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Flash Movie Review: Your Place or Mine

THERE WAS ALWAYS THAT AWKWARD MOMENT when I would introduce one of my best friends to my date. You see, a couple of my closest friends are female; one of them was my girlfriend in elementary school. Because I have had such a long history with my closest friends, they mince no words in voicing an opinion and for that, I am grateful. Some of the people I have dated never made it to the “meeting the best friend” stage; but others had, and a few did so with trepidation. I understood their concerns because it was rare for me not to talk about my best friends early in the relationship. It was never difficult for them to figure out what an important part these friends play in my life, and I could understand their concerns because if I was in their place, I would probably feel the same way. I never considered meeting my friends as a test; it was more about me having strong enough feelings towards this person that I wanted my best friends to see for themselves. Some dates, I found out later, felt threatened on some level. If I was able to perceive it, I would try to start a conversation with them to understand why. What became apparent to me among those that felt threatened was they all seemed to lack a certain level of confidence. At some point soon after meeting these dates they would drift away from maintaining their relationship with me.      WHENEVER I MET FOR THE FIRST time my date’s friends, I always kept a mindset that I knew I was going to be judged but I never gave it a thought. I could only be myself; if my date needed reassurances or criticisms from their friends I was okay with it. However, if they acted on their friends’ comments then I knew the two of us were not meant to be together. There were never any hard feelings. The thing I found interesting was the fact that I was in a minority, because not many of the people I dated had close friends of the opposite sex. My way of thinking was, why wouldn’t they want to have that opportunity to see things through the eyes of someone different. Not that I ever made a big deal about it; it was just a curiosity I have always had inside of me. Because of my close friends, I feel I have a better appreciation or understanding of the things that make a relationship stronger. Of course, the fundamental action in any relationship is the ability to communicate; one must be able to express their feelings. This is good advice even for the characters in this romantic comedy.      WHEN LONG TERM FRIENDS SWAP THEIR homes for a short period of time to help one of them in a pinch, they discover things they never knew about each other, even after all the years they have been friends. With Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line, Home Again) as Debbie Dunn, Ashton Kutcher (No Strings Attached, That ‘70s Show-TV) as Peter Coleman, Zoe Chao (Downhill, Strangers-TV) as Minka, Jesse Williams (The Cabin in the Woods, Grey’s Anatomy-TV) as Theo Martin and Wesley Kimmel (The Hater, Jimmy Kimmel Live!-TV) as Jack; this film’s strength was having Reese and Ashton in it. However, for a rom com, they had little chemistry between them. The script was quite generic and predictable, unfortunately. I thought the idea behind the story was different, but there really was no emotional connections, let alone the odd roles left for the supporting cast. This was such a weird mix of scenarios, that I fell into a mindless state. Each of the main actors alone could have been better if they had the right script, though Ashton has not lost his ability to say something with just a look of his face or actions. When left with the choice of one of their places, you would be better off booking a room somewhere else.                                  

1 ¾ stars  


Flash Movie Review: No Strings Attached

There are times when the intentions may be good, but the motivations do not match. This could cause a problem, especially when it comes to relationships. Have you ever met someone where you felt a connection to them? You start to hang out together, discover you have things in common and you really enjoy their company. While you see potential for the relationship to progress, they inform you they just want to be friends and your heart stumbles on the kernel of doubt that was just placed in front of you. Upon hearing such news, some people can turn themselves off and move on, while others can agree to the new definition placed on the relationship. Then there are individuals who agree to be friends, but secretly hope to change the other person’s mind. In these instances, it may not go well for either one or both participants. Relationships already take some work without placing land mines along your heart’s path as this romantic comedy will show you. After discovering his father Alvin, played by Kevin Kline (A Wish Called Wanda, Wild Wild West), was dating one of his former girlfriends; Adam, played by Ashton Kutcher (Jobs, Killers), went out for a night of hard partying and drinking. The next day he woke up in an apartment where Emma, played by Natalie Portman (Black Swan, Thor), his old childhood friend lived. Though Adam felt there was some chemistry between them, Emma was not interested in a relationship. Instead, she offered Adam an alternative that he easily accepted. The two would soon discover saying and doing were two different things. Ashton was better suited to play this type of character than the one he did recently as Steve Jobs in the film Jobs. His chemistry with Natalie was solid as they both came across like real people in this comedy. In fact, I thought Natalie was the better of the two. It was a shame the script was not stronger; I know Natalie could have handled it, not sure about Ashton though. The story did not provide anything new; it was easily predictable. This award winning film chose a romantic topic that came with many pitfalls; sadly it took a safe generic path to show us.


2 stars — DVD

Flash Movie Review: Jobs

After a few attempts I came to the conclusion that my brain was not wired that way. There was something about a PC’s operating system that did not interface with my mind. I would sit in front of its glowing screen, staring at the dialog box that told me a function did not work, asking me if it was okay. No, it was not okay I would say as the level of my frustration rose. According to my way of thinking, the computer should have been able to correct itself and show me what I needed to do to proceed; it was a computer for heaven’s sake. When I left the PC world, replacing it with an Apple computer, an immediate connection formed between us. This is not meant to be an advertisement or endorsement of their products; I am simply saying the billowing brainwaves in my head found clarity with its operating system. The creator and driving force behind my computer and cell phone was Steve Jobs. From the events he orchestrated and the frenzied crowds who camped out for his products, I would be surprised to find someone who had not heard of this man. To portray such an intense individual in a movie, one would need an actor with some considerable acting abilities. Who this movie studio came up with to play Steve Jobs was Ashton Kutcher (The Butterfly Effect, That ’70s Show-TV). In his television commercials, Ashton has an engaging personality that is comfortable to watch. This trait worked for him when he was recreating Steve’s media events in this dramatic film. Unfortunately, it was the only thing that did work for him. Ashton was completely wrong for this character that needed to show the emotional intensity that Steve was known to have and display freely. The script was awful, making the scenes seem like small tidbits that were randomly spliced together. Where I thought Josh Gad (Love & Other Drugs, 21) had potential playing Steve’s partner Steve Wozniak, Dermot Mulroney (Zodiac, The Grey) was wasted playing the financial backer Mike Markkula. This was such a disappointing movie; I can only imagine what Steve Jobs would have done after seeing this film. My guess is he would be yelling at everyone involved, using words not usually found in a dictionary; telling them it was ugly and not consumer friendly.


1 2/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: The Guardian

Making something look easy is a real art form. It can be quite hard to pull off. In my yoga classes I strive to make the poses available to all fitness levels. When teaching cycle class the members do not know, while I am giving out movie reviews and news tidbits, I am watching their body alignment, posture, signs of fatigue, anything that may be detrimental to their health. My goal is not to let anyone feel intimidated in my class; I do everything I ask the class to do and never leave someone behind. While watching this DVD my impression of the coast guard was blown out of the water, so to speak. I never gave much thought to the United States Coast Guard. My only exposure was seeing them on television rescuing pets or drunk people out on the water. I have to tell you how surprised I was with this film. The story took place at one of the USCG’s training centers for their rescue swimmer’s team. Kevin Costner (Waterworld, Dances with Wolves) played Ben Randall, an elite rescue swimmer who was offered a teaching job after a rescue mission turned deadly. Ashton Kutcher (No Strings Attached, The Butterfly Effect) played hot shot high school swimming champ Jake Fischer, who joined the coast guard to escape a mysterious past. The chemistry between the two actors was better than I expected; they were believable, sympathetic characters. The physical requirements the trainees had to achieve were daunting; I had no idea how rigorous and dangerous it was for them. Sela Ward (The Fugitive, Sisters-TV) played Ben’s wife Helen; I would have preferred more scenes with her than the filler love interest inserted into the story. This dramatic action film had similar elements to the movie An Officer and a Gentleman, which I did not mind in the least. After sitting anxiously through the exciting action scenes I wished the writers would have spent more time on the ending; it seemed rushed and predictable. My impression of coast guard personnel has been totally altered by this hardy movie. I will never underestimate how they make things look easy.


2 2/3 stars — DVD

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