IF I ONLY KNEW BACK THEN what I know now, I could have avoided so many troubling things. Oscar Wilde had a famous quote, “With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.” This is so true. I am reminded of a friend who would repeat the same pattern when it came to the men she dated. Each relationship ended the same way with the man breaking it off and her heart getting broken. Whatever my 2 cents of advice is worth, she never allowed her relationships to develop; she went from having a few initial dates to acting like they were in a full-blown relationship, as if they were a long time couple. It was odd and uncomfortable to see her place herself repeatedly in these situations; yet, she would do the same thing over and over with each person she started dating. Of course, it is easier for me to give advice to other people than it is for me to take my own advice. I was in several relationships that, I see now, were not healthy. If I had my current level of confidence and knowledge back then, I could have saved myself a whole lot of pain. Yet, I always want to believe we gain something from each person we encounter. I DO NOT KNOW IF I am wiser, but I certainly am aware how differently I react to certain situations these days. In the past, my younger self would always view any type of criticism as a threat, where I would immediately go on the attack. Most of my verbal confrontations with individuals was me yelling “You” statements at them. These are sentences that start with the word “You” followed by a descriptive adjective or action, like “You never said” or “You didn’t care.” My older self can see the difference between saying “you never said” and “I did not hear you” or “You didn’t care” and “I felt you were not interested.” It changes the whole flavor of the situation when one starts out saying I instead of You. When I look back at my younger years, I can honestly say I have few regrets. However, what I can tell you is my life would have been less stressful if my younger self had my current self-awareness. From time to time in fact, I will recall an experience from my past and replay it in my mind to see how things could have been different, if I acted more like my adult self. For me doing this is more of a mental exercise; for the main character in this dramatic, action science fiction film his past was more physical. REACHING A POINT IN HIS LIFE where he could finally retire; elite assassin Henry Brogan, played by Will Smith (Aladdin, Suicide Squad), did not understand why he suddenly became the target of an assassin who was able to anticipate his every move. With Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane, Scott Pilgrim vs the World) as Danny Zakarweski, Clive Owen (Closer, Inside Man) as Clay Verris, Benedict Wong (The Martian, Doctor Strange) as Baron and Douglas Hodge (Red Sparrow, The Report) as Jack Willis; I was anticipating this film to be an exciting and visual piece of work because of the director, Ang Lee (Life of Pi, Brokeback Mountain). Visually there was a lot to look at; however, the action went to fast for me. I found Will was doing the same type of acting he has done before; so, I was not connecting at all with his character. The real shame here was the script; it was not only generic but gave the viewers clues to what was going to happen further in the story. Overall, there was nothing exciting or fresh about this picture. I hate to say it, but I believe this movie is an example of Oscar Wilde’s quote.
1 ¾ stars
IT WAS RATHER COMICAL AS my friend was the intermediary between me and her friend. I was talking to my friend on her cell phone while her friend was on my friend’s landline. The two of them had each just seen the same movie and had different reactions to it. With phones in hand my friend called me up and peppered me with questions and comments. I actually found it an interesting experience because I was seeing the movie again thru someone else’s eyes. Some of the questions made me rethink my interpretation of the story as I tried to piece together the scenes that originally led the three of us to different conclusions. The process was a positive one; I felt it expanded my mind to accept more possibilities for what was the meaning behind the story. We all stayed on our phones for approximately 20 minutes, going back and forth with our ideas and thoughts about the film. By the time we said our goodbyes none of us had changed our opinions; we in fact agreed that each of our points were valid. It would have been nice if we could have asked the writers what they were trying to achieve. AS YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED I enjoy seeing a movie that makes me think. However the bottom line for me is that I am at least being entertained; this is how my star rating system is set up. The story doesn’t have to always make sense nor do the production values have to be a work of art; all I care about is wanting the movie to take me away. I have walked out of some films where I had to mull over what I had just seen on screen. Why did the character do this particular thing or why did the writer add this plot twist can linger with me for some time. If I can reach a conclusion that appeases me then the picture was a total success; but if I walk out of the theater confused and still lost in the story, then as time goes on the lower my enjoyment level drops. You must agree it doesn’t feel good to have sat through a movie for a couple of hours and not feel some sense of satisfaction afterwards. Well I have to tell you I still do not know what I saw in this dramatic fantasy adventure. BIOLOGIST LENA, PLAYED BY Natalie Portman (Jackie, Black Swan), agrees to be part of a team to investigate an unexplained phenomenon in hopes of explaining what happened to her husband. With Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight, LBJ) as Dr. Ventress, Gina Rodriguez (Deepwater Horizon, Jane the Virgin-TV) as Anya Thorensen, Oscar Issac (Star Wars franchise, The Promise) as Kane and Benedict Wong (The Martian, Doctor Strange) as Lomax; this film played out more like a mystery to me. I will say I was intrigued with it as the story kept my interest for the most part. The acting was excellent and I thought the production values were excellent. The visuals both in their unusualness and simplicity were a good counterpoint to the puzzling story. One of the issues I had with this picture was the characters; they were pretty much stereotypical and I did not see much depth to them. By the end of the movie I was confused to the point where I felt I witnessed something extraordinary, but I just could not explain what I had seen. My guess is there will be a lot of discussions in store for those who go see this film.
2 ½ stars