 

If the people who made this movie made the original Mad Max, no one would have ever heard of Mel Gibson.  (In lightof his recent problems, some people might think this would be a good thing, but you have to admit those Lethal Weapon movies were great fun.)  Tom Hardy plays Robin to Charlize Theron's Batman in this movie.  (Ironically, he was in one of the Dark Knight movies.)  He is not really the star. She does all the really cool things, and she is the driving force (pardon the pun) behind the movie.  It is a chick flick on steroids, but a really great one.  And she looks good even with a crew cut and missing an arm. I just wonder if she is going to regret doing that just to get a role.

Stars: 4 and a half out of 5

What to Bring: Soda!  It takes place in a desert, and you will get thirsty.

Big Bob's Oscar Prediction:  Charlize Theron will be raising the Best Actress Award in her left,er, right hand on Oscar night.


Mr. Holmes:

I can tell you three things about this movie.  It is a very good movie, it has great acting by the two leads, Ian McKellen and Milo Parker (as the young boy), and I can't remember the third thing.

It is not like any other Sherlock movie you have ever seen.  This is not the astute and clever detective you are used to.  This dude doesn't have a clue. Literally. Instead, it is about an aging Sherlock near the end of his life.  He is retired and living in the English country side at age 93,  35 years after his last case.  The movie employs flashbacks to relive that case, which would put the sleuth at about 58. Since Sir Ian is 76, it is a little bit of a stretch because it is an unnecessary distraction.  Since he doesn't ever look any different, you forget that you are supposed to be in a flashback from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Although a great actor, if you buy this old geezer as  a fifty-something, you must have gone for Beta and 8-track tapes. He could step into the Rolling Stone Tour and no one might notice if he could play an instrument. I guess he could play the tambourine.

For another recent movie that had flashbacks, “Love and Mercy”, the director used CGI very effectively to seamlessly have John Cusack play both the older Brian Wilson and the young Beach Boy).  If I didn't know a little bit about movie magic, I wouldn't have known how they pulled that off.

Speaking of CGI, which I just did for no reason, I read one of those web articles entitled “20 things you didn't know about Jurassic Park. Apparently, they used CGI to create the dinosaurs.   No sh*t Sherlock!   (See how I tied that tidbit into this review.) Steven Spielberg left post-production of Jurassic Park to start Schindler's List.  Wayne Knight was in the former, and a in a very memorable Seinfeld episode featuring the latter.

If you are confused now , you are as confused as Sherlock was in this movie.  Sherlock is writing his memoirs about his final case, while suffering from senility. Instead of a Holmes mystery, I was reminded of a reboot of “Memento” at times. Slowly, very slowly, Holmes begins to remember the details of the final chapter of his illustrious career that has haunted him all these years.  It devastated him and due to that case, he retired to a self-exile in the English country side.  While he is trying to remember, he is also forming a relationship with his housekeeper's son.  These two interlocking stories form the basis for the film. It is the life lessons that he learns from both of these experiences that really lift the picture.

Stars: 4 out of  5.  It could have been higher if it was about an elderly Holmes solving one last case, (which I was expecting), instead of trying to desperately to remember one from 35  years ago. If you are looking for a Sherlock “mystery” movie, stay home and find one on Netflix or Amazon.  If you like a period piece with great acting, beautiful scenery and a feel good ending, this might be for you.

My Oscar Prediction:  Ian McKellen should stay home on Oscar night.  He is great in this but if he thinks he looks 58, I have a high school prom to attend.

Bonus Oscar Pick: Milo Parker will win the Shirley Temple Award as best new actor under three feet tall.  (You may remember Tom Cruise won the same award for “Risky Business”.)