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Flash Movie Review: The Northman

I COULD NOT IMAGINE WHAT THE COMPANY did to him that would make him seek revenge. Most of my interactions with him were pleasant and non-confrontational; he was a salesperson after all. If I were to base my opinion on material things, I would say he was making a good living selling the company’s products. He was always fashionably dressed; I cannot recall him ever wearing anything that appeared old or worn. Both his and his wife’s cars were always new and sporty; I think he traded in his cars every other year. Also, I remember him showing me vacation pictures from time to time. So yes, I believed he was successful at his job. There was no indication of his scheming to get back at the company. I did not learn of his misdeeds until after he was fired. If there were any other actions brought against him, I was not aware. It turns out he was either running a clever ruse or the company’s protocols left much to be desired. It turns out he was having the company set up what they believed were new accounts. However, most of them were friends/acquaintances of his or post office boxes he was setting up himself. His “customer” orders were turned in after he changed the prices on the products, getting the items below cost. Once the product shipped, he would arrange to receive them at these various locations. Since all his orders were marked prepaid, he would turn in cash for them.      UNBEKNOWNST TO THE COMPANY, HE WAS renting storage space at various locations. The way I heard how the story went was a fellow employee found a posting on a social media site that showed one of our products. After investigating further, this employee discovered our products were being sold for a cheaper price than what we could sell them for. Essentially, he was stealing from the company by lowering the cost of all the products he was buying from us under an alias, then putting them up for sale on several internet sites. Every sale had a huge markup which he pocketed for himself. I also heard he tried stealing a customer master list from us, but he was caught with it and tried making excuses on why he wanted to take it home. As I mentioned earlier, if the company pressed charges against him, I was not told. All I knew is he had damaged the company’s name by stealing from them. Oh, and I heard once he sold the product, he was never available to offer any type of customer service to his buyers. Too bad I could not find out his reasons as clearly as the ones that were laid out in this action, adventure film.      A VIKING PRINCE SPENDS YEARS PREPARING to avenge his father’s death that he witnessed as a young boy. His rage is what kept him warm. With Alexander Skarsgard (The Kill Team, The Hummingbird Project) as Amleth, Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos, The Prom) as Queen Gudrun, Claes Bang (The Square, The Last Vermeer) as Fjolnir the Brotherless, Ethan Hawke (Tesla, The Kid) as King Aurvandil War-Raven and Anya Taylor-Joy (The New Mutants, The Queen’s Gambit-TV) as Olga of the Birch Forest; this drama was beautiful to watch despite all the blood and violence. I thought the cast was excellent and well suited to their roles; however, I could not figure out what this film wanted to be. It was part fantasy, part Game of Thrones and part folklore; it was distracting. The story was not that unusual. If it were not for the cast and filming, I would have been bored and uncomfortable having to sit through all the cringe-worthy scenes. In my opinion, the script needed to be more refined in its ability to tell an exciting, dramatic story. Using this film as a reference point, the couple of times where I was revengeful were nothing compared to the intensity displayed in this picture.                                                         

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 2

TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH, I was flattered and getting a bit smitten from all the attention. We had met at a bakery café. We both ordered the same thing, a double chocolate dessert. After the initial introductions, the conversation settled into an easy flow of comments, thoughts, and opinions. I was impressed by the fact they had no issue disagreeing with a couple of my opinions; it showed me they had strength in their convictions. In a previous relationship, whatever opinion I had about a topic the person quickly would form the same opinion. It was rare for them to disagree with me, and it used to drive me crazy. I wondered how someone could change their opinion so easily without even letting me express the reasons for having my opinion. Meeting someone who was not afraid to express their opinions and feelings was refreshing to me. After we finished our desserts, neither one of us made a move to end the date. We just continued to sit and talk about a variety of subjects. Finally, I had to be the one to say my goodbyes due to my schedule. It was decided we would get together for a full meal next time. I felt good about our meeting and decided to reach out in a day or two to set up another date.      OUR SECOND DATE WAS EVEN BETTER than the first; it was dinner and a movie. A few days after it, I was leaving for work and found a box sitting on my front porch. They had signed their name on it with a message that said, “Thought you would like these fresh out of the oven.” I brought the box inside and opened it. Inside sat a bakery box of chocolate chip cookies, my favorite. I was both surprised and touched they went out of their way to drop off a box of cookies on the way to their office. I was getting bowled over with the attention and we soon fell into a dating relationship. At some point, I was asked to attend a family event. Though feeling a little apprehensive, I agreed to accompany them. During the event, I was introduced to a man who was their former boyfriend. Without knowing their history together, I was unsure of how to act; however, I remained cool about it. On the drive to drop them off at their home, we talked about it briefly and I felt relieved. It was short-lived because the very next day I received a call from them to tell me they decided they were going back to their old boyfriend to give it one more try. I had to wonder if my sole purpose was to be brought to the family event, to be used as a catalyst to restart their relationship. It did not feel good which will explain why I felt sympathy for one of the main characters in this animated action adventure.      BEING LEFT ALONE AT HOME FOR the first time showed Sonic, voiced by Ben Schwartz (Night School, The Afterparty-TV), he could be trustworthy. Unfortunately, it was short-lived when the evil Dr. Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey (Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Dumb and Dumber franchise), made a house call. With James Marsden (Shock and Awe, Accidental Love) as Tom Wachowski, Tika Sumpter (The Old Man and the Gun, Ride Along franchise) as Maddie Wachowski and Idris Elba (Concrete Cowboy, The Harder They Fall) voicing Kunckles; this sequel provided the same level of entertainment as the first film had done. Having never played the videogame this film franchise was based on, I might have missed a few inside references. However, I do not think it mattered. The action scenes were fun, and I thought Jim Carrey was exceptional good with his character. His performance almost appeared as if it was adlibbed, it was so zany. Also, I thought Idris Elba did some of the best voice work I had ever heard on film. On the downside, there were several scenes that did not move me much, having found them to be bland. This could have been due to the similarities between both movies. Nonetheless, I did not feel used, that the movie studio did try to elevate the story so that the franchise could continue to survive. Proof being, there was an extra scene in the middle of the ending credits.

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Joe Bell

WHEN I WOULD LISTEN TO HER talk about her children, it was always apparent that she favored one child over the other. I could only imagine how many other people noticed the same thing. According to her, her son was a genius; she would tell everyone that he was going to be a medical researcher or doctor. There was a period when he received less than stellar grades, so she floated the idea he could become a lawyer. I thought one needed good grades to get into a good law school; but that fact did not faze her as she continued to brag about her son. Throughout this time, one might have wondered what was going on with her other children and that would have been a good question, because she rarely mentioned any of them. Her son, it appeared, was the only thing that mattered to her. I knew her daughter; but I must tell you, there were so few things her mother ever said about her. It was as if she were some kind of an embarrassment, though I could not figure out why. Granted, I thought she was a bit unfocused when it came to figuring out what career she wanted to go into, but it did not seem anything that unusual that any other high schooler was experiencing. WHAT I FOUND DISCONCERTING WAS THE fact she did not treat her children equally. It was obvious she favored her son over her daughter, in what I felt was a blatant way.  The sad thing about it was the fact I had experienced other parents doing the same thing, where it was easy to tell which child the parent favored the most. In my dealings with siblings of the same family, I always made it a point to treat each one equally. Gifts for each were of equal value, game times were always split equally between the siblings if we were not all playing the same game and taking one to a cultural event meant finding another event that would interest the other siblings. Why couldn’t a parent do the same thing? I remember this one couple who had 2 daughters and because they favored the eldest, the other one would act out just to annoy her parents. The awful thing about it was the younger child had a harder time finding her place in life, ending up with eating and trust issues. I found it incredibly sad. No matter the intentions, I feel a parent cannot forget the other children in the family. An example of this can be seen in this dramatic film based on a true story.      A FATHER WANTING TO DO SOMETHING for his son, who was a victim of bullying, decides to walk across America. This meant leaving the rest of his family behind. With Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter, Uncharted) as Joe Bell, Reid Miller (A Girl Named Jo-TV, Play by Play-TV) as Jadin Bell, Connie Britton (American Ultra, Bombshell) as Lola Lathrop, Maxwell Jenkins (Lost in Space-TV, A Definitely Maybe) as Joseph Bell and Gary Sinise (Forrest Gump, Apollo 13) as Sheriff Westin; I give Mark credit for trying a different role than his usual ones. He was okay but I felt his narrow band of acting abilities did not give that extra oomph the story needed. Though the script was mostly predictable, this film was still worth watching because of the performances from Reid and Connie. The actual story is an incredible one; in my opinion, I felt the writers could have gone deeper into the abusive events. Also, there were times in the script that I wondered if things happened that way or got twisted to provide the viewers with a couple of pulls on their heartstrings. The point the writers were making was valid which made this movie a decent viewing experience.

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Everything Everywhere All at Once

I HAD NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE it; a father lifting a car. It was a news clip being shown on TV that I had seen decades ago; but it has always stayed with me. I was in elementary school when I saw this man racing over to the car that accidently ran over his son. He got up to the rear bumper on the passenger side, squatted down, grabbed the underside with both hands and strained as he tried to lift the car high enough to free his son’s leg. A woman, maybe the boy’s mother, came into view and grabbed the boy from underneath his arms. I swear I saw it with my own eyes; the car’s wheel barely rose, but it provided enough wiggle room for the woman to pull the young boy away. The whole scene amazed me as I focused on the man, to see if I could figure out his secret power on how he was able to lift an automobile off the ground. What did the man tap into that gave him superstrength, was he a weightlifter, did he have some special power; these were the things I was thinking about, hoping I could learn and gain such a superpower.      THAT EPISODE WAS A HUGE CATALYST for my imagination to take off so I could reimagine myself in different roles. I would watch sporting events in a new light. Seeing the ice-skating competitions, I reimagined myself as a premier ice skater who could do a series of jumps, one after another after another without ever falling on the ice. Or I would now watch television game shows and see myself as a contestant who was getting all the right answers or moves. And the most important aspect of my new way of thinking was the ability to cope a little better with the bullying I started experiencing. After an episode of abuse, I would replay the event in my mind but with me being a superhero who could grab the perpetrator, spin him over my head then release him at high speed, so I could watch him sail over the trees, far away from me. Playing out this type of scenario had the ability to calm me down faster than any other method. If an incident took place during gym period, I would imagine different ways to attack the bully with the various sports equipment in the gymnasium or swimming pool. I know this may sound dark, but it was the only defense I had to help me get through these times; being able to tap into a different version of myself, just like some of the characters in this action, adventure comedy.      HER LIVELIHOOD TEETERING ON BANKRUPTCY, HER husband unhappy and a demanding father was more than what Evelyn Wang, played by Michelle Yeoh (Crazy Rich Asians, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), thought she could handle. That was until she began to have visions of a different Evelyn. With Stephanie Hsu (The Path-TV, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel-TV) as Joy Wang, Ke Huy Quan (The Goonies, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) as Waymond Wang, James Hong (Big Trouble in Little China, R.I.P.D.) as Gong Gong and Jamie Lee Curtis (Knives Out, Halloween franchise) as Deirdre Beaubeirdra; for me, the saving grace of this film was Michelle and Jamie. If it wasn’t for them, I would have lost interest in the story that I did not find particularly funny or exciting. Michelle was terrific as she went through a variety of emotional versions of herself. I liked the idea of the story, but after a while it felt like the script was just repeating itself. Jamie was the funny one for me; she used a specific physical comedy I could not recall having seen before. If the script was trying to convey a satire or message, I did not receive it. 

2 ½ stars   

Flash Movie Review: Kimi

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

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Trailer: Antlers

GROWING UP, I HAD A FRIEND who was embarrassed of her father. Without knowing his age, all of us felt he was the oldest out of any of our dads. Not that it was a big deal to any of us, but to her she felt uncomfortable by it. He did not participate in any of the school functions that involved any physical activity. I do not think that was an issue for my friend because I knew what bothered her the most about her dad; he spoke with a heavy accent. Being the oldest of his siblings, he tried taking care of them in their war-torn country after their parents were killed. Some of the siblings did not make it out when he was planning for all of them to immigrate to the United States. Out of all the fathers I knew, he was the only one with an accent. It did not bother me at all; I thought he was a sweet, quiet man who despite the circumstances dealt to him and his family, he did a wonderful job of providing for his children. They owned the apartment building they lived in, and the dad had other real estate holdings, so there was some sense of security for all of them. I can say as we all grew older my friend learned more about her family history, which instilled in her a strong sense of pride for her father.      SHE WAS NOT THE ONLY FRIEND I had who was embarrassed of their parents. There was the friend whose mother enjoyed participating in school functions. However, she would always come dressed inappropriately. Added to that was her over the top, loud personality. Many of the other parents tried to avoid her. Either she was oblivious or just did not care, because she never wavered in her choices of clothes and level of outrageous loud bantering. My friend would try to steer us in a different direction to avoid her mother anytime she showed up at our school. I remember one time at a school carnival, I spotted her manning the ball toss booth. From my spot away from her, I could see what she was wearing had to be upsetting some school officials. And sure enough, as I was walking towards her to say hello, our principal walked up to her and said she would have to cover herself up. I do not know if she expected it or not, but she bent over and took a sweater out of her bag. The principal told her to keep it buttoned up or she would have to leave the school. I never mentioned this to my friend. I am sure many of us at one time or another found something our parents were doing that was embarrassing; however, I do not think it was on the scope of what the young boy was experiencing in this dramatic, horror mystery.      WHEN MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER JULIA MEADOWS, played by Keri Russell (Dark Skies, Free State of Jones), notices one of her students withdrawing more and more from the classroom lessons, she takes it upon herself to find out what is going on. However, she does not understand there is a reason why her student doesn’t want her to get involved. With Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog, The Irishman) as Paul Meadows, relative newcomer Jeremy T. Thomas as Lucas Weaver, Graham Greene (Wind River, Dances with Wolves) as Warren Stokes and Scott Haze (Venom, Child of God) as Frank Weaver; I found this film played out more like a suspense story than horror. However, there were a few gory scenes with blood. There is something about Keri that I always find believable, and in this story, she was quite good. Add in Jesse and I did not mind the slower pace because the 2 actors were excellent together. The buildup of tense suspense was well done, and I feel it helped as two story lines were vying back and forth. Compared to other movies in this genre, this one is not the greatest; but it still entertained me. There was nothing here that the writers and director would find embarrassing.                                

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: The Lost City

I HAVE SAID IT BEFORE AND I will say it again, you really get to know a person when you travel with them. Not the daily routines of eating and bathing per se; I am referring more to the person’s emotions and reactions to different events. I remember visiting a friend who had recently moved out of state. He took me on a drive around the city before parking the car to begin a walking tour. We walked around, had lunch and explored a couple of bookstores before it was time to head back to his place. Because he was driving, I did not pay close attention to where we parked. It turned out, he did not have the best sense of direction and could not remember where he had parked the car. I followed him as we walked down one street after another in search of his vehicle. For the most part, I was okay and not too stressed by this unexpected event. However, after walking the streets multiply times, I lost it and burst out with a fit of anger. I knew it was not the best option, but I was tired and hungry. We sat a moment and I asked him what the first place was we went to after he had parked the car. It was a monument of George Washington, so I asked him to retrace our steps from the monument. Standing up, he took the lead as I hoped we were heading finally in the right direction to retrieve the car. When one of the streets we turned on looked familiar to me, both of us were able to follow our previous path back to the car.      WHAT MY FRIEND DISCOVERED ABOUT ME, is the fact that I can go for a certain period of time feeling annoyed before I break and unleash a volley of anger. I am not saying this is the right thing to do; it is what I used to do to help release the built-up negativity inside of me. Let me show you a different experience on a trip. A friend and I took a trip together out of state. We had a gameplan of things we wanted to see and do. One of our excursions was to visit a palace. Compared to other palaces, this one was not elaborate or regal by any means; in fact, it was somewhat small for a palace. As we walked through with our tour group, we were informed that this palace was the first royal palace in the world to get electricity. We looked at each with a look of elated shock on our faces, like two little kids discovering a secret. I very much enjoy learning obscure or not well-known facts/tidbits about different things. Hearing the electricity story fit right into my interest in architecture. The two of us felt like explorers. I had no idea my friend would find interest in this area; but it became something that further cemented the bond between us. If you are interested to see another type of example, feel free to watch what happens to the main characters in this action, adventure comedy.      UPON DISCOVERING THE AUTHOR TO THE books that he is the dashing adventurer cover model for, there was only one thing Alan, played by Channing Tatum (Logan Lucky, Magic Mike franchise), knew he had to do. He had to rescue her; if for nothing else, to keep his modeling career going. With Sandra Bullock (Our Brand is Crisis, The Heat) as Loretta, Daniel Radcliffe (Escape from Pretoria, Swiss Army Man) as Abigail Fairfax, Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Office Christmas Party, The Last Shift) as Beth Hatten and Brad Pitt (The Big Short, 12 Monkeys) as Jack Trainer; this film’s story harkened back to the times of the Romancing the Stone film era. The chemistry between Sandra and Channing took some time to gel, but eventually it did. I will say Brad Pitt was a viewing highlight playing such a fun character. Plus, it was the one surprise I found in the script that was predictable. However, I still enjoyed watching the movie because the cast was focused and committed to their sometimes outlandish characters. This was an easy and fun movie to sit back and enjoy.           

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Licorice Pizza

I WAS SURE I WAS ON my way to becoming a tycoon or at least thought of as being cool. There was no one I knew in my elementary school who was starting a business, but I was doing it. I do not remember how the idea came to me unless I considered the time spent selling candy and lemonade on the street corner, in front of my apartment building. My stand was a success; candy being the number one seller. What I used to do was set up the stand, a folding card table, early in the afternoon. I had two pitchers of lemonade and an assortment of candy pieces and bars. I would buy a bag of hard, fruit flavored candy that was individually wrapped, pour them into a bowl and sell each piece for a nickel. Right there, I was making a nice profit. When I was close to running out, I would have a friend of mine go to the store to buy another bag of hard candy and candy bars, which I priced a little more than the regular price. We would only buy the bars that were on sale; that is how I was able to make a profit on them.      HAVING GOTTEN A TASTE OF SUCCESS from my lemonade stand, gave me the confidence to start selling school supplies to my fellow classmates. I had a relative who was a manufacturer’s representative to a variety of companies that made school supplies. Their garage was completely shelved and fully stocked with all kinds of school items. Every new school year my cousins and I would go over and go “shopping” through the garage to get our school supplies. I must have asked my relative if I could take extra items, but I do not remember. There was no way I would have just taken them without permission; so, maybe I told him I wanted extra for friends? With my schoolbag loaded, I started asking classmates if they wanted to buy colored markers, erasers, pencil sharpeners and other assorted things. When students saw the variety of different colored markers and crayons, I sold out of everything in two days. I thought for sure I was on my way to becoming a great businessman. The added benefit to me was the fact students were now seeking me out to see what I had available. In my brain, I took this to mean I was now “popular.” Due to my history, I felt a connection at first with the main character in this dramatic, comedy romance.      HE WAS THE ULTIMATE PROMOTER OF himself. So, when student Gary Valentine, played by newcomer Cooper Hoffman, saw the school’s photographer’s helper he was convinced she would fall in love with him. With newcomer Alana Haim as Alana Kane, Sean Penn (Flag Day, Milk) as Jack Holden, Tom Waits (Seven Psychopaths, Short Cuts) as Rex Blau and newcomer Will Angarola as Kirk; this film festival winner and Oscar nominee was a disappointment. I thought Alana did a decent job for a newcomer and the established actors were good; but it did not matter because I thought the script was littered with distractions. The only actor that stood out for me was Bradley Cooper. There were scenes that fell flat for me because they were hard to believe in. Despite this movie being tagged as a comedy, I did not find anything funny. Sure, there were a couple of precarious predicament scenes, but what it came down to for me was the actors seemed too young for their roles outside of the school scenes. I periodically lost interest, though I enjoyed the soundtrack. I also appreciated the story line of first love and of the would-be actor trying to get ahead; but things did not comfortably fit well for me in the end. With its Oscar nominations, I almost felt as if I was being hustled as I watched this picture.

2 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Trailer: Free Guy

THERE WAS A PERIOD OF TIME growing up where I wanted to be wallpaper. What that meant was I did not want to be noticed because being noticed could lead to harm. I thought I was content walking around like a shadow, more like an auxiliary person instead of a fully developed human. The interesting thing about this is the fact I was not alone. There were several other students I knew who tried to stay blended into the background. I knew one girl who had an infectious laugh with a curious mind; however, most of the student body had no idea. She had been picked on because of her size, something I could relate to easily. The only inkling a person would get that there was an emotional, kind and playful person inside of her was when she was in art class. It was the only class that she could not hide in because her love of art was so strong. Her intricate, colorful designs in a variety of mediums made the other students envious. She knew this was something that could come back to hurt her, because it had happened to her before at her previous school. The interesting thing about the two of us is we both felt we had no choice but to be in the background.      FAST FORWARD DECADES AND NOW I find out that I lived part of my life as an NPC. It is a term I only learned of by watching this movie. I am not a gamer, so maybe that is the reason I had never heard this term before. For those of you who do not know either, NPC stands for nonplayer character. It is a character in a game that is not being controlled by the player. To me that means they are in the background a/k/a wallpaper. Having gained some wisdom on my journey of life, I wonder how much of my decision to be wallpaper was my choice. I know choices have consequences, but now I have been wondering if there was anything else I could have done to make my school experiences better and safer. In an odd way, I feel I could relate to the main character from today’s movie; I pretty much kept my same routine day after day once I figured out what was the safest path for me to make it through the school day. How weird is it that I am identifying with a made-up character from a video game? I wonder how you would react if you saw this action, adventure comedy.      EVERY DAY WAS A GREAT DAY FOR Guy, played by Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool franchise, Red Notice), with everything in its place and everything going the same way. However, all of it was about to change after he saw the girl of his dreams. With Jodie Comer (The Last Dual, Killing Eve-TV) as Millie, Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, The Electrical Life of Louis Wan) as Antwan, Lil Rey Howery (Get Out, Uncle Drew) as Buddy and Joe Keery (Molly’s Game, Stranger Things-TV) as Keys; this film kept me interested due to its whimsical nature and Ryan doing what Ryan does best. There was nothing earthshattering or different here, but it was a couple of hours of fluffy entertainment. The cast was good in their roles, but I thought Taika’s character was too much. Maybe that is the way the writers and director wanted him to be. The special effects were fun to watch. If you are a fan of Ryan’s style of comedy, then I believe you will enjoy this film; just remember, do not expect to be digging in deep. My experience and feelings surprised me as I began to understand the concept of an NPC. I am glad I do not have to live my life like I did back then, anymore.

2 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: House of Gucci

MY FRIEND WAS SO EXCITED TO show me her new designer purse. It was a good thing she told me ahead of time because when I saw it, I thought it looked like a premium gift one would have received for opening a new bank account. The purse looked ugly to me, with the designer’s initials being repeated row after row all around the bag. But then again, I was never fond of having “name/designer brands” or logos on clothing. When I was a little kid, I had a couple of pullover shirts that had a little crocodile patch attached to them. I never liked crocodiles, so I could not understand why I had to wear a shirt with one on it. All I said to my friend was how happy I was for her to get something she had been wanting for a long time. Little did I know I would see the same design on so many purses women were carrying all around the city. It was not too long before other designers were putting their initials on their clothing items. I thought for sure the people who could not afford these designer brands would be judged by their “ordinary” purses. To me, it looked like a caste system was being formed based on the brand of purse or clothing one was wearing.      MAYBE IT WAS A REACTION TO that idea, that drove me to look for fitness wear that was not simply an advertisement for the manufacturer. I started buying novelty T-shirts that were funny or quirky. Gaining the opportunity to be able to travel, I started buying a T-shirt and hat from every state I visited. Soon two dozen shirts and hats blossomed into 50, then 100; until I wound up with over 300 T-shirts, none advertising a logo or brand name. Sure, I was stuck with workout shoes that had the company’s logo on them, but I always looked first for a nondescript article. I continued to keep my principles even after the imitation/fake items doused the consumer. My lesson in fake items took place at a flea market, where a booth was selling what I thought were expensive watches. It turned out the items piled on the table were fake but looked so close to the originals that I do not think many people would know the difference. However, underneath the tables unbeknownst to me were watches that were made at the same factories as the name brand ones. They were tweaked a bit in cost cutting moves but essentially, they were coming from the same watch company but for more than ½ the price. I thought it was crazy but then I watched this Oscar nominated film.      FROM A SIMPLE LIFE PATRIZIA REGGIANI, PLAYED by Lady Gaga (A Star is Born, Sin City: A Dame to Kill), had no idea who she was looking at when she saw the awkward man behind the bar. If she knew who she was looking at, she certainly did not know what went with the man’s name. With Adam Driver (The Last Dual, Marriage Story) as Maurizio Gucci, Al Pacino (The Irishman, Dick Tracy) as Aldo Gucci, Jeremy Irons (Margin Call, Assassin’s Creed) as Rodolfo Gucci and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club, Requiem for a Dream) as Paolo Gucci; what saved this movie inspired by a true story was Lady Gaga. She was totally committed to the character to the point I forgot it was her. Because of her performance, Adam Driver was pushed into the background; granted the fact he could not hold onto an Italian accent did not help his cause. As for Jared, I had not idea it was him until I saw the ending credits. The script and direction were weak in my opinion. It was nearly halfway before things started to gel better together and the story finally kept my interest. The story was unbelievable if any of it was true in this picture. And looking up a photo afterwards of Patrizia Reggiani, the producers did perfect casting with choosing Lady Gaga.

2 ½ stars 

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