Monthly Archives: February 2022
AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER, I believe each of us has planned an escape. From something as small as an uncomfortable conversation to leaving one’s home. When I was sending applications out to colleges, I felt I was working on an escape out of the hard times I was experiencing in high school. I purposely chose schools out of state, to get as far away as I could and reinvent myself to no longer be the victim. It was a hard adjustment at first because it was the first time I was ever away from my home. What I learned in my new environment helped me immensely. The knowledge I gained helped when two of my friends wanted to leave their husbands. One friend who I will refer to as Carol, had been married for nearly 20 years and grew tired of the mental and physical abuse inflicted on her by her husband. His physical abuse was confined to pushing and squeezing, at least that is what she told me. I did wonder though when I would catch a glimpse of her arms and see a bruise or two. It came to a point where she needed to get away from him; I did my best to provide her with emotional and mental support through the process of leaving him. The difference in her once the divorce was final was amazing; she was filled with joy and happiness. MY FRIEND, LET ME CALL HER, Mary was married for years also. She had a low level of confidence in herself, so the relationship was one-sided in my opinion. She let her husband make all decisions and believed whatever he said was true. Through the years she started working on herself through therapy and personal growth avenues, to the point she started feeling confident. As you might imagine, it caused conflict between them because she was for the first time voicing her opinion and discovering not everything her husband said was right. It came to a point where she wound up staying with me until she could figure out her next steps. In this case, they both started couples therapy and are still married to this day in a healthier place. Of course, there are other reasons a person feels they must leave a situation. I met a man who left his family and home because the religion he was born into did not accept him. There is more to it, but I want to respect his privacy. The main character in this Oscar nominated, Sundance winning film had a good reason to find an escape; you might want to see it for yourself. WITH HIS COUNTRY BEING TORN APART, the family of Amin, voiced by newcomer Daniel Karimyar, had to find a way to get to a safe place. The effects of their plan would have a lasting effect. With Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal, Encounter) voicing the adult Amin, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (The Silencing, Game of Thrones-TV) voicing Rasmussen, newcomer Milad Eskandari voicing 8-year-old Saif and Belal Faiz (Rita-TV) voicing 13-year-old Saif; this animated dramatic documentary based on a true story was extraordinary. This was a new fresh way of telling a story via animation and live footage. The story was incredible and the way it was told fascinated me. Scenes of present times were separated by memories of the past; it really brought me into the story. When an animated film is nominated for an Oscar like this one, I assumed the animation would wow me. That was not my reaction at first because the animation was kept simple; however, its simplicity made the story more vivid for me. Also, I saw the English version of this film; in the original Danish, Dari, Russian and Swedish were spoken with English subtitles. With its other nomination for best international film, this picture is a strong contender in getting the Oscar award. This movie might just be one you do not want to escape you. This is not a film for children.
3 ½ stars
IT WAS NOT UNUSUAL TO HAVE knocking on my front door, but it was strange to have a stranger standing there when I opened the door. I was living off campus in a 6 storied, student housing building. There was a property manager who lived on the ground floor, but all the apartments were for students; married students would live in the corner units of the building because they were 2-bedroom apartments. I was living in a studio apartment, or I should say one room with a bathroom, like most the students on the floor. Each floor had a common kitchen that the residents on the floor would share. It was nothing to knock on a door and ask a fellow student for something; however, on this day there was a middle-aged woman standing at my door. She was dressed in a long skirt and a light jacket over a white blouse that had a bow up around her neck. Her arm was hugging a pile of pamphlets close to her chest. She had a warm smile despite seeing the shocked look on my face when I opened my door. My first thought was thinking she was doing a survey for the university because I did not understand how she got through the security door in the building’s lobby. I SAID, “HELLO, HOW CAN I help you?” As she introduced herself, she handed me one of her pamphlets. The front of it was illustrated in such a way to make me think it was an advertisement for a children’s book. She asked if she could tell me about her god. I declined the offer, saying I practice a different religion. Without losing her smile, she said her god would save me. Right then my attitude changed because I found her statement offensive. I believed ever person’s religion should be respected and that one was not better than another. I explained to her I was not interested, but it was nice to meet her as I closed my door. It has always puzzled me how people think their religion is the best or the “right” one. If memory serves me correctly, I think there are only three religions that do not actively seek out people to convert them over to their religion. It is one thing to be open and expressive about one own’s religion, but the idea of seeking out people to say they will not go to heaven or be with their god because of their religion is wrong in my book. I feel more strongly about it after seeing this Oscar nominated, biographical drama. UPON MEETING THE MAN SHE WOULD later marry, young Tammy Faye, played by Jessica Chastain (The 355, Molly’s Game) would wind up experiencing more than she ever imagined one could while being a good Christian. With Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge; tick, tick…BOOM!) as Jim Bakker, Cherry Jones (Ocean’s Twelve, The Perfect Storm) as Rachel Grover, Vincent D’Onofrio (The Unforgivable, The Judge) as Jerry Falwell and Mark Wystrach (Road to Red, Scavengers) as Gary Paxton; this film based on a true story excelled due to Jessica, Cherry and Andrew. They saved the script that I found to be a bit too sanitized, considering what was going on during the times when Jim and Tammy Faye were growing their business. At times, I felt Jessica was on the verge of being a caricature but then she would reel it in during the next scene. I will say the script does not put the religious conservatives in a good light; if what was shown was true, I was taken aback with the backroom antics of the religious leaders in this story. Not only was this an entertaining picture for the most part, but it also reaffirmed my feelings about those who preach their way is the right way.
GROWING UP I DID NOT REALIZE my neighborhood was idyllic, at least for me. But then, I would think any child who grows up in the neighborhood where they were born would think the same thing, as long as they haven’t experienced any type of trauma. I lived in a large apartment building that wrapped around a street corner, so there were 2 entrances for it. There was not one apartment on our side where I did not know the people living in them. In fact, when I had just started walking, I would go out in the hallway and get myself down 2 flights of stairs by sitting on my backside, to visit the neighbor on the 1st floor. The neighborhood was filled with kids my own age who became friends of mine. We would play outside all the time; every parent on the block knew each kid. One of our favorite games was hide and seek among the apartment buildings’ gangways and back porches. Looking back, I wonder how many steps/flights I would have done during a game. With my building we had 2 separate staircases connected by a cement backyard. The various stores in my neighborhood were all familiar with me and my family. I could walk into the drug store with a note from a parent and the pharmacist would hand over any refilled prescription medicine to me without any qualms. When I got older, I could be outside at nighttime with friends, and no one had a concern or fear. AT SOME POINT, I DO NOT remember when, the draw of the suburbs became strong and started pulling my neighbors from their homes to settle past the city limits. The same was true with stores. I remember a men’s clothing store that closed and was replaced by a shop that had black lights to illuminate some of their rock posters and T-shirts. Some people would call the place a “head shop.” I guessed it was because it was messing with one’s head? Where the neighborhood had a strong homogenous look to it, things started to change. I hope this does not come out as a judgement; it was an observation. The store signs in my neighborhood were backlit; in other words, three dimensional for the most part, either actual signage or individual letters. I noticed the new store signs coming in were more like banners or made with strong paper. In my mind they did not look permanent to me. Some of the stores began putting up signs in different languages which I discovered bothered some of the older residents in the neighborhood. Change may not always be easy for certain people; you can see it for yourself in this biographical drama. DURING THE TUMULTUOUS TIMES OF THE 1960s in Ireland, a family experiences something they had never imagined taking place in their small, friendly neighborhood. With Jude Hill (Magpie Murders-TV) as Buddy, newcomer Lewis McAskie as Will, Caitriona Balfe (Ford v Ferrari, Outlander-TV) as Ma, Jamie Dornan (A Private War, Fifty Shades of Grey franchise) as Pa and Judi Dench (All is True, Victoria & Abdul) as Granny; this multiple Oscar nominated film was directed and written by Kenneth Branagh. Based on true events from his childhood, he created a beautifully filmed and directed piece of work here. I loved watching this movie and thought the entire cast worked as one solid, magnificent unit. There was something about the way Kenneth filmed the characters in close or looking up at them that made the visuals stronger. Granted, the actors gratefully could emote without saying a word. The script was solid though there were twinges I felt of manipulation to pull at one’s heart strings. For me, I was able to relate to some of the neighborhood scenes, though I am not sure this would be universal across all viewers. However, it should not deter one from experiencing such a well-done picture.
3 ½ stars
I HAD TWO TYPES OF BABYSITTERS. There were those that were living and there were those that hung on the walls of our home. For the ones that were alive, I had a couple of great babysitters and one who was horrible. She was so awful, my family came home one time and found me hiding from her in the stairwell of our apartment building. The inanimate babysitters were the artwork that was placed throughout our home. On two end tables sat two tall lamps shaped like Grecian urns. Around the circumference were the heads of golden lions holding a chain in their mouths, that formed a circle. I would sit and imagine a variety of fantasies where the lions were my pets/protectors. On the walls there were framed paintings and sketches, done in a variety of genres. There was Ludwig van Beethoven looking down on me while I had my piano lesson. A boy dressed in a raincoat and rain hat peered out at me. I had to come up with ways to save him from the impending storm that was sweeping over the ocean. A long-necked woman kept watch over me while I would play with my toys on the floor; her eyes appeared to follow me wherever I moved in the room. Another painting on the wall was a forest scene where all the leaves were turning autumn colors. I considered it one of my hiding places because the variety of colors would always keep me hidden. MY IMAGINATION BEING QUITE ACTIVE ALLOWED me to spend lengths of time in the presence of these pieces of art, creating an alternative world while playing with a toy or acting out make believe. I did not have a total understanding at the time of what the entire process was to create a painting. They were borderline magical pieces in my mind since they were the catalysts for my imagination. Imagine, at a young age, discovering a television show that showed me how a painting gets created. I do not remember my age at the time; but I can see myself sitting close to the TV to watch this artist with the big hair create what I thought were masterpieces within 30 minutes. It was pure magic to me. Springing solely from his mind and memories, this man would quickly create a beautiful landscape. It did not matter if it was a winter or summer scene, he could do anything as far as I was concerned. I especially loved watching him paint clouds because they were some of my favorite fodders for daydreaming. When I discovered this documentary was playing, I could not wait to see it. BELIEVING EVERYONE HAD CREATIVE TALENT INSIDE of themselves, painter Bob Ross wanted to find a way to convince them. All it took was one television station giving him 30 minutes of time, to show the world what could be done. Directed by Joshua Rofe (Swift Current, Lorena-TV), this film was created with the help of Bob Ross’s son Steve. Knowing it is being told from one point of view, did not distract me from seeing the journey of Bob’s life. I came into this with a fondness for Bob and his show; so, seeing some of the events that took place behind the scenes was troubling for me. Not due to any type of blood or gore, but due to the circumstances that befell him. The live footage was fascinating to me; part of it was due to seeing him outside of his studio, among his fans. It was like being at a rock concert for art; how often does one get to see that?!?! Overall, I found this movie to be entertaining; there was drama, sadness, humor and surprises, at least for me. My guess is that this film will appeal more to those gifted with an artistic flair.
THERE IS THAT SAYING, “THE THRID time is the charm,” and I knew my friend was hoping it was true, but I felt it was not going to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I really wanted her 3rd marriage to succeed; however, this current fiancé was no different than the other two I saw before. My friend is such a sweet, likeable person; but she has always been attracted to what I refer to as the “pretty boy” type of men. Each one she introduced me to was good looking and had a chip on their shoulder. My friend is a big game player who loves almost any type of game, from word ones to charades. I enjoy playing games as well and like most people enjoy winning; but if I don’t win it is no big deal to me. I am not that competitive with other people. However, her past husbands and this latest soon to be one were all intensely competitive to the point where I did not like playing with them. In my opinion, none of them played well with others; I would have thought that would have been a big clue for my friend to sit up and notice. Alas, she was very much in love with each of these men; there was very little I could say to her about it. WITH MY FRIEND BEING A TALL woman, I understood why she preferred only dating men who were taller than her. There was a man she dated once who was maybe a couple of inches shorter than herself; I thought he was nice. She dated him for a month or two, but then found a reason why she no longer was interested in him. I thought it was due to the height, but she never admitted it to me. The other feature I noticed my friend was attracted to was fair skinned and light-colored features. With her having dark features, I could see she preferred being with someone who looked opposite of her; however, I did question her motives. How important really were these features? In the scheme of things, how do these requirements help find a good match? I tried persuading her to expand her field, that it was more important to find someone who was kind and respectful, instead of having someone who matched the image that was in her mind. For me, the things she was looking for were mostly surface things and for those of you who have known me a long time, you know I feel the surface stuff is just rental property, but the inside stuff lasts a lifetime. If you care to, you can see how things play out between the two ideas in this romantic, musical movie. IT WAS PLANNED TO BE THE event of the year when musical artist Kat, played by Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers, Second Act), agreed to get married during her concert show and it was, but for all the wrong reasons as she discovered her fiancé had been cheating on her. How would she continue the show? With Owen Wilson (The French Dispatch, No Escape) as Charlie, musical artist Maluma as Bastian, John Bradley (Game of Thrones-TV The Brothers Grimsby) as Colin and Sarah Silverman (The Book of Henry, Battle of the Sexes) as Parker; this comedic drama’s story had a silly premise. However, what helped it was having Jennifer and Owen starring in it. They both had a likeability that came across easily. Now I will say I did not think playing their characters was much of a stretch; Jennifer was being Jennifer and Owen was just doing his usual type of character. There were some touching moments in this film, but there really were no surprises in the script. In fact, some of the scenes were out of place and odd in my opinion. The musical moments were fine, though I did think the song with the leather clad nuns was a weird concept. I give Jennifer credit for wanting to bring out a rom com this time of year; I only wish it had a better concept and script.
2 ¼ stars
I HAD BEEN LOOKING FOR A small bookcase to fill a space in my living room. Something around 5 feet high is all I could fit into the place I had for it. Months went by without any luck; the contents I wanted to put into the case were sitting in a large box in the basement, collecting dust. One day, I was looking through a catalog I had received in the mail. You know how it is, buy one thing online and your mailing information gets sold to anyone who is looking to sell you something. So, this catalog had a variety of home décor items, T-shirts, jewelry and such listed in its pages. I am sure most people would have just tossed the catalog in the recycling bin, but I have this quirk that I must thumb through it, in case there is something there that I did not know I needed. Lo and behold, I saw on one of this catalog’s pages the bookcase I was looking for; just the right size and in a style that would fit perfectly in my home. I quickly jumped online and ordered the item to be delivered to me. After months of searching who would have thought I would have found what I believed to be the perfect bookcase in some random catalog I had never seen before. THE PACKAGE WAS SITTING ON MY stoop when I arrived home from work. I was excited as I carried it into the house. Putting my work stuff away, I opened the package, taking the pieces out and lining them up on the floor. The first thing I noticed was the size of the shelves; they looked much wider in the catalog photo. I would have to rethink the placement of the items I wanted to put onto the shelves, I guess. Getting a couple of tools, I started the process of building the bookcase. The outside walls were easy to put together; however, when it came time to insert the shelf pegs inside, some of the holes were not drilled all the way. My patience was being tested. I wound up taking a small knife to open the holes, careful not to make them too big where the peg would not stay stationary. What a pain! This process took way more time than I had planned. Finally done, I was able to place the shelves inside. Next was screwing on the French glass doors. It was easy to do, but again I became super annoyed when the doors had a gap separating them when closed. After getting my expectations and excitement boosted by the photo, this bookcase looked so much smaller. It was such a letdown. I felt the same way after being excited to see this Oscar nominated film. FINDING HIMSELF AT A TRAVELING CARNIVAL, a down on his luck Stanton Carlisle, played by Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born, American Hustle), finds one act of particular interest. It would lead him to a lucrative career. With Cate Blanchett (Don’t Look Up, Thor: Ragnarok) as Dr. Lilith Ritter, Toni Collette (Dream Horse, Knives Out) as Zeena the Seer, Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate, The Florida Project) as Clem Hoatley and Rooney Mara (Pan, Side Effects) as Molly Cahill; this dramatic, crime thriller was gorgeous to watch. I am referring to the sets, costumes and wonderful acting. Surprisingly, I felt Cate’s performance had a bit of familiarity to it, as if I had witnessed it before. The issue I had with this film was its length and the last part; I did not like them. Way too long and slow in parts, I was disappointed with the ending. Such a shame since I enjoyed watching the cast perform and many of the individual scenes. But put it all together and the script did not provide the impact this story needed. I hear the original version is better and I certainly want to see it. With high expectations, sadly this picture was a letdown for me.
2 ½ stars
IN FRONT OF ME WAS A pile of recipes I had printed out. I had a dinner party planned and I was looking for a couple of new things to serve. As I leafed through and scanned the recipes, I found one that was titled, “Savory Snack Mix.” The word “savory” intrigued me, so I stopped to read the ingredients and instructions. Some of the ingredients listed were pretzels, rice and wheat cereal squares and what the author called, “potato sticks.” Wow, I had not thought of that snack food in decades and was immediately transported back to my childhood, sitting at the kitchen table with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a plate. Accompanying the sandwich were potato sticks, but I only knew them as “shoestring potatoes.” I loved eating this snack, partially because no matter how many were poured on a plate, it always looked like there were a lot. One of the things I used to do was move them around on my plate, looking for the ones that did not uniformly match the others, such as longer, darker or curved sticks. Once I picked them out to eat, I was left with a uniform shaped space that I could pile closer together to make a wall or spread them out to pave a road across my plate. My imagination was quite active when I was a little boy. ISN’T IT FUNNY HOW ONE LITTLE thing can trigger a memory that was untouched for so many years? Cleaning out a junk drawer, I found a pencil sharpener shaped like a flying saucer. Instantaneously, I saw myself holding it our at arm’s length, pretending it was flying around our home as I went from room to room. This took place decades ago; yet I could see it as fresh as day, like I had just done it. The mind is such a fascinating organ. How can I forget to pick up the one item I needed at the grocery story, yet I can remember myself from so many years ago, down to what I was wearing at the time? I have mentioned this before, but I can hear the first few notes of a song and immediately know where I was when I first heard it. Now granted, I have only been talking about “happy” memories; it is a whole different feeling when one remembers a troubling time in one’s life. I guess that is where guilt comes into play and the reason why one tries to forget the incident. While watching the main character in this drama, I was wondering what she was remembering while on her vacation. WHILE ON HOLIDAY LEDA, PLAYED BY Olivia Colman (The Favourite, The Lobster), becomes intrigued by a vacationing family. Their child’s baby doll intrigues her even more. With Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose, Judy) as young Leda, Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, A Bigger Splash) as Nina, Ed Harris (Apollo 13, The Truman Show) as Lyle and Peters Sarsgaard (The Sound of Silence, Garden State) as Professor Hardy; this Oscar nominee stood out due to Olivia’s performance. In my opinion, she has one of the most expressive faces and knows how to use it to her advantage. Jessie Buckley was the other standout for me. The rest of the cast was excellent, but I found Olivia more noticeable. The directing, along with the visuals, were done in a thoughtful, beautiful way; I especially enjoyed the outdoor scenes. On the downside, this was not enough to keep my attention; it began to wane halfway through the film. I disliked the way the story went, especially the ending. It was a shame because I so enjoyed the acting aspect of this picture. There is a good chance I will not forget Olivia’s acting; but as far as the rest of this movie is concerned, I do not think I will remember it years from now.
2 ½ stars
WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, THE INDIVIDUALS I did not like knew it. I do not know why, but I felt it was my responsibility to put them in their place. If someone was a braggart, I would find a way to knock them down a couple of rungs. Not that I was proud or that it was an achievement on my part, but I used to be the best when it came to holding a grudge. So, if I encountered someone who I had a negative interaction with previously, they knew along with everyone else in the room that I would have nothing to do with them, to the point of completely ignoring them. No so much as a hello or the nod of my head for acknowledgement, I would purposely hover around them without engaging them into any of my conversations with the other guests. Even if they added a comment to the conversation, I would simply talk over them or remain silent. Of course, the other people within the conversation would realize I was ignoring the individual; but they never would make a comment, let alone try to push me to engage with the unwanted person. Out in the real world this was easy for me to do and maintain; but in the work world, I knew I could not act out in the same fashion. MY GUIDING FORCE WHEN IT COMES to dealing with conflict between employees is remembering that the company comes first. There is nothing more important to me than maintaining a company’s good name. I used to work with a miserable individual who felt everyone around them was stupid, that he was the only smart one. I had a couple of run-ins with him where he tried to get me in trouble. From that point on I decided I would totally ignore him. He got the message quickly when he tried to engage me in small talk; I just looked at him, got up from my desk and walked out of the room. With that being said, when it came to asking anything about company business I would cordially respond. That was the only time I would interact with him, company business. Let us face it, I do not think there is anyone who likes and gets along with every person they meet; there always will be someone that is disliked. I have learned in the work environment to put personal opinions to the side, work with whoever you need to work with, to get the job done. This is the philosophy one can see in this action thriller. THE BEST WAY TO CAPTURE A top-secret weapon for CIA agent Mace, played by Jessica Chastain (Crimson Peak, Molly’s Game), would be to join forces with her counterparts from other international agencies; but would she be able to trust them. With Penelope Cruz (Pain and Glory, The Counselor) as Graciela Rivera, Bingbing Fan (X-Men: Days of future Past, Lady of the Dynasty) as Lin Mi Sheng, Diane Kruger (In the Fade, National Treasure franchise) as Marie Schmidt and Jason Flemyng (Deep Rising, From Hell) as Elijah Clarke; this movie’s selling point was having a strong female group who could act, leading this story. The fight scenes were bloody and violent, with an authentic look to them. I did not mind the story’s plotline, but there really was nothing new to it. I have seen similar films that were a lot better in dealing with the spy stuff. There was a nice twist to the story; however, the script did not add to the characters. Personally, I think the writers could have gone to a deeper intensity level which would have made this picture more engaging. There was only a mild curiosity on my part, that got dulled by the poorly written script.
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WERE never in a relationship, where your significant other cheated on you, you are very fortunate. It is not a good feeling; in fact, for some it can feel like a death. I had three significant relationships where they cheated on me. Two out of the three at least told me to my face; the third one I found out about when I discovered a pair of slippers under the bed, that were not in my size. I confronted them with the slippers, and they finally fessed up to having a relationship with someone else for several months. There was a part of me that felt stupid, for not being able to see the signs. However, I truly did not see any signs; maybe because with me having two jobs and they being on call for nursing, it never occurred to me there would even be time to have an affair. The only thing I did wonder about was if the slippers were purposely left under the bed for me to find them. I mean c’mon, who would leave a pair of slippers if they were not able to stay at our place for a long time, let alone overnight? It did not really matter because even though I tried working through the emotions to save the relationship, my trust never come back the same way. WITH THE ONES WHO AT LEAST told me about their affairs, it was more of a cut and dry split. Yes, it hurt a great deal, but it was also my new reality. The one I had to discover bothered me more because I had to wonder how many of their friends knew about it and had to pretend everything was ok when they were around us. Can you imagine being all together at a party where most people knew my significant other was dating someone else? If it were me, I certainly would be uncomfortable. I would be one of those friends who would say they needed to tell their partner they are cheating on them. The whole scenario gives me an icky feeling, even as I am retelling a part of my history to you. I know those past events shaped me and caused me to have deeper trust issues. It took a long time to work through all of it and at least I did not have to do it in the public’s eye like the main character had to in this biographical drama based on true events. KNOWING THAT HER HUSBAND HAS BEEN cheating on her, did not prevent Princess Diana, played by Kristen Stewart (Charlie’s Angels, Personal Shopper), from attending her mother-in-law’s annual Christmas holiday at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England. Nothing could have been more awkward. With Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner, Harry Potter franchise) as Major Alistar Gregory, newcomer Jack Nielen as William, newcomer Freddie Spry as Harry and Jack Farthing (The Lost Daughter, Official Secrets) as Charles; this film was worth watching because of Kristen’s portrayal of Princess Diana. When I first heard she was cast, I thought it was an odd choice. However, seeing her use her body and acting skills to bring the image of Diana to mind was amazing. Obviously, who knows what exactly took place during that trip; but I have to say, some scenes in this picture came across as being weird while others were just uncomfortable to watch. I felt the script could have used a couple more revisions because after a while, I felt like I was viewing scenes that were all similar. On the plus side, I was fascinated with the pomp and traditions on display through the story; though I do not know if there is any truth in them, but still fun to watch. I do not feel this movie was made as a tribute to Diana, but it certainly would intrigue those who are curious.
I BELIEVE A MAJORITY OF SOCIETY, at one time or another, wanted to be someone else. The first time that thought would cross a person’s mind I am guessing would be during the early school years; hence, the popular kids were born. I know when I was in elementary school, part of me had wished I was more athletic. It seemed to me the boys who could run the fastest always had a lot of friends. It is funny to me because I am just realizing this fast-running skill never translated the same for the girls. My wishing to be someone else intensified through my high school years. Early on it became apparent to me that there were cliques throughout the student body. It did not take long to realize which students fit into which groups and we had a lot of groups. There were the popular kids, the athletic ones, the brainiacs, the dopers, the artsy ones and the nerds, to name a few. Very few students as far as I could tell could bridge across and fit into a 2nd clique after they had already been identified as being a part of a particular group. If I tell you what group I was associated with, you must promise not to laugh. I was thrown into the “good kids” group. We did not fit into the upper echelon of the elite groups, and we were not part of the low-end groups; we were just average students who didn’t want to break any rules. THROUGH MY COLLEGE YEARS I STARTED focusing on one major that I thought I wanted a career in, but after a couple of years transitioned to a different major. There were a couple of students in my class that I admired early on. One was a veteran who wrote about the horrors and the life of a soldier in a war zone and the other was an amazing descriptive wannabe writer, who tended to write scary stories. The thing I loved about the 2 of them was how they could capture an audience with their verbal story telling skills. I could see exactly what they were saying and get a sense of the emotions of their characters. Through the semester I was able to befriend them, and we would hang out together. Up until that time I guess I had them on a pedestal. Once I got to know them, I found out each one struggled with their own demons. Here, I wanted to be like them but find out that there was a price they were paying for their verbal/writing skills. This was not lost on me as I watched what happened in this latest installment of the animated, adventure comedy. WHEN A MAD SCIENTIST’S INVENTION TURNS monsters into humans and humans into monsters, hotel owner Dracula, voiced by Brian Hull (Pup Star, My Babysitter Story-TV), would have to accompany his annoying son-in-law on a perilous trip to find a remedy. With Andy Samberg (Palm Springs, Brooklyn Nine-Nine-TV) voicing Jonathan, Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers, Getaway) voicing Mavis, Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms franchise, Afternoon Delight) voicing Ericka and Jim Gaffigan (Away We Go, American Dreamer) voicing Van Helsing; this installment did not have Adam Sandler as Dracula which might be telling in itself. There was nothing new or major with the story and humor. I have to say watching this film was a “middle of the road” experience. There were no laugh out loud moments, the humor was exactly like the previous movies; essentially it was just okay. I did not feel any emotional pull from the story, nor did I feel any connection to the characters. I will say the animation was fine and there was a touch of creativity with the artwork. For me, this was one of those movies that I had familiarity with the characters already; so, I did not have to invest too much energy into watching the picture.
1 ¾ stars