Flash Movie Review: Let Him Go

HER WALKING INTO MY CLASS LATE wasn’t what caught my eye as much as the way she walked in. She kept her head bent as she hugged the wall until she got to an open space in the back of the room. The way she was moving triggered an alarm in my brain. It is one thing for someone new to be nervous the first time they walk into the fitness room, but this person’s movements registered more than nervousness. As I led the class in a series of yoga poses, I noticed this new person was using a variety of excuses not to complete the pose. One time she had to stop and readjust her hair, another time she stopped to pull the bottom of her T-shirt down because it had hiked up a bit on one side. I filed these things in the back of my mind. For the next couple of weeks, she kept coming to class and doing the same things to prevent herself from moving fully into the yoga poses. There was a point when I was walking around the room assisting members, I stopped by her to offer advice on the pose we were working on. It was then I asked her if she was feeling more comfortable moving in a different way. Of course, she replied in the affirmative and I did not push her further on the subject.      THE WEEK AFTER I SPOKE TO her, she came in with what I assumed to be was her mother. As luck or maybe it was fate would have it, after class the mother came up to ask me a question. I found out she was indeed the mother. She thanked me for the help with her question and I offered a few more words of encouragement and expressed the same to the daughter. The next few weeks there was some improvement with the girl being less distracted. However, I still was feeling something was not right based on her movements, hard time making eye contact and the lack of expression on her face. Her mother had excelled with the poses and was comfortable enough to stop and talk to me when she saw me in the building. It was at one of these meetings I gently shared my thoughts about her daughter. The way I broke the news to her was telling her about the abuse I have seen and experienced myself. From that point I mentioned that from my experiences it appears as if her daughter might be the victim of bullying. The mother thanked me and said she would find out and take care of it. As the classes continued, without another word being said, I saw a positive change in the daughter. At some point the mother, after class, told me I was correct in my observations and thanked me for pointing it out to her. She had no idea her daughter was being bullied.      WHEN THEIR GRANDSON AND HIS PARENTS moved out of state suddenly without saying goodbye; Margaret and George Blackledge, played by Diane Lane (Under the Tuscan Sun, Must Love Dogs) and Kevin Costner (The Bodyguard, Draft Day), decided they would travel out of state to find their grandson. Their journey would confirm more than they had feared. With Kayli Carter (Private Life, Bad Education) as Lorna Blackledge, Lesley Manville (Another Year, Phantom Thread) as Blanche Weboy and Jeffrey Donovan (Changeling, Burn Notice-TV) as Bill Weboy; this dramatic thriller smoldered for a while before it turned into a blaze of tension and excitement. Diane, Lesley and Kevin were perfectly ripe for their roles; I was brought into their story and stayed to the very end. Kevin has the elderly, life filled cowboy role down to a 2nd skin fit. I so admired the acting in this picture and loved how the story turned down a different road than other similar stories I have seen. This was a well done, good ole fashioned picture with a story that shows you what strong emotions emerge when a family member is in trouble.          

3 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Irresistible

AS WE WERE SEATED, EATING DINNER, the candidate was walking around to each table introducing herself. Though I could appreciate the face-to-face introduction, I was told her behavior was highly inappropriate because the dinner was supposed to be a bipartisan casual event free of political campaigning. I saw the other candidate sitting at a table with a glass of wine, laughing and talking with the other guests at their table. There was very little I knew about each candidate, only what state they represented and their previous profession. Outside of playing a mayor in a school play and seeing political candidates at various fundraisers or parades, this was the closest in proximity I have been to a candidate. I much prefer a candidate that does things that brings them in contact with the voters, such as knocking on doors, hanging out at train stop or town hall meetings. Getting a pre-recorded message on the phone, which I feel is out of control based on the amount I got the past year; or those pesky flyers in the mail does not sway my opinion of a person running for office. If anything, I might think they are wasting money based on the deluge of junk mail I have received and the automated phone calls.      THERE WAS A TIME WHEN AN average citizen could run for office. These days many of the candidates, from what I know, are millionaires. And with being a millionaire, the amount of money that they pour into their campaigns is obscene. The money they spend could easily feed every person in a large city or two or three. I do not understand what changed to make it so expensive to run for office. Instead of pouring money into the various advertisements, I would make each candidate canvas on foot different neighborhoods. If a candidate spends most of their time bad mouthing their opponent instead of explaining what they wish to do in office, I quickly discount their ability in becoming a leader. One of the news sources I read does fact checking on candidates’ statements/claims. It stuns me how often than not what the candidate is saying is false. When did it become acceptable to flat out lie or start false rumors? Denying facts and science is simply a shameful act in my opinion. To me elections are important enough that I feel election day should be a national holiday; everybody has the day off so they can participate in an important event. Maybe I am being naïve; I do not know. However, if even a part of the scenes in this comedic drama are based on truth; then the election process needs an upgrade.      TRYING TO RECOVER FROM A HEAVY LOSS, a political strategist agrees to handle the campaign of a small-town private citizen. Whether a big national campaign or small town, winning comes at any cost. With Steve Carell (The Big Short, Welcome to Marwen) as Gary Zimmer, Rose Byrne (Peter Rabbit franchise, Instant Family) as Faith Brewster, Chris Cooper (Live by Night, August: Osage County) as Jack Hastings, Brent Sexton (Flightplan, The Belko Experiment) as Mayor Braun and Will Sasso (The Three Stooges, Happy Gilmore) as Big Mike; the cast was well chosen for their roles, though Steve and Rose stood out for me. I thought they worked well together. The idea behind the script was absolutely spot on; but I felt its execution was a hit and miss. There were scenes that were dynamite, both wicked and funny and then other scenes came out flat. Without much character development, the characters started to look like typical stereotypes instead of full-fledged human beings. Overall, this was a valiant try at satire, comedy and drama; yet it still scares me a little that things in here might be possible. There was an extra scene during the ending credits.                        

2 ¼ stars  

Flash Movie Review: How I Became a Superhero

DESPITE THE DJ’S MUSIC TRYING TO drown him out, the wedding guest sitting at my table kept going on and on about himself. The gentleman was an imposing figure, easily over 6 feet tall and stocky, with massive hands that gave his arms a sledgehammer appearance. I was not sure what industry this man had worked in, but he had been some high up executive. At least that is what my friend sitting next to me had told me. This man was telling us about the changes he had made at his company. I was appalled by the number of negative comments he had about his co-workers. He even went so far as to essentially say he went to a better college than anyone else in his department. At one point, I glanced over at his wife to see how she was reacting to her husband dominating the table conversation. She just sat there with a smile plastered on her face; I could not tell if it was an automatic response, or she enjoyed hearing her husband bragging about himself. It was boring to me, sitting there like a captive as he went on and on about his so-called achievements. What I found telling was the fact several of his achievements involved the reduction of employees, as if laying off workers was an accomplishment.      PEOPLE WHO HAVE TO BRAG ABOUT themselves do not impress me. I understand there are times when one should toot their own horn, but I feel a person’s actions tell me more about them than anything they can say. I remember this student in one of my college classes. She was “down to earth,” displaying a gentleness and kindness towards her fellow classmates. We struck up a friendship, that allowed me the opportunity to see more into her intelligence. Despite carrying a full course load of classes, she was tutoring younger students in English. If that was not enough, she was working on an outline for a story she hoped to write and publish. I was struck by the way she talked about the things she was doing; there was no bravado involved, simply hoping she could make a difference in someone’s life. No one in class knew about any of this and in fact, she asked if I would not mention any of her extracurricular activities to the other students. It is people like her that confirm my belief that actions speak louder than words. I think that is one of the reasons I liked the way the writers spun the story in today’s film review.      A NEW DRUG HITS THE STREETS of Paris that gives the user superpowers. It appears those who use it aren’t thinking of doing something good. With Pio Marmai (I Kissed a Girl, The Trouble with You) as Moreau, Vimala Pons (The Wild Boys, Elle) as Schaltzmann, Benoit Poelvoorde (Coco Before Chanel, The Brand New Testament) as Monte Carlo, Leila Bekhti (A Prophet, The Third War) as Callista and Clovis Cornillac (A Very Long Engagement, Eden Log) as Gigaman; this action, adventure comedy took some time to let the story unfold; but I was intrigued with the premise. I enjoyed seeing a different perspective on the superhero genre. What helped was the filming of this picture; there was a dark grittiness to the scenes that added an extra layer of intrigue. Maybe it is my own personal feeling, but I do not associate grittiness with the city of Paris. The acting was convincing and authentic to me. I will say the special effects were not on the level of a Marvel film; however, what there were was not a distraction. This was an interesting viewing experience. There was an extra scene at the end of the credits and though I saw an English version, this film was originally done in French with English subtitles. 

2 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Cry Macho

I DO NOT KNOW IF THE term “broken home” is still used to describe a child’s home, who has divorced parents. To me, the term was an odd choice of words because the word broken has a negative connotation to it; at least that is how I define it. Who is to say the family is broken? Maybe home life will be better for the child now that the parents are no longer together. I believe it is up to the parents to have as their number one focus their children. If I were to use the term “broken home” regarding a divorced mom and dad, I would only use it if the parents are using their child as a weapon against each other. In that case, I would say it is not a broken home; it is a broken parent. There was a family I knew where this happened when the parents decided to divorce. The mother would say negative things about the father in front of the child, working to twist the impressionable mind of the child to favor her over her ex-husband. I found it appalling. The parent worked at twisting her child’s mind by feeding her lies about what holidays would be like if they spent them with their father. It did not take long for the child to refuse to go to the father’s house for a holiday. It was such an ugly situation.      WHERE THAT HOUSEHOLD HAD “BROKEN” PARENTS, I have seen where a child thrived and grew after their parents were divorced. Prior to the couple breaking up, the child witnessed arguments and tension between their mother and father. Through counseling the couple concluded they were better off not being married. Once divorced the 2 were able to devote more time in the rearing of their child. There was no more negative energy within the house, no more fights and the child was able to settle into a new level of comfort with both parents in their separate homes. As a result, the couple became better friends towards each other to the point where, after they found their new significant others, they would socialize together as two couples. The child experienced double the amount of attention and affection. I saw it as a win-win situation for everyone. There was no way I would ever refer to that child’s home as being broken; it was in fact an improvement in my opinion. Sadly, I could not say the same thing for the child in this dramatic, western thriller.      OWING HIS BOSS A BIG FAVOR, a former rodeo rider agrees to travel to Mexico to find his boss’ son. What he found was more than he had expected. With Clint Eastwood (Trouble with the Curve, The Mule) as Mike Milo, Dwight Yoakam (Crank franchise, Wedding Crashers) as Howard Polk, relative newcomer Ivan Hernandez as Lucas, Natalia Traven (Collateral Damage, Trade) as Marta and Fernanda Urrejola (Blue Miracle, Narcos: Mexico) as Leta; this movie had its touching moments. I felt the script was geared more to tugging at the viewer’s heart than digging deeper into the characters. The story was familiar, but I have to say the rooster made a big difference in the telling of it. I am not one to think about a person’s age, but for some reason I found Clint playing Mike a distraction. It was obvious when a double was being used and normally, I would not pay attention; however, with several scenes there was such a contrast between the 2 it stood out for me. The pacing of the story was slow and steady, but it was also predictable. There were not enough triggers here to consider a low rating for this picture, but there also was not much to warrant a higher rating. 

2 ¼ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Freaky

I USED TO SIT QUIETLY BACK and watch his buddies try to emulate him. There were three of them who would follow him all around the school. I will admit he had a certain swagger that made the other students in the school move out of his way. To me, he was just a big bully. His friends knew better than to ever contradict anything he said or did; they went along like sheep following a shepherd. I came close to becoming one of their prime “victims” for abuse and entertainment. One of the friends for a short time did focus on me, hoping to start a fight to impress his friend. I knew better than to get involved when any of them were together; it would have been a lose situation for me all around. Until I built up the courage to fight back, I would daydream about the different ways I could hurt this one friend. I wanted to be someone else who could intimidate a person just by my looks, meaning muscular and tall. When I saw who was getting picked on from this group, I noticed it was usually a more introverted student who did not necessarily look like most of the student population. Let us face it, if someone was wearing something considered unusual, that could not be found in any current fashion magazines or commercial advertisements, they usually would become an easy target.      THERE WAS ONE STUDENT IN PARTICULAR who was this group’s favorite prey. The poor student did not have a chance; he was short with a slight build, who had unruly hair and wore what looked like hand me down clothes. The level of abuse that was inflicted on him ranged from a single shove into a locker door to punching him in the stomach followed by spitting on him. No boy ever came to his defense, only a couple of girls would try to defuse the abusive acts. One day we were sitting together in the bleachers and talked about our similar experiences with bullies. He said he wished he could have one day where he could take revenge on all those who attack him. I asked what type of revenge, curious to know if it was like my own thoughts on how I could get even. Throughout the class period we joked about the things we would do, each time getting more and more outrageous with the means we would use to get even with our abusers. I would be lying if I did not say one of us wished we could do what the high school student found herself doing in this comedic, horror thriller.      AFTER BEING THE TARGET FOR SEVERAL fellow students, a mystical dagger transforms Millie, played by Kathryn Newton (Blockers, Big Little Lies-TV), into a different person, who only has one thing on their mind. With Vince Vaughn (Fighting with My Family, Term Life) as The Butcher, Celeste O’Connor (Wetlands, Selah and the Spades) as Nyla Chones, Misha Osherovich (The Goldfinch, History-TV) as Josh Detmer and relative newcomer Emily Holder as Sandra; this movie had more entertainment value than I would have imagined. I thought Vince and Kathryn had great screen presence and really dug into their characters in a campy and fun way. Vince especially did a good job to stay on the edge of being a real character instead of a caricature of one. The script was part satire and part homage to slasher films. Now there were a few bloody scenes, but they were quick to pass. For those who wished they had fought back the bullies in their life, this film may tickle your past fantasies of fighting back in a very dark way. The one part that doesn’t seem to have been addressed in reviews is the fun way the writers showed attraction goes beyond the surface. 

3 stars   

Flash Movie Review: The Courier

I FELT SAD FOR HER PATIENTS, wondering what it must be like to have her as their therapist. She was a neighbor of mine and granted I did not know much about her, but I heard a lot of talk about her. From the few times I had interactions with her, I felt she had an edge. You know that energy that comes off a person that is stark and harsh, sensing it might shock you like static electricity? Well, she had it in spades. I never saw her smile; only having seen a sour look on her face. She had piercing eyes, but they did not look happy to me. They didn’t have that spark of life in them, only a brown dullness. When she said she was a therapist I was stunned because never had I felt a warm fuzziness from her. At least a sense of empathy; I could not imagine what time of “bedside manner” she must have had with her patients. I mean seriously, even her dog was not friendly. It was always barking at anyone who came near it and I knew it was not a friendly bark because the tail was not wagging. I had heard several things about her from other neighbors who had a run in with her. Some of the complaints were: she didn’t pickup after her dog, she never acknowledged any of them with a hello when their paths crossed on the street or at the grocery store and she took up two spaces when she parked her car. Seriously, I had no idea how she psychoanalyzed someone.      MAYBE I AM GUILTY AS OTHERS by stereotyping what a therapist should look like; I am not sure. I do not believe I am alone in assuming certain people gravitate to certain professions. I remember riding the train into the city and having a conversation with the individual next to me. When I mentioned I was a fitness instructor, they looked at me and said right to my face, “You do not look like an instructor. Don’t they usually have muscles and are more on the slim side?” I was dumbfounded. All I did was give a slight chuckle and tell him there were no body requirements to teach fitness because we deal with the entire body, not just making muscles. I am not sure he got it, but it did not matter to me. It is funny because I make a point of telling a new class that I am not a typical fitness instructor; I do not just eat broccoli and tofu and live at the gym. I tell them I would like to sit at home, eating a pizza; but know I must balance out that desire by helping my body maintain all its functions. Then I add by doing this work now I hope I delay having to depend on someone or something to help me function in my daily life. If nothing else, I pride myself on being different and that is one of the reasons I especially enjoyed watching this dramatic thriller because that was the reason the main character was asked to help his country.      DURING THE HEIGHT OF THE COLD war, a British salesman was asked to go on a sales call to the Soviet Union. Hopefully he would be able to make a contact. With Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game, Doctor Strange) as Greville Wynne, Merab Ninidze (My Happy Family, Jupiter’s Moon) as Oleg Penkovsky, Rachel Brosnahan (I’m Your Woman, Patriot’s Day) as Emily, relative newcomer James Schofield as Cox and Anton Lesser (Miss Potter, Game of Thrones-TV) as Bertrand; this historical film based on a true story was a good old fashioned suspense picture. I was attracted to the methodical pacing of the story as well as to the whole look of the film. The acting was excellent as I felt like an insider to that era’s crisis. Another reason why I enjoyed this film was specifically due to not having any special effects or product placements from a marketing department; I simply enjoyed hearing and watching a story, albeit an important story.                 

3 ¼ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Kate

THE PHOTO WAS FORWARDED TO ME and I immediately had memories flood my brain as soon as I saw it. I had not thought about that trip in years; no, actually decades, but remembered the who, what and where of the trip. I am always amazed at the workings of the mind. How these stored memories suddenly appear in full force, like a spotlight, into one’s consciousness; it is fascinating. From that one photo, I was able to remember the place I stayed at, the time of year and the various sights I visited while there. Truthfully, if I had not seen that one photo I do not know if I would have ever recalled that vacation. And that is the other aspect of stirred memories I enjoy experiencing; that random trigger that sets off the memory like a firecracker. For example, just recently I had a lunch date with a few family members. I had found this new food item at the store and thought the relatives would enjoy trying them. Buying a few different flavors, I put them out on the dining room table when the meal was ready. As the group of people inspected the items, I brought out drinking glasses for them to give the products a try. One family member kept taking a taste from their drink. When I asked what they thought of it, they said the taste is reminding them of a different time when they were back in college drinking a mixed alcoholic beverage out of a plastic cup. How random it was; I enjoyed hearing how a past memory got ignited from a new type of drink.      JUST AS I AM FASCINATED WITH the way memories suddenly appear from random stimuli, I am also curious how some memories always stay close to the surface to steer the actions of an individual.  Many of us might have experienced buying a car that turned out to be a complete lemon. I know I did. There was a car I had that would periodically just shut off while I was driving it. I remember one time it decided to turn off in the middle of a busy intersection. There was nothing I could do because the car would not turn over. I go so fed up, I grabbed my stuff, got out, locked the car doors and walked over to the curb to call a tow service. For the next few weeks while I looked for a car, I rode a bicycle wherever I had to go. From that time, I have never bothered looking at that car manufacturer’s products when I needed to buy a car. Some memories just never fade away, like the one the main character kept having in this action, crime adventure.      AFTER AN ASSIGNMENT GETS BOTCHED UP, a well-honed assassin discovers she has a short time to live before she dies. She only has one thing on her mind. With Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Birds of Prey, 10 Cloverfield Lane) as Kate, Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games franchise, Out of the Furnace) as Varrick, relative newcomer Miku Patricia Martineau as Ani, Tadanobu Asano (Thor franchise, Battleship) as Renji and Jun Kunimura (Kill Bill franchise, The Naked Director-TV) as Kijima; this story was a mix of previous film stories I have seen. There seems to be a recent smattering of movies with female killers. I have enjoyed seeing them and in fact, this film reminded me of a cross between John Wick, Atomic Blonde and Crank. Kate did an admirable job of acting and fighting in this role; however, the script was generic, without much depth and character development. There was a stylized flair in the look of this picture, but it did not have that extra punch, so to speak, to make this a great movie. The bottom line here is I might remember Mary Elizabeth’s performance, but I doubt I will remember this movie after a short time.

2 stars

Flash Movie Review: The Water Man

AFTER I FINISHED WATCHING THIS MOVIE, I switched over to the news. The newsman was reporting about an issue a local hospital was having with one of its patients. The screen changed and the image of a woman popped on the TV screen. The shot was from the neck up; she had skin that was wrinkled into deep crevices by the sun. On top of her head, she wore a baseball type of cap that was bejeweled with colored stones to look like the American flag. There was no sound coming from her despite her mouth moving. The reporter was saying this woman did not believe in the COVID vaccines. She wound up being admitted into the hospital because she contracted COVID, and she wanted to be treated with a drug she read about on the internet that claims to cure the disease. It was a medicine that is given to horses. Because the drug is not approved by the FDA for humans, the hospital would not administer it to her. She was fighting them for it. I sat there in bewilderment. How did things get to the point where humans were perfectly fine ingesting medications formulated for animals? Death, I know, can be a huge motivator and I know I would want to learn as much as possible on how to combat whatever illness befalls me. However, I would want to hear from scientists and doctors, not the internet necessarily.      I KNEW A FAMILY THAT SUFFERED a major loss of one of their family members. When the person was diagnosed the family went into shock. The older family members understood the severity of the disease; the children only knew it was “bad.” I remember one of the kids delved into a fantasy life to cope with the changes that were taking place in the household. The child believed there were magic seeds that could cure her parent. Anytime she went outside, the young child would spend most of her time searching for these seeds in flower beds, around trees, in sidewalk cracks and even along the curbs of the streets. She was convinced if she could find these seeds and give them to her parent, it would make them feel better. The reason I mention this little girl is because to me, there is a similarity between her and the woman that was reported in the news who is demanding a horse pill to cure herself. Each of them is looking to fantasy for a cure; the difference being one is a child and the other is an adult. For those who may have forgotten what it is like to be a child, this dramatic family adventure can remind you.      WITH HIS MOTHER’S ILLNESS GETTING WORSE, a young boy sets out to find a cure for her. With Lonnie Chavis (This is Us-TV, Magic Camp) as Gunner Boone, David Oyelowo (A United Kingdom, Don’t Let Go) as Amos Boone, Rosario Dawson (Eagle Eye, The Captive) as Mary Boone, Amiah Miller (Lights Out, War for the Planet of the Apes) as Jo Riley and Alfred Molina (Boogie Nights, The Devil has a Name) as Jim Bussey; this movie had a touching story that was easy to watch. I thought the cast was well suited to tell the story. The script was good though it was close to predictable and the reason I say that is because some of the scenes were done in a heavy-handed way. A lighter touch would have allowed the scene to mature and grow I believe. I also enjoyed the way the writers introduced the minor story line and kept it low key for the viewer to connect the pieces. There have been other similar stories told before; the difference for me was this one had a gentleness in the way the story was told that was much appreciated.

2 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Cinderella

CLASSIC STORIES ARE SOMETHING I CAN revisit again and again. During my school years, I wound up reading Moby Dick three times. I am not sure I can even define what constitutes being a classic, but at least I know a classic story has the ability to emotionally move a person. Love plays a prominent role in many classics. For example, My Fair Lady was based on the George Bernard Shaw play, Pygmalion and The King and I was based on Margaret Landon’s novel, Anna and the King of Siam, which was based on the memoirs of the governess to the children of the King of Siam. One of my favorite stories is Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. I do not remember if I read the story or not in school; however, my most vivid memory was seeing the movie directed by Franco Zeffirelli. It was a special showing that was being done in only one theater in the city. A friend joined me as we had to take the train down to go see the movie. To this day, I remember the theater because it was a big classic theater that had these art deco lamps hanging down from the lobby ceiling. To get to the balcony, there was a red carpeted staircase with gold-colored bannisters that curved up to the 2nd level. Because I loved the story of Romeo and Juliet, I knew I was going to equally love the movie West Side Story which was based on Shakespeare’s story.      AS YOU CAN SEE, I DO not have an issue with new movies coming out that were based on previous movies/stories. It can be fun to see a story told through a different set of eyes. In some cases, the movie gets remade because there is technology available to enhance the story that was not available when the story first came out in film. For me, some of the successful remakes have been A Star is Born, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Departed. However, as most of us know, there are also remade films that were disastrous. Off the top of my head, I can think of The Stepford Wives, House of Wax and Guess Who. I know when the original movie is idolized, it is hard to try and remake or update the story. It would be best if the movie studio doesn’t refer to the original movie at all; let their new creation come out with any false expectations. With today’s film it did not take me long to decide which category this remake falls in.      IN THIS RETELLING OF THE CLASSIC fairy tale, Cinderella has a dream to become a dressmaker. Marriage is not something she was focusing on. With musical artist Camila Cabello as Cinderella, Billy Porter (Like a Boss, Pose-TV) as Fabulous Godmother, Nicholas Galitzine (High Strung, The Changeover) as Prince Robert, Idina Menzel (Uncut Gems, Glee-TV) as Vivian and Pierce Brosnan (False Positive, Mamma Mia! franchise) as King Rowan; this comedic family fantasy took the original story of Cinderella and added a layer of female empowerment to it. I would not have an issue with this update; however, the script was a big misfire that dulled the delivery of the story. Though the musical numbers by themselves were fun to watch, they seemed so out of place to me because of the modern songs. Here was the perfect case not to associate this picture with the classic Cinderella. There were cringeworthy scenes that were painful to watch. The other thing that I felt diminished the telling of this story was the lack of chemistry between the characters. The whole appearance of the cast seemed flat to me. With the music and special effects, this movie might appeal to a narrow range of viewers.

1 ¾ stars   

Flash Movie Review: Annette

THERE IS A FINE LINE BETWEEN the feelings of annoyance and hatred. I cannot say it is a rock-solid line in my world. My grocery store stopped carrying my brand of bagged spinach, so they could sell their in-house store brand. I was annoyed but bought their bag anyway. Honestly, I cannot tell the difference except their brand has more loose stems in the bag than my brand. Well now for the past 3 weeks, I open the bag and find partially decomposed pieces. I double checked but knew the bag’s expiration date had not passed. The first time this happened, I was annoyed. The same the 2nd time it happened. But now, I hate their bagged spinach and plan on going to a different grocery store just to get bagged spinach that doesn’t look like slime after you open the bag for the first time. Currently, I am getting annoyed with this store’s fresh broccoli. I do not know what is happening but the last couple of times I have brought it home and washed it, within a couple of days the florets turn dark and mushy. I have been buying broccoli for years and have never had an issue up until now. If this keeps up, I will stop buying the store’s broccoli as well. I am telling you, if they keep annoying me with food that quickly goes bad, I may decide the heck with them and buy all my groceries from a different store.      SO MANY PEOPLE ARE QUICK TO JUDGE something or someone and decide they do not like it. I am guilty of this when it especially comes to food. If it doesn’t look good to me, I will not eat it. I am a texture eater; if a food dish looks like it is gelatinous, I cannot stomach even looking at it. Have you ever had food in a sauce that you saved for the next day and the sauce turned into something like an aspic? It has happened to me with some Asian dishes. It is more than an annoyance for me when I open the storage container and see pieces of food suspended in a murky jelly like substance. Do I actually hate it? I know I hate when it happens but maybe I can say I do not like the look of it, though my feelings are close to hating the stuff. Hate is a word I try not to randomly throw around on what essentially are innocuous things. I do not hate public transportation, but I hate running for a bus or train that pulls away as I am getting up to it. For the first time this year, I experienced the strongest feelings that bordered on hatred for a movie.      A COMEDIAN’S AND OPERA SINGER’S RELATIONSHIP is all being viewed in the public’s eye. As the two get more serious, so does the pressure. With Adam Driver (Marriage Story, The Report) as Henry McHenry, Marion Cotilard (Angel Face, The Immigrant) as Ann Defrasnoux, Simon Helberg (Florence Foster Jenkins, Old School) as The Accompanist, relative newcomer Devyn McDowell as Annette in prison and Natalia Lafourcade (Amar no es querer, El cielo en tu mirada) as Special Guest/The Police; this dramatic musical romance tested my limits on keeping me engaged. Visually I did not mind the scenes; however, I thought almost every musical number was awful. Listening to Adam sing through the film was rough. Maybe there is some secret symbolism in the story; but with my focus being on the entertainment factor, I thought the script was a poor piece of a story that has been told time and time again. The irony here is I liked the acting; but there was nothing in this picture that I found enjoyable. To me, it was pretentious as it attempted to be “artsy.” And at 2 hours and 21 minutes, it was a long and painful waste of time.

1 ½ stars 

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