Reviews in Short: January 2017

The Best Offer

grouchyeditor.com Hoeks

 

Geoffrey Rush plays an aloof, eccentric art auctioneer who gets more than he bargained for when an agoraphobic young heiress (Sylvia Hoeks) asks him to sell off her rare collection. I wonder how I might have reacted to The Best Offer had I not seen similar plots – in particular a certain Hitchcock film that I shall not name lest I reveal Offer’s twist ending. The movie is handsomely produced, well acted, and lovely to listen to, but it’s also a story that telegraphs its surprises, especially if you’ve seen similar fare.  Release: 2013  Grade: B+

 

*****

 

Don’t Breathe

grouchyeditor.com Breathe

 

Some of the best nail-biters have simple plots. In Burning Bright, a Bengal tiger terrorizes a young woman and her autistic brother in a house. That’s the plot. In Black Water, a hungry crocodile terrorizes three tourists trapped in an Australian swamp. That’s the plot.

For about an hour, Don’t Breathe reminded me of those low-budget, efficient thrillers because it keeps things simple: Three small-time burglars are surprised when their chosen victim, a blind war vet, turns the tables on them after they break into his house. That’s the plot. The movie is taut and genuinely chilling. And then … well, that wasn’t good enough for writer/director Fede Alvarez, who decides to add a little Cujo here, a little Silence of the Lambs there. Should have left well enough alone. Release: 2016  Grade: B

 

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