ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS ABOUT teaching fitness/yoga classes is filling in for an absent instructor. Though I never refused unless logistically I could not make the class, there always was apprehension on what I would encounter from the participants. Like going to doctors or hair stylists, people find an instructor they like and stick with them. Walking into a class to find out a substitute is filling in for your favorite instructor usually leads to some level of disappointment. I remember filling in for a fellow yoga instructor and as I was introducing myself, three participants rolled up their mats and walked out. Ten minutes later as we were doing our warmup poses, a member asked me why I was not turning the lights off; evidently the assigned instructor teaches in subdued light. When I told the member I needed light to observe how each person was doing the poses; she made a sour face, uttered what sounded like a “harumph” before gathering her things and stormed out of the room. I totally get how individuals have expectations before they walk into the fitness room; but I must ask what options do they think are available? Either the substitute instructor teaches class, or the class would have to be cancelled; under these circumstances, wouldn’t it be better to deal with a different instructor’s style of yoga instead of no yoga at all? WHEN IT COMES TO INSTRUCTORS OR really anyone who is in a visible position, people are funny about those they like. Where I experienced more of the negative aspects when filling in for another instructor, I have heard from those instructors who have subbed for me. They have experienced the same negative reactions to their presence in my classes. I understand disappointment; when I go to a live theater event and the leading star’s character has a stand-in, I am disappointed, but I am not going to deny myself the experience of seeing the production. Just like those stories one hears about a rabid fan doing things to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrity, people want what they want as they say. I have read about millionaires who pay exorbitant prices to get a singer to perform at one of their parties. Or what about the individuals who do an outrageous act in the hopes of getting their celebrity crush to notice. I had a member who turned into a stalker, who would pop up at the oddest times to talk and ask me out until I had to file a complaint. As I sat down to watch this action crime comedy, I wondered which way would one of the main characters act, upon meeting their celebrity crush. DOWN ON HIS LUCK AND NEEDING the money was enough incentive for Nick Cage, played by Nicolas Cage (Pig, Between Worlds), to accept the offer to show up at a wealthy man’s estate. If nothing else, it would be a new role for him. With Pedro Pascal (Wonder Woman 1984, The Mandalorian-TV) as Javi Gutierrez, Tiffany Haddish (Like a Boss, Bad Trip) as Vivian, Sharon Horgan (Game Night, Dating Amber) as Olivia and Neil Patrick Harris (The Matrix Resurrections, Gone Girl) as Richard Fink; this movie was a lighthearted, fun experience. What made it so was the pairing of Nicolas with Pedro; they were great together as they played off each other. The idea for the story was novel, where I could appreciate the tongue in cheek flavor of the script. The writers were creative in setting things up for Nic to spoof Nicolas’ old films. Honestly, there is not anything that is a surprise here per se; however, it was just fun to see Nicholas doing such an excellent job parodying himself. As the film ended, I wondered if the movie studio would do another film with the two main leads; I think it would be a hoot.
THROUGHOUT MY ELEMENTARY AND HIGH SCHOOL years, I only met two individuals who had been adopted. They happened to be half-sisters, who shared the same mother; a married couple agreed to adopt them both. When I was told about their adoption, I became curious about them. They had the same color hair and eyes; one was taller than the other. That was pretty much all they had in common as far as I could see. The taller one was studious and quiet, while her younger sister did poorly in school and was considered a wild party person. They were not part of my circle of friends for the most part; however, there were times we would be eating at the same lunch table. While eating, I would keep an eye on the two of them to see if they ate the same type of food items. I do not know why I focused on this; I guess I was simply intrigued about their story of being birthed by one woman and raised by a different one. As I said earlier, I had never met anyone who had been adopted. From my observations, I chalked up their differences were due to having different fathers. I have not thought about them for some time, but I wonder with the easy availability of DNA testing if they ever were curious to learn more about their genetic history. THE REASON I MENTIONED DNA TESTING, is because I had recently heard about a woman who, out of curiosity, decided to get tested because she was curious to find out what countries her ancestors originated from. When she received the results, she learned something more that she was not expecting; her DNA did not match with her dad. This news did not settle in immediately; but after studying her results again, it sunk in that the man she knew her entire life was not her father. Sadly, she could not ask either of her parents because they were both deceased. As far as she was concerned, her mother must have had an affair with another man; either her father knew and her parents decided to never say anything about it, or her mother kept it a secret her entire life. The woman was devastated by these results. I know it bothered her because she became angry that she could not confront her mother to find out the truth. Since this person is only an acquaintance, who I have had no contact with for some time, I now wonder if she delved deeper into her DNA results to see if she might have had any half siblings she could reach out to for any answers. It would be a shock if she experienced anything close to what happened in this startling documentary. AWARE SHE WAS ADOPTED, JACOBA BALLARD was curious to know if she might have any unknown relatives. A DNA test could help, and it did, but not the way she was expecting. Directed by first time director Lucie Jourdan, this film played out like a suspenseful crime story. The story is so incredible that I was in synch with what was unfolding for Jacoba. The use and mix of actual recordings with reenactments went seamlessly and made for a more powerful statement in my opinion. As the story progressed, I found myself going deeper into shock from what was happening. I will also add that I became angry while watching the outcome of an issue that was being worked on. To think before we had the ability to test our DNA, there could be many people living under a delusion/fantasy. Be prepared when watching this documentary; it might have a bigger effect on you than you expect.
THERE WAS NO ONE AROUND ME, so I decided I would be the first one to climb the mountain in front of me. Technically, it was a large hill; but to me it looked like it would be the biggest challenge facing me while on vacation. I was not well prepared to undertake such a feat; I was wearing gym shoes, no hat and carrying one water bottle. Ahead of me was what I thought might be a path, simply because there was little grass and rocks compared to the rest of the landscape. I started my way up and at first it seemed like it would be an easy climb. Let me add here, as I have grown older, I have gotten more afraid of heights. However, that thought was the furthest thing from my mind as I was feeling exhilarated from the breeze blowing and the receding land below me. As I was making my way up, the climb started getting steeper. There were a few times my shoes slipped from under me; luckily, if I were going to fall face forward, it would not have been a far fall since I was required to use my hands to help pull myself forward at times. I got as far as halfway up before I felt I would need the same amount of time to descend before it started getting dark. With one turn, I tried taking a step down but freaked out. It was too steep to walk down; I had to sit on my backside and slide myself most of the way down before I felt comfortable enough to stand up. HAVING TAKEN TWICE THE AMOUNT OF time to get back down from the climb up, I sat in my car listening to music to calm myself. What was I thinking? On a scale of things, I am sure this hill might rate mild for most people, but I realized if there is not a defined path with a gift shop at the end of it, I have no business climbing up a hill. In fact, I honestly do not understand why anyone wants to mountain climb. I am sure it must be exciting to say you have done something that so few have been able to do; but if it could kill you, why would you want to do it? A friend of mine one day decided he wanted to skydive. I did not understand the motivation, but he set his mind to it and made it happen. We saw the video of the jump and sure, it was amazing to see; however, seeing his cheeks flapping from the wind force as he was diving was enough for me to realize there is no need for anyone to jump out of a plane. Yet there will always be individuals who want to challenge themselves to do something extraordinary. An example would be one of the main characters in this prequel. HOW IRONIC THAT A MILD-MANNERED bank teller’s dream was to break into one of the world’s most secure bank vaults. All he needed was a little motivation. With Matthias Schweighofer (What A Man, The Red Baron) as Ludwig Dieter, Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones-TV, Maze Runner franchise) as Gwendoline Starr, Ruby O. Fee (The Invisibles, Polar) as Korina Dominguez, Stuart Martin (Only You, Jamestown-TV) as Brad Cage and Guz Khan (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Bubble) as Rolph; this action, crime comedy was your basic heist film with a few fun tweaks done to it. I enjoyed watching this movie because it was fast paced, with some thrilling and exciting scenes. The idea of the story was sound, but I had wished the writers would have gone further with the telling of it. The other reason I enjoyed this film was because the telling of it was not dependent on CGI effects; they did it the old-fashioned way by letting the actors tell and show us the story. I do not necessarily feel like one must see the original film to enjoy this one.
2 2/3 stars
THE COUPLE STANDING IN LINE AHEAD OF me was delaying me from getting to the bathroom. At the theater to see a musical, we were all lined up with our cell phones out that glowed with the images of our virtual tickets. The couple in front were having trouble getting their tickets to open on their phone. I understand the convenience and cost savings of virtual tickets; but I must tell you, I miss holding the physical ticket in my hand. No hassle, no worry of a technical glitch. I have a love/hate relationship with technology. When computers are working like they are supposed to, they are terrific; however, when they are not operating properly, they are a real pain. And do not get me started on how I can have a live face-to-face conversation with someone facing me and immediately ads start appearing on my social media sites based on something we said, it is freaky, eerie and annoying. I remember a friend of mine was using a phone app for driving directions and wound up getting lost due to the incorrect directions their app was telling him. Granted, he did not have a great sense of direction; but still, it was not like he had such a difficult route filled with dead zones his app could not access. THOUGH I DO UNDERSTAND THE REASONS there are passwords and two-factor authentications, I am so overwhelmed with the number of passwords I must remember to login into my accounts. I am at the point where I can no longer come up with creative passwords that I can still remember instead of the long random passwords some sites suggest to me. There are however some tech things I appreciate, for example my smart watch. If my watch detects a fall by me, it will ask me if I am okay or need to have it dial for help. It also keeps track of my heartrate which comes in handy when I am working out. The ultimate example of the negative aspects associated with current technology was seen in that documentary I recently reviewed about online dating. I was shocked with what took place in that movie. Hopefully you can see why I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I hear about all these scams taking place; in fact, just last week the news reported on an elderly person who was swindled out of nearly $200,000.00. It is awful to hear such things. I wonder what life will be like for me later in life; will I still be able to recognize something that looks or feels suspicious? Now, having seen this film, there is something new to think about when it comes to technology. HER JOB WAS TO LISTEN TO recorded conversations to fine tune the vocabulary of her company’s virtual assistant. One day she heard something she could not believe. With Zoe Kravitz (The Batman, Mad Max: Fury Road) as Angela Childs, Byron Bowers (Honey Boy, No Sudden Move) as Terry Hughes, Rita Wilson (Sleepless in Seattle, Runaway Bride) as Natalie Chowdhury, Erika Christensen (Flightplan, Traffic) as Samantha Gerrity and India de Beaufort (The Better Half, Run Fatboy Run) as Sharon; this dramatic, crime thriller was slow to start for me. However, it was due to Zoe’s performance that made me stay interested in this movie; she was so good playing an agoraphobic Seattle tech employee. Though there were a few scenes that did not ring true, being a distraction for me; I enjoyed the film more as the story progressed. Maybe the premise of the story was a bit far-fetched; but the acting and tense scenes made up for it. I also am still processing the whole listening in aspect for virtual assistants. Since you have not seen this picture yet, I will not say if my opinion of modern technology has changed or not.
2 ½ stars
THE STORY HAD MAGICIAL ASPECTS THE more I listened to it. A friend of mine had met someone on one of her social media sites. They started a conversation that went back and forth in an easy, rhythmic way for a short time, before they advanced to video chats. When both were comfortable, they agreed to meet at a popular park in the city. They wound up from walking around the park to sitting on a park bench for a total of 4 hours; never was there a lull in their conversation. The way she described it was saying he showed her the part of his heart that had been healing from a past hurt. She added that he was a sensitive man who teared up when they were talking about their pets, and he spoke about the pain he suffered when he had to put down one of his cats. Evidently, the four hours flew by, and they agreed to go out on a longer date for a meal. A week later they met for dinner then afterwards, walked down to a coffee shop where they sat and talked for two hours more. As I was listening to her tell it, it did cross my mind that all of it was too good to be true. I felt I needed to play the devil’s advocate to make sure she was not missing something about him. It turned out things just got better and better for the two of them, to the point where they decided to get married. I WAS SO HAPPY FOR MY friend and that everything fell into place for her with this man she met online. This was in such sharp contrast to another friend of mine who has had no success meeting people online. Every time we get together, she always has a new story about one of her online dates. There was the one guy who was too eager to date, texting her everyday with little “inspirational” messages and quotes. Then there was this fellow who never mentioned having any friends, along with having no outside interests from his day job as some type of buyer for a company. She always carries pepper spray on her and once, she almost had to use it on a guy she had met who got aggressive with her on their 2nd date. I know how difficult it can be trying to meet someone online; one needs to go through a lot of choices before finding one that clicks and moves in synch with you. If you want to see what I am talking about then feel free to watch what happens to the women in this unbelievable documentary, when they thought they had found the perfect man. WITH ONE SWIPE A PERSON’S LIFE can change drastically when on a dating app. Directed by 1st time director Felicity Morris, I could not look away from this film that at times played out like a crime thriller. The story was so outrageous that there were moments I thought this could not be real, yet it kept on going. I was not sure how authentic all the re-enactments were, but it did not matter to me. However, the way the scenes tightly unfolded added believability to what was taking place. Also, I enjoyed the way the director built up the story; it took me from one emotional extreme to another. I felt the story would be relatable to anyone who watched it. Maybe not on the same level, but everyone has their level of trust. It is funny; when I asked people who had seen this film what they thought, they were divided into two camps. One group sided with one side and the other group felt it was the other side. I will leave it up to you. This movie can be watched by anyone, but especially those who have used dating sites.
3 ½ stars
THANKS TO MY OCD TENDENCIES, I had no idea I had a knack for making merchandise displays. I was working part time at an importer of Asian furnishings, doing deliveries and various other odd jobs. When an employee was going on vacation, the manager asked me to set up some type of display with the shipment of urns we had just received. I had no experience doing anything like this but told him I would take care of it. Well long story short, I created this stepped floor display down the middle of a wide aisle that perfectly displayed the urns. The first day after I finished it, we nearly sold out of the urns by the end of the day. The manager was stunned as well as me. That same week after the urns sold, the manager asked me to handle the uncrating and displaying of a shipment of ornamental hand fans. With newfound confidence, I thought it would be best to open a group of fans and place them around the other displays, such as having them stick out of a few potted plants around the store and displaying fans in several cabinets. The rest of them I placed on a rosewood dining table in a fan shape with each row a different color. It turned out the fans were a big hit at the cash registers. WHEN THE EMPLOYEE CAME BACK FROM vacation, she took over doing the displays; however, the manager told her I would help her with them. I was excited by this discovered talent of mine and was eager to help her out whenever a shipment came in. I never considered how she felt about having someone suddenly working with her. However, it was made quite clear to me, that she wanted to handle everything by herself. I tried helping, but she felt her ideas were better than mine. My issue was the fact her displays did not always have a symmetrical look to them, which caused by OCD pulses to pick up. I tried showing her how the item looked if it was displayed in a different way, but I could see my advice was not being well received. I had to figure out a different way of expressing my opinions. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to work with her; so, I started to do a little rearranging after she was gone for the day. Nothing too dramatic, but just enough to make the display pop out a bit. Surprisingly she only asked me a couple of times about the changes she saw in her displays. I would tell her either I had to make room for an order to go out on delivery or customers had moved things around while trying to match up items with their orders. I had to make this work because I enjoyed what I was doing there. It is quite like what the main character was doing in this crime thriller, except he had to worry about being killed. AFTER OPENING HIS SHOP IN CHICAGO, a tailor had to figure out how to stay on the gangsters’ good side after they came calling. With Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies, The Trial of the Chicago 7) as Leonard, Zoey Deutch (Before I Fall, The Professor) as Mable, Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner franchise, American Assassin) as Richie, Johnny Flynn (Emma, Clouds of Sils Maria) as Francis and Nikki Amuka-Bird (Jupiter Ascending, The Omen) as Violet; this drama captured me quickly. Mark was the reason for me to remain focused on the story as it unfolded. I enjoyed the way the script snaked its way through the story, adding these unexpected twists and turns; it was exciting. I thought the entire look of this film was perfect as it brought back to life a period from the 1950s. This picture was a great start to the new Oscar season. My hope is that the future movies coming out this year will be just as exciting and engaging as this one.
3 ¼ stars
WHEN I HEARD HOW HER MOTHER-IN-LAW was treating her, I was appalled. To be so blatant about a dislike for a person made me question exactly how so-called religious was she? I was told the mother-in-law never missed attending a church service, was involved by volunteering for church events, helped with fundraising; she did everything she could for her church, yet she did not like her daughter-in-law because she was raised and practiced a different religion. It did not matter that she loved her son, made him happy and in turn, he loved her. The fact her son did not push back at his mother’s behavior towards his bride, told me enough about him. I am trying not to be too judgmental here; probably not doing a good job, but here are a couple of examples of what I am talking about. The mother would ask her son to stop by after work then keep him there for dinner, without asking his wife to join. Now granted the son could/should have said something, but he did not; or he could have said he has to get home because his wife was making dinner. Another thing she would do is only give her daughter-in-law a generic birthday card, while everyone else in the family always received beautiful gifts on their birthdays. Granted this is my opinion, but this is why I found the mother-in-law’s behavior appalling. THE THING I DO NOT UNDERSTAND is why should it matter if a person is of a different religion or for that fact, a different skin color. Human is human, how does one justify having negative feelings about someone who believes in a different religion? Or what fault can be found for someone’s ancestors coming from a different part of the world; we all still have so much in common, if one would just invest the time to find out. For myself, I do not know if it was due to my upbringing, schooling or life experiences that these two things about a person (religion & race) were unimportant to me. Putting environmental issues aside, what does the color of an individual’s skin, the shape of their eyes, their religious beliefs have to do with who they are as a good person. Sure, there are those who “practice what they preach” and there are those whose actions could be considered stereotypical; however, do these things change a person’s morals or heart or empathy? In my dating life I have dated people from all walks of life and places from earth; the only thing that mattered is if they were a good person. You can see what I am talking about if you choose to see this Oscar nominated film. HOW DOES ONE REVIEW A REMAKE of an iconic, classic movie? I will give it a try. Directed by Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List) with Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars, Baby Driver) as Tony, newcomer Rachel Zegler as Maria, Ariana DeBose (The Prom, Hamilton) as Anita, David Alvarez (American Rust-TV) as Bernardo and Rita Moreno (Play it by Ear, Jane the Virgin-TV) as Valentina; this adaptation of the 1957 film stands on its own merits. The filming and direction were outstanding; Steven is a real storyteller. I was stunned that Ansel not only could sing but sing so well. He was a perfect match for Rachel. For me, the music and songs are the highlight. I felt the choreography was better than the original film because it seemed to have a better fit into the story. What surprised me was the script. The way it was updated, the story made more sense to me. Sadly, because the timing was not right for when this picture came out, few people got to see it. If you are a fan of musicals or even not, then you deserve to treat yourself by seeing this beautifully retooled story about two people in love.
3 ½ stars
THE HEAVINESS OF SADNESS AND GRIEF affects each of us differently. Not only am I good example of this, but I have encountered many others whose experiences went from one extreme to the other and everything in between. At an early stage of my life, I used to deal with my emotions by stuffing them inside and in turn, stuffing my mouth with food. The more upset I was the more I would consume from the pantry, refrigerator, ice cream truck, candy store and any other source that would satisfy my tastes and make me feel good. It took a long time, but I eventually learned how to better deal with the pain of grief and sadness. During my dating years, I wound up doing a heavy year long stint of volunteering after a heart wrenching breakup. A friend of mine, upon getting dumped by a boyfriend, would go through her photos and either scratch out her ex-boyfriend with a black marker or delete him completely. I have other friends who withdraw when they experience something traumatic. They prefer being by themselves, immersed in all their sadness until they get to a point where they begin to start rebuilding themselves back into the living world. I depended on this method for a long time. It was nothing for me to stay home and watch a dozen movies over a weekend, while dealing with my pain. ONE OF THE MORE CONSTRUCTIVE REACTIONS I had due to grief was going to school to be a psychiatrist. Due to what I had suffered in my earlier years, I wanted to be in a position where I could help others who had suffered at the hands of a bully. The first couple of years of college were intense for me as I navigated the amount of course work with the amount of emotional baggage I had brought to school. Having lived through the experience, I felt I would have an advantage in assisting my future patients who had similar trauma to mine. As it turned out, I discovered I had few filters to keep me from becoming fully involved with a person who was dealing with familiar grief. Instead of helping them to discover the means to heal themselves, I found myself wanting to tell them what to do. I knew this would not be a solid fit for me; if someone was doing something that I thought was not a good move, I could see myself bluntly telling them to “knock it off” or saying something like “that makes no sense.” Looking back, I know I made the right decision and am now better equipped to handle grief or sadness. As for the main character in this action crime drama, see what he is doing to alleviate his grief. A SERIES OF GRUESOME MURDERS OF Gotham’s political figures, forces Batman, played by Robert Pattinson (Tenet, The Lighthouse), into a cat and mouse game that could lead him to startling revelations. With Zoe Kravitz (Kimi, Rough Night) as Selina Kyle, Jeffrey Wright (The French Dispatch, Shaft) as Lt. James Gordon, Colin Farrell (Phone Booth, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) as Oz and Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood, Love & Mercy) as The Riddler; this film was totally dark in every aspect of the word. It is a grittier and more menacing Gotham than the versions from the past. When I left the movie theater, I felt unsatisfied; however, as I have been thinking more about this film, I have softened in my position a bit. For me, Zoe and Colin where the standout actors. Zoe can be spun off into her own movies in my opinion. Robert, for the way his character was written, was a good choice; but I did not connect to his Batman until closer to the end. And speaking of the end, this picture was way too long at 2 hours and 56 minutes. Some scenes were engaging for me, others dragged. Overall, I get the idea what the director and writers were trying to do. I only wish I did not have to sit so long in the dark and dourness of both the visuals and script.
2 ¾ stars
MY FRIEND WAS SO EXCITED TO show me her new designer purse. It was a good thing she told me ahead of time because when I saw it, I thought it looked like a premium gift one would have received for opening a new bank account. The purse looked ugly to me, with the designer’s initials being repeated row after row all around the bag. But then again, I was never fond of having “name/designer brands” or logos on clothing. When I was a little kid, I had a couple of pullover shirts that had a little crocodile patch attached to them. I never liked crocodiles, so I could not understand why I had to wear a shirt with one on it. All I said to my friend was how happy I was for her to get something she had been wanting for a long time. Little did I know I would see the same design on so many purses women were carrying all around the city. It was not too long before other designers were putting their initials on their clothing items. I thought for sure the people who could not afford these designer brands would be judged by their “ordinary” purses. To me, it looked like a caste system was being formed based on the brand of purse or clothing one was wearing. MAYBE IT WAS A REACTION TO that idea, that drove me to look for fitness wear that was not simply an advertisement for the manufacturer. I started buying novelty T-shirts that were funny or quirky. Gaining the opportunity to be able to travel, I started buying a T-shirt and hat from every state I visited. Soon two dozen shirts and hats blossomed into 50, then 100; until I wound up with over 300 T-shirts, none advertising a logo or brand name. Sure, I was stuck with workout shoes that had the company’s logo on them, but I always looked first for a nondescript article. I continued to keep my principles even after the imitation/fake items doused the consumer. My lesson in fake items took place at a flea market, where a booth was selling what I thought were expensive watches. It turned out the items piled on the table were fake but looked so close to the originals that I do not think many people would know the difference. However, underneath the tables unbeknownst to me were watches that were made at the same factories as the name brand ones. They were tweaked a bit in cost cutting moves but essentially, they were coming from the same watch company but for more than ½ the price. I thought it was crazy but then I watched this Oscar nominated film. FROM A SIMPLE LIFE PATRIZIA REGGIANI, PLAYED by Lady Gaga (A Star is Born, Sin City: A Dame to Kill), had no idea who she was looking at when she saw the awkward man behind the bar. If she knew who she was looking at, she certainly did not know what went with the man’s name. With Adam Driver (The Last Dual, Marriage Story) as Maurizio Gucci, Al Pacino (The Irishman, Dick Tracy) as Aldo Gucci, Jeremy Irons (Margin Call, Assassin’s Creed) as Rodolfo Gucci and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club, Requiem for a Dream) as Paolo Gucci; what saved this movie inspired by a true story was Lady Gaga. She was totally committed to the character to the point I forgot it was her. Because of her performance, Adam Driver was pushed into the background; granted the fact he could not hold onto an Italian accent did not help his cause. As for Jared, I had not idea it was him until I saw the ending credits. The script and direction were weak in my opinion. It was nearly halfway before things started to gel better together and the story finally kept my interest. The story was unbelievable if any of it was true in this picture. And looking up a photo afterwards of Patrizia Reggiani, the producers did perfect casting with choosing Lady Gaga.
2 ½ stars
I AM THE FIRST ONE TO wear gloves and earmuffs in late autumn and I am the last to stop wearing them in the early part of spring. So, it made sense for me to agree to fly out of the cold winter weather and stay at a resort on a Caribbean Island. My only hesitation was the fact that I would be on the resort’s property for the entire time. I usually am not that comfortable being thrown in with strangers in a confined area for a lengthy duration of time. On an airplane, it does not bother me to sit among unfamiliar passengers or at a catered affair, where I am seated with strangers at a dinner table. However, being at a resort with the same people day in and day out, was rattling me a bit. On the plus side, the weather was in the 80’s when we landed with bright sunshine. The first night there, introductions were being made at the dinner reception; I was somewhat quiet as I was scanning the room, looking at the variety of individuals in attendance. A woman standing next to me started talking about how the heat was already making her body feel better. I agreed with her and for the next 10 minutes she cited off a list of her ailments and what she was doing to try and remedy them. I couldn’t wait to get away; but wound up seeing her every day, where she gave me an update on her health status. THERE WAS A GENTLEMAN WHO I had met that I tried to avoid as well. He was a boastful, arrogant man who did or did not know he was talking down to people. He was at my table, but you would have thought he was holding court for his subjects. It is a challenge, at least for me, to have a discussion with someone who always thinks they know better. We were talking about fitness, and he had to show me the program he uses to track his fitness progress. Looking at it, I noticed everything he was doing was focused on building up muscle in his body. I asked him what he was doing for his heart, that I did not see any cardio work being done. From that comment, I basically got a lecture about how he does his workouts fast to get his heart involved. He even had to make a point to me that he sweats which I knew was not an indicator of the amount work one was giving to their heart. I already knew better than to try and correct him. Now you know why I am not comfortable being grouped with strangers for an extended amount of time; you never know how things will go. You can see for yourself in this dramatic crime mystery. ENJOYING A WELL-DESERVED VACATION ON a cruise boat took an awful turn for detective Hercule Poirot, played by Kenneth Branagh (All is True, My Week with Marilyn), when a dead body showed up. With Tom Bateman (Cold Pursuit, Snatched) as Bill, Annette Bening (The Report, The Seagull) as Euphemia Bouc, Russell Brand (Army of One, Arthur) as Windlesham and Michael Rouse (1917, Murder on the Orient Express) as Private Laurin; this movie started out slow for me. The cast was good and some of the sets were beautiful; however, I felt the script pushed most of the excitement to the last half. Though I enjoyed seeing the exotic outdoor scenes, some of them did not look real to me. The other factor that affected me was the lack of excitement throughout most of the film. It goes without saying that Agatha Christie’s book was much better. On the bright side, I only had to be with these strangers for a couple of hours before I got to leave and go back home.
2 ½ stars