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Flash Movie Review: Slumberland

I HAVE BEEN MANY THINGS IN my lifetime. I was a music DJ, packing the clubs where I played to capacity. My favorite places were the ones that had the best light shows. One club had lasers and mirrors placed around the dance floor in such a way that when the fog machine was in use, it looked like there were waves at high tide above the patrons’ heads. Another time I was a double agent, following suspects and keeping track of their whereabouts. There were times when I would get into an altercation with a foreign agent, where I had to rely on my incredible martial arts skills to subdue them. My time as an agent did not last long because I wanted to be an actor. My talent was having a face that could show intense emotions, from piercing hot anger to heartbreaking sadness; I was positive I would get an Academy Award one day, for one of my performances. One of my earliest careers was being a religious singer, which I was going to take up after I retired from being a window washer. All these jobs were things I used to daydream about when I was quite young. Though I never pursued them in real life, in my daydreams I was the best at each one of them.      MY YEARS OF DAYDREAMING DURING MY YOUTH (and presently from time to time), led me to explore the science of dreams when I was attending college. A couple of things I still remember from those years is that the main character in our dreams is usually us and when you wake up in the middle of a dream, if you ponder what the outcome would have been, you will be less tired through the day. There was a short period of time where I was experiencing the same type of dream over and over. I was being chased by an entity that was determined to kill me. I would wake up with a start each time, not sure if the dream was real and if there was someone in my house; it was awful. Because I never could see who was chasing me in the dream, I had a difficult time trying to make sense of the images. However, once I came to an understanding of what the dream might have meant, it stopped replaying during my sleep. To this day, I am still fascinated with dreams, both mine and the ones that are told to me. So, when I heard about this movie, I wanted to view it and see what kind of dreams other people experience.      A YOUNG GIRL, WHO RECENTLY LOST her father, finds a hidden treasure map. It was not your typical map; it was a map to one’s dreams. With Jason Momoa (Dune, Aquaman) as Flip, Marlow Barkley (Spirited, Single Parents-TV) as Nemo, Chris O’Dowd (The Sapphires, The Program) as Philip, Kyle Chandler (Game Night, Manchester by the Sea) as Peter, and Weruche Opia (When Love Happens Again, The Bad Education Movie) as Agent Green; this adventure comedy, family fantasy was a visual treat; it was very creative and colorful. Add in Jason tackling an out of character role from his previous stints and doing it quite well, this was a fun film to watch. The script was on the light side for the most part, but the idea for it was solid. I would have preferred more depth for the characters and bigger surprises, along with a stronger buildup of tension; however, within all the themes, there were a few things that kept me interested. All in all, this was an easy film to sit back and watch; plus, the most important part I am guessing was the fact it did not put me to sleep.

2 ½ stars  

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Flash Movie Review: La La Land

GREAT results can happen when one’s dream remains in a somewhat fluid state, like a soap bubble that grows with the input of more air. A young person grew up with the dream of living in the country, where her art studio would inhabit the abandoned barn on her property. Her skills as an artist were refined over the years to the point she was able to earn a living selling her works. From each sale she took a portion of the profit and squirreled it away to eventually become the down payment for her dream. But something happened when she fell in love with a man who had his own dreams. Ever since he was a young boy he wanted to live in a high rise apartment building that had a doorman. All of his schooling was laid out towards making his dream come true; he finally had his dream job that took him to all parts of the world. The only thing left was to save up and find that special apartment that would be his home base, a secure beacon high above the city.   DREAMS have always been a part of my internal motivations. The story I wrote to start out this review is similar to something I experienced when I met someone who had their own dreams. Trust me it was not the easiest thing to do, to let someone else’s dream form a bond with my own; however, once I realized our dreams could blend together without losing our goals it got easier. A relationship is partially a negotiation, a compromise; the key is paring down to the important aspects of one’s dreams then finding a way where they can remain intact within the new dream being formed between two people. Let the couple in this musical movie show you.   SPARKS formed right from the start when aspiring actress Mia and jazz musician Sebastian, played by Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man franchise, The Help) and Ryan Gosling (The Big Short, The Place Beyond the Pines), first met. Each came into the relationship with a dream; the question was how to achieve it. This comedic drama started out with a bang by having a big, opening musical number. If you are not a fan of musicals and their history there is a good chance this film will not have a strong impact on you. I knew Ryan had a musical background but did not know Emma could sing; both of them had a wonderful chemistry together. With J.K. Simmons (Whiplash, The Closer-TV) as Bill and musical artist John Legend (Soul Men) as Keith for part of the cast, the story was partially an homage to those old fashioned musicals from the 1930s and 40s. The dance numbers were fun but I found the music only okay, nothing very memorable. The allure of this film I believe is due to its novelty; there hasn’t been a good film in this genre recently. I will tell you I enjoyed this movie, especially the story line; however, I was a bit confused to the point I felt I must have missed something, wondering if I needed to see the movie again. Maybe from the unavoidable buzz I was hearing I dreamt this was going to be one of my 4 star movies.

 

3 stars  

 

 

Flash Movie Review: Mistress America

I always enjoy meeting friends of friends and relatives or the significant others of friends. There is this fascination I have regarding how different people form relationships. In regards to friends I do not expect that all of their friends have similar traits, but I actually look at what I think is their stronger attributes and how they fit in with our common friend; it is like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. I had a friend who had a friend I felt was an irritating individual. Whenever we were together in a social setting we remained polite, but kept our face to face time down to a minimum amount to avoid getting on each other’s nerves. At the other end of the spectrum, there was a friend who introduced me to their best friend and we immediately bonded as friends. It was not too long before we felt we were each other’s best friend, we had so many similar traits. Our mutual friend actually became jealous of our relationship. Now have you ever noticed how two people in a relationship can be opposite of each other, where one is an introvert and the other an extrovert? This fits so well into my thinking the world is made up of pluses and minuses; sort of on the same lines as that theory about there is an opposing force for every force or something like that. I think that is one of the reasons why I found the main characters interesting in this comedy film.    FINDING herself alone and in a new city; college freshman Tracy, played by Lola Kirke (Gone Girl, Reaching the Moon), decided to reach out to her future stepsister Brooke, played by Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha, No Strings Attached). Starting in Times Square Brooke would take Tracy on a wild adventure through New York life. I have been a fan of Greta for some time and give her credit for her work on this film where she also co-wrote the script. There were some fun exchanges and great lines in the dialog. Unfortunately it took a long time for this movie to grab me; I found the first half slow and boring. Once Heather Lind (A Single Shot, The Weekend) as Mamie-Claire came onto the scene I found myself becoming more interested in the characters. The role of Brooke was a fascinating study for me; I enjoyed the idea of chasing one’s dreams and creating plans while not letting any setbacks pull you down attitude. The issue I had with this picture was trying to decide if it was purposefully trying to be shallow because I never felt totally invested in the characters. I still cannot tell. Like I said earlier it took a long time for me to get into this film and by the end I was left with a feeling of, “That is it?”

 

2 1/2 stars

 

 

 

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