I MISS DIALING A PHONE NUMBER and speaking to an actual person. The amount of time it takes these days to get a hold of someone seems as if it is getting longer and longer. Going through the different prompts feels like I am being tested to see how long it will take before my patience wears out. Not that I am totally old-fashioned; but I get frustrated when I must contact companies and offices for something, I think will have an easy answer then jump through automated verbal hoops. On the other hand, it is a breeze to check on my bank balance with the bank’s automated system without having to speak to a bank employee. I have similar feelings about the self-service checkout lanes at the grocery store. If I do not have coupons, I will use the self-service lanes. However, if I am using a coupon then I use the regular checkout lanes. The reason being at the self-service I have to wait for an employee to come over and approve my coupons then override the computer screen to allow me to scan the coupons. By the time I get through this process my ice cream usually has softened. THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE I KNOW who are emotionally locked to their past, when it comes to their love relationships. I had a friend who was living with the love of their life for several years, before their love took ill and died. My friend never got over it, mourning them for years. After what seemed a long, long time they agreed to go on a blind date; however, it went no further after the initial meeting. There were several dates to follow with various suitable individuals; but like that first blind date, all of them went no further than the one and only date. My friend kept saying none of the people they were meeting could compare to their deceased partner. I tried offering that it probably was difficult to make a comparison from only having one date. My musings fell on deaf ears. They preferred to live in the past and I say that because after a time I would have thought my friend would have started to dispose of their love’s clothes and personal items. They did no such thing; instead, they left everything the way it was when they were alive. A hairbrush remained in the medicine cabinet; their toothbrush stayed in the toothbrush holder. I felt sad for them, similar to how I felt initially about the private investigator in this romantic mystery. WHEN HE FIRST MET HER WHEN she walked into his place, private investigator Nick Bannister, played by Hugh Jackman (Bad Education, The Front Runner), had no idea that finding her lost keys would lead him to a crime. With Rebecca Ferguson (Doctor Sleep, The Kid Who Would Be King) as Mae, Thandiwe Newton (The Pursuit of Happyness, Vanishing on 7thStreet) as Emily “Watts” Sanders, Cliff Curtis (Risen, The Dark Horse) as Cyrus Boothe and Marina de Tavira (Roma, Secondary Effects) as Tamara Sylvan; this futuristic film noir production was enticing to watch. I thought the sets stood out as well as the outside Miami area. The first half of the story drew me in as the mystery was building. The pacing fit the story as the actors, who were stiff with their acting, tried to bring their characters to life. Sadly, the script did not help them. Unfortunately, the last half of the story got bogged down with twists and turns, past and present; to the point I lost interest. It bothered me because I enjoyed the visuals and the mystery portion of this picture. The other thing that absolutely annoyed me had to do with seeing a person’s memories that were being shown from an outside perspective. I can look back at a memory but if it is being pulled from my mind to relive, how could there be a different perspective that I did not see back then? This was not the way I remembered the past.
1 3/4 stars
I COULD SEE THE GUEST AT MY table was getting annoyed with the server. When the server came to our table, after we had sat down, to find out who had ordered the vegetarian meal, this guest acknowledged it was for him. When the soup came out and was placed on each of our plates, the vegetarian guest asked the server what was in the soup. When she said it was a beef-based broth, I could tell the man was not happy. He asked the server why she would bring a meat-based soup to a vegetarian; the server was noticeably flustered. She apologized, saying it was the only soup offered for the dinner, before removing it from his plate. When the rest of us were done with the soup, the main meal was brought out to be served. I received my plate before the vegetarian man and immediately noticed bacon bits on the baked potato. Not knowing what was on a vegetarian meal, I waited and watched the server as she made her way to the gentleman. Sure enough, his special meal included the same baked potato with bacon bits. As soon as he saw it, he glared at the server before reprimanding her. She was visibly shaking as she apologized again and took his plate of food back to the kitchen. The man turned to the rest of us as he continued complaining about the service. ONE OF THE OTHER GUESTS SITTING at our table told the vegetarian he understood his aggravation. It turned out he had several dietary restrictions that required extra diligence at wedding receptions, holiday parties and other such special events. I watched as the annoyed diner quickly calmed down while commiserating with the other diner. A connection/bond was established between the two gentlemen because they had something specific in common; I became curious about this and started wondering if I had a similar reaction to meeting someone who shared a common trait of mine. It occurred to me that I indeed have had the same responses with people I have met who experience similar reactions like mine. When I have met someone, who has the same type of sensitivity that I do to the cold, it has formed an immediate connection between us. Others cannot relate to what the two of us experience when we feel cold. For most of the evening, I wind up spending time with that person who gets me, just as I get them. There is a perfect example of this to see in this dramatic, fantasy horror sequel. AFTER HAVING FOUND A COMFORTABLE PLACE to settle down Dan Torrance, played by Ewan McGregor (Christopher Robin, August: Osage County), gets contacted by a young girl named Abra Stone, played by Kyliegh Curran (I Can I Will I Did), who shares a common trait with him; a trait he has been trying to run away from for many years. With Rebecca Ferguson (Life, Despite the Falling Snow) as Rose the Hat, Cliff Curtis (Whale Rider, The Dark Horse) as Billy Freeman and Zahn McClarnon (Strike One, Mekko) as Crow Daddy; the story in this picture was slowly brewed. I enjoyed the buildup at first because of the acting and film editing. However, as the story continued, I found myself losing interest. It was not until Kyliegh’s scenes increased that I reconnected with the story. The buildup went on too long for me; I only found myself fully invested during the last half of the movie. The suspense was decent thanks to the acting and set designs. I feel the viewer would benefit if they watch first The Shining before seeing this film; but it is not a requirement. After so many years between stories, I just could not find a solid connection to this picture.
2 ¾ stars
ONE OF THE THINGS I FIND more annoying then autocorrect changing my misspelled words to something completely different is a person who never believes what you tell them. I have this one friend who for some reason must confirm pretty much any details you share with him, even the most random of things. For example, if I were to tell him about a travel survey I read that listed the world’s top travel destinations, he would have to confirm it by looking it up for himself. When I told him that the retirement age for Social Security was not 65 anymore, that it was now based on the year of one’s birth, he did not believe me and had to go research it. Here is the specific part that I find the most irritating; he feels the need to come back and tell me that I am right. I just want to ask him why he thinks I would make up such a thing. Now of course there have been times where I misunderstood what I heard or read; but not enough to warrant disbelief for every single thing I have mentioned. THERE ARE OTHER TYPES OF PEOPLE who like to see things with their very own eyes. Mention there was a car crash and they immediately want to see it for themselves. I am good with just hearing about it; though there are times where I am being told too much detail, especially if it is gory. Oh, and there are also some individuals who will share something they experienced or witnessed but add their own personal flair to it. I have mentioned before a friend I used to have who had this great saying: a story is not worth telling if you cannot exaggerate it. This is the category I fall into the most; I am all for telling a good story but keep the essential facts intact. To me this makes the difference between a good versus mediocre storyteller. I knew someone who everyone dreaded when she would try to tell us a story. She would have to give every single detail, weighing down her story to the point where you did not care how things turned out. And what made it worse was when the story was supposed to be humorous and she would explain why it was humorous as if you were unable to understand what made the story funny. I think the writers were not sure what type of audience was coming to see this action, horror thriller. WHEN MEMBERS OF A DEEPSEA EXPLORATION team found themselves stranded on the ocean floor, the crew’s leader felt there was only one person who could save them. He was a former, discredited diver who believed there was something lurking at the bottom of the ocean. Starring Jason Statham (Spy, The Expendables franchise) as Jonas Taylor, Bingbing Li (The Forbidden Kingdom, Transformers: Age of Extinction) as Suyin, Rainn Wilson (Permanent, The Office-TV) as Morris, Cliff Curtis (Training Day, Whale Rider) as Mac and Winston Chao (The Wedding Banquet, Road to Dawn) as Zhang; this movie felt like one of those “B’ type of pictures that would play as a matinee. Jason was fun to watch but I found the script predictable and basic. There was little suspense though some of the special effects were good. As the story progressed after its slow start it appeared as if the script was constructed with bits and pieces from other movies, washed together with a Moby Dick vibe. As far as I am concerned this was an afternoon popcorn movie; I cannot recommend paying full price for it. I understand some of you will want to see it for yourself; I do not have an issue if you do.
One can gain added insight when re-visting a book or movie. There have been times where I have seen the same film more than once because I either enjoyed it immensely or felt I may have missed something the first time. Regarding books I have done the same thing; more than likely because I felt I had a relationship like a friendship and I wanted to visit with them again. When it is of my choosing the experience is always pleasant. Now when someone else is involved in telling a story again, it may not always be a good thing. Think about your schooling where you may have studied the same topic multiple times. Depending on the instructor the repeated story could be a boring experience for you. On the other hand it can also sound fresh and exciting with a skilled storytelling teacher. In my circle of friends and acquaintances there have been times where I have heard the same story being told several times due to a different mix of friends being together, where some had not yet heard the latest news. Not to be rude but there are some people who are not the best in telling a story; they get stuck on tiny details that have no real bearing on the outcome. Things like a stranger’s name or which corner of an intersection; these are minor details that will not enhance the listening experience. The same thing can happen when a movie studio decides to redo a previous film or story. Depending on the script, a film’s story can appear new and fresh or dull and boring. ROMAN military tribune Clavius, played by Joseph Fiennes (Enemy at the Gate, Shakespeare in Love), and his second in command Lucius, played by Tom Felton (Harry Potter franchise, Belle), were assigned the task of finding the stolen corpse of Yeshua, played by Cliff Curtis (Training Day, Three Kings), before his followers proclaim Yeshua was resurrected from the dead. This adventure drama will be a familiar story for many viewers. I thought the script had a good idea to tell this story through the eyes of one Roman soldier. It made this retelling a bit different for me. I thought Joseph’s acting and screen presence were an asset to this movie. Though I appreciated hearing this well known story from a different perspective, I though the script could have been better. I do not know if this will make sense but the entire picture had a discounted feel to it. The scenes, the acting and the sets did not go to any extremes; in other words, everything seemed minimal as if no one was totally invested in the project, nor much money either. There were a few times where I felt the story even dragged; I found myself getting bored several times. The idea behind this production was novel to me, but the outcome did nothing to excite me.