Flash Movie Review: Don’t Worry Darling
I CRINGE WHEN I HEAR A statement such as, “I hate it when he eats in bed.” The back story to this comment; a friend of mine married a man who enjoyed eating in bed. Personally, it would be a deal breaker for me, so I get where she is coming from. The thing is, she knew going into the relationship that this was something he did. I remember her telling me stories about waking up in the morning with crumbs strewn across the whole bed sheet. So, by the time they got married, she had been dealing with this situation for three years. For the next couple of years, I would periodically listen to her complain about her husband’s eating habits. I finally had to ask her why she thought things would be different after they were married. My friend felt once they were married, she could convince him to change his eating habits. I had to call it as I saw it by telling her if she went into the marriage with the idea she could change him, she would set herself up for disappointment. Love does not come with conditions; you either love unconditionally or the basis of the marriage will have this open wound that will not heal. I suggested some options she could try to find a happy medium, but explained at our ages change is hard to come by. She cannot change him, but she can change her reaction; because let us face it, no one is perfect. MAYBE IT WILL NOT SURPRISE YOU those two filed for divorce after a couple of more years. Heaven knows, I have been in relationships where I wished I could change some aspect about the person, but I always concluded that if I am not perfect, why would I expect them to be perfect. Going into a relationship, where you totally accept the person for who they are, is so much easier than struggling to mold each other into what you imagine they could be. I remember being in a relationship where they constantly told me I was never available for them, despite keeping every weekend open for us to be together. What they were saying to me was they wanted me to quit teaching so I could be available for them during the weekdays. They knew from day one that I worked a full-time job and at night I taught fitness and yoga classes. Nothing changed on my part; but they came into the committed relationship expecting me to change for them. It was never discussed or questioned. Knowing my schedule, if they were not happy with it, they could have chosen not to move forward with our dating status. As I have said before, life is not perfect; except maybe for the people living in the experimental town in this dramatic thriller. A HOUSEWIFE BEGINS TO WONDER IF something is wrong with her perfect life after she begins to recall some disturbing dreams. With Florence Pugh (Black Widow, The Wonder) as Alice, Harry Styles (Dunkirk, Eternals) as Jack, Chris Pine (All the Old Knives, The Contractor) as Frank, Olivia Wilde (Richard Jewell, Life Itself) as Bunny and Kiki Layne (The Old Guard, If Beale Street Could Talk) as Margaret; this movie kept my interest because of Florence. She has such a magnetic screen presence that made me want to find out what was happening to her character. There were some interesting parts to the story; however, the longer the movie dragged on the less I cared what was happening to the cast. There was a familiarity to the script, as if I saw some scenes in previous films. And I disliked the twist and the last part of the story; it made no sense to me and by this time I did not care, feeling I wasted my time. Now I don’t expect every movie I see to be perfect, but I certainly want them to be entertaining. This one was not perfect nor was it entertaining.
1 ¾ stars
Flash Movie Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
THE TICKETS WERE MORE THAN I like to spend for live theater, but the recommendation I got was glowing for this production. A friend raved about this pre-Broadway production that was stopping here for a trial run before heading to New York; they said I had to see it. I get a kick out of seeing a play or musical before its Broadway run because the tickets are a whole lot cheaper, and I enjoy being first to discover something that becomes a major sensation afterwards. The night of the performance, a small group of us got dressed up and went out to dinner before curtain time. When we finally arrived at the theater, it looked like a mob scene. There were people everywhere, taking selfies in front of the theater posters and marquee. We bypassed all of it to make our way inside the theater lobby. By the time we settled into our seats, the theater lights flashed on and off to signal to all those standing it was time to get seated. And right on time the lights went off and the production began. It was staged beautifully, with elaborate sets and dramatic lighting. There were parts that were amusing, but to be honest, I was bored through parts of it. For everything my friend praised about this play; I had a different reaction. I did not get it at all, and I already was regretting the amount of money I spent to come see it. Just one big disappointment. IT IS BECAUSE OF THINGS LIKE that, I am hesitant to recommend anything. I am sure you have experienced going to a restaurant where someone told you to try and discover you did not care for the meal. Or try a new food item from the grocery store and your reaction differs from the person who told you about the product. Taste is such a personal thing; we all have different combinations of taste buds, where some people think an item is too salty and others feel it is too sweet. When I suggest a restaurant place to someone, I always preface it with my food issues, such as not liking spicy, or heat infused food. I also do not like gooey types of food. My pizza must be well done; if it comes to the table looking wet with oil and the cheese ready to slide off the crust, I will not eat it. So, you can see, this is why I tell people my taste preferences, to lessen the chance of disappointment. On a similar note, I found myself in this situation. Having heard so much about the Dungeons & Dragons game, I was all prepared to have a great time watching this action, adventure comedy. DESPARATE TO REVIVE HIS DECEASED WIFE, a thief plots to steal a lost relic to help in his quest. He soon discovers he cannot accomplish it on his own. With Chris Pine (Star Trek franchise, Don’t Worry Darling) as Edgin, Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and the Furious franchise, Widows) as Holga, Rege-Jean Page (The Gray Man, Bridgerton-TV) as Xenk, Justice Smith (Paper Towns, Pokemon: Detective Pikachu) as Simon and Sophie Lillie (It franchise, Gretel & Hansel) as Doric; this fantasy film confused me. Keeping in mind I was not familiar with the game this film is based on, I felt lost many a time. For the first half, I was bored multiple times. On the plus side, the movie was visually stimulating as well as creative. I enjoyed the cast, especially the chemistry between Chris and Michelle. There were parts of the story I did not understand; maybe because I never played the game. Not until the last half of the story, did things pick up for me. The fight scenes were fun and well-choreographed. And the special effects were well done. I wished I would not have been as disappointed as I was with this picture. For me, it has potential for creating a better sequel. There was one brief extra scene during the ending credits.
2 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: All the Old Knives
OUT OF THE SEVERAL COUPLES I knew whose jobs were at the same company, they were an anomaly. They were a husband and wife who worked in the same office. If you did not know their last names you probably would not realize they were a couple; they always were professional in their positions. This was not the norm based on the other companies I had worked at where two employees were in a romantic relationship. I was at one workplace where one of the administrators was having an affair with one of the co-owners of the business. My co-workers and I always knew when the two had been together outside of the office. If they had had a good time, then they were always finding reasons to see each other throughout the day, communicating in what I would refer to as a “pseudo lovey-dovey” way, being so effusive with extra sweetness and politeness. If they had a “bad” time together, then they ignored each other the entire day. It got to the point where it was comical to see these two acting out in front of all the staff. The other aspect of this was the fact none of us ever wanted to disagree or cross the administrator, for fear she would say something to the co-owner. So, no matter whether she did something incorrectly or misinformed us, no one would contradict her. FROM MY VARIOUS JOB POSITIONS, I absolutely understood why some of the companies installed a no dating policy among employees. Honestly, I would have had a horrible time if I was dating a co-worker and we then wound up ending our relationship. How can one immediately switch gears from having a love relationship to a different one without having some separation time to heal and adjust to the new relationship? I know I could never do it; yet, I have witnessed couples who were in love one day and the next they suddenly are just friends. I need time to rewire my heart and mind to the new dynamic between us. In fact, I am proof that one can indeed become friends with their past significant others, because most of the people I have been in long term committed relationships with are still part of my life as a friend. However, with each one we had to separate ourselves for some time before we could come back as friends. Sure, it is not easy if the relationship ended on a sour note, but over time I believe it still can grow into some form of a friendship. If you are interested, see what happens with co-workers in this dramatic thriller. CALLED BACK TO DO AN INVESTIGATION of an operation that went wrong, a CIA agent must interrogate a former co-worker he was in love with when they were working together on the case. How objective would he be as they delved into their past? With Chris Pine (Star Trek franchise, Wonder Woman franchise) as Henry Pelham, Thandiwe Newton (Reminiscence, Westworld-TV) as Celia Harrison, Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix franchise, Mystic River) as Vick Wallinger, Jonathan Pryce (The Wife, The Two Popes) as Bill Compton and Ahd Kamel (Wadjda, Rattle the Cage) as Leila Maloof; this movie was more about the conversations than the actions. I thought Chris and Thandiwe were well suited for their roles and had a certain chemistry that worked between the two of them. I thought the idea behind the story was solid; however, I found this film dragged in parts. This might have been due to the jumping back and forth in time, though I thought several scenes could have been done in a more dramatic way that would have elevated the movie watching experience. Overall, this was a decent picture with a twist.
2 ¼ stars
Flash Movie Review: Wonder Woman 1984
I WOULD HAVE TO PACE MYSELF for the day if I wanted to keep my holiday tradition alive. The first item on my list was to walk/jog the parking garage before breakfast. Since it was too cold for me to go outside, I discovered I could get a decent workout by walking/jogging the 2-floor parking garage. In an hour, I can cover nearly 5 miles and that is including the parking ramps which provide me the experience of going up and down a hill. Once my workout was completed, I showered then ate breakfast. With dinner being a big meal, I went light on my breakfast cereal. Once I was done eating, I had to set up my laptop computer on a snack tray in the living room. Later after lunch I was going to be on a video present opening for Christmas. If anywhere in my schedule there could be a delay, it would be during this activity. There were going to be 10 people on the video call, each taking turns with opening their gifts. Now don’t get me wrong, I was looking forward to the event; however, there was my holiday tradition I was focused on that I scheduled to take place after dinner was done. AS I FEARED THE VIDEO PRESENT opening went on for nearly three hours. I was besides myself because my dinner was now delayed, which meant the one thing I wanted to happen was going to have to start later in the evening. With movie theaters closed in my area; it has been months since I was last in a theater. In fact, the last time for me was back in March just as the COVID-19 pandemic was rolling out across the country. After all this time, one of the film studios decided to offer first run movies on their streaming service the same day the film opens at the theaters. I cannot tell you how filled I was with excited anticipation to see a new, blockbuster film. Not to take anything away from the different streaming services’ original films, but there is something about a big budgeted picture that is to be released on the big screen. Due to the virus, I was getting the 2ndbest thing by watching the film at home on a large screened television. Since I loved the first Wonder Woman movie, I was expecting everything to be bigger and better with this sequel. Little did I know that my fear of watching this film later in the evening, where I could easily fall asleep, would be a valid issue for me. LIVING A QUIET COMFORTABLE LIFE UNDETECTED was fine for Diana Prince, played by Gal Gadot (Keeping Up with the Joneses, Triple 9), except for the one person she was missing in her life. Years of wishing he was with her was about to change when a mysterious artifact was delivered to her place of work. With Chris Pine (Star Trek franchise, The Finest Hours) as Steve Trevor, Kristen Wiig (Downsizing, The Skeleton Twins) as Barbara Minerva, Pedro Pascal (The Great Wall, Kingsman: The Golden Circle) as Maxwell Lord and Robin Wright (Blade Runner 2049, Moneyball) as Antiope; this action, adventure fantasy was a major disappointment for me. How the script received approval is beyond me because there were so many poor choices made in its story line. In a superhero movie, the villain needs to be as dynamic and powerful as the superhero character; this was not the case in this picture. The villain was downright boring and uninteresting to me. And I have little patience for a script that tries to force feed a message to the viewer and this film nearly choked me on its syrupy monologue. The only highlight for me was the opening scene, Kristen Wiig with her character and the extra scene in the middle of the ending credits. My experience with this movie was like one of the gifts I received on my video presents event; a fancy gift-wrapped box that had an ugly sweater in a wrong size.
2 1/4 stars
Flash Movie Review: Wonder Woman
I have chosen to believe there are more people on this planet who want to do good than those who wish to do harm. Granted there have been times where I did not think that was the case. From time to time I still remember a kid in elementary school who tortured and killed a cat. Though “they” say people can change, I have my doubts about this person. Just as I was leaving for the office this morning I heard on the news authorities found baby coyotes drowned in a bucket of water. It seems the past several weeks only horrific news of people taking the lives of others has been reported. I can tell you it is not easy to stay positive with what has been taking place around all of us. However an example will come by that renews or restores my faith and give me hope that good will overpower evil. RECENTLY after seeing this film I was watching a news magazine type of television show. A segment was devoted to a woman who has devoted her life to protecting elephants from poachers. She even moved her family to Kenya so she could commit more time to her efforts. I was amazed as I watched this woman negotiate with the village elders to help by reporting to the authorities any sightings of poachers in their area. If I remember correctly she helped set up a program to help captured poachers get rehabilitation and find them decent employment opportunities. They even showed 2 poachers who were sworn enemies that now are friends, working as forest rangers. All of this woman’s efforts were geared to protect elephants from being slaughtered for their tusks. One of the things I find fascinating about individuals who devote such energy towards goodness is where their motivation comes from. Is it something they are born with or does it come from a series of events? Not being familiar with the Wonder Woman character I was totally impressed by her motivation to do good in this action adventure fantasy. WHEN a plane crashed off the shores of her homeland Diana, played by Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious franchise, Keeping up with the Jones), the princess of the Amazons discovered there was an evil force in the world wanting to do harm. She quickly realized what she had to do. With Chris Pine (Star Trek franchise, The Finest Hours) as Steve Trevor, Connie Nielsen (One Hour Photo, Gladiator) as Hippolyta and Danny Huston (Children of Men, The Aviator) as Ludendorff; the script to this story was well thought out. I learned about Diana before she became Wonder Woman. The humor, action, drama were beautifully blended for a thoroughly entertaining movie experience. The soundtrack even had a bit of a throwback acknowledgement to the TV show. While the special effects were fun, they had a comic book vibe which was enjoyable to me. Keep in mind my only exposure to this superhero previously was the actress Lynda Carter, where she would spin around to change into her Wonder Woman garb. This was a well done picture that came from a female’s sensibilities; in fact, I understand it earned the highest weekend opening for a film directed by a woman. If that is not enough to convince you to see this picture, I want you to also know everyone in the theater where I saw this film applauded at the end.
3 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Hell or High Water
What I am about to tell you all took place in my mind; well, maybe some of it did really happen. As I walked through the double glass doors I flipped the open sign hanging on its metal chain to close. Inside there was a chair to the side; I took it to prop up against the closed doors to bar anyone from walking in. I was there to take action and get some results. You see I had locked in an incredibly low interest rate just before they started to rise back up. I was doing some refinancing and would be lowering my monthly payments significantly. The bank kept delaying me, rejecting my application for the most trivial things that were not even my fault. Since the lock on the interest rate had a short expiration date, I was sure the bank wanted to let it expire so they could charge a higher interest rate. The first time my paperwork got rejected was due to not having a check mark next to the word “Mister.” The second time it came back was because a document was missing which they lost. These things were their fault; they had drawn up the documentation and filled it out. A personal banker came up and before they could say anything I told them I was not leaving until my application was approved. I told them if they could not do it then they needed to find someone else right now. From my knapsack I took out my paperwork, protein bars, 2 bottles of water and a baseball bat. Desperate times called for extreme action. THE only way brothers Toby and Tanner Howard, played by Chris Pine (Star Trek franchise, The Finest Hours) and Ben Foster (Lone Survivor, Warcraft), could set things right was to start robbing banks. They would just have to be quick about it. This film festival nominated crime drama’s cast was outstanding. With Jeff Bridges (True Grit, The Giver) as Marcus Hamilton and Dale Dickey (Winter’s Bone, Super 8) as Elsie, the acting was something to see. Maybe there were a couple of things that seemed familiar with Jeff’s performance, but with this character he was close to perfection. As for Chris I was stunned, especially after seeing him recently in the new Star Trek film. It took me a minute to realize this was the same Chris I had seen because he looked and acted so differently; I was impressed with his performance. Set in Texas the story had a strong western type of movie vibe but with a modern take. Visually I enjoyed the framing of the scenes along with the soundtrack. I thought some outdoor shots were ideal in conveying the plight of the bank robbers; it really was wonderful camera work. There were a couple of patches where I felt the story dragged but nothing major. No pun intended but the richness of the script provided a well rounded story that was a pleasure to watch on the big screen. I cannot image a theater patron feeling like they were robbed by paying to see this film; it was worth the money. There were some scenes with blood and violence in them.
3 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond
Summer for me meant the typical things such as hot weather, no school and trips to the ice cream shoppe. There was one other thing important to me; it meant the television season coming to an end until autumn. Most of the major networks showed reruns and I was perfectly fine with it. But then something happened and some television shows had more episodes than others, while others started either earlier or later in the season. Since I do not like change this caused me undue stress. By the way when I say I do not like change, I really mean it. Having a mind set of not fixing things if they are not broken, consistency brings calmness to me. In fact, just hearing the word change gives me reason to pause (except when using it to describe the direction I am driving); this is why I prefer to use the word evolve. Now the reason I am talking about this is my way of explaining the sadness I experienced while watching this movie. It was hard to see Anton Yelchin (Green Room, Like Crazy) reprising for the last time his character Chekov. I could not help but think the crew I have gotten to know will never be the same. My other sadness was thinking about the passing of Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock from the TV series and Spock Prime in this latest movie franchise. A part of life is death, it is an absolute given; yet it is for the most part an unwelcome change. With today’s review I did not want to turn it into a maudlin piece; I wanted to express my dislike with change and the sadness it caused, so we can move on to the rest of my movie watching experience. RESPONDING to a call for help the Enterprise comes under a vicious attack that will change the lives of the crew members. This latest in the action, science fiction series saw the return of Chris Pine (The Finest Hours, Z for Zachariah) as Captain James T. Kirk and Karl Urban (Dredd, The Loft) as Doctor “Bones” McCoy. Brought into this adventure story were new characters Sofia Boutella (StreetDance 2, Kingsman: The Secret Service) as Jaylah and Idris Elba (Pacific Rim, Beasts of No Nation) as Krall. I have to say these two were a welcome addition with both their acting and action skills. It was needed with the fast paced fight scenes in this film. There was a lot to like in this film but I felt the script was the weak link. I never felt I understood fully the villain’s story besides the disappointing major battle scene, at least for me. During a middle period of the picture I felt I was just watching a series of fights and battles that did not have much thought put in to where the story was going. On a positive note I really liked the idea behind the story, especially the dynamics between Spock and McCoy. This installment may not be the best out of the series but it certainly was not the worst. Outside of the passing of Leonard and Anton, I was not sad with the outcome of this film and left the theater feeling happy.
Flash Movie Review: The Finest Hours
There was an old television game show that would have an “ordinary looking” contestant come out and the panel of celebrities had to guess what was the person’s job or hobby, I believe. This is a show I would have watched because I am attracted (not in a good way) to this type of scenario where people judge other people based solely on their looks. I never understood that line of thought because I never understood what a person’s looks had to do with anything except for sanitary or health reasons. This is why I enjoy watching a current reality singing show where the judges do not see the singer; they only get to hear them sing and base their decisions on the vocalists’ voices. This is one of the few reality type shows I would watch because it has eliminated that old cliche: don’t judge a book by its cover. As I just wrote that I am reminded about a friend who had a career that always surprised anyone when they found out what this person did for a living; they were a scientist at a large pharmaceutical company. Of course most people were shocked because the stereotypical image of a scientist was not part of my friend’s image. I used to get a chuckle out of this when I would see a perplexed look come over someone’s face as they tried to mesh their image of what a scientist “should” look like compared to my friend. The reason I am talking about all of this is because I enjoyed how the characters were perceived in this dramatic action film. BASED on a true story Bernie Webber, played by Chris Pine (Star Trek franchise, Z for Zachariah), believed in following rules; so when his commanding chief Daniel Cluff, played by Eric Bana (Munich, Closed Circuit), ordered him to take a crew out into a nor’easter storm to aid a ship in distress, Bernie followed his orders. Most of his fellow coast guard members did not think he would ever make it. What made this film stand out was the visual effects. Those of you with a fear of water may not be able to sit through this picture. Besides the special effects I have to say the story really grabbed me; it is an amazing true story. Out of the cast I thought Casey Affleck (Interstellar, Out of the Furnace) as Ray Sybert and Holliday Grainger (Cinderella, Jane Eyre) as Miriam stood out. Unfortunately the script was dull and I thought the direction was not strong enough for such a story. There were a couple of scenes that did not even ring true to me; they actually distracted from the story line as if they were just thrown in for dramatic effect. Too bad because what these members did in the coast guard was extraordinary; which goes to show you, you cannot judge a movie by its trailers.
2 1/4 stars
Flash Movie Review: Z for Zachariah
When it comes to starting a conversation with a stranger I am the last one to begin. In fact, depending on the circumstances I try to deter them from uttering anything my way. In an elevator there is not enough time for a conversation to start up usually; but on a plane, I tend to carry a sense of dread along with my carry-on bag until I find out who is sitting next to me. When I am on a plane I do not want to be coerced into a conversation; I want to sit in my seat reading the magazines from my knapsack. Please do not judge me but there have been times where I pretended to have laryngitis just so I would not have to talk to my seat mate. Now here is the interesting part about everything I just said. If some type of crisis occurs while I am among a group of people, I am right into the conversation along with everyone else around me. When I was waiting to board a flight as an earthquake struck, you better believe I was chatting up a storm with the strangers around me. Gratefully I have never been stuck in an elevator, but I cannot image standing there in silence while others are trying to figure out what they should do. I do not know if it is a comfort level or trust issue thing regarding my wariness to engage in a conversation with a stranger. It certainly was something I thought about as I watched this mysterious drama. RESIGNED to the belief she was the only person left alive on earth Ann Burden, played by Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street, About Time), was stunned when she came upon a stranger named John Loomis, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, Kinky Boots), who was sick from radiation exposure. What was the right thing to do? This science fiction film had a simple apocalyptic story that was beautifully filmed. The only other actor in the cast was Chris Pine (Star Trek franchise, Unstoppable) as Caleb and I have to tell you I thoroughly enjoyed all three of them. Margot was unrecognizable to me at first; I felt she was the stand out of the group with her wonderful portrayal. The acting, the stunning landscapes and fluid editing kept me constantly engaged in the story. I do have to tell you the slow pacing may weigh a person down from fully enjoying this interesting film festival nominee. Also, I hesitate to list this as a science fiction picture though it is classified as such because except for the premise, there really was nothing sci-fi about it in my opinion. As far a I was concerned I was watching a series of events that contained several curious possibilities to ponder. Even after the movie I was still wondering how I would react if I were in any one of the character’s situation.
2 1/2 stars
Flash Movie Review: Into the Woods
You may have done it over a burning candle that was perched on top of a birthday cake. Maybe it was while you were peering into a shiny display window you came upon while walking down the street. No matter where it was done, I do not know anyone who has not wished something for themselves. The whole concept was presented to us at a young age when we were asked what we wanted for our birthday or holiday. As kids we mostly focused on toys and games; but as we grew up, our wish list spread further out to encompass things like trips and cars. In addition, some of the things we started to wish for came with a price. When I started attending aerobic classes I was amazed at how much I enjoyed them. I was lucky because there was a great instructor leading the class who played awesome music. It made me start thinking that maybe I could teach a class one day, so I took steps to make it happen. My love for teaching fitness is as strong today as it was when I first started out; however, I did not know at the time there was going to be as much work involved as there has been. THERE is no better place to see dreams come true than in a fairy tale which this film festival winning movie beautifully created. Taking familiar characters from several fairy tales such as Cinderella, played by Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air) and Little Red Riding Hood, played by newcomer Lilla Crawford, this fantasy combined all of them into a story about making wishes. There were a variety of actors; I expected Meryl Streep (The Hours, The Giver) as the Witch and James Corden (Begin Again, The History Boys) as the Baker to be good. However, the standouts for me were Emily Blunt (Looper, The Devil Wears Prada) as the Baker’s wife and Chris Pine (Star Trek franchise, People Like Us) as the Prince. I had no idea either of them could even sing. If you are not a musical fan then more than likely you may not enjoy this film as much. Especially with a Stephen Sondheim (Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd) musical, I find his songs to be more complicated for the average movie/theater goer. Having seen the staged version of this musical, I actually enjoyed this movie production more because the way it unfolded made clearer sense to me. This picture had me thinking because there were several ways one could interpret its story. Also, it was not a kid’s movie; there were none in the movie theater. If you wish for good acting , solid singing and a cast of fairy tale characters, you will not be disappointed.