I WAS DEFINITELY IN THE MINORITY at the concert. Gratefully the venue had stadium seating; otherwise, I would have been ticked off with all the phone screens blocking my view. The place was packed with fans, and I was there with a couple of friends. As the band was performing, it seemed as if every person around me was watching the group through the screen of their phone as they were snapping photos and videos. Everywhere I looked there were people with their arms up, pointing their phone cameras to the stage. I sat there and wondered how many photos did a person need of their favorite band? It was crazy; instead of sitting there and enjoying the music, everyone was focused on capturing the musicians with their phones. It could not have been comfortable to hold one’s arms up for such a long time. I found it distracting because I did not pay good money to have these phones waving in the air. If I had been sitting on the main floor, I would have had a fight with the people in front of me if they had been using their phones. Why couldn’t people just allow themselves to enjoy the show and let it settle into their minds, to become a fond memory? CAPTURING AN EVENT ON “FILM” IS not exclusive to concerts; everywhere I look, there is someone snapping a photo. Restaurants are a popular location for people to snap pix of their food; I am not sure why they do it. Sure, some dishes look great; but unless one is going to try and reproduce it, I am not clear why one would want to have a photo of it. I know I am more old school, but I do not see the fascination of posting things about myself on social media sites. I am astounded with the amount of people’s video clips that show up on my sites’ feeds. People dancing, pranking, posing, dressing up and so on; it is like a different world for me. There are many individuals who, I believe, see this as a way to earn income and fame. The more outrageous antics are done, I think, with the hope of acquiring a bigger following. And once there is a bigger following then the next step is to find a way to monetize one’s site. I know someone who has been focusing on making a living by getting corporate sponsors or products to promote while flying to various circuit events. So far it looks like they are succeeding. I am not sure I can say the same thing for the family in this dramatic, science fiction mystery. A BROTHER AND SISTER ARE TRYING to keep the family horse business going despite unusual things taking place around their ranch. With Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah, Black Panther) as OJ Haywood, Keke Palmer (Hustlers, Alice) as Emerald Haywood, Brandon Perea (The OA-TV, Insurrection) as Angel Torres, Michael Wincott (Talk Radio, What Just Happened) as Antlers Holst and Steven Yeun (Minari, I Origins) as Ricky ‘Jupe’ Park; there were parts of this film that were bold and spectacular in a Hollywood way. I thought Daniel and Keke were outstanding, especially Keke; this was such a different role for her, and I was totally impressed. There was a lot going on in the story and to tell you the truth, if there was a lot of symbolism or meaning, it was lost on me. The first part of the movie dragged for me, taking some time before I felt I was engaging with the story. I still am not sure about the chimpanzee scenes and that is all I will say about that. Having some quality moments in this picture, I wished it connected more with me. Or maybe that is the point.
2 ¾ stars
I HAD BEEN LOOKING FOR A small bookcase to fill a space in my living room. Something around 5 feet high is all I could fit into the place I had for it. Months went by without any luck; the contents I wanted to put into the case were sitting in a large box in the basement, collecting dust. One day, I was looking through a catalog I had received in the mail. You know how it is, buy one thing online and your mailing information gets sold to anyone who is looking to sell you something. So, this catalog had a variety of home décor items, T-shirts, jewelry and such listed in its pages. I am sure most people would have just tossed the catalog in the recycling bin, but I have this quirk that I must thumb through it, in case there is something there that I did not know I needed. Lo and behold, I saw on one of this catalog’s pages the bookcase I was looking for; just the right size and in a style that would fit perfectly in my home. I quickly jumped online and ordered the item to be delivered to me. After months of searching who would have thought I would have found what I believed to be the perfect bookcase in some random catalog I had never seen before. THE PACKAGE WAS SITTING ON MY stoop when I arrived home from work. I was excited as I carried it into the house. Putting my work stuff away, I opened the package, taking the pieces out and lining them up on the floor. The first thing I noticed was the size of the shelves; they looked much wider in the catalog photo. I would have to rethink the placement of the items I wanted to put onto the shelves, I guess. Getting a couple of tools, I started the process of building the bookcase. The outside walls were easy to put together; however, when it came time to insert the shelf pegs inside, some of the holes were not drilled all the way. My patience was being tested. I wound up taking a small knife to open the holes, careful not to make them too big where the peg would not stay stationary. What a pain! This process took way more time than I had planned. Finally done, I was able to place the shelves inside. Next was screwing on the French glass doors. It was easy to do, but again I became super annoyed when the doors had a gap separating them when closed. After getting my expectations and excitement boosted by the photo, this bookcase looked so much smaller. It was such a letdown. I felt the same way after being excited to see this Oscar nominated film. FINDING HIMSELF AT A TRAVELING CARNIVAL, a down on his luck Stanton Carlisle, played by Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born, American Hustle), finds one act of particular interest. It would lead him to a lucrative career. With Cate Blanchett (Don’t Look Up, Thor: Ragnarok) as Dr. Lilith Ritter, Toni Collette (Dream Horse, Knives Out) as Zeena the Seer, Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate, The Florida Project) as Clem Hoatley and Rooney Mara (Pan, Side Effects) as Molly Cahill; this dramatic, crime thriller was gorgeous to watch. I am referring to the sets, costumes and wonderful acting. Surprisingly, I felt Cate’s performance had a bit of familiarity to it, as if I had witnessed it before. The issue I had with this film was its length and the last part; I did not like them. Way too long and slow in parts, I was disappointed with the ending. Such a shame since I enjoyed watching the cast perform and many of the individual scenes. But put it all together and the script did not provide the impact this story needed. I hear the original version is better and I certainly want to see it. With high expectations, sadly this picture was a letdown for me.
2 ½ stars