Monthly Archives: April 2018

Flash Movie Review: Avengers: Infinity War

AN INCREDIBLE EVENT RECENTLY TOOK place that I was fortunate enough to witness. You may have experienced something like it already but for me it was my first time. In the past I have attended special events where family was present. A baptism, bar mitzvah, wedding and other such type of events where there were relatives from two different families. Usually the 2 families sit separately; for example, the custom for weddings is the bride’s side sits on the right and the groom’s family sits on the left. That divide, as far as I can tell, remains throughout the dinner and reception. People who know the groom all sit together as does the bride’s family and friends. Honestly, I get it and am not judging it; however, that divide that started with the wedding aisle continues into the night. Here is where I have seen people judging those from the “other side.” I have heard guests commenting on clothing, physical features and dance moves; gratefully not all of them were negative, some were complimentary. My point though is I was a witness to an event where both sides blended together; all coming together to celebrate both the bride and groom.      BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE WEDDING ceremony guests from both families were mingling with each other. I heard people sharing stories about the bride and/or the groom to explain their connection to the happy couple. Each tidbit of anecdotal information was being pieced together to form this loving blanket of cherished memories. I was impressed with the amount of love guests were displaying over these two young people who were about to be joined in marriage. To give you an example, in all the weddings I have attended I have never danced with the mother from the other family. After dinner I was on the dance floor and the mother came up to dance with me. Maybe this is not unusual for you, but for me it was a new experience. When it was time to lift the bride and groom in the air for a cheer, each of them had equal family representation underneath holding up their chairs. The entire evening went on like this; every person was there celebrating together for a common goal—to wish the newlyweds a happy, long life. So, you see it is possible to get different sides to work together for a common purpose or goal. Great things can come out of this type of partnership; see what happens in this action adventure film.      WITH THE FATE OF THE UNIVERSE falling piece by piece into Thanos’, played by Josh Brolin (Only the Brave, Old Boy), hand; it would take more than one group of fighters to attempt to thwart his mad plan. This fantasy, science fiction movie also starred Robert Downey Jr. (The Judge, Due Date) as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth (12 Strong, Blackhat) as Thor, Elizabeth Olsen (Wind River, Ingrid Goes West) as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlett Witch and Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight, Foxcatcher) as Bruce Banner/Hulk. I am guessing this picture cost a fortune to make because the production values were top notch. The special effects, the massive cast and the script each contributed to creating a huge spectacular. Josh was so good in this role; it was the first time I could recall a movie villain being a thoughtful, emotional character instead of just some evil being bent on destroying things. Where I thought the last Thor film installment had too much humor in it, this one had the perfect blend. If you are not familiar with the Marvel universe there is a chance you might get lost in this movie. The other issue I had was the way the picture ended; it was obvious this film only told ½ the story. I believe we will have to wait until May 2019 to find out what happens. At 2 hours and 29 minutes this film was long to sit through, but time for the most part went by fast. This was an almost perfect blend of different franchise characters coming together for one common purpose. There was one extra scene at the end of the credits.

 

3 ½ stars   

Advertisements

Flash Movie Review: Lean on Pete

SOME OF THE BEST CONVERSATIONS held are the ones between a pet and its owner. I am here to tell you there are a whole bunch of humans who could learn a lesson on communication, if they would watch and listen to owners talking to their pets. First off you would be hard pressed to find someone more compassionate and attentive than a dog or cat. I love both but I must say dogs have more facial expressions and possibly more empathy. Several years ago this happened but it is just as vivid in my mind now as it was when I saw it originally taking place. A friend of mine was going through a crisis; crying while curled up on their sofa. Into the room came their dog who took one look at its owner, came up to the edge of the sofa and jumped up onto a small open space by my friend’s feet. The dog walked behind my friend and plopped itself down between my friend and the back of the sofa, while putting a paw up on his shoulder. I was speechless as I saw the dog placing his head down on my friend’s back and its leg stretched out as far as possible into a hug.      SO YOU CANNOT TELL ME OUR pets do not understand our feelings. Simply look into your pet’s eyes and you will find pure love and affection. It is an unconditional love that makes your pet greet you when you get home; even if you were gone for 2 minutes, to them it seems like it was hours. Maybe you have had conversations where you are sharing your feelings with your friend and everything you say elicits a response from them, telling you they experienced the same thing. They may feel they are being compassionate but that does not always produce such results. I know someone who no matter what you say to them they always respond with a story that is worse than the one you told them. It is like they are in competition with you to see who has the most serious ailment or hardship. Sometimes we just need someone to listen to us and that is where pets make the perfect attentive listeners. They never judge us; all they want to do is love us. Though I have been focusing on dogs and cats, this film festival winning drama will show you another pet that helps someone through a crisis.      WITH HIS LIFE IN TURMOIL CHARLEY, played by Charlie Plummer (All the Money in the World, King Jack), finds comfort working at the rundown stables of owner Del, played by Steve Buscemi (The Death of Stalin, Norman). It is here he finds a true friend. Not since the movie My Friend Flicka have I seen such a beautiful connection being made between a boy and a horse. Charlie was nearly mesmerizing in his performance; one could feel his emotions and plight. With Chloe Sevigny (Love & Friendship, Big Love-TV) as Bonnie and Steve Zahn (A Perfect Getaway, Rescue Dawn) as Silver; I thought the cast did a wonderful job in bringing this story to life. The minimalist script created a slow and steady unfolding story; it felt like I was watching a novel come to life. I am a sucker for a movie with an animal in it; despite that, this was a worthy piece of work with believable characters who showed a true slice of life. Be prepared to experience your emotions as you watch Charley’s and Pete’s journey.

 

3 ½ stars   

Flash Movie Review: Traffik

THE PRICE ADVERTISED WAS THE deciding factor for my friends to book their trip. Having gone to Mexico multiple times they did not need the add-on excursions or upgrades to their tour package. With the low price they chose to extend their stay; but once they booked the hotel and agreed upon the dates, there wound up being additional costs. All of a sudden they were being charged extra for their suitcases and seats; never before were they ever billed such a charge when they booked through the travel agency. What really galled them was an extra charge from the hotel due to the extended stay; it brought them into the travel season pricing, whatever that meant. When I talked to one of my friends she expressed her anger at the travel agency. She said if they would have included all the extra fees into their advertised price she would not have gotten a bad attitude about them. The way they listed a super low price to entice travelers then hit them with added fees felt dishonest to her.      I WOULD HAVE TO AGREE WITH her. The same thing has happened to me. Several years ago I saw an advertised price for a piece of furniture; it was something I had been waiting to go on sale. When I saw the item being advertised on sale I drove to the store to get it. Once there I sought out someone to help me which I have to tell you has become more of a challenge these days. Finally getting a salesperson, I went over the options of color and pattern. Would you believe the sale price was only for one specific color and wood finish?!?! For my color choices it would be more expensive. I was so ticked off I decided not to buy it and instead go look for something else. Things like this are irritating to me. Why can’t they just list the fine details (in large enough print) or state everything upfront? I feel the same way about passive aggressive behavior; just tell me what you want instead of hinting at it or trying to manipulate the conversation with me. It is annoying which is how I felt about this dramatic thriller inspired by true events.      WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A romantic weekend for Brea and John, played by Paula Patton (Precious, Déjà Vu) and Omar Epps (Love & Basketball, House-TV), turned into a nightmare as they were being stalked by what they thought were just some prejudiced people. Actually they weren’t, they were looking for something specific. With Dawn Olivieri (American Hustle, Den of Thieves) as Cara, Missi Pyle (The Artist, Galaxy Quest) as Deputy Sally Marnes and Laz Alonso (Detroit, Jumping the Broom) as Darren Cole; this story had an identity crisis. If the writers would have only focused on one of the 2 stories taking place this would have been a better movie in my opinion. Unfortunately they missed an important opportunity to shine light on a dark aspect taking place around the world. I was so disappointed not only by this but the rudimentary script. Paula gave it a good try but as I have said before, a film loses points when the script makes the characters do unrealistic things. I am talking about, as an example, knocking unconscious your attacker but you do not take their gun with you or at least hide it before you run away. Stuff like this drives me crazy. So the bottom line here is this movie should have focused on being either a thriller or a startling revelation about human trafficking.

 

1 ¾ stars

Flash Movie Review: Super Troopers 2

IT HAS BEEN YEARS SINCE I thought about a game we had to play in PE class. My adult self cannot believe we had to play what now looks like a brutal, archaic competition. The class would be split in half by whoever the gym teacher chose to be team captains for that week. There was a green line that was painted down the center of the gymnasium which neither team could pass. With 3 balls placed equal distance apart on the line the gym teacher would blow a whistle to start the game. The fastest running students from each side would sprint to the center to retrieve one of the balls. From there utter chaos would take place. You see the point of the game was to hit a student from the opposing side with the ball, to kick him out of the game. No matter where the ball touched the student, they would be eliminated and have to go sit in the bleachers until the game was over. The aggressive students or to be more accurate, the mean students would purposely try to hit the students in the head with the ball; this was usually followed with a cheer or laughter. As I am writing this I still have no idea how this game was promoting good health.      THE GYM TEACHER CALLED THIS game “Bombardment.” I do not know if that is the real name or if in fact he just made this game up for his own enjoyment. It floors me that an activity like that was even approved by the principal, school district or whatever agency oversees school curriculum. You should have seen how hard the ball was thrown at the heads of kids by the “rougher” students; you could actually see their heads snap back by the force of the ball. The more timid students would stay all the way in the back, right up against the wall to avoid getting hit. However the downside of doing this was opening up the possibility they would be one of the last standing, giving the opposing team the opportunity to grab all the balls and pummel the poor student at the same time. I thought the whole thing was barbaric then as I do now. There was no purpose as far as I could tell in participating in such a violent game. In today’s world I am sure this game would have been banned from all schools. It needs to stay in the past, just like this sequel should have done.      UNDER A GOVERNMENT PROPOSAL A small Canadian town would become part of the United States. This meant the Canadian Mounties were being replaced by the Super Troopers. Not everyone was on board with this transition to the point they wanted to sabotage the plan. This comedy starred Steve Lemme (The Origins of Wit and Humor, The Slammin’ Salmon) as Mac, Eric Stolhanske (Club Dread, Beerfest) as Rabbit, Brian Cox (Troy, Adaptation) as Captain O’Hagan, Jay Chandrasekhar (Beerfest, Speechless-TV) as Thorny and Kevin Heffernan (The Dukes of Hazzard, Club Dread) as Farva. After 17 years this group returns in a story that was weak right from the start. I do not remember the first film so maybe diehard fans will appreciate this movie. I found it painful; the so called humor was dated, cheap and offensive. I felt like I was surrounded by those students I described above; that is how infantile some of the characters were in their scenes. Honestly I could not wait for this film to be over since I felt like I was being beaten by the barrage of dated material. If this is the best the writers could come up with after 17 years then I vote for Canada to annex this franchise and put a stop to it.

 

1 ¼ stars   

Flash Movie Review: I Feel Pretty

TOO MANY OF THE CLOTHES IN our closets have power over us. This unusual strength was not woven into the fabric or sprayed with a special enhancing elixir or studded with armor plating; it simply was chosen to hide our insecurities. I see it in my fitness classes all the time. Some members walk in with a sense of purpose, a directness that stands out from those who feel intimidated or uncomfortable about themselves. The reason I am even aware of it is because I am guilty of the same lack of confidence as they are; however, I hide it in different ways. When members enter the studio they have the option of where to place themselves. The ones who feel comfortable about themselves tend to wear more colorful clothing and pick places closer to the front of the class, while those with less confidence tend to don darker colors and drift into the back rows. What a member wears can say something about their attitude. For myself I wear workout clothing a size larger so I can shut down the critical side of my mind that has always judged how I look. This has been going on for years and is caused by a lack of confidence.     CONFIDENCE HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN elusive creature for me. I do not believe people are born with it; it is something that has to be nurtured and fed to grow inside of us, starting when we are very small. There also has to be the right amount of encouragement and positive reinforcement to avoid getting a swelled head. I have a tuxedo hanging in my closet and it is amazing how much influence it has over me. When I am wearing it I feel like I am a different person; I have confidence, feel good about myself and get a sense that I belong. Yes I am aware that sounds ridiculous but nonetheless that is how I feel. Intellectually I am aware it comes down to confidence; I feel more confident because I am dressed in a tuxedo. Part of the reason why I feel this way is because of marketing. Have any of you ever seen a person dressed in a tuxedo and assumed they were a geek? No, you probably think that person is suave and debonair just like James Bond or George Clooney, when they are wearing a tuxedo. The message in this comedy film will show you what I mean.      AFTER BEING KNOCKED UNCONSCIOUS IN her cycle class Renee Bennett, played by Amy Schemer (Snatched, Thank You for Your Service), came to and was stunned to see her transformation. She was ready to take on the world and reach her dreams. She needed to be careful for what she dreamed for. With Michelle Williams (All the Money in the World, Manchester by the Sea) as Avery LeClaire, Tom Hopper (Game of Thrones-TV, Merlin-TV) as Grant LeClair, Rory Scovel (The House, Dean) as Ethan and Adrian Martinez (Focus, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) as Mason; I absolutely was on board with the message this film was trying to convey. However the script never dug below the surface, keeping everything on predictable levels with easy jokes. It really was a shame because the writers could have done so much more to make the story a better-rounded one. I actually did not find much humor in the scenes except for maybe a couple of them. Most things were done with a heavy hand as if the writers wanted to drive the point home because they felt the viewers would not get it. Almost in an ironic way I felt the script was written with too much confidence that took the strength away from the message.

 

1 ¾ stars          

Flash Movie Review: Isle of Dogs

RETIRING BACK TO BED I could see the eyes looking up at me from my pillow. As I came to the edge of the bed there lying in my spot, with the covers pulled up to his neck, was our dog. He looked up at me as if to say, “Is there something I can help you with?” I grant you he looked totally comfortable and in place, but c’mon; he already had his own bed to sleep in. Anytime I had to get up in the middle of the night he would immediately jump into our bed once I was out of the room; he was such a character. Dogs have such a beautiful outlook on life I believe. They give unconditional love, get such pleasure in the most mundane of things like a stick or used sock and can be such great companions. To return the favor whenever I would say “doggie massage” our dog would immediately plop down on his side so I could give him a body massage.     ANOTHER ASPECT OF A DOG’S LIFE is their ability to instinctively protect a person. However some dogs may have their priorities a bit confused; ours felt the need to protect us from small children. It was the weirdest thing. If we were walking outside and a small child was nearby our dog would stop and stare at them. A low warning growl would be heard despite our pleas to relax. We could never figure out what his deal was about small children. Right now my neighbors got a 2nd dog who is a real cutie. Anytime I walk out the back door and she is in the backyard she quickly crouches down into play mode, with her butt in the air and her upper torso stretched out down on the ground. Her front paws directly out in front of her in anticipation. She waits until I call out her name then bounds over to the fence for me to pet her; unless I am wearing a hat, then all things change. She does not like me in a hat because she will bark at me non-stop, staying just out of reach behind the fence. Despite that quirk I still am quite fond of her which explains why I understood the reason the owner risked his life to find his dog in this film festival winning movie.      AFTER THE MAYOR BANNED FROM THE city all dogs Atari, voiced by newcomer Kofu Rankin, was willing to risk his life to find his best friend. Written and directed by Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore) this adventure comedy was so much fun to watch due to the creative animation. If you saw Wes’ movie Fantastic Mr. Fox then you are familiar with this style of stop-motion animation. With Bryan Cranston (Trumbo, Why Him?) voicing Chief, Edward Norton (American History, Pride and Glory) voicing Rex, Bill Murray (Lost in Translation, Groundhog Day) voicing Boss and Jeff Goldblum (The Fly, The Grand Budapest Hotel) voicing Duke; everyone blended perfectly into the well thought out detailed script. I found the story quite relevant and appreciated the way Wes incorporated humor into the political scenes. Now the script is not without a couple of dings; there were a few times where I felt the story dragged a bit. It did not hinder my enjoyment because the visuals were just so much darn fun. I honestly do not know if small children will understand the whole concept of this picture, but I cannot imagine their curiosity will not be piqued. Even if you are not a dog lover I feel you will still appreciate the love between a boy and his dog.

 

3 ½ stars   

Flash Movie Review: Chappaquiddick

IT IS SAFE TO SAY the majority of us has experienced the feeling of shock. Hopefully it was the type of shock that surprises or dumbfounds you; you know, like seeing a driver do something ignorant and illegal or seeing a parent pouring a soft drink into a baby bottle to feed their child. I used these two examples because I actually was a witness to them. For the driver they were impatient and did not want to continue creeping along until they got to their exit off the highway. So the driver drove off the road, down the gully running alongside then up the steep grassy hill. Their car looked like it was sliding down sideways but they just gunned the engine and eventually made it to the exit. So something like this would definitely be placed in the “shock” category in my book.      NOW THERE IS A DIFFERENT FORM of shock; the only way I can describe it, is that it numbs one’s brain. As if your brain becomes paralyzed, all the synapses lose current and stop connecting with each other. For the most part I tend to see this type of shock only on television shows and in movies, which is a good thing. I hope it is the same for you. Only a couple of my friends that I have known for years can tell when I am experiencing something close to this kind of shock. Years ago my friends made a surprise birthday party for me; I was totally unaware of it. When I walked into the place a photo was taken of me so there is proof on my face that I was completely stunned by the surprise. At least the shock was for a good thing because on the flipside getting “bad” news can certainly stop someone dead in their tracks as they say. I do not remember (see I am already preparing you for the shock) if I told you about an incident that happened during my medical scare last year. One evening I received a phone call from a doctor that was unfamiliar to me. I was at the movie theater waiting for a film to start. The doctor began telling me about my recent tests and said there was something else he wanted me to have checked out. If these were the only words he had used I would not have freaked out, but when he said “you need to do it sooner than later” my brain immediately short-circuited. For that reason I could appreciate on some level what was going through the brain of the main character in this historic drama.      THE FEAR OF DROWNING COULD have easily been a factor in Ted Kennedy’s, played by Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, Everest), behavior after the car he was driving plunged off a bridge. That one car accident would alter the course of history. This film festival nominee also starred Ed Helms (Vacation, Love the Coopers) as Joseph Gargan, Jim Gaffigan (Away We Go, Going the Distance) as Markham and Bruce Dern (The Hateful Eight, Nebraska) as Joseph Kennedy. This movie played out like a docudrama; there were times where I believed what I was seeing but then other times I felt the story was being embellished upon to create some excitement. Jason was excellent in the role as was Bruce Dern; as for the rest of the cast they were more background players for me. I would have appreciated if the script delved more into the history of the characters, especially the relationship between Ted and his father, but I understood this film was focused on one major incident. Since I would have no idea if what I witnessed in this movie actually happened, I left the theater with mixed emotions. It certainly was a tragic event, but I did not feel invested in the story.

 

2 ½ stars

Flash Movie Review: Paul, Apostle of Christ

I HAD THE GOOD FORTUNE TO experience a different religious service from mine, during one of the holidays. Entering into the cavernous building, I was immediately taken by the decorations that were hanging down every column and window. Golden gauze like fabric was gently swaying on the currents of air from the open windows. There was an elderly gentleman standing in the aisle that led to the seats. He was passing out ribbons that were attached to the top of wooden sticks, sort of like mini flags. Each of us were handed one; I asked my companion what we were supposed to do with these ribbons. They were to be used during certain passages of the service, where we are to wave them in the air. Okay that was different for me. But then there was another person standing behind the elderly man and she was handing out yellowish colored foam sticks, for lack of a better word; I swear they looked like large french fries! Each one was embossed with the word “HALLELUJAH.” Looking at my friend he was as perplexed as me. After everyone was seated a religious leader came out to explain what to do with the 2 items we were given. No disrespect but it felt like I was attending a sporting event; would we be doing the “wave” next?      THE SERVICE BEGAN AFTER THE organ player, who was perched up in the balcony, finished their song. What struck me rather quickly was the amount of songs being performed throughout the service. I could not remember ever hearing so much music at any religious service I attended previously. Being a people watcher I periodically scanned the people around me. Some of them were really into the music, waving their ribbons back and forth in the air; others were jabbing their foam sticks up and down in the air. If everyone had been sitting in bleachers you would have thought they were at a football game; it was surreal for me. At one point in the service the leader walked out into the crowd dribbling a basketball; I knew it, this was a game! No seriously he gave a speech about inclusion, touching on some of the hot topics currently in the news. I have to tell you it felt genuine to me; this individual was asking us to look at something in a different light. Though this was not the religion I was raised with I learned something new. I can say the same for this historical drama.      EACH TIME BEING FEARFUL FOR HIS life Luke, played by Jim Caviezel (The Thin Red Line, Frequency), persisted in visiting imprisoned apostle Paul, played by James Faulkner (Atomic Blonde, Game of Thrones-TV). Luke wanted to keep a journal of everything Paul was telling him. Set in Rome during the reign of Nero this film also starred Olivier Martinez (The Physician, Unfaithful) as Mauritius, Joanne Whalley (Willow, The Man Who Knew too Little) as Priscilla and John Lynch (The Secret Garden, Black Death) as Aquila. The first thing I appreciated about this movie was the script was written to tell a story. I do not know how much of it was true but I found it interesting since I have a general curiosity about different religions. However the script did not go far enough; it caused the actors to pale in their roles. I simply found them to be dull and wooden with their acting. Gratefully there was no heavy handed preaching to the viewers, but I would have preferred seeing more story and especially more historical background to the story.

 

2 stars    

Flash Movie Review: Truth or Dare

THERE MAY BE A BOXED GAME that is similar but I have not seen one. I remember the first time I played Truth or Dare; it was during 7thor 8thgrade if I am not mistaken. A group of us were hanging out in the park near the school on a Saturday afternoon. There was a ride that was like a merry-go-round without the wooden horses, just a circle of individual handrails or banisters; to make it go you would have to spin it yourself. I do not remember who suggested the game, but I was not the only one who had never heard of it. The directions were rather simple; either accept to tell the truth, no matter what is asked of you, or take the dare and do whatever the person tells you to do. It is funny, I remember accepting the truth questions mostly because I did not want to hang upside down on the jungle gym for 2 minutes or be spun on the merry-go-round as fast as everyone could spin it; which I had already witnessed from the players before my turn. The idea of telling the truth was no big deal for me; I did not have any deep dark secrets to reveal.      FROM THAT VERY FIRST TIME I had no idea that the Truth or Dare game was a rite of passage for adolescents. No really, it along with the game Spin the Bottle were some of the first games that lent themselves to having a sexual overtone depending on the players. I remember how the game changed once all of us were in high school. At one point it became a triumph to the initiator of the game when they could include someone unfamiliar to the rules. I think it was to embarrass the innocent students for laughs. Someone unsuspecting could find themselves in a predicament if they were suddenly asked to kiss someone or perform some stupid stunt in front of everyone. Imagine the possibilities; I do not think one could ever run out of dare stunts. In writing this review I tried seeking out information about the history of this game, but there was nothing concrete I could find. One web page stated 53% of boys versus 42% of girls take the dare; in turn, injuries have increased which may be partially due to social media. If you want to see how dangerous playing the game could be then you might want to watch this horror thriller.      WHILE ON VACATION A GROUP of friends begin a game of Truth or Dare, where breaking the rules have a serious consequence. Starring Lucy Hale (Scream 4, Pretty Little Liars-TV) as Olivia Barron, Tyler Posey (Maid in Manhattan, Teen Wolf-TV) as Lucas Moreno, Violett Beane (The Flash-TV, The Leftovers-TV) as Markie Cameron, Sophia Ali (Grey’s Anatomy-TV, Everybody Wants Some!) as Penelope Amari and Nolan Gerard Funk (Roddick, Awkward-TV) as Tyson Curran; this story took no time in sinking down to an utter mess. I thought the acting was paltry and the script was basic and generic. There was little in the sense of horror except for the lethal dare results. Like any game I do not approve of changing the rules halfway into playing the game and this story was not following the rules. At one point while I was sitting through this picture I thought maybe it was a generational thing that I was bored; however, the full theater of teenagers groaning told me they were not getting into the story either. The groans were loudest at the end of the film. All I can say about this movie is that it would be a tough dare for a game player to do, if the dare was being forced to sit through this picture while staying awake.

 

1 ½ stars    

Flash Movie Review: Rampage

THERE WAS AN EERIE GLOW throughout most of the apartment. It was not caused by sunlight or incandescent lightbulbs; the only way I could describe the color, was to say it was a cross between bright fluorescent with bright neon greenish white. We were picking up a friend’s friend at their house which none of us had seen and our friend never warned us. As all of us entered the apartment I noticed an aquarium in one corner with the source of the erie glow perched above it. As it turned out almost every room had 1 to 3 aquariums set up with the same type of light. I did not recall fish tanks having a light above them, but I never had fish for pets. However these fish tanks had no water in them and the top parts were covered with a heavy metal mesh. One of my friends asked about the aquariums. It turned out they were not empty but each of them held a snake. I am not talking worm size or small garden variety; they were jungle sized snakes. I have only seen these type of snakes in a zoo or adventure/horror film.      THE OWNER OF THESE SNAKES had them as pets. Pets, I wondered; did he actually take them out and pet them? I was never a fan of snakes and I got creeped out when the owner took one of his snakes out and draped it around his shoulders. A couple of my friends petted the reptile when offered, but I declined. I had to admit I had a bad attitude about all of it, but as the owner explained his reasons and fascination with snakes I realized I had no right to judge him on his choice of pets. When I thought about it more, I came to the conclusion what really is the difference between having fish or snakes as pets? They are not for me but if they provide comfort to someone else, so be it. For many people pets are part of their family. Animals provide unconditional love, affection and even emotional attachments. Some pets are more like family to us than our own relatives. It certainly was obvious in this action, adventure science fiction film.      AS THE GORILLA HE RAISED from infancy was growing in unheard of speed and massive height Dave Okoye, played by Dwayne Johnson (Baywatch, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), would not give up on his friend; even as everyone around was becoming frightened. With Naomie Harris (Moonlight, Skyfall) as Dr. Kate Caldwell, Malin Ackerman (Watchmen, 27 Dresses) as Claire Wyden, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Red Dawn, The Losers) as Harvey Russell and Jake Lacy (Miss Sloane, Obvious Child) as Brett Wyden; the first thing I have to say is this: there is no way one cannot like Dwayne Johnson. In this role he fits right into his comfort zone of acting. I have seen this exact style in his recent films and I hope he starts mixing it up a bit. Granted I believe he knows his capabilities and limitations, so picks projects that suits his acting abilities. In this big production of special effects set in Chicago, the story had some holes in it as well as the script. I thought the dialog was childish at times and felt the movie was cartoonish. However I was not put off by it because I liked the special effects. This is the type of picture I call a “popcorn film;” one where you do not have to think much, just sit back and watch it. If one can watch “stupid pet tricks” then they will have no problem with this movie.

 

2 1/2 stars

%d bloggers like this: