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Flash Movie Review: The Art of Self-Defense

WHEN I HEAR ABOUT AN ALTERCATION that took place in the city, I shudder when I see the victim was doing something I used to do. And when I say something, it literally refers to nothing unusual; for example, me just walking to my car. There was a period where I would go down into the city to the dance clubs and bars. Now you might think this was strange for me since I did not drink alcohol, but I wanted to dance and watch music videos. Sometimes I would drive, other times I would take public transportation. Depending on how the evening was going I could be dancing at the club until they closed, or I could be there for an hour before making my way home. My point is I might be walking alone to my car at 3 in the morning. I knew to be cautious or at least aware of my surroundings, but I was not fearful. Granted, on side streets I would always walk down the middle of them. Riding public transportation never was a concern for me. Whether I was on a bus or train, I never thought something could go wrong; at least, not to the extent I read and see in the news.      MAYBE I WAS LUCKY THAT NOTHING befell me back then; however, there were several times when I was scared. Once while walking down the street in the afternoon a guy came up to me and asked for a cigarette. When I said I didn’t smoke he started yelling and calling me names. I tried to walk away but he kept shoving me. Not until he pushed me into a plate glass window did he take off running. I used to replay that scene over and over in my head, imagining different endings where I would come out victorious. Another time I was walking to my car after dinner and noticed a small group of teenagers walking towards me. I made a quick decision and turned into a building’s walkway, despite not knowing where it would lead. Luckily, I wound up in the alley just as I heard their laughter echoing out from the walkway. Quickly I ran down the alley until I found another walkway through a building that lead me back to the street, where I ran all the way to my car. Again, as I made my way home I fantasized different scenarios where I was a boxer or martial arts expert who quickly subdued my assailants into submission…or unconsciousness. The only difference between me and the main character in this dramatic comedy is I never acted on it.      AFTER BEING MUGGED BY A MOTORCYCLE gang Casey, played by Jesse Eisenberg (The End of the Tour, The Social Network), looked for a way to defend himself. He found his answer at a karate school. With Alessandro Nivola (American Hustle, Disobedience) as Sensei, Imogen Poots (Green Room, Frank & Lola) as Anna, Steve Terada (Crank, Memoirs of a Geisha) as Thomas and Phillip Andre Botello (Pledge, Road Wars) as Kenneth; this film festival nominated movie was wickedly dark, violent and funny. At first, I felt Jesse was doing a repeat of some of his previous roles, but he hit the mark as a timid man on the spectrum. At least I took him to be a person on the spectrum. I am a little familiar with Alessandro’s work and I especially admired him in this role as the owner and head of the karate school. Between my laughter and shock there were a few bumps in the road inside the script, where it became predictable. However, I was enjoying the performances too much to let the predictability bother me. Again, I want to stress this was a real dark comedy with blood and violence. Despite it, I did wonder what would have happened to me if I had joined a karate school.

 

3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Disobedience

HIS BITTERNESS WOULD NOT ALLOW him to let go of his grudges; it is true. If he got into an argument or altercation where he felt just even slighted in any way, he would hold a grudge against the person forever. I understood because I used to do the same thing; but that was years ago. You can choose whether it was maturity or growing old, but I do not have the same intensity now like I did back then. Granted nowadays I will not forget, but I do not go out of my way to get back at the “perpetrator.” Instead I ignore the person, devoting as little energy as possible to them. There is a member at one of the fitness centers where I teach who was the owner of a company that was a customer of mine. We used to be on friendly terms and though they ran a little slow with their payments, he would work to get us paid. When the economy started to drop the payments got slower and slower. I had to call their accounts payable department and get a hold of him at the fitness center. Finally, when I found him he told me they were working on our invoices and not to hold up their orders; that he would remember who worked with them once they turned things around. So, I released his current order with us and after a few weeks went by his company filed bankruptcy. To this day when I see him I make no acknowledgment of his existence.      NOW THIS MAY SEEM HARSH to some of you, but it really does not take any energy away from me. It is as if he is a stranger passing me by, though by the look on his face he does try to avoid me. The difference I was referring to between me and my friend is he would have turned his feelings all to hatred and made foul comments to the owner any chance he would have seen him. His feelings for an individual would get twisted with any other negative feelings he had stuffed inside of himself; so, his reactions were always at an extreme level, way beyond what the situation warranted. As I am getting older I do not have the energy nor the desire to hold grudges. Sure, as I said before, I may not forget what happened but I do not want to spend my time resenting the individual who wronged me. I have seen some elderly people who are unpleasant to be around because they are filled with resentment and anger. If I was in a similar situation like what was depicted in this romantic drama, I do not know if I would want to be around those individuals.      IT WAS HARD FOR RONIT KRISHNA, played by Rachel Weisz (My Cousin Rachel, The Light Between the Oceans), to return for her father’s funeral to the community that had looked down at her. Their reason was still walking the streets. This film festival nominee also starred Rachel McAdams (Game Night, Spotlight) as Esti Kuperman, Alessandro Nivola (American Hustle, Ginger & Rosa) as David Kuperman and Allan Corduner (Defiance, The Merchant of Venice) as Moshe Hartog. Due to the beautiful acting from both Rachels I could get through the slowness at times of the story. The 2 actresses both had this special way of using their physical features to convey their feelings. It took some time for me to get used to the pacing before I was pulled into this film. I did find the setting interesting for it added a religious element to the love story that I found thought provoking. On a curious note I was intrigued with the way people dealt with their grudges.

 

3 stars       

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