Review of The Big Take & The Boy
By: Jason Bechard

Hey, I Watched This! Reviewing Movies I've watched recently.

Hello! Welcome back! Yup, I watched more movies, and I want to talk about them!

First up, The Big Take (2018), written and directed by Justin Daly, and starring James McCaffrey (Voice Actor of Max Payne), Ebon Moss–Bachrach (Netflix's The Punisher), ZoÎ Bell (Grindhouse – Deathproof), Robert Forster (He's been around), Dan Hedaya (Cheers, Clueless, A Night at the Roxbury), and Oksana Lada (The Sopranos).

Here's my brief synopsis, "A struggling Hollywood producer, blackmails a waning Hollywood star to finance his friends film project. But when a seedy private investigator gets involved, it becomes a web of mistaken identity and miscommunication. Blackmail? Strong arm tactics? Death? Just another day in Hollywood!"

Daly delivered! This story plays really well, with enough "realism" to be believable, but equally, just enough absurdity, to not be believable (It makes sense in my head. LOL). The miscommunications, and mistakes by the characters, are not ridiculously out of place. It all makes sense. Just, no one stops to talk things out! Understandable, and believable. I like that!

The acting is spot on, with just enough slight insanity, to blend well. McCaffrey's Douglas Brown is desperate to keep a disgusting security tape from going public. Moss–Bachrach's Max, is the struggling screenwriter, desperately trying to get Brown to make his film, completely oblivious to his producer's blackmail plot against Brown. Hedaya, who was unrecognizable to me, despite being in a lot of things I have seen over the years, as seedy P.I. Frank Manascalpo, just exudes slime, and when he gets tripped up trying to "fix" the blackmail situation, he calls in Bell's Edie, who is just slightly unhinged enough, to do whatever they have to, to get the job done. And I do mean ANYTHING. Oksana's Oxsana (sic), is Max's Russian girlfriend, and, of course, you don't mess with a Russian chick. Forster's Detective Aborn is the level headed cop pulled in the middle of it all, but doesn't quite see the connections.

The characters work well together. No one really steals the show, in my opinion, and that's great. They are all equally nuts, in their own way!

Overall, this film is really, really good! Billed as a thriller, but with sprinkles of dark comedy, it paces nicely. The story plays out, rather unexpectedly. And the characters are just "big" enough to be memorable.

I give The Big Take (2018) 4 stars!

Next up, The Boy (2016). Recommended to me, by my buddy Brent, who doesn't watch a lot of movies, and his previous recommendations have been EXTREMELY questionable (S.S. Doomtrooper? UGH!!).

Written by Stacy Menear, directed by William Brent Bell, and starring Lauren Cohan(The Walking Dead), Rupert Evans(Hellboy, The Man in the High Castle), Jim Norton, and Diana Hardcastle.

Here is the IMDB synopsis, "An American nanny is shocked that her new English family's boy is actually a life–sized doll. After she violates a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive."

Simple enough story, delivered in a nice, slow build, never giving us much real evidence, and just enough mystery. Intriguing to say the least. Suspenseful? ABSOLUTELY! I am trying really hard not to say too much, because this story plays out so perfectly, I DO NOT want to spoil it for you.

The setting is a beautiful, old estate home in the English countryside, which is massive and intricate, and creepy, all in one.

Cohan's Greta is confident, but we quickly see a vulnerability to her. She's running from something, or someone, and has traveled halfway across the world to get away. Her reaction to meeting Brahms, the doll, and realizing she's been hired to doll–sit, with a detailed list of activities, is perfect. Just enough "You've got to be kidding me" with the realistic "Well, I'm getting paid to do it". Norton and Hardcastle's Heelshires, are an interesting couple, who have dealt with a terrible loss, in a strange, but innocent(?) way. Hardcastle, particularly, is the quintessential doting mother, with strict rules for her son. Evans plays Malcolm, the local shopkeeper, hired by the family to provide regular grocery supplies each week, and who quickly builds a rapport with Greta, despite her standoffishness. Dolls can be creepy. Porcelain faced dolls, even more so. Porcelain faced dolls made to look "life–like", truly disturbing!

Naturally, Greta does not take to the rules for doll–sitting Brahms, at first. It's a doll. But, there are rules for a reason, and they are not just for Brahms! So, when Brahms gets upset, a few strange things happen, and after one scary eventful night, Greta embraces caring for Brahms properly. All is well, until Greta's past catches up to her. Then Brahms takes matters into his own hands.

That's all I can say. It's perfectly played, surprisingly well crafted, and intensely delivered. The vibe feels like a smooth blend of Amityville Horror and Annabelle, but plays out entirely different.

There is only one small nit–pick I can make about this flick, but I can't discuss it without spoiling things. I'll post the nit–pick in the "Hey, I Watched This" forum thread in a couple weeks.

Overall, The Boy (2016) is fantastic! I cannot recommend it enough! I give it 4 1/2 stars! (My buddy Brent got this one right!!)

Don't forget to head on over to the "Hey, I Watched This!" thread in The World of Myth Forums, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions.

Thank you to those who have popped in on the forums. My sincerest apologies to reader Margot. The Myth of Fingerprints has really piqued my interest, but I am having difficulties finding it! I'll keep searching though.

See you next month, Folks!