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Flash Movie Review: Self/less

I do not know if everyone feels it at the same time or if they have a sense of it at all. When one is able to experience that feeling of being invincible or powerful, it can be intoxicating. For me it happened when I worked with a personal trainer for a weightlifting regime. It was surreal for me because not only had I never felt comfortable in my own skin prior, I now was working out among my peers without judgements. The aerobic classes I taught took on a new level of intensity. Some time later a subtle reality check began to settle into my consciousness. I started to become aware of how my body was reacting to the high jumps and kicks, so I added more low impact options. At some point I started to notice any scratches or scrapes on my skin took longer to heal; it appeared as if my skin would not let go of these cuts, keeping the scab’s impressions on my less taut skin like shadows. As time went on I realized I could not lift the same amount of weights I used to, nor run as fast on the treadmill. Maybe because one of the fitness centers I taught at was affiliated with a hospital, but I accepted it as a part of the aging process. Seeing heart and stroke patients struggling along the track or on a weight machine kept things in perspective. Though I have to say there were times I thought it would be wonderful if we could trade-in our bodies for a fresh one. This science fiction film will show you one way it can be done.    WITH disease consuming his body wealthy real estate tycoon Damian, played by Ben Kingsley (Shutter Island, Hugo), discovered there was a way he could beat the illness and continue to live. He could trade-in for a new body, but how would his mind handle it? The idea for this story offered a multitude of possibilities on where the story could go. With Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal, Buried) as a young Damian and Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game, Match Point) as Albright, I enjoyed the beginning of this mystery movie. Unfortunately the story took an odd turn and lost its way; I was not sure if this film wanted to be a love story, action movie or suspense thriller. It did not take long for me to lose interest and was able to figure out what was going to happen. Out of the cast I would have preferred more scenes with Ben, but I did enjoy watching Ryan as he tried to convince people of his true identity. At first glance this film looked like a fresh take on a the aging process, but it did not have much life to it.


2 stars




Flash Movie Review: Clouds of Sils Maria

There is a lot of history that can be found in my collection of clothes. I still have this habit I have been trying to break, where I keep clothes even if I do not wear them anymore. From my years where I was struggling with my weight, I was fluctuating between sizes. Back then I had this thought that I should keep the clothes that do not fit because there could be a point in time where they would fit again. So you see no matter what size I was back then I could always find a pair of pants and a shirt that fitted me. I have been the same size for some years now, but I still have these old clothes hanging in closets, in the attic and in the basement. Once in a while I come across an article of clothing that has a story behind it. There was this copper metallic looking pair of jeans I bought just to annoy someone who kept telling me how I should dress. I still have a navy blue, pullover sweater that got its hole in the back when I lost my footing on a mountain trail and slid down until a big rock stopped me. When I am going through my clothing I can look back now with aged eyes at some of the things I had done and wonder what the heck was I thinking back then. I would like to say one gets wiser with age but that may not always be true.    INTERNATIONAL celebrity Maria Enders, played by Juliette Binoche (Chocolat, Godzilla), needed time to wrap her head around the idea of starring in a revival of a play she did 20 years ago that made her a star. The only difference this time was the role offered to her was the older character. This award winning drama had genuine power due to its cast. Juliette was outstanding in the role as her character had to face changing times; it was a universal theme that was relatable. The biggest surprise for me was Kristen Stewart (Still Alice, The Runaways) as Maria’s assistant Valentine. This was one of Kristen’s best performances and keep in mind I have not been impressed by her for some time. Rounding out the major players was Chole Grace Moretz (The Equalizer, If I Stay) as Jo-Anne Ellis; she was wonderful, also. The actors were provided with a good amount of substance from the somewhat lengthy script. I felt there were a couple of places that could have been edited out. With some spectacular scenery, good acting and an interesting subject; I felt this movie had some of the good qualities of a fine aged wine. There were several scenes that had French and German spoken with English subtitles.


3 1/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: The Age of Adaline

Others may find it morbid, but among my close friends it is not unusual for us to tell each other we want to be the one to go first. I am not referring to queuing up for an amusement park ride; I am referring to dying. Before you say, “eeewwww,” let me explain. We are like family to each other; some of us have been friends since elementary school. When one of us says he/she wants to be the first to go, we are saying it would be awful to watch someone else go through the process. It is this way because we love each other so much. Some of us had relatives who lived for a long time that we saw go through the aging process and it was not always easy. On the other hand we have seen through the years some incredible things. We also have talked about what we would like to see in the future. Imagine if one of us could live for a very, very long time. Surely there would be great strides made by mankind; I still have a hope to see a flying car in my lifetime. However, to know you will be seeing everyone you know and love die before you would be a tough thing. I have some friends who are in relationships who hate to even see their significant other ill; they would rather be the one with the illness. Life would take on a new meaning if one never became sick or grew old.    ADALINE Bowman, played by Blake Lively (Savages, The Town), stopped growing old. No one could know so she had to keep moving throughout the years, never allowing anyone to get close to her. She had not expected Ellis Jones, played by Michael Huisman (Wild, World War Z), to be so persistent. This dramatic romance presented an interesting quandary both to Adaline and the viewer. I thought the movie was beautifully filmed. The different time periods were well represented. The cast received some heavy hitters in the form of Harrison Ford (Blade Runner, 42) as William Jones and Ellen Burstyn (The Fountain, The Exorcist) as Flemming, which tried to get the rest of the cast to act better. For the most part there was no issue for me with the change in time periods; however, I did tire of the narrator early on. There were a couple of slow and predictable parts to the story. As long as one was able to suspend their belief in reality, then the story could provide a charming tale that would draw the viewer into its world. I may not be wiser but after seeing this intriguing drama I have different thoughts about aging.


2 2/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

What does our physical age really mean? If we are 66 years old, does that mean we cannot enjoy ourselves on a roller coaster? Or what if we were 15 years old; we should not consider climbing Mt. Everest? I have always felt the body was rented, including its daily changes. What was inside was always more important for me and I acted accordingly, never wanting to limit myself. I just try to take pleasure out of the things I do without paying much mind to other people’s notions of how I should act. This beautiful movie really turns our ideas of aging upside down. Benjamin Button, played by Brad Pitt (Moneyball, Fight Club), was abandoned at birth by his father. Though he was just born, Benjamin appeared to be a tiny, elderly man. Believing he would not live long, no one wanted anything to do with the unusual baby. No one that is except for the loving Queenie, played by Taraji P. Henson (Think Like a Man, Date Night), a worker at a senior citizens home. She took in Benjamin as her own son. It was at this home where a resident’s granddaughter named Daisy took an interest in the curious child. Though the movie was long, I was never bored. For me, it felt more like it was of an episodic nature; like watching a book coming to life on the big screen. The film followed the mature Daisy, played by Cate Blanchett (Robin Hood, The Lord of the Rings franchise), as she grew older through the years; while the elderly Benjamin continued to grow younger with each passing year. Everyone was wonderful in their roles, with each pristine scene looking as if it were a part  of a family’s cherished photo album. A magnificent movie that showed age to be whatever you wanted it to be.

3 1/2 stars — DVD

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