Monthly Archives: April 2020

Flash Movie Review: Lady Macbeth

EACH OF US HAS EMOTIONAL NEEDS such as love, growth and significance. If one begins to feel empty, there is usually a negative feeling ready to fill the void. During those times where I was feeling alone, as if I was the only one of my kind, I filled my emptiness with food. Coming into the house with grocery bags filled with some of my favorite foods would provide me with a short-lived euphoria of comfort. At one point I was eating frozen pizza 2 to 3 times a day; that is how intense I was reacting to the emptiness. My attempts at love kept failing because of my lack of love for myself. It took a lot of hard work and discipline to recognize what I was doing with food and deciding to make some changes. All considering, based on what I have seen regarding what people use to fill a void, I am grateful I only used food to fill the emptiness inside of me. During my period of change it always fascinated or maybe I should say troubled me that this void inside constantly needed to be filled. When I experimented with things I thought might fill it, I never found myself reaching a level of comfort. I certainly got an understanding of what it meant to be “comfortable in one’s own skin.”      WHILE I WAS ON MY JOURNEY of self-discovery, a friend of mine was being forced into one. She had been married for 20-25 years when I first met her. She had a great sense of humor and a personality to match. Yet, there was something I saw in her eyes that troubled me. It was a look that was familiar to me. During the life of our friendship I watched as her personality, humor and self-worth faded away. She would never talk about it; but I could see when she said anything about her husband, the life in her would die down like a campfire at the end of an evening. It was painful to see the life being sucked out of her and no matter what I said to her, nothing worked. It was not until a couple of years later when the door opened a crack and she revealed the pain she was in from her loveless marriage. Her outlet was to delve into the world of crafts. It was shocking to know the pain she was going through was producing some incredible pieces of art. Using arts and craft as a springboard, she found her way back to herself and became strong enough to leave her husband. It turned out her husband was abusive to her. Not feeling loved by him opened a gateway where her self-worth spilled out. Gratefully she filled her void in a healthy way, unlike the main character in this film festival winning, romantic drama.      STUCK IN A LOVELESS MARRIAGE KATHERINE, played by Florence Pugh (Little Women, Fighting with my Family), realized what she was missing when she felt an attraction to a hired hand. That discovery started Katherine on a path of filling the void inside of her with darkness. With Cosmo Jones (Hunter Killer, The Marker) as Sebastian, Paul Hilton (Doctor Faustus, Eternal Beauty) as Alexander, Naomi Ackie (The Corrupted, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) as Anna and Christopher Fairbank (The Fifth Element, Guardians of the Galaxy) as Boris; this film grabbed my interest from the beginning. The reason for it was Florence Pugh. She was such a presence in the story; I could not stop watching her in the role. Set in rural England during the 19th century, the story started out slow and deliberate. The scenes appeared authentic and only added to the shifting moods that took place through the script. I will say at times the script drifted off track, but for me this was not a glaring issue because of Florence’s acting. With the present situation regarding the ability to see films, this one filled a void in me for well-done movies.

 

3 ¼ stars

Flash Movie Review: Sword of Trust

THE SERVING PLATTER LOOKED LIKE IT HAD an old roadmap embedded into it. All roads led to a happy memory. At the bottom of a china hutch, I found wrapped in an ancient dishtowel a large oval serving plate. I remembered it from when I was a little boy. It had gold filigree outlining the rim and center of it. Tracing the gold was a thin dusty rose-colored line; in the center, there was a bouquet of flowers of which some were of the same rose color. The roadmap I referred to was created from years of use, especially due to the washing of it. Fine ghost like crooked lines, crisscrossing all across the plate; gave the appearance of abandoned roads. I can remember sitting down for dinner at family gatherings where this platter would hold the main part of the meal. There were times it held brisket of beef or roasted chicken or slices of turkey during the Thanksgiving holiday. When I was really young I could not hold it up by myself as it was being passed around the dining room table; the relative next to me would have to hold it or sometimes even place the food on my plate after I pointed out to them which pieces.      THOSE FAMILY DINNERS WERE A SOURCE OF immense joy to me. Getting together with my cousins was always a highlight. The conversations around the table were usually lively and animated. Relatives would be laughing all the time, even when they were in the middle of a heated discussion. I can still remember that time where a relative brought a gelatin-molded dessert (gelatin mixed with other food items like nuts or fruit set into a mold) to the table. When it was unmolded it plopped on the plate and slid off onto the table. This dinner platter is something I will always associate with good food. Especially during holidays, I do not remember one time where the platter was not being used for serving. As a former large person, the food certainly was the catalyst for me having a good time among my relatives. It was during these gatherings where I really learned what it meant to have and be part of a family. Beside myself I know others must have gained valuable memories at these meals and I am sure the dinner platter played a part in them. So now, my dilemma is what to do with this decades old dinner platter. How could I possibly part with it? I would feel the same way if I were the main character in this dramatic, film festival winning comedy.      WHEN THE READING OF HER GRANDFATHER’S will took place, the last thing Cynthia, played by Jillian Bell (Rough Night, Office Christmas Party) expected to get was an old sword. What in the world would she do with such a thing? With Marc Maron (Almost Famous, Glow-TV) as Mel, Jon Bass (Molly’s Game, Loving) as Nathaniel, Michaela Watkins (The Back-Up Plan, Thanks for Sharing) as Mary and Dan Bakkedahl (The Heat, Veep-TV) as Kingpin, this was an odd film for me. The script came across in such a way that it appeared as if the cast was doing improvisation. I will say each actor did a good job of portraying a wacky/kooky type of character. Some of the dialog had witty comments and comebacks. There was a loose feel to the scenes, which made the satire stand out more. As for the story it was farfetched and at times the absurdity of it bored me. And as the story wound down, I felt the ending lost momentum and did a quick job to finish things up. This was a strange picture that at times looked amateurish and goofy, but then at times had quick biting repartee.

 

2 stars

Flash Movie Review: The Aftermath

THE WHOLE MISUNDERSTANDING COULD HAVE BEEN avoided if I had only known he was in a foul mood. Such a simple thing to do and it would have made a world of difference. I had texted my friend to see if he was free to talk. Getting an affirmative response, I called him with the intention of catching up since it had been some time since we last communicated. The conversation started out in the usual way with each of us updating the other on our family members. Having known each other for years, our extended families have trickled down to be part of our conversations with some familiarity. At some point I commented on something he said but did not get a response. I thought maybe he did not hear me. When there was a break, I repeated myself. There was dead silence for a few seconds before he made a comment that had an edge to it. You might know what I mean; where the comment could be taken two different ways based on the tone of the speaker’s voice. It took me by surprise and I did not know how to reply. Deciding to push past it and not assume the comment was negative, I continued on with the conversation.      IT WAS NOT TOO MUCH LONGER before I felt he was hitting me with another comment that could be taken two ways. This time I called him on it, asking what he meant by saying what he said. He replied with “What do you mean?” which is a pet peeve of mine. He had heard what I said, so why answer with a question? I went ahead and explained to him what I heard and why I responded the way I did. He then took my words and turned them back at me with what I heard to be a condescending tone. One thing led to another until we wound up being irritated with each other. We quickly ended the call; I was left feeling ticked off and confused. I tried wrapping my brain around what had happened but could not find a solution. My feelings were hurt. It was not until later that night where he called back to explain what was going on with him. It turned out he was in a bad mood because of something that had nothing to do with me. His negativity spread into our conversation, where he misinterpreted things I had said to him. We hashed it out so we could clear the air between us. The bottom line was realizing the need to express one’s feelings in order to become a better communicator. This was a conversation the main couple needed to have in this romantic, war drama.     TRAVELING TO HAMBURG FROM ENGLAND TO JOIN her husband Rachel Morgan, played by Keira Knightley (Colette, The Imitation Game) was surprised to see the amount of devastation the war had done. It was even more shocking to discover she would be sharing a home with its German owner.  With Jason Clarke (Pet Sematary, Everest) as Lewis Morgan, Alexander Skarsgard (The Hummingbird Project, The Kill Team) as Stephen Lubert, Flora Thiemann (Nelly’s Adventure, Sputnik) as Freda Lubert and Kate Phillips (Downton Abbey, Peaky Blinders-TV) as Susan; this period piece had a strong cast that worked well together. I thought the filming added drama to the story which turned out necessary due to the cliché filled, predictable script. Despite Keira’s ability to command an audience, the script did not allow for the addition of depth to the characters. I would have also appreciated if the writers included more history into the events that affected the characters placing them on their current paths. With this film based on the same titled book, I have to believe the novel offered a better story than the one in this post World War II setting.

 

1 ¾ stars        

Flash Movie Review: At Eternity’s Gate

IT WAS ONLY ONE FLASH OF light that caught my attention, but it opened up my eyes to a whole world of beauty. I was walking towards the garage when a millisecond of bright light appeared between 2 ornamental bushes. I was sure I had seen it despite its brief appearance in what appeared to be midair. The plants were a recent addition to my backyard, both seemed to be taking nicely to their parcel of land. I walked over to the bushes to see if there was something I had not noticed before. As I made my way across the lawn a slight breeze of air stirred up and that speck of bright light appeared once again. I walked up and like an apparition there was a large spider web that spanned the space between the 2 plants. It faded in and out depending on the breeze being able to push it into full sunlight. It was exquisite, looking like a fine piece of lace. Not wanting to disturb anything, I carefully stepped closer to get a better look. I had to squat down so the web would be at eye level; cocking my head slightly to view the web in front of a darker background, I saw tiny drops of moisture clinging to several strands of the web. It truly looked like a piece of art or an architect’s dream.      UNNOTICED BY ME AT FIRST BECAUSE it was off to the side, closer to one of the bushes, perched a massive hairy looking spider. I stayed still as if I was playing a waiting game with it. There are friends of mine who would have freaked out upon seeing the spider; gratefully, they do not upset me. I look at spiders as the gatekeepers to my house, capturing loads of bugs to prevent them from entering my home. The spider did not move from its spot; only allowing the breezes to swing it slightly in the air, but it never once wavered from its spot. For some reason, I felt the garden had taken on a special allure. Here among the assorted plants and shrubbery there was a feat from one of Nature’s creatures, a latticework of silky luminous strands dotted with diamond chips of raindrops. If the sunlight had not hit the web at the exact time I was walking by, I might not have ever noticed I had a piece of art in my backyard. Part of me wanted to get a spray bottle of water to make more drops appear on the web; however, I decided not to and instead enjoyed the beauty that was in front of me. Part of this experience prepared me for the beauty that was found in this Oscar nominated, film festival winning biography.      TIRED OF HIS SURROUNDINGS AND THE PEOPLE around him Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, played by Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse, Aquaman), took the advice of a friend and moved out of Paris to be closer to nature. It was the best move of his life. With Rupert Friend (The Young Victoria, Homeland-TV) as Theo, Oscar Isaac (Star Wars franchise, A Most Violent Year) as Paul Gauguin, Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt, Doctor Strange) as Priest and Mathieu Amairic (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Grand Budapest Hotel) as Doctor Paul Gachet; this dramatic picture contained a stellar performance by Willem. I felt I was privy to the inner workings of van Gogh’s mind. Combined with the beautiful film shots and steady directing, this film’s story unfurled like a long, colorful pennant on a windy day. The whole cast perfectly fit their roles. If there was anything to question it would be the few scenes that dragged a bit; however, the dynamic acting coming out of Willem kept me invested in the story. I almost felt as if I was a visitor at an art gallery.

 

3 ¼ stars     

Flash Movie Review: The Professor

IT WAS OUR PASSION FOR WORKING out that sparked our friendship. Meeting at the house of mutual friends, I knew immediately he was into fitness. My first clue was the food he had on his plate. From all the choices available at the buffet table, he chose the items with the least amount of carbs. Also, he was wearing a light colored T-shirt that was stretched to the max across his chiseled torso and bulging biceps. It was over at the table set up as the bar, where I made a comment about his plate of food. He, in turn, asked where was my plate. When I explained I stop eating 5 hours before going to sleep, I could tell my comment piqued his interest. From there we got into a discussion about health and exercise, sharing our journey into fitness. I shared stories about witnessing the effects brought on by family members’ poor health and how I started questioning the things I was doing that might trigger into action those same poor genes I shared with them from the family gene pool. It turned out we had a similar history that motivated us to take better care of ourselves. Before the evening was over, we both had a good sense of each other and agreed to hang out at some point.      FROM THAT RANDOM MEETING AT THAT party, we wound up becoming pretty good workout buddies. When time permitted we would meet at the health club and become each other’s coach and spotter. It must have been 6 or 8 months later when he got the news that would change his life forever. On a routine doctor visit it was discovered he had a serious disease. Because he was so fit, he did not notice the early symptoms. From that point on things changed, as you would expect. He still met me at the gym but not as often; not because he did not want to, but because he was busy getting his house ready to sell. Upon getting the news, he decided he did not want to live and die in a cold climate. Instead, he planned on moving to a warmer city on the west coast.  He still kept close to his workout routine but the times did not mesh with my availability. By the time we were in the middle of the autumn season, he had sold most of his furnishings, grew a beard and bought a house. Though he hadn’t finalized the sale of his current house, he wanted to get out and start enjoying the days he had remaining in a warm climate. I was impressed with his matter of fact actions in completely uprooting himself to seek out comfort for his remaining days. I don’t know if I would have the same courage as him or the main character in this dark comedic drama.      UPON RECEIVING DIRE NEWS ABOUT HIS HEALTH Richard, played by Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Black Mass) changed the way he was teaching his classes and also the people around him. With Rosemarie DeWitt (Your Sister’s Sister, Rachel Getting Married) as Veronica, Odessa Young (Assassination Nation, The Daughter) as Olivia, Danny Huston (The Aviator, The Constant Gardener) as Peter and Zoey Deutch (Before I Fall, Dirty Grandpa) as Claire; this film festival nominee had a decent cast of actors. Johnny was ok but he did not provide me with something new that I had not seen before. The script had an occasional glimmer of hope, but I felt it lacked in developing the characters. There were several chances for this story to well up into an emotional peak but I felt the writers wanted to play it safe. So instead what was left for the viewer was a repeat of actions and emotions; as if, the writers wanted to not only numb the main character but the audience as well.

 

2 stars    

Flash Movie Review: Tigertail

I HAD KNOWN HER FOR A LONG time; yet I was still surprised when she told me the reason why she was going to college. Up until that time she did okay in school, nothing above average though. When she told me she wanted to attend college, I had asked her why and she told me she wanted to find a husband. To hide my shock I used my humor by asking her if it would be cheaper to sign up for a dating service. I had to appreciate her honesty, but the idea that college would be the place to find a mate sounded farfetched; there was no guarantee she would find on campus someone to marry. Yet, she was determined and sure enough in her junior year, she met a senior student and fell in love with him. They dated for a year before deciding to get married. During that period, I met him a couple of times when they would drive back home for a weekend visit. He seemed nice, but he had what I refer to as a salesperson’s personality. No disrespect to the people in that profession, but he had a list of catch phrases he depended on when participating in a conversation. Also, he never offered an opinion that was different from the person he was interacting with in a conversation. I did not detect much sincerity behind his statements as a result.     THE TWO GOT MARRIED A COUPLE of months after his college graduation. They settled into married life and seemed to be happy. I would see them from time to time and as far as I could tell they seemed fine. There was one thing I noticed however. When they were together, she seemed to talk less. I could not put my finger on it, but it seemed as if he was always the one to make any type of decisions. He never lost the catch phrases, but his delivery of them seemed to have an edge to them now. This continued for a couple of years before my friend started to show up to events without him. At first, she offered excuses for his absences; but it was not too long before she finally confessed she was unhappy and filing for a divorce. I offered support and told her if she needed to talk I was available anytime. She never took my up on the offer and I did not push the subject. Though, one time she did share with me she regretted her years focused on finding a husband because they blinded her to her husband’s faults. I wondered if she could leave her regrets behind to move forward. This was the same thought I had for the main character in this dramatic film.      YOUNG GROVER’S, PLAYED BY HONG-CHI Lee (City of Rock, Baby) dream was to move to the United States. Moving there meant leaving the ones he loved behind; a decision that would come with regrets. With Tzi Ma (Arrival, The Ladykillers) as Grover, Christine Ko (Hawaii Five-O-TV, Dave-TV) as Angela, Fiona Fu (Power Rangers, Blood and Water) as Zhenzhen and Joan Chen (Love in Disguise, Judge Dredd) as Yuan; this multigenerational film had an authentic, touching story that was easy to follow. With the beautiful filming, I was thoroughly involved with the story. The acting was well done, as the story would shift between Taiwan and the United States. I did not feel as if the script was trying to manipulate me; each pause in the dialog allowed the actors to express true emotion in my opinion. The story has a certain universal appeal that I think many viewers will connect to and appreciate. I have always said for every action there is a reaction. When it comes to affairs of the heart one can only hope for the best by striving towards a goal. Several scenes were spoken in Chinese with English subtitles.

 

3 stars      

Flash Movie Review: Fast Color

SOMETIMES IT TAKES AN UNEXPECTED EVENT for an individual to discover their hidden ability. I have no recollection of the event, but I was told my relative ran alongside a bus to keep me safe. The story told to me was about a time I was riding a bus from the doctor’s office. When the bus came to our stop, I lined up behind my relative who had taken me. I was the last one in line to exit the backside door of the bus. Because I was young and small, the bus driver could not see me in his rearview mirror, walking down the stairs. He closed the doors and my back leg got caught between them. My relative, who had stepped off of the bus, turned around just as I yelled out for help. She immediately grabbed me to see if she could pull me out but the doors had a solid hold of my leg. The bus started to coast away from the curb; my relative kept holding me as she trotted along. Though she was active as a teenager, it had been decades since she did anything that would yield a drop of sweat to break out on her forehead, let alone running at top speed. With the bus merging into traffic it was going at a good clip by now. There were a couple of people sitting near the back of the bus that caught a glimpse of my predicament and hollered out to the bus driver to stop. He finally did but not after my relative had been running alongside for a few blocks.     DUE TO THAT EVENT MY RELATIVE discovered she had a knack for running. I know, what a way to find out, right? I was told I was shaken up from the bus ride but there were no injuries done to me. Presently, I have a friend who discovered he has an artistic flair for creating art pieces. With the stay at home order in place in his state, he has been purging his house of old, discarded items that he does not need anymore. He was gathering up all kinds of items, anywhere from hardware things to clothing accessories to expired medicine bottles. Having them stacked in a pile, one day he was sitting and looking at them. For some reason, he started picking out items and laying them on his coffee table. Pretty soon he had a small group of things that he arranged into a pattern. This intrigued him and before you know it, he found a 12 x 12 piece of wooden board and started gluing all the items onto the board. By the time he was done he had created a piece of art that could easily be hung up on a wall and no one would be the wiser. I saw a photo of it and it was beautiful. At present he has several pieces created that will easily sell in an art show. Just as he discovered a hidden ability, the main character in this dramatic thriller discovered her ability.      AFTER DISCOVERING HER ABILITY RUTH, PLAYED BY Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle, Beyond the Lights), became a target that needed to be harnessed. With David Strathaim (Lincoln; Good Night, and Good Luck) as Ellis, Lorraine Toussaint (Selma, Love Beats Rhymes) as Bo, Christopher Denham (Shutter Island, Sound of my Voice) as Bill and Saniyya Sidney (Hidden Figures, Fences) as Lila; this science fiction, film festival winning movie had a down to earth, gentleness to its story. I thought the acting was excellent and was grateful the script assisted the actors in a positive way. What I liked about this picture was the fact for a science fiction story it did not have major special effects, battles or otherworldly characters; it was rather a simple story that had similarities to other films with the same type of special ability characters. There was no new ground covered in this movie; however, its ability to be entertaining was much appreciated.

 

2 ½ stars        

Flash Movie Review: Lazy Susan

MOTIVATION IS A KEY INGREDIENT IN a person’s journey through life; I firmly believe this. It is the reason one has for behaving or acting a certain way. For example, I wanted to feel better about myself and be able to buy clothing off the rack from any store; so, I went on a diet to lose weight. Another example was my dream to visit all 50 states. I let pass social opportunities so I could save money to fund my travel plans. As long as I can remember, whenever I was motivated to do something I never had a completion date associated to it. In other words, if there was something I wanted to do or get I would stick with it until I reached my goal. Is this the norm? I do not know. From my experiences, I have seen so many variations in a person’s motivation. Now let me say upfront I found it difficult to be sympathetic to an individual who wanted to achieve something but was not motivated to go get it. I had a friend who desperately wanted to be in a love relationship; not a conversation would go by without him mentioning what he would do if he had a significant other. The problem as I saw it was he did nothing to try and meet people. I do not know if he was expecting people to come knocking on his door.      WITH THE LAST EXAMPLE I DESCRIBED, the other aspect that contributes to me being unsympathetic is when the person blames others for the predicament they placed themselves in. Recognition is the first step in solving a problem. The friend I described above once in a while would meet someone by happenstance, while grocery shopping or riding the train. If they struck up a conversation and eventually went out on a couple of dates, my friend would already start to think ahead of what might happen. However, if the few dates went nowhere, he was always quick to place blame on the other person. They were conceited, stuffy, high maintenance were some of the excuses he would express to me. After hearing the same excuses over time, I had to finally suggest to him that maybe he should take a look at the things he was doing. You would have thought I was accusing him of murder or fraud; he said he was doing nothing wrong. At that point I was done and knew there was no sense in trying to reason with him. I believe I would have come to the same conclusion with the main character in this comedy.     WITH NO JOB AND NO SOURCE OF INCOME; Susan, played by Sean Hayes (The Three Stooges, Will & Grace-TV), had to rely on getting money from her mother. However, the arrangement wouldn’t last if her brother had something to say about it. With Carrie Aizley (For Your Consideration, Transparent-TV) as Corrin, Margo Martindale (The Hollars, August: Osage County) as Mary, Allison Janney (Hairspray, The Girl on the Train) as Velvet and Danny Johnson (Daredevil-TV, Shades of Blue-TV) as Leon; I thought the story was interesting at the start. The cast was well suited for their roles, but I felt the script dragged on for a good portion of the film. Sean was just okay in the role; there was nothing unique to his acting. I would have preferred knowing more about how the dynamics between Susan and her family came to be. As it stood, the story did not go anywhere for me; everything seemed to stay on one level. Except for the occasional humorous scene, my pulse did not get a rise from this picture. Maybe it was expecting me to find the good parts to the plot?

 

1 ¾ stars    

Flash Movie Review: Ride Like a Girl

NOTHING CAUSED ME MORE FEAR IN SCHOOL than having someone shout out that I threw like a girl. To get branded with those words would mean you were going to have an especially rough semester at school. I actually was pretty good in throwing a baseball, but I wasn’t so good when it came to playing basketball. Gratefully, I just passed under the radar whenever we would play basketball in PE class. There was always someone worse than me who would suffer the humiliation of getting the moniker for throwing like a girl. And once you were deemed with that label, no matter what you did in class afterwards was never truly appreciated by the other students. I recall at one point I wondered what the girls did in their PE classes to make fun of a student who was not proficient in a particular sport. Notice, I assumed the girls could be just as mean as the boys; I don’t honestly know why that was my way of thinking. There were a few girls in the school who were bullies. Based on the things I experienced, it was natural for me to think that anyone who showed a sign of weakness or inability would be an open target for verbal abuse. For boys, the quickest cut to another boy was telling him he was a sissy or acted like a girl.      TIMES HAVE CHANGED AND NOW THROWING like a girl does not have the same connotation; too bad it took such a long time to evolve. Imagine how many boys could have been spared humiliation from their fellow classmates if they understood girls could throw a ball just as well as boys. I know a father who has a daughter who went to college on a scholarship because she was a top baseball pitcher in high school. During her summer vacation, she would attend baseball camp to perfect her pitches. Her Dad would update me on the locations she and her traveling teammates visited and how well she would do in the baseball game. There were a couple of times where she pitched a no-hitter. After hearing this, I wondered how many men would hope they could pitch as well as a girl? The question I would like to know is what is happening in the classroom? Has mankind expanded its thinking to the point where a male student is told he throws like a girl and the boy says thank you?      NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES BEING told she could not compete with men Michelle Payne, played by Teresa Palmer (I Am Number Four, Warm Bodies), knew in her heart she could compete with any man. She just needed someone to take her seriously. This dramatic sport film based on a true story caught my attention because of the movie’s title. With Sam Neill (Jurassic Park franchise, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) as Paddy Payne, Sullivan Stapleton (Gangster Squad, 300: Rise of an Empire) as Darren Weir, Brooke Satchwell (Subdivision, Wonderland-TV) as Therese Payne and Magda Szubanski (The Golden Compass, Kath & Kim-TV) as Sister Dominique; this biographical story had some David and Goliath moments. Fundamentally the story’s arc was not that unusual; what sold me were Teresa’s performance and the action scenes. What was missing for me was seeing more back-story to the Payne family. The scenes that involved the siblings seemed ripe for a further in-depth look at the family. I never really got a sense on where Michelle got her drive. Despite my concerns, knowing this film festival nominated picture was based on a true story made the viewing of it more engaging for me. Also, seeing what Michelle went through to do what she loved was inspiring to me because I appreciated the fact that there essentially should be no preference for a woman or man to try and reach their dreams, whatever they may be.

 

2 ¼ stars

Flash Movie Review: Rust Creek

THE STORY SHE WAS TELLING DESCRIBED a world that was unfamiliar to me. Right out of school she got married and moved to her husband’s family’s lands up in the hills of Kentucky. The trip did not take them long, which allowed her to see her new home in the daylight along with several of his relatives who were stationed as lookouts. Being in love had an extra benefit here because she did not mind one bit that the home standing in front of her looked abandoned. Her husband, who had no training, built the house and it showed. There was no running water; instead, there was a pump in the back of the house. She would grow to hate the pump, especially in wintertime. Keep in mind; we are talking current times, not a date back in the 1800s. The only heat sources in the house were 2 fireplaces and a potbellied stove. She eventually got used to the house; though she mentioned she had a hard time sometimes coping with it in winter. There would be mornings when the bucket of water they kept in the bathroom for washing would be nearly frozen. Being a city person, I could not comprehend that in this day and age; people would be living in that type of situation. Her story started only 50+ years ago.      DUE TO THE STORY SHE TOLD, I was careful when I decided to visit Kentucky. You may think I am paranoid but the image of her husband’s relatives sitting with rifles along the road has always stayed with me. All I could think about was whether her husband’s family was in some type of feud with another family, akin to the story of the Hatfield and McCoy families. When I visited the state I only went to large metropolitan areas. I actually had a wonderful time while delving into the history of those areas along with sampling the local cuisine. The state was picturesque which provided me with many photo opportunities.  Driving down the road seeing several horses trotting across an enclosed pasture made me pull over to take a photograph. The things I was seeing were so far removed from the things my friend told me about regarding her time living in the state. The two worlds were so opposite. Granted I was simply a tourist who zeroed in on the sights I wanted to see; it is not like I didn’t know every state has more than one version of itself. I was fortunate and lucky during my stay in Kentucky, unlike the main character in this film festival winning dramatic thriller.      WHEN A WRONG TURN LEAVES SAWYER, played by Hermione Cornfield (Fallen, Star Wars: The Last Jedi), in the back woods of a country road; she quickly realizes her education won’t necessarily get her to where she needs to be. With Jay Paulson (Black Rock, Mad Men-TV) as Lowell, Sean O’Bryan (Olympus Has Fallen, Vantage Point) as O’Doyle, Micah Hauptman (Everest, In Stereo) as Hollister and Daniel R. Hill (Above Suspicion, Hunter’s Moon) as Buck; this story resonated with me because of my friend’s time in Kentucky. Does this mean those with no connection to the state should not view this film? Not necessarily because the performance by Hermione was worth watching. The script was pretty generic but I appreciated what the writers did regarding the character Sawyer. There were scenes that did not make sense to me despite the predictability of the script. Except for Hermione, the other characters were a bit too stereotypical for me. What I enjoyed about this picture was watching the story arc to Hermoine’s character Sawyer. For some reason this movie reminded me of Winter’s Bone, though at a much lower level. An added bonus for me was enjoying some of the outdoor scenes of Kentucky and remembering my friend and her story.

 

2 stars

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