I NEED TO GIVE YOU SOME background first, for today’s review to make sense. There was a student in my class, who you never wanted to get into a fight with her. Yes, I said her. She was tough looking; though, part of the reason may be due to her having to repeat 6th grade. I sat near her in class. Because I was one seat behind her, she was forced to cheat off the boy sitting across from her; he was a “B” student. She was the first peer of mine who smoked cigarettes. Her usual spot to smoke besides the girl’s restroom was outside on the stairs that led up to the service door, at the back of the school. Let me call her Judy, Judy had a red leather cigarette case that had a gold clasp on top, that she would tap her fingernails on while she was smoking. Besides being tall for her age, she was bulky which explained why many of us knew not to mess with her. I saw her in a fight with another girl and I could not believe how vicious she was with her punching, scratching and slapping. Our teacher had to break up the fight, but it was after the other girl was crying with her dress torn in spots. Because Judy was a smart aleck and prone to disrupt the class, the teacher usually looked at Judy first whenever something unexpected happened in our classroom. NO MATTER WHAT KIND OF TROUBLE Judy would get into, I remained friendly and on good terms with her. The reason being she came to my rescue when a fellow classmate was picking on me. She went right up and punched him in the stomach; he never bothered me again. Ever since that time we had a casual friendship. With me not having to worry about ever being on the receiving end of her aggressions, I was able to see a different side to her as the school year progressed. Most of her acting out was directed more towards the popular students. Now I am not saying it was right; however, if a popular student dared to talk down or act snobby around her, it would set her off. From my vantage point in the classroom, I could see some of the popular girls would try to get Judy in trouble and it usually worked because the teacher just assumed it was her fault. If the teacher would only take the time to really see what was going on, she would know what I did about Judy. I thought of this while I watched the main star in this dramatic, crime film. AFTER BEING RELEASED FROM PRISON RUTH Slater, played by Sandra Bullock (The Heat, Ocean’s Eight), returns to her hometown with a hope she can just blend in. It will be a challenge since some people cannot forget what she did. With Viola Davis (Suicide Squad franchise, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) as Liz Ingram, Vincent D’Onofrio (The Cell, The Magnificent Seven) as John Ingram, Jon Bernthal (King Richard, The Accountant) as Blake and Richard Thomas (The Waltons-TV, Wonder Boys) as Michael Malcolm; the bright spot for me in this picture was watching Sandra and Viola, though there was not enough Viola in my opinion. The rest of the cast was good, but these two actors were operating at a higher level. I appreciated the idea of the story; however, the script and the directing were uneven. There were slow parts where the script was a letdown, along with being predicable. It wasn’t until the last half of the movie where I felt more engaged. I would have appreciated if the writers would have taken Ruth’s motivation for coming back and expanded on it. I think it would have added extra drama to the story.
2 ½ stars
DURING MY SCHOOL YEARS, MOST OF the best advice I got was from people I hardly knew at the start. There was a time during the day where I was removed from a study period because of a couple of bullies in the study hall. Since I played piano, I was assigned to take my study time in the school band’s office. I remember the first time I walked into the office, carrying my acceptance note. There were various string and horn instruments either sitting on stands or hanging on racks, with an upright piano in the far corner. The students in the room were individuals I recognized from walking the hallways but had never seen in my classes. Also, they were older than me; the majority were seniors. Once I was signed in, one of the students asked me what instrument did I play? When I said piano, he asked me to take a seat at the piano and play something for them. My first instinct was that I was being set up for some kind of prank, but I walked over and sat down on a piano bench I wasn’t sure could support my weight. I wondered for a moment on whether to play a classical piece of music; but thought for sure I would be teased for it. Instead, I played a Beatles’ song. Once I was done playing the several students in the room came over to congratulate me on being their new mascot. AS THE WEEKS PASSED BY, I became friendly with one of the seniors who had helped me a few times with my homework. He was a trumpet player who planned on going to an Ivy League school to become a doctor. Many times, we would just sit in the band office and talk about what was the latest going on in the world. However, he greatly helped me on how to navigate the time I would have at our school. Because of him, I found a safe place I could hide when my gym class was being held outside. This was valuable information to me because of the bullies in class who loved picking on a group of us outside when the gym teacher was not in sight. This senior also explained to me how I should apply to colleges when the time came for me to do so. The one thing I always wanted to know was whether he put in a good word for me because my music teacher became protective of me through the year. Either way I was grateful for their advice and help which I felt the young man in this dramatic movie was feeling as well on the advice given to him. FORCED TO LIVE AT HIS GRANDPARENTS’ house, a young boy finds a father figure at the local bar, to fill in for the father he has never seen. With Ben Affleck (The Way Back, The Accountant) as Uncle Charlie, Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One, Mud) as JR, Lily Rabe (No Reservations, Miss Stevens) as Mom, Christopher Lloyd ( Back to the Future franchise, Call of the Wild) as Grandpa and Rhenzy Feliz (All Together Now, Runaways-TV) as Wesley; this drama set in Long Island, NY was based on the memoir and I have to say, it was a beautiful story. However, it is a story we have seen before; but the difference is the incredible performances within the cast. Ben, Lily and Christopher were outstanding with their acting. The story is touching, providing a good deal of emotions. However, I would have appreciated if the writers had gone deeper into the characters; so, I could have felt more of a connection to them. With the sets and George Clooney’s direction, I enjoyed watching this even, slow paced film. The title of this movie pretty much says it all; this was overall a tender story.
2 ½ stars
WHEN I CHOSE THE MOVIE I AM reviewing today, I did not realize a connection could be formed between the events surrounding today’s date and the film’s story. I honestly did not plan it that way; however, since I am writing about the movie on this day, there is no way I cannot point out they compliment each other. Now before I go into review mode, I want to stress a point; just like my fitness and yoga classes, I do not discuss politics or religion on this site. The reason is simple; every religion is valid to those who identify with that religion and politics, in recent times, is something where everyone has their own opinions and beliefs. I make it a point not to discuss either topic with a room full of people. I remember one cycle class I was teaching, where a participant made a snarky comment about a political figure. Before anyone could shout out a rebuttal, I looked at the member and told them I do not allow any political comments; they can be said outside of the classroom, because in class we all want to get a break from the real world and simply have some fun while exercising. That was the last time that member said anything political in my class. WITH THAT BEING SAID, I AM going to share my observations and feelings about what I saw today, one year ago. I saw a level of anger that reminded me of my encounter with protesters years ago when I participated in a peaceful march. I saw government property being destroyed. I felt I might be witnessing a revolution. As I sat in disbelief in front of the television, I wondered what was going to be the end game for the people attacking the capital. How would the world change if a politician was captured or even worse, murdered? From that day, listening and watching all the speeches and condemnations, I will tell you what I find appalling; people who denounced the actions of the protesters a year ago, now saying something completely opposite. To say a year later that the protesters were peaceful, or part of a far-left group planted at the capital, is something I find sad and dishonest. This is my opinion and I again stress, what would have happened if the vice president was captured? Or the speaker of the house? I heard as clear as day protesters calling out their names as they were looking for the politicians inside the capital building. To disbelieve what took place a year ago, is the horrible alternate reality that has risen in prominence the past few years. This movie satire turns a spotlight onto this alternate reality that is around us. SPOTTING THEN CALCULATING A DISTANT METEOR’S trajectory was on a direct collision course with Earth, was not the hardest part for two scientists. It was trying to convince an uninterested public. With Leonardo DiCaprio (The Great Gatsby, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood) as Dr. Randall Mindy, Jennifer Lawrence (Red Sparrow, American Hustle) as Kate Dibiasky, Meryl Streep (Little Women, The Post) as President Orlean, Cate Blanchett (Nightmare Alley, Thor: Ragnarok) as Brie Evantee and Rob Morgan (Mudbound, Stranger Things-TV) as Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe; this comedic drama had a stellar cast. The standouts for me were Cate and Jennifer. The script was sharp and biting (at least to me) but there was too much stuffed into it. There was one story line that was not believable to me; others were done in such a heavy-handed way that the scenes fell flat for me. The level of satire was outrageous. While watching this film, I did wonder if those who prefer living in an alternative reality would enjoy this film and to tell you the truth, I am not sure. Basing this strictly on entertainment value, I enjoyed watching it but was also a bit scared by some of the similarities to present life. There was an extra scene during the ending credits.
2 ½ stars
I REMEMBER WATCHING IT BUT DID not actively seek it out. After school I would walk home and usually grab something for a snack before dinner. Since I was sitting and eating, I would turn on the television and channel surf the stations. What caught my eye was the fact there was a TV show filmed in black and white. As I sat there watching it, I was struck by the female lead’s physicality; she had an expressive face and she knew how to use it, besides the physical exertion she would put out in her movements. It fascinated me because I could not recall seeing a female on television who did this same type of comedy. I became enthralled by the show and began to make it a point that I got home in time to catch this show. The funny thing is, I thought I was watching a new show each week. It turned out they were repeats, that the original airing of the show was some years earlier. No matter to me, I got swept up into the lives of this couple with their neighbors and friends. I do not easily laugh out loud, but I found myself more times than not, laughing at the antics the female lead was getting herself in to every day. IT WAS MANY YEARS LATER THAT I discovered this woman who played that lead was a very shrewd businesswoman. I had seen her for many years on her various television shows and movies, besides guest starring on other TV shows. The things I knew about her were more in line with the fodder that gossip magazines put out; however, after doing some research I discovered not only was she a smart individual, but her husband was as well. After all this time I still can see one snippet of a scene from her classic television show and immediately recall the entire episode; it is as if I was there as part of the set, the memories are so crystal clear. What a remarkable life this woman led. At one time, approximately 60 million households tuned in to watch her on television. Can you imagine that? She commanded such an audience that evidently the retail establishment made changes simply to accommodate those shoppers that were fans of the show. These facts are historic and just think, I accidently stumbled on the show when I was a little kid, who wanted to watch something while eating my afternoon snack. Because of these memories, I felt I was transported back in time as I began watching this wonderful biographical drama based on true events. WITH ONLY ONE WEEK TO WRITE, rehearse and put on a weekly television show; there were so many things taking place that the viewing audience had no idea were happening. How the female lead not only survived each challenge but went on to become a legend in the process. With Nicole Kidman (The Goldfinch, Boy Erased) as Lucille Ball, Javier Bardem (Skyfall, The Sea Inside) as Desi Arnaz, J.K. Simmons (The Tomorrow War, Palm Springs) as William Frawley, Nina Arlanda (Richard Jewell, Stan & Ollie) as Vivian Vance and Tony Hale (Clifford the Big Red Dog, Arrested Development-TV) as Jess Oppenheimer; this historical piece of Americana was brilliant in who was cast it turns out. When I heard Nicole was playing Lucy, I thought for sure she would not be able to handle such a larger-than-life character. I was wrong; I actually forgot it was her because she was so deep into character. Javier was a major surprise because he was incredible as Desi. Honestly, everyone was terrific in this film and though the dialog was tight and smart, I wished there had been a deeper delving into Lucy and Desi. At times, I felt as if the story was getting confused in what it was trying to say. Despite this I still am a fan of this film; it may partly be due to my fond memories of the show.
3 ¼ stars
IT STARTED WHEN I MENTIONED I had not gotten many holiday cards this year. My friend thought for a moment before she told me she believed it was the same for her. It was not like I sat and counted each card received, but since I normally display them by standing each card up on a coffee table, this year only a quarter of the table had cards. One thing my friend thought could be the reason was the fewer card shops we had around these days. I could see that being one of the reasons because I know fewer pieces of mail get handled currently. Another reason I thought of was the possibility people are simply tired, frustrated or scared of the current situation with COVID and all the ramifications associated with it. Some people I know are cancelling their plans to be with friends and family for the holidays; others have either lost their job or have had their health compromised, so they can no longer do their job. I know an individual who became ill due to COVID and was in the hospital for 75 days, near death at times. It has been nearly a full year and they are still in no position to go back to their job. Another person I know was put out of work because their profession was totally upended by the pandemic and it had to be shut down. I feel these are perfect reasons why people are not feeling festive. THERE ALSO IS SOMETHING ELSE THAT is weighing on the minds of people. The issue with the overtaxed supply chain is part of it, but I also believe the higher prices and fewer choices together can be the deciding factor for someone who decides they cannot afford to spend the extra money presently. When I mentioned this to my friend, she told me I was right because of a discussion she recently had with a family member. This relative was complaining about the amount of money they spend on people for the holiday, but they feel they never get that much in return. The look on my face must have conveyed my shock to her because she told me she was just as shocked. Even with the fact the holiday is not something I ever celebrated, I commented on how sad it was that the focus for her relative was the amount of money she spent compared to what she received; that the gifts have nothing to do with the meaning and spirit of the holiday. Next, I told my friend I wish I could meet her relative just so I could tell them they need to see this beautiful, family adventure drama to learn the real meaning of the holiday. A SON TRIED TO WAIT FOR his father to return from a long trek, in search of a magical place; but decided to take off on his own to find his father and bring him back home. With Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey, The Lady in the Van) as Aunt Ruth, relative newcomer Henry Lawfull as Nikolas, Michiel Huisman (The Age of Adaline, Game of Thrones-TV) as Joel, Kristen Wiig (Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar, Ghostbusters) as Aunt Carlotta and Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water, Eternal Beauty) as Mother Vodol; this film based on the popular book was a wonderful movie watching experience for me. The cast was first rate; each actor was wonderful in their role. Despite the story being somewhat predictable, I found the mix of fantasy, thrills, magic, drama and fun to be a perfect mix—especially during this holiday season. The message in the story is something that I feel everyone could learn from. As I mentioned, Christmas was not part of the holidays I celebrated; but I must tell you, I enjoyed and appreciated this treat of a picture.
I HAVE NOT THOUGHT ABOUT HIM for decades. His hair matched his personality; it was bright, fire red. If memory serves me correctly, at one time he was the only redhead in the class. He could be so sweet in front of the teachers, flashing this smile that revealed a little space between his two front teeth that I assumed the teachers thought was adorable. Add in the two freckled fleshy cheeks with that smile and I am sure the teachers forgot what they were angry about in the first place. Little did they know; he could be equally mean. One time he was seated at his desk, quietly cutting with a pair of scissors, little bits of hair off the long-haired girl who was sitting in front of him. One of his favorite tricks to play was to break the ink cartridge inside of a pen and let the ink drop on the seat at a student’s desk; so, if the student did not notice, they would sit on the inked chair and stain their clothing. Doesn’t he sound like a real charmer? Luckily, he was not a fast runner so more times than not I was not the focus of his bullying. It was nothing for him to kick someone in the back to see them fall and that would include any animals that crossed his path. MAYBE I AM STEREOTYPING, BUT IN my experiences most bullies were not sweet and charming. With them never being anything but mean, there was never an expectation that one would catch them at a kind moment and be given a pass. This red-haired student, in my opinion, was more lethal because his actions were intentional and thought out. He had to get some enjoyment out of inflicting harm on other people, where someone who was always mean may not be aware, they are doing anything wrong or “bad.” Take it from me, there is nothing worse than sitting in class next to a known bully or mean kid because the entire time is spent keeping one eye on them in a state of perpetual dread, that something awful was about to happen. I am remembering how uncomfortable I was sitting in the classroom, not that the classroom was the only place where harm could befall me. The locker room in the gym was always a fertile place where bullies would rule. My vivid memory of this red -haired student appeared shortly after I saw the main character in this dramatic, western romance. TWO BROTHERS RUNNING THEIR CATTLE RANCH together face a change when one of them becomes fond of a widow. With Benedict Cumberbatch (The Courier, Doctor Strange) as Phil Burbank, Kirsten Dunst (The Beguiled, Little Women) as Rose Gordon, Jesse Plemons (The Irishman, I’m Thinking of Ending Things) as George Burbank, Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In, The Road) as Peter Gordon and Sean Keenan (Glitch-TV, Lockie Leonard-TV) as Sven; the acting in this film was spectacular to the point where I felt Oscar nominations would be in store for some of the actors. The scenery, the music and the wonderful direction of scenes made this such an entertaining movie watching experience for me. The story’s pace was done in a slow and deliberate pace, where I found myself uneasy, as if there was going to be some impending doom taking place. This reaction was almost visceral for me, due to Benedict’s character. I especially enjoyed the way the director kept things at a minimum when it came to the actors. Instead of trying to manipulate the viewers’ emotions, she let the actors show their feelings in a look or gaze; it was effective. I also was surprised on how the story turned out; but it made perfect sense to me. This was an amazing film that, as I said earlier, should be a participant in this year’s Oscars’ ceremony.
3 ½ stars
WE WERE WAITING FOR OVER AN hour past the designated time, before she walked out on stage. No announcement, no greetings; she barely even looked out at us. I was excited to see her perform live since I had been listening to her songs for some years. When she stepped out onto the stage all of us got up out of our seats and cheered for her, immediately forgetting the long delay. She was dressed in a long, peach colored dress that sparkled under the spotlights. Musicians flooded out from both sides of the stage, quickly making their way to their spots. A grand piano sat just off center of the stage that a man walked up to and sat down. He began to fiddle with a stack of sheet music he had carried with, pulling out several sheets that he placed on top of the piano. She stood next to the microphone stand, watching him with a look on her face like a mother irritated for reminding her child it was bedtime. With everyone settled into their spot, the man at the piano struck a key with his finger while the other hand moved up and down as he snapped his fingers. The band started and the singer turned her back to us as she began to sing one of her songs. Throughout the entire concert I only saw her face a couple of times. AFTER THAT SHOW, I VOWED I would never spend money to go see her in concert. She was the first musical artist I ever saw live in concert who did not say one word between singing her songs. I was not the only one who felt this way. During her song “Respect,” someone sitting near me yelled out, “Why don’t you give us some respect?” I remember sitting there at one point and wondering if she had forgotten how a song gets to be #1 on the music charts. It gets there based on sales and downloads. In other words, it is the fans who buy and listen to the song that determine its rank. I understand everyone has a “bad” day; I know I do. However, I do not let my issues interfere with my job. It makes no sense for me to unload my frustrations onto someone else, especially since they have not been part of the problem. Despite my feelings about the musical artist Aretha Franklin, I went to see this movie with an open mind and as usual avoided hearing and reading any reviews about it beforehand. AT AN EARLY AGE THERE WAS something special about the little girl’s singing. At times, it would be the only thing that saves her. With Jennifer Hudson (Cats, Black Nativity) as Aretha Franklin, Forest Whitaker (Black Panther, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey) as C.L. Franklin, Marlon Wayans (A Haunted House franchise, On the Rocks) as Ted White, Tituss Burgess (Then Came You, Are you Joking?) as James Cleveland and Audra McDonald (Hello Again, The Good Fight-TV) as Barbara; this biographical musical drama survived because of Jennifer and Forest. She was incredible in the role and I can see why Aretha hand picked her to play the role. The musical numbers were the highlight for me; as for the other scenes, they felt sanitized. It was as if every scene was done with the idea of scratching only the surface of the event to keep things clean and tidy. I felt the script, based on true events, was scrubbed of any scenes that would place Aretha in a “bad light.” It was as if scenes with strong emotions on display were being dialed down. Again, the performances were terrific as was the musical scenes; but by the end of the film, I was a bit numb about the whole thing—except the ending scene during the start of the credits.
2 ½ stars
AS GRANDMOTHERS GO, SHE WAS THE worst I had ever seen. I was a little kid when I met her, and I thought back then she was a mean person. There was never a smile on her face, nor did she ever want to play with us. I was good friends with her granddaughter; you would have thought she would have made an exception for me, though I quickly learned not to be around her. I still can remember playing outside and she came out with a bag of candy. She appeared surprised when she saw us before she came over to offer her granddaughter a piece of candy. I was sitting right there next to her, but the grandmother did not offer me a piece. Instead, she walked back to the entryway and remained there eating her candy. I felt sad that she did not offer me any candy; but I was not shocked because her daughter, my friend’s mother, acted the same way. This is why I was never asked to stay for lunch or dinner, despite my friend coming over to our house to eat. For the several years we were friends, I noticed more and more how my friend’s mother was so much like her mother. It made sense since children learn from their parents, whether the parents know it or not. WHERE THAT GRANDMOTHER WAS PASSIVELY TEACHING her daughter, I had a neighbor on the block who was molding his five children in his own likeness. I know this sounds almost God like, but the kids dressed like their father even. He was a scientist who always had a studious look on his face. With horn-rimmed glasses that 4 out of his five kids also wore, he was not a parent who you would find playing in the backyard with his family. When I saw him there, he was either building something or reading a book. His kids would either help him or they would be doing some type of activity such as reading, painting or constructing something on their own. They were polite, but not overly friendly; I remember the mother being the friendliest one out of the group. They went to the same neighborhood school as I did; but I rarely saw any of them in a class or hallway. I used to wonder what they could be doing because they were nowhere to be found until I discovered all their free time was spent in the school library. The only thing I could think of was the kids were being groomed to become scientists whether they wanted to or not. I had always wondered the same thing about the world class tennis playing sisters in this biographical sports drama. FROM THE TIME THEY WERE LITTLE Richard William, played by Will Smith (Gemini Man, Suicide Squad), had a plan that would make his daughters known around the world, whether they wanted it or not. With Aunjanue Ellis (The Help, Men of Honor) as Oracene “Brandy” Williams, Jon Bernthal (Baby Driver, Fury) as Rick Macci, Saniyya Sidney (Fences, Hidden Figures) as Venus Williams and Demi Singleton (Goldie, Godfather of Harlem-TV) as Serena Williams; this movie based on historical events was fascinating to me. Maybe it is because I am a fan of tennis; but I found the story fascinating. Granted, I do not know if everything I was seeing happened in real life; however, Will’s performance was so good that it kept me drawn into the story. At times, I thought there was too much tennis being shown that took away from the story and I also would have appreciated getting more back story when the girls and Richard were much younger. The other aspect I admired in this film was the purposeful way they stressed education and fun. Whether scenes were accurate or not, this was an engaging film and there is no denying the sisters are history worthy.
3 1/3 stars
AT FIRST GLANCE, I THOUGHT THERE was a miniature guillotine sitting on their kitchen counter. I was over at a friend’s house after school, and we had gone into the kitchen to get a snack. Sitting next to their toaster oven was this small, blue colored contraption that had a partially exposed razor blade attached inside of its open cover. I asked my friend about it and he said his mother used it to cut pills. This was the first time I had ever heard about someone cutting their pills. It never even occurred to me that a pill could be cut in two. When I was a little kid, if I needed to take a pill, I had to have it dissolved in water before I could swallow it. I wanted to see how this device worked but my friend said he did not want to play around with it. I suggested if he did not want to cut one of his mother’s pills, maybe a celery stalk could work. He nixed the idea, and I did not want to push it any further. However, I started wondering why a person would cut their medicine dosage. Was my friend’s family poor and could not afford their prescriptions? Did the drug make his mother sick, so she cut them to lower the side effects? So, all I did was ask him why she cuts pills; he said when she starts feeling better, she likes to take less and save a few pills in case of a relapse later. THAT WAS MY FIRST EXPOSURE TO someone manipulating their medical advice, but it would not be the last. I knew someone who needed an organ transplant; essentially, he was told if he did not get one, he would not live beyond one more year. I cannot tell you the things he did, but he wound up getting the procedure in the nick of time. Another person I knew needed a new drug to help him with his life-threatening illness. The expense to administer the drug was in the thousands; so, they only agreed to receive half a dose. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to have to cut corners when it comes to one’s health. How does someone decide whether to have a roof over their head or use most of their savings to help prolong their quality of life. I am sure we can all have a lengthy conversation about the world’s health care and drug systems and I certainly hope no one ever has to go through what the family had to in this dramatic, action thriller. WHEN A POSSIBLE LIFESAVING DRUG WAS pulled back by the drug company, there was little hope for Ray Cooper’s, played by Jason Momoa (Aquaman, Dune), wife to beat her illness. Ray was determined to find the cause for the sudden removal of this miracle drug. With Isabela Merced (Instant Family, Dora and the Lost City of Gold) as Rachel Cooper, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (The Magnificent Seven, Murder on the Orient Express) as Amos Santos, Adria Arjona (Life of the Party, Pacific Rim: Uprising) as Amanda Cooper and Amy Brenneman (The Jane Austen Book Club, Foster Boy) as Diana Morgan, the bones of this story were solid. However, the execution of it was clumsy. I liked the idea and thought the action scenes were exciting, but there was nothing new presented in this film. Jason was okay but I felt the script did not provide more opportunity to display a larger range of emotions. The surprise twist in the story was unsatisfactory; I found it unbelievable. As I mentioned earlier, the intention to bring this story to the big screen was noble, but it arrived dead on arrival.
1 ¾ stars
I WAS NEVER THE TYPE WHO could go from one relationship to another to another, with very little downtime between. If the love relationship I was in ended, I would need time to grieve and deal with the sadness before venturing back into the dating pool. There was one long term relationship I had that I thought was leading to a permanent commitment; I was wrong. For several months I stayed close to home, not going out much even with my friends. I took that pain and funneled it into those home projects that I never had time for during the relationship. Oh, and I also watched a steady stream of movies. To tell you the truth, I cannot even imagine going on a date after a recent breakup. Knowing me, I would at some point mention my past relationship and the struggle I was having with its ending. And we all know one of the biggest red flags on a first date is to mention your recent breakup and how it is affecting you. I will say, after the grieving process has run its course, that first twinge you feel that plucks one of your heartstrings after meeting someone new, feels like the onset of that first spring day after a dreary winter season. WHERE I COULD NOT JUMP RAPIDLY into a new relationship right after the end of another, I have a friend who never had an issue doing it. After being in a long-term relationship for several years, they broke up and within a couple of weeks she had met someone new. They dated for approximately 4-6 weeks and then got married. To say I was stunned, would be an understatement. I so desperately wanted to ask her if she knew him that well where she wanted to marry him. Or ask her if she thought this would be considered a rebound situation. In case you were wondering, their marriage only lasted 3 or 4 years before they got divorced. I cannot fault a person who runs with their emotions, nor would I want to ever judge a person who is experiencing love. From my experiences, I know love is a powerful emotion that can drive a person into uncharted territories of their heart and to a certain extent their mind. I knew someone who would change his entire wardrobe based on the person he was in love with at the time. I did not understand it, but evidently it meant something to him. I felt the same way about the main character in this drama. AFTER THE THEFT OF HIS TRUFFLE hunting pig Rob, played by Nicolas Cage (The Frozen Ground, Leaving Las Vegas) was determined to get her back, even if it meant returning to his past life. With Alex Wolff (patriots Day, Jumanji franchise) as Amir, Adam Arkin (The Sessions, Chicago Hope-TV) as Darius, newcomer Cassandra Violet as Lori and Julia Bray (The Brain That Wouldn’t Die) as Bree; this movie captured my attention like the way a home cooked smell grabs me when I first walk into the house; I know there is something cooking that I will have to wait until it is done before enjoying it. The script was a slow burn attention seeker. It started out slow but the more the story unfolded, the more I was going deeper into it. Nicholas was incredible in the role and reminded me that he has the capability to produce a quality piece of work. This film is listed a thriller besides drama, and I can understand the reasons why; however, I do not want to build up anyone’s expectations that this picture will be an intense mysterious story that will have the viewer at the edge of their seat. Instead, what one will see is a deep and personal story wrought with emotions.
3 ½ stars