Author Archives: moviejoltz

Flash Movie Review: Venom: Let There Be Carnage

I KNEW MY FRIEND WAS NOT prone to hyperbole, but the gentleman sitting with us at the dinner table was as friendly and jovial as could be. The picture that my friend painted of this man, prior to the dinner engagement, made me hesitant to attend the evet. I was told he was a tyrant who would belittle everyone around him; he was an uber alpha male, though physically not the stereotype. He was quite tall, easily 6’5” in length with an equally large girth. My friend said this man used his height to intimidate his peers and business associates; he loved to lean slightly forward while bending his head to exaggerate the look of peering down at his prey. One story I remember my friend telling me was about a time when this man was trying to return an item to a store and the clerk couldn’t accept it because it had been opened. The amount of anger he displayed to the clerk made her cry and call the manager, who eventually took the item back to stop the man from making a bigger scene in front of the other customers. Throughout the dinner I found this gentleman to be friendly and engaging to the other wedding guests sitting at our table. I did not know what to say when afterwards my friend said the man who was sitting with us was not the man he knew, he must have been an imposter.      THE ONLY THING I COULD COME up with, regarding the drastic contrast, between perceptions and reality was to assume the gentleman was either put on medication or doing therapy or possibly found a new way of life. Keeping in mind that I believe each of us is born with both good and evil, the experience at the wedding was not a total surprise; I have encountered many individuals who you could say acted as if they had dual personalities. There was a member in one of my yoga classes who could walk into the room as light and cheery as you could imagine; other times, she looked as if it took all her strength just to put one foot in front of the other and would keep a sad, dour look on her face. When she was “down” I knew there was no coaxing I could do to get her involved with the class. Some say it might be a chemical imbalance in the brain, others could think the drastic contrasts in behavior were drug related. Then there is this picture that offers the possibility it could be due to an alien manifestation.      GETTING THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTERVIEW AN inmate on death row could provide a needed boost to Eddie Brock’s, played by Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, The Revenant), career. However, a small incident causes a major shift in the balance of power at the prison. With Woody Harrelson (The Highwaymen, Zombieland franchise) as Cletus Kasady, Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn, All the Money in the World) as Anne Weying, Naomie Harris (Collateral Beauty Rampage) as Frances Barrison and Reid Scott (Black and Blue, Late Night) as Dr. Dan Lewis; this action, adventure sequel amped up the humor in a major way. I thought Tom did a wonderful job in both his acting and stunts. The issue I had with this movie was once again the script. With the abundance of humor and mayhem stuffing the story, it just started to get repetitious for me after a while. I think if more time had been given to develop the characters deeper, it would have been a better viewing experience. In a way, I had this opposite thing going where there were parts I enjoyed watching then other sections were blah. There was an extra scene in the middle of the credits.

2 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Cruella

I REMEMBER THERE WAS A STUDENT in class who was more creative than the rest of us. He would get reprimanded for always drawing outside of the lines. Where pretty much all the drawings being done around me used the color yellow for the sun, he would use a different color like tan or pumpkin. I was not very good at drawing and preferred having figures and objects outlined on the paper, so I could just fill them in with color. My favorite thing to do would be to boldly add color to the pre-drawn outlines then lightly shade color inside of them. The teacher at least did not complain about my work like she did with his art pieces. Many a times he would get a lower grade from the teacher than I did. It puzzled me because his stuff, I thought, was much better than mine. At first, I thought his lower grades were due to not following the rules; but what the teacher explained to us never mentioned the things he did were not acceptable. Maybe she just did not like the work he produced, I thought. Either way, I admired his determination in following his creativity. Years later, I still wonder what he might be doing artistically these days.      JOINING A FRIEND AT AN ART fair, we stopped at a booth that was selling jewelry. My friend was familiar with the artist’s work and especially fond of the earrings they created. She was showing me one pair she liked and oddly it looked familiar to me. It was as if I had seen something like it years ago. I had to think about it for a while, but then suddenly it occurred to me; it looked as if that student in my art class from years ago had designed it. I mentioned it to my friend, and she said maybe they did. I told her it was not because his name was different than the jewelry artist. She surprised me when she next said the artist at the booth did not design his jewelry; he had a team of artists who created his look and he simply was the face of it to the public. I could not believe it because listening to him talking to a customer, it sounded like he had designed and manufactured the pieces he was selling. So, in other words, he was taking credit for someone else’s creativity? Maybe that student was one of the artists he had working under him. In my mind the jewelry artist was taking credit for someone else’s hard work which was similar to what I found in this comedic crime adventure.      HAVING DREAMT ABOUT WORKING FOR THE top design house in London, nothing prepared Estella, played by Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes, The Favourite) for the nightmare she was about to experience. With Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks, A Walk in the Woods) as The Baroness, Joel Fry (Game of Thrones-TV, 10,000 BC) as Jasper, Paul Walter Hauser (Richard Jewel; I, Tonya) as Horace and John McCrea (God’s Own Country, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie) as Artie; the standouts for me were both Emma’s and the soundtrack. Their acting together was wicked and fun. I enjoyed everyone’s performances; however, I thought the script was odd for the main character. Who was the movie studio marketing this film to because it was too dark for young children, in my opinion? Situations seemed too extreme to me in a very unfun and unfunny way. The costumes were great, and I loved the idea of Emma taking charge of her creations; however, there was a streak of meanness that I found uncomfortable. The question comes up for me, was this film created for a quick money grab? I felt the creative team behind this picture could have worked better together to create a more enjoyable experience for the viewer.

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Dune

I KEPT THINKING I WAS SEEING something different compared to my friend. The way she talked, you would have thought her daughter was going to be a superstar. Now I am not an expert, but I thought her daughter was a good dancer. My friend had been a dancer and as soon as her daughter was old enough, she enrolled her into dance classes. As the daughter progressed in her training she eventually moved up into the competitive world of dance. Her mother was overjoyed and agreed to take her wherever the competitions were located. Since I had been part of this progressive journey, I came to realize my friend was reliving her dance years through her daughter. What tipped me off that the young dancer was not as enthusiastic as her mother was her facial expressions. I did not see joy or happiness when she danced; it was as if she was more like a robot who had been programmed to go through the steps in precise order. There was no passion coming out of her as far as I could tell. I could not imagine how much money my friend invested in her daughter’s training and costumes over the years. The way my friend talked about her daughter, I could tell she was placing her feelings on top of her daughter’s. It was hard when the daughter told her mother she would no longer participate in competitions and give up dancing. My friend was shattered.      MY FRIEND AND HER DAUGHTER WERE not the first parent/child relationship I have seen where the two were not in synch about the child’s future. I worked for a man who brought his son into the business to eventually take over from him when he retired. The son was not interested in running a business; however, he certainly liked tapping into the company’s finances for his own personal use. There was nothing I could do about it; I was just an employee, but I could see the son’s way of doing business was not a sustainable business solution for growth. Eventually there would not be enough funds for the company to operate based on how much money was going into the son’s pocket. Sadly, my thinking was accurate because the company eventually closed after I had left it, just in time. When it comes to choosing a hobby or career path, I believe the child should be allowed to investigate their desires. If they succeed, then it was meant to be and if they fail, they will learn from it. It is one thing to encourage a child down a certain path, but I would never predetermine what they should become. It causes a conflict which I detected taking place in this action, adventure drama.      WITH HIS FATHER BEING GIVEN THE role of ruler over a distant planet, the visions Paul Atreides, played by Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy, Lady Bird), was seeing became increasingly disturbing. With Rebecca Ferguson (Doctor Sleep, Men in Black: International) as Lady Jessica Atreides, Zendaya (The Greatest Showman, Spider-Man franchise) as Chani, Oscar Isaac (Star Wars franchise, At Eternity’s Gate) as Duke Leto Atreides and Jason Momoa (Aquaman, Sweet Girl) as Duncan Idaho; this science fiction picture was visually and musically alluring. I found the sets and film shots enticing; not to be a cliché but the style had an otherworldly effect on the presentation. Having said that, I found the script to be weak compared to these stand-out features. The story was slow moving and as the movie progressed, I began to lose interest. I did not realize this film was Part One which I am not always a fan of experiencing. Because of that I did not care much for the ending. My experience of watching this film was like a comet passing across the sky; it surprises and ignites the imagination, but it is short lived.                           

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Trailer: Halloween Kills

WE WERE SITTING IN THE RESTAURANT that we had not been to in three years. I was the one who remembered where they were located. When we made the reservations, I asked my friend if he was going to get the same entree, he got last time; he said he could not remember what he had eaten there three years ago. Now you may be wondering what is wrong with me that I could remember what he had ordered. Here is the thing; there are certain events or things where I can remember them down to the littlest details. At this restaurant three years ago, I had ordered the Salmon Rice Bowl and my friend had ordered Egg Noodle Spaghetti with Meatballs. He could not stop raving about his meal, saying it was one of the best spaghetti and meatballs meals he had ever eaten. I thought for sure he would have remembered it since I could, and I did not even taste his meal. Because I have always had this ability to remember things in detail, my friends had to point out that I was not the “norm.” I can remember what guests wore at a party I attended 30 years ago. The mind certainly can-do extraordinary things is all I can say about it. The weird thing is there are times where I cannot remember what I did a couple of days ago, yet I can recall something from decades ago.      ANOTHER FRIEND OF MINE REREADS THE same books and watches the same movies over because she cannot remember them. I find this puzzling. With all the movies I have seen in my lifetime, I may not be able to tell you every detail about it; but I can tell you whether I liked it or not and roughly what it was about. The same goes for the books I have read; I cannot understand how she cannot remember seeing or reading them. And I want to state she does not have a medical issue that would be the cause of her forgetfulness. I am not placing judgement here; I just find it a fascinating situation. For example, back in the late 70’s I saw a horror film that frightened me. I had a hard time afterwards looking at louvered closet doors without feeling a chill go up my spine. The movie was tense and scary, just what one wants in a horror film. Having that memory still of the first of what became a film franchise, I wanted to see this movie, which I am reviewing today, to experience that scare factor once again.      HAVING THOUGHT THE KILLER MICHAEL WAS dead, the childhood town of his begins to experience the same type of terror that was all too familiar. With Jamie Lee Curtis (Freaky Friday, Knives Out) as Laurie Strode, Judy Greer (13 Going on 30, Ant-Man franchise) as Karen, Andi Matichak (Assimilate, Miles) as Allyson, Will Patton (No Way Out, The Postman) as Officer Hawkins and Anthony Michael Hall (The Dark Knight, Foxcatcher) as Tommy Doyle; this horror thriller made it a point to share the original story clips within its plot. As for the scare factor, I felt nothing like I did with the original movie. It seemed to me as if the writers relied on scene after scene of gruesome killings. It became quite predictable; so, there was nothing I found surprising. I disliked the ending of the film, finding it ridiculous. The only character I had interest in was the one portrayed by Jamie Lee Curtis. If you have never seen a movie out of this franchise, you might find parts you like in this picture. I on the other hand was bored most of the time. There was an extra scene in the middle of the ending credits.

1 ¾ stars  

Flash Movie Review: The Guilty

WITH ALL OF THE JOBS I have had, from working in a shipping department to selling kitchen and bathroom products door to door, I have always had a sense of pride with the work I produced. Seeing results from actions I took always spurred me on to do better. Working in the credit and collections field, there has always been a tangible level of satisfaction I felt whenever I saw payments coming in from the customers I contacted. The other strong sense of pride I feel concerns the various fitness classes I have taught. Seeing a member, who has been participating in my class repeatedly, physically and mentally change before my eyes has been one of the most satisfying events in my life. I understand there is perspective and though I am not doing brain surgery or irradicating a disease, there has been many positive moments I have experienced in the world of fitness. It is funny, I had a member who went through a transformation during their time in my classes. At one point they shared part of their story with me, and I must tell you, I quickly discounted their accolades for me when they said they were an air traffic controller. Talk about having the responsibility of someone’s life in your hands, every plane they control is a major life event for them. in my opinion, it is an intense job.      ANOTHER JOB THAT I CONSIDER INTENSE, is being the operator at a 911 call center. The reason I say this is because I knew someone who worked as one. The stories I would hear would easily make for a startling story line in a movie. There was the call from a crying woman who barricaded herself in a room to keep her abusive husband from beating her. Another call came in from a good Samaritan who witnessed a hit and run car accident, asking for medical help for the injured. He and I were each talking about our jobs one day and I came to find out he got little satisfaction from the work he was doing. I asked him why he felt that way because from where I stood, I thought he was close to being a land-based angel. The reason he felt that way was due to the fact he rarely ever saw the final results to the call he took. Many times, he would only have to contact the police or fire department; he never really found out what happened to the individuals he spoke with on the phone. He felt my job in fitness was more exciting. I did not see it that way; see what you think if you wish to watch this dramatic, crime thriller.      REASSIGNED TO WORKING AT THE 911 call center, a police officer takes a call that would stir up such emotions that he could not let the call go. With Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals, End of Watch) as Joe Baylor, Riley Keough (Logan Lucky, Mad Max: Fury Road) voicing Emily Lighton, Peter Sarsgaard (The Sound of Silence, Garden State) voicing Henry Fisher, Christina Vidal (See No Evil, Magic Man) as Sgt. Denise Wade and Adrian Martinez (Focus, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) as Manny; the main driver of this picture was Jake’s performance. It was one of the better performances I have seen from him. The premise of the story was captivating; however, I thought the script was muddled. Some scenes did not ring true to me and I thought the flow of them was disjointed. As a result, there were times I was riveted to the action, but then suddenly a change would make me lose interest. Nonetheless, there is no denying Jake put everything he had into this film since he was in nearly every scene. For such an important line of work, I had wished this movie would have honored it in a better scripted way.

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Trailer: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

I WANT TO CLARIFY BEFORE TALKING about the viewing of today’s movie, a good day is one where a person is alive and well. That would be at the top of the list in my opinion. There was this fellow I knew who when asked if he was having a good day would answer, “I am above ground, aren’t I?” So, keeping things in perspective, I am sure we can all agree there are many options we use to define a good day, maybe even a perfect day. For some people, having an easy commute makes for a good day. I can relate to this because at one time I had to cross 5 different railroad tracks to get to the office and rarely did I ever make it all the way without being stopped at a train crossing. Other folks may discover money forgotten in a pocket of clothing or a twenty-dollar bill lost on the street and that would warrant the day becoming a good one for them. Being able to fix a computer issue or a broken item in my home always makes my day brighter and my mood happier, since I am not handy or computer savvy. Everyone has their own definition of perfect and good when describing a day. I can say with certainty that my day was made perfect due to the circumstances that allowed me to see today’s film.      AS SOME OF YOU HAVE KNOWN or guessed, I have not been to a movie theater during the pandemic. I do not have a problem sitting in the theater with a mask on my face for the entire movie; however, I cannot trust other patrons doing the same thing, especially if they are not vaccinated. I had a free night coming up and toyed with the idea of venturing back to the movie theater. The issue was timing; I wanted to see a film right after work so the night would not get to be too late for me. Checking online, I looked at all the movie choices at the closest multiscreen theater near my office. Out of 20 film choices, three of them fit into my time requirement; two of them had start times that reflected my closing time. I remembered for this theater chain, their average time for showing previews was between 20-24 minutes. If traffic was good, I felt I could get to the theater in time. Not only did I get there in time, despite there only being 18 minutes of previews, I was the only one in the theater to see this outstanding, adventure fantasy. Already I was having a good day.      DESPITE TRYING TO AVOID HIS PAST, when a group of attackers confronted Shaun, played by Simu Liu (Women is Losers, Kim’s Convenience-TV), he had no choice but to show them what he was trained to do. With Awkwafina (The Farewell, Crazy Rich Asians) as Katy, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung (Red Cliff franchise, The Grandmaster) as Xu Wenwu, Ben Kingsley (An Ordinary Man, Night Hunter) as Trevor Slattery and Michelle Yeoh (Crazy Rich Asians, Tomorrow Never Dies) as Ying Nan; this action movie not only grabbed me near the beginning but took me to a faraway place filled with utter entertainment. There was folklore, incredible fight scenes, wonderful imagination, humor, drama and excitement; I loved every part of this picture. And this is despite the story having Marvel’s template for storytelling; it did not matter to me at all. The introduction of a new Marvel film superhero was handled in such a way to include back story into the drama and humor of the character. As with other Marvel movies, there were 2 extra scenes in the middle and end of the credits. Already having a good day, seeing this dynamite of a picture made my day perfect. Because of the entire movie watching and entertainment experience, I gave the movie a top rating.

4 stars 

Flash Movie Review: The Starling

FOR BEING SUCH A SMALL WORD “loss” packs a massive amount of emotion inside of itself. Some time ago, I lost a pair of sunglasses and was both sad and annoyed from it. I also have lost a loved one and was so upset I did not leave the house for several days; the loss felt like I had a massive boulder perched on my back that was trying to keep me pinned to the ground. When I was heavily dieting and lost several pounds, I was beyond elated and felt like I was floating on air. This is why I say “loss” has such a wide amount of emotions attached to it. I also know every single person reacts differently when they experience loss. I knew a woman who lost their husband to a disease and I swear, you would never know she was a grieving widow. She acted the same as she did when he was alive, cheery and upbeat. I did notice however she always kept herself busy. Either meeting relatives and friends for lunch or going shopping or working on puzzles at home, she never allowed herself time to relax because she was afraid her mind would dwell on her significant loss. There is no right or wrong way to handle the sense of loss; everyone is different.      ONE OF MY EARLIEST ENCOUNTERS WITH loss was when I lost my first wristwatch. I received it as a birthday gift when I was in elementary school. It had a superhero on the face of it and the plastic band looked like metal; I thought it was the coolest thing. After spending a day with friends, coming home for dinner, I realized it was no longer on my wrist. I wanted to go out at night and retrace my steps with the hope of finding it. My parents would not let me; so, in the morning I tried finding it to no avail. At the time it was one of the most traumatic things that happened to me. It was many years later when I experienced one of the heaviest losses of my life. It was one of the hardest times of my life; one moment I was with the love of my life and the next minute they were gone. It was awful; hard to comprehend and process to the point where I felt like I was not functioning anymore in the real world. Friends and family tried to help but I was not at a place where I could accept their kindness. It was that time of my life where I fully understood how loss can deplete a person of all their dreams and hopes. Because of it, I became better equipped to be empathetic towards others who suffered a loss. I wish I could have helped the couple in this comedic drama.      SUFFERING WITH GRIEF A MARRIED COUPLE take different paths on how to deal with it. One of them wants to kill a bird. With Melissa McCarthy (Thunder Force, The Kitchen) as Lilly Maynard, Chris O’Dowd (Molly’s Game, The Program) as Jack Maynard, Kevin Kline (Ricki and the Flash, No Strings Attached) as Dr. Larry Fine, Timothy Olyphant (Snowden, A Perfect Getaway) as Travis Delp and Daveed Diggs (Hamilton, Wonder) as Ben; this film was carried by Melissa, Chris and Kevin for the most part. Besides having incredible comedic timing, Melissa has the ability to be convincing when she is in a serious role. The script was poorly done in my opinion because the characters did not feel like they were fully developed, along with several scenes feeling forced to try and tug at our heartstrings. Nonetheless, I was engaged throughout the story; even when it would drag at times. Due to the acting, after I was done watching I did not feel like I lost time that I would never be able to get back.

2 ¼ stars 

Flash Movie Review: The Vault

IT WAS A CHALLENGE I WAS determined to accomplish successfully, despite having no experience in creating such a dessert. Friends were coming over and since I planned to bake a dessert using a key ingredient that one friend loved, I felt it was only fair to bake another dessert that the other friend would enjoy. The recipe was for a pie that had layers in it, where I had to partially bake one layer before putting the next layer on top. In addition, during the baking process, I had to mix ingredients together for a topping that would go on last and had to be watched carefully to avoid burning during the last 10-15 minutes in the oven. I was nervous through the whole process of washing, cutting, stirring, folding, separating and measuring various items. By the time I got the pie in the oven my shirt looked like Jackson Pollock had used it for a canvas. The last 10 minutes I was constantly turning the oven light on and off, plus opening the oven door to peer at the bubbly batter inside the walnut infused crust. Since I had never made this recipe before I was not exactly sure what it was supposed to look like when it was done. Seeing the top jiggle slightly threw me off, making me think the pie was undercooked; however, I decided to trust the recipe and the oven that the pie was just right. It was and I could not have been happier making something so complicated for my skill set.      ACCOMPLISHING A CHALLENGE SUCCESSFULLY IS A strong aphrodisiac. When my friend took a second piece of pie, I knew I could finally be proud of it. I was telling my friends about it being a new recipe and how I wanted to challenge myself. One of my friends said they understood because they were doing a similar thing by taking on a major project; they were building a pool table. I was stunned with the news because I only knew my friend to dabble in woodworking, making simple pieces like chess boards and votive candle holders. To build a pool table, that was impressive. But after my achievement, I understood; it is such a good feeling to do the impossible as they say. Though I cannot understand why some people would do this, I guess that feeling has such power it can drive a person to become a rock climber or cliff diver. Pretty much anything that pushes a person to exceed their expectations is a wonderful learning experience. The question is if it will be a good thing or not; for example, what takes place in this action thriller.      ENGINEERING GENIUS THOM, PLAYED BY FREDDIE Highmore (Finding Neverland, The Art of Getting By), received an offer that would test his ability beyond anything he imagined. With Astrid Berges-Frisbey (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) as Lorraine, Sam Riley (On the Road, Maleficent franchise) as James, Liam Cunningham (Clash of the Titans, Game of Thrones-TV) as Walter, Jose Coronado (The Body, The Return of El Coyote) as Gustavo and Luis Tosar (Take My Eyes, Even the Rain) as Simon; this movie followed a typical template, but the execution of it was exciting. The idea of mixing the events taking place at the Bank of Spain with its history alongside the Football World Cup finals and the throngs of cheering people was a great idea. I enjoyed the acting, especially from Freddie and Liam. The directing kept the story going at a decent clip with a few fun turns thrown in to add more tense scenes. With the idea of the story being a solid one, I found myself more engaged with this picture and enjoyed it. And with the success of my baked pie, I could appreciate what motivated the players in this rousing film. 

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: The Many Saints of Newark

DECADES AGO, I SAW THE MOVIE, “The Bad Seed.” After seeing what the girl did in that film, I was convinced a young girl I knew was related to her. Any time I was around her, I always kept at least one eye on her because I never knew what to expect. I saw how adults doted on her, telling her she was so pretty and bright; I did not buy it for a second. I was playing with a small group of kids from the block, when she came out carrying an umbrella. She had it open as she twirled it between her fingers. Dancing around us, she closed the umbrella and pretended it was a sword, thrusting and jabbing the air with it. As I said before, I was watching her while trying to play the game. Suddenly, she turned and stabbed the back of one kid’s head with the umbrella tip, then thrusted the point into the back of the kid next to them. There was a scream of pain as the rest of us dropped our toys and scrambled to stand up to go after her. We did not have a chance because she had run back into her house, laughing all the way.      I DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHY SHE was so mean; her parents seemed fine or let me say the mother was nice. The times I saw the father he seemed okay, but he did not smile much. How and why their daughter would be like that I did not know. Looking back now as an adult, I have to think that girl had to learn that behavior. I believe everyone is born with the ability to be good or bad; no one comes into this world knowing hate. Something had to be happening to that girl to make her act out in a violent way. Either inside the family or from some source out of the home; but I must believe she was not born an evil being. Children learn from their parents. I knew a boy who had an abusive father, who I think was an alcoholic. This boy grew up, got married and was divorced within a couple of years because he was abusive to his wife. It is obvious to me he learned such behavior from his father while he was growing up. Now there may be some physiological reason why a person acts in an abnormal way; but putting that aside, I say a child sees what is going around them and acts accordingly. There is a strong example of it in this dramatic, crime film.      WITH THE TIMES AND NEIGHBORHOOD CHANGING, the Moltisanti and Soprano families must find a way to continue their business dealings at all costs. If they cannot keep up, there would always be someone ready to take their place. With Alessandra Nivola (American Hustle, Disobedience) as Dickie Moltisanti, Leslie Odom Jr (One Night in Miami, Hamilton) as Harold McBrayer, Jon Bernthal (Baby Driver, The Wolf of Wall Street) as Johnny Soprano, Vera Farmiga (The Front Runner, Godzilla: King of the Monsters) as Livia Soprano and Ray Liotta (Wild Hogs, Something Wild) as “Hollywood Dick” Moltisanti; I first must say I have never watched an episode of The Sopranos.” My review might be less positive than someone who was a fan of the television show. I thought the sets and music choices were great. The performances were good, especially Alessandra and Ray; however, the script failed to develop any of the characters. I felt I was watching vignettes filled with caricatures. For not having any knowledge of these characters, I was able to figure out what was going to happen to most of them during the story. In my opinion, the entire production of this picture was disjointed. From the praises I have heard from the TV show’s fans, this movie would be better off being buried on a back lot of the studio. There were several scenes with blood and violence.

2 stars 

Flash Movie Review: The Map of Tiny Perfect Things

IT WAS NOT UNTIL WAY INTO my adult life before I ever heard the phrase, “Be in the moment.” And when I finally heard it, I was not sure what it meant. Be in the moment, be where? The reason I did not understand it was because I am not only an ultra-planner, but I am not spontaneous in anything I do. I am one of those individuals who can go from one activity/event to another and another throughout the day. In other words, I can go grocery shopping in the morning after breakfast then go work out at the health club, then meet someone for lunch, then go shopping for several items, get home in time to change clothes then meet up with friends for dinner and maybe a movie or pre-COVID a play. There was and still is little down time in my life. To give you an idea how I am now trying to slow down a bit, I now force myself to take small bites of food to slow myself from just inhaling an entire plate of stuff before the people around me have been able to eat at least half their meal. It has only been the past several years where I made a conscious effort to slow things down to actually taste the food I am eating or take the time to really see what I am doing.      BY SLOWING THINGS DOWN AND TAKING my time, I discovered there are some perfect moments that take place in a day. Watching a bee going from one flower to another, seeing a group of dogs playing in a dog park, sitting in a comfy easy chair reading a pleasurable book; whatever perfect means for each of us, there is a certain satisfaction experiencing perfect moments in life. I recently threw a surprise birthday party and made sure I would “be in the moment.” Seeing the expression of stunned surprise on the guest of honor’s face and feeling in the room the common energy of love and affection from the guests was intoxicating. I can honestly say it was a perfect moment among many that day. The only thing that would have made that party any better would be if it could be repeated. Imagine if we had the ability to relive the day. One could experience all the positivity the day offered, or they could make some changes that would make the day become a perfect one. It is an interesting concept that you can see being played out in this romantic comedy romance.      WHEN THE CLOCK STRIKES MIDNIGHT, NO matter what Mark, played by Kyle Allan (All My Life, The Path-TV), may be doing, he gets to relive the day over again. Not much changes for him until a mysterious girl appears one day. With Kathryn Newton (Freaky, Ben is Back) as Margaret, Jermaine Harris (Ballers-TV) as Henry, Anna Mikami (Vox Lux, Birds of Prey) as Phoebe and Josh Hamilton (Eighth Grade, False Positive) as Daniel; this movie was sweet and charming. The chemistry between Kathryn and Kyle was touching and real. The story has that Groundhog Day movie vibe; however, I found the humor here to more on a gentle level that had a better fit into the story line. The script offered an extra element of compassion that I found heartwarming; it also surprised me a bit. This was a pleasant viewing experience that made me think more about slowing down to experience fully what I am doing. I found the message refreshing and reaffirming, be in the moment.

3 stars   

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