A life full of expectations will be a life filled with disappointments. I wish it wasn’t so but it is a fact; having those expectations can lead you down a sad path in life. This was a hard lesson I had to learn; I mean it took years for me to figure it out and even to this day I have to catch myself from placing expectations on things I have no control over. Now I am not really referring to the expectations we have when we are buying a product. For example if you are buying a vacuum cleaner you expect to plug it in and it works; though these days that may not be the case as much. Or how about the conversation I just had with a friend who went to a restaurant and ordered a particular dinner because of my recommendation. It turns out they did not like it; they were disappointed in the meal. Stuff happens, but where I had to learn to let go of my expectations was when I interact with people. I used to think when I was dating a person who had expressed the same traits and philosophies as me; they would act in a similar fashion as me. Because I reply quickly to a person’s email or text, I used to think the other person would do the same and when they didn’t I would think I did something wrong. It turns out that is not always the case. I learned I cannot place my values, morals or beliefs on someone else. What all of this has done for me is realize I can only be responsible for myself. I have to tell you, this really has helped me when it comes to seeing a movie. Without learning anything about it, I walk into a movie theater without any expectations. I have no idea if I will enjoy a movie or not; even one like this one. RELOCATING to a beautiful house they purchased out in the country Dana and David, played by Kate Beckinsale (Love & Friendship, Underworld franchise) and Mel Raido (Legend, The Informers), had no idea their house had an extra room that came with a secret. This dramatic horror thriller also starred Duncan Joiner (Some Kind of Beautiful, The Perfect Guy) as Lucas and Gerald McRaney (Focus, Major Dad-TV) as Judge Blacker. What I can tell you is the house and its grounds were beautiful. This was the best part of the movie. Wow, I could not believe people at the movie studio put their stamp of approval on green lighting this project. The script was horrible, void of anything exciting or spine tingling. Normally I have enjoyed Kate’s performances but this role was a waste. It was a bummer because the story was split into two trains of thought. If the writers would have only done a story about the house or one about the family dynamics I think this would have been a better picture. Instead what was offered was a silly, generic, plain movie that should have been locked up in the film studio’s disappointments room. I truly walked into this with no expectations despite the film’s title.
1 ½ stars
I became more aware of my wallet’s whereabouts after my aunt yelled an expletive at a man who had his hand in her purse. She had taken the subway to go downtown. When she got off at her stop and was waiting to step onto the escalator to take her up to street level, she felt a tug on her purse that she had slung on her shoulder. Turning to look down at her purse she saw a man who had his hand in it, looking for her wallet. With no time for thinking, she immediately yelled out in her sternest voice, “What the #%&@ do you think you are doing?” The man was so stunned he withdrew his hand and took off down the station to the exit on the opposite side of the platform. Once I heard what happened to her I started becoming more aware of my surroundings. No matter where I went I would periodically check to make sure my wallet was still in my back pocket. Now granted all I had in my wallet was a couple of pictures and my week’s allowance; but the idea that someone would stick their hand in my pocket to steal my wallet made me angry. After seeing this comedic drama I now am more paranoid. WILL Smith (After Earth, I Am Legend) played lifelong con artist Nicky. Admiring the gutsy moves Jess, played by Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street, About Time), tried to pull on him; Nicky agreed to teach her some of his tricks. However, just as one of his biggest jobs was about to play out, could Nicky really trust her. This crime story had a variety of twists in it; some were predictable, others were surprises. I will say the story did not seem that much different from others I had seen before. The clear standouts for me were Margot Robbie and Gerald McRaney (The A-Team, Major Dad-TV) as Owens. Also, Adrian Martinez (American Hustle, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) as Farhad and Rodrigo Santoro (The Last Stand, 300 Franchise) as Garriga gave good performances. I understood this was supposed to be Will’s vehicle back to box office gold after his flop After Earth; but I have to tell you I did not think his performance was anything new. He seemed to be playing himself more than his character to tell you the truth. There were a couple of times where I thought the story dragged. To be fair one of my favorite movies was The Sting, so for me this film did not have any sophisticated nuances in the script. The worst part of this is I now have a bigger fear of getting my pockets picked than I had before.
2 1/4 stars
Where some loves recede from our minds like grains of sand in a tide returning to sea, there is one type of love that remains with us. It is our first love; that special moment where the use of singular pronouns turns to plurals. With no one else before had you ever had this unique and fresh relationship; where you were affectionate, kind and loving. The conversations between the two of you remained on a private level and were different then the way you talked with your friends. Possibly for the first time there was someone who got you, understood the reasons behind the way you did things. A first love is never forgotten for it remains nestled in the mind. Not necessarily interfering with your present choices in life, the memory of your first love hangs prominently on a wall of your heart, away from the harsh sunlight of current disappointments, always working in conjunction with your mind. It is funny even when you do find a true love, no matter how long it may take, that first one is always there to remind us like a faint exotic perfume. TWENTY years had passed before former hight school sweethearts Amanda and Dawson, played by Michelle Monaghan (Gone Baby Gone, Source Code) and James Marsden (Enchanted, X-Men franchise), found themselves face to face due to the death of their friend Tuck, played by Gerald McRaney (Major Dad-TV, The A-Team). Though the two friends had moved on with their lives, there still was an undeniable connection between the two of them as they spent time together in their old hometown. Based on Nicholas Sparks’ (The Notebook, Safe Haven) novel, this dramatic romance followed the same formula as the previous films had done. The story was so predictable even though I never read the book. What I found the most annoying was the syrupy soundtrack that announced the emotions we were supposed to feel for each scene. The acting was okay though I found all of the characters, including Luke Bracey (The November Man, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and Liana Liberato (If I Stay, Stuck in Love) as the younger Dawson and Amanda, on the same level. I wondered if this was due to the cheesy script and I think that was part of it, but the director did no one any favors. The movie was slow and the scenes never felt complete for me. If you are a fan of his books or maybe I should rephrase that and say; if you are a fan of these movies made from Nicholas’ books, then you probably will want to see this with facial tissue in hand. I am all for a good tearjerker now and then, but this film left me dry.
1 1/2 stars