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Flash Movie Review: Blinded by the Light

INSTEAD OF REHASHING MY STORY ABOUT the school teacher who told me I would amount to nothing if I decided to become a writer, let me tell you about a friend’s son. When the boy was little, he loved playing with all kinds of building block type toys. He could sit and play by himself for hours with these toys. As he got older the simple building blocks were replaced with more complicated toys; toys that gave him more options in the way he could connect pieces together. He would build these elaborate structures. Some were recognizable as being a castle or a bridge; but others were more freeform and creative. During the latter part of elementary school and beginning of high school, the father began hoping his son would join the family business. Though the son had never shown an inclination to be involved in the business, the father persisted in steering his son into following in his father’s footsteps. This created a wedge between the father and son. From the first set of building blocks the son had received when he was young, all he wanted to do was to build things. He was inclined to go into the field of architecture or construction. The father could not understand why his son wanted to venture into such work when a successful career was right there waiting for him at the family business.      WHAT THE FATHER DID NOT UNDERSTAND was the fact that his son had zero passion for the type of work his father did. And I believe that is the key when it comes to deciding what a person wants to do in life. Without passion a person becomes more like a robot, lifeless and unemotional. They just go through the motions at their job, but really do not care about it. I have worked with several individuals who had mentally checked out from the job. They were at the company simply to collect a paycheck; they had no concern for the health of the company as long as it did not affect their paycheck. Those individuals lacked passion in my opinion. As I watched my friend and his son play this tug of war game about coming into the family business, I knew the son would never abide by his father’s wishes. The reason being, I saw how passionate the son was when it came to building things. Those early building blocks when he was a baby planted the seed that let his passion flourish through the years. A similar situation can be found in this musical, comedic drama.     NOT FEELING CONNECTED TO HIS SURROUNDINGS British teenager Javed, played by Viveik Kalra (Beecham House-TV, Next of Kin-TV Mini-Series), found someone who understood how he felt; it was the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. Inspired by a true story, this film festival winner also starred Kulvinder Ghir (Bend it Like Beckham, Still Open All Hours-TV) as Malik, Meera Ganatra (Three Dots and a Dash, PREmature-TV Mini-Series) as Noor, Raron Phagura (Doctor Who-TV, Him-TV Mini-Series) as Roops and Dean-Charles Chapman (Game of Thrones-TV, The Commuter) as Matt. Set in the 1980s, the story was familiar to me, having seen it done in other films. The movie started out slow, but I soon was drawn into this picture due to the charms of the cast. There was a sweetness to the script that felt right to me. I also appreciated the underlying story involving the dynamics of Javed’s family within the surrounding area. And of course, there was Springsteen’s music. Though I am familiar with Bruce’s music, I do not own any of his albums. However, I was surprised how well his songs worked within the story. The combination made for an enjoyable viewing experience. To take a familiar story and tweak it enough to make it feel fresh takes true passion. I could totally relate.

 

3 stars      

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Flash Movie Review: 20 Feet from Stardom

Look closely at a favorite picture or photograph; I mean really take a good look at the details. The use of shadowing, the way brushstrokes accentuate the hair or how color is used for depth; each component adds to the richness of the picture. One of my favorite pieces of art was created with tiny dots of paint. The same concept of layering applies to music. There is the use of instruments, in some cases random noises, besides sound levels; each part makes an important contribution to the ultimate musical piece. I was already aware of background singers; but after seeing this remarkable documentary, I can now refer to them as musical angels. You may not be familiar with the names of Lisa Fischer, Darlene Love, Merry Clayton or Judith Hill to name a few; but I know you have heard them sing. I loved the way this film took an iconic song and used multiple interviews to create a frame of reference on its creation. Some of the musicians interviewed were Mick Jagger, Sheryl Crow, Sting, Patti Austin, and Bruce Springsteen. What made this movie special was hearing the back up singers’ recollections of the songs they performed. If that was not enough to make you tap your feet to the beat, the old film clips that were used were incredible to watch. The beauty of this film festival winning film was how it took human emotions and thoughtfully infused them into scenes, where I would tear up at one point and then suddenly be chuckling at the next. Talk about unsung heroes; listening to the lives of these singers, I have a whole new level of appreciation for them. To see their drive, determination, passion, their souls, just to do what they love; it truly was inspirational to witness. One of the best films I have seen this year. With yesterday’s movie review, I certainly am having a musical week. After seeing this film, I dare you to try and not hum one of the songs from the movie as you leave the theater.

 

4 stars

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