Category Archives: Thriller

Thriller

Flash Movie Review: Army of Thieves

THERE WAS NO ONE AROUND ME, so I decided I would be the first one to climb the mountain in front of me. Technically, it was a large hill; but to me it looked like it would be the biggest challenge facing me while on vacation. I was not well prepared to undertake such a feat; I was wearing gym shoes, no hat and carrying one water bottle. Ahead of me was what I thought might be a path, simply because there was little grass and rocks compared to the rest of the landscape. I started my way up and at first it seemed like it would be an easy climb. Let me add here, as I have grown older, I have gotten more afraid of heights. However, that thought was the furthest thing from my mind as I was feeling exhilarated from the breeze blowing and the receding land below me. As I was making my way up, the climb started getting steeper. There were a few times my shoes slipped from under me; luckily, if I were going to fall face forward, it would not have been a far fall since I was required to use my hands to help pull myself forward at times. I got as far as halfway up before I felt I would need the same amount of time to descend before it started getting dark. With one turn, I tried taking a step down but freaked out. It was too steep to walk down; I had to sit on my backside and slide myself most of the way down before I felt comfortable enough to stand up.   HAVING TAKEN TWICE THE AMOUNT OF time to get back down from the climb up, I sat in my car listening to music to calm myself. What was I thinking? On a scale of things, I am sure this hill might rate mild for most people, but I realized if there is not a defined path with a gift shop at the end of it, I have no business climbing up a hill. In fact, I honestly do not understand why anyone wants to mountain climb. I am sure it must be exciting to say you have done something that so few have been able to do; but if it could kill you, why would you want to do it? A friend of mine one day decided he wanted to skydive. I did not understand the motivation, but he set his mind to it and made it happen. We saw the video of the jump and sure, it was amazing to see; however, seeing his cheeks flapping from the wind force as he was diving was enough for me to realize there is no need for anyone to jump out of a plane. Yet there will always be individuals who want to challenge themselves to do something extraordinary. An example would be one of the main characters in this prequel.   HOW IRONIC THAT A MILD-MANNERED bank teller’s dream was to break into one of the world’s most secure bank vaults. All he needed was a little motivation. With Matthias Schweighofer (What A Man, The Red Baron) as Ludwig Dieter, Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones-TV, Maze Runner franchise) as Gwendoline Starr, Ruby O. Fee (The Invisibles, Polar) as Korina Dominguez, Stuart Martin (Only You, Jamestown-TV) as Brad Cage and Guz Khan (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Bubble) as Rolph; this action, crime comedy was your basic heist film with a few fun tweaks done to it. I enjoyed watching this movie because it was fast paced, with some thrilling and exciting scenes. The idea of the story was sound, but I had wished the writers would have gone further with the telling of it. The other reason I enjoyed this film was because the telling of it was not dependent on CGI effects; they did it the old-fashioned way by letting the actors tell and show us the story. I do not necessarily feel like one must see the original film to enjoy this one.

 

2 2/3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: All the Old Knives

OUT OF THE SEVERAL COUPLES I knew whose jobs were at the same company, they were an anomaly. They were a husband and wife who worked in the same office. If you did not know their last names you probably would not realize they were a couple; they always were professional in their positions. This was not the norm based on the other companies I had worked at where two employees were in a romantic relationship. I was at one workplace where one of the administrators was having an affair with one of the co-owners of the business. My co-workers and I always knew when the two had been together outside of the office. If they had had a good time, then they were always finding reasons to see each other throughout the day, communicating in what I would refer to as a “pseudo lovey-dovey” way, being so effusive with extra sweetness and politeness. If they had a “bad” time together, then they ignored each other the entire day. It got to the point where it was comical to see these two acting out in front of all the staff. The other aspect of this was the fact none of us ever wanted to disagree or cross the administrator, for fear she would say something to the co-owner. So, no matter whether she did something incorrectly or misinformed us, no one would contradict her.      FROM MY VARIOUS JOB POSITIONS, I absolutely understood why some of the companies installed a no dating policy among employees. Honestly, I would have had a horrible time if I was dating a co-worker and we then wound up ending our relationship. How can one immediately switch gears from having a love relationship to a different one without having some separation time to heal and adjust to the new relationship? I know I could never do it; yet, I have witnessed couples who were in love one day and the next they suddenly are just friends. I need time to rewire my heart and mind to the new dynamic between us. In fact, I am proof that one can indeed become friends with their past significant others, because most of the people I have been in long term committed relationships with are still part of my life as a friend. However, with each one we had to separate ourselves for some time before we could come back as friends. Sure, it is not easy if the relationship ended on a sour note, but over time I believe it still can grow into some form of a friendship. If you are interested, see what happens with co-workers in this dramatic thriller.      CALLED BACK TO DO AN INVESTIGATION of an operation that went wrong, a CIA agent must interrogate a former co-worker he was in love with when they were working together on the case. How objective would he be as they delved into their past? With Chris Pine (Star Trek franchise, Wonder Woman franchise) as Henry Pelham, Thandiwe Newton (Reminiscence, Westworld-TV) as Celia Harrison, Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix franchise, Mystic River) as Vick Wallinger, Jonathan Pryce (The Wife, The Two Popes) as Bill Compton and Ahd Kamel (Wadjda, Rattle the Cage) as Leila Maloof; this movie was more about the conversations than the actions. I thought Chris and Thandiwe were well suited for their roles and had a certain chemistry that worked between the two of them. I thought the idea behind the story was solid; however, I found this film dragged in parts. This might have been due to the jumping back and forth in time, though I thought several scenes could have been done in a more dramatic way that would have elevated the movie watching experience. Overall, this was a decent picture with a twist.

2 ¼ stars

Flash Movie Review: Kimi

THE COUPLE STANDING IN LINE AHEAD OF me was delaying me from getting to the bathroom. At the theater to see a musical, we were all lined up with our cell phones out that glowed with the images of our virtual tickets. The couple in front were having trouble getting their tickets to open on their phone. I understand the convenience and cost savings of virtual tickets; but I must tell you, I miss holding the physical ticket in my hand. No hassle, no worry of a technical glitch. I have a love/hate relationship with technology. When computers are working like they are supposed to, they are terrific; however, when they are not operating properly, they are a real pain. And do not get me started on how I can have a live face-to-face conversation with someone facing me and immediately ads start appearing on my social media sites based on something we said, it is freaky, eerie and annoying. I remember a friend of mine was using a phone app for driving directions and wound up getting lost due to the incorrect directions their app was telling him. Granted, he did not have a great sense of direction; but still, it was not like he had such a difficult route filled with dead zones his app could not access.      THOUGH I DO UNDERSTAND THE REASONS there are passwords and two-factor authentications, I am so overwhelmed with the number of passwords I must remember to login into my accounts. I am at the point where I can no longer come up with creative passwords that I can still remember instead of the long random passwords some sites suggest to me. There are however some tech things I appreciate, for example my smart watch. If my watch detects a fall by me, it will ask me if I am okay or need to have it dial for help. It also keeps track of my heartrate which comes in handy when I am working out. The ultimate example of the negative aspects associated with current technology was seen in that documentary I recently reviewed about online dating. I was shocked with what took place in that movie. Hopefully you can see why I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I hear about all these scams taking place; in fact, just last week the news reported on an elderly person who was swindled out of nearly $200,000.00. It is awful to hear such things. I wonder what life will be like for me later in life; will I still be able to recognize something that looks or feels suspicious? Now, having seen this film, there is something new to think about when it comes to technology.      HER JOB WAS TO LISTEN TO recorded conversations to fine tune the vocabulary of her company’s virtual assistant. One day she heard something she could not believe. With Zoe Kravitz (The Batman, Mad Max: Fury Road) as Angela Childs, Byron Bowers (Honey Boy, No Sudden Move) as Terry Hughes, Rita Wilson (Sleepless in Seattle, Runaway Bride) as Natalie Chowdhury, Erika Christensen (Flightplan, Traffic) as Samantha Gerrity and India de Beaufort (The Better Half, Run Fatboy Run) as Sharon; this dramatic, crime thriller was slow to start for me. However, it was due to Zoe’s performance that made me stay interested in this movie; she was so good playing an agoraphobic Seattle tech employee. Though there were a few scenes that did not ring true, being a distraction for me; I enjoyed the film more as the story progressed. Maybe the premise of the story was a bit far-fetched; but the acting and tense scenes made up for it. I also am still processing the whole listening in aspect for virtual assistants. Since you have not seen this picture yet, I will not say if my opinion of modern technology has changed or not.

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Uncharted

THE MAP WAS DECEIVING, THAT IS all I can say. My good friend and I planned a trip to part of the country we had never seen. When we looked at the map, we decided to fly in and stay at a hotel in the city instead of finding an out of the way place closer to where we planned on exploring. Based on the map and the mileage we calculated between the 2 places, we figured we could drive back and forth each day. This way, we could check out restaurants and sights in the city while mornings and afternoons we could hike and dig into the area of the park that intrigued us the most. Everything was falling into place, and we arrived on a sunny warm day, got our rental car and made our way to the hotel. We dropped our bags into our room and got back into the car to check out the park. According to our calculations, we were approximately 90 miles away. I was driving and figured we could make it there in 1 ½-2 hours. Well, what the map did not show was the fact that the road not only wound around but was going up and down over rough terrain. There was no way I could go 60 mph; in fact, I was lucky if I could hit 35 at times, that is how convoluted the road was to drive on.      ONCE WE FINALLY GOT CLOSE TO the area, we stopped in a small town to get snacks and find a restroom. Walking into a small, independent convenience shop, we bought some food. Because the drive was way too long for us, I asked the clerk if there was a motel nearby. He said anything I could find around “these parts” had already sold-out months in advance. I explained our situation on staying too far away back in the city. From our conversation he told us to stick around while he checks with a friend of his about finding a place to stay. It turned out his friend had just gotten a cancellation on a room down the road. We spoke to the friend and agreed to take the room, travel problem solved. Sure, we were paying for 2 rooms; but we came so far, there was no way we were not going to do some exploring. And exploring we did as we spent the entire day until closing, in the park. It was a dream come true as we saw things we had only seen in print or on television. Steam bursting out of the ground, standing on top of a mountain as the setting sun turned the blue skies purple; both of us felt like explorers and finding that room made it all happen. This experience is why I appreciated what the main character in this action, adventure was trying to do.      HE AND HIS BROTHER HAD TALKED about it but how did this stranger Victor “Sully” Sullivan, played by Mark Wahlberg (Joe Bell, Deepwater Horizon), know that they did. To find out Nathan, played by Tom Holland (Spider-Man franchise, The Devil All the Time), would have to decide whether to trust him or not, if he wanted to make his and his brother’s dream come true. With Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory, The Skin I Live In) as Santiago Moncada, Sophia Ali (Truth or Dare, Grey’s Anatomy-TV) as Chloe Frazer and Tati Gabrielle (Freakish-TV, The 100-TV) as Braddock; this movie based on the video game series had its moments. Unfortunately, they were few and far between. I felt the script was a rehash of the Indiana Jones, Romancing the Stone and National Treasure films; except, this was not as good. Tom reminded me of a dressed down Spider-Man and Mark’s role was familiar. There were a few fight scenes that were fun to watch and the mystery element on what was essentially a treasure hunt kept my interest; but overall, this film was forgettable for the most part. If you have nothing to do or have never seen the 3 pictures I mentioned, you might get a little more out of this movie than I did. How adventuresome do you feel? There were 2 extra scenes during the ending credits.          

2 stars 

Flash Movie Review: The 355

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.

 

2 stars  

Flash Movie Review: Scream

I CANNOT SAY I WAS DREADING the event; let me say I was just not looking forward to it. One of the reasons was due to the time, it was during the week. I do not like doing anything but my daily routine after work. The idea of having to fight traffic during rush hour to go all the way downtown was enough reason for me not to go. However, I said I would go, and I did not want to disappoint them. The other main reason I did not want to go was because it was going to be a sit-down dinner event. During the week I eat very little for dinner and more importantly, I eat it very early because I prefer to go to sleep on an empty stomach; it is one of the things I have done to lose weight. If the event called for drinks and appetizers, I could have walked around with a glass of water, and no one would have been the wiser. Except now, I would be sitting with the other guests at large round dinner tables and being served a full-size meal. And that brings up another reason why I wasn’t too thrilled to attend; I would be sitting with people I did not know. There is nothing more awkward than sitting next to people who do not know the basics of carrying on a conversation. When it happens to me, I wind up sounding like a news reporter as I ask them question after question to fill the silence.      A SUIT AND TIE WAS NOT required gratefully, so I dressed in a button-down shirt, sweater and slacks. The traffic was heavy as I expected, but it never came to a dead stop on the expressway. Because I was arriving a little after 5 pm, I was able to find a parking spot in a parking lot close to the restaurant. My friend was waiting for me in the restaurant’s waiting area when I arrived, and we immediately went into the banquet room. I won’t bore you with the details of the pre-dinner chatter and introductions; but I will tell you I was grateful when we were told to take a seat at the tables. Finding a seat, I would up sitting next to an unfamiliar guest. Once our table was full, introductions were made by each of us. The guest next to me had flown in from out of town and we hit it off immediately. We talked about my yoga and fitness classes, her trek from growing up in the Midwest to the career that took her out east. The entire time during the meal, we kept up a steady chatter that was fun and informative. After expecting to have a dull and boring time, I wound up having a good time. The same thing happened to me when I went to see this mystery, horror thriller.      IT HAS BEEN 25 YEARS OF peaceful calm for the town of Woodsboro, since it was terrorized by a serial killer known as Ghostface. However, someone in the town wants to bring back the killer. With Neve Campbell (Wild Things, Skyscraper) as Sidney Prescott, Courtney Cox (3000 Miles to Graceland, Bedtime Stories) as Gale Weathers, David Arquette (Never Been Kissed, Mob Town) as Dewey Riley, Melissa Barrera (In the Heights, Vida-TV) as Sam Carpenter and Jack Quaid (The Hunger Games franchise, Logan Lucky) as Richie Kirsch; this latest installment in the franchise surprised me. I vaguely remembered the original movie and was concerned I needed to see it before this one, but that was not the case. The writers did a good job of mixing old with the new and doing it in an amusing way at times. There were several bloody scenes which as you know is not my thing, but the director did not dwell on them for long. I cannot say I believed the story entirely; however, with the steady pacing and the sense of nostalgia, I stayed engaged for the most part. Keep in mind, I was expecting the worst but wound up enjoying it.

2 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Red Notice

IN MY EXTENDED CIRCLE OF FRIENDS and family, there are two people who when together make everyone laugh. When a group of us get together for a meal or a social evening, it doesn’t take these two individuals long to start feeding off each other’s energy. Their humor spans from satire to bawdy to intellectual to silly; I have only seen one person who is faster at a comeback than these two people, Robin Williams. A word of caution is in order; you never want to have food in your mouth when these two go at it, because there is a good chance you might start choking while you are laughing and guffawing. When I am around them, I enjoy listening to the bantering and dialog because in the middle of the comedy aspect there are kernels of truth in their sly remarks. You may have experience in this regard, where you have a friend or relative who says the one thing that others are afraid to say. And that is what I appreciate about these two individuals; using a cliché here, they are not afraid to address the “elephant in the room.” I will say they are masterful in how they can bring up uncomfortable topics in a way that is palatable for those who would not appreciate facing the topic head on.      DURING THE LAUGHTER AND COMMENTS, I may in my mind think of a comment to add to the dialog whizzing around the room. It is all about timing, however; more times than not, I keep the comment to myself because it is too hard to overpower the high-volume level that these two people maintain. What I tend to do is turn off my brain and go along for the ride. It is like a train ride; all I need to do is sit back and enjoy the scenery, in this case the conversations, as it passes by. The thing that impresses me the most is the way the conversations may be repeating items that the group has heard before, but these two individuals are able to present a repeated topic in a new and fresh light with their choice of words. For example, I have heard about this one relative’s long deceased dog for years; yet each time one of these skilled talkers brings up this dog, there is always something added to the story to make it sound like it is the first time I am hearing about this dog. I felt the exact same way about the banter taking place in this action, comedy thriller.      THE WORLD’S GREATEST ART THIEF IS forced to work with a top profiler of the FBI to catch the person who wants to take his title away from him. With Dwayne Johnson (Jungle Cruise, Skyscraper) as John Hartley, Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool franchise, Woman in Gold) as Nolan Booth, Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman franchise, Keeping Up with the Joneses) as The Bishop, Ritu Arya (Last Christmas, Doctor-TV) as Inspector Urvashi Das and Chris Diamantopoulos (The Three Stooges, About a Boy-TV) as Sotto Voce; the story for this movie does not provide anything new from what we have seen in other films. However, the chemistry between the three main stars and the dialog the writers gave them, made this an enjoyable film experience for me. I did not have to think much, just sit back and watch some mindless entertainment. Ryan and Dwayne were doing typical roles suited for themselves; so, it was not a stretch for their acting capabilities. The key to watching this picture is to not have any expectations. Also, if you are fond of witty quips and satire for humor, then this would be a movie for you. 

2 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Candyman

NOT KNOWING WHERE SHE LIVED ONLY added more fear about what she could do to us. My friends and I were afraid of her to the point if we saw her walking on the sidewalk towards us, we would cross the street to the other side to avoid making eye contact with her. She would be spotted around the neighborhood, always pulling a shopping cart behind her that usually had a bag or two in it. I never saw her around my elementary school, but I would see her sometimes walking down my street which always scared me. If I was alone, I would run back inside our home; if a couple of friends were with me, we would hide and watch as she made her way down the street. Her gray hair was usually piled high on top of her head, always covered with some type of hat. Even with keeping my distance away from her, I could see that her eyeballs looked too big for their sockets; they always looked like they were about to fall out, which only added an extra level of creepiness to her. There were a few large moles on her face and neck that were dark, giving the appearance of attached leeches that were sucking the blood out of her skin. Another distinctive feature was her short, bowed legs. She looked like she could easily roll off her legs.      THE FIRST TIME I SAW HER, I did not immediately think she was a terror. To a very young me, she looked quite different from other women, but I did not have any opinion about her. It was the older kids of the neighborhood who told me and my friends to stay away from her because she was a mean witch. Being as young as we were, we believed them and started to follow their lead. I remember one winter when I was walking home from school, I saw a couple of older boys hiding behind a parked car. The woman was walking across the street from them and as she passed them the boys stood up, threw snowballs at her then ran down the alley away from her. I did not know what to do; however, I was grateful that I was ahead of her; so, she knew the snowballs did not come from me. Based on what I was told, I was afraid she might kidnap and torture me. The entire time I lived in the neighborhood, every kid knew about her. It was not until my high school reunion where I found out she was a friend’s grandmother. How in the world did such a story about her come to fruition? I had to wonder if it got started the same way as the story did in this horror thriller.      THOUGH A POOR AREA OF CHICAGO was recently gentrified, there still was lingering a story about a horrific event and what was created from it. No one in the neighborhood was safe. With Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Matrix Resurrections, The Trial of the Chicago 7) as Anthony McCoy, Teyonah Parris (If Beale Street Could Talk, Dear White People) as Brianna Cartwright, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (The Kid Who Would be King, Misfits-TV) as Troy Cartwright, Colman Domingo (Selma, Lincoln) as William Burke and Kyle Kaminsky (DriverX) as Grady Greenburg; this sequel presented a fresh, new approach to the franchise. I thought the filming and the style of the film was a great contrast to the story line. Due to the years that have passed, I did not have a good memory of the original film; so, I am not sure if I missed any inside story/event in this movie. There were several scenes of blood, but they were brief and not in too much detail, which I appreciated. I enjoyed the suspense aspect with its steady buildup. Based on the things I saw in this film; I much prefer sticking to my old neighborhood than a re-gentrified one, like the one depicted in this picture.

3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: No Time to Die

ONE OF THE THINGS I MISSED most this past holiday season was spending time at the movie theater. In the past, I would spend one of my days off from work at the theater, watching as many films as I could in one day. Due to the current times with COVID and the variants, I have not been comfortable sitting in a crowded theater. In the good old days, I could sometimes catch 5 movies in one day. Maybe some of you might think that is too intense to do, but for me it was like therapy; I loved getting lost in story after story, while taking off enough time just to catch something to eat before I went back into the next showing on my list. What made this work of course was the fact the film studios always release their blockbusters around this time; so, the Academy of Motion Pictures would have the studio’s film fresh in their minds for the beginning of the voting period for an Academy Award nomination. Truth be told, even if the picture was not high on my list, if it fit into my time schedule to make the day’s viewing work, I would go see it. Surprisingly, I have only a couple of friends who could handle watching multiple movies in one day. Usually, a friend might only meet me for one or two films before they had to bow out and take a break.      SINCE I CHOSE TO STAY HOME this holiday season, I wanted to experience that blockbuster type of movie experience. Luckily, I was able to rent the film I am reviewing today. It still is playing at the theater and the fact it is two hours and 43 minutes long, I could hit pause at anytime so I would not miss any scene. There is something about a James Bond movie that always has a special mystique when it premieres. In my family, a new 007 picture always meant a family outing to go see it. Even if we were on a vacation out of state, if the movie was coming out, we would find time to go see it no matter where we were at. I always experience a bit of nostalgia whenever a new Bond picture comes out because of all the memories I have of the previous pictures; especially of the ones that starred Sean Connery and Daniel Craig. With their longevity in the role, there is for me something extra special about the film when they starred in it. While I began watching this newest film in the franchise, I was feeling nostalgic and sad as the scenes unfolded.      HAVING FOUND A SENSE OF PEACE in retirement, it did not last long when an old friend came calling on James Bond, played by Daniel Craig (Knives Out, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), asking him for one last favor. With Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049, Knives Out) as Paloma, Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody, Need for Speed) as Lyutsifer Safin, Lea Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Color, The Lobster) as Madeleine and Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel, Powder Room) as Nomi; this action, adventure thriller came packed with its trademark big action/fight scenes. Craig’s Bond is more of a brawler, grittier 007 compared to the others. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of heart on display in this story. There were some poignant moments I felt. My big complaint was with the script and the villain. Though Rami was decent, I found the character was not menacing at all. His character was a bit bland, and the script did not help as it tried to pack too much into the story, to honor Daniel’s portrayal of Bond, hence the too long running time. Despite my misgivings, I am glad I was able to see this movie and if you are especially a fan of this franchise, you would not want to miss this one. And even if you are not a fan, based on the star rating below, you might want to see it as well.

3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: F9 The Fast Saga

A FOND CHILDHOOD MEMORY OF MINE was the many times I went to the auto show. Having built and painted a fleet of model racing cars, I loved seeing all the new cars inside the convention center. The faster a car could go, the more I was attracted to it. I would impatiently wait by a sports car, wishing the attendees sitting inside would get out, so I could sit behind the wheel and pretend I was speeding down a long highway. There was not one compartment, switch or knob that I left untouched. At some of the displays there were hired people, dressed in fancy clothes, who would walk around the car and talk about it to any passing person. To emphasize the point, they would eagerly open a car door to invite the individual to come and take a seat in the “latest,” most “advanced” automobile that is out on the street today. I took all of this in, fantasizing that one day I could get hired to talk about all the cars on display. Adding to my excitement, would be all the pamphlets and paraphernalia that the different auto manufacturers would pass out. By the end of the day, I usually had two full bags of stuff that I collected throughout the exhibit.      I HAD ANOTHER SPECIAL MEMORY FROM my times at the auto show. In the cafeteria where we would stop for lunch, they sold one of my favorite cookies but in a smaller size. I loved the idea of my favorite cookie being in a bite-size form because they were so easy to pop in my mouth. And they would not leave any crumbs. I always made sure I finished the bag before we would continue our way through the convention center. Even to this day, I remember those little sized cookies. Now, when I go to the grocery store, there are so many options to my favorite cookie that it becomes overwhelming. I remember when they changed the packaging and proudly proclaimed “New & Improved” across the top. They tasted the same to me. However, with their latest version, I must tell you I did not think they tasted as good as I remembered. After so many years, I hope I am not just getting bored with them; they did not excite me like I know they did in the past. I feel the same about this latest installment in the film franchise despite my love of fast cars.      AFTER HAVING SETTLED INTO A QUIET, idyllic life in the country, a crisis forces Dominic Toretto, played by Vin Diesel (Bloodshot, The Last Witch Hunter), and the crew to deal with a terrorist that can match their fight and driving skills. With Michelle Rodriguez (The Assignment, Battle Los Angeles) as Letty, Jordana Brewster (American Heist, Home Sweet Hell) as Mia, Tyrese Gibson (Black and Blue, Transformers franchise) as Roman and John Cena (Vacation Friends, Daddy’s Home franchise) as Jakob; this action, crime adventure took the stunt driving to a new level. I enjoyed watching the over-the-top car scenes; however, there were so many of them that it got repetitive for me. There was no place for logic nor was there any time to focus on the characters. It was humor, race, pause for words of wisdom and repeat. The script could have gotten some help if it had incorporated more of Charlize Theron’s character because one of the “evil” characters was not very evil in my opinion. The cast appears quite comfortable with each other and I imagine they are enjoying themselves during the filming process. I am afraid compared to the prior installments in this film franchise, this latest one was more of a basic model instead of being top of the line. There was an extra scene in the middle of the ending credits.

2 ½ stars 

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