Category Archives: Drama
Flash Movie Review: A Thousand and One
WHEN YOU ARE A SMALL CHILD, all parents seem bigger and more powerful. So, when the mother showed up to confront the bullies who were picking on her son, I could tell those boys were scared. I tried to avoid those kids because I knew they picked on other students; it seemed to me it was whoever was in their sights when they were all together, which usually was before school started, gym class or recess time. If it was only one of them by himself, then they did not always start trouble. I guess they needed an audience of their friends around to make it worthwhile to tease or abuse someone. When the mother walked up to them, the bullies moved closer to each other. She yelled at them as she jabbed her finger close to each one’s face. I did not hear everything being said but did catch the phrase, “How would you like it if I did to you what you are doing to my son?” By this time, the bullies could only look down and stay silent, but she was not having it; she demanded they look at her when she was talking to them. After a few more words, which she ended by saying, “Next time I will bring the police with me,” she made her way to the open school entrance. All of us knew she was going to seek out the principal. I never saw them pick on her son again. ANOTHER MOTHER WHO STOOD OUT TO me was one I met in high school. She was a real character. The first time I saw her she was wearing hot pink colored short shorts, a white tank top and sparkling rings on both hands. The word that best describes her would be, “jolly.” She was always joking with her daughter’s friends, saying things that were on the verge of embarrassing; well, at least to her daughter who would just sit there and shake her head. But her mother volunteered for everything; it could be a field trip, a bake sale, a chaperone, whatever the school needed. I learned to respect and admire her because she was unapologetic. She was overweight and short, never letting it bother her. I was her daughter’s friend, so I probably had more interaction with her than other students. The thing I learned about her was though she had this fun cheerful side, she was very protective of her daughter. No one could even suggest something negative about the daughter without the mother confronting the person. She had no problem standing up for what she believed was best for her daughter and pity the person who was on the receiving end. Even having known these and many other mothers, I have to say I could not believe the perseverance and determination the mother displayed in this dramatic crime movie. REFUSING TO WATCH HER SON LANGUISH in the foster care system, a mother decides to kidnap him and find themselves a better life. With Teyana Taylor (White Men Can’t Jump, Miracles Across 125th Street) as Inez de la Paz, Aaron Kingsley Adetola (Rise, Superblocked) as Terry 6 years old, Aven Courtney (Strive, Aviva) as Terry 13 years old, Josiah Cross (King Richard) as Terry 17 years old and William Catlett (The Devil You Know, Charm City Kings) as Lucky; this story based in New York City was unbelievable. I was surprised how quickly I was captivated by Inez; the acting was close to perfection. I will say this was not an easy film to watch, simply because of the tough, emotionally intense scenes; but believe me, it is worth it to see such a well-done movie. The acting was superb by everyone because I had to keep reminding myself this was a made-up story not a documentary; that is how real it came across to me. I will say the ending was a bit of a letdown for me; it seemed to have lost some of its intensity. Despite that, I have a new appreciation for a mother’s strength.
3 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Don’t Worry Darling
I CRINGE WHEN I HEAR A statement such as, “I hate it when he eats in bed.” The back story to this comment; a friend of mine married a man who enjoyed eating in bed. Personally, it would be a deal breaker for me, so I get where she is coming from. The thing is, she knew going into the relationship that this was something he did. I remember her telling me stories about waking up in the morning with crumbs strewn across the whole bed sheet. So, by the time they got married, she had been dealing with this situation for three years. For the next couple of years, I would periodically listen to her complain about her husband’s eating habits. I finally had to ask her why she thought things would be different after they were married. My friend felt once they were married, she could convince him to change his eating habits. I had to call it as I saw it by telling her if she went into the marriage with the idea she could change him, she would set herself up for disappointment. Love does not come with conditions; you either love unconditionally or the basis of the marriage will have this open wound that will not heal. I suggested some options she could try to find a happy medium, but explained at our ages change is hard to come by. She cannot change him, but she can change her reaction; because let us face it, no one is perfect. MAYBE IT WILL NOT SURPRISE YOU those two filed for divorce after a couple of more years. Heaven knows, I have been in relationships where I wished I could change some aspect about the person, but I always concluded that if I am not perfect, why would I expect them to be perfect. Going into a relationship, where you totally accept the person for who they are, is so much easier than struggling to mold each other into what you imagine they could be. I remember being in a relationship where they constantly told me I was never available for them, despite keeping every weekend open for us to be together. What they were saying to me was they wanted me to quit teaching so I could be available for them during the weekdays. They knew from day one that I worked a full-time job and at night I taught fitness and yoga classes. Nothing changed on my part; but they came into the committed relationship expecting me to change for them. It was never discussed or questioned. Knowing my schedule, if they were not happy with it, they could have chosen not to move forward with our dating status. As I have said before, life is not perfect; except maybe for the people living in the experimental town in this dramatic thriller. A HOUSEWIFE BEGINS TO WONDER IF something is wrong with her perfect life after she begins to recall some disturbing dreams. With Florence Pugh (Black Widow, The Wonder) as Alice, Harry Styles (Dunkirk, Eternals) as Jack, Chris Pine (All the Old Knives, The Contractor) as Frank, Olivia Wilde (Richard Jewell, Life Itself) as Bunny and Kiki Layne (The Old Guard, If Beale Street Could Talk) as Margaret; this movie kept my interest because of Florence. She has such a magnetic screen presence that made me want to find out what was happening to her character. There were some interesting parts to the story; however, the longer the movie dragged on the less I cared what was happening to the cast. There was a familiarity to the script, as if I saw some scenes in previous films. And I disliked the twist and the last part of the story; it made no sense to me and by this time I did not care, feeling I wasted my time. Now I don’t expect every movie I see to be perfect, but I certainly want them to be entertaining. This one was not perfect nor was it entertaining.
1 ¾ stars
Flash Movie Review: Sisu
I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT REVENGE UNTIL I was in elementary school and saw it for myself. At the time, I did not know any details, only saw the results. We had come back from recess and were going to our seats. A boy sat down at his desk and let out a yelp as he sprung back up from the seat. He was one row over and a few seats ahead of me. I looked up as everyone else did to see him move his hands over his backside. He was pulling something away from his pants, but they were too small for me to see. After he brought it up to his face to inspect it, he looked around the room and demanded to know who did this to him. None of us knew what he was talking about, so we sat there in silence, staring at him. That was not good enough for him; he said he would find out who did it and smash them into little pieces. After that statement, if someone in class had done it, there was no way they would admit it now. As he was pulling out the others that were stuck to him, the teacher walked back into the classroom. She asked him what he was doing, and he replied, “Nothing.” For the rest of the day, I could not stop thinking about what happened to him. IT WAS A FEW DAYS LATER before I found out what happened to that boy in my class. A friend of mine said he had heard the boy was picking on someone from a different class or grade; the person telling him the story was not sure. That boy decided to get back at the boy in my class; so, when we were all outside for recess, he snuck into our room and placed a few colored thumbtacks on that boy’s seat. I asked what would have happened if the boy had sat down and started to bleed (I was naïve)? After this incident, I never heard anything else about it; but I continued to be curious about the actions that took place. The sneakiness of it intrigued me since I was reading a lot of detective stories. The other thing that interested me the most was the fact that the boy who sat on the thumbtacks was a bully in my opinion; I always tried to stay clear of him. The idea that someone would willingly provoke him was a foreign concept to me. As I went from grade to grade, I soon understood the motivation; but I never had the courage to do something so blatant. And believe me, from what I experienced through my school years, there were times I wished I had courage like the main character in this action war film. TOWARDS THE END OF THE WAR, A band of retreating Nazis come upon a prospector who had just struck gold. Seeing the gold as an opportunity for them to safely get out, they felt it would be simple to take the prospector’s gold. They had no idea what they were about to start. With Jorma Tommila (Priest of Evil, Big Game) as Aatami, Aksel Hennie (The Martian, The Cloverfield Paradox) as Bruno, Jack Doolan (The Hatton Garden Job, Marcella-TV) as Wolf, Mimosa Willamo (Finders of the Lost Yacht, Deadwind-TV) as Aino and Onni Tommila (Big Game, Rare Exports) as Schute; this film festival English speaking winner from Finland was a steely intense experience. There were brutal, bloody violent scenes throughout the movie. As some of you know, I am not one for brutal violence; however, the way the story unfolded kept me glued to the big screen. The script was no-nonsense and direct, letting the action do all the talking. There was a Quentin Tarantino vibe through the whole picture, particularly because there was a splash of humor mixed into the violence. Jorma was a solid force throughout the story, despite him barely speaking a word. This was an over-the-top script that had one objective, to get revenge and it does that multiple times.
3 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Call Jane
I QUICKLY REALIZED I DID NOT belong in the class. It happened before I went forward with trying to get certified as a group exercise instructor. The fitness center, where I took the class, was a popular place. Walking into the aerobic studio, I was surprised by the large number of people standing around. I stayed close to the back of the room, hoping to go unnoticed. Everyone was dressed up as if they were about to do a photo shoot for a fitness magazine or television show. Everyone’s outfit was brightly colored, their hair was perfectly coiffed and most prevalent was the smell of cologne in the air. I was used to being in a class where people wore baggy sweats or shorts with T-shirts or tank tops; no one was “dressed up” just to sweat in a hot classroom. The instructor walked into the room and made their way to the front of the class. They read some announcements off a sheet of paper before turning on music to begin exercising. Everyone stopped talking and spaced themselves out in rows. I had no idea what was going to happen; I only hoped I would not either bump into someone or step on someone’s toes. THROUGHOUT THE HOUR, I TRIED MY best to keep up; but was getting dirty looks from the people around me. It had to be obvious that I was new to the class, and I would have thought those around me would understand. Their attitude interestingly mimicked the instructors, in my opinion, aloof and uninterested. I had wished the instructor would have come up to me before class or at least ask if anyone was new, because I think that might have helped. As a result, I never went back to that fitness center. The following week a friend asked me to join them at their fitness club. I went and was completely taken aback by the atmosphere in the room, totally opposite from the week before. People were friendly and patient with me as we followed the instructor’s directions. The class was awesome and became the catalyst for setting me off on becoming a fitness instructor. From my experiences at various clubs and centers, I created an aerobic class that was open and accepting of everyone, no matter their fitness level or capability. I always made it a point to go up to all the new people before class started, to get them comfortable with what they were about to experience. I believe no one ever left feeling as if they were unsuccessful or alone. It is the essence of those feelings that I found myself attracted to in this film’s fascinating story inspired by true events. AFTER BEING TOLD SHE COULD NOT have a lifesaving procedure, a pregnant housewife discovered a clandestine women’s group that could offer her the chance for a healthy life. What she would get would be much more. With Elizebeth Banks (Pitch Perfect franchise, Brightburn) as Joy, Sigourney Weaver (The Good House, Gorillas in the Mist) as Virginia, Chris Messina (Air, Birds of Prey) as Will, Kate Mara (The Martian, Fantastic Five) as Lana and Wunmi Mosaku (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) as Gwen; this history drama kept my attention with its story. I thought the acting was excellent and especially enjoyed the chemistry between Elizabeth and Sigourney. There were a few places where I thought the scenes were predictable, but they were not so glaring to become a disruption. The story amazed me and now I am curious to find out more about the brave group of women known as the Janes.
Flash Movie Review: Luckiest Girl Alive
WHEN I WAS TOLD GIRLS WERE nasty fighters, I did not understand what it meant. I remember looking around at the girls in my classroom and wondering how any of them could be “nasty.” It was not too long after hearing this “fact” before I saw it with my own eyes. A fight broke out on the playground between two girls when we were all outside for recess. Only seeing a group of boys and girls congregating at a corner of the playground was the only reason I even knew something must have been going on. I thought it might have been a stray dog that wandered onto the playground or some weird looking insect; but it was nothing like that. As I came up behind the crowd of kids, I could hear two girls yelling at each other. Within a matter of seconds, the crowd started shouting out stuff as the two girls’ argument became physical. I only caught glimpses of it as the girls were scratching and slapping each other, besides throwing punches and kicks. One of the girl’s punches missed the face and hit the other girl in the shoulder. When she recoiled back, her blouse ripped from the fist still holding onto some decorative ruffles. Both girls’ faces started bleeding just as a group of teachers broke up the fight. THE GIRL WHO TOOK THE WORSE beating was in my class. When she walked into the room the next day, I could see the other students glancing at her bruises and scratches. She did not make eye contact with anyone, keeping her face down as best as she could while walking to her desk. I felt bad for her. When she reached her desk and sat down at it, a boy who sat kitty-corner to her leaned over and called her a loser. A couple of the kids who heard started to giggle. I could not believe it. The poor girl just sat there staring at her desktop. Whatever caused the fight did not matter, it still was not right to make fun of her. Since the boy who called her a loser was one of the alpha male bullies in the class, a couple of the other boys started to call her names whenever they saw her in the hallway. I did not see her the next year, so I had to assume she either went to a different school or moved out of the neighborhood; I could not blame her if that was indeed the case. This is why I partially understood what the main character in this dramatic, mystery thriller did to herself. ANI FANELLI, PLAYED BY MILA KUNIS (Black Swan, Bad Moms franchise) appeared to have a perfectly charmed life. Yet no one knew she was a survivor from a horrific tragedy. With Chiara Aurelia (Gerald’s Game, Cruel Summer-TV) as young Ani, Finn Wittrock (Unbroken, American Horror Story-TV) as Luke Harrison, Connie Britton (Joe Bell, Nashville-TV) as Dina and Scoot McNairy (Frank, 12 Years a Slave) as Andrew Larson; this movie was lucky to have Mila in the lead role. I thought she was the big standout from the cast; her acting was excellent. Unfortunately, it was not enough to make up for the uneven direction of the choppy script. There were elements of the story that were engaging, but jumping back and forth in time was a distraction for me. I feel if the writers had stuck with one story line, then this film would have had a greater impact on me. The topic was tough to watch as were the other main story lines. By the end of the film, I had to sit there and think about people in general who have survived a brutal tragedy. It must be beyond awful on all levels.
2 ¼ stars
Flash Movie Review: Air
I ADMIRE ANYONE WHO SUCCEEDS AT their profession, but I especially enjoy hearing about those who wound up in their position from a random act. A celebrity, for example, who has wanted to be an actor or singer or writer since they were a small child makes for a good story. However, a person who did not have plans to be the person they became is something I find to be a better story. Let me give you a couple of examples. From what I have read, Harrison Ford did not have much success from his first acting gigs; so, he kept to his day job as a carpenter. He was installing a door at the home of Francis Ford Coppola when George Lucas came over for a visit. From the short interaction the two had, George cast him as Hans Solo in Star Wars. Can you believe it? What would have happened to Harrison if George had not walked in on him that day?!?! A story I read that I find unbelievable, based on her acting skills, is the one about Jennifer Lawrence. She and her mother were visiting New York City when a man came up to her at a train station, asking if she had ever done modeling. I know that sounds creepy, but it was true. From that encounter doing some modeling work, she caught Hollywood’s eye. And she never had an acting class or a film role up until that time when she was discovered. It is crazy! I HAVE THE SAME FEELING ABOUT the contestants on the couple of reality competition shows I follow. Hearing how they arrived at a place to put themselves into a talent competition can sometimes be a fascinating story. When I hear about the difficult time a singer had through their childhood, where the only comfort they had was listening and singing to music, my heart goes out to them. I am sure the television producers might add a little spin to their stories, but at their core there is a level of pain that is undeniable. To see them take the stage, overcoming their past hardships, fills me with a sense of joy. It ties into my belief system of one should always hang onto one’s dreams. I guess it begins with one believing in themselves. Due to my belief system, I fell in love with this sport drama movie. And that includes not being an avid follower of basketball. ALMOST EVERYONE IN THE WORLD IS familiar with Air Jordan shoes. The reason they came into being was because of a small group of determined individuals who refused to stop believing. With Matt Damon (The Last Dual, Stillwater) as Sonny Vaccaro, Jason Bateman (Thunder Force, Ozark-TV) as Rob Strasser, Ben Affleck (The Tender Bar, The Accountant) as Phil Knight, Chris Messina (Ruby Sparks, Argo) as David Falk and Chris Tucker (Silver Linings Playbook, Rush Hour franchise) as Howard White; this story based on true events was directed by Ben Affleck and he did a superb job of it. The pacing and great casting gave this story its extra punch. Everyone from Matt to Viola Davis was so good and believable that I found myself enthralled with the story line. In fact, there were several scenes filled with a tense thrilling sensation that made this an exciting movie watching experience. The story was amazing to me, and I especially loved the randomness of it in a way. When the film ended, I had to sit there and imagine what would have happened if one little piece of the story had a different outcome; how would that have changed the trajectory of what became a billion-dollar business? One does not need to be a sports fan to appreciate the work that went into creating this picture with its amazing story.
3 1/2 stars
Flash Movie Review: I Used to be Famous
I KNOW THIS MIGHT NOT BE the right thing to say, but I felt his downfall was karma. He was not a nice person, only when he had to be. Part of the blame belonged to his parents, I believed; but I had never met them. He came from a family that was “well off.” Based on his actions, I had to believe he had a relatively easy life growing up. He was in upper management at a company where I was employed. To one’s face he was polite and jovial; but once you were out of sight, he would say awful things about you. I quickly learned not to trust whatever he said because I caught him lying right to my face. His motivation was money, and he was willing to do whatever he had to, to get the most out of the company. One of his big tricks was to take off early or come in late without telling anyone. He must have become emboldened by no one questioning him because he started taking full days off. It was such an abuse of power that was a drain on the company, in my opinion. Every year he had a new car; I used to joke to my fellow employees that he could afford it because of all the money he saved by always eating some food the company or employees brought in. WHEN THERE WAS A DOWNTURN IN our sales, the owner decided to make some changes. One of them was to eliminate his position. It was a surprise to the office workers, though most of them were glad to hear the news. I do not know if he was telling the truth or not, but he certainly was trying to save face by telling everyone he was leaving because he was setting up his own company. The joke around my department was we could not wait to see if he would finally put in a full day of work. Whatever he planned, I heard later, did not pan out. He did try to start a similar business; but instead of working to get sales, his focus was getting a fancy car that the company would make the payments on. When everything fell through, we stopped hearing about him. It was a good time later when word went around that his wife divorced him, and he wound up living in a halfway house. The news came in piecemeal, and I am not sure how reliable it was, but we were told he got addicted to drugs and lost everything. It was a stunning downfall. I think those who achieve wealth or status at a young age have a harder time adjusting when things change; you can see for yourself in this comedic, musical drama. A POPSTAR WHO FELL ON HARD times, finds himself singing on street corners for money. With dreams of returning to the “big stage,” he places his hopes on a young autistic man who started playing drumsticks during one of his songs. With Ed Skrein (The Model, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil) as Vince, Eleanor Matsuura (Wonder Woman, The Walking Dead-TV) as Amber, newcomer Leo Long as Stevie, Eoin Macken (Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, La Brea-TV) as Austin and Lorraine Ashbourne (King Kong, Bridgerton-TV) as Cheryl; this film had a built-in predictability. However, the cast were able to overcome it and provide substance to the story. I enjoyed the music and appreciated how the script respected autism by the way the writers interwove it with the main theme. There were times throughout the film when I found myself rooting the main characters on. I feel this movie is an example of the participants putting in the work to make an enjoyable movie viewing experience for all.
Flash Movie Review: Lou
AT A COMPANY I USED TO work for, there was an employee who retired after being there for forty years. He died six months after he left the company. We were all shocked and saddened by the news. The man had worked there his entire life and after all those years, he finally got the opportunity to go out and enjoy life to the fullest and his life was cut short. It just seemed so wrong. I remember asking him what he was going to do in his retirement, and he said he had no idea; he did not have a plan. For some reason, I wondered if not having a plan contributed to his death. There is one school of thought where people say one must have a plan in place before retiring. The other says do not have a plan, to just go and enjoy whatever you do. I have no idea if one way is better than the other. And based on the people I have known who retired, I cannot say if there was any difference in their level of happiness. They all seemed happy to me. And I love this line that several of them have mentioned, “Every day is Saturday.” NOW THERE IS ONE INDIVIDUAL I know, who has maintained a steady schedule after their retirement. They signed up for a class at the local community college, they have a standing weekly sports outing with friends, and they usually have one to two lunch dates a week. In other words, they are keeping themselves busy, but not hectic. I know another individual who is at the opposite end of the spectrum who wakes up every day to possibilities. Nothing is generally planned but they do keep in hand a couple of options of things to do. I don’t know if I could be that spontaneous; I believe I would like to have some structure in my retirement years. However, I might not know until the time comes. What I do know is I could not live a retirement like the main character did in this action, crime drama. HER LIFE OF LIVING IN A quiet retirement radically changed when her neighbor burst into her house to say her daughter was kidnapped. With Allison Janney (Bombshell, Mom-TV) as Lou, Jurnee Smollett (Birds of Prey, The Great Debaters) as Hannah, Logan Marshall-Green (The Invitation, Prometheus) as Philip, Ridley Asha Bateman (Shattered, Shelter in Place) as Vee and Matt Craven (Crimson Tide, Resurrection-TV) as Sheriff Rankin; I was impressed and surprised by Allison’s performance. The idea of her being in an action star role, like let us say Liam Neeson, was a brilliant idea. She was terrific in the role, which was a demanding one. I thought everyone in the cast did a great job as the script kept them moving. This was a necessary qualification since the script was partially predictable. For the most part, the action was kept at a certain level that kept me interested but did not wow me in any way, except for a couple of good fight scenes. I honestly do not know if I would have been as interested in the story if Allison was not part of the cast. There was however a twist in the story that totally took me by surprise. This was one of those movies that I refer to as a “popcorn film.” It is one that the viewer should not take too seriously, but it does provide a decent level of entertainment. There were several scenes of blood and violence.
2 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Boston Strangler
IT WAS EARLY IN THE MORNING on a Sunday, before the city came to life. We were eating breakfast; or I should say, I was eating breakfast. My friend was too busy fielding all the work texts and emails that were blowing up on his phone. I sat there, thinking to myself, what kind of environment must his company have where so many people were up and working before the sun came out. I mean, it was not an international company with offices all over the world. It crossed my mind that maybe my friend was a “workaholic.” The other option could be he was just a devoted employee; however, that did not explain the senders necessarily. Could they all be true company employees? I have had jobs where I had to put in overtime once in a while, but it never was a consistent requirement. Now that does not mean I have not thought about work over the weekend. I have written memos, reviews and such on my own time, to help me handle an extra busy workload. However, my company encourages its employees to unplug and take time to relax and re-energize themselves. To me, this is a healthy attitude to have in the work world. AMONG THE VARIOUS COMPANIES WHERE I have been employed, there has always been at least one individual I knew who was “married” to their work. I use the word “married” because it was a strong relationship, where the person had elevated their position into a pseudo relationship. Think about it; they spend more time with their company than any individual outside of the workplace. The reasons are not all the same, but I have seen where the employee’s actions could almost be considered loving. Whether it is for recognition or prestige or power or for the greater good, their job is their number one priority/relationship. This reminds me of a person I met who was a doctor from New York City. It was during the AIDS crisis, where he explained the demands put on him that caused him many times to sleep at the hospital instead of taking time to drive home to go to sleep. He said he was barely able to keep up between the treatment of patients, press conferences and the consultations between medical staff and outside resources. I had to admire his willingness and dedication; it sounded like a brutal and draining routine. I knew it took a certain kind of person to be willing to make such a sacrifice for the “greater good.” In my work situations I have seen a few individuals who came close but nothing on that type of scale. Though, the female reporters in this historical crime drama certainly give their all to make their world a better place. NOTICING A CONNECTION, A BOSTON REPORTER starts to piece together random killings of women in the Boston area. Her work spawns the name that would captivate a city in fear, the Boston Strangler. With Keira Knightley (The Aftermath, Silent Night) as Loretta McLaughlin, Carrie Coon (The Post, The Gilded Age) as Jean Cole, Chris Cooper (Little Women, August: Osage County) as Jack Maclaine, Alessandra Nivola (American Hustle, The Many Saints of Newark) as Detective Conley and Rory Cochrane (Antlers, White Boy Rick) as Detective DeLine; this movie based on a true story succeeded because of the work and chemistry between Keira and Carrie. I thought they did an outstanding job of acting that overcame the deficiencies in the script. There were places in the script that needed more emotional heft and intensity, which would have turned this story into a gripping tale. For example, Loretta’s home life needed more drama in my opinion. I still enjoyed watching this picture because of the acting and the look of it. I can only imagine what life must have been like for women back in 1960s Boston during the time of this tragic killing spree.
Flash Movie Review: Creed III
I FELT SAD FOR MY FRIEND because she was upset about the way her friend had acted. All I could do was listen, though my friend knew I had a low opinion of her friend. My run-in with her was at the theater where a small group of us went to see a play. At the end when the play was done, people came up to thank me for arranging the outing and getting the tickets. Everyone thanked me except my friend’s friend; all she said to me was the seats were not very good. Right there I decided the less contact I had with her, the better. But now my friend was telling me what happened that caused her feelings to get hurt. She and her friend were at a store that had an eclectic mix of merchandise. On a table sat a set of coasters with images of penguins on them that her friend picked up. My friend has collected various objects with penguins for years; from plates to scarves to pens to salt and pepper shakers. Anyone who knows her, knows she loves penguins. Her friend had to have known. When my friend mentioned she had never seen penguin coasters and thought they would make a wonderful addition to her collection, her friend said she was going to buy them as a housewarming gift for her niece. My friend’s feelings were hurt. Granted she could have said something directly to her, but my friend chose not to say a word. I WOULD NOT CONSIDER HER FRIEND’S actions malicious, maybe unthoughtful. However, any type of dent or break in a trusted friendship hurts on some level. I had a friend who I had known for several years. We met in college during freshman year and stayed friends all through school and after graduation, where we wound up working in the same city. One day he called me up and said he was in financial trouble and desperately needed funds to pay his bills. He asked if he could borrow money and would pay it out each month back to me. I knew he had a decent paying job, so I loaned him the funds. For the first few months I would get a monthly check from him without having to ask for it. I think it was the fourth or fifth payment that was late because he had been out of town on vacation. I found that news unsettling; he couldn’t pay his bills, but he could go on vacation? For the next couple of months, I would have to call to get him to send me a check. As time went on it got harder and harder to get a hold of him. Pretty soon, I stopped hearing from him all together and worse, when I finally went to his apartment his name was no longer on the directory. That was tough for me, but not as tough compared to what took place with the two friends in this dramatic, sports film. AFTER A LONG PRISON SENTENCE, A childhood friend reappears looking to pickup where he left off before prison: to get a chance to box for a world championship. His methods would conflict with the world champion. With Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther franchise, Just Mercy) as Adonis Creed, Tessa Thompson (Passing, Sylvie’s Love) as Bianca Creed, Jonathon Majors (Devotion, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania) as Damian Anderson, Wood Harris (Remember the Titans, Empire-TV) as Tony ‘Little Duke’ Burton and Phylicia Rashad (Black Box, A Fall From Grace) as Mary-Anne Creed; this latest installment of the franchise was the first that did not include Sylvester Stallone. I mean no disrespect, but it was fine because of the wonderful acting skills of the main actors. Michael directed this picture and overall he did a good job, though there were a few missteps along the way in my opinion. I would have preferred seeing more scenes with Jonathan because I think he is an excellent actor. Having him and Michael together made for some emotional scenes. There was a level of predictability to the story, but the intensity of several scenes helped keep the interest high. Overall, this was a well done film, but keep in mind there are several scenes with violence and blood.