“ACT LIKE A LADY,” what does that exactly mean? I always found it an odd comment because I had never seen or heard about a primer that explained how girls and boys were supposed to act. Sure I remember when I was a child boys played with toy soldiers, guns and baseball bats; while girls played with stuffed animals, tea sets and dolls. There was a young girl who enjoyed playing with trucks, the bigger the better. I can still remember the odd looks some adults would give her as if she was doing something wrong. I used to babysit some of my female relatives and play house with them; it never occurred to me to tell them boys don’t play house or host a dinner party. If that is what they wanted to play or if they wanted to play cards I did not care. However, I was aware that out among my friends I could be teased for it. FAST forward to current times and there now seems like there is a push by people, companies and such to praise women, to show how progressive they have become. Now do not get me wrong, I am all for putting a spotlight on anyone who deserves it; however, some of these campaigns ring false to me. A company has formed a women’s group to promote female employees; yet they still do not get the same pay scale as their male counterparts. A film comes out with a strong female lead but studio executives still treat some of their female staff in an inappropriate way. It bugs me when people assign a label to their friends or co-workers. For example statements like, “my black friend” or “my gay co-worker;” do we really need to classify an individual? Isn’t a friend just your friend or does one choose their friends to fit a specific category? For those who want to try and classify the main character in this action thriller you will have a hard time figuring out what to say. SENT to Berlin to retrieve a secret list MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton, played by Charlize Theron (Dark Places, Mad Max: Fury Road), was a target even before she landed. Based on the graphic novel series “The Coldest City” the cast also included James McAvoy (X-Men franchise, Split) as David Percival, Eddie Marsan (Sherlock franchise, Ray Donovan-TV) as Spyglass, John Goodman (Love the Coopers, Kong: Skull Island) as Emmett Kurzfeld and Toby Jones (Captain America franchise, Tale of Tales) as Eric Gray. Hands down this was Charlize’s film all the way. She simply was a beast in this picture. The fight scenes looked graphically real and Charlize must have gone through intense hand to hand combat training because it showed. I had read afterwards she did over 90% of all the stunts. The soundtrack was an important part to the script, but here is the downside to it. The script was confusing and not as strong as it could have been. I did not mind the jumping back in forth in time but would have preferred less of it. Regardless I felt this was at times an intense, mysterious, all out thriller that did not need to be defined as a male or female film; it was an equal opportunity battle. There were scenes with blood and strong violence.
ALL the furniture was pushed into the center of the room. A large old tarp with splotches of color looking like fireworks was covering all of the pieces. A white haired man dressed in white overalls was carefully outlining the walls with fresh paint. Using a paintbrush that he told me was made of natural bristles, he started at the top of the wall making his way across by sidestepping down a plank of wood he had stuck between two ladders. Once the top of the walls were all done he slowly filled the sides all around so each wall looked like it was a blank picture frame. I would watch him pour cans of paint into a big bucket, stirring it like it was a thick porridge. Once he was satisfied he would start at one side of the room and begin to paint in the walls. He had a steady rhythm as his arm would rise and fall, leaving a trail of fresh paint from his brush or roller. The thing that amazed me the most about him was his overalls; I do not recall every seeing any drops of paint on them. He told me he had been painting houses ever since he got out of high school. Though he may have been in his early 60s, which meant he had been doing this for decades, he still felt the same pride for every paint job. TIMES have changed as far as I can tell. Over at a friend’s house recently, they showed me the poor job their painter did on their front door. The new color did not always reach the boundaries of the door or it would go beyond. It was ghastly looking and he was quite upset. I have had my share of poor service either from repair people in my home or out at a store. Recently in the news I assume most of you have seen the videos of poor customer service with some airlines. It almost looks like a war situation doesn’t it? One has to wonder if some employees are afraid to let people know what they do for a living when they are not at work. It is something the main character in this dramatic crime story experienced on a daily basis. FOLLOWING in the footsteps of his uncle and father Albert Pierrepoint, played by Timothy Spall (Harry Potter franchise, Secrets & Lies), wanted to surpass their records and be the best in the country. He just did not want anyone to know. Based on true events, this film festival winning biography also starred Juliet Stevenson (Bend it Like Beckham, Mona Lisa Smile) as Anne Fletcher, Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes franchise, V for Vendetta) as James ‘Tish’ Corbitt and James Corden (Begin Again, Into the Woods) as Kirky. With Timothy’s outstanding performance I was quickly tied up into the story. It really provided the viewer with things to think about regarding one’s profession, beliefs and feelings. I have to say the topic was something I had not given much thought to and ironically it has been in the news recently. No matter what is your belief system regarding the industry Albert dwells in, I think there is much to gain by watching this DVD. My guess is no one would have thought customer service would be a part of this story.
3 ¼ stars — DVD
Some people assume I am good at detecting the anger inside of individuals because of my yoga background. While that certainly has helped me in recognizing the tension and anger someone may carry, the larger reason I can spot anger is because I have had an intimate relationship with it. I am not talking about spats, conflicts or disagreements; I am referring to that deep anger that boils inside, always on the verge of flaring up with any little spark. It is the type that is so out of proportion to the situation that bystanders stare in disbelief as you look like a cross between a paper shredder and volcano. I can remember how my anger would invade my brain, pushing everything aside into a single room as if it were being held prisoner. The anger and frustration would tense my body into stiffness. Luckily the release valve to my anger used a verbal route instead of a physical one. Though when I was younger, if something did not work the way I wanted it to, I would beat it apart to teach it a lesson. Yes I know it was stupid, but I did not know better at the time. I do not think anger ever leaves a person; at least I know it is still inside of me. The difference being it shares a space with my other emotions, willing now to work together with them. What worked for me may not work for someone else; each person has to find their own path in dealing with their anger. JOSEPH, played by Peter Mullan (War Horse, Trainspotting), was unemployed, frustrated and angry all the time; he was a time bomb without a fuse. Hannah, played by Olivia Collman (The Iron Lady, Hot Fuzz), was a Christian woman who felt she could save him through prayer. But who would save Hannah? This film festival winning drama was an incredibly intense viewing experience. There was some strong language, though I had a hard time understanding Joseph’s accent. Their acting was beautiful which may seem like an odd choice of adjective to use; but I loved their dynamics along with Eddie Marson (Sherlock Holmes franchise, God’s Pocket), who played Hannah’s husband James. I thought the story and script were dynamite, both figuratively and literally. There was never a moment where I was not either washed over by various emotions or feeling on edge with the intensity of the scene. This DVD was a total surprise to me; in fact, afterwards when I looked online to see if this picture had received any recognition, I could not get over the long list of accolades. It is funny how this movie that dealt with anger could make me glad I saw it. A few scenes had blood and violence in them.
3 1/2 stars — DVD
Living close enough to go back and visit the old neighborhood where I grew up, I fondly remember the good times I had with my friends. From playing ball in the alley, to seeing the same high school staircase where a group of kids parked a car overnight; I enjoyed living in the city back then. When my friends and I became of legal age, we were excited to buy alcohol legally. The excitement did not last long; I soon lost interest in it. Instead of hanging out with the usual group, I had a couple of friends that would go restaurant hopping with me. Since none of us liked to drink, we would go out at night and stop at different food places along the way. Talk about stuffing one’s feelings; my record was eating at five restaurants in one night. Looking back I think that was the most unusual thing I did while growing up. Granted, I have good memories of that activity but I could never go back and try to do it again; unlike the five friends in this comedy. Gary King, played by Simon Pegg (Star Trek franchise, Hot Fuzz), decided to round up the old group and see if they could complete the legendary pub crawl in their old home town. Joining him on the road trip were his friends Andy Knightley, Oliver Chamberlain, Steven Prance and Peter Page; played by Nick Frost (Paul, Shaun of the Dead), Martin Freeman (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Hot Fuzz), Paddy Considine (In America, Dead Man’s Shoes) and Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes franchise, Hancock). Upon reaching their old stomping grounds, the group of friends discovered things were not exactly the same; the townsfolk were acting oddly. Little did the friends know their pub crawl would entail more than just downing a pint at each location. This humorous action film started out slow for me; though, the fast paced dialog with its British humor was easily handled by the cast members. It was not until later into the movie that things turned into a science fiction story. There were some gags and scenes that fell flat for me. Taking everything into consideration this was a madcap, fun film on the unexpected times one can have when they go back home.
2 2/3 stars