Sandy Kenyon reviews 'The Only Living Boy in New York,' 'The Glass Castle'

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The two films are hoping to get a jump on the Oscar race.

The biggest summer blockbusters have already opened, and the serious films of fall are just a few weeks away. But two pictures are hoping to get a jump on the Oscar race.

The film "The Only Living Boy in New York" take its title from the famous Simon and Garfunkel song.

The boy is played by talented newcomer Callum Turner, who is more than capable of holding his own with a stellar cast that includes Jeff Bridges as his neighbor.

He's hanging out with a lady his own age, but he's also willing to be seduced by his father's mistress.

The drama is set against the backdrop of the city's gentrification. The theme rings true, but most of the dialogue does not. Predictable and trite are two words that come to mind about a slow movie that's well shot but sunk by a script that fails in its honesty.

Meanwhile, "The Glass Castle' is all too true. It's so real, in fact, that it's a tough movie to watch.

Woody Harrelson gives an Oscar-worthy performance as the alcoholic father, as does Naomi Watts as the mother of Jeannette Walls -- who wrote a best-selling memoir about growing up poor and then leaving home to prosper only to have her parents turn up homeless.

The lead character is splendidly played by a couple of children and then by Brie Larson, who stars as the reporter she was determined to become.

To learn the troubled past of the real Jeanette Walls is astonishing, most surprising because the child of poverty had so completely re-invented herself as a lively gossip columnist. Her charm in the face of adversity is what's missing from the earnest but grim movie.
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