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Flash Movie Review: IP Man

HE WAS SUCH AN UNASSUMING INDIVIDUAL that I did not know he was the owner of the company. A fellow employee pointed him out to me one day; I thought they were playing a joke on me because I did not believe it. The owner was casually dressed in nondescript clothing. In other words, there were no fancy labels or names on anything, nor did he wear anything around his neck or wrist like a gold chain or expensive watch. Basically, there was nothing about this man’s appearance that defined his achievements. The product the company was selling was something he had invented. I thought that alone would have been enough reason for him to put on airs or display a sense of importance around the offices, but it was not. He acted like one of the employees of the company. When I think about it, the only time one would wonder what his position was in the company was during the holidays. He would receive a variety of thank you gifts from vendors; things like boxes of fruit, assorted cookies or other food-based products. Instead of keeping them for himself he was always opening the packages and placing them in the company kitchen for people to take for themselves.     AS MUCH AS THE OWNER WAS humble, there was one company salesman who had ego for days. Every day he was dressed in a suit, whether he had customer appointments of not. That alone would not have been a big deal; but he wore quite a few expensive accessories. I had counted at least 6 expensive watches he switched up every day, besides thick gold jewelry pieces on his other wrist. Whether you asked him for his opinion or not, he was the type of person who would always tell you what you should do. Even things that were just common sense, he had to make a point of telling you what was the “right” way to do it; at least right according to him. If a customer came into the offices, they usually assumed he was the owner based on his mannerisms and speech. He was full of himself as they say; I did my best to have only minimal interaction with him. From that job to all the others I have had I have learned those who “crow” the loudest usually know the least. Those who do not brag, or showoff tend to be the most knowledgeable. This certainly applies to the main character in this biographical film festival winning movie.      HAVING PRACTICED A LIFESTYLE OF NON-CONFRONTATION became a conflict for Ip Man, played by Donnie Yen (Rouge One: A Star Wars Story, Seven Swords) when Japanese forces invaded and took over his town. With resources scarce, he would have to find a way to survive. With Simon Yam (Election, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life) as Quan, Lynn Xiong (Hotel Deluxe, My Sassy Girl 2) as Cheung, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi (The Handsome Suit, Railroad Tigers) as Miura and Siu-Wong Fan (Future X-Cops, Flying Swords of Dragon) as Jin; this action drama surprised me. For the genre it is in, this film’s focus was on the story and I found it interesting. It felt to me like a partial history lesson with its inclusion of the Japanese invasion of China back in the 1930s. The action scenes were beautifully choreographed, even when a bit of humor was interjected in some of them. It was unexpected to see a martial arts movie that was so story driven; I was drawn into the plight of Ip Man and his family. Also, the fact that this character was based on a true person (who in real life had Bruce Lee as a student) made this picture that more enjoyable. Seeing photos of the actual man at the end was an added treat. Cantonese, Mandarin and Japanese was spoken with English subtitles.

 

3 ¼ stars       

Flash Movie Review: The Old Guard

I REMEMBER BEING TOLD IT WAS a difficult delivery. Who told me I cannot say; but I can recall hearing about the length of the delivery and the loss of blood involved with it. Despite the difficulties, a baby boy was born who was the couple’s first child. The infant boy had the best of care since both of his parents were doctors. As a result, rarely did the couple ever have to second guess their decisions; any health issue that cropped up and they immediately knew what needed to be done. In other words, there was never any lag time between symptoms and remedies. Not that the child had a sickly constitution; he simply had his share of coughs and colds, along with the other kinds of kids’ ailments. Through his school years, the boy never missed more than 2-3 days of school at one time. Every assignment was turned in on time; each getting a high grade. One could say the boy’s good grades were a direct result of having 2 doctors for parents; however, that would be an erroneous statement. The boy was naturally smart, besides being a good learner who studied hard. What did not surprise me was hearing about the doctors’ son going into the scientific field.      AFTER HE HAD FINISHED HIS SCHOOLING, the now grown man had taken a job with a company involved with auditory systems. He did research, studies and experiments that earned him respect from his colleagues and superiors. He was awarded by being named the project lead for a new division in the company. His major responsibility was figuring out how to mimic the sense of hearing for those who could not hear. He was excited with the opportunity to make a difference for those who were either severely hard of hearing or completely deaf. It took a few years before he created a prototype that might work in providing sound to the deaf; he referred to it as an artificial ear. His parents were beyond excited and proud of their son; their boy was making his mark in the world. Though his project never created a workable artificial ear for the average consumer, his work did play an important part in many other areas of scientific research around the world. Imagine back years ago, at the time of this man’s challenging birth, if things had taken a different turn that resulted in him not being born? The world would have missed out on his important contribution. I have thought about this for many years, though not as long as the main character in this action, adventure fantasy.      DURING A RESCUE OPERATION THAT WENT bad, the operatives’ special abilities were revealed. It was only a matter of time before people would take advantage of them, unless they could find the culprit and destroy the evidence. With Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde, Bombshell) as Andy, KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk, Native Son) as Nile, Matthias Schoenaerts (The Mustang, Red Sparrow) as Booker, Chiwetel Ejiofor (The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Triple 9) as Copley and Luca Marinelli (Martin Eden, Rainbow: A Private Affair) as Nicky, this film’s strong suit was the action scenes. Well-choreographed with both women and men on equal footing; I was impressed with the cast, especially Charlize and KiKi. The story was not unusual for this genre and the script was predictable; but the fact that the action was not the prime focus made this picture an enjoyable viewing experience for me. I loved the historical aspect to the story; it played right into my thinking about differences caused when a person’s life is cut short or becomes non-existent. I understand this movie was based on a graphic novel. Whether there are sequels to the book I do not know; but I certainly hope this movie gets a sequel, because I think there would be a lot of ways the writers could take this story.

 

2 ¾ stars

Flash Movie Review: Galveston

SEVERAL OF MY FRIENDS DO NOT UNDERSTAND why I don’t hang up the phone on unsolicited sales calls. I, in turn, ask them why they must be so mean to the people who are making these calls. These people are just trying to make a living, I tell them. When I get one of these calls, I do not let the person go through their whole prepared sales pitch; I tell them thank you, but I am not interested, ending by saying, “Have a good day/night.” If the person persists, I then tell them I am out of work so cannot afford to do anything extra. This white lie always stops the person from going on with their monolog. The reason I do this is because I do not know any of these people and their stories. They may hate what they do but are doing the work for a good reason, like paying for school or medical bills. Because I know I would hate making all those calls, I feel why should I be mean to them when I can just say no thank you and good luck. It is no hard sweat off of me. Besides, I feel people make choices; they could have easily chosen an illegal activity to make money instead of a steady job. So, I commend them for what they are doing to survive in this world.      I WOULD RATHER DEAL WITH THOSE sales call people than with an unhappy employee. There is nothing that annoys me more when shopping than dealing with an employee who obviously is miserable and hating their job. I walk into a big box retail store and cannot find an item. Stopping an employee by saying “excuse me” and they do not acknowledge me right away, continuing to stock a shelf or look at their electronic device, drives me crazy. Or how about walking up to the customer service counter and seeing an employee with their elbow on the counter, resting their head in their hand; doesn’t that look inviting to you? I tangled with a checker at the grocery store once who argued with me regarding an item that wasn’t ringing up for the advertised sale price. Add in that I had a coupon and they tried to tell me I could not use it and I almost went ballistic. One of my big pet peeves is employees who are not properly trained and do not know the company’s procedures. With a sour look on their face that expresses their hatred for their job, why do I need to be the recipient of their angriness? If they do not like what they are doing, then they should try finding a different job. The main character in this film festival nominated movie decided he did not want to do what he was doing anymore; if you wish, see what he did in this action, crime drama.     AGREEING TO DO ONE LAST JOB for his boss; Roy, played by Ben Foster (The Messenger, Leave No Trace), was lucky he did not follow his boss’ instructions and decided to bring a gun with him anyway. With Elle Fanning (The Beguiled, Maleficent franchise) as Rocky, Jeffrey Grover (Dark Waters, Take Shelter) as Dr. Finelli, Christopher Amitrano (The Land, Sharkskin) as Jay and C.K. McFarland (Blind Fury, Beatdown) as Nancy; the story in this movie was a slow burn. Ben and Elle were excellent with their acting; I found them believable and intense in their own way. The script dragged in parts through the first half of the story. Luckily the acting and directing kept me following the characters. By the 2ndhalf of the film things seemed to go faster, especially coming up to the ending. I would have liked more back story to Ben and a little more variance in the drama level that stayed close to center a good portion of the time. Still, the performances and look of the film kept me engaged. And after watching this movie, I cannot say I had a horrible boss.

 

2 ½ stars         

Flash Movie Review: The Lovebirds

THE TRIP WAS ALREADY PAID FOR and I guess there was also a hope that a change of venue would smooth things out. Our relationship had gone into a tailspin just prior to our planned vacation. We had a discussion about whether it made sense for us to even go on a trip since we were experiencing hurt feelings and mistrust; but at the last moment, we decided since we were both miserable we might as well be miserable in a warmer climate instead of being stuck at home in the middle of winter. Honestly, I was good with the plan if for no other reason I would not have to shovel snow for a week. The other reason we agreed to continue with out plans was because we had already purchased tickets to see one of our favorite performers, who had a scheduled stop on their concert tour in the same place. How ironic then when we got there we found out the concert had been cancelled due to illness. Without the concert being something to look forward to, we had a miserable time. There was nothing else to look forward to on the trip and though we tried to patch things up, my pain would not heal. We flew back home with little conversation between us; 2 years of a relationship had come to an end.      IN SOME OF MY PAST RELATIONSHIPS, there were times where an outside event had a strong impact on the two of us. Negative or positive, the fact we were experiencing it together helped clear the air of any grievances we happened to be experiencing at the moment. I do not exactly know why a strong outside event can have such an impact, but my guess is the handling together of a tough or let me say eye opening situation forges a bond between the 2 parties; it will either help solidify the bruised relationship or it will become a wedge to totally pry apart the individuals. I had a friend who was in a relationship that had the usual give and take. At one point they were going through a low point that extended beyond their usual durations. Sadly, an older relative that the 2 were quite fond of passed away. Their death brought the two back together in a stronger way, like never before; at least as far I as I had seen. As of today they are still together and appear as happy as ever. Seeing what was happening with the couple in this comedic crime action film, I was not sure they would get to the same place.      WITH THEIR RELATIONSHIP BREAKING APART AFTER a few years together, a couple find themselves on the wrong side of the law when a bike messenger crashes down onto their car’s windshield. The only way they can save themselves was to find out who killed the messenger. With Issa Rae (The Photograph, Little) as Leilani, Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Stuber) as Jibran, Paul Sparks (Midnight Special, Boardwalk Empire-TV) as Moustache, Anna Camp (The Help, Pitch Perfect franchise) as Edie and Kyle Bornheimer (Marriage Story, The Big Wedding) as Brett, what made this film watchable and enjoyable was the connection between the two leads, Issa and Kumail. Their timing was in synch as was their believability. I thought they carried the weak script and did the best they could with it. There were several goofy scenes that did not make much sense, along with coming together in a choppy way at times. However, I was forgiving since the time spent was a short distraction from being at home and watching Issa and Kumail go through their scenes sometimes got a chuckle out of me.

 

2 ¼ stars   

Flash Movie Review: Black and Blue

SO ANNOYING, FOR THE PAST TWO weeks I have been trying to stop receiving a company’s daily email advertisements. I receive several every day and it is getting on my nerves. At first, I thought it would be an easy thing to do by going online to unsubscribe via the link they listed on their emails. Going through several steps before finally receiving a confirmation of the stoppage, I thought I was done. Sadly that was not the case because sure enough the very next day I got the same amount of email advertisements in my inbox. Once again, I went through the same steps online to put a stop to them, receiving another confirmation of my success. I was not buying it until I had seen proof; it never came since there was not even a slowdown in the amount of emails coming to me. My next step was to call them on the phone, easier said than done. I had to search multiple pages online before I found a phone number. When I called, the phone rang and rang without anyone ever picking up.  Jumping back online, I looked for another phone number and when I dialed it I was greeted with a message that told me to dial the number I had previously dialed. This just ticked me off further; so, I set up my computer to block this company’s emails.      THE LESSON I LEARNED FROM THIS WAS believing that the larger a company was, the more chances their employees would be apathetic towards their customers’ experiences and needs. I know this is a broad generalization, but I have experienced this in other situations. I was with a friend when they tried returning a couple of items they bought online from a store’s website. Figuring it would be easier and faster to stop at the store to return them, my friend was met with an unpleasant store employee behind the customer service counter. One thing I cannot stand is when a store employee does not even look up when addressing you and this is exactly what the employee did to my friend. Explaining the situation that the items were the wrong size, the employee said they could not help because the items were bought online. My friend agreed they were ordered online, pointing out to the employee it was from their store’s website. The customer service rep then did something that if I was returning the items I would have taken the discussion up a notch or two. They rolled their eyes at my friend. It was obvious they were not going to budge so I told my friend to dispute the purchase on their charge card. Just because the company was large it was apparent its employees were not interested in bucking the system to do what was right. In a way, it was similar to what the main character was experiencing in this action, crime drama.      INVESTIGATING THE SOUND OF GUNSHOTS COMING FROM a deserted factory police officer Alicia, played by Naomie Harris (Moonlight, Skyfall), discovered something that she should not have seen, according to the people on the scene. She saw it differently and because of that there was a chance she might get killed for it. This film festival winner also starred Tyrese Gibson (The Fast and Furious franchise, Transformers franchise) as Mouse, Frank Grillo (Captain America franchise, The Grey) as Terry Malone, Mike Colter (Men in Black 3, Luke Cage-TV) as Darius and Reid Scott (Dean, Veep-TV) as Kevin. The best part of this movie was Naomie. Not only was her acting excellent, but also having her as the main character gave this story a different twist to the usual cat and mouse game. This picture was pretty much all about the action and despite it being easy to figure out, I still felt I was being entertained. The script needed some finesse to make the moral messages less heavy-handed and soften the bluntness in its delivery, especially in the latter half of the story. Despite these issues, I did feel the movie studio was not lax in trying to provide a worthwhile product for the viewing audience.

 

2 ½ stars

Flash Movie Review: Bulletproof Monk

HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT SOME PASSENGER side auto mirrors have the warning “OBJECTS ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR” written on them? I always appreciated the warning and wish that warning would be written on many consumer products. I recently bought skin cream that looked like it was large enough to warrant the higher price. When I got home and opened it, I discovered half of the box size was added packaging. The bottle I took out, I kid you not, was the size of a kiwi; its box was the size of an energy drink can. I was not happy because first, the product was so small for the price and second, the packaging was wasteful and unnecessary; not all of it was even recyclable. This is why I wish that warning would be placed on stuff like this. How many times have you bought a packaged food item like a frozen meal or box of cookies, and when you opened it the stuff inside did not look like the picture on the front of the package? Don’t you find it annoying? And it is funny, when I bought the skin cream, on a friend’s recommendation; I thought the box was too light when I lifted it off the rack. I should have gone with my gut feeling that something was not right, that things did not appear, as they seemed.      HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I GONE AHEAD and done something even though my gut feeling was warning me? The only thing I can say about it is I am grateful I pay more attention to it now than when I was younger. It comes down to trust I believe; one needs to have the confidence to trust their instincts/feelings and act upon them. I remember a friend of mine who introduced me to their new boyfriend and I immediately got a negative vibe from him. As it turned out, my friend soon discovered what I had felt about the guy a few months prior wound up being accurate. The relationship soon ended after the boyfriend’s true self came out. We talked about the boyfriend afterwards and I found out my friend had gotten a weird vibe when they first met, but did not act upon it. My friend thought they had to be mistaken and did not trust their instincts. See? What did I tell you; it comes down to having confidence and that is something not everyone gets automatically. As an example, today’s film had such an interesting title and description that I decided to take a chance by watching it.      FOR DECADES THE TIBETAN MONK WITH NO NAME, played by Yun-Fat Chow (The Replacement Killers; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), has been protecting the sacred scroll. Seeking out someone worthy enough to replace him, the monk had a feeling about the man who picked his pocket. This film festival nominated action comedy also starred Sean William Scott (American Pie franchise, Role Models) as Kar, Jaime King (Sin City franchise, White Chicks) as Jade, Karel Roden (The Bourne Supremacy, Orphan) as Strucker and Victoria Smurfit (The Beach, About a Boy) as Nina. This fantasy film had an interesting title and premise. I enjoyed Yun-Fat Chow’s role the most but overall I felt this picture was a fantasy wannabe. The humor stayed mostly on the low end of the spectrum, as the special effects were dated. On the other hand this story came across as a hodgepodge of snippets from other movies; so, in a way the story was silly enough that made watching it easier for me. If we did not have a stay at home order in place, I do not know if I would have even reviewed this film. But I will tell you, I had nothing else going on so sitting and watching it was not the worse thing I had done all week. My gut feeling was correct about this fantasy film.

 

1 ¾ stars — DVD     

Flash Movie Review: Extraction

I DID NOT UNDERSTAND MY INFATUATION with wristwatches for many years. My stable of watches covered any occasion. There was a black rubber banded watch I wore when I taught fitness/yoga classes, because it had a button to make the digital dial glow in the dark; so, I could keep track of the members’ time performing the series of exercises/poses I was leading. I had an expensive silver analog watch that I only wore on special events such as a wedding or black tie charity dinner. To me, each of my watches had their own personality. Putting on my oversized square dialed watch with the funky looking symbols for numbers made me feel like I was the face for cutting edge fashion. I know, it sounds so silly when I say it now. However, with all my watches I loved them but I was not attached to any particular one. While it was wrapped around my wrist, the watch had this strange hold on me. I cannot explain it but each watch seemed to embolden me; I was less fearful of the activities I was a participant in for that day. However, once I took the watch off of my wrist and put it away, I was done with it and back to my “regular” self.      DURING A CONVERSATION WITH A FRIEND, I discovered a childhood event that seemed to be the catalyst for my attraction to watches. We were talking about bowling and I was telling him about the time I took the bowling ball in both hands and ran down the alley until I reached the pins, to throw the ball at them. What pins remained standing I kicked with my feet. That memory triggered another memory that took place a few years after that time, where I threw 3 strikes in a row. I was with a cousin and we had been bowling a couple of games. When I bowled the 3 strikes, I could not contain my excitement. It was enough where the bowlers around me noticed my cousin and I celebrating. When we finished up and turned in our shoes, we walked outside to make our way back to his house. It had only been 1 or 2 blocks but I had suddenly realized I left my watch on our alley’s table. Running back to the bowling alley, I ran to our lane only to find no watch sitting there. I looked everywhere but could not find it; I was devastated. It was my very first “adult” watch and I had lost it. For weeks I remained sad about it and if I remember correctly, I did not get a replacement watch for several years. This loss I believe triggered my desire to have multiple watches so I would not get attached to just one. Seeing this action thriller, I have to wonder if similar circumstances drove the main character to act the way he did.      WHEN A DRUG LORD’S SON WAS kidnapped and held for ransom, mercenary Tyler Rake, played by Chris Hemsworth (Thor franchise, Men in Black: International) was hired to retrieve the boy. He thought he was only in it for the money. With Rudhraksh Jaiswal (Kosha, Mahabharat-TV) as Ovi Mahajan, Randeep Hooda (Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, Highway) as Saju, Golshifteh Farahani (Paterson, Body of Lies) as Nik Khan and Priyanshu Painyuli (Once Again, Upstarts) as Amir Asif; this movie was all about the action scenes. I will have to say some of them were thrilling. Though the fight scenes were violent and bloody, they were perfectly executed.  I think this might have been the hardest physically for Chris; it was that intense. The story was within the realm of other hostage films; there were not many surprises. However, it maintained my interest for the most part. Nothing earth shattering here; just an adrenaline fueled action film with a slight bend to it. There were multiple scenes where Hindi and Bengali were spoken with English subtitles.

 

2 ½ stars

Flash Movie Review: War on Everyone

I AM NOT EXPERIENCING A FULL WITHDRAWAL, but I am certainly missing the comfort of being in a dark movie theater. The governor of my state issued a stay at home order the day I was watching a film in the theater.  There were 3 other people watching with me and each of us was spaced far from each other. At least the film was wonderful, so I ended my movie theater visits on a high note. Driving home and hearing the news, my first thought was, “How am I going to see movies to review?” As some of you know, I am a stickler for staying on a routine. If I can, I go to the theater and try to watch 2 or 3 films in a row; I figure if I am there I might as well see as many as I can to save time from going back and forth throughout the weekend.  I always have everything planned, from the time I need to arrive to where I would park to making sure I have all my seats on reserve. Now that my movie theater routine was put on hold, I spent the weekend trying to figure out how I could create a new routine that will allow me the opportunity to see movies and review them.     A WEEK HAS GONE BY AND I am settling into the new normal many of us are doing. I read some movie studios will stream their new releases for a fee; however, seeing that the amount they are asking is sometimes nearly 40% more than what I pay at the theater, I refuse to participate in that option. I used to have DVDs mailed to me, which offered me a variety of films I could review, but a while ago, I switched the option to online. Little did I realize the online option did not have nearly the amount of titles as the DVD option. It has taken me up to 20 minutes to find a movie to watch from the list I have kept the past couple of years. However, if it means I can review it then I deal with the inconveniences. The reason I am telling you all of this is because I want you to know there could be times I might be reviewing a film that I may have seen some ratings or words written about it before I can review it. Today’s movie choice is one in particular; until I found it I knew there was a chance I might not think highly of it. Yikes, little did I know it was going to be such a rough movie watching experience.      WHEN TWO CROOKED POLICE OFFICERS DECIDE TO go for a big score, they cross paths with someone who is as dangerous as them and who can play their game even better. This film festival winning movie starred Alexander Skarsgard (The Hummingbird Project, Big Little Lies-TV) as Terry Monroe, Michael Pena (End of Watch, Ant-Man franchise) as Bob Bolano, Theo James (Divergent franchise, London Fields) as Lord James Mangan, Tessa Thompson (Creed franchise, Dear White People) as Jackie Hollis and Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) as Russell Birdwell. This cast was the reason why I was interested in seeing this action, crime comedy. I can only wonder if they were as surprised as I was with the finished product. The story was nothing special but was dragged further down by the script. I found the dialog crass and monotonous; repeating politically incorrect phrases does not make it any more funny. By the time we discovered the redemption part of the plot I did not really care one way or another. It was a shame because the scene involving it was one of the few I enjoyed. If watching films of this caliber is going to be my new routine, I may go out of my mind with boredom.

 

1½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Train to Busan

I SAW THE REQUEST POSTED ON ONE of my social media sites. The person was asking for suggestions and recommendations on food delivery services. They wanted to place an order for food to be delivered to an elderly couple, who did not have the ability to leave their home during the state’s shelter in order. Besides the generosity of this person’s request, the other thing that impressed me was the immediate response they were getting from so many people. As I read through the comments, I discovered this request started because the person’s first choice of a delivery service cancelled the order because they could not fulfill it due to several items being out of stock. What struck me about this was the fact the response was coming from a major grocery store chain. I soon discovered, based on the posted conversations going back and forth, that the items out of stock were some basic household items, along with some fresh fruits and vegetables. This struck me as odd since those items, at least in my experiences, have never been out of stock; especially, the household items which are produced by several different manufacturers. I wondered how long it was going to take this person to find all the items they needed to send to the elderly couple; I hoped it was not going to turn into the type of scenario where they were trying to beat the clock before the elderly couple went hungry.      LITTLE DID I KNOW READINGTHOSE comments were only going to be a prelude to what I would encounter when I went to buy groceries. The first thing I noticed when I was walking inside the grocery store was the amount of people who had scared looks on their faces. They were walking up and down the aisles staring forlornly at the empty spaces that popped up periodically along the shelves. The magnitude of the situation did not hit me until I discovered there were no bananas or sweet potatoes to be found anywhere; I could not process this fact. Later on I found out the reason for the absence of these two items was because parents were buying them up to mash into food to feed to their babies. Continuing on my way through the store, I saw polar opposite examples of people’s compassion during a crisis.  In one aisle I saw a shopper with a cart brimming over with items. Each item was in multiple amounts, for example 5 bottles of salad dressing. Unless they were buying for multiple families, I felt they were being greedy during these scary times. Soon after I saw a shopper in the checkout line who had 4 loaves of bread in their cart. They were talking to the person behind them and whatever was said, I saw this shopper take one of the loaves out of their cart and hand it to the person behind them. Wow, it looked like an act of kindness. Similar examples to the ones I just mentioned can be found in this film festival-winning movie from South Korea.      PASSENGERS ON A BULLET TRAIN BOUND FOR a resort town are confronted with the fact they may not make it due to the zombies that got on board. With Yoo Gong (Finding Mr. Destiny, A Man and a Woman) as Seok-woo, Yu-mi Jung (A Bittersweet Life, Psychokinesis) as Seong-kyeong, Dong-seok Ma (The Outlaws; The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil) as Sang-hwa, Su-an Kim (The Battleship Island, Memories of the Sword) as Soo-an and Eui-sung Kim (Wiretap, Six Flying Dragons-TV) as Yon-suk; this action horror thriller was a complete surprise to me because of its heart. With any zombie movie, one gets the idea of what is going to happen; however, with this story, I found the script added depth to its characters. The different side stories of individual people allowed me to become more engaged with their plight. Add in the skillful action and this picture turned out to be a mirror to the times we are living in presently. There were scenes that showed blood and violence; but I did not find them to be the usual gory type one finds in horror films. Whether it is unseen viruses or zombies, both bring out people’s true natures. Korean was spoken with English subtitles.

 

3 ¼ stars — DVD           

Flash Movie Review: The Hunt

ONE OF THE BASIC RULES I LEARNED in science class was opposites attract. Every solid, liquid, gas and plasma are composed of atoms and within those atoms you will find subatomic particles called protons, neutrons and electrons. The positive charged protons and negative charged electrons attract each other; hence, the phrase “opposites attract.” If you try to put two protons together, they will repel from each other. From this basic rule, I have gone through life not fearing things or people that are different. However, in elementary school I learned that there are some people who do not like those that are different from themselves. In my neighborhood there was a parochial school. Some of the male students of the school formed a gang (I know, it sounds odd). Whenever they were off for a religious holiday, the boys would show up at our public school during our recess time and try to start fights with us. They would call us derogatory names; sometimes, using hateful slang that referred to what they perceived was our religious beliefs. Sadly, this was an ugly lesson for me to learn on how some people form dislikes based solely on someone’s looks, beliefs or simply on the way they think.      I AM FORTUNATE THAT WITHIN MY circle of friends and family no one is as judgmental as what I just described. There is a couple I know who are in synch when it comes to all aspects of their life, except for their political views. They are opposites; in other words, one is a democrat and the other is a republican. Many mutual friends do not understand how this couple could be connected in so many ways but have such different world views politically. I remind these people that opposites attract. They have had rational discussions where each one will present their views on a topic without being judgmental towards the other one’s views. Most of the time they used to end their talks by agreeing to disagree; these days they no longer will talk politics to each other. I believe it is because things are more polarized these days, people seem to be more extreme. One of the big changes I have seen recently is how hate has become part of people’s discussions. It is not enough to just think differently than someone else; one now openly hates the individual for thinking differently. Does that make sense? Hatred must be acceptable I guess because I see so much more of it out in the open. Being reported on the news, people in heated arguments out in public; I have become more fearful when I go outside. You never know if things could get to the point where they do in this action, horror thriller.      WAKING UP TO DISCOVER THEY WERE muzzled and in an open field, a group of strangers do not have time to figure out what happened to them when they suddenly hear a gunshot. With Betty Gilpin (True Story, Isn’t it Romantic) as Crystal, Hilary Swank (The Homesman, P.S. I Love You) as Athena, Ike Barinholtz (Suicide Squad, The Oath) as Staten Island, Wayne Duvall (The Kitchen, Prisoners) as Don and Ethan Suplee (American History X, Remember the Titans) as Gary; this satire had its moments. I felt the writers’ focus was to create a wicked satirical piece that would get everyone talking; there were some scenes that were heavy handed in trying to achieve this exact thing. There were other scenes that were amusing to me; however, I found several scenes of violence that were so over the top to the point it was a distraction. In other words, gore and blood. Out of the cast, I thought Betty and Hilary were the standouts with their characters. Betty gave it everything she had, I felt. Based on the current environment, I could see where this film might have an impact on viewers. I only wish the writers had worked harder on connecting the story in a real way instead of thinking they were writing such a “daring piece.” They might disagree with me and that is okay.

 

2 stars    

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