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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: Fool’s Paradise

IF YOU HAVE NEVER SAT WITH someone who was constantly posting things on their social media sites, then consider yourself quite lucky. I myself have been lucky, but I did have someone sitting at the next table to me at a restaurant who was posting stuff. Besides being inconsiderate with all her narrations, she was taking photos of every dish that came to the table. I sat there trying to ignore it all, but it was like trying to ignore fireworks going off in your backyard. All her movements were overexaggerated as was her dialog. The baked potato was not just delicious with butter and sour cream, it was according to her a perfect blend of buttery dollops floating in a sea of smooth cream, with a touch of shaved cheddar cheese sprinkled on top like a brief spring shower. I could not imagine who would be following her on social media; what made her such an expert, I wondered. Not that I judge people by their appearances, but she barely looked of legal age and talked in a phony solicitous way. I did chuckle at the way she kept flicking her long hair back, to keep her face in the best lighting possible. What was the purpose of her doing these posts; did she expect everyone watching to go to the restaurant? Or did she hope to find a way to monetize her sites based on the number of people following her? I do not get it.      THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A PRODUCT I purchased based on a celebrity endorsement. These days there are some bloggers that have become celebrities; no matter, I would not act on the advice of a blogger, actor, musician or anyone who was not an expert on the subject. Many celebrities have been spokespeople for products or services; though, it seems to me it has increased in number after the golden age of Hollywood. Nowadays, it only takes a person to do one thing that gets noticed and the press quickly blows it out of proportion. It reminds me of that documentary I reviewed where a homeless man saved a woman from an attack, after a traffic incident. He became this hot topic, being wooed by talk show hosts and news outlets. It turned out he might have staged the event and was later accused of murder. Go figure. I cannot describe it fully, but there seems to be this voracious appetite in the news/entertainment worlds to continually elevate people to these absurdly high levels of public recognition, no matter who or what they may have done or not done. This comedic satire can show you an example of what I have been talking about.      HAVING BEEN RELEASED FROM A MENTAL health facility, a homeless man soon becomes the latest rage in Hollywood’s media mill. With Charlie Day (Fist Fight, I Want You Back) as Latte Pronto, Ken Jeong (Crazy Rich Asians, The Hangover franchise) as Lenny the Publicist, Kate Beckinsale (Underworld franchise, Love & Friendship) as Christiana Dior, Adrien Brody (Blonde, The French Dispatch) as Chad Luxt and Jason Sudeikis (Colossal, Ted Lasso-TV) as Lex Tanner; Charlie wrote and directed this film. I thought he did an admirable job with his character, which had no dialog; it was completely a physical role. He along with the celebrity cameo roles were the high points of this movie. The script lacked humor, depth and emotion. It kept reminding me of an old Peter Sellars film titled Being There. I knew something had to be up because I was the only one sitting in the theater. There really was nothing unique here except, as I said, for cameo appearances from such celebrities as Ray Liotta and Jason Bateman. With nothing funny or unique being offered, I was left bored through most of this film.

1 ½ star  

Flash Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3

ALL I COULD DO WAS STARE at my dinner plate while everyone around me was yelling at each other. I was a dinner guest at a friend’s house, and I was familiar with the family’s outspokenness. What started out as a pleasant meal turned into a screaming match all because some of the family members started talking about politics. This is something I always avoid in mixed company for these exact reasons. I was enjoying the food and wanted to continue to eat during the arguments, but it felt weird to do so for some reason. The combatants were at the stage of their argument where they were calling each other names. Other family members were taking sides to defend their relative; it was either going to be a short evening or tension filled long night. By the time the arguing died down, with people storming out of the room then coming back in, the food was cold. It did not stop anyone from eating since we were all starving. When dessert finally came out, the conversation had shifted to a lighter mood as members talked about their children and/or trips they were planning. The rest of the evening was filled with jokes, laughter and teasing; you would never have known, only a couple of hours earlier, that family members were close to fisticuffs. I chalked it up to believing this was the way relatives related and expressed themselves to each other in this family.      SEVERAL WEEKS LATER, I WAS OUT with a group of friends for dinner and a play. Seated around the table, I looked at them with the thought of how many years we had known each other. When one friend had a medical issue that required hospitalization, each friend found time to visit them in the hospital; some even snuck in food treats that were okay for them to eat. All the friends attended the funeral of a friend when their parents had passed away. Over our meal at the restaurant, we touched on a variety of topics, from the personal to absurd. There was laughter, comfort, advice and joy throughout our meal and into the evening. Each of us were so close to one another that it dawned on me, we were a family in many ways. Except for not sharing the same bloodline, we were no different than any other family. We would do anything for each other and knowing that was a comfort. Except for their superpowers, I can totally see similarities between what I have and what the main characters have in this action, adventure comedy.      WHEN ONE OF THE GUARDIANS WAS fatally injured, the others would need to come together to find a way to save him while they were trying to save the universe. With Chris Pratt (The Tomorrow War, The Kid) as Peter Quill, Chukwudi Iwuji (John Wick: Chapter 2, The Split-TV) as The High Evolutionary, Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born, Nightmare Alley) voicing Rocket, Pom Klementieff (Oldboy, Uncut Gems) as Mantis and Dave Bautista (Knock at the Cabin, Glass Onion) as Drax; this sequel was jam packed with story lines and action. It was a little too much for me. I was touched by the personal story lines, but with so much going on, I felt some intensity and emotional connection was sacrificed. At times, it seemed as if part of the story was a retelling of the Wolverine origin story line. On the plus side, the soundtrack and the splashes of humor were great and added more punch to the fight scenes which were well choregraphed. I appreciated the emphasis on family and thought the writers correctly steered the script through to its conclusion. There were 2 extra scenes during the ending credits.

3 stars  

Flash Movie Review: Champions

YOGA TAUGHT ME LIFE IS ABOUT balance. For every challenge one encounters, a moment is needed to compensate for it. When I was working three jobs, I felt I was losing myself until I set up specific times for me to experience enjoyment/good feelings. My full-time job was demanding during the work week; by the time Friday night came around, I was physically and mentally exhausted. I found enjoyment curling into the corner of the couch and watching one of my favorite television series. Being an observer of the characters’ dilemmas and me not feeling responsible to fix things for them was in a weird way relaxing for me. I was able to shut down parts of my brain which helped me let go of the weeks’ worth of tension that had built up in my body. Also, stating the obvious here; another way for me to quickly relax is to watch a movie. As long as I had these “rest stops” squeezed in through the week, I felt like I was staying level. Luckily, one of my jobs was teaching fitness and yoga; so, I would always have a good feeling after class due to the endorphins getting produced or the visualization process and poses in class.      FROM THE PEOPLE IN MY LIFE, I have seen other forms used for creating balance in one’s life. A friend of mine enjoys an alcoholic beverage in the evening, which they slowly sip while looking at historical images on their phone. Another friend I know dances to let go of their daily responsibilities and allow their body to release that day’s tension/anxieties. The things we use to create balance are not always static; they can evolve as we go through the growing process. Recently, I have discovered cooking and baking allow me to forget whatever is troubling to me and focus on the art of creating meals. It is funny because if you saw me, I can easily get stressed in the process since it is relatively new to me. But putting together a meal and sharing it with loved ones is something I have found to be a peaceful, loving relaxed experience. I do not remember where I heard this but to paraphrase, there is much to be gained when “breaking bread” with others. It is true and definitely contributes to keeping balance and good feelings in my life. I felt the same way watching this comedic sports drama because it was such a feel-good movie to me.      DUE TO ANGER ISSUES, A BASKETBALL coach was transferred to a small town, where he was ordered to coach a group of players with intellectual disabilities in the art of basketball. There was a big learning curve for both, player and coach. With Woody Harrelson (Triangle of Sadness, The Highwaymen) as Marcus, Kaitlin Olson (The Heat, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia-TV) as Alex, Matt Cook (Film Fest, Man with a Plan-TV) as Sonny, Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters franchise, The Crow) as Coach Phil Perretti and Cheech Marin (Shotgun Wedding, The War with Grandpa) as Julio; this film’s story was predictable and basic. However, I still found it heartwarming and funny. Woody played one of his typical characters and I thought Kaitlin was a perfect match for him. It never seemed to me the writers were using the disadvantaged characters to get a laugh, making fun of them. They were respectful and shined a light on issues they experience on a daily basis with a touch of humor and compassion. This picture kept my interest throughout the story and as I mentioned before, it left me with such a feel-good moment that stayed for the rest of the day. 

3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Somewhere in Queens

I WAS SITTING AROUND A TABLE with eighteen other people, just the way I like it. My friend invited me to her family’s holiday dinner. The table butted up to a metal banquet table that extended from the dining room into the living room. Ornate tablecloths covered both, but it was hard to see the pattern with all the plates and bottles sitting on top. I prefer going to dinners like this, where there are multiple people included instead of sitting at a table with only the parents and/or grandparents of a friend. When I am the only guest invited, I feel there is too much attention devoted towards me and that makes me a bit uncomfortable. When there are multiple relatives/friends in attendance, I feel more relaxed simply blending in with the group. Also, as they say, “The more the merrier.” There is a fun factor when I am sitting in the middle of a group of family members because I get to see a different slice of life. Or, maybe it is more of a confirmation that my family isn’t the only one that is crazy, lol. But I will tell you this, one certainly can learn a lot about your friends or relatives when you get together for a meal.      I WAS INVITED TO A FRIEND’S house for dinner; a friend who is soft spoken, I might add. After everyone showed up at my friend’s parents’ house, I quickly understood why my friend was quiet most of the time. His relatives were loud, many talking with their mouths full of food; it was a wonder if he ever got a word in edgewise. After acknowledging me, most of the family members ignored my presence except for the ones seated close to me. Through the meal relatives caused such a ruckus; one person would swear at another, someone else would tell a relative they were stupid and so on. There was such a commotion that I almost felt a headache coming on. When I was at another friend’s holiday dinner, her relatives were curious about me but not to the point where I felt as if they were intruding. Observing and being around them showed me they were a loving family who enjoyed each other’s company. I felt my friend was fortunate to be raised in such an environment. Now, I know family can be challenging at times; there are some you enjoy being around and there are others who annoy you. My own memories of big family meals are some of my fondest memories which is why I felt connected to this comedic drama film.      WANTING MORE FOR HIS SON than he had, a father goes to extreme lengths to give his son a shot at an incredible opportunity. With Ray Romano (The Big Sick, Everybody Loves Raymond-TV) as Leo, Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird, The Conners-TV) as Angela, Sadie Stanley (Let Us In, The Goldbergs-TV) as Dani Brooks, Sebastian Maniscalco (Green Book, The Irishman) as Frank Russo and newcomer Jacob Ward as Matthew ‘Sticks’ Russo; this movie written and directed by Ray showed a wonderful slice of life’s cherished and heartbreaking moments. I thought the dialog matched the characters perfectly and the humor from Ray’s writing was both funny and heartwarming. The chemistry between Ray and Laurie was literally a match made in heaven; they were 100% believable. Their and the other actors’ acting skills made the multiple story lines weave together seamlessly. I think it might be due to the era this film portrays; but there was a nostalgic feeling about it, that I could relate to easily. The only way I could compliment this picture is to say it was a good old-fashioned story that was seeped in family life.

3 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Renfield

I DO BELIEVE IT WAS BECAUSE he agreed to marry her. When she introduced me to him, I got an odd vibe from him, like a tightly wound spring that was about to pop. She was in love with him; I could see it in the way she was acting around him. I had seen it a few times before. They had only known each other for 3-4 months, which for me would be too soon to consider marriage, but that is me. She was certain he was the right one, so who was I to tell her no. When she told me they were getting married, I had been around them a few times, so had a better sense about him. I had some misgivings, but my bottom line was as long as he treated her right, I was happy for them. The wedding was a small affair; they had both been married before. It was not long after they were able to sell her house and move into a larger one that would accommodate their newly combined households. I remember visiting them some time after they moved, and it looked like they had everything in its place, and I mean everything. It almost appeared as if no one lived there, it was so pristine.      THE FIRST TIME I HAD AN INKLING that something was not exactly right was when she and I were talking on the phone. She mentioned how every Saturday he wakes her up at 4 am to clean house. At first, I thought she meant he was making her clean the whole house; but she corrected me, he participated. The issue for her was the time. Her weekends were the only time she could sleep in and not be bombarded with work from her job. As the months went by, she was opening up more about their relationship. He was a rule follower as long as they were his rules. He also had a bad temper which sent a red flag up for me. I detected less joy in her voice and more unease. It appeared to me he was more interested in having a housekeeper than an equal partner. I finally had to say something about it. From our talks, I pushed her to tell me what made her happy in her marriage. Her answers ranged from her physical attraction to him, to him throwing out the garbage once a week. It was an odd mix, but through it I could see she was co-dependent. She tried talking to him, suggesting marriage counseling; however, he was not interested. At some point she would have to decide for herself, just like the manservant needed to do in this comedic, fantasy horror.      HAVING BEEN AT HIS MASTER’S BECK and call throughout the years, the manservant Renfield, played by Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies, The Menu) took the first step for healing himself by joining a codependency support group. With Nicolas Cage (Pig, Running with the Devil) as Dracula, Awkwafina (Ocean’s Eight, The Farewell) as Rebecca, Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation-TV, Space Force-TV) as Tedward Lobo and Shohreh Aghdashloo (Star Trek Beyond, House of Sand and Fog) as Bellafrancesca Lobo; this film was a campy blood fest filled with over-the-top performances from the actors. The role was perfect for Nicholas Cage; in fact, I would have liked to have seen more scenes with Dracula. However, Awkwafina was wonderful and entertaining which made up for the lack of Dracula. The story’s idea was novel and fun; the execution was a bit standard, while it remembered to keep the humor going. I think the best way to describe this movie is to say it is silly fun. And be prepared for the volume of violence and blood gushing across the screen.

3 stars 

Flash Movie Review; We Have a Ghost

I TRIED TO FEIGN INTEREST AS I listened to my friend’s father describe his latest venture. The reason I was not interested is because I had heard about his other ventures; none of them came to fruition, not earning him a solid living. My friend’s mother was the one who supported everyone on her salary, and I have to say, they were lucky she had a good job. I would not say the father was lazy, because he really dove into these ventures he thought up; but all that came of it was losing money. There were times when my friend told me his mom was getting fed up with all his ideas. I felt sad for my friend and his parents. They were such fun people, for parents; it was hard seeing them struggle at times. The father was such a storyteller, always having something funny to say. I could see where he would make a great salesperson; he had a knack for conversation. My friend always said his dad could make friends with anyone. Whether standing in the checkout line at the grocery store or buying candy at a theater concession stand, he would make a funny comment about something and befriend anyone who was close enough near him. The only other positive thing I could say about him was the fact they never had to move because of something ignorant he had done, unlike another friend’s father.      WHEN WE BECAME FRIENDS IN ELEMENTARY school, she had already moved eight times. She had arrived at our school to start 7th grade; that is a lot of moving. Her father was like my other friend’s father, but his objective was to get something for nothing. I did not know at the time, but several of his ideas involved cheating people out of their money. He too had the gift of gab, which he used to build trust between him and his “clients.” The problem with him was the fact he was not the smartest person in the room. Some of his clients could see something was not right and demand their money back. This is the worst part; he would write them bad checks then tell his family to pack a suitcase and they would disappear. The thing that stunned me was the lack of concern for his wife and children. My friend never got to make solid friendships at school because they were always moving. And the trauma of being told they can only take one suitcase, leaving everything else behind, had to be brutal to do over and over. Having been a bystander to these friends’ family situations, I could understand how the son felt in this family, adventure comedy.      AFTER MOVING INTO A FIXER-UPPER HOUSE, a family of four soon find out there is someone else living in their home and that gives the dad an idea. With Jahi Di’Allo Winston (Queen & Slim, The Upside) as Kevin Presley, David Harbour (Violent Night, Black Widow) as Ernest, Anthony Mackie (The Woman in the Window, Captain America franchise) as Frank Presley, Erica Ash (Skin in the Game, Uncle Drew) as Melanie Presley and Niles Fitch (The Fallout, This is Us-TV) as Fulton Presley; this film suffered from too many story lines. If the writers had stuck with one or two of them, I think the movie would have been more entertaining. Thankfully, most of the cast was very good, especially David as Ernest. But with different things going on throughout the script, I was getting bored. It did not help that I did not care for Jahi’s performance; there was very little chemistry between him and the other characters. At least there were a couple of fun scenes in the picture; but overall, this production was transparent and ran thin.

2 stars

Flash Movie Review: The Super Mario Bros. Movie

I CAN STILL REMEMBER THE FIRST time I saw a freestanding, video arcade game. It was in a restaurant’s waiting area. Standing six feet tall, at least to my younger self’s perceptions, with a lit sign on top and a TV screen in the middle that was angled back. It was weird seeing it there by itself, in a corner of the space with a potted plant placed alongside of it. There was a teenager playing it which piqued my curiosity even more. I got closer to the teenager, but only enough to see the TV screen from an angle. With his hand clenched around the joystick (I learned of the name later), I soon figured out he was controlling the yellow ball/circle with the wide mouth, that was eating white dots in a maze. There were ghost-like figures moving around in the maze as well. I heard this thumping sound coming out of the machine. At certain times the TV screen would flash a different set of colors followed by a different sound. To a younger me, I found the machine hypnotizing. I wanted to continue standing there, watching the teenager playing with the machine; but our name was announced over the loudspeakers to let us know our table was ready. All through the meal, I kept wishing and hoping my family would stop at the machine so I could play it. Sadly, there was a different teenager playing it with two others looking over his shoulder.      BY THE TIME I BECAME OF legal age, video arcade games were more sophisticated. Whenever I went to a dance club, there was always an area that had several arcade games set up and they were always being played. There were times when I would stand near one of them and watch how the person was playing it, so I could learn. Pretty soon I had a good sense of how to play the different games. The graphics certainly had changed since I was younger. I especially enjoyed playing a few games. If they were not available, I would stand and watch to see how the person playing was doing. However, my interest never lasted long. Seeing someone else playing a video game starts out fun or curious to watch; but after a while, I usually got bored. Though I will say there were a couple of players I would recognize playing the games who were doing the same thing the last time I was at the club. With a drink either in hand or placed on top of the arcade game, they would sit there for hours playing the same game over and over. I could not imagine doing such a thing. In fact, I was getting the same feeling while watching this animated adventure comedy.      FINDING HIMSELF IN THE MUSHROOM KINGDOM, plumber Mario, voiced by Chris Pratt (The Tomorrow War, Guardians of the Galaxy franchise), is determined to find his lost brother, while at the same time helping the kingdom ward off an evil presence that was closing in. With Anya Taylor-Joy (The Menu, Last Night in Soho) voicing Princess Peach, Charlie Day (Hotel Artemis, I Want You Back) voicing Luigi, Jack Black (Jumanji franchise, School of Rock) voicing Bowser and Kevin Michael Richardson (Family Guy-TV, The Simpsons-TV) voicing Kamek; this movie based on the video game was colorful and filled with multiple fight scenes. The cast did an excellent job voicing the characters; however, after those positive attributes I found the film to be borderline boring. Keeping in mind I have never played the game; I must assume a younger audience would appreciate the film more. I found little humor in the script. The story was sound, but I just felt the script was generic. For most of the time while I sat in the theater, I felt I was watching someone playing this game and it was not very exciting for me. There were two extra scenes during the ending credits.

2 stars 

Flash Movie Review: I Used to be Famous

I KNOW THIS MIGHT NOT BE the right thing to say, but I felt his downfall was karma. He was not a nice person, only when he had to be. Part of the blame belonged to his parents, I believed; but I had never met them. He came from a family that was “well off.” Based on his actions, I had to believe he had a relatively easy life growing up. He was in upper management at a company where I was employed. To one’s face he was polite and jovial; but once you were out of sight, he would say awful things about you. I quickly learned not to trust whatever he said because I caught him lying right to my face. His motivation was money, and he was willing to do whatever he had to, to get the most out of the company. One of his big tricks was to take off early or come in late without telling anyone. He must have become emboldened by no one questioning him because he started taking full days off. It was such an abuse of power that was a drain on the company, in my opinion. Every year he had a new car; I used to joke to my fellow employees that he could afford it because of all the money he saved by always eating some food the company or employees brought in.      WHEN THERE WAS A DOWNTURN IN our sales, the owner decided to make some changes. One of them was to eliminate his position. It was a surprise to the office workers, though most of them were glad to hear the news. I do not know if he was telling the truth or not, but he certainly was trying to save face by telling everyone he was leaving because he was setting up his own company. The joke around my department was we could not wait to see if he would finally put in a full day of work. Whatever he planned, I heard later, did not pan out. He did try to start a similar business; but instead of working to get sales, his focus was getting a fancy car that the company would make the payments on. When everything fell through, we stopped hearing about him. It was a good time later when word went around that his wife divorced him, and he wound up living in a halfway house. The news came in piecemeal, and I am not sure how reliable it was, but we were told he got addicted to drugs and lost everything. It was a stunning downfall. I think those who achieve wealth or status at a young age have a harder time adjusting when things change; you can see for yourself in this comedic, musical drama.      A POPSTAR WHO FELL ON HARD times, finds himself singing on street corners for money. With dreams of returning to the “big stage,” he places his hopes on a young autistic man who started playing drumsticks during one of his songs. With Ed Skrein (The Model, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil) as Vince, Eleanor Matsuura (Wonder Woman, The Walking Dead-TV) as Amber, newcomer Leo Long as Stevie, Eoin Macken (Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, La Brea-TV) as Austin and Lorraine Ashbourne (King Kong, Bridgerton-TV) as Cheryl; this film had a built-in predictability. However, the cast were able to overcome it and provide substance to the story. I enjoyed the music and appreciated how the script respected autism by the way the writers interwove it with the main theme. There were times throughout the film when I found myself rooting the main characters on. I feel this movie is an example of the participants putting in the work to make an enjoyable movie viewing experience for all.

3 stars  

Flash Movie Review: The People We Hate at the Wedding

I HAVE ATTENDED ENOUGH WEDDINGS TO know what I do not want at mine. There was the wedding where the bride had a partial meltdown because the main dish was horrible; I mean it was barely edible and at least at my table, all the meals were lukewarm or cold. One wedding that is still vivid in my mind is the one where the bride and her mother-in-law got into a huge fight during the reception and the bride ran off to the bathroom, where she cried for several minutes. When she finally came out, she refused to acknowledge her mother-in-law’s presence for the rest of the evening. Talk about an awkward situation, it was surreal. The poor groom was so torn between his mother and the love of his life, he felt totally hopeless and wound up sitting at the foot of the head table, with his face in his hands. The entire evening felt like a theater produced farce because all the guests were so taken aback by the drama. Oh, I almost forgot about my friend, who was getting married, telling me how angry he was at his “crazy” relatives because they were calling his mother to tell her who they did not want to sit with at the reception. I was surprised the mother told him and did not put the relatives in their place. I guess weddings can bring the worst out of some people.      A WEDDING IS A TIME TO put aside any issues one has with another wedding guest; whether it is a family member or friend, the nuptials should be a drama free zone. I was at a wedding where I was stuck at a table with an obnoxious drunk, who I had a previous run-in with at the groom’s house. I found him to be rude and inconsiderate. Despite my previous altercation with him, I remained neutral and polite during the wedding reception. I could see his negativity was negatively affecting the other guests at the table, but I chose not to share my opinion and past experiences of him. This was not the place to feed into his drama. Let the guests make up their own minds about him. Another point I want to make; if the food is not good, do not tell the wedding couple. in my opinion, it would be rude and immature. No matter how much planning goes into a wedding event, things happen and the happy couple should not be burdened with any of the guests’ issues. Apparently, the family members in this comedy think differently.      DESPITE THE PROBLEMS BEING EXPERIENCED AT home, a family comes together for a half-sister’s wedding in England. It would have been easier if they had left some of their emotional baggage behind. With Allison Janney (Hairspray, Bad Education) as Donna, Ben Platt (Pitch Perfect franchise, Dear Evan Hansen) as Paul, Kristen Bell (Bad Moms franchise, The Boss) as Alice, Cynthia Addai-Robinson (The Accountant, Colombiana) as Eloise and Isaach De Bankole (Black Panther franchise, Shaft) as Henrique; this film needed to focus on rewriting the script instead of filling it with cliched jokes and humor. I did not find much to laugh or chuckle about. The cast was certainly capable, but the dialog was so basic, besides bordering on the ridiculous, that I felt myself cringing when the actors were acting out in some of the scenes. I honestly am not sure what the writers were trying to do with this piece. There was one story line that had a ring of truth to it, but it was being buried by the craziness of the other lines. I felt the worst for Allison and Kristen; they had to have known what they were getting into when they signed on to this picture. So, if you get an invitation to see this film, you might want to decline it.

1 ½ stars 

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