The Boy (2016) Movie Review with Spoiler

Courtesy of IMDB

My vlog version of this post can be seen here The Boy- YouTube

A BOY NAMED BRAHMS

A college student, Greta Evans, takes a nanny job in England to a six or seven-year-old boy named Brahams. When she arrives, she learns the boy is actually a life-size doll with a set of rules. His parents are going on a vacation and need someone to look after him while they are gone. When Greta arrives everything seems fine. Before the parents leave she is presented with the set of strict rules which include kissing Brahms good night, reading to him, and listening to classical music. When Greta begins to not follow the rules to a T, strange things start to happen.

Greta starts to hear noises and footsteps in the mansion. She notices Brahms is not where she left at certain times. She tells Malcolm, the grocery delivery person who delivers food to the countryside home, about the noises and how Brahms moves. Being skeptical of her, Greta provides proof by sitting Brahms on his bedroom floor, draws a chalk outline of him and leaves the room. A few minutes later she and Malcolm return to Brahm’s room to find him missing from his spot. They spot him sitting on a chair close to the door. There are other things that take place after that which will creep you out if the life-size doll doesn’t creep out you first.

WHY A SPOILER

I normally don’t provide spoilers in my review for my intentions are to encourage you, the reader, want to watch the movie or read the book I review. However, in this case, I feel I need to explain why I  disliked this movie and to do that, a spoiler is needed.

THE STORY OF THE BOY

The story Greta was given about the boy by Malcolm is Brahms died in a house fire 20 years prior. What no one knew is The Boy was living in the house all along as an adult. He revealed himself in a scene where Greta and Malcolm were fighting with her abusive ex-boyfriend who showed up unannounced. The boyfriend took the roll and smashed its head on a table, thus revealing the real Boy from inside the walls. Brahms had set up house in a room that was on the other side of the living room where all activity would take place, such as reading to Brahms, listening to classical music, and serving snacks to Brahms. Adult Brahms was able to relive his childhood favorites on the other side of the wall, while they were after upon to the life-size doll of Brahms.

PRESENTATION IS KEY

Here’s where I had the issue. The adult Brahms wore a mask of a child. He had a beard and a very hairy chest. This didn’t add up to the roll version of him. If the writers were looking to create an adult version of the child, they should have had an actor with no chest hairs, and a clean-shaven face. A good makeup artist could have made the adult Brahms look exactly like the child version, and that would have made the movie that much more disturbing.

You could tell this was a low budget film, and perhaps that’s the reason in the flaw of recreating the child boy into an adult version, the lack of money for a make-up artist who would be capable of the task. Thus, they choose the cheap route by placing a mask over his hairy face. But the chest hairs peeking from the white tank t-shirt is either laziness on the part of the writers or lack of creative between the child Brahms and the adult Brahms.

FINAl THOUGHT

As mentioned, this movie had me at the start. When they showed that life-size doll, I thought I was in for a good psychological thriller. And I was until the adult Brahms revealed himself.

I hope someone remakes this movie.  They only need to correct the reveal of Brahms’s appearance, and perhaps the reveal of Brahms himself.

What I found interesting was the name of the boy, Brahms, as in Brahms Lullaby. The boy’s name itself is interesting. I feel it’s a symbolism of how the parents, especially the mother, were very doting parents to their son and would have been his entire life.

You can read the history of the Lullaby here, as well as listen to the piece in the video below,

THE BOY
Lauren Cohen as Greta (Maggie on The Walking Dead).
Rupert Evans as Malcolm (Frank in The Man in the High Castle currently on Amazon Prime)

Forum for The Boy can be found here

Dismissed (2017)

LUCAS WARD

Lucas Ward, a transfer student from Fresno, California, excels at everything he does. His favorite subject in school is English and when he analyzes a story, he takes it to the extreme by writing a dissertation instead of a few page essay.

Mr. Butler is Lucas’s new English teacher and he shares the same love of literature as Lucas. Lucas’s first day in class provides Mr. Butler with the type of student he wants, someone who is engaging and understands the reading. They both feel they have found a kindred spirit in each other, more so Mr. Butler does in Lucas. But when Mr. Butler gives Lucas a B+ on an assignment and refuses to give him an A, as Lucas thinks he deserves, kindred spirits are broken and animosity takes its place.

LET THE REVENGE BEGIN

Lucas begins causing havoc in Mr. Butler’s life starting with his application to be a professor at a college. Lucas is able to get a hold of the essay Mr. Butler wrote and replace it with one that makes Mr. Butler seem like he’s better than the students he will teach and better than anyone around him. However, Mr. Butler doesn’t know this until he meets with the head of the department who informs him of his essay and that he will no longer be considered for the role of professor.

At home, Mr. Butler reads over the essay and begins to notice familiar words that he wouldn’t use but Lucas would, one of which is opulent. He finds more unusual words and compares, not only the sentence structure but the words to one of Lucas essays and realizes Lucas is the one who rewrote Mr. Butler’s essay and submitted to the college.

Mr. Butler confronts Lucas who denies everything. This is just the beginning of Lucas’s revenge on Mr. Butler. Lucas’s act of revenge keeps escalating until tragedy strikes.


trailer courtesy of Movieclips Indie

FINAL THOUGHTS

The pace of the movie was perfect and you could definitely tell it is an independent film just based on the sound quality and lack of music throughout the film. This is what I love about indie films, the sound and lack of music, in addition to the low-quality film used to make the movie. Everything seems real and I find acting in indie films to be better than those of A-list actors.

Dylan Sprouse as Lucas Ward

Dylan Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody) as Lucas Ward provided the right kind of calm demeanor to the character to freak you out a bit.

My only issue with the movie was the ending. I felt there could have been more and should have been more. Because I don’t want to give the ending away, I won’t say any more about it.

I give the movie 5 out of 5 stars and will definitely give it another go soon.

 

Dismissed is currently streaming on Netflix and stars Dylan Sprouse as Lucas Ward and Kent Osbourne as Mr. Butler.
Director: Benjamin Arfmann. Writer: Brian McAuley

You may also purchase the movie by clicking on the link Dismissed

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru

source: google images

I WILL STAY HOME. BUT THANKS JUST THE SAME

As someone who thoroughly enjoys documentaries, I was glad to come across Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru for I have always, yet I’m not a follower. I’ve never bought any of his books or attended any of his overpriced seminars, especially the Day of Destiny six-day seminar that takes place in Boca Raton, FL every year, costing $4995 to attend (that’s 2014’s cost). If I spent $4995 on a seminar that lasts 6 days, 11-12 hours a day, I would need a shrink, and not a so-called self-help guru. So, being able to watch the process from the comfort of my home, without having the pay the hefty fee, allowed me to enjoy more. Sort of.

STRESSFUL SHOWS LEADS TO STRESSFUL SLEEP

I would watch the documentary before going to sleep because during the day I was watching shows that would only produce a stressful sleep such as Marcella (Netflix original), The Man in the High Castle (Amazon original based on the book of the same name), along with binge-watching Mr. Robot and Queen of the South ( both currently in Season 1 – via USA Network, either on the computer or the app). I wanted to end my nights with something a bit more calming, and Tony’s documentary did the trick, to a point.

EVERYTHING WAS FINE UNTIL THE FEE WAS MENTIONED

The documentary is the brainchild of Joe Berlinger, who, after attending one of Tony’s Date with Destiny seminars, wanted to document the whole thing, including Tony. After two years of asking, Tony finally agreed. Not sure if begging was included, but you would think that someone who believes in helping others, would have conceded sooner than two years. This was problem number one for me to this whole documentary.

Everything started out great for me, when learning of Tony’s goal for the attendees and what he offers people in the 12 hours a day, six-day seminar, until the fee was announced: $4995. In 2015, it was $6k for the seminar. For 2016, here are the prices for the seminar that took play in May of this year (2016):

date with destiny

They try to con you by stating you are saving $4k, but the prices are still ridiculous and seem to go up every year. As mentioned, the one in 2014 cost $4995 and I couldn’t get this out of my mind while watching the show. The people at the seminar were not broken people, they were idiots. If someone gave me $4995, I’ll fix them myself. Being a self-help guru doesn’t take skill, it takes compassion, and compassion can’t be taught. You either have it or you don’t.

I feel if you can fork over $4995 bucks, you are doing fine, financially that is. Save $4971 and go buy a $24.00 book by Tony that will do the same thing as the seminars will do. Or, how about someone just forks over $25.00 to me and we have a beer or two.

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND

Picture it. Sicily, 1924…a little Golden Girls joke there. Seriously. Picture it. You’re in a room with 24,999 other people you don’t know (that’s if you came alone. If you came with someone, then there are 24,998 strangers in the room with you). Tony picks you out of the crowd (I’m not sure the process, but he does) and now you have to tell you bleeding heart story to a room full of strangers. Why? Because Tony makes you feel that comfortable. He makes you feel like it’s just you and him while reminding you there are thousands of strangers in the room rooting for you. The questions begin with what is your issue, and you tell him.

He asks you again, and again, you tell him, with more details added on. This process goes on until he has reached the real underlying issue you’ve been carrying around. He makes you think it’s OK to express yourself in front of total strangers, and perhaps it is, for some. But this is the beauty of this documentary’ we are only seeing those that were willing to share and had a “breakthrough.” We are not privy to those who refused to share, not to mention, just refused to stand. Not all are there to share but to listen.

I can barely express myself in a room full of people I’ve known for years, how can I express myself in a room full of total strangers?

THE ENERGY IN THE ROOM

Tony claims he goes by the energy in the room and can tell who he should pick. But he has another method. At the end of each day (or almost every day), Tony and his crew go through some flash cards that were filled out before the seminar began by those attending and emails sent to Tony’s office of those with issues. He and his crew go through the cards and emails and pick out “red flags”. Red Flags are people in real need of help, such as those contemplating suicide.

There was one person who attempted suicide two days prior to the seminar. I, personally, doubt this, and feel it was to get attention. And yes, there are those who do go there for the attention, the hope of being singled out by Tony. This is one thing I enjoyed, watching Tony determine who was there for attention and who isn’t. And when one of his team members read someone’s story to Tony, and he knew it was for attention, he would say, “she only wants attention” or “he only wants attention.”

Once he and his crew picked out the red flags the previous night, Tony single those people out in the seminar the next day.

PEER PRESSURE VS. FREE WILL

As mentioned earlier, Tony singles out some people to tell their story or get to the root of the issue so he can “help” them. I use the word ‘help’ very loosely. My understanding is, he spends one to two hours with these people in the seminars, but the documentary only allows us 10 minutes of he is interacting with them.  One particular person, he singled out was a lady named Hali. Hali states her father always treated her like a princess. She also states she was in a bad relationship but is currently in another relationship.

Tony seemed to narrow it down to her being the issue and not the other person in the relationship. Why? Because she knows she will always get love from daddy so getting love from other men is not important to her. Or some BS like that. Knowing that we are not seeing the entire interaction with the person, I am going boldly says that Tony has CONVINCED her that she’s the problem in the relationships.

BREAK UP WITH HIM

What we are able to witness is Tony telling Hali that she should break up with her current boyfriend because he does not deserve what she’s putting him through. He first asks Hali if “Joe” (I can’t remember the boyfriend’s real name) is the one, to which she really has to think about it. The next words out of Tony’s mouth is, “take out your phone”. With this comment from Tony, comes the gasp from the audience for they all know what Tony wants Hali to do. Tony wants Hali to break up with her boyfriend right there on the spot, yet he says to her and tried to convince everyone in the room, that the choice is hers to break up with him or not.

peer pressure

LET ME MAKE A FOOL OF YOU

Hali is standing in a room full of her peers and being told by Tony that she needs to break up with her boyfriend. He convinces her, and the others in the room, that it’s of her free will to do this, while telling her she must do this. She is faced with two decisions: follow the silent crowd and break up with her boyfriend right then and there, or tell Tony that she wants to think about it. If she does the latter, Tony will make her look like a coward, like she’s not facing her fears and she’ll never grow. Hali caves in and calls her boyfriend (phone on speaker) and breaks up with him. During the call, he hangs up on her. Tony convinces her it’s OK and she did the right thing.

I have to admit I had to turn the show off before Hali’s phone call for I was feeling a great deal of embarrassment for her and a great deal of sadness for the soon-to-be-dumped boyfriend. I viewed Facebook, Twitter and played a round of Candy Crush Soda before making my way back to the disaster about to take place. When she dialed the phone, I cringed and cringed at each ring that took place. I was hoping it would go to voicemail and save her the embarrassment and him the heartache. But luck was not on my side, nor hers, for you could see on her face she was hoping it would go to voicemail as well.

voicemail

The boyfriend answers and she give some lame story and break up with him. After he hangs up on her, she is still under the impression that what she’s done is OK and for her own good. We learn, at the end of the documentary, that Hali and her boyfriend got back together, which I was glad to hear. This speaks volumes about the interaction earlier, in that Hali felt what she did was not right. What Tony told her she did not believe, and that this person she’s with is the one and she’s willing to work on her own issues while keeping this special someone in her life.

you go girl

TELL ME ALL YOUR SECRETS WHILE I HIDE MINE

Another thing that bothered me about this whole process was Tony’s unwillingness to talk about his past completely. He does mention during the seminar that his mother used to beat him every day. He also mentioned that his mother was depended on drugs, prescription drugs, for he would have to go the pharmacy a lot to get Vicodin for her, telling the pharmacist his mother lost the bottle. I’m not sure how things were back when Tony was old enough to get Vicodine for his mother, but I don’t think it was that easy to get a prescription that often without a red flag being thrown up at the doctor’s office as well as the pharmacy. But this is the story he told.

WHAT’S HE HIDING?

Tony doesn’t reveal much of himself on stage nor on camera. There was a member who shared with the world that she grew up in a commune in Brazil (I hope I have that right) called Children of God and at the age of six on, was engaged in sex with different people (sex slave, basically) in the name of God. While telling the story, Tony begins shedding tears. Backstage the director asks Tony about the incident and tries to get him to talk about his past and what has happened to him. I understand not wanting to tell you a story to others.

We all have bad things that have happened to us, that we don’t want to share. And I also understand Tony’s stance that the bad he’s endured makes him the person he is today. Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stranger. I get that. However, how am I to trust you can help me if you won’t open yourself up to me, yet, you want me to open myself up to you?

THE MORE YOU HIDE THE LESS WE TRUST

I’m aware when you go see a counselor or shrink, they are there to listen to you and advise you. However, I, and I think the director too, was expecting Tony to open up more about himself. After all, this documentary was about him and his Date with Destiny seminar, but that was not to happen. Berlinger asked Tony multiple times, throughout the film, about his past and Tony just would not talk about it. This tells me that Tony has not fully healed from his past. As the saying goes, if you say it out loud it makes it real.

All I got from the film is Tony’s mother used to beat him a lot, he used to protect his brother and sister and he had to go to the pharmacy a lot to get Vicodin for his mother. We don’t need to know every single detail of his rough past at home, but I think he should show more of the human side of him instead of this “I can heal you of your issues”.

MI CASA SI NO ES SU CASA

Here’s something else that got me throughout the film: Tony’s house in Florida

Robbins' home

A modest life he does not lead. Parts of the is house featured a few times throughout the documentary. This is another reason I find the fee for the seminars to be a bit much. I look at what is included in the prices (for there are two packages – refer to above for chart). I didn’t see anything about food and lodging is included in the prices. Not only that, the seminars each day, are 12 hours long: 11:30 am – 11:30 pm. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Jim Jones have 12 hour long services? I’m sure you are free to come and go during the seminars, but 12 hours is a bit much for six days. So now, I have the $4995 fee stuck in my head along with Tony’s fat house and the 12 hour days. The fee stuck in my head more than anything else.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE

I believe in the adage, do what you love for free and the money will come later. Did Tony do this for free at all or has he always charged for his “words of wisdom” that can be found anywhere if you look hard enough. And nowadays, you don’t have to look that hard. There’s YouTube, books, articles on the Internet. But more importantly, surround yourself with good people and you won’t need to pay $4995 for someone to tell you what you already know or can find out in a $24.00 book.

THE WHOLE 1:56 MINUTES

The whole 1:56 minutes wasn’t completely wasted. I did sleep a bit better at night until I finished the film and realized a lot of things that bring to mind a lot of questions.

  1. Why were we only shown people that Tony was able to reach? or did what Tony wanted them to do and not show those that would not stand up, or possibly disputed what Tony said?
  2. At the end of the documentary, why are we only privy to those that got something out of the seminar, and not those that may have found the whole thing a waste of money and time?
  3. Why was Tony so secretive about his past, but wanted others to express themselves completely and expose themselves to a room full of strangers?

I understand the purpose of the seminar is for others to find whatever it is they are seeking in FL with a fee $4995 (yeah, I’ll never get over that and the fact it increases each year), and that’s all well and good. But I feel like a documentary, Tony should have shared more of his past. Him not sharing his past was not a deal breaker for me with this film. Would I watch this film again? No. Would I recommend this film to anyone? Probably not. And if I did, I would give the three things mentioned to keep in mind when watching the documentary.

SOLD!

The lady that is part of the commune sold all her furniture to attend the seminar. Somehow, she ended leaving Boca Raton with $100,000 due to people giving her money. I guess she told anyone that would listen that she sold her furniture so she could attend the seminar and people fell for it and just handed money to her.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

I feel Tony Robbins has a good heart and wants to help people. I also believe the same of Deepak Chopra, but I lean more towards Chopra than I do Robbins. It’s a preference thing, that’s all.

If anyone told me they were going to the Date with Destiny seminar I would quickly talk them out of it. This is where I would tell them to watch the documentary and save them $20 million dollars.  Explore Chopra or other ‘self-help’ wizards out there instead.

I don’t doubt there are people that have and will continue to benefit from Robbins, I’m just not one of them. I don’t need Robbins telling me I’m good enough and I shouldn’t be down on myself about anything. One, it’s not realistic, and two, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stranger. I prefer to continue being strange and getting stranger by the day.

NETFLIX TRAILER:

Here is the trailer for Tony Robbins: I am Not Your Guru currently playing on Netflix.

BONUS MATERIAL: TONY ROBBINS IN SHALLOW HAL

If you haven’t seen Shallow Hal with Jack Black, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jason Alexander, you have to find this movie and watch it. It’s about a man, Jack Black, who only sees people from the outside. It’s not until he’s given a keyword (provided by Robbins) that he begins to see people’s inner beauty.

Here’s a scene with Jason Alexander asking Robbins to undo whatever he did to Hal:

Gerald’s Game [Movie Review]

If it wasn’t for the movies, I wouldn’t know who Stephen King is. I absolutely love the movies made from his books books from ChristineStand By Me, MiseryShawshank Redemption, and definitely Carrie. The only movie I didn’t care for is It. 

Now I can add another King novel turned into a movie to my list of likes and that’s Gerald’s Game.

source: Google Images

GERALD’S GAME IS JESSE’S GAME

Gerald and Jessie head to a friend’s vacation house in the middle of nowhere to try to save their marriage by adding a little spice to their sex life. When Gerald dies and Jessie is left handcuffed to the bed, it’s Jesse who needs saving. Not just her life, but her mind and definitely her soul.

 

DELUSIONS OR ILLUSIONS

While Jessie is handcuffed to the bed, she begins having conversations with her dead husband as well as herself. There is also unwelcome guests that show up here and there and Jessie begins to wonder if these people are part of her delusion as well. We also have the dog that is there throughout the time of Jessie’s delusions or illusions. It depends on how you see it.

Through these incidents we learn a lot about Jessie. Through Jessie’s backstory we come to the conclusion the handcuffs are not only physical torments for her but also a symbols of her past, which she has carried her entire life. The handcuffs were not only a symbol, they were also another character in the movie as was the bed, and the slip she’s wearing. But the main symbol in the movie is her being stuck in a place in which she can call out for help all she wants, but no one will hear her.

IT WOULDN’T BE A STEPHEN KING MOVIE IF…

It wouldn’t be a Stephen King movie it there wasn’t some disturbing gory scene within the movie. Although brief, it will have you squirming and groaning with pain as you’re watching. I personally found this to be a symbol as well. Not the squirming and groaning by the viewer, but what actions Jessie had to take. Desperate times calls for desperate measures.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I absolutely loved this movie. I will be watching it a few more times for I feel I will find something new each time I watch it.

Everyone on this planet should watch the movie. You don’t have to be a Stephen King fan to enjoy the movie. I’m not a fan of his writing but enjoy the movie adaptations of his books. And as mentioned, this has been added to my favorite King books made into a movie.

___________________________________

GERALD’S GAME
Starring
: Carla Gugino (The WatchmenSin City); Bruce Greenwood (Knots LandingI, RobotAmerican Dad)
Written By: Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard (based on the Stephen King novel)
Directed By: Mike Flanagan
Release Date: 29 September 2017
Country: 
United States
Location: Mobile, Alabama
IMDB Rating: 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoe Rating: 91%

Current Streaming on Netflix

TRIVIA

There are a number of references to previous King novels/movies within this movie:

  • Gerald refers to the stray dog as Cujo
  • Gerald says the line: “all things serve the beam” – Dark Towers reference
  • Jessie describes a woman looking over a well (a dream she had) – this is a reference to Delores Clairborn
  • Jessie describes a man with a bag of bones – Bag of Bones is another Stephen King novel