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Flash Movie Review: Jackass Forever

OUR VISITS WERE INFREQUENT BECAUSE HE lived out of state. We grew up together, though he was several years older than me. When I was a small kid, he would make me laugh with his offbeat humor. I remember his laugh; it would come out of his mouth with a blast, close to an octave higher than his speaking voice. In a large gathering, his laugh was always distinguishable among the voices. Through the decades, my humor evolved like most other kids growing up. The jokes that were told back in elementary school, if I were to hear them now, I would not find most of them funny. As they say, there is such a thing as kid’s humor. Let me ask you, how many kids do you know that if you say the child’s name for digestive waste will burst out laughing? There is a handful I know presently that laugh at the word being spoken. If I give it thought, the type of humor I enjoy most of the time is satirical and deadpan absurd. I had a relative who was the best when delivering satirical punchlines/comments. No disrespect to any comics out there, but those that use foul language to make a joke, I do not find funny.      IN MY ADULT YEARS, WHEN I have gotten together with the out of towner, I realized his humor never evolved. It was the same type of jokes that he told when I was a little kid, which I no longer found funny. Weirdly, I also find them annoying now. Part of the issue I believe is due to him never taking a break from trying to be funny. I like a good joke and a laugh like anyone else, but I do not want the entire conversation to be filled with joke after joke; I enjoy talking back and forth about current news, feelings, and an assortment of other topics. The out of towner never gives a serious answer to a legitimate question; it is so irritating. I do not want someone to answer my question with a question or to make a joke about everything I ask them. For example, “How is you family?” He could not say “fine” or “doing well.” The answer would be some obtuse comment or pretend he does not know what I am talking about. When I would push back to try and get a serious answer to my question, he still would not offer one. I found our visits becoming strained; there was nothing new to talk about with him. This is the same feeling I had while watching the latest installment of this action, comedy franchise.      THOUGH THEIR BODIES ARE OVER TEN years older, the crew from the original movie are back with the same type of pranks. With Johnny Knoxville (Bad Grandpa, The Ringer), Steve-O (Guest House, Sunset Society), Chris Pontius (Charlie’s Angels: Full throttle, Action Point), Dave England (The Bet) and Ehren McGhehey (All Hell Breaks Loose, Portlandia-TV); I used to find this crew’s antics amusing. Granted, there is that aspect of unbelievability that can draw in the viewer; however, with this picture I had a mixture of disgust and boredom part of the time. There were a couple of stunts that were amusing; but most of them seemed to have been created for the cast to be at full exposure and I do mean full exposure. I will say that one can see the deep level of friendship/camaraderie the cast has for each other. It is admirable, but I had to wonder if some of the stunts were designed to test that bond between them because they seemed mean spirited to me. If you are a fan of these films, then you probably want to see this latest one. I felt there was nothing new that surprised me; it only made me uncomfortable.

2 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Uncharted

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

2 stars 

Flash Movie Review: The 355

WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, THE INDIVIDUALS I did not like knew it. I do not know why, but I felt it was my responsibility to put them in their place. If someone was a braggart, I would find a way to knock them down a couple of rungs. Not that I was proud or that it was an achievement on my part, but I used to be the best when it came to holding a grudge. So, if I encountered someone who I had a negative interaction with previously, they knew along with everyone else in the room that I would have nothing to do with them, to the point of completely ignoring them. No so much as a hello or the nod of my head for acknowledgement, I would purposely hover around them without engaging them into any of my conversations with the other guests. Even if they added a comment to the conversation, I would simply talk over them or remain silent. Of course, the other people within the conversation would realize I was ignoring the individual; but they never would make a comment, let alone try to push me to engage with the unwanted person. Out in the real world this was easy for me to do and maintain; but in the work world, I knew I could not act out in the same fashion.      MY GUIDING FORCE WHEN IT COMES to dealing with conflict between employees is remembering that the company comes first. There is nothing more important to me than maintaining a company’s good name. I used to work with a miserable individual who felt everyone around them was stupid, that he was the only smart one. I had a couple of run-ins with him where he tried to get me in trouble. From that point on I decided I would totally ignore him. He got the message quickly when he tried to engage me in small talk; I just looked at him, got up from my desk and walked out of the room. With that being said, when it came to asking anything about company business I would cordially respond. That was the only time I would interact with him, company business. Let us face it, I do not think there is anyone who likes and gets along with every person they meet; there always will be someone that is disliked. I have learned in the work environment to put personal opinions to the side, work with whoever you need to work with, to get the job done. This is the philosophy one can see in this action thriller.      THE BEST WAY TO CAPTURE A top-secret weapon for CIA agent Mace, played by Jessica Chastain (Crimson Peak, Molly’s Game), would be to join forces with her counterparts from other international agencies; but would she be able to trust them. With Penelope Cruz (Pain and Glory, The Counselor) as Graciela Rivera, Bingbing Fan (X-Men: Days of future Past, Lady of the Dynasty) as Lin Mi Sheng, Diane Kruger (In the Fade, National Treasure franchise) as Marie Schmidt and Jason Flemyng (Deep Rising, From Hell) as Elijah Clarke; this movie’s selling point was having a strong female group who could act, leading this story. The fight scenes were bloody and violent, with an authentic look to them. I did not mind the story’s plotline, but there really was nothing new to it. I have seen similar films that were a lot better in dealing with the spy stuff. There was a nice twist to the story; however, the script did not add to the characters. Personally, I think the writers could have gone to a deeper intensity level which would have made this picture more engaging. There was only a mild curiosity on my part, that got dulled by the poorly written script.

 

2 stars  

Flash Movie Review: Spencer

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WERE never in a relationship, where your significant other cheated on you, you are very fortunate. It is not a good feeling; in fact, for some it can feel like a death. I had three significant relationships where they cheated on me. Two out of the three at least told me to my face; the third one I found out about when I discovered a pair of slippers under the bed, that were not in my size. I confronted them with the slippers, and they finally fessed up to having a relationship with someone else for several months. There was a part of me that felt stupid, for not being able to see the signs. However, I truly did not see any signs; maybe because with me having two jobs and they being on call for nursing, it never occurred to me there would even be time to have an affair. The only thing I did wonder about was if the slippers were purposely left under the bed for me to find them. I mean c’mon, who would leave a pair of slippers if they were not able to stay at our place for a long time, let alone overnight? It did not really matter because even though I tried working through the emotions to save the relationship, my trust never come back the same way.      WITH THE ONES WHO AT LEAST told me about their affairs, it was more of a cut and dry split. Yes, it hurt a great deal, but it was also my new reality. The one I had to discover bothered me more because I had to wonder how many of their friends knew about it and had to pretend everything was ok when they were around us. Can you imagine being all together at a party where most people knew my significant other was dating someone else? If it were me, I certainly would be uncomfortable. I would be one of those friends who would say they needed to tell their partner they are cheating on them. The whole scenario gives me an icky feeling, even as I am retelling a part of my history to you. I know those past events shaped me and caused me to have deeper trust issues. It took a long time to work through all of it and at least I did not have to do it in the public’s eye like the main character had to in this biographical drama based on true events.      KNOWING THAT HER HUSBAND HAS BEEN cheating on her, did not prevent Princess Diana, played by Kristen Stewart (Charlie’s Angels, Personal Shopper), from attending her mother-in-law’s annual Christmas holiday at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England. Nothing could have been more awkward. With Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner, Harry Potter franchise) as Major Alistar Gregory, newcomer Jack Nielen as William, newcomer Freddie Spry as Harry and Jack Farthing (The Lost Daughter, Official Secrets) as Charles; this film was worth watching because of Kristen’s portrayal of Princess Diana. When I first heard she was cast, I thought it was an odd choice. However, seeing her use her body and acting skills to bring the image of Diana to mind was amazing. Obviously, who knows what exactly took place during that trip; but I have to say, some scenes in this picture came across as being weird while others were just uncomfortable to watch. I felt the script could have used a couple more revisions because after a while, I felt like I was viewing scenes that were all similar. On the plus side, I was fascinated with the pomp and traditions on display through the story; though I do not know if there is any truth in them, but still fun to watch. I do not feel this movie was made as a tribute to Diana, but it certainly would intrigue those who are curious.

2 stars  

Flash Movie Review: The King’s Man

I HAVE ALWAYS HAD A CURIOUSITY with how things are created and started. When I was a young kid, I used to break apart my toys to see how they worked. One of my favorite toys that I had for an extended time finally met its demise, when I smashed the plastic globe that held these small hard plastic, colored balls that were smaller than golf balls. Attached to this globe that was on wheels was a long handle. As I rolled the toy that got the name “Popcorn Maker,” due to something in the middle popping the balls up against the inside top of the globe, the balls would be bouncing around accompanied by a popping sound. I loved this toy; but eventually my curiosity got the better of me, leading me to destroy it to see what was making the balls pop up whenever I rolled the toy around the house. It looked like a tiny, tiny bicycle wheel without the rim, just the spokes sticking out. As the wheels rolled, this device in the middle of the axel would as well. As the spokes rolled towards the top of their enclosure, they got bent back. When they got to the very top where the hole was the spoke would spring up and snap at any ball that landed in the hole. It was such a simple device, but I enjoyed playing with it nonstop.      IN MY LINE OF WORK, I have had the opportunity to discover the origin of hundreds of companies and businesses. A well-known ice cream company got its start over 100 years ago when 2 brothers contracted with a farmer, the use of his 15 cows. They would turn the cows’ milk into ice cream and sell it from the back of their truck. As popularity grew, they bought a distributor to sell their product beyond their small town. I get a kick when I see their product stocked at the grocery store, knowing its humble beginnings. When I was visiting Savannah, Georgia I learned how the Girl Scouts came into being because of a woman’s idea that she wanted to encourage young girls to focus on their strengths; so, they could create opportunities for themselves. Keep in mind this was a time before woman were given the right to vote. Another time where my curiosity was piqued was when I was visiting the Iolani Palace in Hawaii. I wanted to know how it became one of the first places in the United states to be entirely wired for electricity, even before the White House. It came about when the King of Hawaii met Thomas Edison while on a world tour. So, you see, being inquisitive comes naturally to me and that is why I was interested in seeing today’s prequel film.      FROM AN IDEA, A FEW INDIVIDUALS formed a group to tackle world problems. They, however, did not know the scope of the problems they would be tackling. With Ralph Fiennes (The Dig, A Bigger Splash) as Orlando Oxford, Gemma Arterton (Their Finest, The Girl with all the Gifts) as Polly, Rhys Ifans (Last Call, The Amazing Spider-Man franchise) as Grigori Rasputin, Harris Dickinson (Beach Rats, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil) as Conrad Oxford and Djimon Hounsou (Captain Marvel, Blood Diamond) as Shola; this action, adventure comedy had a broad canvas to tell its story. I am afraid the canvas was way too big, because I felt there was to much stuffed into the script that the flow of the story was scattered all over the place. I enjoyed the acting and the action scenes; however, there was such a mix of emotions that were on display that I would lose interest periodically. The historical aspect was a fine idea and one I was interested in since I enjoyed the previous films, but the script needed a major rewrite. By the time I left the theater, I had lost my interest in how the Kingsman got its start. There was an extra scene during the ending credits.                                               

2 stars  

Flash Movie Review: Encounter

THE NEWS STORY REPORTED WAS HORRIFIC. I was watching the news on television as the reporter was standing across from a charred structure. The following is what she reported. A fire broke out in the apartment building and the father of one of the families living in the building was credited with saving several children. He had no training; he simply acted on instinct. First, he got his family safely out and away from the building. Knowing the other residents, he quickly ran back into the building to assist those neighbors who needed it. With smoke billowing and the fire spreading quickly, the father was grabbing any unattended children, bringing them down and out of the building despite the smoke irritating his eyes and lungs. I was wondering as the reporter was talking, how far away was the fire department from the building and how long did it take for them to eventually get there. The reporter continued the father was personally responsible for saving besides his family, five young children from the building. However, the story ended on a sad note; the father did not survive. After bringing out his 5th child, the father went back into the ravaged building to look for any other children. He never came back out.      I FOUND THE NEWS STORY INCREDIBLY sad. What a heroic feat the father had done for his family and neighbors; it was heartbreaking he had to lose his life in the process. Though I do not believe my story is anywhere on the same tragic level as what the news reported, I distinctly remembered the day I almost drowned. On a family vacation, we were staying with out of state relatives. One day it was decided we would go to a resort’s swimming pool. I was not even in kindergarten yet, so I do remember I was quite young. My swimming ability was limited to playing in the shallow end. At the end of the day, I decided to wash off my flip-flops. I walked over to the edge of the pool that was closest to me; it turned out it was the deep end. I sat down with my feet in the water and leaned over to rinse off my sandals. Before I knew it, I fell into the water. I had no time to think as I sunk below the surface. Still clutching my flip-flops, I started waving my arms up and down in the hopes I could get back to the surface of the water. The very next thing, I felt two arms hugging me from behind and up to the surface we went; it was that fast. A stranger had saved me who was nearby. It amazes me how instincts take over in times of need. If you choose to see this science fiction thriller, you won’t believe what the dad does to save his kids.      WITH THE POPULATION UNDER AN ALIEN threat, a father commits to do anything he can to save his two boys. With Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Malik Khan, Octavia Spencer (Thunder Force, The Shape of Water) as Hattie Hayes, Lucian-River Chauhan (Heartland-TV, Gabby Duran & the Unsittables-TV) as Jay Khan, newcomer Aditya Geddada as Bobby Khan and Rory Cochrane (Black Mass, Love and a .45) as Shepard West; the beginning of this film started off with a bang, it was exciting. The acting was ably handled by Riz with the surprise that the 2 young boys did such an admirable acting job as well. For me, I enjoyed the first half of the movie more than the 2nd half. It was almost as if two different stories were playing out. Unfortunately, it did not work; instead, it lost the excitement factor for me. It was sad because the acting was so good as was the idea behind the story. Too bad there was not someone through the entire making of this production available to save this movie.

2 stars  

Flash Movie Review: Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins

I THOUGHT WE WERE MORE THAN coworkers, that we were friends. We worked in separate departments but needed to communicate with each other to do our jobs. At company events we would hang out together; we had a similar sense of humor and viewpoints. Sometimes we would meet after work to grab a bite to eat, especially if one of us had a frustrating day. When time permitted, we would get together on a weekend to catch a movie or meet at the shopping mall to do some retail therapy. As time passed our friendship went deeper where we were comfortable to confide in each other. Some of the topics we talked about would be of a more personal nature. I remember one of the things I mentioned was a surprise for them. We laughed about it and afterwards I asked to please keep the information to themselves. Work kept us busy and the two of us were maintaining the status quo. I think it was 2 or 3 months later when a friend in my department said they had to tell me something. I said sure; I was all ears. What they told me made my stomach drop. My fellow coworker was in the lunchroom and two employees were sitting at another table talking about me. What they were discussing was the personal thing I told my “work friend.” I was stunned, shocked and hurt.      ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ATTRIBUTES I feel a human should have is trustworthiness. Trust is something I value greatly. I never give my trust out without a person earning it. This co-worker who betrayed me broke my trust which wounded me deeply. Once I feel my trust has been broken/abused, it is hard for a person to ever get it back. In the past I could hold a grudge against a person for years and for all I know I can still do it. I find the act of breaking a person’s trust to be such a hateful act. After hearing the news about myself, the question I had was what to do about my friend in the other department. I did not know whether to run over and confront them or simply ignore them. What I did know was I did not want to let these hurt feelings stay and fester inside of me. The one thing I knew about myself was not to confront them immediately because my anger was at a high level and I would have been on attack mode. Not to go into more revealing details, all I will say is it took me a couple of months before I brought up the subject. Trust is such a vital part of being human in my opinion, that I totally sympathized with the feelings on display in this action, adventure fantasy.      HAVING SAVED THE LIFE OF THE heir to an ancient clan, the loner was taken in to become part of the family. From the things he encountered within the family, he would soon have to face the feelings he had about his past. With Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians, Last Christmas) as Snake Eyes, Andrew Koji (Warrior-TV, Casualty-TV) as Tommy, Haruka Abe (Cruella, She’s Just a Shadow) as Takehiro Hira, Peter Mensah (300 franchise, Spartacus-TV) as Blind Master and Takehiro Hira (Lost Girls and Love Hotels, Killing for the Prosecution) as Kenta; this G.I. Joe spinoff had a great look to it and exciting fight scenes. The cast was very good but not good enough to raise the average script. I felt the story was a conglomerate of previous films in this genre. There was a predictability to the scenes’ actions which cut into the excitement/tension level. I am afraid this movie was just an average viewing experience; nothing major or minor in it. There was an extra scene early into the ending credits.

2 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Eternals

A FRIEND OF MINE CREATED AN informal group that consisted of friends and acquaintances, who wanted to help take care of our neighborhood. The only requirement to be part of the group was to have pride for the neighborhood. Since I was born and raised in it, I signed up to become a member of the group. I have to say my friend was a sensitive individual, who started the group to combat the negativity he was experiencing both in his workplace and personal surroundings. His hope was to spread a little positivity around the neighborhood through acts of kindness. The first event he scheduled was to meet at the beach, ready to clean up any litter. When I arrived, he handed me a trash bag; I already was wearing a pair of gloves, so did not need the ones he was providing. There was a total of 9 or 10 people who participated and the time my friend set for the event was two hours. We each were assigned an area of the beach and went at our own pace because some of us weren’t as young and nimble as the others. I was grateful that in my section I did not come across anything truly disgusting. Instead, most of the items I found were cigarette butts, plastic cups, empty bottles, cans and tattered sheets of paper. Why people could not take the time to walk over to the trash and recycling bins, I would never know.      ONE OF THE REASONS MY FRIEND asked me to join his group was because he knew how attentive I was in recycling everything I could at home. Granted I was lucky that the town I lived in had a very active recycling program that was easy to follow. Each resident was given two large bins, one for trash and the other for recyclables. They also gave out small orange crates as backup in case our bins got full before trash day. Since I kept my bins in the garage, I made doubly sure to rinse any containers out before leaving them sitting outside for days. I did not want to attract any wildlife with food encrusted items.  Besides the usual newspapers and magazines, I recycled most of my junk mail, along with any container that showed the recycling number on it. I also would recycle those plastic rings that held together a six pack of soda, but only after I cut open each ring to prevent any wildlife from getting their head stuck in one. For me, I felt I was doing my part in protecting this world just like the main characters felt in this action, adventure fantasy.      DUE TO AN UNEXPECTED EVENT, ANCIENT aliens who lived among us had to come out of their peaceful lives to combat an old enemy. With Gemma Chan (Captain Marvel, Crazy Rich Asians) as Sersi, Richard Madden (The Take, A Promise) as Ikaris, Angelina Jolie (Maleficent franchise, Those Who Wish Me Dead) as Thena, Salma Hayek (The Hummingbird Project, Like a Boss) as Ajak and Kit Harington (Pompeii, Game of Thrones-TV) as Dane Whitman; this latest release from the Marvel Universe was a big disappointment. I felt the script lacked the typical humor one expects from Marvel films. Scenes dragged for me and I did not care for the flip flopping that took place in the latter part of the movie. Surprisingly, I thought the special effects were not up to par; there seemed to be an almost cartoonish aspect to the characters, and I do not mean that in a good way. The pacing and the action scenes just seemed off to me which added to my boredom. Except for the 2 extra scenes during the ending credits, I would not have immediately thought this was a Marvel film. It felt like I had spent an eternity watching this picture by the time it was over.

2 stars

Flash Movie Review: The Many Saints of Newark

DECADES AGO, I SAW THE MOVIE, “The Bad Seed.” After seeing what the girl did in that film, I was convinced a young girl I knew was related to her. Any time I was around her, I always kept at least one eye on her because I never knew what to expect. I saw how adults doted on her, telling her she was so pretty and bright; I did not buy it for a second. I was playing with a small group of kids from the block, when she came out carrying an umbrella. She had it open as she twirled it between her fingers. Dancing around us, she closed the umbrella and pretended it was a sword, thrusting and jabbing the air with it. As I said before, I was watching her while trying to play the game. Suddenly, she turned and stabbed the back of one kid’s head with the umbrella tip, then thrusted the point into the back of the kid next to them. There was a scream of pain as the rest of us dropped our toys and scrambled to stand up to go after her. We did not have a chance because she had run back into her house, laughing all the way.      I DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHY SHE was so mean; her parents seemed fine or let me say the mother was nice. The times I saw the father he seemed okay, but he did not smile much. How and why their daughter would be like that I did not know. Looking back now as an adult, I have to think that girl had to learn that behavior. I believe everyone is born with the ability to be good or bad; no one comes into this world knowing hate. Something had to be happening to that girl to make her act out in a violent way. Either inside the family or from some source out of the home; but I must believe she was not born an evil being. Children learn from their parents. I knew a boy who had an abusive father, who I think was an alcoholic. This boy grew up, got married and was divorced within a couple of years because he was abusive to his wife. It is obvious to me he learned such behavior from his father while he was growing up. Now there may be some physiological reason why a person acts in an abnormal way; but putting that aside, I say a child sees what is going around them and acts accordingly. There is a strong example of it in this dramatic, crime film.      WITH THE TIMES AND NEIGHBORHOOD CHANGING, the Moltisanti and Soprano families must find a way to continue their business dealings at all costs. If they cannot keep up, there would always be someone ready to take their place. With Alessandra Nivola (American Hustle, Disobedience) as Dickie Moltisanti, Leslie Odom Jr (One Night in Miami, Hamilton) as Harold McBrayer, Jon Bernthal (Baby Driver, The Wolf of Wall Street) as Johnny Soprano, Vera Farmiga (The Front Runner, Godzilla: King of the Monsters) as Livia Soprano and Ray Liotta (Wild Hogs, Something Wild) as “Hollywood Dick” Moltisanti; I first must say I have never watched an episode of The Sopranos.” My review might be less positive than someone who was a fan of the television show. I thought the sets and music choices were great. The performances were good, especially Alessandra and Ray; however, the script failed to develop any of the characters. I felt I was watching vignettes filled with caricatures. For not having any knowledge of these characters, I was able to figure out what was going to happen to most of them during the story. In my opinion, the entire production of this picture was disjointed. From the praises I have heard from the TV show’s fans, this movie would be better off being buried on a back lot of the studio. There were several scenes with blood and violence.

2 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Kate

THE PHOTO WAS FORWARDED TO ME and I immediately had memories flood my brain as soon as I saw it. I had not thought about that trip in years; no, actually decades, but remembered the who, what and where of the trip. I am always amazed at the workings of the mind. How these stored memories suddenly appear in full force, like a spotlight, into one’s consciousness; it is fascinating. From that one photo, I was able to remember the place I stayed at, the time of year and the various sights I visited while there. Truthfully, if I had not seen that one photo I do not know if I would have ever recalled that vacation. And that is the other aspect of stirred memories I enjoy experiencing; that random trigger that sets off the memory like a firecracker. For example, just recently I had a lunch date with a few family members. I had found this new food item at the store and thought the relatives would enjoy trying them. Buying a few different flavors, I put them out on the dining room table when the meal was ready. As the group of people inspected the items, I brought out drinking glasses for them to give the products a try. One family member kept taking a taste from their drink. When I asked what they thought of it, they said the taste is reminding them of a different time when they were back in college drinking a mixed alcoholic beverage out of a plastic cup. How random it was; I enjoyed hearing how a past memory got ignited from a new type of drink.      JUST AS I AM FASCINATED WITH the way memories suddenly appear from random stimuli, I am also curious how some memories always stay close to the surface to steer the actions of an individual.  Many of us might have experienced buying a car that turned out to be a complete lemon. I know I did. There was a car I had that would periodically just shut off while I was driving it. I remember one time it decided to turn off in the middle of a busy intersection. There was nothing I could do because the car would not turn over. I go so fed up, I grabbed my stuff, got out, locked the car doors and walked over to the curb to call a tow service. For the next few weeks while I looked for a car, I rode a bicycle wherever I had to go. From that time, I have never bothered looking at that car manufacturer’s products when I needed to buy a car. Some memories just never fade away, like the one the main character kept having in this action, crime adventure.      AFTER AN ASSIGNMENT GETS BOTCHED UP, a well-honed assassin discovers she has a short time to live before she dies. She only has one thing on her mind. With Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Birds of Prey, 10 Cloverfield Lane) as Kate, Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games franchise, Out of the Furnace) as Varrick, relative newcomer Miku Patricia Martineau as Ani, Tadanobu Asano (Thor franchise, Battleship) as Renji and Jun Kunimura (Kill Bill franchise, The Naked Director-TV) as Kijima; this story was a mix of previous film stories I have seen. There seems to be a recent smattering of movies with female killers. I have enjoyed seeing them and in fact, this film reminded me of a cross between John Wick, Atomic Blonde and Crank. Kate did an admirable job of acting and fighting in this role; however, the script was generic, without much depth and character development. There was a stylized flair in the look of this picture, but it did not have that extra punch, so to speak, to make this a great movie. The bottom line here is I might remember Mary Elizabeth’s performance, but I doubt I will remember this movie after a short time.

2 stars

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