Flash Movie Review: Fast X
WHEN I WAS LITTLE, BIG FAMILY dinners were exciting for me. It was there where I had my first taste of coffee; granted, it was a couple of drops in a coffee cup with milk filling up the rest. However, I felt like such a grownup sitting there sipping on my coffee like the adults around me. The family dinner was also the setting where I tasted wine for the first time and made everyone laugh by the sour look on my face after tasting it. The food was always plentiful because relatives would always contribute a side dish or dessert. I along with my cousins would always sit together. We started out at the “kid’s table” which was a separate folding table, usually covered with some type of water-resistant tablecloth. One adult would oversee us, placing plates of food in front of us and periodically checking to see if we were goofing off. It was not until we reached the middle school years before we would be allowed to sit at the “big” table with the rest of the adults. It was there where the conversations would cover a variety of topics that could cause almost anything from laughter to arguments. It did not matter to me because it was a great learning ground to see how one tells a story, a joke, has a debate or disagreement. AS WE WERE GETTING OLDER, THERE came a time when family members were getting engaged and married. For me, it added a new element into the mix of these family dinners. Suddenly this stranger entered our domain, as the boy or girlfriend of one of my relatives. Having them enter the mix immediately changed the dynamics of the get together. Suddenly individuals were on their best behavior. The language was toned down; in other words, less salty shall we say. Sometimes the person would fit in easily, but other times they would be the only one not laughing at something the rest of us found funny. Of course, some of these boys and girlfriends never lasted; however, if one turned into a fiancée or fiancé then that meant our family dinner would expand to include the future in-laws. There were times where the kid’s table had to be used for adults because there were so many people invited. I found the experience odd. Here were strangers I had never met, sitting and eating with us; it was always a crapshoot. Some could handle our noise level, while others sat there quietly throughout the meal. The more in-laws joining us eventually caused our big family meals to break apart where one sibling and all her offspring would hold their own holiday meal. With all the family connections in this action-packed sequel, I do not know how they could still sit around a dining room table. A SON WHO LOST HIS DRUG LORD father during one of Dominic Toretto’s, played by Vin Diesel (Bloodshot, The Last Witch Hunter), jobs is hellbent on seeking revenge against Dom and his family. With Michelle Rodriguez (The Assignment, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves) as Letty, Jason Statham (The Meg, Spy) as Shaw, Jordana Brewster (Hooking Up, Who Invited Charlie?) as Mia and Tyrese Gibson (Dangerous, Black and Blue) as Roman; this crime adventure film was a mixed bag for me. The movie had all the elements that go into this franchise: fast cars, unbelievable stunts, intense fighting, explosions, scantily dressed women, dancing and speeches. It was too much for me. I felt the script was designed to incorporate everything that had been used before in the previous sequels. This does not mean there were not times where it was exciting to watch the action; but I was starting to feel that this franchise had run its course. This picture was only the first half of the story; there will be another film coming out which explains the extra scene in the middle of the ending credits. If you like cars and car chases and are invested in the characters, then you will have an easier time watching this movie. There were many scenes with blood and violence.
2 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: I Wanna Dance with Somebody
I WAS ATTENDING A DINNER EVENT where I knew everyone, for some years. Essentially, we had all grown up together. The dining room table was a long oval due to the 2 extra leaves that were added to it. On one end, pushed up to the edge of the table, was an aluminum folding table. Not that one would notice the metal; it was just because I usually was the one to bring it up from the basement and unfold it before the host would put a tablecloth over it. With both tables there was just enough room for all the guests to sit together for dinner. I was always grateful for it since I detested sitting on the sofa while balancing a dinner plate on my lap. The conversation at these dinner parties was always lively and fun. Everyone had an opinion and all of us respected each one’s opinion, even if there was a bit of ribbing and teasing involved with it. There was one guest, I have to say, who would get on my nerves. Maybe a better way to say it would be to say I found them exasperating. Everything was a joke to them, and they said the same jokes over and over. Literally, I have heard those same jokes for several years and can no longer try to laugh at them; there is nothing left that is funny to me. I find them more irritating to tell you the truth. IT IS DIFFICULT TO REACT TO repetitive jokes and stories. I used to be better about it because I did not want to appear rude or indifferent. However, for example when a news story gets repeated over and over it begins to lose its impact on me. The same holds true when a person shares their same opinions constantly. I believe everything in moderation. It is not easy being around someone who is always telling you what they hate, or on the flip side, who constantly talks about something they love. I find it hard to carry on a conversation under these terms. Now, there are things I go overboard with myself, where I want to hear and see everything available about the subject. Loving our national parks, I will watch or listen to various stories about them. There is a legendary actor I am fond of who I have seen various telecasts about them; recently a documentary that surprised me because it shared things that I had never known about the movie star. It was a pleasant surprise for me. When I saw the movie poster for this musical drama, I wondered if I was going to find out something that had not been mentioned before about the famous musical artist. FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS ROSE A YOUNG girl who would become a musical superstar. All within a short time. With Naomi Ackie (The Score, Star Wars: Episode IX-The Rise of Skywalker) as Whitney Houston, Stanley Tucci (Spotlight, Julie & Julia) as Clive Davis, Ashton Sanders (Moonlight, The Equalizer 2) as Bobby Brown, Tamara Tunie (Flight, A Journal for Jordan) as Cissy Houston and Nafessa Williams (Black and Blue, A Holiday Chance) as Robyn Crawford; this biographical picture was perplexing. Naomi did an admirable job of acting and lip synching as well as Stanley Tucci did with his acting; however, I did not learn anything new about Whitney. The movie for the most part was a highlights reel, showing both high and low lights from Whitney’s life. There was little character development or for that matter, emotional depth. I sat in my seat wondering what was the point of making this movie. This story was just a repeat of things the general public had been told before. If you are a fan of Whitney, then you might enjoy this film, if for nothing else the musical numbers. For me, I was bored part of the time, wishing I was home seeing actual video clips of Whitney doing some of her monumental moments
Flash Movie Review: The United States vs. Billie Holiday
IF I HAD LIVED FURTHER DOWN the hallway of my college residence, I would have certainly failed all my classes. At the opposite end of the hallway lived a student who played loud, heavy metal music when he had to study. He did listen to it other times; but during the week, he would play it at the same specific time which I found out was when he had to study. There would be no way I could study, let alone read a book, with such a distraction. When I studied, I had to have it quiet; the same goes for when I read a book for pleasure. I had a friend who could read while the television was on. If that was me, my ears would be picking up snippets of conversations while I was trying to read, causing a distraction for me. I admire people who are not bothered by such distractions. There were some students who liked to study together in small groups. They would congregate in the building’s lounge, fitting themselves around one of the tables or plopping themselves down in a corner filled with beanbag chairs and throw pillows. I would see them huddled together passing around bags of chips and pretzels along with a couple of thermoses filled with what I suspected to be something stronger than a soft drink or coffee. There would be no way I could be part of their study group because I would be constantly distracted. THE WEIRD THING IS WHEN I AM cooking or baking, I like to have some sound playing in the background. Either music or anything on the TV, I like it playing in the background because for some reason it keeps me calm. I always wondered if it is a creative thing, where people who are “making” something like to have a multiple of their senses getting stimulated at the same time. I cannot remember the artist’s name, but there was one I read about who loved to have music playing anytime they were painting. On the other hand, only based on the movie I saw, I believe Vincent Van Gogh preferred silence while painting so he could feel everything around him. It comes down to different creative people experience distractions in different ways. I cannot imagine what it would be like for, let us say, a sculptor trying to create something while having a distraction nearby. There used to be an artist who lived on my block who would always wear noise cancelling headphones whenever they were outside working on a project. With me speaking of distractions, after seeing this Oscar nominated and film festival winning movie, I cannot believe what the main character went through while selling out concert halls. THE PERFORMANCE OF ONE SONG WAS all that it took for the United States government to hopefully find a way to stop the singer Billie Holiday, played by Andra Day (Marshall), from ever singing again. With Leslie Jordan (The Help, Will & Grace-TV) as Reginald Lord Devine, Miss Lawrence (Star-TV, Empire-TV) as Miss Freddy, Natasha Lyonne (Honey Boy, Orange is the New Black-TV) as Tallulah Bankhead and Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight, The Predator) as Jimmy Fletcher; this dramatic music biography must be watched simply because of Andra’s performance. Known more as a singer, this starring role of hers made me think I was truly watching Billie Holiday. Overall, I enjoyed watching this film, though it needed a tightening up on the direction and another rewrite of the script. The reason I say this is because there were such a variety of characters that at times the intensity in Andra’s performance waned. Other than that, I cannot get over the life Billie was living through while trying to simply sing for a living. A deservedly Oscar nominated performance that needs to be seen to be believed.
3 ¼ stars
Flash Movie Review: Traffic
I MAY NOT REMEMBER A PERSON’S name, but I am good with remembering faces; yet, I had a hard time recognizing this man who was talking to me in the music store. He called out my name as he walked up to me. I am not attaching any judgment here, simply describing what I saw coming down the aisle. This man had, if I understand the phrase correctly, long dishwater blonde hair that looked oily. It cascaded in waves down the sides of his head. Perched halfway down his nose was a pair of wire rimmed glasses that had lenses that looked smudged and dirty to me. He was wearing an oversized, beige canvas jacket that had frayed edges and a couple of discolored spots on it. The jeans he was wearing were extremely faded and were so worn at the knees that you could see the white threading crisscrossing in the fabric. His shoes were so dirty it looked to me as if he had been trudging through a long road of mud. As I watched his face get nearer to me, I tried placing where I had seen it before. There was something familiar about it; I had a feeling that I must have known him from a long time ago. WE WERE FACE TO FACE WHEN he asked me how I was doing. I said fine but he must have seen the bewildered look on my face because he told me his name. As soon as I heard it, memories of him flooded into my mind. I did know him because we went to school together. So, you will better understand, let me tell you about him. He wasn’t a jock, did not play sports, but he was always trim. His hair back then was a lighter shade of blonde and was thick and cut short. I don’t remember him ever wearing glasses back then; maybe he only used them when he was studying at home. Many of the students in his class considered him a Brainiac; though, he never flaunted his high intelligence, at least he did not around me. A lot of us thought he would become a scientist or philosopher. I remember him always having a paperback book in his hand. So, you can sort of get the idea how shocked I was to see such a different version of him. As we were conversing, I kept wondering what had happened to him that caused such a drastic change in appearance and mannerisms. I think I found the answer while watching this Academy Awards and film festival winner. WITH HIS NEW GOVERNMENT POSITION ROBERT Wakefield, played by Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra, Ant-Man franchise), did not realize the impact his new mission would have on his family. With Benicio Del Toro (The Usual Suspects, 21 Grams) as Javier Rodriguez, Don Cheadle (The Guard, Traitor) as Montel Gordon, Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago, The Mask of Zorro franchise) as Helena Ayala and Miguel Ferrer (RoboCop, Crossing Jordan-TV) as Eduardo Ruiz; this dramatic crime thriller took me a short time to separate and connect all the characters among its three story lines. The large cast was full of top notch acting that ran the gambit of emotions. Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven franchise, Magic Mike), I felt he did a masterful job of keeping the stories moving forward and blending in easily with each other. There were several intense scenes with blood, yet I did not find the violence was in excess. Once I found the rhythm of this picture, I was totally in and lost the concept of time; things kept happening and changing without me losing track once. I especially enjoyed the way the subject was broken down so each story line could focus on a particular aspect of it. Watching this film, I could not help wondering if my assumptions about my old classmate were closer to truth than I first thought.
3 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: The Go-Go’s
MY FRIEND INSISTED I WATCH THE video clip because he was sure I would agree with him afterwards. The video was of a musical group that was his new favorite band. I sat alongside him and watched the group perform their song. It had a decent beat and I agreed that the band members’ voices were good as well as the song. When the video clip ended my friend did not give me a chance to say anything before he said he wanted me to listen to another of the band’s songs. He quickly pulled up another clip for me to watch and I did think this song was just as good as the first one I watched. Knowing what he was like, my only concern was my friend would continue showing me clips while talking up the band’s virtues, as if he was trying to sell them to me. Before the video ended, I told him I could see why he was enamored with the group. I then told him I wanted to show him one of my favorite performers and took over his computer. The only reason I did this was to stop him from showing me another video clip; I wanted to get out of the house and do something. LATER IN THE WEEK I WAS exploring the internet and decided to look up the history of my friend’s favorite musical group. What I found surprised me. The group had a television show, but what shocked me was the fact the members did not know how to play their musical instruments. I saw them playing them in the video; but it turns out they pretended to play the guitars and drums. This reminded me of a scandal about a duo who lip synched their songs. And if I am not mistaken, they even had won an award for their singing that was taken away, once the news about them pretending to sing came out. At least my friend’s group were using their own voices for singing. That is one thing that does not sit well with me; singers who lip synch their songs in concert. I always feel cheated when I go to a concert to see a musical artist who does not sing all their songs live. If I am sitting there listening to a recording, I could have easily done the same thing sitting at home without spending the money for the concert ticket and parking. As far as I could tell, the band in this documentary were always singing live. STARTING OUT IN LOS ANGELES’ PUNK scene, a group of females formed a band that would make history. Directed by Alison Eastwood (Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time, Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search for a Kool Place), this film was the equivalent of a gold record; I not only enjoyed watching the band perform in archival clips, I learned so much about them. Much of the movie focused on the band’s formative years, which I felt shortchanged the following years as the members transformed themselves into a successful, multi-platinum selling band. There were a few scenes that were sad to watch as hard choices were being carried out by various band members. But the thing I appreciated was the honesty that came across from the various film clips and interviews. The director did a wonderful job of keeping the viewer engaged throughout the picture, while still teaching those viewers who might not know much about the band. For myself, I knew the band was a success; however, I did not know about their rightful place in history. From watching this film, I do not know what makes a band great as opposed to a one hit wonder; but I will say after seeing this band in this movie, I would have bought a ticket to see them in concert.
3 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Black and Blue
SO ANNOYING, FOR THE PAST TWO weeks I have been trying to stop receiving a company’s daily email advertisements. I receive several every day and it is getting on my nerves. At first, I thought it would be an easy thing to do by going online to unsubscribe via the link they listed on their emails. Going through several steps before finally receiving a confirmation of the stoppage, I thought I was done. Sadly that was not the case because sure enough the very next day I got the same amount of email advertisements in my inbox. Once again, I went through the same steps online to put a stop to them, receiving another confirmation of my success. I was not buying it until I had seen proof; it never came since there was not even a slowdown in the amount of emails coming to me. My next step was to call them on the phone, easier said than done. I had to search multiple pages online before I found a phone number. When I called, the phone rang and rang without anyone ever picking up. Jumping back online, I looked for another phone number and when I dialed it I was greeted with a message that told me to dial the number I had previously dialed. This just ticked me off further; so, I set up my computer to block this company’s emails. THE LESSON I LEARNED FROM THIS WAS believing that the larger a company was, the more chances their employees would be apathetic towards their customers’ experiences and needs. I know this is a broad generalization, but I have experienced this in other situations. I was with a friend when they tried returning a couple of items they bought online from a store’s website. Figuring it would be easier and faster to stop at the store to return them, my friend was met with an unpleasant store employee behind the customer service counter. One thing I cannot stand is when a store employee does not even look up when addressing you and this is exactly what the employee did to my friend. Explaining the situation that the items were the wrong size, the employee said they could not help because the items were bought online. My friend agreed they were ordered online, pointing out to the employee it was from their store’s website. The customer service rep then did something that if I was returning the items I would have taken the discussion up a notch or two. They rolled their eyes at my friend. It was obvious they were not going to budge so I told my friend to dispute the purchase on their charge card. Just because the company was large it was apparent its employees were not interested in bucking the system to do what was right. In a way, it was similar to what the main character was experiencing in this action, crime drama. INVESTIGATING THE SOUND OF GUNSHOTS COMING FROM a deserted factory police officer Alicia, played by Naomie Harris (Moonlight, Skyfall), discovered something that she should not have seen, according to the people on the scene. She saw it differently and because of that there was a chance she might get killed for it. This film festival winner also starred Tyrese Gibson (The Fast and Furious franchise, Transformers franchise) as Mouse, Frank Grillo (Captain America franchise, The Grey) as Terry Malone, Mike Colter (Men in Black 3, Luke Cage-TV) as Darius and Reid Scott (Dean, Veep-TV) as Kevin. The best part of this movie was Naomie. Not only was her acting excellent, but also having her as the main character gave this story a different twist to the usual cat and mouse game. This picture was pretty much all about the action and despite it being easy to figure out, I still felt I was being entertained. The script needed some finesse to make the moral messages less heavy-handed and soften the bluntness in its delivery, especially in the latter half of the story. Despite these issues, I did feel the movie studio was not lax in trying to provide a worthwhile product for the viewing audience.
2 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Rust Creek
THE STORY SHE WAS TELLING DESCRIBED a world that was unfamiliar to me. Right out of school she got married and moved to her husband’s family’s lands up in the hills of Kentucky. The trip did not take them long, which allowed her to see her new home in the daylight along with several of his relatives who were stationed as lookouts. Being in love had an extra benefit here because she did not mind one bit that the home standing in front of her looked abandoned. Her husband, who had no training, built the house and it showed. There was no running water; instead, there was a pump in the back of the house. She would grow to hate the pump, especially in wintertime. Keep in mind; we are talking current times, not a date back in the 1800s. The only heat sources in the house were 2 fireplaces and a potbellied stove. She eventually got used to the house; though she mentioned she had a hard time sometimes coping with it in winter. There would be mornings when the bucket of water they kept in the bathroom for washing would be nearly frozen. Being a city person, I could not comprehend that in this day and age; people would be living in that type of situation. Her story started only 50+ years ago. DUE TO THE STORY SHE TOLD, I was careful when I decided to visit Kentucky. You may think I am paranoid but the image of her husband’s relatives sitting with rifles along the road has always stayed with me. All I could think about was whether her husband’s family was in some type of feud with another family, akin to the story of the Hatfield and McCoy families. When I visited the state I only went to large metropolitan areas. I actually had a wonderful time while delving into the history of those areas along with sampling the local cuisine. The state was picturesque which provided me with many photo opportunities. Driving down the road seeing several horses trotting across an enclosed pasture made me pull over to take a photograph. The things I was seeing were so far removed from the things my friend told me about regarding her time living in the state. The two worlds were so opposite. Granted I was simply a tourist who zeroed in on the sights I wanted to see; it is not like I didn’t know every state has more than one version of itself. I was fortunate and lucky during my stay in Kentucky, unlike the main character in this film festival winning dramatic thriller. WHEN A WRONG TURN LEAVES SAWYER, played by Hermione Cornfield (Fallen, Star Wars: The Last Jedi), in the back woods of a country road; she quickly realizes her education won’t necessarily get her to where she needs to be. With Jay Paulson (Black Rock, Mad Men-TV) as Lowell, Sean O’Bryan (Olympus Has Fallen, Vantage Point) as O’Doyle, Micah Hauptman (Everest, In Stereo) as Hollister and Daniel R. Hill (Above Suspicion, Hunter’s Moon) as Buck; this story resonated with me because of my friend’s time in Kentucky. Does this mean those with no connection to the state should not view this film? Not necessarily because the performance by Hermione was worth watching. The script was pretty generic but I appreciated what the writers did regarding the character Sawyer. There were scenes that did not make sense to me despite the predictability of the script. Except for Hermione, the other characters were a bit too stereotypical for me. What I enjoyed about this picture was watching the story arc to Hermoine’s character Sawyer. For some reason this movie reminded me of Winter’s Bone, though at a much lower level. An added bonus for me was enjoying some of the outdoor scenes of Kentucky and remembering my friend and her story.
Flash Movie Review: Mean Dreams
FEW OF MY FRIENDS LIKED THE candy pellets that came out of the candy dispenser I carried around in my pocket. I had a couple of different kinds; one had Popeye’s head on the top and the other had the head of a dog. When you tilted the head back the mouth would open to reveal a candy pellet, for you to slide out and pop into your mouth. Whenever I went to the candy store I always picked up a couple of packs of pellets to reload my dispensers. As time went on and my tastes changed, I stopped carrying around my candy dispensers; I placed them in a desk drawer and soon forgot about them. Fast forward to years later and on one of my social media sites I have a follower who is a big fan/collector of the same kind of candy dispensers I used to have when I was younger. From seeing the things this follower has been posting, I discovered there is a world of people who enjoy these candy dispensers. And here I thought when I was younger I was the only one who liked them. I will say from the time I had them they certainly have increased the amount of different heads on them. THOUGH I KNOW NONE OF THOSE PEOPLE in my follower’s posts, I felt some kind of connection. It is the type of connection one feels when they discover someone they do not know has the same like/dislike of a particular thing. It immediately forms a connection between the 2 individuals because they have something in common that they can now use to build on a relationship. The best example I can show is my movie review site. The people who comment on my reviews were unknown to me for the most part. All of a sudden we started a dialog that was born in our mutual love of movies and in turn a comfort formed that allowed an easy sharing of each other’s life stories. Growing up, I had a variety of interests that were not shared by those around me. I can remember during the 7th or 8th grades meeting a couple of new students who had similar interests. It was not only an immediate connection, but it was the start of a deep friendship. In a way it was like finding someone who spoke the same language as you after being misunderstood by your peers for years. From the beginning of this film festival winning, dramatic thriller I found myself connected to the main characters. BEING NEW TO THE AREA DID NOT make a difference to the connection that quickly formed between Casey Caraway and her neighbor Jonas Ford, played by Sophie Nelisse (The Book Thief, Pawn Sacrifice) and Josh Wiggins (Max, Walking Out). Their connection would be tested beyond anything they imagined. With Joe Cobden (Source Code, The Day After Tomorrow) as Elbert Ford, Bill Paxton (Twister, Apollo 13) as Wayne Caraway and Colm Feore (Chicago, The Chronicles of Riddick) as The Chief; this story drew me in due to the connection I mentioned previously. The acting came across truthfully and at times powerfully. I felt Bill’s performance was authentic and intense, especially because I was getting a physical reaction from his character. The story line had a similar flavor to past movies of the same genre; however, I was surprised with the twists in this one. The filming style added to the despair felt in the story; there was a simple and direct style that made the characters come across in a raw, sometimes desperate, way. The story may cause uneasiness with viewers in the beginning, but it would be worth staying to see what happens and you never know, there may be a connection that forms with you.
2 ½ stars — DVD
Flash Movie Review: The Rhythm Section
REVENGE IS SOMETHING THAT IS NOT easily mastered; I should know. Not only have I done my share of acts of revenge, I have seen so many others attempt it. There was a family that suffered a tragic loss when a relative of theirs was shot dead. The victim was a shop owner who was killed during a botched robbery of his store. His relatives understandably were devastated. At some point their sadness turned into anger which they focused to the robber’s nationality. They became mistrustful of anyone of the same nationality. If they could I believed they would have acted on their sudden hatred and do bodily harm to the person if the opportunity presented itself. I remember listening to a few of them when they were talking about the things they wanted to do to get revenge. Gratefully, they were more talk than action; so, I did not have to interject myself into their discussions, to diffuse the situation. What happened to them was quite sad. Instead of seeking help with their feelings of anger they disintegrated into a level of dysfunction where their ambition, happiness and empathy melted away from the heat of their raging feelings. They took no pleasure in things they used to enjoy. NOT THAT I AM NECESSARY PROUD of this; but I was more successful in seeking out revenge against those that had harmed me. I know that sounds ominous; let me try to explain. In past reviews, I have shared that I am the survivor of bullying and abuse. During my high school years, I spent a lot of time fantasizing about all the things I wanted to do against my perpetrators. Drowning by water or burning in a fire were popular themes for me. In reality, I did only a few minor irritating things to annoy those bullies; some acts involved itching powder and glue. From my initiation in school, I was better prepared to handle bullies in the work world. With one person who caused me harm, I started to lock file drawers that they needed, knowing they did not have a key for them. One of the things I mastered was to ignore the person. If it was business related, I would talk to them; if not, I would not acknowledge them. I know this sounds childish, but it was a method that worked in keeping me calm and focused on what I was being paid to do. This was a safer option compared to what the main character chose to do in this dramatic, action mystery movie. LIFE SPIRALED OUT OF CONTROL FOR Stephanie Patrick, played by Blake Lively (A Simple Favor, The Age of Adeline), after her family died in a plane crash. She had no purpose in life until a journalist found and told her his theory about the crash not being an accident. With Jude Law (Closer, The Grand Budapest Hotel) as B, Sterling K. Brown (Hotel Artemis, This is Us-TV) as Mark Serra, Daniel Mays (The Bank Job, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Dean West and Max Casella (Blue Jasmine, Jackie) as Leon Giler; this was a new type of character for Blake to play. I thought she was decent in the role; but it did not help the trajectory of this picture. The script was beyond loony. First, buying Blake as an “action hero” was a stretch, I grant you that. However, nothing made any sense in the transformation of her character. And if that was not enough, throw in a quick love interest scene. I could not get over how incredibly boring this film was for me. There is nothing more I would rather do than tell you about the ludicrous things that took place here; but they would give away part of the story. I could not do that to you, but maybe a revengeful person would think differently.
1 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Good Boys
THE SCHOOL I ATTENDED COVERED ALL the grades from kindergarten to eighth. Despite all classes being in the same building, there was a definite division between grades. I started in kindergarten and remained a student at the school until I graduated from eighth grade. The school building never went through any type of remodeling while I was a student, except for the playground. This will be hard to believe; but when I started at the school, the playground was divided into 2 spaces, side by side. One space was smooth, looking like a paved road; the other consisted of gravel. The younger grades were assigned the smooth surfaced playground, while the older students had to take the graveled playground. During my sixth year, when I would have to switch to the gravel side, the school removed the gravel and paved the ground. Though both spaces looked the same the younger kids knew not to go over to the newly paved space; it was still meant for older students. Now it may not seem like a big deal, but what this school policy did was to teach the younger kids that there was a reward waiting for them when they got older. IT WOULD START IN FIFTH GRADE, students trying to befriend older ones. Those who already had an older sibling in a higher grade had an easier time fitting into the older crowds. I had a neighbor who was a couple of grades ahead of me. Anytime I caught a glimpse of him on the newer playground space I would try to come up with an excuse to go talk to him. Looking back at it now, it seems silly; all of us wanted to be treated like we were older, more adult-like students who did not want to be referred to as kids anymore. Girls would consider it a major achievement if they could call a student from a higher grade their boyfriend. It was almost like an obsession; for every grade one advanced, their previous grade was added to the disdain they had for anyone younger. And if anyone had a friendship with a younger student, it was kept a secret. I firmly believe all of this was the catalyst in the formation of cliques. At my school, there was no greater moniker to have than being labelled the “cool” kid. Cool would encompass a variety of traits; but it did not matter, if other students considered one cool then life at school would be good for them. An example of this can be found in this adventure comedy. BEING INVITED TO A PARTY WAS the first step in attaining cool status for Max, played by Jacob Tremblay (Room, Wonder) and his two friends. However, if they did not want to embarrass themselves, they would need to take a crash course on what cool kids do at a party. With Keith L. Williams (The Last Man on Earth-TV, Teachers-TV) as Lucas, Brady Noon (Boardwalk Empire-TV) as Thor, Molly Gordon (Booksmart, Life of the Party) as Hannah and Midori Francis (Ocean’s Eight, Younger-TV) as Lily; this film had a lot of profanity being spoken in it. At first because it was being said by elementary school kids, it was funny; however, as the story progressed it lost its shock value and seemed to be the only comedy focal point in several scenes. The three boys were excellent together and did provide a few laugh out moments in the story. I appreciated the way the writers tackled the topics of first love and evolving friendships; they were written with authenticity. For the most part I was entertained by this movie; however, I did wonder if kids today have more pressure placed on them to fit in and be considered cool.
2 ½ stars