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Flash Movie Review: Tomb Raider

ONE OF THE BIGGEST COMPLAINTS I have heard about treadmills is that they are boring. They don’t take the person anywhere is a frequent excuse why a person will not use one. I used to jog outside on the streets until I was almost hit by a car that was making a fast turn. That event was the last time I jogged on the streets. I tried running on sidewalks but I could not handle all the cracks and debris I found. To avoid them I switched to jogging on a treadmill. When this transition took place treadmills did not have video screens attached to them. I would turn on loud music as motivation and off I went on my run. Currently I have seen treadmills with video screens attached for the runner to either follow a programmed scenic trail or television shows. At the clubs I work at there are large monitors suspended in a long row from the ceiling facing the treadmills, so members have further options of what they want to look at while jogging. I can see where this could help or motivate a person to exercise.     THERE IS ANOTHER COMMENT I have heard regarding people who jog. Some say the person is running away or to something they have on their mind. I do not know if I would make a blanket statement like that, but speaking for myself I do get lost in my thoughts while jogging. If there is something bothering me I usually focus on it and before I know it 30-60 minutes have passed by. But when you think about it isn’t any leisure activity prone to letting one experience a time of reflection? There are some members at the fitness center I am sure are working on some issue in their head as they go through their paces on the exercise equipment. Jogging, along with any aerobic activity, can produce endorphins which are hormones that get released in the brain to reduce pain and make one feel relaxed or full of energy, according to the dictionary. Knowing this as I do, I had to wonder what the main character in this action adventure film was going towards because she was doing an awful lot of running.     FINALLY COMING TO TERMS WITH her father’s death Lara Croft, played by Alicia Vikander (Tulip Fever, The Danish Girl), was about to sign on as heir to the Croft fortune and take over the company’s businesses until she was handed a puzzle by the executor. The puzzle was only the first piece into solving the mysterious disappearance of her father Lord Richard Croft, played by Dominic West (Chicago, The Forgotten). With Kristin Scott Thomas (Darkest Hour, The Party) as Ana Miller, Walter Goggins (The Hateful Eight, Diablo) as Mathias Vogel and Daniel Wu (The Man with the Iron Fists, One Nite in Mongkok) as Lu Ren; this reboot was centered on Alicia’s character and she did not disappoint. She was more than capable to helm this story and in fact she would be the only reason to watch this picture. Some of her action scenes were crazy to watch; but overall they were not enough to support the weak script. There was little development of the characters and to tell you the truth I thought the special effects were nothing special. If I did not know better I could have sworn the writers took their inspiration from the Raiders of the Lost Ark story. The story here did not appear to be well thought out in my opinion; Lara was too busy running all the time to allow the viewers to fully connect with her and her plight.

 

2 stars

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Flash Movie Review: The Square

BEING A WITNESS TO an employer degrading an employee, yelling for all to hear, then immediately turn around and become this kind, solicitous salesperson for a consumer is enough to turn my stomach. The transformation seemed effortless, nothing like what I saw Dr. Jekyll go through to become Mr. Hyde from the movie. There are different labels like “two-faced, backstabbing and double-dealer” to describe a person who acts one way to one person then a different way to someone else. I worked at a company where the owner loved to be out in front with the shoppers. If you were able to hear him you would think he was the warmest, most helpful man you ever met. It was a façade because as soon as he returned to his office in the back he acted like he was king of the world; I am not exaggerating when I tell you he would have an employee from the warehouse clean his hairbrush. I know, it was totally disgusting and believe me he had the employees doing a lot more things for him.     NOTHING HAS CHANGED SINCE I worked there many years ago. Presently what is going on in the world is no better with people in power harassing those with lesser power. I know I mentioned the historian and moralist Lord Acton before, but what he said is just as relevant now as it was in 1887: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” Maybe the last sentence is not as true today or maybe it is me with wishful thinking. Yet there have been so many instances where the head of some company or organization is the perfect figurehead for their place but in their personal life they are different or even opposite. Can you imagine the president of let us say a shelter for abused victims being caught abusing their spouse? Experiencing that sense of power tends to make a person feel infallible; it turns out that is not always the case.     AS THE MUSEUM IS ABOUT to launch a new exhibit its chief art curator Christian’s, played by Claes Bang (The Bridge-TV, Rule No. 1), personal life begins to fall apart. This Oscar nominated and film festival winning comedic drama also starred Elizabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale-TV, The One I Love) as Anne, Dominic West (Chicago, The Forgotten) as Julian, Terry Notary (Planet of the Apes franchise, Kong: Skull Island) as Oleg and Christopher Laesso (The Bridge, Darkland) as Michael. The thing that impressed me about this film was the script; there were several themes taking place at the same time, yet they were not confusing. I will say however the script was too long; it needed some editing to bring down the running time of this DVD. There were also some scenes that I found foolish, where I felt they would not have happened like that in real life. It was interesting how the writers were able to incorporate some topical themes into the story, where I was still thinking about this movie for some time after. With the competent actors, interesting story and thought provoking scenes; I found this movie to be an interesting choice for Sweden to have submitted to the Oscar committee. English, Swedish and Danish were spoken in this picture with English subtitles.

 

3 stars — DVD  

 

 

Flash Movie Review: Testament of Youth

Advice given that was so simple and easy to remember; I can still hear it after all these years. I was talking to the wife of a married couple about what kept their marriage together. She said there were times you just had to keep quiet and not complain when you sometimes had to do something you really did not want to do. This was not earth shattering by any means; but it really resonated with me. I now cringe when I think about all those times where I used to complain about going to a restaurant I did not like or going out with “their” friends who I found annoying. There really was no reason I needed to let everyone know I did not want to be there. Whether it is the passage of time or maturity, I am so glad I do not act out like that anymore. I understand the importance compromises and sacrifices have in every relationship. Dating someone who enjoyed country western dancing meant even though I felt like a lopsided goofball while two-stepping, I kept doing it so I could be their dance partner. It is funny as I just wrote that I was remembering a couple I knew who got divorced because the husband did not like his wife being away from home as much as she was for her job. She was a flight attendant who was doing this even before they got married. Separation can be tough for any couple; imagine those individuals who are in a relationship with someone in the military. If you want to see an example from a long time ago you can see it in this autobiographical film.    MISTER Brittain, played by Dominic West (The Wire-TV, Pride), believed Oxford was no place for his daughter Vera, played by Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, A Royal Affair). Though she had dreamt of going there, Vera would find her heart being distracted by a young man and the impending war. This film festival nominee was based on Vera Brittain’s memoir; I have not read it yet. However, after seeing this beautifully filmed period piece I want to read her book now. It was interesting to see the effects of World War I through a woman’s point of view. The cast which also included Kit Harington (Game of Thrones-TV, Pompeii) as Roland Leighton and Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Smoke-TV) as Edward Brittain were all especially good in this romantic drama. I will say the story started out a bit slow and predictable for me; however, Vera’s acting skills kept me involved in her plight. The look and feel of this movie was gracefully lush and when I found out it was based on a true story, I only had more fondness for Vera’s incredible life. There were brief scenes that had blood in them.

 

3 stars

 

 

 

 

 

Flash Movie Review: Centurion

Recently I was playing with a friend’s dog who loved being chased around the house. Though he was a small sized dog he would outrun me. It was so funny to watch him when he moved out of eyesight from me; he would stop and wait until I entered the room before taking off again. It reminded me when we were kids how we loved being chased by older relatives Actually I cannot recall any child not enjoying a game of tag or having someone playfully chase them. However once we start arriving at adulthood, being chased takes on a whole different, scary dimension. For those who have never experienced being chased let me describe it for you. The brain opens the floodgates of hormones for the body to take flight. As the heart is pounding in your chest, hearing it all the way up to your ears, your vision narrows into a tight focus as the eyes are constantly seeking out safe passage for you. Despite hearing your body in overdrive, the ears suddenly take on animalistic sharpness; you are able to single out the sounds stretching to you from your pursuers. And finally, time becomes distorted where seconds feel like minutes and minutes feel like milliseconds.    DEEP inside enemy land a small group of Roman soldiers was trying to make their way back after a devastating battle. However, revenge would sustain those assigned to hunt them down, no matter how long it would take. This film festival nominated movie’s story was set in Britain during the 2nd century, starring Michael Fassbender (X-Men franchise, Shame) playing Centurion Quintus Dias and Dominic West (Chicago, 300) as General Titus Flavius Virilus. It was these actors that attracted me to this DVD since I was not familiar with the writer/director Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, Doomsday). I have to tell you right at the start this action drama had a large amount of blood being spilled throught it; I mean a lot. The acting was good and I especially liked the character of Etain, played by Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace, The November Man). Except for all of the blood, I enjoyed the way this picture was filmed; some of the outdoor scenes had a great look to them. Regarding the battle scenes, they were a bit intense at times even though they verged on becoming cartoonish. What basically caused me to lose interest was the story; it essentially became one long chase scene that seemed to be repeating itself. I also did not think the scripted dialog did it any favors. There would be no reason to go out of your way to see this film; but if you had time to kill with nothing to do, you may be okay pursuing this one. Many scenes had blood and violence in them.

 

2 stars — DVD

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