HE MAY HAVE THOUGHT WE WERE friends but that was not really the case. I felt I had to for my own self-preservation. We hung around the same group of people. If I remember correctly, he was a friend of a friend who started including him in our get togethers. He had a loud and boisterous personality that was quick with sarcasm; that was the part of him that was fun to be around. However, he also had a quick temper that was the first thing to flare up in any kind of confrontational circumstances. His “go-to” comment was “Do you want to take this outside?” This is the reason why I stayed on good terms with him; I did not want to get pulled into his negative drama. Whenever we would all go out to a club, the chances were better than 50% he would get into some type of altercation with one of the patrons of the place. I found it maddening and ridiculous because before you knew it, he would be asking the person to join him outside. Now granted he made an imposing figure; but still, there was no reason he needed the theatrics. The way I used to deal with him was simply to agree to his extreme pontifications on life and living, by nodding my head or grunting a sound that he could interpret as an affirmative answer. THOUGH IT HAS BEEN YEARS SINCE I have seen him, he is the first person I think of whenever I hear someone saying, “Do you want to take this outside?” Even if I hear it in a movie, he comes to mind. I was never the type of person who willingly confronted someone. Growing up people fell into two categories, aggressive or passive. I was in the passive group during my childhood years. It was not until I was in college before I found my voice. After what I went through during high school, I worked on myself to get to a point where no one would take advantage of me. It was not an easy process by any means; but I acquired the tools necessary to have an argument without including negative or demeaning comments. What I learned that was valuable to me was to remove the emotions from the equation and talk about my feelings instead. There are some people who think if they talk loudly enough, they will win the fight; as you know that does not work in the real world. As I was watching this animated, action adventure I identified more with one of the characters than the other; you probably could guess which one. AFTER INGESTING AN EXPERIMENTAL CONCOCTION WITHOUT it being tested, the only thing super spy Lance, voiced by Will Smith (I Am Legend, Men in Black franchise) had to rely on was his wits and new-found avian abilities to bring down an evil genius bent on destroying the agency. With Tom Holland (Spider-Man franchise, In the Heart of the Sea) voicing Walter, Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Robin Hood) voicing Killian, Reba McEntire (The Little Rascals, One Night at McCool’s) voicing Joyless and Rachel Brosnahan (The Finest Hours, Patriots Day) voicing Wendy; this film festival nominee had wonderful animation work. Including the cast of actors; overall, this was a pleasant, family friendly film to watch. There was nothing extreme about it; I felt it fell in the middle of other animated films. There was more of a focus on fun instead of a series of humorous jokes and pranks. The message however was what grabbed me the most. I connected more with the last half of the film, finding it to be a touching statement. If you choose to see this film, you would easily see why I felt a strong affinity to one of the characters.
2 ½ stars
I always watch the way their fingers move like spider’s legs weaving a web. There is a rhythm to it that is not familiar to me. These fingers always belong to a younger person, even those all the way down to 5 year olds. When I see them playing their video games my focus is more on their dexterity than the actual game, especially if the game is filled with guns and violence. I see enough of that in our everyday life. This is the reason why I will not teach any aerobic classes that involve punching and kicking, with titles like aerobic combat or fitness war. I have seen enough people playing video games that I sit and marvel how we created this whole new generation of humans who have this incredible eye and hand coordination; besides video games, where else could they apply this skill? My years of playing piano have given me a certain control over my fingers, but I do not come close to those individuals referred to as gamers. There is one aspect of the video game experience that I am curious about that concerns the long term effects of playing violent games. Will a person become less shocked or even oblivious to seeing violence? Seeing war footage from the various news services, will it only be perceived in a video game context? These are things I think about and this movie could be used as an example for it. AFTER serving several tours of duty as an air force pilot Major Thomas Egan, played by Ethan Hawke (Boyhood, Training Day), found himself sitting in a metal box looking at a video screen all day as a drone pilot. As the level of targets increased something was starting to eat away at his conscience. This film festival nominee was a chilling thriller. I was riveted to the movie screen because I could not tell if I was watching reenacted or real military scenes. The cast which also included January Jones (Unknown, Mad Men-TV) as Molly Egan, Zoe Kravitz (Divergent franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road) as airman Vera Suarez and Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek franchise, Deja Vu) as Lt. Colonel Jack Johns only added to the dramatic tension throughout this film. There was some predictability to the story which slowed the pace down; however, I found Ethan’s performance exceptional enough to power through any of the negatives I had about the script. I really was stunned or maybe I should say enlightened by this whole other world filled with drones. It really gave me food for thought, where I had to wonder what qualifications were needed to become a drone pilot. Do you think military experience will be necessary or will it be more important for the person applying to list gamer on their resume?