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Flash Movie Review: Detroit

HATE DOES NOT discriminate or it just has poor aim. I was standing outside with a group of people who came from diverse backgrounds. We were talking and laughing while deciding where we wanted to go eat. A vehicle driving down the street slowed as it neared us, not that any of us were paying attention to it. A beer bottle flew out the window at us before the vehicle sped away. Luckily no one got hit with glass as it shattered in front of us on the sidewalk, but a couple of people were splashed with beer. There was no reason for it; it wasn’t like we were provoking anyone. You could say it was a random act of violence but I would not believe it. I felt some of the people in our group were the target because I caught a glance of the vehicle’s bumper where there was a sticker. Maybe I was wrong for not mentioning it but I did not want anyone to feel worse or different than anyone else.     THE THING THAT puzzles me about hatred is how it gets formed in a person. Having been the victim of both acts of hatred and bullying, I have tried to understand the prejudicial mind or let me say bigot. Why does the life of a complete stranger, who has had no contact with you or whose actions have no bearing on your well being, affect you in such a way to lash out at them? I have thought about this for years; in fact, I still remember a story I heard about a family friend who hated a particular minority group. The reason was because his brother was murdered by an individual of the same minority; that was it. That is one of the reasons why I say hate does not discriminate. I used to think hatred was this laser focused emotion that targeted only a single individual, but it appears to me as if that focus has widened to engulf anyone in its path or intent. And especially when the person filled with hatred is in a position of power it can become intensely lethal. This film’s story is based on true events, so you can see what I mean.     THE TIMES WERE volatile as racial tensions rose in the city of Detroit during the late 1960s. From a single sound of a gun going off the guests of the hotel Algiers were subjected to a night of terror. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker), this historical crime drama starred John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Circle) as Dismukes, Will Poulter (We’re the Millers, The Revenant) as Krauss, Jacob Latimore (Sleight, The Maze Runner) as Fred and Algee Smith (Earth to Echo, The New Edition Story-TV) as Larry. The majority of this movie was filled with heightened tension and anxiety; I was mortified by the things I was seeing on screen thanks to Kathryn’s eye for detail and buildup. She did an incredible job as this picture felt part documentary, part reenactment. The acting from John Boyega and Will Poulter was outstanding. I swear John reminded me of a young Denzel Washington; it was amazing to see him in this role and to see the depth of his acting skills. The same has to be said for Will too. There was a bit of manipulation I felt where the violence and human ugliness were used to move the audience members. Despite feeling that way I still was affected by the story. A majority of people might feel uncomfortable sitting through this film and that would be a good thing.

 

3 ½ stars

 

 

Flash Movie Review: Vanishing on 7th Street

Maybe this practice still takes place somewhere in the world, but I know I have not seen it anywhere for many years. It used to be Saturday afternoon was the time a movie theater would change its movie rotation and show a special matinee film for one showing only. The movies that played were family friendly, multiple genres and at times lower production values. There was a small movie theater (if you want to even call it that) near my house when I was a kid; it sat in the middle of the block with small shops flanking it on both sides. If they did not have their small free standing marquee sign in front of the theater, most people would not even know it was there. All the theater seats inside were tired looking with missing threads and very little bounce to the cushions. I was there most Saturdays, waiting in line with the other families. The only way I can describe how it felt to sit and watch a movie there is to tell you it was like being on an amusement park ride. If the picture was dramatic it had to be over dramatic; the hero was always captured at some point but would escape to the cheers of the audience around me. It was such a communal event for all of us and we saw so many new places around the world and even universe. I have such warm memories about that theater and the movies it showed. This horror mystery film would have been shown at that theater’s Saturday afternoon matinee, I am certain of it.    WITH no explanation one day the citizens of Detroit vanished into thin air. Luke, played by Hayden Christensen (Star Wars franchise, Jumper), was not affected however; but he noticed something was different about the dark. What I liked about this horror thriller was the fact there was no violence or bloodshed used to make the story scary. Instead the script tried to keep a sense of urgency in the forefront, letting the cast express their fear through their bodies. John Leguizamo (Moulin Rouge, Chef) as Paul and Thandie Newton (For Colored Girls, Good Deeds) as Rosemary did a good job making this happen. I do not think it was the studio’s intentions but this picture was the type of film I would call a “B” movie. It looked like a bare bones production with few props and sets. The story was like a primer as if it would be used to teach a class called horror film 101. The script was loose, letting the viewer come to their own conclusion about the action in the scenes. You may consider this more of a disposable movie that you watch once when you have nothing else to do. I enjoyed the easiness to this picture, feeling like I was a little kid at a Saturday matinee.

 

2 stars — DVD

 

 

 

Flash Movie Review: Brick Mansions

It seems to me we are still an appearance motivated society. With the recent controversies concerning digitally altered photographs and racial comments in the media, one has to wonder where this obsession on a person’s looks came into our thought process. Did you know even in the most innocent of places, people will react to someone else’s looks? I saw it happen in one of my yoga classes. A large man wearing a bandanna tied around the top of his head walked into my classroom. His body bore a couple of tattoos and he had a small metal chain around his neck. The members became quiet as they tried to discreetly keep their eyes on him as he moved to a corner of the room. He did not seem to notice he was the center of everyone’s attention. It did cross my mind for a moment that maybe he was in the wrong room; however, he walked over to the pile of yoga mats and grabbed one before settling down into his spot. The windup to this story was he not only was a yoga enthusiast, he would become one of my biggest advocates. I always found it amusing when we were in the locker room and he was saying something complimentary about the class; the men within earshot would turn and take a look at him. Here was an imposing looking man who you could easily see riding off on a big ole motorcycle, dressed in leather, talking about yoga. It just goes to show you there is always something more behind the surface and this action drama would be the proof. Paul Walker (Fast & Furious franchise, Hours) played Detroit undercover policeman Damien Collier. When an advanced weapon was stolen and transported to the worst part of town, Damien would have to rely on convicted cop killer Lino, played by David Belle (The Family, District B13), to get him into the area and disarm the device. This crime picture was a remake of the French film District B13 that starred the same David Belle who was reprising his role here. I appreciated that Paul Walker’s character was not made to be an equal to Lino’s fighting skills because his were based on the Parkour training discipline. The story was attention getting, but I enjoyed the original movie more. The editing and directing were too choppy for me in this one; it felt as if I was jumping from scene to scene without getting any time to see the actors develop their characters. On the surface this looked like an exciting film but in reality there was nothing special going on here.

 

2 stars

Flash Movie Review: Flash of Genius

From a mundane object a great idea was born. Based on the true story about Dr. Bob Kearns, played by Greg Kinnear (Little Miss Sunshine, Ghost Town), who had a great idea that would affect everyone who drove a car in the rain. He invented the intermittent windshield wiper. With the support of his wife Phyllis, played by Lauren Graham (Bad Santa, Evan Almighty), and children; Dr. Kearns created a prototype that he planned on selling to the Detroit auto makers. However, his dreams did not come true the way he had expected. This heartfelt movie told the story of the courage, determination, some say insanity of the Kearns family taking on the deep pocketed car manufacturers to protect Bob’s invention. I get fired up from a movie that roots for the underdog and this excellent movie had the perfect set-up for a battle between the every day man against corporate big business. Mr Kinnear was perfect in this role; giving a solid, believable performance to his character who had everything to lose, including his mental state. Also, Alan Alda (Tower Heist, The Aviator) gave an excellent performance as the lawyer who was willing to take on Detroit’s auto makers.  One has to wonder how often this type of behind the back shenanigans takes place in the business world. A terrific movie that was about a great idea and so much more.

3 1/4 stars — DVD

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