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Flash Movie Review: Awake

I DID NOT BELIEVE IT WHEN I was younger, but it is true; time does go by faster as we get older. There never seems to be enough days in the week, nor minutes in the day, for me to get everything I want done. At one time, I was able to easily stay awake to 4-5:00 in the morning. Now, if I am home and the 10pm news comes on I can feel my body settle into a state of slumber. What happened?!?! In my defense I will say though I might not get home until early in the morning after being out all night; as soon as I walked through the door, I had to go straight to bed. In college, I had friends who could stay up all night studying for a test, drink something with caffeine, go straight to the classroom to take the test, then come home at some point by lunch time to crash into bed. I was never one of those students. Once I went past midnight, my eyes would slowly stop focusing on the words and numbers in a book and my mind started to turn into a helium filled balloon tied outdoors, that was about to slip free from its knot and blow away in the wind. I wanted to stay up, but my body would not let me.      SOME YEARS AFTER GRADUATING, I WOUND up working with someone who was able to survive on only 4 to 5 hours of sleep; I had no idea how they ever did it. Once in awhile they would have to “make-up” for what I considered to be the sleep loss, by sleeping 12 hours straight on a Saturday or Sunday. Still, I never knew how they could function in their job with what I considered to be so little sleep. My average sleep time has always been 7 hours; the larger the gap between my early wake up time and average, the foggier I become. Considering all the things I do; I wish I could handle from time to time less sleep, but my body is not wired for it. I am also a person who cannot easily take a nap during the day. The rare times it has happened, I usually feel groggy the rest of the day. And of course, I have a couple of friends who can settle into any piece of furniture, close their eyes and immediately go into a deep sleep. I thought of them in particular as I watched this dramatic, science fiction adventure.     AFTER A CATASTROPHIC EVENT WIPED OUT all electronic usage, people began to notice they could not fall asleep. That is except for Jill’s, played by Gina Rodriguez (Deepwater Horizon, Jane the Virgin-TV), daughter who could sleep and dream. With Ariana Greenblatt (Love and Monsters) as Matilda, Lucius Hoyos (What If, Heroes Reborn-TV) as Noah, Shamier Anderson (Race, City of Lies) as Dodge and Jennifer Jason Leigh (Good Time, Kill Your Darlings) as Dr. Murphy; this action movie had an interesting premise to build on. I thought Gina gave it a good shot with her acting; but the script never lived up to the story. Things were predictable and where I thought scenes were going to become thrilling and tense, they just petered out. There was a heaviness to the directing along with several scenes just being clunky. This could have been such a better movie if more time had been devoted to fleshing out the characters and bringing in some thrills. Overall, there was an amateur feel to the whole production that left me disengaged from time to time. One scene would be exciting, then another would be blah. Maybe the people behind this story and film’s production suffered the same loss as the people in this movie—a lack of sleep that affected their judgment.

1 ¾ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Dream big; this was a recurring theme throughout this wonderful movie. It resonated deeply inside of me. When one of my elementary school teachers asked each of us in the class what we wanted to be when we grew up, I replied a writer. She looked at me and told me to forget it; I would amount to nothing. Need I say anything more? In this film Dr. Alfred Jones, a fisheries expert, played by Ewan McGregor (Beginners, The Ghost Writer) and Harriet, a consultant played by Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau, The Young Victoria) were instrumental in helping a sheik realize his dream of bringing salmon fishing to his country. There was such a loving sweetness to this movie; I thoroughly enjoyed watching the story unfold, as each of the characters were motivated by their individual hopes and dreams. In particular, Emily Blunt was totally endearing as the lovely Harriet; she is becoming my new favorite actress. The chemistry between her and Ewan was believable, helped by a solid script. With a touch of humor, a bit of sadness, a little excitement; this beautiful story was a fine example for dreaming big and having faith.

 

3 1/3 stars

 

Flash Movie Review: The Italian

How did I get to Russia from the comforts of my sofa? I will tell you, by watching this deeply emotional movie. The lead character was 6 year old Russian orphan Vanya Solntsev, played by Kolya Spiridonov (Twilight). His performance was utterly outstanding, able to convey deep emotions with his expressive face and eyes. The story based on true events was about Vanya who lived in an orphanage, where the ultimate dream of each child was to be adopted. Vanya, however, had a different dream when an Italian couple hoped to adopt him and take him back to their home in Italy. Instead, through a surprise turn of events, the determined small orphan sets out to find his real mother, believing her to be alive. The journey he set himself on was an incredible one to watch. I was so moved viewing this DVD; it felt like I was accompanying the small boy as he pushed himself forward, despite being pursued by orphanage employees and the police. Some say the heart is the strongest muscle in our body; after watching this film, I now understand what they mean.  Russian/Italian with English subtitles.

 

3 1/2 stars — DVD

 

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