Flash Movie Review: Triangle of Sadness
I THOUGHT THEY WERE “WELL OFF” based on what their house looked like. It was not a mansion by any means, but I think the term is “well appointed.” They always had the latest kitchen appliances and electronic gizmos. The front and back of their house had a variety of flowers and greenery, though I never saw anyone from their household working or maintaining it. I only became aware of their financial status when they threw a huge celebration party for one of their children. The event was held in a grand ballroom in a luxurious hotel in the heart of the city. The room had been decorated to look like a forest/jungle, with bushes in various sizes lining the walls along with intricate, lush green vines coming down the walls. Every dinner table had a different centerpiece, each looking like a piece of art. Some of them looked like statuaries in various materials such as metal, glass and ceramic; other tables had floral arrangements with ice, water or candles as part of the display. I did not know where to look first. Scattered through the ballroom were various food carts with servants at attention ready to assist the guests. My table was just off to the side of the dance floor that was created with colored glass blocks. I could only imagine what else would be in store for the evening. WITH SO MUCH ACTIVITY TAKING PLACE at the start of the meal, I excused myself so I could go to the bar and get a soft drink. While standing there, I saw my friend’s mother was at the head of the line, intently talking to the bartender. I could not hear every word she was saying, but I could tell she was not happy about something. After I finally got my drink, I was walking back and crossed paths with the mother again; she was talking to a waiter and from what I was hearing, she was unhappy. To me it sounded like she was talking down to the waiter, who by the way had a look of fear on his face. I kept walking and bumped into the father of my friend, who was demanding something from what I figured was a manager of the establishment. Again, I overheard the conversation and wound up feeling bad for the worker because of the way the father was speaking to him. Granted, I was not privy to the details; but, I could not imagine something so egregious took place that warranted speaking in such a tone. It made me wonder if having money made a person talk in that type of fashion; I thought I might get an answer while watching this Oscar nominated comedic drama. WHEN A COUPLE OF FASHION MODELS find themselves on an intimate boat cruise with a group of wealthy individuals, they expected to have a peaceful luxurious ride. Instead, they found themselves fighting for survival. With Harris Dickinson (Beach Rats, Where the Crawdads Sing) as Carl, Charlbi Dean (Don’t Sleep, Spud franchise) as Yaya, Dolly de Leon (Verdict, Cuddle Weather) as Abigail, Zlatko Buric (Pusher franchise, 2012) as Dimitey and Iris Berben (Eddie the Eagle, Crossroads) as Therese; this movie had a good point to make. However, it took so long to make it that I lost interest halfway through the film. There were some funny scenes that made me laugh out loud, however, there also was a predictability to several scenes. Things started to get better in the last half of this picture; but by that time, I did not care. Also, I still am perplexed on how this picture was nominated for the best picture category. Sure, there was a good dose of satire and humor; but it felt safe to me. I thought a thorough rewrite would have created a tighter script and more focused deep dive to mine a fuller story with more outrageous characters.
2 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Jungle Cruise
I DO NOT KNOW WHY, BUT adventure thrills are always better when they get shared with someone. Isn’t it true? There is something about experiencing a new thrill that resonates stronger when you have someone come along for the ride. I remember when a group of us went to a new amusement park that had a water ride mimicking white water rafting. We all piled into this circular, inflated yellow raft with a type of steering apparatus in the center. When the park attendant pushed us out of the holding dock, we started out on calm waters. However, it changed rather quickly when we went down an embankment and into this pool of churning water that swept us quickly down the course a/k/a churning river. All of us held onto the steering wheel as we hooted and hollered with all the jostling and bumping the raft was enduring. Sprays of water doused us periodically, keeping us cool in the hot summer sun. As we neared the end of the ride there was a steeper “waterfall” we had to endure. It was a bit tense at first as the water under the raft picked up speed then dropped us into the waterfall, which was an adrenalin rush for me. At the bottom of the falls, the raft quietly floated over to a receiving dock area where park attendants were helping people get out of their rafts. It was one of the best water rides I experienced, and I was glad I did it with my friends. DESPITE HAVING TAKEN MANY LONG WEEKEND trips alone, when I go with friends and family members, there always seems to be an adventure we wind up sharing. Recently in San Diego a couple of us rented a pedal boat to take out into San Diego Bay. We were fine while in the marina because it was smooth and calm as we leisurely pedaled up and down rows of piers and docks. However, when we got out into the bay the water turned choppy with a stronger current underneath. We had to pedal faster as the boat bobbed up and down. Our time out there did not last long as we looked at each other at the same time and said we made it out and now it is time to go back where things are calmer. Once out of the bay we laughed about it since we had these grand plans to go down the coast to see the sights. It still was a great experience that I was glad to be sharing with someone close. I felt the main characters in this fantasy film were experiencing a similar situation to mine, which I enjoyed watching. HER FATHER BELIEVED IT WAS TRUE; so, Dr. Lily Houghton, played by Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place franchise, Mary Poppins Returns), was determined to find this special plant reported only to be found deep in the Amazon jungle. With Dwayne Johnson (Red Notice, Skyscraper) as Frank Wolff, Edgar Ramirez (Deliver Us from Evil, Point Break) as Aguirre, Jack Whitehall (Mother’s Day, Clifford the Big Red Dog) as MacGregor Houghton and Jessie Plemons (The Irishman, The Power of the Dog) as Prince Joachim; this action, adventure comedy was saved by the performances of Dwayne and Emily. I would not put them in the same category as Abbott & Costello or Burns and Allen, but they certainly were a fun couple to watch on the big screen. The script was rather generic as it pulled in ideas from a variety of movie stories such as The Mummy, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Pirates of the Caribbean among others. This was simply a fluffy fantasy film that was easy to view without a lot of thought to it. I am sure if the movie studio made money on this picture, they will then try to do a sequel. If they do, I just hope they get a better story line and script, besides having Emily and Dwayne starring in it.
2 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
I TOOK THE BRUNT OF THEIR kidding because I had never heard of such a college degree. A group of my classmates and myself were sitting at the student union. The building was an old, medieval looking structure. The food hall was in the lower level where the space had arched beams in the ceiling. We were sitting at a large table when one of my classmates motioned to a table close to us that had a group of women sitting and talking. He described a couple of the women at the table who were in one of his classes and said that group was here for a M.R.S. degree. The guys around me laughed as I sat there perplexed. I asked what kind of degree was a M.R.S and was answered with more laughter. Finally, my lab partner asked me what the letters spell out; I answered, “Mrs.” He said exactly, they are only attending the university to find a husband. Maybe I am not the brightest bulb in the marquis, bur I was more confused. Who would spend so much money to go to college just to look for a mate? Another guy at the table said he had a couple of lecture hall classes with a few of the women, and he agreed with my lab partner. He said they would stand outside the hall and watch the students walking in until they saw an attractive guy, then would come in and try to sit close to them. I found the whole thing preposterous. HERE I THOUGHT I HAD HEARD everything, yet there was more news to come my way. A few weeks later a free, independent weekly news magazine came out with an article listing a group of universities that excelled in specific categories. It turned out my university was number #1 for drinking, alcohol that is. A school in the southern part of my home state was listed as the best “party school.” What caught my eye was a university close to a major city in my state that was listed as the best “husband hunting” place. I understood this news magazine specialized in “tongue in cheek” humor; but this “husband hunting” concept had to be a known thing to have gotten mentioned in the article. I was so surprised by this discovery; how come I had never heard about it before? Looking back at this time in my life, I must assume many of you cannot believe such a thing took place. I was there and I cannot believe it, it sounds so dated, right? Times change and I had to keep that in mind while watching this musical classic. TWO FRIENDS, WHO WERE ENTERTAINERS, AGREED to take a transatlantic cruise for a job opportunity. What they did not plan for was to be followed by a private detective. With Jane Russell (The Outlaw, Double Dynamite) as Dorothy Shaw, Marilyn Monroe (The Seven Year Itch, Some Like it Hot) as Lorelei Lee, Charles Coburn (Monkey Business, The Green Years) as Sir Francis ‘Piggy” Beekman, Elliott Reid (Inherit the Wind, Vicki) as Ernie Malone and Tommy Noonan (A Star is Born, Bundle of Joy) as Gus Esmond Jr; this romantic comedy based on the Broadway musical that was based on the book was a blast from the past. Made in the 1950’s, I had to remind myself the story took place in a different time. The 2 actresses were terrific in their roles displaying excellent comedic chops and the songs they sang have lasted the test of time. If you are not a musical fan, I cannot imagine this picture will hold your attention all the way through; however, it was a fun and enjoyable movie. Even looking at this film on a historical level, I was entertained and fascinated watching customs and traits that would be frowned upon in present times. Still, this was a classic movie I wanted to see after hearing some of its songs for so many years.
3 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Hotel Transylvania 3
AS I LISTENED I THOUGHT IT was an ingenious plan. It was a time before cellular phones and my friend was telling me how her family would take a road trip. When relatives were included on their road trips, involving more than one car, the drivers would create a way of communicating with each other. They would flash their auto lights in a specific way, similar to Morse code, to say they needed to stop for a restroom, a break, gas or a meal. Alternating between the right and left turn signals would mean someone in the car needed to stop at a bathroom. If passengers were getting hungry then the driver would either flash the lights 3 times or tap the brakes 3 times in rapid succession to signal the other driver. I was impressed with the plan and realized the introduction of the smart phone sure made traveling by automobile a whole different experience than what it used to be. If I thought about it I could have questioned why the cars needed to follow each other; but I could understand the reasoning behind forming a caravan. You know, the safety in numbers train of thought. FAMILY VACATIONS PROVIDE A MULTITUDE of experiences. The ones I experienced were predominately for visiting relatives who lived out of state. So, when people talk about the type of vacations they would do as a family, I am curious to hear about them. I remember listening about a family who took nature trips in some of the national parks across the country. There was one trip where they went hiking with their two small children and soon discovered the trail was not geared for a novice; the kids were scared and complaining. I looked up the place where they went and was stunned that someone would look at it and think small children could handle the climb. Heck I was not sure I could even do it! As another example I have some relatives who love getting into the car and driving to obscure tourist type places that you would never find on a “best of” list for vacation spots. They would take a vacation to find the largest ball of yarn or drive to visit the mustard museum in some small town in a different state. Usually they would find a variety of curiosity spots to stop at along the way. I am good with whatever “trips your trigger” for a family vacation; that is why I went to see the latest installment of this animated comedic, family film. FEELING HER FATHER NEEDED A vacation from running the hotel Mavis, voiced by Selena Gomez (Getaway, Spring Breakers), came up with a brilliant idea. She booked the family on a boat cruise. For her father Dracula, voiced by Adam Sandler (The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy), it would be more than just a boat ride. With Andy Samberg (That’s My Boy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine-TV) voicing Johnny, Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms franchise, Afternoon Delight) voicing Ericka and Jim Gaffigan (Chappaquiddick, Away We Go) voicing Van Helsing; this third installment was more of the same I am afraid to say. Little children might enjoy this picture because of all the monsters; but overall, I did not find much humor in the story. The visuals and animation were certainly fun, but they were not enough to support the feeble script. Pretty much a majority of this film was a series of sight gags. Surprisingly there was a message in the movie regarding inclusion, but chances are it will get lost on the youngsters. The only other thing to say about this picture is to make sure you bring a life jacket or a lifeboat because this boat is taking on water.