AS THE TWO OF US WERE WALKING through the forest we came upon a group of trees. They appeared to be dancing a can-can with their wide trunks hovering above their long-exposed roots. The way the trees’ leaves flickered from the wind made me think they could be feathers attached to wide-brimmed cloth hats. I let the image stay with me as we continued on the trail, towards the sound of water gurgling ahead of us. The ground was firm at our feet, barely allowing the tread of our shoes to remain behind. I was not sure if we would be returning on the same path. It was mid-morning and the vibrant sun had a difficult time piercing through all the foliage around us, as if trying to seek us out. At one point there were slender rays of sunlight crisscrossing around us; all I could think of was one of those magician boxes where the assistant was placed inside before the magician thrusted glimmering swords through it. Up ahead there was an opening where the trees had parted, allowing more light to filter down into an area. We made our way to it and upon arriving discovered a squirming brook. With flat rocks barely breaking the surface of the water, the brook looked like an albino snake in movement. All these things went unnoticed by my companion. EACH OF US HAS THE ABILITY TO see things in our own unique way. Where I can look across a canyon and see the outline of an ancient castle, the person next to me may look and see a single flower jutting out from a crack in the granite wall. Because of this variance, I am always curious to hear what other people think about places that I have visited. So much can be learned by seeing things through another person’s eyes, I believe. For me, this ability is essential for building solid relationships. When two people are in a relationship it is important to understand how your significant other will respond in situations. I was in a relationship where we had conflict between us because I would react to a situation opposite of them, then not understand why they were not being more supportive. After a year we parted ways because neither of us knew at the time how to look at something from a different perspective. I can now say that relationship had a profound affect on me, allowing me to experience healthier relationships. Speaking of profound experiences, this was my first contact with the author of The Hobbit and I had no idea the world around him had such a major effect on him creating the fantasy world in his books. ORPHANED AND POOR LEFT JOHN RONALD Reuel Tolkien, played by Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies, Mad Max: Fury Road) with nothing of tangible worth except for his words. His words would travel around the world one day. This biographical drama also starred Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones) as Edith Bratt, Colm Meaney (Alan Partridge, Layer Cake) as Father Francis, Craig Roberts (Just Jim, Submarine) as Private Sam Hodges and Laura Donnelly (Right Hand Drive, Outlander-TV) as Mabel Tolkien. Having no knowledge of J.R.R Tolkien’s personal life, I was stunned watching this beautifully filmed war drama. The story covered three distinct time periods. If broken apart, each segment was compelling; however, in visual form I was distracted with the jumping back and forth in time. I never felt a deep connection to the characters. With such monumental events taking place in the author’s young life, I wanted to know more about Tolkien. Now I am embarrassed to say this, but I have not read The Hobbit; however, after seeing this film and learning a little about his history I want to read the book.
2 ½ stars
I DO NOT WANT TO SAY IT is funny, but it is interesting the way things get put into perspective when a person discovers they have a disease. With certainty I can tell you I would probably “space out” for a time before coming back to reality. When I had a health scare over a year ago, I remember getting the news in a phone call while I was at the movies. After hanging up and walking back into the theater, I spaced out and could not recall what I had just seen when the film finished. Later, I came out of my daze and planned a course of action. That is the thing about disease; it can motivate certain people to stop procrastinating about some things in their lives. I do not know if it was due to the movie The Bucket List, but ever since that film I now hear people talk more about their bucket lists; what they have on it and what they hope to accomplish before they die. There was a time when conversations about death and dying were not discussed; I can remember being told no one wants to talk about something so unpleasant. These days more and more individuals convey their desire to do something right away because one never knows what tomorrow will bring. IN MY WORLD I WAS FORTUNATE that diseases did not come to the forefront until I was an adult living on my own. I remember a mother dealing with a fatal disease while continuing to raise her young children. There also was a friend of the family that found out she had a debilitating disease. After going through multiple tests, she decided to pack up her house and move to a climate that would be kinder to her body. She wound up living her life as comfortably as possible. I just do not know what circumstances take place to make a person either fight back their disease or ignore it and live the rest of their life as stress free as they can. There is a gentleman I know who upon hearing his diagnosis decided he did not want to do any further testing or remedies. He felt the treatments would greatly reduce his quality of life. An acquaintance of mine is furious with her sister because the sister had health issues she ignored for almost one year. By the time she finally went to the doctor her disease had spread further than it needed to go. No one can judge another person on how they react to getting distressful news; one can only support them. See how it is done in this dramatic comedy. ALL MARTHA, PLAYED BY DIANE KEATON (The Family Stone, And So it Goes), wanted to do was live her life out peacefully when she decided to move to a retirement community. Her neighbor Sheryl, played by Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook, Animal Kingdom), did not see it quite that way. With Celia Weston (Dead Man Walking, After.Life) as Vicki, Alisha Boe (13 Reasons Why-TV, Paranormal Activity 4) as Chloe and Charlie Tahan (I Am Legend, Charlie St. Cloud) as Ben; this movie had a cast that deserved a better script. The message was right but the delivery of it was embarrassing. I did not see anything creative or new in the story; all the antics were predictable, and I have to say pretty lame. There were a couple of times where I even cringed due to the level of ridiculousness in the scenes. I do not know if it is funny, sad or ironic that this cast wound up in this picture. The reason I say this is because I am sure none of the actors would want this movie to be the public’s final memory of their acting career.
1 ¾ stars
SITTING CLOSE ENOUGH TO ME TO BE heard was a mother and her young son. I could not help but to hear their conversation. The little boy was whining he did not want to go visit his aunt and uncle. For every negative comment the boy made, his mother would answer with an upbeat or positive answer. If you ask me I think their conversation went on way too long. So, I will spare you most of it and only give you some highlights. When the mother asked her son why he did not want to go visit his aunt and uncle, the boy said there was nothing there to do. The mother told him he could play in their backyard. To that the boy said there was nothing in the backyard except flowers and bushes. At another point in the conversation the boy said he did not like sitting by his uncle because he smelled funny. By the way this child was, I am guessing, around 4 or 5 years old. Another thing he did not like was the aunt’s chocolate chip cookies; they were always burnt. To sum up the entire conversation the boy was always bored and uncomfortable sitting at his relatives’ house. MANY OF US MIGHT BE ABLE to relate to that conversation; where we must do something, we might not like doing. For me there was a relative that was an awful cook. Eating at their house was a chore because not only were many of the food dishes unrecognizable, they were also horrible tasting. I would always want to stop at a fast food restaurant before going to their house for dinner. Now there are other circumstances where one doesn’t want to do something they have to do. I don’t like having to go get my driver’s license renewed. The wait is always long and slow; the fear is always there that if I must take the driver’s test I will get an administrator who is in a bad mood; and the worst part, I will have to press my face into the viewer screen for the eye test portion. I can only imagine how many germs and stuff have been left on that viewer screen from all the applicants. Don’t all of us have to do things we do not want to do? It is part of life. The reason I have mentioned this is because I honestly was not looking forward to seeing this comedy. From the trailers, I had a feeling this movie would have a hard time keeping my attention. ONE SCAM ARTIST WAS SOPHISTICATED AND chic, the other raw and uncouth; when they descend on the same place it would turn into a battle for each to outdo the other. With Anne Hathaway (Ocean’s Eight, Rachael Getting Married) as Josephine Chesterfield, Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect franchise, Isn’t it Romantic) as Penny, Nicholas Woodeson (Skyfall, Disobedience) as Albert, Alex Sharp (How to Talk to Girls at Parties, UFO) as Thomas Westerburg and Dean Norris (Fist Fight, Breaking Bad-TV) as Howard Bacon; this film suffered under a variety of poor choices. First, let me talk about Rebel. She needs to stop doing the same thing over and over. This character was no different from many of her past ones. I especially dislike how the writers use her weight to create so called comedy. As for the script, it was so basic that there was nothing noteworthy about it; it was ridiculous and boring. Whenever there was the opportunity to go with the lowest common denominator, this story went with it. I told you I was not looking forward to seeing this film and now I know why. The only positive thing I can say about this movie is that I went to the morning, bargain priced showing.
1 ½ stars
THE SILENCE WAS PROMINENT ENOUGH FOR me to notice as soon as I walked into the secured area. Why it was a surprise for me was because the area was an airline’s reward members club at the airport. I had a guest pass; so, I was curious to finally see what was so special about these clubs I have seen at many airports. After my pass was scanned by an airline employee, I took the escalator up to the lounge. With barely an audible sound, I felt I was transported to a futuristic world when I entered the place. There were passengers everywhere, sitting in comfy chairs separated periodically by end tables with small lamps. As far as I could see, everyone was plugged into their electronic devices. Some people were attached to theirs with earbuds or headphones, while others had no connection except their locked eyes on the screen. It was a weird sight for me; I could not tell if I was in a futuristic call center or a laboratory. No one was conversing with anyone else. Each person was a singular entity, focused only on their small space, oblivious to anything around them. IT WAS OBVIOUS TO ME WHICH individuals were playing games, for they were the ones with the most physical movement. Out of this group I assumed the ones that were agitated were probably playing some type of battle game or obstacle course. It was funny to me because at the other end of the spectrum there were those who were quietly typing away on their screens, with the slightest of motion. There was no interaction taking place in the real world. Now I hope I am not being judgmental; but as I looked around, I imagined what the room would look like if each passenger’s electronic game or app came to life. How many people would be embarrassed; or on the other hand, how many would be fascinated with someone else’s game? Before electronic devices, there were arcade games. Placed in bars, restaurants and a variety of public places; these devices tended to attract people to come gather by them. I remember when a player was on a hot streak, he/she would draw a crowd to cheer them on. Honestly, it was a time where people engaged more with each other. There was audible communication; now there is this virtual world that individuals can customize and delve into without any outside human interaction. Think about what if those two worlds of reality and fantasy came together. If you want to see one possibility then this action, adventure comedy can show you. TRAVELING TO THE OFFICE OF HIS deceased father to gather any personal belongings Tim Goodman, played by Justice Smith (Paper Towns, Every Day), found one item that was alive; his Dad’s personal Pokemon. What was more of a shock was the fact he could understand this Pokemon named Detective Pikachu, voiced by Ryan Reynolds (The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Deadpool franchise). With Bill Nighy (The Bookshop, About Time) as Howard Clifford, Ken Watanabe (Inception, Godzilla) as Lieutenant Hide Yoshida and Chris Geere (After Earth, You’re the Worse-TV); I must tell you I have had no dealings with the Pokemon game or its characters. Despite that I was pleasantly surprised with my level of enjoyment for this picture. Ryan seems to be the go-to person when it comes to quick sarcastic remarks and he does a wonderful job here. The creativity of fantasy CGI characters mixing with humans is nothing new; however, the script was compelling enough to draw the viewer in for the ride. Since I do not know if the Pokemon world has some dark places, this story was kept on a consistent goofy, fun level with a few thrills. Of course, fans will enjoy this film more than other viewers; but as a person unfamiliar with the game, I can see why this game has attracted such a large fan base.
2 ½ stars
I DID NOT KNOW THE TWO brothers when they were growing up. All I can assume from what I have been told was they grew up in the same home, in the same environment. If I was not privy to this bit of information I would never guess they were brothers, except they did share some common physical features. Two men who were so opposite of each other, I have no idea what happened to make them so different in many ways. One brother was jovial, the other was mostly serious. One easygoing who didn’t hold a grudge, while the other one was stubborn and hostile. They were not the only example I had of family members being so different from the same household; but I have to say they were an extreme example for me. Over time I have given thought and studies to the general psychological characteristics, feelings and behavioral traits of humankind; in fact, I thought I would have had a career out of it. Looking at these two brothers besides genetics, there must have been something going on in their environment that made them drastically different. Maybe a parent favored one over the other or one was being abused or bullied outside of the home; in either case, their differences caused a major rift between them that still lasts to this day. I AM NOT IMPLYING THAT THERE is something wrong with being different; I find it to be healthy and celebrate it. Imagine if each family’s members acted the same. The first thing that comes to mind is there would be no surprises. With everyone being the same, everyone would know what to expect. I also believe the family would have a narrower view of the world around them. I know a couple who live in such a self-built confined world, that they have become fearful of anything new. Now you could argue if they are happy and content then what is the big deal; however, I do not know if they are happy because I have never seen them display it. What I do know is they have missed out on so many events that I believe would have brought them joy. The bottom line for all of this is unless one lives and observes what takes place every day, one cannot truly know the reasons why people turn out the way they do. You can see for yourself if you choose to watch the two brothers in this film festival winning drama. GETTING ASSIGNED TO THE BIGGEST CASE of his career L.A.P.D. detective Diego Hernandez, played by Raul Castillo (We the Animals), was thrown a loop when the case included information about his dead brother. With Jose Pablo Cantillo (Crank franchise, Elysium) as Detective Martinez, George Lopez (Valentine’s Day, Spare Parts) as Captain Gomez, David Castaneda (Sicario: Day of the Soldado; Standing Up, Falling Down) as Shotgun and Marlene Forte (A Haunted House, Real Women have Curves) as Susana; this movie screamed hope and desperation. I truly get it; the writers and studio wanted to create a franchise around a Latino avenger which would be fine. However, to create a poor script loaded with clichés and predictability was a major roadblock. The acting was nothing to talk about either. This type of story has been done many times before; I do not understand why the writers chose to go down such a conventional path. One guess I have would be the lack of funding for this picture. Every scene looked sparse like it was borrowed or already picked over from previous movies. The fight scenes were staged okay but here too they were kept to a brief, bloody moment. I felt bad for this film; besides poor sales, I cannot see any reason why someone would want to attempt a sequel.
1 ½ stars
IN MY HOUSE I HAVE A beautiful curio cabinet. It is mission style, crafted out of wood and glass. I have received numerous compliments on it. Granted, I put it in a prominent place between two passageways right underneath a wooden copy of a Frank Lloyd Wright window. It was the only spot open in the room and it was the perfect place. The piece stands on four short legs before meeting the bottom of the 2 front cabinet doors with glass insets. Vertical thin strips of wood come down the front seamlessly, except where 2 black metal plates with a metal ring are attached to pull open the door. I saw a picture of this cabinet in a catalog and immediately knew I had to get it. Sure, I looked at other cabinets, but none of them had a strong attraction for me like this mission style one. When it arrived, I had to assemble the pieces together which is not my forte. After reading through the directions I began the process and was surprised how well it was going. That is until I had to assemble the pieces to the back panel. One predrilled hole did not line up; I had to drill a 2nd hole if I wanted to finish building the cabinet. Until now I was the only person who knew this perfect cabinet was not so perfect when it arrived. Luckily, the extra hole was in the back where no one would see it. THAT IS THE THING ABOUT PERFECTION, it is only a perception. I cannot think of one thing that I would say is perfect. Growing up I would hear friends’ parents compare their children to others, mostly when their child was being scolded. They would ask why their kid could not be more like so-and-so and act better. Even though it was said in different ways, the parents’ message coming across was essentially telling their child they wished he or she was better. The other family was being perceived as perfect or better by the child’s parents. And do you know what contributed to them thinking this way? I believe it was television shows because back then families were portrayed as being perfect. One did not hear about divorce, affairs or problems. These shows warped many people’s perceptions. In my own life, when I began my career in fitness I became obsessed with fitness magazines. I felt I had to look like the models that were being used by the writers. For years I wanted to be the perfect specimen of a fitness instructor. Well guess what, I was never going to be perfect and that was okay. It is a message that can be found in this animated, adventure comedy. IN UGLYVILLE THE WEIRD, THE DIFFERENT and of course the ugly are all things celebrated by the inhabitants. But right past their town beauty can be found in many forms and some citizens yearn to be part of that beauty. With Kelly Clarkson (From Justin to Kelly, American Dreams-TV) voicing Moxy, Blake Shelton (Pitch Perfect 2, The Ridiculous 6) voicing Ox, Leehom Wang (Forever Young, My Lucky Star) voicing Lucky Bat, Wanda Sykes (Monster-in-Law, Bad Moms franchise) voicing Wage and Pitbull (Epic, Empire-TV) voicing Uglydog; the message the writers were trying to get across was spot on. Unfortunately, I do not know if any of the viewers will get the message because this picture was bleak on many counts. The script was boring; there was nothing fun about it. There was no wow factor regarding the animation which left me being bored through long passages of this film. Only the unmemorable songs and Kelly’s enthusiasm kept me awake. I could not tell if this movie was made to sell dolls or to rehash bits of cutting room footage from other films. The movie studio wanted to show us that it is okay not to be perfect and they certainly did by creating this mess. I do not think this is the way the studio intended to show us.
1 ½ stars
I AM NOT CLAIMING THIS IS 100% true; but if one must explain every joke to the person they are dating, I believe the relationship is not destined to last long. Humor, at least for me, is an important trait to possess. Not that I want to be with someone who likes and dislikes everything I do, but there must be some things that connect us. I used to rate food tastes as an important factor in a relationship; but because I am so picky, I have learned to adjust and be flexible about it. To give you an idea, if we were discussing a place to eat and I did not like the type of cuisine, I would refuse the restaurant outright. I soon learned that I needed to be malleable; food did not have to be so important to me. And what I discovered is I can usually find something to eat at most establishments. There still are some cuisines that I am not fond of, but I no longer put a checkmark in the “con” column when assessing a new person’s choices. Out of the variety of factors one chooses as the glue to bond with someone, food is not a deal breaker for me. FOR MY OWN PERSONAL FEELINGS, I prefer being with someone who is not just like me. I am an intense person by nature; imagine me being with someone who matches my intensity level? It would be a volatile relationship. When two people connect yet have some differences, I consider it a plus for the relationship. I always say it gives me the opportunity to see a situation through someone else’s eyes. It is a yin and yang environment for me. Whenever I am sitting in a place long enough to observe people, I look at couples. Sometimes I see two people who appear to have nothing in common. For example, one person is dressed in an expensive flashy way, while the other one looks like they got their clothing from a thrift shop. I am curious enough to sit and just watch how the couple interact with each other. Sometimes I am even sitting close enough to hear parts of their conversation, particularly if we happen to be seated next to each other at the same flight gate in the airport. From my observations and own experiences, I feel a mixture of differences and similarities creates the strongest bond between two people. If you want to see it being tested may I suggest you watch this romantic comedy. INVITED AS A GUEST TO A social function Fred Flarsky, played by Seth Rogan (This is the End, Neighbors franchise), got the oddest feeling he knew of all people the Secretary of State. If true, she was his very first crush. With Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde, Mad Max: Fury Road) as Charlotte Field, June Diane Raphael (The Disaster Artist, Unfinished Business) as Maggie Millikin, O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton, Ingrid Goes West) as Lance and Bob Odenkirk (Nebraska, Breaking Bad-TV) as President Chambers; this film festival winning movie was the highlight for me this week in a sea of dreadful films. Seth and Charlize seemed such an unlikely pairing, but it worked to their advantage. I enjoyed watching them and laughed out loud a few times, due to the fun and topical script. Granted Seth was in his element, so there were times I felt he was reprising a past character; but my focus was steered more to Charlize. I thought she was a wonderful blend of seriousness and humor. Sure, one could say this story was similar to others but with a gender switch and that may be true. However, I found this to be a sharp and fresh take on the rom-com genre.
I HAD A PAIR OF SHOES that I walked to death. Being extremely picky when it comes to shoes, I remember exactly where I was when I bought that pair of shoes; in a department store shopping for a gift. As I was walking around I wound up by the shoe department. On an endcap was a display of shoes that caught my eye. I liked the style and the fact they were on sale, so I decided to try on a pair. The minute my foot slipped into the shoe I immediately was taken by the comfort. This was something that doesn’t often happen to me when it comes to shoes. After I tried on the other shoe I walked over to a mirror to see how they looked on my feet. One glance and it was confirmed, the shoes were going to be mine. Normally I bring shoes home and wear them around the house for a couple of weeks to make sure they will not cause any discomfort; however, this pair of shoes I wore that night when I met friends for dinner. From that first day, I wore those shoes every day for every occasion. Even when the heels were worn down and the sole’s tread smoothed out into baldness, I could not give up those shoes. THERE ARE SOME THINGS, ONCE WE acquire them, we cannot let them go. I know this is a HUGE challenge for me. If I find something that brings me some form of joyfulness, I understand myself well enough to know I will never want to give it up. There are mementos around my house that I have had since childhood that still bring me joy to this day. A candy dish I played with as a kid; a plastic salad bowl that sat on our dining room table; even a pine cone that was given to me by a classmate in school when we got lost in a forest during a break in studies; each of these things represent a fond memory that I never want to forget. Maybe it is easy for you to remove yourself from your personal possessions; I have some friends who do a purge of their things every year to keep their homes sparse and clutter-free. I can do that on a smaller scale, but every time I try I get bogged down in the memories that float back into my consciousness from each item I see. On first meeting the home owner in this dramatic, horror mystery; I thought he had the same issue of not being able to detach himself from his possessions. MAKING THE TRANSITION FROM CITY DWELLERS to country homeowners appeared easy for married couple Annie and Scott Russell, played by Meagan Good (Think Like a Man, The Unborn) and Michael Ealy (About Last Night, Seven Pounds). It was not as easy for the man who sold the house to them. With Dennis Quaid (A Dog’s Purpose, Far From Heaven) as Charlie Peck, Joseph Sikora (Charlie Wilson’s War, Ghost World) as Mike and Alvina August (Bad Times at the El Royale, The Good Doctor-TV) as Rachel; the story seemed quite familiar to me, as if it had been done many times before. If the writers had taken a different direction, maybe this picture would have had more to offer; since the cast was quite capable. Instead, the script was awful, insulting the intelligence of the viewer. It seemed as if every other scene with Dennis focused on his sardonic, sinister smile while the couple continued to make lame decisions. I was so bored by this movie I kept hoping the house would just catch on fire to end the story. When I left the theater, I was mad I had given up my valuable time to sit and watch this ridiculous film.
1 ½ stars
I REMEMBER A DATE I WENT ON years ago, where at the end of it I asked how they felt about our time together. The answer I got was a complete shock to me. I was told that I was standoffish and appeared unemotional. Not that I was fishing for a compliment, but this was not the type of answer I ever expected. I thought I came across as relaxed and easy going, with a touch of self-deprecating humor. It seemed as if we were on two different dates. Inside my mind I quickly did a replay of our conversation and the topics we discussed. I was able to get a couple of laughs out of some of the things I said, and I know I was paying attention because I did ask questions to further explain things or get a better sense how they felt about the subject we were discussing. Usually at the end of a date I would ask the person if they would be interested in getting together again; regarding this date, I knew there would be no point to ask such a question. My feelings had gotten bruised a bit; I wasn’t going to take a chance of them getting hurt more. I did, however, thank them for their honesty even though I just felt confused about the whole evening. ON THE WAY HOME AND FOR the rest of the weekend I mulled over that date. Calling friends for feedback and input, I really wanted to see if I was missing something. It turned into a thought-provoking time for me. After all the discussions and going through memories, I realized that I did indeed keep a tough façade around me. My friends pointed out that when I am around unfamiliar people I become more reserved, observing everyone with little talking. Once I get comfortable then I begin to relax around strangers and can start to joke and carry on a conversation. I wondered why I was cautious around strangers, but I soon found my answer after delving deeper inside of myself. Having always felt like an outsider, never fitting into a specific group, I was perceived as being odd or just different. As some of you may know, being different in school can be a disadvantage and at my school I was definitely at a disadvantage. When I got teased and picked on for being different, I started to learn to put up a hard front. I was going to show “them” that they could not get the best of me; so, I shut down. I buried my feelings to show I could not get hurt. The main character in this dramatic comedy would certainly understand. NOTHING WAS MORE IMPORTANT TO KATE, played by Taylor Schilling (The Lucky One, Orange is the New Black-TV), than her job. Even when her brother desperately needed her to watch her niece Maddie, played by Bryn Vale (Red Band Society-TV), for one night. With Kate McKinnon (The Spy Who Dumped Me, Rough Night) as Jill, Brian Tyree Henry (Widows, If Beale Street Could Talk) as Pete and Matt Walsh (Into the Storm, Veep-TV) as Dan; this film festival nominated movie’s story was one that had been done before. However, I will say the script offered an edgier version of that story. The cast worked well together, and I was impressed with the performances from Taylor and Bryn. The idea of not fitting in really stood out for me and I had to give credit to the writers for carrying that message through the story. Though I could tell how the story would play out, it did not take away my focus from watching this humorous picture. Also, it felt good to sit in a theater with other viewers who felt the same way as we all chuckled at the same things.
2 ½ stars
IF YOU WERE A BOY, THE one thing you would not want to do is cry in public. If you were caught crying it would become the catalyst for a slew of derogatory nicknames, teasing and abuse. It was just a fact of life back then. And this is not me imagining or over dramatizing it; every boy in school knew no matter what, don’t cry and do not even let your eyes water up. It was expected girls would cry because they were more “emotional.” I had no idea where I was taught this fact; there were no surveys done or analysis completed. It was just something that all of us in school knew or assumed at least. I have seen girls fight each other as well as boys and I can tell you the two sexes fought in totally different ways. The girls were more vicious; they would slap, punch, pinch, scratch and use any item they could grab their hands on. The boys would limit their fighting to punches, wrestling holds and kicks. Where the girls would scream and yell, the boys rarely uttered a word. No matter what happened if someone was going to cry during their fight it was usually a girl. A boy might crumble up in pain and moan but would do everything possible not to cry. THANK HEAVENS TIMES HAVE CHANGED OR AT least I hope so. Gratefully I have not been in a fight since I have been an adult, but I can easily tear up or cry during a movie. This is not something exclusive; I can easily tear up while listening to music or during an emotional conversation. There is something freeing about releasing tears, both of sadness and joy. Think about the amount of energy it takes to hold in your emotions. I find it exhausting, so rarely do I try to keep my feelings/emotions in check these days. However, when I was in school being picked on or bullied, I held my emotions in. Thinking back at those times, it surprises me how we lived in a compartmentalized society; girls and boys, men and woman each had to act a certain way. I remember a parent saying it was not ladylike for a girl to fight. What did ladylike mean? Emotions and feelings are not defined by gender; they are unisex, universal. One emotion is not exclusive to one sex; yet for my generation, we were raised to believe differently. Therefore, films like this action fantasy are necessary. WITH THE WORLD LEFT IN SHAMBLES minus half the population, the remaining members of the Avengers had to move on with their lives. Losing a battle was hard for them; something they never wanted to experience again. But when a sliver of hope to rectify the past appeared, would any of the superheroes take the chance to change the past? With Robert Downey Jr. (The Judge, Chef) as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Evans (Gifted, Before We Go) as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Mark Ruffalo (The Kids are All Right, Spotlight) as Bruce Banner/Hulk; Chris Hemsworth (Bad Times at the El Royale, 12 Strong) as Thor and Scarlett Johansson (Rough Night, Lucy) as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow; this adventure sequel was a culmination of the past Avengers films. Coming in at 3 hours and 58 seconds; be prepared for a moving experience. I cried multiple times during this movie. The script was special; it was thoughtful and tied up every little detail for this franchise. What impressed me the most was the fact that female and male characters were equal, both in emotions and fighting skills. It did not matter whether a character had little or more screen time; they each played an important part in creating this superhero masterpiece. I felt there was more story than action in this picture; however, what action there was in the story was incredible to watch. How the movie studio will ever top this, I do not know. Whatever gender you identify with, I suggest you bring tissues with you and allow yourself to experience this epic movie. There were NO extra scenes at the end of the film.
3 ¾ stars