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Flash Movie Review: Licorice Pizza

I WAS SURE I WAS ON my way to becoming a tycoon or at least thought of as being cool. There was no one I knew in my elementary school who was starting a business, but I was doing it. I do not remember how the idea came to me unless I considered the time spent selling candy and lemonade on the street corner, in front of my apartment building. My stand was a success; candy being the number one seller. What I used to do was set up the stand, a folding card table, early in the afternoon. I had two pitchers of lemonade and an assortment of candy pieces and bars. I would buy a bag of hard, fruit flavored candy that was individually wrapped, pour them into a bowl and sell each piece for a nickel. Right there, I was making a nice profit. When I was close to running out, I would have a friend of mine go to the store to buy another bag of hard candy and candy bars, which I priced a little more than the regular price. We would only buy the bars that were on sale; that is how I was able to make a profit on them.      HAVING GOTTEN A TASTE OF SUCCESS from my lemonade stand, gave me the confidence to start selling school supplies to my fellow classmates. I had a relative who was a manufacturer’s representative to a variety of companies that made school supplies. Their garage was completely shelved and fully stocked with all kinds of school items. Every new school year my cousins and I would go over and go “shopping” through the garage to get our school supplies. I must have asked my relative if I could take extra items, but I do not remember. There was no way I would have just taken them without permission; so, maybe I told him I wanted extra for friends? With my schoolbag loaded, I started asking classmates if they wanted to buy colored markers, erasers, pencil sharpeners and other assorted things. When students saw the variety of different colored markers and crayons, I sold out of everything in two days. I thought for sure I was on my way to becoming a great businessman. The added benefit to me was the fact students were now seeking me out to see what I had available. In my brain, I took this to mean I was now “popular.” Due to my history, I felt a connection at first with the main character in this dramatic, comedy romance.      HE WAS THE ULTIMATE PROMOTER OF himself. So, when student Gary Valentine, played by newcomer Cooper Hoffman, saw the school’s photographer’s helper he was convinced she would fall in love with him. With newcomer Alana Haim as Alana Kane, Sean Penn (Flag Day, Milk) as Jack Holden, Tom Waits (Seven Psychopaths, Short Cuts) as Rex Blau and newcomer Will Angarola as Kirk; this film festival winner and Oscar nominee was a disappointment. I thought Alana did a decent job for a newcomer and the established actors were good; but it did not matter because I thought the script was littered with distractions. The only actor that stood out for me was Bradley Cooper. There were scenes that fell flat for me because they were hard to believe in. Despite this movie being tagged as a comedy, I did not find anything funny. Sure, there were a couple of precarious predicament scenes, but what it came down to for me was the actors seemed too young for their roles outside of the school scenes. I periodically lost interest, though I enjoyed the soundtrack. I also appreciated the story line of first love and of the would-be actor trying to get ahead; but things did not comfortably fit well for me in the end. With its Oscar nominations, I almost felt as if I was being hustled as I watched this picture.

2 ½ stars  


Flash Movie Review: Endless Love

The world quickly changes when you are experiencing your very first love. For some it may have taken you from receiving an allowance to carrying a purse or wallet; it is a new found independence. If you are the first to experience it among your friends, it can be unsettling for some of them. I remember one of my earliest dates was going to a carnival that came to the neighborhood. Both of our best friends came with us so no one would have to go on a ride alone if one did not like the ride. The two of us went on a ride similar to a Ferris wheel but at a 45 degree angle, with each car looking like a parachute attached to a seat. She was wearing a sundress and a big floppy hat; neither of us realized what the consequences would be on this attraction. Spinning faster than it looked from the ground, our seat veered further out on its axis and the generated wind hit us smack in the face. She let out a screech as her dress flew up while the flaps of her hat folded back. The ride seemed to continue on forever as she screamed the whole time with one hand holding down the front of her dress and the other hand pressing down the hat on her head. Luckily we both were able to laugh about this later in the day. This is a fond memory I have carried with me through the years. I do not know if the couple in this romantic drama will be able to say that with their memories. Alex Pettyfer (I am Number Four, Magic Mike) played high school senior David Elliot. Through the years he had admired classmate Jade Butterfield, played by Gabriella Wilde (Carrie, The Three Musketeers), but never had the courage to approach her. It was graduation time and David would only get one chance to talk to her. Could he do it even if he lived on the wrong side of the tracks? This remake of the 1981 film was painful to watch because it had so few redeeming qualities. The script was laughable; truly, the audience chuckled at some of the cheesiest dialog I have ever heard in a long time. The acting was horrid except for Joely Richardson (Anonymous, Nip/Tuck-TV) as Jade’s mother Anne. Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek franchise, Deja Vu) played one emotion for most of the film–angry, as Jade’s dad Hugh. Since seeing this picture I have seen a couple of reviews where they said Jade’s hair was one of the best parts in this awful film and they were right. The memory of this movie is something I hope I can soon forget.


1 1/2 stars

Flash Movie Review: Blue is the Warmest Color

There is something special about one’s first love. I am not talking about a school crush; it is the first serious love where you think you could spend your entire life with that one incredible person. The reason you want to be with them is because of the way you feel around them; a change comes over you. As you near them; an invisible aromatic cloud swirls around you, making your nostrils quiver. At first contact your skin ripples with electric sparks as you willingly fall into this inviting hug, that feels as if it is enveloping you into the folds of a soft warm comforter. You take every new memory that the two of you have created and store it in a velvet lined room of your heart, with walls impervious to pain…or at least you thought so. I cannot recall the last time I was so emotionally drained from watching a romantic movie, such as this Cannes Film Festival winning film. Adele Exarchopoulos (La Rafle, Boxes) played young Adele, who was on the verge of discovering the intoxication of a first love. The jolt that awakened her was in the form of blue haired Emma, played by Lea Seydoux (Midnight in Paris, Inglourious Basterds). Adele’s journey into love would bring her into a world of new revelations. The acting in this dramatic movie was exceptional with a rawness and realness that went beyond most other films I have seen. I could not take my eyes off of Adele as she conveyed every emotion without a filter. This movie is not without some challenges, however. Running for nearly 3 hours, I found some scenes were unduly drawn out. Tighter editing would have helped in this matter.  Another issue was the explicit sexual scenes. I am aware some people are uncomfortable seeing any type of strong physical intimacy, so this movie may not fit your comfort level. What took me some time to realize was the amazing job the director showed in Adele’s growth from young innocence to an assertive adult woman. Did he need three hours to accomplish it?  I do not think so; but the fact that this is one of two chapters, I will be curious to see how memories of her first love propel Adele forward in life. French language with English subtitles.


3 1/4 stars

Flash Movie Review: Moonrise Kingdom

Do you remember your first love or infatuation? I remember my first love or should I say what I thought was love when I was in the 5th grade. For my very first date, my mother took Diane and me to an afternoon movie–natch. This quirky film was about first love. It took me a short time before I could get into the rhythm of this funny movie. Set in the 1960’s; Sam and Suzy, played by newcomers Jaren Gilman and Kara Hayward, were the young couple in love. They decided to run away which brought the citizens of their small, New England town to come out and search for them. The director Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox) assembled an eclectic group of fine actors for this film. For example, there was Edward Norton (The Illusionist, Fight Club) as the Scout Master, Bill Murray (Lost in Translation, Groundhog Day) as Walt Bishop and Bruce Willis (Die Hard franchise, The Sixth Sense) as Captain Sharp were among the ensemble of notable actors. Each character had a different view about the fleeing 12 year old kids, who wanted to get married. The way Mr. Anderson filmed the scenes, my eyes were constantly treated to novel shots filled with nostalgic trappings. I almost felt as if I needed to see this movie again because I may have missed something. From an innocent time long ago, with a cast of characters, everything was set into motion with the onset of first love.


3 1 /4 stars

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