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Flash Movie Review: End of the Road

SHE WAS TOUGH ON ALL OF us; there was nothing we could get away with when we were around her. My friend’s mother was a single parent who worked a full-time job and still was able to keep the household and her children in shape. When I say she was tough, believe me. I remember anytime we would go out after dinnertime, she had a curfew set for my friend that was earlier than the city’s stated time. No one was allowed to wear shoes inside the house. She would tell us she did not need any extra work vacuuming up after us. One of my strongest memories was the sound of her voice when she would yell out for my friend to come to her. Because she was short, she would call my friend to come into the kitchen and grab some item from one of the higher cabinet shelves. Despite her tough exterior she had a good sense of humor, accompanied by deep belly laughter. Even at my young age, I admired her because I knew it could not be easy being single with four children. And none of her kids ever got in trouble at school, which looking back now, was a major accomplishment.      FOR MOST OF MY YOUTH, I only had strong female figures around me. Maybe it was due to the times, but both with my friends and family it was always the women who made the daily decisions. They would be the ones to decide what the family would be doing on the weekend; or whose house we would go visit for the holiday. This was not just my perceptions because my friends were experiencing the same thing. Most of the dads in the neighborhood had 9-5 jobs. So, I understand the mother taking responsibility during the week, but it seemed as if it always continued through the weekends. There was this one time where there was a small group of parents visiting at someone’s house. All the women were sitting around the kitchen table discussing current events, politics, upcoming trips and such while the men were sitting in the den watching television. This image has stayed with me all these years due to one of my early sociology classes. In class the discussion was about matriarchy and patriarchy, defining and identifying them. I realized I had grown up in a matriarchy. Sure, the men for the most part were the major breadwinners, but it was the women who sat on the seat of power. If you are curious to see how a strong woman acts, then feel free to see the main character in this action, crime drama.      WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AN easy road trip to their new home, turned into a ride of terror for this single mom and her two kids. With Queen Latifah (Chicago, Hairspray) as Brenda, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges (The Ride, Fast & Furious franchise) as Reggie, Mychala Lee (The Greatest Inheritance, Truth Be Told-TV) as Kelly, Shaun Dixon (Velvet Jesus, Dhar Mann-TV) as Cam and Beau Bridges (The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Descendants) as Hammers; this was all Queen Latifah’s movie. Channeling her Equalizer character, she was the mother who needed to protect her family. I liked the idea to the story and appreciated the effort the writers put in to make this film an intense thriller; however, so much of what was shown was generic pablum. At times, I felt the scenes were ridiculous because they seemed too far-fetched. It was too bad because the injustice aspect was a decent message to convey, but the script got bogged down into standard fare with no flair. I will say I did appreciate the fast pace and the well-orchestrated fight scenes. If one wants to see an example of a tough woman, that might be enough reason to watch this picture. However, do not expect much in the story.                                             

1 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul

ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES, THERE IS NO way around it as far as I am concerned. A person always has a choice and based on their decision; they must deal with the results. In the news recently, a woman was convicted of embezzling close to $100,000.00 from the church where she was employed. The stolen money was used for personal trips and items for herself. I found it appalling that her lawyers were asking for leniency; I wished I were in the courtroom so I could ask them why she should get it. She chose to cheat the church out of its money. It was not like she had overwhelming debt or medical expenses, though that is still not an excuse to steal from anyone. There is a part of me that would like to know what events led up to this person doing such an act. I cannot imagine they thought it was okay; or I wonder if they thought they were smarter than everyone else? Call me “tough love” or “the enforcer;” but I am not a type of person who easily forgives and forgets. If you are doing something that you know is inappropriate or illegal, then do not do it.      I AM SURE YOU HAVE SEEN the multitude of public figures that have been caught doing something “wrong.” In the state I live in, it is sad to say there have been many politicians who were apprehended for taking kickbacks, bribes, hush money, and other sordid things. The ones that really stand out for me are the figures who were caught cheating on their spouses. Both in the business world and private life, the only thing a human being can offer unequivocally is their word. When a person takes a vow to honor their significant other, to have and to hold; it is a significant statement. Of course, once they get discovered (if in the public eye) they act out in such a scripted way that I simply find it ridiculous. There next to them stands their spouse who is supposed to be unemotional and supportive. Why can’t they show how they really feel? Whether they choose to stay with their cheating spouse is up to them, but just because they are in the public eye, they cannot show their true feelings? I know there would be no way I could or want to do such a thing; as I said before, actions have consequences. And to tell you the truth, I would not be able to put up with the couple in this comedy.      AFTER LOSING THEIR LARGE CHURCH CONGREGATION, the pastor and his wife decide it is worth fighting for and devise a plan to bring back their flock. With Regina Hall (Girls Trip, Scary Movie franchise) as Trinitie Childs, Sterling K. Brown (The Predator, This is Us-TV) as Lee-Curtis Childs, Nicole Beharie (42, Black Mirror-TV) as Shakura Sumpter, Conphidance (Burning Bridges, Bob Hearts Abishola-TV) as Keon Sumpter and Austin Crute (Booksmart, They/Them) as Khalil; this satirical film’s bright spot was watching Regina and Sterling. They made a believable couple with their well-conceived acting. However, that was pretty much it for me. I thought the script was poorly done. At first the story seemed like it was a comedy, but then it turned and felt like a drama. It was predictable, so the humor level was not too high. It almost seemed as if there were too many things the writers wanted to say which bogged down the characters’ development in my opinion. I could appreciate the idea behind the story because there certainly have been similar events that have taken place in the news. Sadly, this film needed an exorcism.

1 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Secret Headquarters

THROUGHOUT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, I ONLY SAW my best friend’s father twice. I never knew what he did for a living, I just remembered he was wearing a tie and hat the two times I saw him. I do not know why I remember that fact; maybe because I do not recall seeing any other father wearing a hat, not including the hats one only wore in winter. Though come to think of it, I did not see that many fathers of schoolmates; the majority were the ones that lived on our block. There was one father that said he was a college professor, but my friends and I never believed him. He was quite different; his reactions to things like his son hitting a baseball or his daughter performing ballet were odd in my opinion. I did not know the word back then; but thinking about him now, I can say he always had this pensive look on his face, as he studied his children’s playing. It was as if he were studying every movement his child did, looking for a flaw or a better way they could have done something. He had these thick round glasses that made him look like some type of inspector; at least that is what some of us thought.      AS FOR MY FRIEND, HE DID not seem to mind his father’s absence from the various school functions where parents were invited to participate. It was not uncommon for a student to have only one parent show up to school events. I always found it curious that the school would plan events during the school day, asking for our parents to attend when I knew many of them were working. It seemed odd to me, like the school was just being polite in inviting parents, knowing full well they would not be able to attend because of their job. The parents that intrigued me the most were the ones who had to travel for business. This was a foreign concept in my awareness. Where were these parents flying and why couldn’t they just make contact by phone, were a couple of things I wondered. There was one dad whose daughter could not tell us what he did for a living. He happened to be built like an athlete with defined muscles across his tall frame. I used to imagine him being in the CIA or FBI; he just had the look of an agent with his dark sunglasses. If I had seen this movie back when I was a kid, I could see me wondering about that father.      AFTER SCHOOL, A GROUP OF FRIENDS met up with their friend, who was at his dad’s house. While hanging out, they discover a hidden location underneath the house, just before a group of villains arrive. With Owen Wilson (Marry Me, No Escape) as Jack, Michael Pena (Fantasy Island, 12 Strong) as Argon, Walker Scobell (The Adam Project) as Charlie, Jesse Williams (The Cabin in the Woods, Grey’s Anatomy-TV) as Irons and Keith L. Williams (Good Boys, The Last Man on Earth-TV) as Berger; this action, adventure comedy had the cast to elevate the story. However, the script was too generic and pedestrian. I think part of the issue was the writers did not know what group to market for, kids or tweens. The humor was lacking to the point I was able to see what the punchline would be before it happened. Too bad because I thought Walker did an admirable job in his role. Now I have said this before, but if there is going to be a villain, they really need to be a “bad” person. The villain in this movie was too much like a cartoon character. I have a feeling this film will have many absent viewers. There was an extra scene early in the ending credits.

1 ¾ stars

Flash Movie Review: Senior Year

MAYBE I AM BIASED BUT FROM the people I have met, those that told me they had a wonderful time in high school were more than likely part of a clique or group. I am not saying that as a negative or positive; it is simply my findings. When someone is part of a group, they immediately have a social structure in place where they can find support, friendship, kinship, and a variety of other attributes. But if one is not part of a group, they could have a tougher go of it through their school years. Trust me, I should know. It was not until my junior year before I found a group of students that I would hang out and do things with, in and outside of school. Before you think I was a hermit or something when I started high school, I want to state I did have friends throughout my years in school; the only difference early on is none of us were part of a group. We did not participate in sports activities, let alone any other sanctioned groups of the school. I was on the school paper one year, but after that nothing else.      PART OF THE REASON I DID not want to be part of a group/clique was due to the ones I did see when I started high school. There was a sport, a cheerleader, a druggie, and an academia (brainiac) group, along with a few others. The most lethal group to me was the “popular” group. Freshman year I saw two older girls get in a fight that was vicious. They were scratching, slapping, and ripping each other apart until a teacher came and broke them up. The reason I knew they were part of a popular clique was due to hearing a couple of junior students talking in the lunchroom. It turned me off from wanting to be part of a group. Also, my high school was one of the smaller ones in the city; maybe if it had offered more options of interest, I would have had a different mindset. It is easy for me to say this now, so many years later; but back then I always had an issue being part of a social pecking order, where one is supposed to look and act a certain way. I always gravitated to those who embraced their individuality. Maybe it would be easier to explain if I suggest you watch this comedic drama.      AFTER BEING IN A COMA FOR 20 years since her high school senior year, a former cheerleader who was hoping to become the prom queen, wants to return and win her crown. With Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect franchise, Isn’t it Romantic) as Stephanie, Angourie Rice  (The Nice Guys, The Beguiled) as young Stephanie, Mary Holland (Happiest Season, Keeping Company) as Martha, Sam Richardson (We’re the Millers, Hooking Up) as Seth and Zoe Chao (Downhill, Love Life-TV) as Tiffany; this movie’s saving grace was having Rebel Wilson as the lead. If you like her style of comedy, she gave it her best with the little the script provided her. Besides being predictable, there was only a couple of times where I chuckled at a scene. For the most part, the script tried to do too much and wound up doing little. There were scenes that were not believable, some that were touching, others that tried to be funny; yet all together they did not blend well with each other. At times, the musical numbers seemed to have been created because the writers did not know which way to go next. Overall, there is not much here to make the viewer want to go back and experience their high school years. There was an extra scene during the ending credits.

1 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Men

EVERYTHING I RESEARCHED WAS TRUE ABOUT my travel destination. The weather was perfect for me when I disembarked from the plane, in the 80s with a gentle breeze. I was almost overwhelmed with the about of vegetation everywhere. There were flowers along the streets, blooming bushes in front of buildings, tall hedges surrounding homes; the place was so colorful, like an artist splashing different colored paints all over the place. I arrived at my hotel and was not disappointed. The lobby had live trees that received sunlight from the large geometrical skylight in the roof. There was artwork, paintings, and sculptures, from local artists that was placed throughout the lobby. After checking in and getting the key to my room, I rode the glass elevator up to my floor. The room was clean and bright, with a view overlooking one of the hotel’s swimming pools. On the bed was a couple of cut flowers that gave off a lovely fragrance; I could not have been happier. Because I did not know if it would be hard getting seated at the hotel’s main restaurant, I had made reservations because I knew I was going to be hungry when I landed.      BEFORE I HAD ARRIVED, I WAS told what foods to stay away from; so, I did not have as many choices of food as I had hoped for. It was okay since I tend to like simple foods. It turned out the restaurant was full; I was glad I made reservations. When the waitress handed me the bill, I decided I would pay for it in cash. I also wanted to break the large bill so I would have enough change for tips and small purchases. After sitting there for several minutes, I wondered what was keeping the waitress from bringing back my change. I finally had to ask another server to find her. When she finally came back, I asked her for the change from my payment. She acted like she did not know what I was talking about. I described how much my bill was and the payment I gave her, that I was expecting change back. She said she would go check and when she returned, she had my change. I was ticked off but chalked it off to a one-time thing. However, this same thing happened to me at a couple of other restaurants. My second day there a monsoon hit the place and the hotel lobby flooded; I could not leave my room for a few hours. When I finally was able to get to the lobby, a staff employee was standing by the entrance to the pools. He said they were closed due to the staph infection that had occurred after the flooding. I was not done; throughout my visit I was constantly being asked for money. By the time of my return flight, I was ready to go; my trip was not relaxing. That is what the main character should have done in this dramatic horror science fiction film, go home at the first sign of trouble.      GETTING AWAY FROM THE TRAGEDY SHE had been enduring back home, a woman retreats to a quiet estate in the country. During her first walk on the grounds, she encountered a man with no clothes. With Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose, The Lost Daughter) as Harper, Rory Kinnear (Quantum of Solace, Penny Dreadful-TV) as Geoffrey, Paapa Essiedu (Gangs of London-TV, I May Destroy You-TV) as James and Gayle Rankin (The Greatest Showman, Glow-TV) as Riley; this movie directed and written by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation) left me confused. I thought the acting was wonderful, with Jessie having a commanding screen presence. The filming was shot beautifully throughout the English countryside. However, I felt the script was too ambiguous; I did not quite know what was going on. Individual scenes were well done, but I could not tell you what this movie was about, except maybe it has to do with guilt or man’s relationship to females. I feel if one must work hard to try and make sense of a movie, then it is not entertaining.               

1 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Firestarter

THERE WERE SEVERAL MISSED NOTES, BUT I continued sitting there with a smile on my face. The little girl was playing a song on the piano; something that was unfamiliar to me. Her mother had asked me to sit down and listen to her daughter play, adding she believed her little girl had a gift for playing the piano. That is not how I would have described her piano playing, but I understood she was proud of her daughter. After the girl was done playing, I applauded and complimented her. She thanked me then headed out of the room. I turned my attention back to the little girl’s mother, who was sitting there with the biggest smile on her face and her hands clasped together by her heart. I hoped she was not about to do something that I find annoying, but my hope was quickly dashed. She said, “Isn’t her piano playing exceptional?” I ask you, how could I sit there and not say something complimentary about her daughter’s playing, even if it wasn’t true?” And that is exactly what I find annoying; parents bragging about their children and expecting guests to agree with them. Why put guests in an uncomfortable position by seeking out compliments from them? What guest would not say something favorable about a parent’s child? To me the whole thing is a setup.      EARLY ON, I REALIZED EVERY PARENT thinks their child is special and unique. There is nothing wrong with that; I only hope they create a supportive and loving environment for their children. Bragging to me shows a sign of insecurity in a person. Fishing for compliments tells me the person does not have enough confidence to believe in themselves. That is why I find bragging about children distasteful. It puts the child in a compromising position, where they are pressured to perform. I recall the years I took piano lessons, I never asked anyone to listen to me play. In fact, I avoided going to the piano recitals my teacher would hold with all his students. It is funny, I am just remembering a few scenes from the talent reality shows I have seen. Standing on stage is a 20- year-old who is singing off key. The performance was dreadful; yet he felt he did a wonderful job. His parents encouraged him to audition because they said he was such a good singer. I am all for supporting a child’s dreams; but how far does it go when there is an obvious lack of talent. As the judges critiqued the singer, I wondered if the parents had been fair towards their child. Heck, even the parents in this dramatic, horror sci-fi film did not want to brag about their child even though their child was indeed extraordinary.      AS THEIR DAUGHTER WAS HEADING TOWARD adolescence, it was only a matter of time before her special talent would get her noticed. This was something the parents were trying to avoid; no one needed to know about their daughter as far as they were concerned. With Zac Efron (The Greatest Showman, The Beach Bum) as Andy McGee, Ryan Kiera Armstrong (The Tomorrow War, Black Widow) as Charlie McGee, Sydney Lemmon (Fear the Walking Dead-TV, Helstrom-TV) as Vicky McGee, Michae Greyeyes (Kissed by Lightning, True Detective-TV) as Rainbird and Gloria Reuben (Lincoln, Who We are Now) as Captain Hollister; this updated version of the Stephen King novel started out poor and remained there. I found Zac to be an odd choice for his character. He was too young looking and his lines were dull. The script tried to freshen up the original story and truthfully there were a few scenes that worked; however, I was bored watching this picture. I liked the musical soundtrack, but obviously that was not enough to draw me into the story. With having an unusual character in the script, one would hope there would be some high exciting drama. Sadly, this flaming film shined as bright as a low ember.                   

1 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming

A FRIEND OF MINE ASKED ME to accompany her to a family wedding. I like dressing up from time to time, so I was happy to join her. She told me the ceremony and reception were both being held at a downtown hotel; so, this was going to be a large wedding. I had met several of her family members, but I was also familiar with others solely based on the stories she would tell me about them. We drove into the city and dropped off the car with the hotel’s parking attendant. Entering the hotel lobby, there was a pedestal signboard that listed the day’s events being held in their meeting and ballrooms. Her cousin’s name was the third one down, showing the wedding was being held in the Crystal Ballroom. I stopped to ask a hotel employee who directed us to a set of escalators that would take us up to the room. When we came to the top of the escalator, there was an open area around us that had small high-top tables with guests milling about. A bulbous older man came up to us and gave my friend a big bearhug. He then extended his hand out to me to shake. When I grasped it, I had to suppress the urge to recoil back from him because his hand was wet. He must have sensed something in me because he asked me to excuse him, he had just licked his hand clean from a messy appetizer. I was speechless for a second before he burst out laughing; he said he was just kidding and introduced himself to me. I wanted to run from him and go wash my hand.      AFTER THAT FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH HER relative, I still was not prepared for what laid ahead. We mingled among the guests, and I was enjoying meeting the faces to match the stories she had told me about them for all these years. There was the aunt who loved her drinks, who would start dancing no matter where she was standing. She also did not need any music when she danced. At some point, a cousin came up to us and her first question was asking if the two of us were dating. Answering her cousin with a no, my friend grabbed my hand, and we made our way to where the ceremony was taking place. We got through it with no more interruptions from her relatives; however, once the dinner started all chaos started to take over. I felt like I was in the middle of an avant-garde movie, where the cast was experiencing psychotic episodes. The night consisted of a fight, guest passing out, foul language, unbearable long speeches; in other words, something like what I saw in this latest installment of the movie franchise.      A COLLEGE GRADUATION PARTY BRINGS EVERYONE together at Madea’s, played by Tyler Perry (Gone Girl, Alex Cross) place for a celebration. How soon before things get out of control when it comes to Madea’s family? With Cassi Davis (Daddy’s Little Girl, House of Payne-TV) as Bam, David Mann (Computer Love, Meet the Browns-TV) as Mr. Brown, Jennifer Gibney (Agnes Browne, Mrs. Brown’s Boys-TV) as Cathy and Isha Blaaker (The Flight Attendant-TV, Red Riding Hoods-TV) as Davi; this dramatic, comedy romance was consistent with all the other films before it. If you have never seen a Madea movie, then you might find something entertaining if you look for it. I did not find anything new except the characters had a larger vocabulary. There was a decent message buried in the script; but when weighed against everything one must sit through to get to it, it did not seem worth the wait. There were a few lines and a couple of scenes that were amusing; but not enough to maintain my attention. I am glad I did not have to go to the movie theater to see this picture because if I had, I might have become one of those crazy guests from the wedding I attended.                                 

1 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Sweet Girl

AT FIRST GLANCE, I THOUGHT THERE was a miniature guillotine sitting on their kitchen counter. I was over at a friend’s house after school, and we had gone into the kitchen to get a snack. Sitting next to their toaster oven was this small, blue colored contraption that had a partially exposed razor blade attached inside of its open cover. I asked my friend about it and he said his mother used it to cut pills. This was the first time I had ever heard about someone cutting their pills. It never even occurred to me that a pill could be cut in two. When I was a little kid, if I needed to take a pill, I had to have it dissolved in water before I could swallow it. I wanted to see how this device worked but my friend said he did not want to play around with it. I suggested if he did not want to cut one of his mother’s pills, maybe a celery stalk could work. He nixed the idea, and I did not want to push it any further. However, I started wondering why a person would cut their medicine dosage. Was my friend’s family poor and could not afford their prescriptions? Did the drug make his mother sick, so she cut them to lower the side effects? So, all I did was ask him why she cuts pills; he said when she starts feeling better, she likes to take less and save a few pills in case of a relapse later.      THAT WAS MY FIRST EXPOSURE TO someone manipulating their medical advice, but it would not be the last. I knew someone who needed an organ transplant; essentially, he was told if he did not get one, he would not live beyond one more year. I cannot tell you the things he did, but he wound up getting the procedure in the nick of time. Another person I knew needed a new drug to help him with his life-threatening illness. The expense to administer the drug was in the thousands; so, they only agreed to receive half a dose. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to have to cut corners when it comes to one’s health. How does someone decide whether to have a roof over their head or use most of their savings to help prolong their quality of life. I am sure we can all have a lengthy conversation about the world’s health care and drug systems and I certainly hope no one ever has to go through what the family had to in this dramatic, action thriller.      WHEN A POSSIBLE LIFESAVING DRUG WAS pulled back by the drug company, there was little hope for Ray Cooper’s, played by Jason Momoa (Aquaman, Dune), wife to beat her illness. Ray was determined to find the cause for the sudden removal of this miracle drug. With Isabela Merced (Instant Family, Dora and the Lost City of Gold) as Rachel Cooper, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (The Magnificent Seven, Murder on the Orient Express) as Amos Santos, Adria Arjona (Life of the Party, Pacific Rim: Uprising) as Amanda Cooper and Amy Brenneman (The Jane Austen Book Club, Foster Boy) as Diana Morgan, the bones of this story were solid. However, the execution of it was clumsy. I liked the idea and thought the action scenes were exciting, but there was nothing new presented in this film. Jason was okay but I felt the script did not provide more opportunity to display a larger range of emotions. The surprise twist in the story was unsatisfactory; I found it unbelievable. As I mentioned earlier, the intention to bring this story to the big screen was noble, but it arrived dead on arrival.

1 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Trailer: Halloween Kills

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

1 ¾ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Cinderella

CLASSIC STORIES ARE SOMETHING I CAN revisit again and again. During my school years, I wound up reading Moby Dick three times. I am not sure I can even define what constitutes being a classic, but at least I know a classic story has the ability to emotionally move a person. Love plays a prominent role in many classics. For example, My Fair Lady was based on the George Bernard Shaw play, Pygmalion and The King and I was based on Margaret Landon’s novel, Anna and the King of Siam, which was based on the memoirs of the governess to the children of the King of Siam. One of my favorite stories is Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. I do not remember if I read the story or not in school; however, my most vivid memory was seeing the movie directed by Franco Zeffirelli. It was a special showing that was being done in only one theater in the city. A friend joined me as we had to take the train down to go see the movie. To this day, I remember the theater because it was a big classic theater that had these art deco lamps hanging down from the lobby ceiling. To get to the balcony, there was a red carpeted staircase with gold-colored bannisters that curved up to the 2nd level. Because I loved the story of Romeo and Juliet, I knew I was going to equally love the movie West Side Story which was based on Shakespeare’s story.      AS YOU CAN SEE, I DO not have an issue with new movies coming out that were based on previous movies/stories. It can be fun to see a story told through a different set of eyes. In some cases, the movie gets remade because there is technology available to enhance the story that was not available when the story first came out in film. For me, some of the successful remakes have been A Star is Born, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Departed. However, as most of us know, there are also remade films that were disastrous. Off the top of my head, I can think of The Stepford Wives, House of Wax and Guess Who. I know when the original movie is idolized, it is hard to try and remake or update the story. It would be best if the movie studio doesn’t refer to the original movie at all; let their new creation come out with any false expectations. With today’s film it did not take me long to decide which category this remake falls in.      IN THIS RETELLING OF THE CLASSIC fairy tale, Cinderella has a dream to become a dressmaker. Marriage is not something she was focusing on. With musical artist Camila Cabello as Cinderella, Billy Porter (Like a Boss, Pose-TV) as Fabulous Godmother, Nicholas Galitzine (High Strung, The Changeover) as Prince Robert, Idina Menzel (Uncut Gems, Glee-TV) as Vivian and Pierce Brosnan (False Positive, Mamma Mia! franchise) as King Rowan; this comedic family fantasy took the original story of Cinderella and added a layer of female empowerment to it. I would not have an issue with this update; however, the script was a big misfire that dulled the delivery of the story. Though the musical numbers by themselves were fun to watch, they seemed so out of place to me because of the modern songs. Here was the perfect case not to associate this picture with the classic Cinderella. There were cringeworthy scenes that were painful to watch. The other thing that I felt diminished the telling of this story was the lack of chemistry between the characters. The whole appearance of the cast seemed flat to me. With the music and special effects, this movie might appeal to a narrow range of viewers.

1 ¾ stars   

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