THERE WAS A TEACHER AT MY SCHOOL who had a wooden arm. Every student knew it even if they did not have her as their teacher. She wore long sleeves year-round and she kept the hand portion of her fake arm covered with a glove. There was a rumor I had heard about a student in one of her classes. Upon being told to close the classroom window they had opened without permission; the student asked the teacher why, was she afraid of woodpeckers flying into the room? The student was expelled from school for 2 weeks. I am guessing most of you are shocked after reading about this teacher’s arm. It surprised me as well, since I live in a city that has a renowned rehabilitation center. Through the years the local news has reported on this institution’s latest cutting-edge, technological achievements. Patients from all over the world have come here to receive help and guidance from this rehabilitation center. I did not know the teacher’s circumstances on why she either chose or was given a wooden arm instead of some type of bendable prosthetic. Back in school there was a part of me that had always hoped I would get her for a teacher; so, I could see for myself how she navigated through the daily class routines. What can I say; I was curious. SINCE I MENTIONED THE REHABILITATION CENTER, there was one success story that never made it to the news. I was fortunate to watch one patient’s progress on one of my social media sites. I must tell you; it was an incredible journey to watch because this patient came to the center after an accident caused their inability to walk. Periodically, they would post a photo/video of themselves relearning how to walk with mechanical assistance. I never knew what type of injury they had; however, I remember their earliest videos would show them buckled into a nearly full body suit that was suspended from the ceiling and had electrodes attached all over it. There was one video where the patient was wearing the suit and had 2 people on either side moving their limbs to simulate a walking motion. Weeks and weeks went by before the patient was able to move one leg an inch with no assistance; the smile on their face was immense. At some point the suspended suit was replaced with one that was remotely controlled. The patient had to hold onto two parallel bars, as their legs would slowly shuffle one at a time forward. What a feat to witness; I originally thought I would be seeing a similar feat in this science fiction, action drama. NEW TECHNOLOGY WAS ABLE TO BRING Ray Garrison, played by Vin Diesel (The Last Witch Hunter, The Fast and Furious franchise), back from his untimely death. However, his memories were a different story. With Eiza Gonzalez (Baby Driver, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw) as Katie/KT, Sam Heughan (Outlander-TV, The Spy Who Dumped Me) as Jimmy Dalton, Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four, The Hurricane Heist) as Martin Axe and Guy Pearce (Spinning Man, The Rover) as Dr. Emil Harting; this film based on a popular comic book was a typical Vin Diesel picture. It also included a typical Vin performance; even when the action was done in slow motion. The idea behind the story intrigued me; in fact, I enjoyed the enhancements made to Vin’s character. Yet, the writers did nothing new with the story line. There were big fight scenes and special effects; but they were all wrapped into a blah script that did not provide me with anything new. All I can say is this film was not horrible; it was just bland and mindless. You would think with all the technological advances that have been achieved in the world, the movie studio could have presented a better film.
1 ¾ stars
AS A YOUNG ADULT they did not have a typical body shape for their gender. To say they were stout would be a bit of a stretch; let us say they filled out their shape. Their size may have fooled people but make no mistake they were strong; I saw the way they could throw a ball and it was impressive. There was another person I knew who was not the most popular of kids; not the upper echelon status of cheerleaders and football players, but the tier just below it. Good looking in a funky sort of way, they were extremely smart. You would always want them on your team whenever there were debates or science projects. They had a wonderful command of the English language, yet they never used it in a show off type of way. I PURPOSELY DID NOT reveal the sex of the individuals I was talking about. How many of you thought I was talking about boys? How many thought it was girls? Those of you who thought it was girls would be right. You see from a very young age I saw examples where both boys and girls were capable of doing the same thing. Whether it was being super smart or athletic or talented, both sexes were equal in my mind. The idea of one being a “weaker” sex made no sense to me. In my adult life I have had both female and male military people in my classes; they shared that same discipline vibe and were equally capable of lasting the entire class time, no matter how intense were the exercise levels in the class. I have a hard time relating to individuals who see the sexes as not being equal. For example someone who makes a wisecrack about a stay at home Dad needs to be schooled in parenting in my opinion. In light of the recent events of sexual harassment and the #MeToo campaign, I thought this dramatic movie based on a true story might be an enlightening experience. UP UNTIL THE 1940S all comic book heroes were male. Harvard psychologist and inventor William Moulton Marston, played by Luke Evans (Beauty and the Beast, Dracula Untold), envisioned something different because of what he saw in his marriage. With Rebecca Hall (The Town, The Gift) as Elizabeth Marston, Bella Heathcote (The Neon Demon, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) as Olive Byrne, Connie Britton (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Nashville-TV) as Josette Frank and Oliver Platt (Love & Other Drugs, The Ticket) as M.C. Gaines; the acting in this film was beautiful to watch, especially from Rebecca and Bella. The story was totally new to me since I was a Batman comic book fan and I have to tell you this story was fascinating on many levels. There were 2 main story lines: the debut of Wonder Woman on the public consciousness and the home life of its author. For me there seemed to be too much being crammed into the script, where I felt I was being cheated out of learning more about specific events or time frames. Somewhere during the picture I started to get bored or more to the point, wished it had delved further into the characters’ development. If nothing else I truly appreciated learning the history behind the Wonder Woman character and how she added something new to society’s beliefs. I only wished this movie would have been just as strong as its comic book hero.
2 ½ stars
Expectations can lead one down a road filled with disappointment. I try my best to avoid the pitfall of expectations, especially when it comes to movies. Now it is a different story if we are talking about chocolate–I always expect chocolate to taste good. I will admit when I received this movie, I expected nothing. Maybe I even had a slightly negative attitude about it, based on what I had heard from several people. This is a perfect example of having no expectations and discovering a total surprise. This funny film was an easy one to watch. The story was about two British friends who traveled to America, starting their vacation at a comic book convention. From this starting point the best friends Graeme Willy and Clive Gollings, played by Simon Pegg (Burke and Hare, Star Trek) and Nick Frost (Snow White and the Huntsman, Pirate Radio) set out on a road trip to visit infamous locations of an alien nature. Early on in their tour they had a surprise alien encounter with Paul, voiced by Seth Rogan (Funny People, Knocked Up), a fugitive from a government secret base. I was amused with Seth’s performance, liking him more that I usually do in a movie. Also, one of the reasons I got this DVD was because Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids, Friends With Kids) was in it. She did not disappoint me in the least with her wild character Ruth Buggs. Vulgar language throughout the movie; the story was brilliantly scripted by the lead actors, Simon and Nick. With a foul mouthed, smoking alien as the star; this fun comedy was much better than yesterday’s movie I reviewed, The Watch.
2 3/4 stars — DVD
How could superheroes defeat the bad guys when they do not have any superpowers? There was a geek and a young home schooled girl; I had no idea what would drive this action movie to keep my interest. The simple answer is heart. I always root for the underdog and this movie had some great underdogs. There was comic book loving Dave Lizewski/Kick Ass, played by Aaron Johnson (Albert Nobbs, The Illusionist) who wanted to be someone different and to do something good. Home schooled Mindy Macready/Hit Girl, played by Chloe Grace Moretz (Hugo, 500 Days of Summer), was not only schooled in your typical subjects, but also martial arts and weaponry. This little girl packed some serious heat; I felt she was the star of this exciting film. She was like a miniature Jonah Hill as Seth from Superbad. I could easily sum up this movie’s story by telling you it is a story about good vs. evil. There were no hidden surprises like double agents or super high tech fancy machines; there was only solid directing and an easy to follow story. I loved the dichotomy of having average kids with typical growing up issues turning into tough superheroes. And this group had to deal with a lot of bloodshed. It surprised me on how much blood was being shown. As the title clearly states, this movie kicked ass. The trailer has foul language and fight scenes.
3 stars — DVD