Monthly Archives: March 2018

Flash Movie Review: Unsane

MAGIC ACTS AND PRODUCT DEMONSTRATERS used to be the only things that amazed me when I was small. I would always become mesmerized by magicians performing things my eyes and brain could not believe. Making animals appear or disappear, cutting assistants in half or shooting flames out of extended hands; all of it was a total fantasy for me. As for those product demonstrators, I still can recall standing at the head of a small crowd of people gathered around a table as a man was talking about an amazing product that would prevent eyeglasses from steaming up. He would extend his hand out and slightly up just above his head while holding a pair of glasses and spray the lenses with this mysterious stuff. Next he would hold the glasses over what looked like a vaporizer that was spewing out steam. Miraculously the lenses never fogged up. It was pure magic to me. Anytime I was at a store and heard one of these demonstrators talking, I would make a beeline to them and wiggle my way to the head of the crowd of shoppers to watch the next magical feat being performed.     MY AMAZEMENT OF THINGS HAS expanded as much as I have aged. Every day it seems I hear or see something that stops me in disbelief. I cannot recall a time where so many things happening around the world literally stun me. Gratefully not everything is of a horrific nature; there are some acts that are life changers and I mean that in a good way. Just imagine what it must have been like when the first microwave oven came into existence or when we had the first moon landing. I am sure it had to be a “heady” experience for many people. Sadly it seems to me currently the scale is tipping to the negative side more and more. An example that just came to mind is company advertisements that, for whatever reason, wind up having a racist or derogatory message. I believe it was the past week there was an alcohol commercial that looked as if it was making a prejudicial statement about races. Seeing an act of violence like commercial or religious buildings being blown up with innocent people inside just makes me stare at the news, trying to comprehend how such a thing could even be thought up; it simply boggles my mind. Many times I say to myself, “Did that just happen?” This same question crossed the mind of the main character in this horror thriller.     FINDING HERSELF COMMITTED TO A mental institution Sawyer Valentini, played by Claire Foy (Breathe, The Crown-TV), could not tell at times if she was facing her biggest fear. Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Magic Mike, Erin Brockovich), this movie also starred Jay Pharoah (Ride Along, Get a Job) as Nate Hoffman, Joshua Leonard (If I Stay, The Blair Witch Project) as David Strine, Amy Irving (Carrie, Traffic) as Angela Valentini and Juno Temple (Wonder Wheel, Killer Joe) as Violet. This viewing was somewhat unusual for me. The movie was filmed with the use of an IPhone which made some of the camera shots interesting. I thought Claire was convincing and it was good to see Amy Irving. My issue with this picture has to do with the script. There were several intense scenes within the story, but then all of a sudden everything would go flat. I found myself losing interest because during the film it felt like scenes were being repeated. It was not until close to the end where I got back into the story, though I did not like the way the movie ended. I was amazed this picture was done on an IPhone; too bad it wasn’t better.

 

2 stars

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Flash Movie Review: Midnight Sun

WHEN IS IT THE RIGHT time to share something personal with the person you are dating? I have seen and heard a variety of reactions from my friends’ experiences. Some of them, in my opinion, share too much information too soon. I do not think it is necessary to dispense intimate details about oneself on the first couple of dates. At least for me it takes a few times of being together to see if both parties are starting to get comfortable with each other. Let me add I have never gone into a dating situation with a preconceived notion about the person or any type of expectations. I think that is where a person gets tripped up, when they have expectations. There were a couple of times where I went on a date and realized the person had planned out everything they wanted in a relationship. All they needed was to find someone to plug into their scenario; they really did not care to learn about the person, only if they could fit into what they had laid out for themselves.     NOW I WILL SAY I do not have a problem revealing things about myself if a person asks me. I would think if you have been following my reviews you would notice they can be rather personal. When I meet someone new there is usually one thing I will mention early on because I have learned if I do not, the person tends to spend time trying to figure out what is wrong with me. I happen to be hypersensitive to the cold; pretty much anything from the weather to air conditioning to ice cubes. My body reacts to the cold by shunting the blood to the internal organs to protect them; everyone’s body does this by the way. Mine just does it more often because more things make me feel cold. So you see when I am on a date and I do not take my jacket off at the cinema or restaurant, it may look odd to everyone. The same thing happens to me grocery shopping, especially in the frozen food sections of the store. It is summertime and I am walking around in a jacket because of the store’s air conditioning. But do you know what I think? If someone is going to get turned off because of my sensitivity to the cold, do I really want to be with them anyway? It was a similar dilemma for the main character in this dramatic, romance movie.     SEVENTEEN YEARS LIVING IN THE same neighborhood and Charlie, played by Patrick Schwarzenegger (Stuck in Love, Grown Ups 2), could not understand how he had never seen Katie, played by Bella Thorne (Blended, Scream: The TV Series) before or at least in school at some point. There was a reason he never saw her. With Rob Riggle (Dumb and Dumber To, 21 Jump Street franchise) as Jack, Quinn Shepherd (Unaccompanied Minors, Hostages-TV) as Morgan and Nicholas Coombe (Imaginary Mary-TV, Cinema Town-TV) as Garver; this film quickly fell into a generic pattern that has played out before. It was too bad because I enjoyed watching the interactions between Katie and Jack. However the biggest distraction for me was Patrick’s performance; his acting was more like sleepwalking. I could not get over how one dimensional he was in this picture; his face barely showed emotion and his eyes were dead looking. Combine this with the melodramatic, heavy handed story and all this film produced for me was boredom.

 

1 ¾ stars           

Flash Movie Review: Sherlock Gnomes

NOT ONLY HAD I NEVER seen one, I never even heard about them. Walking into their house for the first time, I was introduced to a pleasant couple who were friends with my friend. They were hosting a get together and my friend brought me along. After the introductions they led us into their living room. It took me a moment to take it all in but across most of the flat surfaces in the room, such as shelves and tables, there were these ceramic gnomes everywhere. It was so utterly odd to me and there were so many of them; all different kinds from wizen elderly males to young teenagers to busy looking females. Evidently the expression on my face telegraphed my surprise for the hosts took the liberty of telling me the history of several of their gnomes. I found out the artist who created them always placed some type of object on the piece as a surprise. Oh and I almost forgot, each gnome had a name and a history about their life.     SEVERAL YEARS LATER I WAS killing time in a resale shop. As I made my way through the aisles I came to a section that held house wares. There was an entire shelving unit filled with the same type of gnomes I remembered from that dinner party back then. All of them were lined up into rows as if they were all sitting in a theater to watch a movie. I never knew how much were the original prices for these gnomes, but I could not resist checking what they were being priced at in this resale store. A majority of the larger ones were priced at $5.00 and the smaller ones at $3.00. I had to assume this was a major bargain. What is that saying, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure? Based on the traces of dust covering some of the gnomes I assumed they had been sitting there a long time; I guess there is not a need for people to have gnomes in their house or garden currently. It is funny because I wound up feeling the same regarding this animated, adventure comedy sequel.     AFTER SETTLING INTO THEIR NEW home Gnomeo and Juliet, voiced by James McAvoy (Split, The Last King of Scotland) and Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train, Into the Woods), expected with a little work to have the perfect garden. However when their fellow gnomes went missing the only one who could hopefully solve the mystery was the top detective Sherlock Gnomes, voiced by Johnny Depp (Black Mass, The Long Ranger) and his companion Dr. Watson, voiced by Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, 2012). The idea for this story was cute in this film. With decent animation and a soundtrack provided by Elton John’s songs I thought this would have been a fun film. Just as I was stunned seeing all those gnomes in that couple’s house, I was dumbfounded by how poorly written was the script. This picture was boring to me; there was nothing funny or cute about it. Maybe a narrow group of children would like this film; but where I expected a theater with children to be noisy, in my viewing there were barely any sounds coming from the audience. I had to fight to stay attentive to what was going on in the story. For the most part I felt myself wanting to doze off, but forced myself to stay awake. It was a late viewing for me, but that was not the reason. Like the fate of Beanie Babies and pet rocks, this movie will probably make it to the discount bin in quick time.

 

1 ¾ stars

Flash Movie Review: Pacific Rim: Uprising

I MIGHT BE THE ONLY one who thinks this way, but I would never name a child after their parent. There are some people who will say it is a blessing to name the baby with the same name as the parent; but I feel it is a crapshoot, especially when the males are given the same name with the addition of Jr. If I focus let us say on political figures in history, you could make the argument the same name worked for President John Adams and his son President John Quincy Adams; you would be correct in this case. But let me ask you, how do you think having the last name as their father affected the children of Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini? Maybe when their fathers were in power things were good, but I am guessing it did not last long. Now for Margaret Truman she led a successful life as a singer and author, where her last name did not hinder her career; if nothing else it probably helped since she wrote a number of works on United States’ First Ladies and Families.     THIS IS WHY I AM not a fan of naming children after their parents because they usually are never judged on their own merits. The same could be said for siblings who attend the same school. If the older of the 2 siblings was the perfect student, the younger one will have a lot to live up to if they wind up having the same teacher. I remember two brothers in school who suffered from that very thing; one was considered the sweet, kind one and the other was thought of as a troublemaker. Each of us is always getting judged one way or another; I do not think having the same name helps a person reach their true potential. Sure it can open some doors for the individual but it can also slam the door in their face. When I find out a successful person I admire is related to a famous person I have to give them credit for striking out on their own. Look at the actress Mariska Hargitay; how many of you know her mother was Jayne Mansfield? Mariska wanted to make it on her own; kudos to her. One of the main characters did not want to be compared to his father; you should see what he did instead in this action, adventure science fiction film.     JAKE PENTECOST, PLAYED BY JOHN Boyega (Star Wars franchise, Detroit), could never live up to his father’s achievement in helping to save Earth. So Jake chose a completely different life; however, his life took a turn when he met the homeless girl Namani, played by relative newcomer Cailee Spaeny. With Scott Eastwood (Suicide Squad, The Longest Ride) as Nate Lambert, Burn Gorman (Crimson Peak, The Dark Knight Rises) as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb and Charlie Day (Fist Fight, Horrible Bosses franchise) as Dr. Newton Geiszler; I suppose if you have not seen the 1st movie you may get something out of this one. However I have to tell you I enjoyed the first film and I did not find this current one entertaining. The script was basic with cheap lines of dialog. There was nothing exciting or tense in the story; by the end of the movie I almost wished things would have ended differently to put a stop to this film spawning a sequel. If pressed I guess I could say the special effects were decent in a Transformers type of way. One could say I am judging this picture to the 1st one but that is not the case. Standing on its own 2 feet this film did not capture my interest; in fact, it only stole some time away from me.

 

1 ¾ stars        

Flash Movie Review: 7 Days in Entebbe

THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT get better with age and there are others that get worse. I am a big fan of leftovers because I have found some foods taste better to me the next day. This may gross some of you out but I love cold pizza on the 2nd day as much as when I originally ordered it. Not being an alcohol drinker I have heard some wines and liquors taste better the longer they sit. When it comes to shoes I definitely feel they get better with age; my feet are much happier in an old pair of sneakers than a brand new, store bought pair. Having watched people around me go through the aging process I feel I can say some of them got softer with age. What I mean is they lost some of their intensity and rigidity. Things that used to annoy them do not have the same effect as they have grown older. On the other hand there are some folk who have become less accepting or maybe I should say less open to new experiences. They want things in a particular order with no deviation, becoming more argumentative if things are not to their liking.     ALONG THESE SAME LINES I have noticed that the feelings of love and hate have altered through the years. Love for all intents and purposes has stayed steady through the years. Sure there are more ways to show one’s love these days, but overall it pretty much has stayed intact in its pureness. Hate to me has become more of a hungry beast that wants to devour things whole. Years ago when two people broke off their relationship they stopped seeing each other. Yes there may have been yelling and name calling; but eventually the participants moved on with their lives. Now we have people becoming stalkers and killers when their love goes unanswered. Hatred to me has become more volatile where groups of people form over a common hate towards some other group. The things I see on the news are hard to comprehend sometimes. People being poisoned as they walk down the street, vehicles exploding in highly populated areas, beheadings being recorded; there is only so much one can see before they get depressed by it all. You would think with the way technology has helped advance society there would be a way people could learn to embrace each other’s differences instead of using them to fuel their hatred. Though the story in this dramatic, crime thriller took place in the 1970s it could easily have taken place today.     LOOKING FOR A WAY TO achieve their mutual goals a group of radicals hatch a creative plan involving an airplane. To the individuals who would be affected by their plan, it meant they would have to come up with something just as creative if they wanted to save lives. Inspired by true events this film starred Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, A United Kingdom) as Brigitte Kuhlmann, Daniel Bruhl (The Zookeeper’s Wife, Rush) as Wilfried Bose, Eddie Marsan (Happy-Go-Lucky, 21 Grams) as Shimon Peres and Lior Ashkenazi (Footnote, Walk on Water) as Yitzhak Rabin. The story was an intense one and for it to succeed it needed a solid script, but that did not happen. The cast was certainly capable to handle it but I found the script uneven; there were some riveting scenes but then others fell flat. I actually did not like the way the movie ended with the 2 story lines. Maybe if there was more back story to the characters I would have gotten more into this film; however, what I watched only made me sad on many levels.

 

1 ¾ stars

Flash Movie Review: I Can Only Imagine

WITH ONE OF MY PREVIOUS cell phones I programmed most of my contacts with songs as their ringtone. I want you to know I never missed a call. In the middle of a crowded shopping mall or restaurant it did not make a difference because I would always hear the notes of the song. My ears from the time I was born were always accustomed to music and not just one genre; I was exposed to everything from classical to the blues. At some point in time I dreamt about being on a game show where the contestants had to name the song the game show host was playing for them. I was positive I could win. There is something about music that puts me in a place where I may feel relaxed or romantic or exhilarated; besides a wealth of other feelings. I am willing to bet many of us have a “go to” song we play when we have a heartbreak; there were several in my roundhouse.     MUSIC CERTAINLY HAS EVOLVED OVER the centuries; I can only fantasize what it must have been like for early man and woman when they struck their first note. Imagine the idea of tying a string to essentially a piece of wood and discovering you can play different sounds depending on where your hand presses down on the string. The same goes for any wind type of instrument; who thought of blowing air into a shell or ram’s horn to make a sound? No matter how music is made one of the main foundations among all genres are the feelings that go into the musical piece. I find when a musical artist can connect to their song it makes me believe what they are saying. I know it is true because even the judges on those singing reality shows (my guilty pleasure) say the same thing. A singer needs to feel what they are singing and pour their emotions into the lyrics. Though it is a cliché I agree that music can soothe the savage beast. If you are not sure about this then you might want to check out this musical, family drama.     LIVING WITH AN ABUSIVE FATHER the only thing that saved Bart, played by newcomer J. Michael Finley, was listening to music. It would take years before he understood why. Based on a true story, this movie also starred Dennis Quaid (A Dog’s Purpose, Far from Heaven) as Arthur, Brody Rose (Gifted, Christmas on the Bayou) as young Bart, Trace Adkins (The Lincoln Lawyer, Deepwater Horizon) as Brickell and Madeline Carroll (Flipped, Mr. Popper’s Penguins) as Shannon. With the story being faith based the thing I appreciated about this script was its ability to tell a story without drumming faith into the viewer’s head. The faith based films I have recently seen all focused on telling the viewers what we should believe, instead of creating a well done piece of work that told a story. Maybe because this was a true story about a dark subject I found it more palatable. I also enjoyed the music and especially Bart’s singing; the actor could easily do a Broadway musical with that type of voice. As for the script it did not have any real surprises in it. I felt Dennis did a better than usual job of acting in this film. What tied this whole picture together for me was the showing of statistics and the connection of events that led Bart on his journey. What sold me on this film was the music; if I had not enjoyed it I would have rated the movie lower.

 

2 stars  

Flash Movie Review: The Strangers: Prey at Night

I WONDER HOW MANY TIMES in a week the average person has to do something they do not want to do. As I was thinking about today’s review I was wondering what things most of us would not want to take part in. The first one I thought of (no disrespect to the profession) was going to the dentist. I do not recall ever hearing someone say they were excited to go to their dentist. Something else I thought of was funerals; though I did know someone from a previous job who would say she was going to a funeral to make sure the person was dead. Just a guess, but they sounded like they had anger issues. There were so many possibilities I came up with this morning that I dwelled on the amount of time we must waste dreading our participation with a particular activity. I think about the annoying things I have to do, dividing them into 2 categories: required activities and activities of choice. There are some people who dislike doing laundry, yet at some point our clothes need to be cleaned. You would have a choice here, either do the wash yourself or pay someone to do it for you.     WHEN I WAS YOUNGER I thought I had all the time in the world, but now I realize time is a precious commodity. I want to eliminate the negativity associated with some of the things I do on a weekly basis. My friends keep asking me why I remain seated at a theater watching a movie I totally dislike. They say I should just walk out; but I cannot do such a thing. If I am going to review a film I need to see it from the beginning to the end. And as you know, no matter how bad a picture may be, I never take out my phone and look at emails or texts while seated. Sure many others in the theater do it, but I stay focused on the job at hand. Now I realize I have a choice because it is not like I was hired and given a salary to review movies; I do it because I love to do it. So yes there are times I wish I was doing something else instead of sitting at the show; but I try to remain positive knowing if I can save someone from spending their time and money at a torturous film then I have done my job. With that being said, I leave it up to you on whether today’s review is a warning or invitation for you.     ON THE WAY TO TAKING their daughter Kinsey, played by Bailee Madison (Brothers, Just Go with It); to boarding school Cindy and Mike, played by Christina Hendricks (Ginger & Rosa, Mad Men-TV) and Martin Henderson (Everest, Flyboys), make a stop at what looks like a deserted trailer park, where Cindy’s aunt and uncle live. The park was not necessarily deserted. With Lewis Pullman (Battle of the Sexes, Aftermath) as Luke and Emma Bellomy (Before the Dark-TV) as Dollface, this 2nd installment in the horror film franchise held very little interest for me. One thing that disturbs me is a script that does not take the time to think things out. All I will say is if you are confronted by someone who wants to kill you and you happen to knock them unconscious, why wouldn’t you take their gun away from them? There was nothing I enjoyed about this film. The story was weak to begin with and I truly felt the writers put no effort into the script. I would have more sympathy for livestock being killed than the individuals in this poorly done picture.

 

1 ½ stars

Flash Movie Review: Tomb Raider

ONE OF THE BIGGEST COMPLAINTS I have heard about treadmills is that they are boring. They don’t take the person anywhere is a frequent excuse why a person will not use one. I used to jog outside on the streets until I was almost hit by a car that was making a fast turn. That event was the last time I jogged on the streets. I tried running on sidewalks but I could not handle all the cracks and debris I found. To avoid them I switched to jogging on a treadmill. When this transition took place treadmills did not have video screens attached to them. I would turn on loud music as motivation and off I went on my run. Currently I have seen treadmills with video screens attached for the runner to either follow a programmed scenic trail or television shows. At the clubs I work at there are large monitors suspended in a long row from the ceiling facing the treadmills, so members have further options of what they want to look at while jogging. I can see where this could help or motivate a person to exercise.     THERE IS ANOTHER COMMENT I have heard regarding people who jog. Some say the person is running away or to something they have on their mind. I do not know if I would make a blanket statement like that, but speaking for myself I do get lost in my thoughts while jogging. If there is something bothering me I usually focus on it and before I know it 30-60 minutes have passed by. But when you think about it isn’t any leisure activity prone to letting one experience a time of reflection? There are some members at the fitness center I am sure are working on some issue in their head as they go through their paces on the exercise equipment. Jogging, along with any aerobic activity, can produce endorphins which are hormones that get released in the brain to reduce pain and make one feel relaxed or full of energy, according to the dictionary. Knowing this as I do, I had to wonder what the main character in this action adventure film was going towards because she was doing an awful lot of running.     FINALLY COMING TO TERMS WITH her father’s death Lara Croft, played by Alicia Vikander (Tulip Fever, The Danish Girl), was about to sign on as heir to the Croft fortune and take over the company’s businesses until she was handed a puzzle by the executor. The puzzle was only the first piece into solving the mysterious disappearance of her father Lord Richard Croft, played by Dominic West (Chicago, The Forgotten). With Kristin Scott Thomas (Darkest Hour, The Party) as Ana Miller, Walter Goggins (The Hateful Eight, Diablo) as Mathias Vogel and Daniel Wu (The Man with the Iron Fists, One Nite in Mongkok) as Lu Ren; this reboot was centered on Alicia’s character and she did not disappoint. She was more than capable to helm this story and in fact she would be the only reason to watch this picture. Some of her action scenes were crazy to watch; but overall they were not enough to support the weak script. There was little development of the characters and to tell you the truth I thought the special effects were nothing special. If I did not know better I could have sworn the writers took their inspiration from the Raiders of the Lost Ark story. The story here did not appear to be well thought out in my opinion; Lara was too busy running all the time to allow the viewers to fully connect with her and her plight.

 

2 stars

Flash Movie Review: The Party

SITTING AT THE TABLE WITH no one to talk to was making me uncomfortable. There were at least a dozen people sitting around the long table, but I did not know any of them. I was supposed to meet a friend at this gathering but after I arrived at the restaurant they texted they were still stuck at work. Since I was already there I tried to make the best of it. The group met once a month at this particular restaurant but throughout the year they planned different cultural events; my friend and I thought it would be something worth checking out. After I was seated and introductions were made all around, it became apparent to me that everyone there knew each other. I was the odd man out. Some of the individuals sitting around asked me a couple of questions like where I was from and what did I do for a living, but afterwards their attention was drawn back to their friends or people they already knew.     THOUGH THIS WAS NOT THE type of venue where I would bring something, I should have brought my old standby anyway. There is this little bakery I know that has been open more than 50 years. It is sort of like an old world type of place where they bake a variety of items. One in particular is my favorite and whenever I bring them to a gathering the folks there gather around and talk to me about the item. Light and airy, shaped into curved oblong commas, they have a sprinkling of sugar on top. I know a majority of people would bring a bottle of wine; I prefer bringing baked goods. It is difficult to attend a party where you hardly know any of the guests and I have found this item can break the ice with most people. Personally I quickly withdraw from a party when I see guests have gathered into their own little cliques. It reminds me of the divisions that were in place in high school. And since I am not a drinker, when guests at a party start acting silly from too much alcohol I wrap things up and say my goodbyes. Nothing worse than being at a party with an out of control guest; so I better warn you the guests at the party in this dramatic comedy are one intense group.     ON THE NIGHT JANET, PLAYED by Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient, Four Weddings and a Funeral) throws a dinner party her husband Bill, played by Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner, Secrets & Lies), waits until the guests arrived before making an announcement. This film festival winning movie also starred Patricia Clarkson (The Station Agent, The Green Mile) as April, Emily Mortimer (Match Point, Lars and the Real Girl) as Jinny and Cherry Jones (The Perfect Storm, The Village) as Martha. Hands down Patricia was the star of this film, though the rest of the cast was excellent; she stood out for me. I am sure part of it was due to the acidic script. The direction was fine but as the story unfolded I never quite felt engaged with any of the characters. At one point it just seemed like a lot of chaos was taking place; I found myself wanting to tune out. It was too bad, because I enjoyed the picture being filmed in black and white along with some of the wicked lines in the script. By the time the movie was over I was glad I was not invited to this party.

 

2 stars

Flash Movie Review: Thoroughbreds

AT FIRST I THOUGHT IT was due to the amount of gifts a child received, but I am not so sure anymore. I have attended children’s birthday parties where the number of toys being unwrapped was almost obscene. The child would get so worked up into a frenzy that they were just shredding the gift wrapping paper, going from box to box. I do not know if they even spent 10 seconds focusing on the unwrapped package before they went on to the next one. For the longest time I assumed a child who gets showered with gifts appreciates them less than a child whose parents could only afford to give one or two items. There just seemed to be a sense of boredom that settled in with the children of wealthier parents. I remember one party where the birthday boy received a remote controlled race car and proceeded to race it into the walls until the car broke; it did not faze him at all. In fact, he just left the broken pieces right where they were and walked away.     MAYBE IT IS JUST ME but it appears the amount of toys and electronic devices marketed to children has dulled their imaginations. There was a time where a stick and a garbage can cover would be all one needed to have a sword and shield for King Arthur’s court. A pile of fallen, autumn leaves would be the domain of a king you wanted to depose. These days I see more and more kids getting plugged into electronic games. I used to make believe with my friends that we were a combat unit sent out to fight the enemy. We needed imagination as we used whatever we could find as props. I once used an empty dishwater detergent bottle as a flame thrower, except it was filled with water that would spew out when I squeezed the bottle. We had to pretend and sure one of us would die at each battle, but no one ever got harmed; none of us ever wanted to see an injury. These days it is hard not to see some form of real violence on the internet, television and video games. Heck, how many times have I complained about parents bringing their 5 year olds to an R rated movie; it upsets me. After constantly being exposed to violence I am sure it numbs a person to the reality of it. I think that is what was going on in this film festival winning, dramatic thriller.     CHILDHOOD FRIENDS LILY AND AMANDA, played by Anya Taylor-Joy (Split, The Witch) and Olivia Cooke (The Signal, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), reconnect after several years. At first they seemed at odds until Lily expressed her dislike for her stepfather Mark, played by Paul Sparks (Midnight Special). Now there was something the two friends could focus on. This bloody crime movie also starred Anton Yelchin (Green Room, Star Trek franchise) as Tim and Kaili Vernoff (Café Society, The Path-TV) as Karen. I know this film has been getting a lot of good press and I can see where it is deserved. The filming style, the acting and the look of it were all done well. However the story dragged for me; I never felt connected to the characters. I had a feeling where the story was going and admit I was surprised in the twist, but I left the theater feeling blah about the whole experience. And this was despite the scenes with blood. Maybe I need to see this again but I would rather go do something outside.

 

2 stars

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