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Flash Movie Review: Life

YEARS of reading and watching science fiction books and movies may be the reason why I believe there could be other life forms in the universe. Even if I was not a fan of the fantasy/science fiction genre, I was always open to the possibility we humans were not alone. I could never be convinced that out of the entire universe the planet Earth was the only place that could sustain life. One of the arguments I have heard is our planet is the only one that can sustain oxygen breathing beings; but I would counter that proposal by questioning the logic of oxygen being the only element that can support life. What if an alien species’ anatomy only needed carbon monoxide to exist? Unless they come to us I understand there is no way to prove this thought, since I do not know if we will ever evolve to a point where we will have the ability to deconstruct and rematerialize on another world via a transporting device or be able to travel in a spaceship at warp speed.     DURING my studies in college I had a literature course that covered several genres of fiction, including science fiction. For my midterm project I used several rolls of infrared film along with close-up camera lenses to create a photo album that I claimed was proof of foreign existence. The things I photographed represented places we had read about in our required reading list. Our instructor had us put our projects on display around the lecture hall and each of us had to explain what we had done. After we each gave our talks, the students were allowed to walk around and study each item before voting on their favorite in a secret ballot. It turned out not only did I get an “A” on my midterm project but my alien photo album was voted the favorite. From some of the comments I received the majority of my classmates loved how I had shown both friendly and non-friendly aliens. Hopefully I am only right about the good aliens.     WORKING in precise maneuvers six astronauts must retrieve a satellite returning from Mars that might contain proof there may be life existing on another planet. This science fiction thriller had some intense, exciting scenes right from the start. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals, Prisoners) as David Johnson, Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, The Proposal) as Rory Adams, Hiroyuki Sanada (47 Ronin, The Wolverine) as Sho Murakami and Rebecca Ferguson (The Girl on the Train, Florence Foster Jenkins) as Miranda North; this horror film had some icky scenes that were hard to watch, involving blood and violence. I thought the sets and special effects were cool, while the actors did their job well. The idea of the story was fine; however, I felt the writers needed to take a different angle because as I sat watching this film I kept thinking about the movie Alien. I did not find much different in this movie though I did enjoy the surprise twists. What I did enjoy, maybe enjoy is not the right word, was the way the writers depicted life and that is all I can say about it. If you do not believe there may be extraterrestrial life, you may not be anxious to see this film. Based on my belief system, maybe you should see it.

 

2 1/3 stars    

 

 

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Flash Movie Review: 47 Ronin

I am always eager to read or hear a good story. The stories from friends and family are special to listen to since there is the personal aspect to them; for example, a friend telling me how the unusual mantle clock on their dresser came to them from their grandfather. I only wish I knew the story behind a silver cup that was given to me that belonged to my great, great grandfather; imagine what kind of tale that would be. Another type of story I enjoy are the ones that have to do with public places like the reasons why the city of Chicago reversed the direction of the Chicago River or the true story behind the stock exchange building in Savannah, Georgia. When it comes to movies, I am always looking to be entertained by a good story. With regards to this adventure fantasy film, I thought it would be especially interesting since the film was based on an 18th century Japanese story about samurai. Never accepted as a true member of the village, the leader of a band of samurai named Oishi, played by Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine, The Twilight Samurai), would have to depend on the special skills only Kai, played by Keanu Reeves (Speed, The Matrix franchise), could offer in the group’s quest to clear the name of their former master. From what I understood the historic legend was about 47 samurai who were known as ronins, which means without a master. So with this archival reference I thought the studio would have gone the extra distance to make a vivid action movie worthy of the story. Unfortunately that was not the case with this dull plodding film. Keanu did himself no favors, acting more like a supporting character; with his standard short, staccato quiet way of speaking. It is something everyone has seen before and all it achieved here was to dim my senses. The script was pretty much a total mess; I did not feel hardly any emotions throughout the scenes. At least there were a few good battle scenes; however, with the fantasy element being part of this story, I felt there was not enough of it in the film to make it noteworthy. Adding in the marketing of this movie, it looked like the studio spent a lot of money to make this picture. Sadly, the only story that will be told about this fiasco will be how the movie studio took a hit on their earnings for ruining a legendary tale. Several scenes had Japanese with English subtitles.

 

1 2/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: The Wolverine

Longing for a lost love can be akin to waiting for an end of season plant to bloom again. It can no longer give you what you need. The memories of their scent that would linger after they left the room; the brilliance of their smile, that would burst upon their face; even the way they could calm you with just a look; all of these things can prevent one from moving on. At the time it is hard to realize those petals of memories, which return to the earth, will be the nourishment needed to make a new relationship grow. That sense of loss was apparent throughout this adventure film as movie viewers witnessed the internal struggles that plagued Logan/Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman (The Prestige, Les Miserables). Flying to Japan to visit an old friend, Logan found himself thrown into the middle of a plot to wrestle control of the family fortune away from his friend. For someone not familiar with the character Wolverine, they may find themselves somewhat confused with several scenes in this action film. I will say Hugh poured himself into this role. The amount of time and work he put in to transform himself into his character was impressive. Because of his presence, I felt the director took more time filming the fight scenes; they stood out from the other parts of the movie. There was a flair to them that briefly reminded me of the classic Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone sword fight in The Adventures of Robin Hood. The issue I had with this movie was the uneven story. I felt the love interest angle rang false and unnecessary. Newcomer Rila Fukushima as Yukio was an interesting character as Logan’s guide. I did not understand the role of Viper, played by Sventlana Khodchenkova (Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy, Mala Moskwa); her motivations were not clear to me. The main focus of this film was placed on the action and I will say it carried my interest through the parts of the movie I found confusing. A valiant effort was made to make this film the seed for a blooming sequel. Make sure you stay through the first set of credits. Several brief scenes contained blood in them.

 

2 3/4 stars

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