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Tipping Point: Our picks and pans ("Good on Paper," "Version Zero," "Things Heard and Seen"

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Good on Paper


This movie is based on something that really happened to comic Iliza Shlesinger: she dated someone who lied, lied and lied some more. Shlesinger decided to use that as the basis for this anti-rom-com she wrote and stars in. She plays a standup comic striving to become an actress. She meets a guy (Ryan Hansen) who seems to have it all. He’s wealthy. He’s got a great job. He’s a Yale alum. He’s kind and sincere. The pleasure is watching Shlesinger’s character refuse to acknowledge the truth as her friend (Margaret Cho) tries to make her see the light. “Good on Paper” isn’t a great movie (watching it, I thought about how much better fellow comic-turned-movie-actress Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck” was), but if you’re looking for a periodically-giggle-inducing diversion one night on Netflix, this’ll work.

— Kristina Dorsey


Version Zero

David Yoon

This is Yoon's debut adult novel after two popular YA titles ("Frankly in Love" and "Super Fake Love Song") and it's a really interesting read. "Version Zero" starts off as a sort of sci-fi romcom in which Max, a social media expert for a huge Silicon Valley app (very Facebooky), has unrequited feelings for Akiko, who's in a relationship with Max's best friend. But when Max is fired and blacklisted, the trio forms an unlikely alliance with a highly reclusive tech genius to thwart the evil conglomerate behind Max's fall from grace. It's all highly entertaining and a cool introduction to the mysterious industry that dominates so much of our lives. But a sudden turn towards outright horror is jolting if not totally unpleasant. The reader has to shift gears over the bumpy segue, but I never stopped wanting to know what happened. And the ending is a true punch to the brain.

— Rick Koster 


Things Heard and Seen


This thriller becomes more enjoyable as it gets increasingly out-there. It starts slow, with a young couple in 1980 moving to rural northern New York so the husband (James Norton) can take a job as an art professor. The wife (Amanda Seyfried) has an eating disorder — and a simmering resentment against her self-absorbed, dismissive spouse. Before long, they’re each making eyes at good-looking young town folks. And something else: their house might be haunted by the wives who died there in years past. Good actors pop up in supporting roles (F. Murray Abraham, Rhea Seehorn, Karen Allen). One thing: I have a question about how one of the opening images — the husband carrying his daughter across a field — connects with the conclusion. To answer that, I guess I could read the book this hooey is based on, Elizabeth Brundage’s “All Things Cease to Appear.” Naaaaah.

— Kristina Dorsey 


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