Flash Movie Review: Champions

YOGA TAUGHT ME LIFE IS ABOUT balance. For every challenge one encounters, a moment is needed to compensate for it. When I was working three jobs, I felt I was losing myself until I set up specific times for me to experience enjoyment/good feelings. My full-time job was demanding during the work week; by the time Friday night came around, I was physically and mentally exhausted. I found enjoyment curling into the corner of the couch and watching one of my favorite television series. Being an observer of the characters’ dilemmas and me not feeling responsible to fix things for them was in a weird way relaxing for me. I was able to shut down parts of my brain which helped me let go of the weeks’ worth of tension that had built up in my body. Also, stating the obvious here; another way for me to quickly relax is to watch a movie. As long as I had these “rest stops” squeezed in through the week, I felt like I was staying level. Luckily, one of my jobs was teaching fitness and yoga; so, I would always have a good feeling after class due to the endorphins getting produced or the visualization process and poses in class.      FROM THE PEOPLE IN MY LIFE, I have seen other forms used for creating balance in one’s life. A friend of mine enjoys an alcoholic beverage in the evening, which they slowly sip while looking at historical images on their phone. Another friend I know dances to let go of their daily responsibilities and allow their body to release that day’s tension/anxieties. The things we use to create balance are not always static; they can evolve as we go through the growing process. Recently, I have discovered cooking and baking allow me to forget whatever is troubling to me and focus on the art of creating meals. It is funny because if you saw me, I can easily get stressed in the process since it is relatively new to me. But putting together a meal and sharing it with loved ones is something I have found to be a peaceful, loving relaxed experience. I do not remember where I heard this but to paraphrase, there is much to be gained when “breaking bread” with others. It is true and definitely contributes to keeping balance and good feelings in my life. I felt the same way watching this comedic sports drama because it was such a feel-good movie to me.      DUE TO ANGER ISSUES, A BASKETBALL coach was transferred to a small town, where he was ordered to coach a group of players with intellectual disabilities in the art of basketball. There was a big learning curve for both, player and coach. With Woody Harrelson (Triangle of Sadness, The Highwaymen) as Marcus, Kaitlin Olson (The Heat, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia-TV) as Alex, Matt Cook (Film Fest, Man with a Plan-TV) as Sonny, Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters franchise, The Crow) as Coach Phil Perretti and Cheech Marin (Shotgun Wedding, The War with Grandpa) as Julio; this film’s story was predictable and basic. However, I still found it heartwarming and funny. Woody played one of his typical characters and I thought Kaitlin was a perfect match for him. It never seemed to me the writers were using the disadvantaged characters to get a laugh, making fun of them. They were respectful and shined a light on issues they experience on a daily basis with a touch of humor and compassion. This picture kept my interest throughout the story and as I mentioned before, it left me with such a feel-good moment that stayed for the rest of the day. 

3 stars 


Flash Movie Review: Somewhere in Queens

I WAS SITTING AROUND A TABLE with eighteen other people, just the way I like it. My friend invited me to her family’s holiday dinner. The table butted up to a metal banquet table that extended from the dining room into the living room. Ornate tablecloths covered both, but it was hard to see the pattern with all the plates and bottles sitting on top. I prefer going to dinners like this, where there are multiple people included instead of sitting at a table with only the parents and/or grandparents of a friend. When I am the only guest invited, I feel there is too much attention devoted towards me and that makes me a bit uncomfortable. When there are multiple relatives/friends in attendance, I feel more relaxed simply blending in with the group. Also, as they say, “The more the merrier.” There is a fun factor when I am sitting in the middle of a group of family members because I get to see a different slice of life. Or, maybe it is more of a confirmation that my family isn’t the only one that is crazy, lol. But I will tell you this, one certainly can learn a lot about your friends or relatives when you get together for a meal.      I WAS INVITED TO A FRIEND’S house for dinner; a friend who is soft spoken, I might add. After everyone showed up at my friend’s parents’ house, I quickly understood why my friend was quiet most of the time. His relatives were loud, many talking with their mouths full of food; it was a wonder if he ever got a word in edgewise. After acknowledging me, most of the family members ignored my presence except for the ones seated close to me. Through the meal relatives caused such a ruckus; one person would swear at another, someone else would tell a relative they were stupid and so on. There was such a commotion that I almost felt a headache coming on. When I was at another friend’s holiday dinner, her relatives were curious about me but not to the point where I felt as if they were intruding. Observing and being around them showed me they were a loving family who enjoyed each other’s company. I felt my friend was fortunate to be raised in such an environment. Now, I know family can be challenging at times; there are some you enjoy being around and there are others who annoy you. My own memories of big family meals are some of my fondest memories which is why I felt connected to this comedic drama film.      WANTING MORE FOR HIS SON than he had, a father goes to extreme lengths to give his son a shot at an incredible opportunity. With Ray Romano (The Big Sick, Everybody Loves Raymond-TV) as Leo, Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird, The Conners-TV) as Angela, Sadie Stanley (Let Us In, The Goldbergs-TV) as Dani Brooks, Sebastian Maniscalco (Green Book, The Irishman) as Frank Russo and newcomer Jacob Ward as Matthew ‘Sticks’ Russo; this movie written and directed by Ray showed a wonderful slice of life’s cherished and heartbreaking moments. I thought the dialog matched the characters perfectly and the humor from Ray’s writing was both funny and heartwarming. The chemistry between Ray and Laurie was literally a match made in heaven; they were 100% believable. Their and the other actors’ acting skills made the multiple story lines weave together seamlessly. I think it might be due to the era this film portrays; but there was a nostalgic feeling about it, that I could relate to easily. The only way I could compliment this picture is to say it was a good old-fashioned story that was seeped in family life.

3 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Chupa

WE WERE ATTENDEES AT A SEMINAR, where we were paired up for the exercise demonstration portion. I have usually found when one does physical exercise with a stranger, it becomes easier to carry on a friendly conversation with them. So, during the lunch break we sat together after getting our meal. He had an accent which piqued my curiosity. Asking him about his family’s heritage, he expressed his uncomfortableness with his language skills and his background. Not one for being shy about such things, I asked him why. He told me about leaving his home country and friends when he was thirteen years old and how he had a hard time fitting into school here because of his speech. I sympathized with him; thirteen was a tough age to be making a major change. If he had arrived before the age of eleven, he would not have an accent; at least that is what I was told. If one learns a new language before the age of eleven, they will not have an accent; after eleven, then they will have one. I do not know why but I have tested it and so far in the few people I questioned, it has been proved correct.      IT TOOK SOME COAXING FOR HIM to open about his life back in his home country. I shared some of my family history, making a point of talking about the culture and the famous people who came from the land of my ancestors. Telling him that previous generations of my family had to flee their homeland due to bigotry and persecution seemed to have an affect on him. He told me he was afraid to use his birth name when he arrived in this country, so he chose an American one instead. His family had left their homeland because his parents realized he and his siblings would have had no future or chance of reaching their dreams. I congratulated his parents for making that decision because I knew it had to be a tough one. For the remainder of our lunch break, he seemed more relaxed and open; feeling comfortable enough to share some memories from his country. I was an avid listener since I am always fascinated learning about different cultures and customs. With the lunch hour ending, we cleaned up and headed back to our place in the conference room. The afternoon portion of the seminar was informative. At the end of the day, he thanked me for reminding him how his past plays a part in his future. A similar situation took place in this family, adventure fantasy.      BEING SENT TO HIS GRANDFATHER IN Mexico for the summer was the last thing Alex, played by Evan Whitten (Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, The Resident-TV), wanted to do. He was already trying to be less Mexican. With Damian Bichir (The Hateful Eight, Godzilla vs. Kong) as Chava, Christian Slater (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Mr. Robot-TV) as Richard Quinn, newcomer Ashley Ciarra as Luna and newcomer Nickolas Verdugo as Memo; this action drama was a sweet movie. There was nothing new or different compared to other films in this genre; however, the blend of cultures and family intertwined into the story about a mythical being kept my attention throughout the film. I thought Damian did a wonderful job of acting and appreciated the way the writers made the characters real. Now, they could have done more which would have given the story a deeper wealth of things to connect with, but I was okay with the lightness of the script. Compared to other similar films, I do not know how memorable this one will be; but, for an easy family friendly film you cannot go wrong with watching this one. 

2 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. 

3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Renfield

I DO BELIEVE IT WAS BECAUSE he agreed to marry her. When she introduced me to him, I got an odd vibe from him, like a tightly wound spring that was about to pop. She was in love with him; I could see it in the way she was acting around him. I had seen it a few times before. They had only known each other for 3-4 months, which for me would be too soon to consider marriage, but that is me. She was certain he was the right one, so who was I to tell her no. When she told me they were getting married, I had been around them a few times, so had a better sense about him. I had some misgivings, but my bottom line was as long as he treated her right, I was happy for them. The wedding was a small affair; they had both been married before. It was not long after they were able to sell her house and move into a larger one that would accommodate their newly combined households. I remember visiting them some time after they moved, and it looked like they had everything in its place, and I mean everything. It almost appeared as if no one lived there, it was so pristine.      THE FIRST TIME I HAD AN INKLING that something was not exactly right was when she and I were talking on the phone. She mentioned how every Saturday he wakes her up at 4 am to clean house. At first, I thought she meant he was making her clean the whole house; but she corrected me, he participated. The issue for her was the time. Her weekends were the only time she could sleep in and not be bombarded with work from her job. As the months went by, she was opening up more about their relationship. He was a rule follower as long as they were his rules. He also had a bad temper which sent a red flag up for me. I detected less joy in her voice and more unease. It appeared to me he was more interested in having a housekeeper than an equal partner. I finally had to say something about it. From our talks, I pushed her to tell me what made her happy in her marriage. Her answers ranged from her physical attraction to him, to him throwing out the garbage once a week. It was an odd mix, but through it I could see she was co-dependent. She tried talking to him, suggesting marriage counseling; however, he was not interested. At some point she would have to decide for herself, just like the manservant needed to do in this comedic, fantasy horror.      HAVING BEEN AT HIS MASTER’S BECK and call throughout the years, the manservant Renfield, played by Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies, The Menu) took the first step for healing himself by joining a codependency support group. With Nicolas Cage (Pig, Running with the Devil) as Dracula, Awkwafina (Ocean’s Eight, The Farewell) as Rebecca, Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation-TV, Space Force-TV) as Tedward Lobo and Shohreh Aghdashloo (Star Trek Beyond, House of Sand and Fog) as Bellafrancesca Lobo; this film was a campy blood fest filled with over-the-top performances from the actors. The role was perfect for Nicholas Cage; in fact, I would have liked to have seen more scenes with Dracula. However, Awkwafina was wonderful and entertaining which made up for the lack of Dracula. The story’s idea was novel and fun; the execution was a bit standard, while it remembered to keep the humor going. I think the best way to describe this movie is to say it is silly fun. And be prepared for the volume of violence and blood gushing across the screen.

3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Burning

I FELT LIKE I WAS WEARING a disguise because he did not recognize me. One night I was about to start my yoga class when an unfamiliar couple walked in. As was my custom, I went up to introduce myself and ask if they had ever done yoga before. Through the conversation, I never let on that I recognized the man; I was friends with him in elementary school. Granted, I had lost a lot of weight, had a beard and was wearing a baseball hat; so, chances were he would not have remembered me after all these years. However, after class I went up to ask both how they felt. At some point during the conversation, I came out and asked if he recognized me. He looked at me for a moment and said no. I chuckled and asked how his sister was, to see if that would jog his memory. His face showed such utter confusion that I chuckled and told him my name. Not only did he stare at me in disbelief, but he asked me what happened to me, that I was so skinny now. It was my turn to chuckle before I answered him.      I TOLD HIM EVERYTHING I LEARNED about fitness; I learned after I left high school. That statement got us started on talking about our years together in school. I mentioned that I could only recall us having a gym class together in high school and he said he remembered the class; but he cut it often. I shared with him how I had to cut gym class sometimes out of concerns for my safety. That is not a typical statement, I know; he asked what happened. From what I told him, we each shared our horror stories about high school. The thing that amazed me the most was how my perceptions of him did not match who I thought he was in school. Because of his laid-back appearance and lack of enthusiasm during the school day, I thought he had little motivation. He explained how he found most of the classes boring, naming a few teachers he thought were the worst. When he would cut class, he would go downtown to explore the different museums or go to a particular exhibit or concert. I was so surprised to hear this since I interpreted his actions as a slacker. On the contrary, he was at the city’s main library studying the same school subjects we were, but he really wanted to learn about the assigned topic. What a surprise! It just goes to show, you can never assume you know how a person will turn out from your childhood. It can be seen in this film festival winning, mystery thriller.      IT WAS A BIT OF A SHOCK that the employee during her performance was flirting with him. It was a bigger shock when she said she knew him. With Yao Ah-in (The Throne, Voice of Silence) as Lee Jong-ju, Steven Yeun (I Origins, Minari) as Ben, Jeon Jong-seo (Nothing Serious, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon) as Shin Hae-mi, newcomer Kim Sao-Kyung as Yeon-ju and newcomer Choi Seung-ho as Lee Yong-seok; this drama was a slow burn, pun intended. For the beginning portion of the movie, I kept wondering when things would pick up. Things slowly took place in what seemed to be no particular direction. On a better note, I was fascinated seeing on display the Korean culture and landscape. One could argue there were different stories taking place, that were filled with symbolism and metaphors. Maybe there was, but I am not the type to delve into a movie story’s psyche and try to figure out what the writer and director were trying to say. Korean was spoken with English subtitles.

2 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Smile

WHEN I WENT TO THE NEW dentist my first time, I did not realize he came from a line of dentists. I was sitting in the exam room waiting for him, looking at the different certificates that were hanging on the walls. He came in and introduced himself, extending his hand out to me to shake. Once we went over the preliminary discussion on why I was there and such, I asked him about one of the graduation certificates on the wall. The reason being the school was in one of my favorite cities. He told me that was not his certificate but his father’s. I was momentarily surprised which he detected because he offered me his family history. The dentist practice was started by his grandfather, who came to the states from Germany. My dentist’s father came into the practice after graduating college. I asked the dentist if he always wanted to be a dentist like his father and grandfather. He said he did from a young age, when his dad would bring him to the office, and he became fascinated by the X-rays of teeth and all the tools. To me, it was just interesting that the practice was made up by three generations. I have always wondered if multiple generational occupations happen by chance or some other variant.      I WAS WATCHING A TELEVISION INTERVIEW, where the interviewee was explaining why she became a medical scientist. She explained when she was young, she watched her mother die of cancer. She remembered wishing she had a way of saving her mother. When the mother died, she decided she wanted to find a cure for cancer and that is what led her to the position she was now in. Though I understood how tragic the circumstances were for the scientist, I was intrigued how a set of events affects a child/person’s options in what they want to do for an occupation. I look at my history and I started out wanting to be a singer, to veterinarian to dancer to a DJ to a fitness teacher to credit and finances. There was no one who influenced or swayed me to any of these professions. For example, I have always loved animals. As I was growing up, I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian. When I was getting closer to my college years, I decided to apply to schools that had extensive networks to achieve my goal. It was not until I was halfway through the program when I realized I was not meant to become an animal doctor. Seeing what the main character in this horror, mystery thriller experienced in childhood, I had to wonder if she could do it all over again, would she have chosen the same line of work.      AFTER WITNESSING A TRAUMATIC EVENT IN her office with a patient, Doctor Rose Cotter, played by Sosie Bacon (13 Reasons Why, Off Season) began seeing and experiencing unusual events. With Jesse T. Usher (Shaft, Independence Day: Resurgence) as Trevor, Kyle Gallner (Scream, Ghosts of War) as Joel, Robin Weigert (The Sessions, Big Little Lies-TV) as Dr. Madeline Northcott and Caitlin Stasey (Kindred Spirits, Please Like Me-TV) as Laura Weaver: this picture surprised me. Not being a fan of horror films in general, this movie offered legitimate eerie and scary scenes as it told its story. Because there was an element of suspense, I was entertained more than I had expected. Sure, there were elements of other films in this story and some of the characters had little back story to help connect with the viewer; but I felt the writers accomplished what they wanted to do and that is provide a tense mystery drama. What helped in my opinion was the absence of evil beings and spirits created from the makeup/CGI department. It was more of an old school horror vibe film, which I appreciated.

2 ¾ stars

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; We Have a Ghost

I TRIED TO FEIGN INTEREST AS I listened to my friend’s father describe his latest venture. The reason I was not interested is because I had heard about his other ventures; none of them came to fruition, not earning him a solid living. My friend’s mother was the one who supported everyone on her salary, and I have to say, they were lucky she had a good job. I would not say the father was lazy, because he really dove into these ventures he thought up; but all that came of it was losing money. There were times when my friend told me his mom was getting fed up with all his ideas. I felt sad for my friend and his parents. They were such fun people, for parents; it was hard seeing them struggle at times. The father was such a storyteller, always having something funny to say. I could see where he would make a great salesperson; he had a knack for conversation. My friend always said his dad could make friends with anyone. Whether standing in the checkout line at the grocery store or buying candy at a theater concession stand, he would make a funny comment about something and befriend anyone who was close enough near him. The only other positive thing I could say about him was the fact they never had to move because of something ignorant he had done, unlike another friend’s father.      WHEN WE BECAME FRIENDS IN ELEMENTARY school, she had already moved eight times. She had arrived at our school to start 7th grade; that is a lot of moving. Her father was like my other friend’s father, but his objective was to get something for nothing. I did not know at the time, but several of his ideas involved cheating people out of their money. He too had the gift of gab, which he used to build trust between him and his “clients.” The problem with him was the fact he was not the smartest person in the room. Some of his clients could see something was not right and demand their money back. This is the worst part; he would write them bad checks then tell his family to pack a suitcase and they would disappear. The thing that stunned me was the lack of concern for his wife and children. My friend never got to make solid friendships at school because they were always moving. And the trauma of being told they can only take one suitcase, leaving everything else behind, had to be brutal to do over and over. Having been a bystander to these friends’ family situations, I could understand how the son felt in this family, adventure comedy.      AFTER MOVING INTO A FIXER-UPPER HOUSE, a family of four soon find out there is someone else living in their home and that gives the dad an idea. With Jahi Di’Allo Winston (Queen & Slim, The Upside) as Kevin Presley, David Harbour (Violent Night, Black Widow) as Ernest, Anthony Mackie (The Woman in the Window, Captain America franchise) as Frank Presley, Erica Ash (Skin in the Game, Uncle Drew) as Melanie Presley and Niles Fitch (The Fallout, This is Us-TV) as Fulton Presley; this film suffered from too many story lines. If the writers had stuck with one or two of them, I think the movie would have been more entertaining. Thankfully, most of the cast was very good, especially David as Ernest. But with different things going on throughout the script, I was getting bored. It did not help that I did not care for Jahi’s performance; there was very little chemistry between him and the other characters. At least there were a couple of fun scenes in the picture; but overall, this production was transparent and ran thin.

2 stars

Flash Movie Review: The Super Mario Bros. Movie

I CAN STILL REMEMBER THE FIRST time I saw a freestanding, video arcade game. It was in a restaurant’s waiting area. Standing six feet tall, at least to my younger self’s perceptions, with a lit sign on top and a TV screen in the middle that was angled back. It was weird seeing it there by itself, in a corner of the space with a potted plant placed alongside of it. There was a teenager playing it which piqued my curiosity even more. I got closer to the teenager, but only enough to see the TV screen from an angle. With his hand clenched around the joystick (I learned of the name later), I soon figured out he was controlling the yellow ball/circle with the wide mouth, that was eating white dots in a maze. There were ghost-like figures moving around in the maze as well. I heard this thumping sound coming out of the machine. At certain times the TV screen would flash a different set of colors followed by a different sound. To a younger me, I found the machine hypnotizing. I wanted to continue standing there, watching the teenager playing with the machine; but our name was announced over the loudspeakers to let us know our table was ready. All through the meal, I kept wishing and hoping my family would stop at the machine so I could play it. Sadly, there was a different teenager playing it with two others looking over his shoulder.      BY THE TIME I BECAME OF legal age, video arcade games were more sophisticated. Whenever I went to a dance club, there was always an area that had several arcade games set up and they were always being played. There were times when I would stand near one of them and watch how the person was playing it, so I could learn. Pretty soon I had a good sense of how to play the different games. The graphics certainly had changed since I was younger. I especially enjoyed playing a few games. If they were not available, I would stand and watch to see how the person playing was doing. However, my interest never lasted long. Seeing someone else playing a video game starts out fun or curious to watch; but after a while, I usually got bored. Though I will say there were a couple of players I would recognize playing the games who were doing the same thing the last time I was at the club. With a drink either in hand or placed on top of the arcade game, they would sit there for hours playing the same game over and over. I could not imagine doing such a thing. In fact, I was getting the same feeling while watching this animated adventure comedy.      FINDING HIMSELF IN THE MUSHROOM KINGDOM, plumber Mario, voiced by Chris Pratt (The Tomorrow War, Guardians of the Galaxy franchise), is determined to find his lost brother, while at the same time helping the kingdom ward off an evil presence that was closing in. With Anya Taylor-Joy (The Menu, Last Night in Soho) voicing Princess Peach, Charlie Day (Hotel Artemis, I Want You Back) voicing Luigi, Jack Black (Jumanji franchise, School of Rock) voicing Bowser and Kevin Michael Richardson (Family Guy-TV, The Simpsons-TV) voicing Kamek; this movie based on the video game was colorful and filled with multiple fight scenes. The cast did an excellent job voicing the characters; however, after those positive attributes I found the film to be borderline boring. Keeping in mind I have never played the game; I must assume a younger audience would appreciate the film more. I found little humor in the script. The story was sound, but I just felt the script was generic. For most of the time while I sat in the theater, I felt I was watching someone playing this game and it was not very exciting for me. There were two extra scenes during the ending credits.

2 stars 

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