Hardcore Henry ***1/2
First person POV movies are nothing new. The Blair Witch Project (1999) proved to the world that these simulated handheld camera films could be entertaining and make money, despite their unnerving (to some) camera work. But Hardcore Henry takes the concept to a new place, and shows a new level of commitment, with new twists on the POV and a Sci-Fi world as seen literally only through the eyes of a Cyborg named Henry. The convoluted but occasionally clever plot has us believing that Henry was once a real person, and that his wife, a scientist, is there to help him navigate through a rash of bad Russians out to get him and unleash an army of Cyborg villans. Henry’s only other friend in the world is Jimmy, played by South African Sharlto Copley (District 9, Chappie), who comes and goes in various forms and has a brilliant psychedelic scene in which some 10 versions of himself interact in the midst of all Hell breaking loose. Some incredible camera work showcases the amazing stunts in this $10-million effort. I was warned by no fewer than four theater employees that if I was prone to motion sickness, to choose another film. I’m not, and the jerky camera was more annoying than nauseating. But soon I got used it and settled in, trying, like Henry himself, to figure out just what in blazes was happening. See it at the Big D (Broadway at the Beach) for a limited time to get the full effect.
The Boss **1/2
Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning Melissa McCarthy, who can be incredibly funny, lovable, vulnerable and relatable, is capable of some really fine comedy—Bridesmaids and The Heat come to mind. In the R-rated The Boss, which begins as a PG-13ish, nearly family-friendly romp about a motivational financial guru, Michelle Darnell (McCarthy), the comedy turns awkwardly vulgar and unfunny by the film’s midpoint. Gross-out, sexually explicit comedy works in many cases, but halfway into a movie starring children, and a movie that most 10-year-old girls (and their parents) would otherwise adore, it seems grossly out of place and only serves as unnecessary shock value. Still, McCarthy is center stage for some hysterical scenes, especially those with Peter Dinklage as her former workmate and ex-lover. As a Girl Scout-esque cookie empire rises and crumbles under Darnell’s leadership, the stage is set for good chemistry between some uptight Moms, some funny kids, and Kristen Belle as a single mom and Darnell’s reluctant business partner. See it for McCarthy’s brand of slapstick, but beware – don’t take the kids.
What’s new at the movies this week
What do those stars mean?