Tag Archives: Christopher Convery

He Is Heavy, He’s My Grandpa

Prisoner’s Daughter  

by Christie Robb

In Catherine Hardwicke’s newest film, the title character, Maxine (Kate Beckinsale), is struggling. She’s got two jobs, but still can’t afford the epilepsy medicine her son Ezra (Christopher Convery) needs. The kid’s dad is no help. He’s a drug-addicted man-child squatting in what looks like an abandoned factory, showing up only to cause trouble and get Maxine fired by one of her managers.

So, when her prisoner father, Max (Brian Cox), is diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and offered compassionate release and house arrest for his last four months if his estranged daughter is up for it, Maxine agrees – but only if he pays rent promptly, stays out of the way, and keeps his exact relationship to her quiet around her kid. Ezra thinks his grandfather died before he was born, and Maxine doesn’t want her ruse upended.

Although Max, a former boxer turned enforcer/probable hit man, was a shit dad whose presence and absence from Maxine’s life during her childhood left her with many emotional scars, we are given to understand that he’s changed in the last 12 years, gotten sober, and been an asset to those prisoners trying to do the same. And, now that he’s back in his daughter’s life, he’s out to make some serious amends.

Much of the film is a thinly-written fairytale—the rekindling of a healthy relationship within an estranged family with minimal effort and no therapy required. Apologies are freely offered. Money is exchanged without strings. But strings are pulled to put Maxine’s career back on track. Whimsical adventures are had. And grandpa bonds with grandson, passing down valuable life lessons to help him navigate tough stuff that mom just doesn’t understand.

See, Ezra is being bullied at school. So, Max, the former boxer, is more than ready to step up and teach him to fight. The last act is interesting. but sometimes as heavy-handed as Max’s fists. And it makes you wonder what kind of legacy Max has passed on to the next generation and whether it’s really that easy to change oneself, much less stop the cycle of generational trauma.

Friends to the End

Brahms: The Boy II

by Hope Madden

Wow. Who would have guessed that director William Brent Bell could drive his lackluster 2016 scary doll flick The Boy to a sequel? Not the half dozen or so of us who saw it.

But here you have it, Brahms: The Boy II is a real live movie.

Katie Holmes is in it. She plays Liza, concerned mum. She and her youngster Jude (Christopher Convery) survived a trauma and now they are recuperating, along with supportive dad Sean (Owain Yoeman), in an old English manner.

Jude finds this creepy doll buried outside, just his little white hand poking out from the ground. They take him inside and clean him up and keep him because they have never seen a horror movie.

If you have, you can definitely skip this one.

While there’s not a lot to like about Stacey Menear’s script, the problem here—as with his 2016 effort that began this whole killer plaything saga—feels more like poor direction. The story sets up a slight twist on a common horror theme: someone survives a traumatic experience only to find themselves in a potentially super natural circumstance. This begs the question, is this person insane, or is this super natural event really happening?

Scads and scads of horror films have wandered the psychological corridors of this premise. In this case, there are two possible crazies (both Liza and Jude). So, there is something here. We could twist throughout the film wondering, is this doll sentient evil? Is little Jude a budding maniac? Or is Liza suffering from PTSD and imagining it all?

We don’t wonder, though, because Bell clarifies the true culprit early and often. He’s so clear on the matter that the subsequent moments of Liza questioning her own sanity, or of Jude staring menacingly at his bully cousin, amount to an idiotic mishandling of material.

Ralph Ineson (The Witch) and his grizzled baritone make a quick appearance. There’s also a Google search or two—damn, horror movie Google searches deliver results, don’t they?! And how lucky to bump into that stranger in town who 1) asks where you live and, 2) happens to have all the info you’d ever need on the entire history of the home you’re renting. Too nutty!

But let’s be honest, do you even want to see this movie?