(For all the movies I reviewed in 2016, click the "movies2016" label at the bottom of this entry, or just "movies" for every review I've ever written.)
2016 movie reviews #2: Mystic River. THREE STARS. This wasn't nearly as good as I thought it was going to be, essentially just another Hollywood crime thriller with a plot that relies on a particularly hard-to-believe coincidence; and the once celebrated performance by Sean Penn which got this movie so much attention when it first came out (this was the movie that garnered him his very first Oscar) is now even just 15 years later already looking shrill and histrionic, kind of like watching an old Charlton Heston film these days and thinking, "How could people once be so impressed by this overacting ham?" There are great lines here and there, showing hints of the hugely admired Dennis Lehane novel this was based on, which is so well-loved precisely because it brings such a deeper and more complex sense of character than most crime thrillers; but this by-the-numbers adaptation by the usually much better Clint Eastwood flattens all that to the usual dull sheen of Hollywood movies-of-the-week, a disappointment but one that really makes me want to read the novel now.