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Flash Movie Review: The Whale

I DO NOT REMEMBER WHY I enjoyed eating an entire loaf of bread before dinner; I just knew it felt good. Even if I could bring details back from when I was doing it, I was too young to understand why I was doing it. The only thing I can remember is the comforting feeling that came over me while eating the bread; though, bread was not the only food I would excessively indulge in. Sometimes I would stop at one of the ice cream trucks that were always driving through my neighborhood with their tinkling bells and recorded music, like mobile pied pipers enticing every child within earshot. I would always order the largest chocolate ice cream cone and be able to finish it all during my short walk home from school. It is odd to me now how I could eat an entire meal despite having stuffed myself with these added carb and sugar laden foods. It was not until my later years in elementary school that I made the connection between my feelings and food. Whenever I was made fun of or picked on, I would immediately after school focus on what I could eat that would make me feel better. If I could not find something to eat once outside the school building, I would go home and if there was not much bread available, I would look for cookies in the pantry; and if there were none, I always knew my last resort would be to eat breakfast cereal right out of the box.      DURING HIGH SCHOOL I BEGAN TO delve deeper into my eating habits. I was determined to change my appearance. I was able to do it despite having two major setbacks. Then in college, where I had several courses in psychology, I learned how to deal with my emotions in a healthy way. To maintain my appearance, I cut out snacking between meals. With just that change along with my rule of no eating five hours before going to bed, I was able to keep weight off. Granted, I was no longer stuffing my feelings down by stuffing my face. One of the most important words I incorporated into my life was “balance.” During the weekdays I remained strict with my diet; however, on the weekends I was free to indulge in comfort food as long as it was not too excessive. I have a friend who understands my philosophy, but they are not there yet; they have not controlled the act of rewarding themselves with decadent type foods. For the main character in this drama, I understood what he was doing and deep down I think he understood as well.      WITH HIS PROSPECTS DIMMING FOR A long life, a father wants to reconnect with his estranged daughter, who he has not seen in several years. With Brendan Fraser (The Poison Rose, Doom Patrol-TV) as Charlie, Sadie Sink (Eli, Stranger Things-TV) as Ellie, Ty Simpkins (Jurassic World, Insidious franchise) as Thomas, Hong Chau (Downsizing, The Menu) as Liz and Samantha Morton (The Messenger, Miss Julie) as Mary; this movie provided me with something I have not seen in a while; an immediate realization I was watching an Oscar worthy acting performance. Brendan was absolutely spectacular. I felt his acting gave the cast an extra boost because they were all excellent. Directed by Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan), I thought this was one of his better films. The script was slow and steady, taking place mostly in one spot; but the emotions tied up with the story and Brendan’s performance nearly took me into his world. Despite some predictability and the slow trickle of back story, I was fully engaged with the characters and understood what they were going through for the most part. I left the movie theater on a high for seeing such a well-done film that deserves to be recognized this awards season.                                    

3 ½ stars  

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Flash Movie Review: She Said

TO MY HORROR, THE ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL told his secretary to go pull the students out of class and bring them down to the office. I had just finished telling him about the abuse I was experiencing from these students and now he wanted his secretary to bring them in while I was still sitting in his office; I wanted to run and hide somewhere. If the assistant principal thought he was making me feel better, when he said he would make them stop attacking me, it was not working because I knew it would only anger the students. They would only intensify their efforts in getting me. I stared at the wall clock wishing school was over for the day and I was safely back at home; my anxiety was increasing with each passing second. It was a five-minute wait until the office door opened with the secretary leading the students into the room. The assistant principal did not offer any of them a seat; he immediately went into his speech about respecting fellow students and their type of behavior was not acceptable. I could not even look at any of them; instead, I kept my gaze directed at the floor. Other things were mentioned but I did not pay any attention to them since I was suddenly feeling nauseous and just wanted to get out of there. I realized the assistant principal was finishing up when he told the students he did not want to catch them bothering me ever again. Yea, right.      IT WAS A COUPLE OF WEEKS of “peacefulness” before I was pushed down a flight of stairs in school. I never saw who did it and luckily, I was able to grab a hold of the banister from tumbling all the way down the stairs. A few days later I was eating lunch in the lunchroom when a partially eaten apple hit me in the face. It came from somewhere across the room, but I had no idea who threw it. Well, let me say I did not see who threw it, but I knew who it had to be; one of the students who was called into the assistant principal’s office. Other incidents took place to the point I started skipping classes from time to time and always changing the way I went from class to class. Besides enduring the abuse, the hardest part was explaining the bruises that were visible on me or the stains on my clothing or the dirt covered books. I just had to find a way to get through the time until graduation and go far away to college. Me saying something did not bring me any relief which is one of the reasons why I could sympathize with the victims in this historical drama.      FEELING LIKE THERE WAS A POSSIBLE story behind the little news they had heard about a big, powerful Hollywood producer; two reporters agree to work together to see if they could get to the truth. Their challenge would be to find a witness. With Carey Mulligan (The Dig, Promising Young Woman) as Megan Twohey, Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks, The Big Sick) as Jodi Kantor, Patricia Clarkson (Out of Blue, The Bookshop) as Rebecca Corbett, Andre Braugher (The Baytown Outlaws, Brooklyn Nine-Nine-TV) as Dean Baquet and Jennifer Ehle (A Quiet Passion, Zero Dark Thirty) as Laura Madden; this movie based on true story was riveting at times. Carey and Zoe were outstanding together, which added to the movie watching experience. I thought the pacing was better in the beginning and end than during the middle parts; however, because of the familiarity I had with the story, I stayed focused on the events. The story is frightening, horrific, and a variety of other emotions; even if you are not familiar with the news of this event, it is well worth watching this taut, suspenseful film.

3 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

I AM NOT ADVOCATING TO THROW caution to the wind, but within reason to allow yourself to experience at least one indulgence. Since I was a little boy, I have loved and always wanted a particular European sports car. Now I know chances are I will never be able to afford to buy one, but I still dream about it. Maybe I can splurge at some point and rent it while on vacation. From time to time, an article of clothing or a small electronic device has caught my attention. If it grabs a strong hold on me, I will obsess over it to the point where I feel everything would work out in my life if I just had that item. There was a time, years ago, where I would act on these compulsions and immediately buy it on a charge card, whether I could afford it or not. Just having that thing brought me immense joy and it was something I did not expect anyone else to understand. For example, getting a sweater that I thought was so cool looking gave me such pleasure because, in my mind, I thought I would look great in it. Not having a substantial level of high esteem, this was my way to make myself feel better. I think that is one of the reasons it is hard for me to get rid of clothes; I do not want to throw away the magic that article of clothing provided me.      WITH MATURITY, I LEARNED TO CONTROL my habit for finding happiness in material things. Not that it was necessarily a negative thing, it needed to have a coating of reason with it. While I was still living at home, I decided I wanted to have a house I could call my own. One thing you can say about me is I have an incredibly strong sense of determination. If there is something I want, I will laser focus on it and do whatever I need to do to make it a reality. For several years, I took on extra hours, worked overtime and saved every penny I could so that I would be able to put a healthy down payment on whatever house I found. Sure, I did not accept every invite to go out to dinner or a show; but sometimes I would make alternate plans to meet for lunch or just to hang out which would cost less money. My plan worked and it was well worth doing because I was able to fulfill my dream of having my own home. This is one of the reasons why I feel indulging oneself within a reasonable limit can be a positive thing. There is a wonderful example of it you can see in this lovely comedic drama.      SEEING FOR THE FIRST TIME A Christian Dior dress was all cleaning woman Ada Harris, played by Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread, Another Year) needed to fall in love with it. She would find a way someday to own her very own haute couture Dior dress. With Isabelle Huppert (About Joan, Greta) as Claudine Colbert, Lambert Wilson (The Matrix franchise, Timeline) as Marquis de Chassagne, Alba Baptista (Patrick, Warrior Nun-TV) as Natasha and Lucas Bravo (Ticket to Paradise, Emily in Paris-TV) as Andre Fauvel; this movie was a treasure. Set in the city of London during the 1950s, Lesley was magnificent as Ada; she drove the story beyond the predictable. The pacing was perfect throughout every scene; I felt I was transported back in time. And the ultimate compliment belongs to the writers; their story brought me into a situation that I initially thought was impossible. Yet, with their words, I soon was rooting for everyone in the cast. If there were more films out of this caliber, I would indulge my love of movies by going to the theater more often.

3 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Enola Holmes 2

THOUGH MY FRIENDS WERE NOT THRILLED having their older sibling attending the same school, I did not mind it at all. When the sibling was a brother, it usually worked out even better for me. I had one friend whose brother was two grades above us. If they saw each other in the school hallway, they rarely acknowledged each other. However, if I was by myself the older brother would nod his head in acknowledgement whenever he saw me. For me, at least in my mind, he was a pseudo-bodyguard. There were times when I would purposely walk alongside of him anytime, I saw a bully nearby. Just for the fact he was older, the bullies would not take a chance on starting something with me as long as he was near me. Not like he was some type of tough guy himself; he just was older and bigger and that was enough to curtail someone from picking on me. This is the reason I said it was a better situation when the older sibling was male instead of female. Some bullies did not hesitate to harass the older sister besides me if we happen to be walking alongside of each other.      WHEN I ENTERED COLLEGE, I LIVED on a floor where everyone else was either in a higher grade or a grad student. At first, I was intimidated; however, it turned into a fortuitous arrangement. The older students treated me more like a mascot than a freshman. What I mean by that is they rather enjoyed by naivety. For some, I think they enjoyed hearing about my trials and tribulations of freshman life; for others, they found comfort in being a mentor for me. Either way it was an added benefit for me. I was able to navigate freshman orientation faster and easier due to the helpful hints I received from the students on my floor. I was especially grateful to find out that the physical ed requirement could be bypassed if I told the university personnel I could not swim. This way, I would be placed in a remedial swimming class and not have to participate in a variety of sports activities I could not do. My floor turned into a highlight for me; I was hanging out with graduate students who were becoming nuclear engineers, accountants and pharmacists. I do not know what they thought about me, but I considered a couple of them like an older sibling who was watching out for me. It was a peaceful year compared to what I endured through my high school years. It is one of the reasons I was intrigued to watch this action, crime adventure film.      CONFIDENT ENOUGH TO SET UP HER own detective agency, the only customer who asked Enola Holmes, played by Millie Bobby Brown (Godzilla franchise, Stranger Things-TV), for her help was a young girl. The case would turn into something that was bigger than the two of them. With Henry Cavill (Man of Steel, Night Hunter) as Sherlock Holmes, David Thewlis (Harry Potter franchise, Wonder Woman) as Grail, Louis Partridge (The Lost Girls, Paddington 2) as Tewkesbury and Susan Wokoma (The Loneliest Boy in the World, Cheaters-TV) as Edith; this sequel proved movie studios can match or exceed the original movie if they set their minds to it. This picture was a fun film watching experience. Though I am not a fan of breaking character to talk to the audience; the plot twists, humor, and pacing were a perfect blend of excitement. Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill and Helena Bonham Carter (reprising her role) made for a strong troika in acting. The only downside I found in this mystery was the ending part. It was a bit confusing for me; but at that point I did not let it bother me. Based on this film, there is no reason why this story line cannot become a long-lasting movie franchise. There was an extra scene early in the ending credits.                                                       

3 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Thirteen Lives

GRATEFULLY A RELATIVE OF MINE WAS okay after being at a public gathering where there was an active shooter. I never thought I would ever have to write about such a thing, but it has become part of our world. The gathering was a celebration for a national holiday; there were people who came from all areas around where the event was being staged. Horrifically there were fatalities and injuries. This tragic event was televised multiple times; the newspapers covered the story for many days. As one would expect, the news focused on the victims. All of it was so sad to see; the scenes showing the aftermath were especially hard to view. However, there was something out of this tragedy that struck me after hearing about it on a personal level, besides from the news. I was in awe of all the people who came together to help the survivors. Living at a time where there is so much divisiveness and polarization, where everything is turning into an extreme, it was heartwarming to see people from all levels of society coming together to help one another. The word that comes to mind is “hopeful.” Seeing such an act of kindness gives me hope that people can live a judgment free life together.      I HAVE BEEN A WITNESS TO other acts of kindness like the fitness presenter I was assigned to drive around during our yearly convention. We were driving to a dinner event when we spotted a car crash. She had me pull over so she could run out and see if anyone needed any help. As it turned out, the driver was dazed and going into shock. She took her jacket off, wrapped it around him while checking his pulse as she had me dial #911 to report it. It was comforting to see how she dealt with the situation, unconcerned about getting her outfit dirty and bloody. Being in the fitness industry, I have seen other acts of kindness. For example, I had a friend who worked at a health center where he personally had saved five members because of his quick actions to start CPR on them. We used to joke about why members were only getting ill when he was on duty. I do not know what it is about my focus on finding/hearing about acts of kindness. Maybe because of all this anger and hatred I see on the news and that includes these political ads that mention nothing about policy, instead showing explosions and crime; it makes me sad. Having said this will help you understand why I found this dramatic, action adventure so inspiring.      WHEN AN UNEXPECTED STORM TRAPS A boys soccer team inside of a cave, it would take more than a village to help keep the boys alive. With Viggo Mortensen (Green Book, A Dangerous Method) as Rick Stanton, Colin Farrell (The Batman, The Gentleman) as John Volanthen, Joel Edgerton (Boy Erased, The Gift) as Harry Harris, Tom Bateman (Death on the Nile, Cold Pursuit) as Chris Jewell and Paul Gleeson (The Thin Red Line, Home and Away) as Jason Mallinson; this film based on a true story was directed by Ron Howard, who created the perfect balance between tensions and emotions. I remember when this event happened and yet watching it play out in this movie felt like a new experience for me. The cast did a terrific job conveying the dangers, exhaustion, mental anguishes, and hopefulness from the script. Ron’s direction kept the story on a steady pace that allowed for the touching moments to shine in between the harrowing ones. I do not think it would make a difference whether you remember this event or not, that took place in Thailand; this was an exciting movie watching experience for me and I believe it could be for you as well.

3 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Emily the Criminal

WHAT IS THAT BREAKING POINT THAT pushes a person to partake in illegal activities? I have been curious about it for a long time due to two experiences I witnessed. Many years ago, I worked at a retail business that was privately owned. The president was the son of the owner, who had died a few years before I was hired for the shipping and receiving department. The vice-president was the president’s brother-in-law. From what I saw, they seemed to be good friends who worked well together. Each one could easily fill in for the other, anytime one was out of the office; they both knew all aspects of the business. Or at least I thought so. After working there for a couple of years and getting promoted, I became more involved in the mechanics of the business. I would work a couple of Saturdays a month and it was not unusual for either of the men to stop by the store. One Saturday the president came in and asked me to join him in his office. I was perplexed, wondering if I had done something wrong. Once in his office he told me he fired his brother-in-law for stealing. I was completely in shock. How in the world could a relative, who had been working there for years, steal from his sister’s husband?!?! I wondered if that is how he was able to pay for his expensive clothing and cars?      I STILL THINK ABOUT THAT VICE-PRESIDENT from time to time, curious whatever happened to him. It was never shared with us at the store whether the president took the vice-president to court or if there was any jail time involved. Since I had never encountered anything like it before, my mind swirled with scenarios that were originally created on television shows. Did the vice-president have to give everything back? Did he steal because of some drug habit? Did one of them plot to kill the other? It was hard for me to make any sense out of it. I wanted to know, when was that moment when the vice president decided, he was going to steal merchandise or cash from the business and his relative. I remember back in school we had a transfer student who was friendly, who never got in trouble at first. Fast forward two years, and he turned into this student who would steal cigarettes and smoke them behind the school. It was not long before he got caught stealing clothes. Once again what was going on in his environment that made him steal. Though I am not condoning it, I at least got a glimpse of the process in this dramatic, crime thriller.      WITH THE AMOUNT OF DEBT WEIGHING her down, a caterer was offered a business proposal that sounded too good to be true, to make decent money. All she would have to do is go shopping. With Aubrey Plaza (Safety Not Guaranteed, Happiest Season) as Emily, Theo Rossi (Army of the Dead, Sons of Anarchy-TV) as Youcef, Bernardo Badillo (Sully, Revival) as Javier, Jonathan Avigdori (Snowfall-TV, Fauda-TV) as Khalil and Gina Gershon (Cagefighter, American Dresser) as Alice; I cannot remember being more impressed than I was watching Aubrey in this role. She was incredible with acting, going through a variety of emotions and actions. There were times I could feel what she was feeling in the scene; that is how good she performed.  The script was original and current; I did not find any unnecessary dialog. Plus, I enjoyed the way the separate story lines were able to intermingle without missing a beat. After the movie was done and I was driving home, I kept thinking about Emily’s story and wondered what I would have done in a similar situation. There were a couple of scenes with blood and violence.

3 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Prey

I DID NOT THINK IT WAS an extraordinary feat; one of the fastest runners in our class was a girl. Her speed was impressive but the fact she was a girl was not a big deal to me. Maybe because I grew up with strong females, I did not put much stock in comparing the differences between boys and girls. The way I looked at it was this: someone is going to be the smartest, fastest, friendliest, most creative, and best musician in class; none of these attributes are aligned with one sex over the other. I just remember I never wanted to play tag with that speedy girl because she could quickly tag out most of us. It is funny, it was not until I started delving into science and physiology classes where I learned between the sexes, men tend to have more upper body strength, and women usually have more lower body strength. There was a girl in one of my classes who was one of the toughest students in our class; she had no trouble with her upper body strength. In fact, I do not recall any boys getting in a fight with her because they were all afraid, they could lose their status if the student body witnessed them being beaten up by a girl.      THE REASON I AM MENTIONING THIS is because it seems to me every announcement I read or hear about these days tends to include, “she is the first woman” or “he is the first ethnic man” and so on. Do not get me wrong, I understand many positions/companies did not have progressive policies in place to promote various minorities into the bigger roles. It is a great statement to make; but one of my concerns is the chance companies are just using it as a marketing ploy. They put someone in an authoritarian position, who has been disadvantaged, and tout them to the world as if they are saying, “Look who we promote.” But then there are no others to follow in that person’s footsteps; the company policy or can I say prejudices, never change. I wish we lived in a world where we did not need to announce such things because it is not an unusual circumstance. Employees get promoted based on their abilities, end of story. Their skin color, religion, ethnic background has no bearing on them getting a better job. I really wish we could get to such a point, but I understand the world still needs some work to do. This is not a new phenomenon, but I was thrilled to see what took place in this action prequel.      HER INSTINCTS SERVED HER WELL AND she was convinced there was something hunting her tribe. The only way she could prove it was to get evidence and show the villagers. With Amber Midthunder (Hell or High Water, Legion-TV) as Naru, newcomer Dakota Deavers as Taabe, Dane DiLiegro (American Horror Stories-TV, Sweet Home-TV) as Predator, relative newcomer Stormee Kipp as Wasape and Michelle Thrush (Pathfinder, Blackstone-TV) as Aruka; this dramatic adventure film took me off guard and surprised me. I thought the writers did a wonderful job of weaving the story within the Native American narrative. The scenery was beautiful, and I thought Amber was outstanding. Despite the several scenes with blood and violence, I loved this movie. For it being a prequel, it certainly can stand alone where I do not think the previous films need to be seen. Yes, they could be a reference for the viewer, but this film was so beautifully written and acted that I do not think it would be an issue. This picture had a solid story, great acting and in its own way showed what can get accomplished when one has the perfect individual for the task.

3 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: The Sea Beast

I WAS TOLD TO BE WARY of one of the guests that was attending the gathering, by a friend of mine. He said this guest was going to seek me out to ask about the training I went through to be a fitness/yoga instructor. I was confused, not understanding why my friend thought this could become an issue. The gist of the story is my friend warned me that this guest was going to try and use me to learn as much as he could without actually doing the training and certification process. It turned out my friend was 100% correct. This guest came off as a caring person who wanted to help people reach their fitness goals; but all they were interested in was to set up a fitness studio and make a lot of money. I would have figured it out even if my friend had not tipped me off, but it was good to get a snapshot of this individual. I use the term “snapshot” because that is how I take in other people’s opinions. You know the term, “Never judge a book by its cover?” Well, I try not to do it when meeting someone. If someone tells me about someone before I meet them, I consider their views are an imaginary snapshot that I put in my back pocket. It is only information from a different point of view that I may compare to the opinion I form after being with that person.      THERE ARE PEOPLE, I KNOW, WHO do not go with their own opinion. Instead, they are easily swayed by other individuals’ opinions. Granted, if a friend tells me awful things about someone, I probably will be more cautious around that person if I see them; however, I understand there are at least two sides to every story. I have seen in recent years, more examples of people taking things at face value, believing whatever a person says without checking it our for themselves. I cannot explain it, nor do I understand it. During my school years is when I experienced this phenomenon the most. It would take one person to assign a derogatory label to another student before others would immediately shun them because they did not want to be considered like the victim of said vitriol. All it would take is for someone to say, “You smell funny,” before others would take that as true and act accordingly without every going near the person. Maybe it is easier to believe someone else’s opinion instead of investigating it for oneself? This animated, adventure comedy may have the key towards an answer.      DURING A TIME WHEN THE OCEANS were filled with beasts, a little orphan girl wants to escape her orphanage and join the crew to one of the best hunting ships in the land. She just needs to convince them how serious she is about it. With Karl Urban (The Lord of the Rings franchise, Star Trek franchise) voicing Jacob Holland, Zaris-Angel Hator (Morbius, The Midnight Gang) voicing Maisie, Jared Harris (The Crown-TV, Morbius) voicing Captain Crow, Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets & Lies, Without a Trace-TV) voicing Sarah Sharpe and Xana Tang (Mulan, Filthy Rich-TV) voicing Lea the Lookout; this film was gorgeous to watch. The details in the animation made it hard for me sometimes to figure out if the scene was real or animated; that is how good the animation was in this picture. The story was filled with heart and sure, it was not hard to figure out what was going to happen; however, the story was so beautifully written that I honestly was enchanted by everything. The message was wonderful and relevant, in my opinion. I did not think I was going to enjoy this as much as I did; this easily ranks up there with some of the recent terrific, animated pictures that have come out the past years. Here, I myself was passing judgement before watching the film. I need to work on that.                                                      

3 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Hustle

MOST PEOPLE THINK I WATCH AWARD shows to see the stars; and though that is part of the reason, I also enjoy seeing the behind-the-scenes award winners. The main reason is because these individuals tend to talk more about reaching their dreams. When a movie/television star or musical artist walks up to accept their award on those telecasts, they more so now talk about a cause or belief of theirs during their acceptance speech. I am not saying these are not valid causes; however, I must wonder what the motivation is behind them sharing these views at that moment. Is it because it would be good PR for the celebrity? It is one thing to stand up there and talk about a cause; it is another thing to do something for the cause, either monetarily or physically. In other words, “put your money where your mouth is” is my feeling about the situation. So, that is why I prefer listening to the writers, directors, costume designers and others. Chances are their speeches will include their childhood dream that led them to their current position. A writer may talk about their childhood, where they drafted stories or comics to share with their classmates and friends. Or the costume designer might share their childhood dream of dressing up as a high fashion designer, creating outfits that would be seen one day on the runway. I love hearing about people’s dreams.      DREAMS ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF our life, I believe. They provide us an avenue of growth; we simply need to pay attention to them. Despite having flunked physical education class twice and being told I was not athletic, I continued to believe I could teach fitness. During those first initial classes I taught, I was so nervous that I thought for sure members would yell me out of the fitness studio. I was listening to those past negative voices in my head who said I could never do it; instead of believing in my training and abilities. It was my dream to create an inviting and accepting environment for anyone who walked in to take my class and I did it. It was the type of class I wished I had available to me when I was younger. It was my dream that pushed me to what I believed was a healthier lifestyle. I honestly could not imagine a life without having a desire, a dream for something more. Dreams are great motivators; it is what makes the main character in this comedic sports drama to keep pushing on.      NEEDING A BREAK TO REACH HIS dream, a basketball scout thinks he might have found it with a street player in Spain. The problem would be convincing his bosses. With Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems, That’s My Boy) as Stanley Sugarman, Queen Latifah (Girls Trip, The Trap) as Teresa Sugarman, professional basketball player Juancho Hernangomez as Bo Cruz, Ben Foster  (The Survivor, Leave No Trace) as Vince Merrick and Kenny Smith (Just Wright, Young Rock-TV) as Leon; this movie is proof Adam Sandler is a gifted actor when he takes on a serious role. I thought he was excellent with his character. Now keep in mind, I am not big into team sports; however, I thought this story was executed beautifully, in such a way that would resonate with both sporting and non-sporting viewers. The story itself is nothing new per se; however, there were enough subtle changes and nuances that made this film seem fresh and new. I found myself fully engaged throughout the picture; it was also quite entertaining, in my opinion. The message in the story came out like a blooming flower, slow anticipation into a rich colorful hue. By the end of this movie, I was solidly ensconced into my dream filled memories.

 

3 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

THE WAY SHE DESCRIBED HER HUSBAND to me was to say he was a roommate that she tried to tolerate. I found her statement sad. To live every day trying to tolerate your significant other sounded like an awful way to live. I asked her if she ever loved him and she said yes, when they were much younger. From my own experiences, I was familiar with the progression of a relationship; you know, the initial falling for someone known as the “honeymoon” phase. This is where one begins to have feelings for the other, some would say infatuation. The next stage is where things start to get serious, where the dating couple begin to define their relationship and talk about the future. Next is the tough stage labeled “disillusionment.” Here is where doubt plays a part as fantasy and reality merge together. Once the couple can push through this stage, they will come to stage four which is real love. It is acceptance of each one’s flaws and imperfections, where one focuses more on the other as both are in it for the long term, for better or worse. The final stage is where the couple work together as one, blending strengths and weaknesses that can make a difference. I had to ask her what happened that changed their relationship.      FROM THE THINGS SHE TOLD ME about her marriage, one thing stood out for me. There was a lack of communication between the two of them. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen relationships dissolve because the people were not able to communicate their feelings to each other. There was someone I dated years ago who would not share their feelings with me. At times I would ask how they felt about a situation that happened to them, just to get an idea of what things illicit a negative or positive reaction in them. More times than not, they would say what they thought I wanted to hear which I found ludicrous. As you may have guessed, the relationship did not last long. It is funny; after many years, I still remember my college sociology teacher who used the term “holy deadlock” to describe a couple who have lost their love for each other and do not have the energy to make a change. When friends of mine have been in a relationship that appears to be unhealthy, I will ask them why they are staying in it. Several have simply said they do not want to be alone. But this begs the question, “Aren’t they already alone?” In this dramatic comedy, one can see what happens when one has lived such a life.      WIDOWED AND RETIRED, A FORMER SCHOOL teacher decides to become a pupil to experience something she had never experienced in her marriage. With Emma Thompson (Late Night, A Walk in the Woods) as Nancy Stokes, Daryl McCormack (Pixie, Peaky Blinders-TV) as Leo Grande and Isabella Laughland (Harry Potter franchise, The Last of the Haussmans) as Becky; this movie took a story done many times before and gave it a twist that was perfectly executed by Emma and Daryl. I thought they worked well together, making their characters believable and emotional. This was one of Emma’s best performances. Considering the limited location, I was never bored while watching and listening to these two adults having a full conversation about personal issues. The writers did an excellent job. Communication is the key in any relationship and this picture displays it in a thoughtful, beautiful way.

3 ½ stars  

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