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Flash Movie Review: The Transporter Refueled

Once I was able to sit in it I would imagine what my life would be like if I had one. The new leather smell, the fancy dials; everything about the automobile on display represented a different world from my own. Walking through the annual car show always gave me the opportunity to dream because the only cars I knew in my young life were 4-door sedans. When my friends and I started turning 16 years old, all some of us would talk about is when we would be getting our own car. The first auto was typically a beat up used one; mine cost $500.00 that came with a houndstooth interior and dark green exterior. It was interesting to see who in the school made it their priority to personalize their auto, so it would stand out from everyone else’s car. There were some that got a funky paint job where others would attach these chrome plated things that looked like they were misplaced jigsaw puzzle pieces. Some people turned their cars into an extension of their life; I still see some who get a new car every year. For me my car essentially is a means to get from point A to point B; however, I do like to feel comfortable in the seat. Believe it or not my only priority is a rear window defroster, which I think is standard. I look at the variety of bells and whistles offered on cars these days and all I can think about is that it will be something else that just breaks. Despite that, I do not think I would turn down the automobile in this action thriller if it was offered to me.    FRANK Martin, played by Ed Skrein (The Sweeney, Ill Manors), found his niche as the transporter who asked no questions. That would change however when a couple of his packages were able to talk to him. This reboot of the franchise had an updated auto which was one of the best parts of the film. The acting was atrocious except for one character I did not mind; it was Frank’s father played by Ray Stevenson (Big Game, Divergent franchise). I found the script silly where some parts did not even make sense to me. Even the action scenes were pretty bland compared to other movies’ car chase scenes I have seen recently. It was surprising to me how many times I kept looking at my watch, wishing the film would end. As far as I could tell there really was no reason to bring this franchise back to the screen, especially without Jason Stratham. All I kept thinking about during the movie is wishing I was home watching KITT in the old television show Knight Rider; I would take that car any day over this film.

 

1 1/3 stars

 

 

 

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Flash Movie Review: The D Train

A funny thing happened to me when I went to see this movie. There was a smattering of people seated in their seats as I walked into the theater. I immediately saw there was a couple sitting in one of my preferred seats. A seat on the aisle that is 1/4 to 1/3 up the rows of seats is my favorite spot to watch a film. As I started walking up the stairs to find a seat, I saw the woman sitting in what should have been my seat staring at me. I made eye contact, looked away, then looked back to see she was still staring at me with a puzzled look on her face. Due to the subdued lighting I could not make out her facial features until I was closer to her. Once I saw her face an image appeared in my mind of a little girl who went to elementary school with me who used to wear a satin ribbon tied in the back of her hair; they both had the same face. I spoke the little girl’s name to the woman in the seat and she spoke mine, saying she would not have recognized me if it was not for my photo on my movie review site. We had not seen each other since high school, having gone through elementary school together. What a coincidence that we bumped into each other after all these years at a theater that was about to show a film about a class reunion.    JACK Black (School of Rock, Bernie) played Dan Landsman who was the head of his high school class reunion committee. When by chance he saw his former classmate Oliver Lawless, played by James Marsden (X-Men franchise, Enchanted), in a suntan lotion commercial on television, Dan became obsessed in getting the actor to come to the class reunion. If he could deliver the actor Dan was sure he would finally be considered one of the cool kids. There were some good themes underlying the story in this picture, but the implementation of them was awful. The writers took the ideas to such an extreme that I found many things not believable and frankly ridiculous. Kathryn Hahn (We’re the Millers, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) as Stacey Landsman and Jeffrey Tambor (The Hangover franchise, Arrested Development-TV) as Bill Shurmur were wasted in this movie. I felt Jack Black offered nothing new, just doing his usual schtick. The only one I believed in was James’ character. After the movie was done my former classmate came up to me to tell me how uncomfortable the two of them were watching this film. I agreed with them wholeheartedly. To get the horrible scenes I had suffered through out of my mind, I sat and reminisced about our time back in elementary school.

 

1 1/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

Right in the middle of a conversation the two were having, a little head popped up behind the shoulder of one of them. With big eyes staring out from the cherubic baby’s blank face, the conversation was placed on hold. One or both of them will more than likely do one of the following things: talk in a high voice, cross their eyes, wave their hand or make some type of funny face. Any one of those acts were performed with the hope of getting a smile or laugh out of the baby. I see this happening all the time; sitting in a restaurant booth and a baby or young child in the next booth turns around and stares at you. Make a silly face and the child usually gurgles with laughter or reacts with a wide open mouthed grin on their face. Being silly can be a therapeutic experience. Haven’t we all at one time or another acted silly? I tend to act or say something silly to break the ice when I find myself in a room filled with strangers. However, there is a big risk involved if one chooses this method; if no one laughs then you look like a fool. Another time where I will use silliness or humor as an option is when I find myself in a heavy emotional situation; it is like my default button, but in this case it may be genetic since I am not the only one who does this within my family. My philosophy is I would rather laugh than cry if I am given a choice. Laughter just makes things easier in my opinion. Silliness was served in this security guard sequel.    Taking a break from his duties as a mall cop Paul Blart, played by Kevin James (Here Comes the Boom, Hitch), and his daughter Maya, played by Raini Rodriguez (Girl in Progress, Paul Blart: Mall Cop), traveled to Las Vegas for a well deserved vacation. Though Paul was away from his security job, his security instincts were telling him something wrong was going on in the hotel. This action comedy sequel was one long series of silly gags that did not initiate one laugh out of me. Kevin was milking every line throughout this movie. With other cast members like Neal McDonough (Flags of our Fathers, Star Trek: First Contact) as Vincent and Daniella Alonso (The Collector, The Hills Have Eyes II) as Divina, there was not much in the script that allowed the cast to make something out of their characters. I was bored through most of this film. Everyone has their own idea of what is silly; if you found the trailer funny than you might like this picture. For me the trailer showed me everything I needed to know.

 

1 1/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Mortdecai

Sadly I have seen a person go into shock due to an automobile accident. It looked as if they had been powered by batteries that were quickly losing power as their physical movements were grinding to a halt. There was a numbness that came over them as they became unaware of their surroundings. Gratefully the shock I am referring to today is the kind where you cannot believe what your eyes have just seen. I was rummaging through my memory, looking for a time where I had that reaction of disbelief and what came to mind was the first time I visited Las Vegas, Nevada. One of the shows I saw there was a pseudo circus type of troupe but without the animals. I sat there in disbelief as I watched these human beings performing non-human things; it was a night filled with fanciful magic that continues to stay with me to this day. Since I started posting my movie reviews I cannot recall having such a reaction of shock like I had to this film. I think the best way I could describe it would be to say I was dumbfounded and had a difficult time processing what I was witnessing on the big screen before me.    JOHNNY Depp (The Long Ranger, Transcendence) played well known art dealer Mortdecai. When a famous painting was stolen, Mortdecai was brought in by England’s secret service to assist them in retrieving the artwork before it fell into the hands of a hostile group. There was something special about this painting. I literally sat in astonishment as I watched this action comedy. This movie was so bad and I do not mean that in a good way. Someone needs to tell Johnny it is enough already; this is not acting anymore. He just talks with an accent and mimics to the camera; it is utterly tiresome. I would love to know what Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man franchise, Running with Scissors) as Johanna, Ewan McGregor (Big Fish, The Impossible) as Martland and Paul Bettany (Legion, A Beautiful Mind) as Jock were thinking by agreeing to be in this movie. The story, the script and the acting were all awful. I think I am still shellshocked because I can barely type out my thoughts on this review. It seemed as if the producers were trying to create a mashup of Austin Powers and Inspector Jacques Clouseau, with the hope of creating a new franchise. I hope it does not happen because this movie was like an unfinished painting that did not dry and all the colors ran together to form brown. As a side note, the 8 pm Saturday night showing of this film, in an approximately 300 seat theater, had 22 people in attendance, including me.

 

1 1/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: The Pyramid

The reason certain man-made creations are called wonders of the world is because they started out in someone’s imagination, being the first of its kind ever to grace this planet. To be different and never seen before; it must have been mind blowing when objects like the Great Wall of China or the Great Pyramid of Giza were initially discussed. In addition, where did the idea even come from? Whether I am fortunate to see the object with my own eyes or only view it by electronic means, I wonder what it must have been like for the people who did the manual labor. From history books I am aware the labor consisted of slaves; were they even aware of what they were building or just told to move one rock from one pile to another. There have been enough movies that have fueled the idea that each famous structure had several curses associated with it. I know with my imagination I could come up with some wild ideas for curses.    UPON discovering a lost pyramid, an archaeological team discovered a way inside that they hoped would lead them to understanding the nature of the unusual 3 sided structure. What they soon realized was they were not alone. Some of the major players in this horror film were Ashley Hinshaw (Chronicle, True Blood-TV) as Nora, Denis O’Hare (Dallas Buyers Club, American Horror Story-TV) as Holden, James Buckley (Charlie Countryman, The Inbetweeners franchise) as Fitzie and relative newcomer Christa Nicola as Sunni. The opening scenes were effective in setting up the story, softly starting out before bringing in the intensity and shock value. I have to tell you this was the only positive aspect to this film. If you have never seen a horror film before, then this picture may be able to keep your attention, but I think that is a lot to ask for. Let me start with the acting; it was sad because the script provided nothing for the actors. With such generic predictable lines being uttered or screamed, I was bored for the majority of the movie. There was only one special effect that I thought was decent and yet, I am hesitant to mention what it was in case someone is determined to inflict pain on themselves by sitting through this mess. It did not have to be this way since there was enough to choose from with most of us aware of ancient pyramids, curses and myths in some form or another; all that was needed was a better script and director. This may not be nice to say but having sat through this film I felt as if I had been cursed. There were a few scenes that showed blood.

 

1 1/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Ouija

There were no commercials or advertisements as far as I could recall. None of the toy shelves at stores carried it. The only thing I can remember was it being the first game I ever played, not counting tag or hide-and-go-seek. The game was handed down to me, taught by my Mother. We would either sit at the kitchen table or on the sofa to play, with only one thing needed: a deck of cards. After she shuffled them she would lay all the cards out face down in rows. Each player would take turns flipping over 2 cards at a time. If they matched, for example 2 threes or 2 queens, the player kept the cards; if not, they would turn the cards face down and the next player would try finding a match. The winner was the one who collected the most cards. I used to love playing this game and eventually started playing it myself to see how long it would take me to match up all the cards. In turn, I taught the next generation after me this card game that had no official name. As time passed and I transitioned to board games with friends, I never showed any of my friends this card game that was done in the family. Not that it was necessarily a secret, it just remained a game one played with a family member. After seeing this film maybe that was a good thing.    BOARD games were supposed to be fun, but not in this horror film. After finding a spirit board, aka Ouija board, a group of friends decided to use it to see if they could find out why a friend of theirs killed herself. They unwittingly introduced a dark, ancient spirit into their lives that only wanted one thing: them. Starting out at a slow deliberate pace, this horror movie never veered from it. First time director Stiles White created a bland, generic piece that seemed to attract only young adults based on who was in the theater with me. If you have never seen a scary movie, then it is possible you may jump a couple of times while watching this picture. With Olivia Cooke (The Signal, Bates Motel-TV) as Laine Morris, Daren Kagasoff (The Secret Life of the American Teenager-TV, Blue-TV) as Trevor and Shelley Hennig (Days of Our Lives-TV, The Secret Circle-TV) as Debbie Galardi being part of the cast, there was no acting worth noting here. Of course having such a poorly written script with no lines worth remembering, the cast could not help but to be boring. I cannot believe I am saying this but a better time would have been to save my money by staying home and playing a game with family and friends. There were several scenes with blood.

 

1 1/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

Many times I have been told change is good. I am not 100% sold on it, though I will agree to the idea of evolving. Change is something done by a traffic light. Look at all the consumer items that keep changing; are they all really necessary? I believe these changes in packaging or designs have contributed to us becoming a disposable society. There are some things I prefer keeping just the way they were created. I have an old candle holder that used to sit on our dining room table when I was a little kid. It is tarnished and scratched but I do not care; the memories associated with it span my youth. A friend of mine has a wooden, hand carved, standing ashtray made by her father. She does not smoke but the piece is so exquisitely detailed and beautiful that she uses it as a candy dish. A serving bowl would be easier but the stacked column of small elephant figurines has been a great conversation piece, made by her father’s own 2 hands. There are just some things that do not need to change; they were perfect right from the start. Such is the case with the changes in this animated musical film. The story takes place after the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy, voiced by Lea Michele (New Year’s Eve, Glee-TV), returns to Oz to help save it from the evil jester, voiced by Martin Short (Innerspace, Father of the Bride franchise). The cast was comprised of a formidable group of celebrities such as Dan Aykroyd (The Campaign, Ghostbusters franchise) as the Scarecrow, James Belushi (Red Heat, The Ghost) as the Lion and Kelsey Grammer (Fame, Cheers-TV) as the Tin Man. The voices and the singing should be considered the only positive element to this family film that was wrong on so many levels. The animation was uncreative and lifeless to the point I thought it had dulled my senses. I found the story lacked any excitement, fun, joy, tenderness or surprise: I could keep going on if you wish. The spattering of adults and children around me in the theater had no reaction to any of the scenes. It was so quiet that at one point I was hoping a baby would have started crying just to see if everyone had been sleeping. I could not find a reason why this awful movie needed to be made. There is a reason some things are considered classic; they do not need to be changed because they are timeless. This film was made for a disposable society, so toss it off of your to do list.

 

1 1/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Devil’s Due

My cravings are emotionally based; I fully understand it. I am not physically craving chocolate but experiencing a mental comfort as I consume it. So when I hear about a variety of cravings pregnant women say they have I try to imagine how such a combination of food could satisfy their bodies. Or maybe I am making an assumption and it is an emotional thing for them as much as it is for me. Sure we have all heard of the pickles and ice cream craving; however, there are some that sound so odd to me. One person I knew constantly craved spicy hot foods during her pregnancy, the hot pepper oil and sriracha type of hot. There was someone who prior to becoming pregnant loved mustard; however, as soon as she became pregnant the smell of mustard made her violently ill. I just find it curious why a body, for example, would crave a cheesy corn puff instead of a piece of cheese. I figure who am I to question such things, but in this horror film the cravings took on a sinister outlook. Soon after their honeymoon newlyweds Samantha and Zach McCall, played by Allison Miller (17 Again, Blood: The Last Vampire) and Zach Gilford (The Last Stand, Friday Night Lights-TV), found out they were going to have a baby. As the pregnancy progressed Zach began to notice unsettling changes in his wife that were hard to explain. This scary movie used the found footage technique of filming for the entire movie. This meant there was shakiness to almost every scene, to the point where I wanted to take something for motion sickness; I absolutely disliked it. In addition there were times I sat and wondered who was holding the camera and how could they even film the scene based on the camera angle. The script was poorly written for an unexciting story. I was bored except for a couple of decent special effects, but they were not enough to get me at all excited about this film. Seeing Sam Anderson (Perfect Strangers, Water for Elephants) as Father Thomas and Vanessa Ray (Francis Ha, Not Waving but Drowning) as Suzie, I had to wonder if they were embarrassed for agreeing to do this ridiculous bloody movie. I only pray this film does not procreate and spawn a sequel. There were several scenes with gore and blood in them.

 

1 1/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Battle of the Year

It is not to see who will win that keeps my attention at competition events; it is the way the contest does not have any discrimination that attracts me. Having been exposed to the ugliness of prejudice at a young age, I tend to seek out things that create a level playing field for all. Whether it is a singing, dancing, musical or sporting activity; I enjoy seeing people from all over the world, from all walks of life coming together to perform the same activity. I never understood why country, race, religion or even physical appearance should matter to someone. Shouldn’t being human suffice? I admire the participants in any type of physical venue due to my background in fitness. Add in some music and I love it more; so, this dance competition movie was something I was curious to see. Inspired by the documentary film Planet B-Boy, the story revolved around a premier international dance crew competition that attracted teams from all over the world. America had not won in 15 years and Dante Graham, played by Laz Alonso (Jarhead, Constantine) wanted to change that statistic. Josh Holloway (Paranoia, Lost-TV) played former championship basketball coach Jason Blake who was hired by Dante to train a team of dancers to bring home the championship. Caity Lotz (The Pact, Death Valley-TV) as choreographer Stacy and Josh Peck (Red Dawn, The Wackness) as assistant Franklyn would help Coach Blake in this quest. My biggest complaint about this musical dance film was the awful way they filmed the dance routines. I did not understand why they were filmed either in slow or fast motion, making them look cartoonish. If the idea was to bring together the best dancers to form a team then I wanted to see them actually dance. The story was completely lame with all of its stereotypical cliches and ideas. With uninspired dialog the acting was simply pathetic. Josh looked like he was about to cry in every single scene. Maybe he had a clue on how bad this movie was turning out. The two best parts for me in watching this film were not paying to see it in 3D and the enjoyment of listening to a couple of good songs that were used during a few of the dance segments. I plan on viewing the documentary Planet B-Boy and if you are interested in seeing some real dancing, I recommend you take a pass on this film and get the documentary also.

 

1 1/3 stars

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