The sentences that were being verbalized to us were losing some of their words on the way to me. It was as if their voice had been heard enough to transform into a blur of white noise, causing my eyelids to become heavy as they wanted to slowly come down like a drawbridge. The lecture was only halfway completed and I did not know how I would survive the rest. My head was starting to look like it was on an old weak spring as it would droop down periodically. I pretended there was something in my eyes so I could fake rubbing them, giving me a few extra seconds of shut eye. The individual leading the training seemed to know what they were talking about; however, their delivery was turning the participants into mindless drones, only coming back to life if a direct question prodded them back to the present time. I am sure many of us have experienced a similar situation during a training, lecture or workshop; the facilitator pretty much is going on automatic since they have done it for so long. And it does not matter whether it is done in person or via a webinar; they follow the same script, the same pre-planned ice breakers and the same jokes. To me the delivery is so important in making the event a success. If you cannot keep the participants engaged and interested in what is being said, then the session becomes a waste of time for a majority of the them; similar to what took place in the movie theater as we watched this musical comedy. LITTLE did rock manager Richie Lanz, played by Bill Murray (Aloha, Lost in Translation), know his trip to Afghanistan would lead him to the beautiful singing voice of Salima, played by Leem Lubany (From A to B, Omar). Unfortunately it was coming out of a female in a country that frowned on women singing. With a cast that also included Kate Hudson (Wish I was Here, Almost Famous) as Merci and Bruce Willis (Die Hard franchise, Looper) as Bombay Brian; I could only sit and wonder if they realized they were stuck in such a poor product. This movie provided nothing new or exciting for me. I still cannot get over the fact it was directed by Barry Levinson (Liberty Heights, Wag the Dog), a director I have respected for a long time. The script made no sense to me; for example, what was the point of including Bruce Willis’ character into the story? Bill Murray was utterly dreadful; he brought absolutely nothing different to his character, having done this type of role over and over previously. I was bored through the majority of this film except during a couple of songs. When the picture was over I felt as if I had been slipped a tranquilizer or what some people call a roofie.
1 1/2 stars
There was a time when I would think nothing of wrapping my hand around a door handle to open a door or borrow someone’s pen to fill out a form. I do not recall a specific incident or time when these actions turned into a forbidden hazard for me. If I am not wearing long sleeves or a jacket, you should see how I try to open a door without using the palm of my hand. To some people I must appear like a stroke survivor. Having individuals get offended at me when I refused their requests to borrow my pen, I now always carry extra pens with me to just hand out to folks and tell them to keep the pen. Reading up on the ways one can catch a cold or discovering what places at work have the dirtiest surfaces, I have discouraged everyone at work from sticking their hands into any communal bags of snacks that come into the office. Instead they need to pour out the amount they want on a plate or napkin. In my classes I always use a fist bump when greeting someone, in place of shaking hands with them. Before you decide that I am a bona fide germophobe, think about the times you have stood in a checkout line and seen the checker wipe their nose across their hand or sneeze into them just before they give you back your change. Yuck, I would use a charge card to make the purchase. So you see there is enough things in the real world that can be a hazard to our health which is why this horror film was scary. CELEBRATIONS over the July 4th weekend turned deadly when the citizens of a small town started showing signs from an unknown illness that was rapidly spreading through the area. Written and directed by Barry Levinson (Liberty Heights, Sleepers), this film festival winning horror movie used the found footage style of filming. Due to the story line I understood why this method was used; however, the multiple sources and the shakiness of it became tiresome for me. The idea was great to base the story in a realistic setting because it only made this movie scarier for the viewer; it could have happened anywhere, not just off the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. With cast members such as Kether Donohue (Pitch Perfect franchise, Boy Wonder) as Donna and Kristen Connolly (Revolutionary Road, The Happening) as Stephanie, I was not moved much by their performances. It was due to the script; though there were a few scary moments, I did not feel the level of fear provided the needed thrills a movie like this required to convey to the audience. However, this film sure made me think twice about what we are doing to our planet. Several scenes had blood in them.
2 stars — DVD