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Flash Movie Review: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

WE WERE A TIGHT GROUP OF four friends. Our friendship started decades ago, kindled by our mutual love for music and dance. Throughout the years, we shared in each other’s joys and tragedies. As the years passed by, we pretty much knew how each of us would react to a situation; whether it was at a party or a restaurant, we had each other’s back, as they say. I remember we had gone out to dinner and wound up at a bookstore afterwards. While walking around I got a call that a relative had died. My friends were there to console and comfort me before I had to go and pay my respects. The same could be said for any of us when one was experiencing a hard time. I cannot tell you how many times over the years we would congregate at someone’s house after hearing about their breakup with a significant other. With being so close through the years, there was nothing we could not talk about with each other. We knew about each one’s ailments, fears, concerns and when needed would housesit for one another. Throughout the years, like most people, there never was a time where one of us would entertain the thought of one of us not being there.      SADLY, THAT TIME EVENTUALLY COMES WHEN one is no longer with us. Suddenly, our foursome was turned into a trio. Gratefully, we had each other to help with the burden of sadness. Intellectually, I could process our friend’s death; death is an inevitable that each of us will experience. The only difference is whether it is at an early or old age, though early and old are more blurred these days. The hardest part for me is the routine that comes along with a long-term relationship. Being able to pick up the phone and talk to my friend was part of my life and incorporated into the things I would do on a consistent basis. It is the same with a broken relationship; I find the routines are the hardest part to overcome. And it could be the simplest of things like going grocery shopping together, that suddenly feels painful the first time after the breakup, when I must go by myself. One of the most important things I have learned is everybody mourns and handles grief in their own way; no one has the right to tell someone they are wrong for the way they handle their sadness. To see what I am talking about, this picture shows several different ways individuals mourn their loss.      WITH SOME OF THE WORLD’S NATIONS testing Wakanda’s strengths since the loss of their king/Black Panther, there was a bigger threat brewing near their shores. With Letitia Wright (Guava Island, The Silent Twins) as Shuri, Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave, Us) as Nakia, Danai Gurira (The Visitor, The Walking Dead-TV) as Okoye, Tenoch Huerta (The Forever Purge, Dark Forces) as Namor and Angela Bassett (Gunpowder Milkshake, Contact) as Ramonda; this sequel did an admirable job of honoring the late Chadwick Bosman who was the Black Panther. The film is beautiful to watch, and I appreciated the way the script wove in the emotional loss and its effect on people. On the other hand, I felt the writers went on too long with the mourning because it cast a maudlin pallor over the story. For a Marvel film, there was not the usual amount of well-choreographed action. My favorite characters were the ones that Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira and Tenoch Huerta portrayed; Angela had some wonderful intense scenes that broke up the monotony of the sadness. This movie did not have the thrilling wonderment of the first one; however, it was a good solid sequel to move the franchise forward. There was only one extra scene in the middle of the credits.

3 stars 

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Flash Movie Review: Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

AFTER YOU GET TO KNOW CERTAIN people, you can anticipate how they will react to certain things. At least that is what I have found to be true. I know a person, who I have come to known, who has a narrow view of the world. If something is different than what she thinks it should be, she immediately has a dislike or distrust for it. Maybe you know someone like this, who looks at the way a stranger is dressed or made up and quickly passes judgement on them. Having been around this person for some time, we were at a party where the guest list was made up of a variety of nationalities and races. This person never left her seat, that she purposely picked in a corner of the room. I would glance over to her from time to time, especially if there were any guests milling about in the area surrounding them. To a stranger, they might have thought this person had an itch in their nose, but I knew better. If this person did not “approve” of a hairstyle or outfit or I would hate to think race or nationality, they would ever so slightly crinkle up their nose and lips. I knew them well enough to recognize that “look,” as if they had just tasted something that was sour. Instead of venturing out of their bubble and learning about an individual, they sat there alone the whole night.      I WILL ADMIT WHEN IT COMES to food, I might not want to taste it if it doesn’t look “good” to me, whatever good means in my mind. However, with people it is a different story. That is one of the reasons I watch one particular singing reality television show. Normally, I do not watch any of the reality shows, but this one I enjoy because the judges are basing their decisions on the contestant’s voice. The judges do not get to see the performer until after they are done singing. I enjoy watching the talent and seeing how individuals who might not get a break in the industry because they do not “look the part” get to experience everything that goes along with sharing their special talent. This might explain why I frequently use the phrase, “Do not judge a book by its cover.” I have been pleasantly surprised encountering people who others may have been wary about based on some false, preconceived notion. The example I have used before is the man who struck an imposing figure but had the sweetest and most gentle personality. It is a message that rings deeply in me and why I wound up being taken by surprise in this adventure comedy.      IT WAS HARD MAKING FRIENDS AT a new school, but things were not all bad after Josh, played by Winslow Fegley (Come Play, Nightbooks) discovered who was living in the attic of his family’s new home. With musical artist Shawn Mendes voicing Lyle, Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos, Loving Pablo) as Hector P. Valenti, Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians, Sound of My Voice) as Mrs. Primm and Scott McNairy (12 Years a Slave, Argo) as Mr. Primm; this musical movie based on the children’s book series had a wonderful message in its story. The cast was fun to watch, despite some of them close to becoming cartoonish. The CGI effects were fine as well as Shawn’s singing. There were some holes in the script, where I thought the story was veering off a bit; however, it was not anything so blatant that disrupted the flow of scenes. The biggest surprise was Javier’s performance; I had no idea he could sing and dance. Children will certainly be entertained by this picture and, as a bonus, everyone could use a refresher course on not judging a book by its cover.

3 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: DC League of Super-Pets

I THINK ABOUT HIS WORDS EVERYTIME I see a dog. We were talking about the pets we had in our lives, when his wife was talking about their current dog. He commented that the dog was his wife’s, which confused me since I knew they both picked out their dog when she was a puppy. I asked him to explain and what he said struck a chord in me. He said he is reminded every day what true devotion looks like when he sees their dog. There was no hint of jealousy or feelings of hurt when he said this; he was more matter of fact as he described the love the dog had for his wife. His wife was a warm and inviting individual, so I could see where the dog would gravitate towards her. She said the dog follows her everywhere in the house and when she is out in the backyard tending her garden, the dog loves to lay in the grass and just watch her as she is pulling weeds or watering. After letting his initial words about the dog’s devotion mull about in my head, I was inclined to agree with him. A dog’s devotion was as pure of a devotion as any because it was totally unconditional. There is nothing but pure love.      IT OCCURRED TO ME ANOTHER FRIEND of mine has a dog who I felt was mean, might simply be acting out of pure devotion. Whenever me or anyone goes over to his house, he must put this dog in its cage, which is kept in a walk-in closet. I thought the dog did not like strangers but having been at the house many times, you would have thought the dog would have known my scent by now. However, my friend told me the dog is extremely protective of him. When no one is around the dog is the most lovable out of all the dogs he has owned. I did not say anything but based on the growling and snapping I have witnessed from this demon dog; I was not completely convinced. My friend told me about the time he was in the hospital for a few days. A relative would bring the dog to the hospital for a visit. When the dog saw its owner in the hospital bed, it jumped up onto it and immediately snuggled into the side of his body. The dog did not move from there; they just remained as if telling my friend everything would be okay. I could not believe it. In fact, I would first believe the dog in this animated film before I trusted my friend’s dog.      WHEN HIS OWNER, WHO WAS SUPERMAN, went missing, it was up to his dog Krypto, voiced by Dwayne Johnson (Black Adam, San Andreas), to round up help and use every power he had to find his owner. With Kevin Hart (Me Time, Central Intelligence) voicing Ace, Kate McKinnon (Rough Night, Bombshell) voicing Lulu, John Krasinski (A Quiet Place franchise, 13 Hours) voicing Superman and Vanessa Bayer (Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, Trainwreck) voicing PB; this action, adventure comedy had a great old school look to it. I thought the cast did a wonderful job voicing the characters. Dwayne and Kevin, who have worked together in the past, had a real chemistry going between them that came across the screen. There was an abundance of humor that was filled with slick comments that the smallest child might not appreciate as much; however, I found them to be fun. The story was good, filled with excitement and thrills, as was the directing. I thought the idea of a superhero having a super pet was a brilliant idea. Watching this movie was an enjoyable experience. I just wish my friend’s dog would take some lessons from the dog in this picture. There was an extra scene at the end of the credits.

3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Black Adam

I WAS APPREHENSIVE GOING TO THE wedding, but I knew it was the right thing to do. My friend was getting married, and I wanted to be there to share in the festivities. It was not like he asked me to participate in the ceremony or keep an eye on and help an elderly relative; I was one of the wedding guests. The thing that I was concerned about was the fact that except for my friend and his fiancé, I did not know another soul who would be in attendance. I have gone to movies, plays, restaurants and even traveled by myself with no problems. The difference is I am not required to carry on a conversation except for asking someone for directions or a cursory comment or two with the theater patron sitting next to me before the curtain goes up. At a wedding reception, it is a different setting and environment. If it is a sit down, plated event then the guests would be seated at tables. I realize I cannot be the only stranger at the affair, but it is not easy for me to continue a conversation with a table full of strangers. Part of the reason is because there is a hint of high school dynamics involved that reminds me of finding a seat in the school’s cafeteria for lunch. You never know who you might be stuck sitting next to at the table.      THE VENUE WHERE THE RECEPTION WAS being held was beautifully decorated. Place cards were set up on a table close to the entryway. With the table number listed on my card, I walked into the ballroom to find where I was going to sit. Table 11 was situated by the windows; I at least would be able to look out them during the meal for something to do if there was no conversation taking place. Sitting down, I made myself as comfortable as possible while wearing a suit and waited for other guests to join me. It was not too long before a married couple came and sat down across from me. We nodded to each other and said a few pleasantries before a couple of single people walked up to our table. As each person arrived and introduced themselves, I made a mental note to help me try and remember their name easier. Once all the guests had been seated at the table and after we exchanged stories of how each of us knew the wedding couple, I was the only one who did not know any of the invited guests. During the meal I did more observing than talking and I was fine with it. I felt the same way while watching this movie; I did not know any of the characters.      HAVING BEEN ENTOMBED FOR NEARLY 5,000 years, a desperate mother releases him into a world that is no longer familiar to him. It would not take long for him to attract interest from various groups due to his unique abilities. With Dwayne Johnson (Jungle Cruise, Red Notice) as Black Adam, Aldis Hodge (One Night in Miani, Hidden Figures) as Hawkman, Pierce Brosnan (False Positive, The King’s Daughter) as Dr. Fate, Noah Centineo (The Perfect Date, Charlie’s Angels) as Atom Smasher and Sarah Shahi (Bed Therapy, Bullet to the Head) as Adrianna Tomaz; this action, adventure fantasy started out slow for me. Once Dwayne’s character appeared then things picked up for me. My issue with this film is because I have zero knowledge about these superheroes, I felt the writers did not provide enough back story and emotion for each character, so I could find a way to connect with them. They were lifeless except for the occasional joke or gag. The thing I found most annoying was the use of slow motion during the fight scenes. For me, it disrupts the scene and looks cheesy. For the most part, this film felt like an assortment of scenarios just to introduce each superhero. And because there is an important extra scene during the ending credits, the movie studio is hoping they can turn Black Adam into a film franchise.                                       

2 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: Beast

IT WAS DIFFICULT NOT TO SEE the news reports concerning a youth and the police. Like most others, I saw the video clips of the police officers subduing the young man. He was running away from them after the vehicle he was in was stopped by the officers. I am not familiar with the tactics police personnel use to restrain/apprehend an individual. One officer was punching the outer thigh of the young man who was on the ground, another kneeled on his chest, and a third one was trying to restrain the fists that were trying to land on anyone of them. I am going to do my best not to get into a discussion on whether it was right or wrong; I was not there and am not familiar with all the circumstances. As can be expected the family was outraged and the mother was interviewed multiple times by various news sources. She wanted the officers fired for the “abuse” they inflicted on her boy. Now let me give you one more detail about this story; the boy was 17 years old, riding with a friend at 2 in the morning (on a weeknight) and in his knapsack, after the police restrained him, they found a loaded handgun. My question to the outraged and distraught parents is, why was their underage son out past curfew, carrying a gun?      THROUGHOUT THE COVERAGE OF THIS INCIDENT, where protesters joined the parents in demanding justice for their son, the news people always mentioned the loaded gun and the police officers’ concerns. I do not deny the scenario is troubling all the way around, but I am troubled about an underage person having a gun. Does blame fall on the parents? It reminded me of the parents who took their children to the zoo. One of the parents climbed over the barrier to a gorilla’s pen for a photo opportunity. Who would think of such a thing and what are they teaching their children? As you would imagine, the gorilla attacked the parent and had to be darted with a tranquilizing drug. When it comes to parenting, I am nowhere near an expert; but I do know there is no handbook that prepares a parent for what will be in store for them with the birth of a child. However, I have said this for years: We need a license to drive a car; I feel a person should be licensed to have a baby. It is such a crucial factor in life, and I have seen many events of extraordinary parenting as well as poor. In this dramatic, horror adventure film, I am not yet sure how I feel about the main character’s parenting skills.      HOPING THE EXPERIENCE WILL BE POSITIVE and memorable, a father takes his daughters on a trip to visit their deceased mother’s childhood village in Africa. It would be memorable but not for the reasons the father was hoping for. With Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation, No Good Deed) as Dr. Nate Samuels, Martin Munro (Moffie, Warrior-TV) as Kees, Leah Jeffries (Empire-TV, Rel-TV) as Norah Samuels, Iyana Halley (Licorice Pizza, This is Us-TV) as Meredith Samuels and Thapelo Sebogodi (The River-TV, Our Girl-TV) as Camo; this thriller was lucky to have Idris Elba lead the cast. He was good, but the script did not provide anyone with a decent story to tell. The script was not believable; there were scenes that I found to be ridiculous in their phoniness. There were times I was sitting in my seat staring in disbelief due to the characters’ actions. The other issue I had was the fact that I was able to easily figure out how the story was playing out. It was not like there was an original thought used to create this story in the first place. Besides Elba, I also enjoyed the special effects used to create his wild adversary. There were several scenes with blood and violence. 

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Secret Headquarters

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

1 ¾ stars

Flash Movie Review: 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  

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