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Flash Movie Review: M3gan

SOME OF YOU MIGHT REMEMBER, I have a love/hate relationship with technology. When the devices are working properly, they can be terrific; but when they aren’t, they are such a pain. Driving to the office today, I was listening to a dance mix through my wireless speaker. Suddenly, the music cut off; I looked at my device and tapped pause. Just when I did it, the speaker turned off which is something it has never done. I decided to turn off my IPOD, wait several seconds before turning it back on, then turned on the wireless speaker. Everything was fine, like nothing had happened. It is stuff like this that drives me crazy. I cannot tell you how many times I have had IT personnel in my office because of an issue I was having with my computer and they will say, “I have never seen that before.” At first, I thought it was me, that I was doing something wrong; but, I was doing the same thing that my co-workers were doing, yet getting a different response. This is one of the reasons I never buy a new electronic device when it first becomes available. I already have a sense of mistrust; I do not want to get something that might reveal a couple of bugs from its initial use in the general population.      MY MISTRUST SURPRISES ME CONSIDERING HOW much I loved robotic things when I was younger. The first robot I remember seeing was the one in the original film, “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” I loved that robot because of how protective it was of the space alien. Then came Robby the Robot, Rosie from “The Jetsons” and the one from the television series, “Lost in Space.” I thought it would be cool to have a robot as a family member. Someone you could play with, who always would be your protector. And yet, I find myself at this place in time where a simple conversation with a neighbor in the building elevator produces an advertisement on my social media of an item the two of us were talking about. Who says our devices are not listening to us? With every friend who has a personal assistant device in their home, I have always had a moment on the telephone where the device has interrupted our conversation because it thought they were being addressed by my friend. And yet, I have gotten used to asking Siri for directions or setting a reminder for me. But that is the extent of my usage; I am not comfortable doing anything more involved. And, if you think I am a bit paranoid, then watch what takes place in this horror thriller.      AFTER LOSING BOTH OF HER PARENTS, in a horrific automobile accident, a young girl finds comfort with a gift given to her by her aunt. It is a new generation interactive toy that is nearly lifelike. Its main objective is to protect the girl, which it soon learns to do at any cost. With Allison Williams (Get Out, Peter Pan Live!) as Gemma, Violet McGraw (Black Widow, Separation) as Cady, Ronny Chieng (Crazy Rich Asians, Godzilla vs. Kong) as David, Brian Jordan Alvarez (A Spy Movie, Stuck) as Cole and Jenna Davis (Raven’s Home-TV, A Girl Named Jo-TV) as the voice of M3gan; this movie was fun. I know that sounds odd since it is listed as a horror film; but I must tell you, it was a smart production that knew exactly how to put a slight twist on the predictable. There were some humorous moments in the dialog and song choices that were a surprise to me. I appreciated the story and thought Allison and Violet were well suited to each other. There were several scenes of blood and violence that gratefully were not too graphic. Of course, I felt a connection to the story line, due to the one aspect of having a protector. Overall, this was an enjoyable movie watching experience.

3 stars 

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Flash Movie Review: The Pale Blue Eye

VISITING A TOWN OUT OF STATE, I was walking down a cobblestone road while gazing into various shop windows. I was surprised by the number of shops devoted to witches. Granted most of them appeared to be geared towards tourists, with trinkets and baubles filling up their display windows. There was one store that was devoted to magic wands, nothing else. How were they making a living, I thought. I could not help wondering what the residents thought of all, what I considered to be, this gimmickry. What I really would have loved to have known was what the former residents from the late 1600s would have thought if they could have seen all the establishments, signs and statues devoted to witches and witchcraft. The reason being back in the late 1600s people were burned at the stake for being considered witches in this area. Talk about going from one extreme to the other. Maybe I am a bit nerdy to think of these things, but I have always been fascinated with the wide changes that occur in perceptions/reality. Whether it an inanimate object or human being, it does not matter to me. And honestly, I think many of you would be surprised to learn about some of them.      NEAR WHERE I GREW UP AS A kid, there used to be a garbage dump. Pretty much it was a non-descript place with tall fences around it. The village leaders decided to create a hill from the trash. Now the place is a destination stop for anyone who wants to go sledding or tobogganing. Except for the older residents no one would have a clue that underneath the grassy turf the entire hill was made from garbage. I get the same kick out of discovering what some celebrities did for a living before they were discovered. For example, James Bond’s Pierce Brosnan was a professional fire eater at a circus. Christopher Lee the actor worked for the intelligence service. And Danny DeVito was a hairdresser for corpses. I am sure some people would think my career path has some extremes in it and maybe it does, but nothing that would match the few examples I listed here. Another aspect I enjoy about the wide differences found in life is when a movie uses an historical figure in the early stages of their life. For example, the writer Herman Melville was a harpooner on a whaling ship, then in his last decades he was a customs inspector. My curiosity in this subject of contrasts/differences led me to view this crime, horror mystery film.      AFTER A CADET WAS FOUND DEAD, West Point Academy hired a detective to solve the mystery quickly in order to protect the image of the academy. Appearances were quite important. With Christian Bale (The Fighter, American Hustle) as Augustus Landor, Harry Melling (Harry Potter franchise, The Old Guard) as Cadet Edgar Allan Poe, Simon McBurney (The Last King of Scotland, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as Captain Hitchcock, Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner, Secrets & Lies) as Superintendent Thayer and Fred Hechinger (News of the World, The Woman in the Window) as Cadet Randolph Ballinger; this picture had a wonderful atmospheric look to it. With Christian and Harry blending perfectly with their characters, I was drawn into the story that was a slow burn. Everything was well placed and thought out; however, things took a turn that threw me for a loop. I did not care for how the story finished up. It seemed rushed and not as believable as the rest of the movie. Luckily, the cast kept me engaged through this rough spot; but I still found the ending odd. However, I still got a kick out of watching Edgar Allan Poe before he became famous. There were several scenes that had blood on display.

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Barbarian

I SAT THERE WONDERING WHY I was so afraid. The short-term rental place was beautiful; I mean magazine worthy beautiful. A family member had taken a trip out west and stayed at a short-term rental property they booked online. It was a three-bedroom home with a gourmet kitchen, fireplace, in ground swimming pool and a fire pit. The furnishings and home looked like they were from the mid-century modern period. My relative had rented the place with three friends for vacation. The location was walking distance from the main shopping/entertainment district of the city and a 75–90-minute trip away from a national park. In other words, it was an ideal location.  As I was being shown photos of their trip, a part of my brain was trying to calculate why I had this fear about doing a short-term rental property; I have always stayed in hotels when I have been on a trip. One of the reasons I know, is because I love breakfast food. I pick hotels that offer a free breakfast or have a restaurant on site; so, I can wake up, shower and head down for a meal that I did not have to prepare. However, seeing this home, I would not have a problem if I had to bring in some groceries and make breakfast for myself; it would be worth it.      NOW IF YOU ARE THINKING WHAT I am looking at is unusual for a rental property, you would be correct. I am aware this property is extreme because of the others my friends have shown me from their trips. Most of them are fine, nothing too outrageous; however, there have been a few that were the pits. One friend of mine rented a cottage on a lake for a vacation spot for him and his family. The first thing that greeted them when they arrived was a broken bathtub sitting on the front lawn. Once inside, they found the place was dirty and I do not mean dirty from the previous guests. There was mold in the shower stall, peeling paint on the walls and windows that would not stay open. Also, the hot water never got hot. They took their luggage and went right back to their car and drove to the nearest hotel they could find. That is more like the image that appears in my mind when I hear someone is going to stay at a short-term rental property. And now that I have seen this film, I am even more afraid.      ARRIVING IN A NEW CITY FOR a job interview, the candidate picked a short-term rental property to stay at during her visit. To her surprise, when she got there the place was already occupied. With Georgina Campell (All My Friends Hate Me, Krypton-TV) as Tess, Bill Skarsgard (It franchise, Eternals) as Keith, Justin Long (The Wave, F is for Family-TV) as AJ, Matthew Patrick Davis (Henry Danger-TV, Dwight in Shining Armor-TV) as The Mother and Richard Brake (The Munsters, The Rhythm Section) as Frank; this horror, mystery thriller grabbed me early on. The suspense was thick and well played out, partially thanks to Georgina and Bill; they were excellent together. I enjoyed the freshness in the script and the way it built up the suspense and dread. However, the sharp turn it took threw me. It started to feel as if I was watching a couple of different stories at one point. And maybe that is the issue I had with this film; I would have been perfectly fine to keep more of the focus on the beginning two main characters. It took me a while to understand there was more to the script than what I was perceiving; I think with a little more tweaking this movie could have been a breathtaking, scary story. It certainly gives one reason to pause before agreeing to a short-term rental vacation property. There were several scenes with blood and violence.

2 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Review: The Menu

THERE WAS A TIME WHEN I wanted to see what was so special about some of the finer restaurants in the city. One of the first places I made reservations at was the French restaurant, Maxim’s De Paris. I cannot remember anyone ever mentioning that name to me except in the movies. If memory serves me correctly, it was in the musical movie Gigi. The other reason I wanted to book this place was because periodically the city newspapers would mention a visiting celebrity who had dined at the famous restaurant. That was enough reason for me to want to go see the place myself. I remember Maxim’s was located on the lower level of a hotel. The décor was art nouveau with red velvet chairs, spiral black metal railings and curved archways. Lining the sides of the rooms were tall, curved booths of black leather that formed a scallop design down the length of the walls. I remember we had 3 people taking care of us: a waiter, a server and a busboy. The waiter unfolded our napkins and placed them on our laps; between every course he scrapped crumbs off the tablecloth with a metal looking object he kept in his pants pocket. The food was delicious, I remember; however, I did not see any celebrities that night.      MY CURIOUSITY OF FANCY RESTAURANTS DID not last long. It was depleting my funds and more times than not; I did not care for the food. The only time I felt full was when the restaurant served a basket of breads or dinner rolls. I am a visual and texture eater which means for me if a dish doesn’t look good then I will not be touching it. Also, I am not fond of things sitting in liquid or having a gelatinous texture. There were some restaurants we visited that tried to be creative with their food items. Unless it was in the dessert category, I generally did not like any of the food; if I cannot recognize it then I don’t want to stick it in my mouth. The other issue I had with some of the restaurants was the food portions; they were too damn small, in my opinion. What annoyed me during the duration of my eating at fancy restaurants was the fact I never saw a celebrity at any of the places, not even waiting outside the place for their limo. Based on my experiences at these fancy restaurants, there is no way I would want to have been a guest at the food establishment in this comedy, horror thriller.      A YOUNG COUPLE JOINED A SMALL group of dinner guests to experience everything at a renowned chef’s remote island restaurant. There were going to be plenty of surprises for the guests throughout the meal. With Ralph Fiennes (The King’s Man, The Dig) as Chef Slowik, Anya Taylor-Joy (The Northman, The New Mutants) as Margot, Nicholas Hoult (Those Who Wish Us Dead, Warm Bodies) as Tyler, Hong Chau (Downsizing, Homecoming-TV) as Elsa and Janet McTeer (Me Before You, Albert Nobbs) as Lillian; this film is a very dark comedy. Out of the cast, Anya was the standout for me. She has a way of commanding the screen that made her character the strongest. The script was interesting in the way it slowly revealed bits of the story. I will say there were a few scenes that seemed too far-fetched; however, they started to make sense when I thought of them more as a satire. I will say, I did not like the ending and felt it was too abrupt and somewhat of a cop-out. If it was not for the cast, I might have had a harder time watching this film. The food shown did not interest me; but if there was a turkey club sandwich with no mayo and burnt bacon served, that would have caught my attention.

3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Halloween Ends

FORTY-FOUR YEARS AGO, SOME OF you might not have been born yet; for me, I was still in school and living in the same home I had been born in. Despite my schoolwork and working part time, I still found time to get together with my friends from time to time. A few of them had already finished their schooling and were living on their own. I was comfortable still being at home because it, especially throughout my earlier years, had always been my safe haven. There was a comfort and peacefulness that was nurturing compared to the issues I had had with the bullying and abuse that took place in the schools during my younger years. However, there was a moment in time where the comfort of my home took on a sinister bent. It happened after me and a couple of friends went to see a new horror suspense film at the neighborhood movie theater. I did not know anything about it except that the lead actress was the daughter of a famous Hollywood movie star. Even to this day, I still remember we went to a Saturday matinee to see this picture. We normally would have gone out to dinner afterwards; but after this movie ended, none of us had an appetite and just wanted to go home.      WHEN I GOT HOME, I WALKED over to the closet to hang-up my jacket; but this time, I hesitated at the closet door. Normally, I would just swing the door open and hang my jacket on the clothes hook that was close to the front, past the light switch. This time, I opened the door just enough to slide my hand in and turn on the light switch first before pushing the door further away. There had been a scene in the horror film that involved a closet and it had freaked me out. I knew inside it was foolish to think someone was in my closet, but I was not 100% convinced suddenly. Later in the evening I was talking to one of the friends who was at the movie earlier and they told me when they had walked over to their car in the theater’s parking lot, they first glanced through the window into the back seat to make sure no one was hiding there. Now, you might be thinking my friends and I were crazy to have been acting in such a way; but I am telling you, this picture was truly frightening. And back then I would have never guessed forty-four years later I would still be seeing another installment in what became an exceptionally long movie franchise from that first film.      MAKING CHANGES TO HER LIFE AND taking care of her granddaughter, the time was right for Laurie, played by Jamie Lee Curtis (Knives Out, Spare Parts), to stop being afraid of the past. However, her future might not go as planned when her granddaughter becomes interested in a local boy. With Andi Matichak (Foxfire, Miles) as Allyson, Rohan Campbell (The Valley Below, The Hardy Boys-TV) as Corey, Will Patton (Sweet Thing, The Devil Below) as Frank and Jesse C. Boyd (The Walking Dead-TV, One of These Days) as Officer Mulaney; this thriller went in a different direction than the past films in this franchise. The same eerie music associated with this movie was there which brought back memories from my viewings of the past films; I always enjoy watching Jamie Lee Curtis and she did not disappoint in this sequel. However, what did disappoint me was the script. The first half of the story had interesting ideas; but were not well executed, leading me to boredom. What one expects from this movie franchise did not really take place until the last half and by that point the bloody violent scenes seemed excessive. Also, it was easy to figure out who would not last until the end of the story. Based on this sequel, I hope this will be the last movie in the film franchise. As Jamie Lee’s character was trying to do, it is time to leave the past behind.                    

2 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Orphan: First Kill

FOR SEVERAL YEARS ALL I HEARD her talk about was her “dream” car. She did talk about other topics, but if we were walking down the street and her “dream” car was driving by, she had to stop walking and watch the car as it passed her by. Yea, it was a bit obsessive, but who was I to judge; I had my own fixations. The car, I must admit, was sharp looking. It had sleek lines with a large distinctive grill that had the automaker’s logo smack in the middle of it. I particularly liked the colors I had seen it in; each one appeared to alter slightly, depending on how the light was hitting it. After hearing my friend talk so long about this car, she finally had saved up enough money to put a large down payment down for it. I was thrilled for her. Lucky for her, she found an auto dealer who had the exact car she wanted, both in color and features. She was approved for the loan and with all the paperwork signed, she had a short wait before she could pick up her new vehicle. I looked forward to getting a ride in it and see things for myself.      THE CAR WAS EVERYTHING SHE IMAGINED; I could not be happier for her. She picked me up and we went tooling around the neighborhood before heading out on the highway. I must admit, the car was impressive. It was not until after the first time she had to drive in the rain, when I got the call. She was besides herself, sobbing into the phone. When she went to turn the windshield wipers on, the radio came on instead. Without the wipers working, she had pulled off to the side of the road to ride out the showers.  I offered to come keep her company, but she declined. Instead, she planned on driving straight to the dealer once the weather lightened up. Later in the day after the storm had passed us, she called to tell me the wiper malfunction was fixed, she was going back home. Over the span of the next few months, she had other issues with the car. There was a recall concerning possible brake failure, the door locks did not always lock, and her sunroof had a leak. She was horribly upset, and I could tell her dream of owning this car was deflating. It was when she received the second recall notice that she had had enough and decided to get rid of the “lemon” car. I was sad for her because I knew how much the car meant to her, but the reality did not match up with her dream. It was a similar situation for some of the main characters in this dramatic, crime horror movie.      A MOTHER AND FATHER COULD NOT believe it when they received the phone call that their missing daughter had been found. Upon rushing to meet her, it did not trouble them that their daughter was now talking with a heavy accent. With Isabelle Fuhrman (The Hunger Games, The Novice) as Esther, Julie Stiles (Save the Last Dance, Silver Linings Playbook) as Tricia Albright, Rossie Sutherland (Hyena Road, The Expanse-TV) as Allen Albright, Hiro Kanagawa (The Age of Adaline, The Man in the High Castle-TV) as Detective Donnan and Matthew Finlan (My Fake Boyfriend, Jingle Bell Princess-TV movie) as Gunnar Albright; this prequel surprised me. I could not remember much from the previous film, but it turned out it did not matter. As long as one suspends belief, the story was suspenseful and tense. It was so good to see Julie Stiles and to see her in this role. I felt Julie and Isabelle made this film exciting to watch and that is despite the scenes of violence and blood. From the slight memories I have of the original film, I believe I enjoyed this one more.

3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: They/Them

I WOULD LIKE YOU TO READ the following comments and tell me what they all have in common: “You would look better if you cut your hair.” “If you would lose some weight, you would look nicer.” “Why don’t you go into accounting; you are so good with numbers?” “I think you should play football; it will do you good.” Now that you have read them, what do you think is the answer? If you said, all the statements were offering unsolicited advice you would be correct. If you also said the statements were seeking to make a change in the individual, that would be a correct answer as well. For me, there is a difference between offering advice when asked compared to telling a person what you think they should do. No one has the right to try and change a person except for a psychiatrist and that is only if the person is seeking the means for a change in their life. One of the things I believe in is every person was put on this planet to experience or be happy. If they are not happy, then they need to find the means to experience happiness for themselves, whatever happiness means to them. When I first started to lose weight, I was doing it because I was not happy with my size. Clothes never fit correctly, were hard to find in my size and I tired quickly which made me unhappy. Despite the name calling and hearing the comments from “good intentioned” people; my weight loss only happened when I decided I wanted to make a change.      I HAD A FRIEND IN SCHOOL who was the butt of jokes and nasty comments because he was perceived as different by several students. He was super smart, with interests that were different from the other students. Having no interest in sports, besides not being athletically inclined, he was fascinated with art and fashion. It was never a surprise for me to see him walking down the hallway in clothing one would find in a fashion magazine. Where I preferred plain home style cooking, he always wanted to try some exotic, foreign food. Despite the ridicule and taunting he received, he did not change what he did. I admired his determination not to change himself just so he could fit in. He would tell me if the bullies cannot appreciate his passion, then it is their issue not his. I thought of him and others who would not change themselves because someone wanted them to be different, as I watched this mystery, horror thriller.      THE METHODS AND TECHNIQUES BEING USED at an LGBTQ+ conversion camp was becoming increasingly more uncomfortable for a group of teenage campers. And that was taking place before a dead body showed up. With Kevin Bacon (The Woodsman, My One and Only) as Owen, Theo Germaine (Work in Progress-TV, The Politician-TV) as Jordan, Anna Chlumsky (My Girl franchise, Veep-TV) as Molly, Carrie Preston (The Good Wife-TV, True Blood-TV) as Cora and Quei Tann (Dear White People-TV, Bruh-TV) as Alexandra; the idea behind this story intrigued me enough to decide to watch it. The cast was good, and the entire flavor of this film felt like a flashback to the stalker movies from the 70’s and 80’s. Unfortunately, the script was a poor patchwork of what felt like “woke” marketing topics. I was bored through parts of this picture; it lacked the suspense and horror one needs to make a story intense. At times, it felt like there were two story lines that could have gone their separate ways in their own movie. Credit must be given to the producers for approving this story to film; however, I do not feel the writing did it any justice. Characters were stereotypical and the scenes were predictable most of the time. Now, I am not telling the writers to make changes; however, maybe another rewrite would have helped this film. There were several scenes with blood and violence.   

1 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Beast

IT WAS DIFFICULT NOT TO SEE the news reports concerning a youth and the police. Like most others, I saw the video clips of the police officers subduing the young man. He was running away from them after the vehicle he was in was stopped by the officers. I am not familiar with the tactics police personnel use to restrain/apprehend an individual. One officer was punching the outer thigh of the young man who was on the ground, another kneeled on his chest, and a third one was trying to restrain the fists that were trying to land on anyone of them. I am going to do my best not to get into a discussion on whether it was right or wrong; I was not there and am not familiar with all the circumstances. As can be expected the family was outraged and the mother was interviewed multiple times by various news sources. She wanted the officers fired for the “abuse” they inflicted on her boy. Now let me give you one more detail about this story; the boy was 17 years old, riding with a friend at 2 in the morning (on a weeknight) and in his knapsack, after the police restrained him, they found a loaded handgun. My question to the outraged and distraught parents is, why was their underage son out past curfew, carrying a gun?      THROUGHOUT THE COVERAGE OF THIS INCIDENT, where protesters joined the parents in demanding justice for their son, the news people always mentioned the loaded gun and the police officers’ concerns. I do not deny the scenario is troubling all the way around, but I am troubled about an underage person having a gun. Does blame fall on the parents? It reminded me of the parents who took their children to the zoo. One of the parents climbed over the barrier to a gorilla’s pen for a photo opportunity. Who would think of such a thing and what are they teaching their children? As you would imagine, the gorilla attacked the parent and had to be darted with a tranquilizing drug. When it comes to parenting, I am nowhere near an expert; but I do know there is no handbook that prepares a parent for what will be in store for them with the birth of a child. However, I have said this for years: We need a license to drive a car; I feel a person should be licensed to have a baby. It is such a crucial factor in life, and I have seen many events of extraordinary parenting as well as poor. In this dramatic, horror adventure film, I am not yet sure how I feel about the main character’s parenting skills.      HOPING THE EXPERIENCE WILL BE POSITIVE and memorable, a father takes his daughters on a trip to visit their deceased mother’s childhood village in Africa. It would be memorable but not for the reasons the father was hoping for. With Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation, No Good Deed) as Dr. Nate Samuels, Martin Munro (Moffie, Warrior-TV) as Kees, Leah Jeffries (Empire-TV, Rel-TV) as Norah Samuels, Iyana Halley (Licorice Pizza, This is Us-TV) as Meredith Samuels and Thapelo Sebogodi (The River-TV, Our Girl-TV) as Camo; this thriller was lucky to have Idris Elba lead the cast. He was good, but the script did not provide anyone with a decent story to tell. The script was not believable; there were scenes that I found to be ridiculous in their phoniness. There were times I was sitting in my seat staring in disbelief due to the characters’ actions. The other issue I had was the fact that I was able to easily figure out how the story was playing out. It was not like there was an original thought used to create this story in the first place. Besides Elba, I also enjoyed the special effects used to create his wild adversary. There were several scenes with blood and violence. 

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Bodies Bodies Bodies

THE CALLER I.D. WAS SHOWING ME a request for a favor was imminent. The only time I would hear from this friend was when he needed a favor; I was so used to his requests that they did not annoy me like they did in the beginning. We had been friends for roughly ten years, but the request calls started taking place around five years ago. At first, they were intermittent; he would call periodically to say hi or to make plans to get together between favor requests. But the past few years the social calls dropped off leaving only the request calls as our form of communication. Because of our long history, if I could help out I would; however, if it was not convenient for me then I did not. If I were to look at our relationship from outside of myself, I would say we were more like acquaintances instead of friends. Granted, I make a strong distinction between friends and acquaintances, but I cannot honestly tell you I know what is new with my friend or how work has been going for him. I tried making plans with him in the past, but he never could commit to a time and place; he would always tell me he would get back to me. He never did until there was something he needed.      YOU MAY BE WONDERING WHAT DOES it take for me to stop being friends with someone. The obvious answer is if I could not trust them. However, there have been times where I thought we were friends but found out only when it worked for them. I had a friend I would hang out with from time to time, either doing a dinner or play. One day I received a mailer that a play I really wanted to see was coming to a theater in my suburb. I asked him if he wanted to see it; he gave me an enthusiastic yes. I said I would check on tickets and get back to him. The ticket prices were reasonable and there were plenty of seats, so I called him back to figure out a date. Now here is the part that changed everything for me: in the middle of us checking our calendars while on the phone, he asked where the play was being performed. When I said it was near me, he immediately said he was not interested. I asked him why and he said he was not going to travel out of the city to go see it. It came to me in an instant; from our history, he was only available for the things that were close to him; I was only a friend if I drove down to him. Maybe you have experienced something similar? I hope nothing like the friends in this comedic, horror thriller.      DURING A GAME AMONGST A GROUP of friends, one of the guests is murdered. When the friends start to figure out who they can trust, their true colors begin to come out. With Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give, The Darkest Minds) as Sophie, Maria Bakalova (The Bubble, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) as Bee, Rachel Sennott (Shiva Baby, Call Your Mother-TV) as Alice, Chase Sui Wonders (On the Rocks, Generation-TV) as Emma and Pete Davidson (The King of Staten Island, Set It Up) as David, this story was not something I was able to connect with easily. I could see the script was part satire and a take on the twenty something age group; but when they started playing the game, I lost interest. Plus, I did not find anything humorous in the script. I do not know if it was an age thing, but there was nothing I could relate to on some level. It was not until closer to the end of the story that I became interested. Overall, I was not a fan of this movie. There were several scenes with blood and violence.

2 stars  

Flash Movie Review: The Black Phone

LIKE MANY OTHERS, I TOO SUCCUMBED to the allure of the recent lottery buzz. I find it one of the cheapest fantasies, simply with a two-dollar purchase price. There was so much coverage in the newspapers, television broadcasts and online news sources about it being one of the largest pots in lottery history, that I wanted to be part of the craze. After I made my purchase, I kept fantasizing about what I would do with the winnings. Surprisingly for that much money I did not have that much on my wealthy life to do list. The first thing I decided I would do is to buy a car, despite financial columnists saying now is not a good time. Next, I would buy a home in a warm climate; a place I could go to during the winter months. There is not that much I want or desire after that except to travel. So, with my $2.00 lottery ticket in hand, I joined everyone else who was hoping their ticket would be the winner. The suspense, and it was a good suspense, was building up as the drawing neared; I was all into my fantasies. By the time of the drawing, the suspense was overwhelming because of my mind being filled with imaginary houses on the market for me to peruse.      SADLY, THE NUMBERS I WAS READING from the lottery site were not on my ticket. My dreams shattered, just like that. There would be no new car or new home, oh well. As far as I was concerned it was still a wonderful week of suspenseful fun. There are different forms of suspense, and I would partake with this kind any day. It certainly is better than the suspense one experiences before going under for surgery or the kind associated with what one hopes will be the delivery of a healthy baby. I believe each of us has experienced a form of suspense. The suspenseful anticipation of waiting for a loved one to come out on stage for a performance or the suspense one endures during a live auction; I feel they all are valid forms. As most of you know, horror films are not the first on my list to attend. I prefer the kind of horror that has suspense and is psychological. When I first saw the movie poster for this film, I was curious because the face reminded me of an old film that I enjoyed, where the main character had a similar mask. Deciding to see it, hoping it was not going to be gruesome, I cannot tell you how surprised I was watching it.      YOUNG CHILDREN ARE GOING MISSING AND the police have very few leads. The latest victim wakes up in an empty room with a disconnected phone that still rings. Should he answer it? With Mason Thames (Walker-TV, For All Mankind-TV) as Finney, Madeleine McGraw (American Sniper, Outcast-TV) as Gwen, Ethan Hawke (The Northman, The Kid) as the Grabber, Jeremy Davies (Twister, Saving Private Ryan) as Terrence and E. Roger Mitchell (Favorite Son, The 5th Wave) as Detective Wright; this film checked off all my boxes for pure entertainment. I thought Mason and Madeleine were wonderful. Part horror, part mystery and part fantasy; the suspense level was steady and consistent due to a smart script. Aiding the suspense level was this constant sense of dread that the director expertly managed. Ethan was as good as the other cast members, but I felt his character could have been darker. I was relieved there were only a couple of short, bloody scenes with violence. During the ending credits, I sat in my chair and thought if there was any other movie this year that moved me as much as this one. None came to mind, but I certainly will not forget how much I enjoyed watching this one.

3 1/3 stars  

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