WITH DIZZYINGLY SPEED, SHE SCROLLED THROUGH her photos on her phone. To me it looked like a blur; I had no idea how she would be able to spot the photo she was seeking. Her thumb looked like it was waving at me from the way she was using it to go through her photographs. I tried to keep up with her and make out the images that sped by on the screen; but, because I guess they were not my photos, I could not decipher the images that were captured for a split second on her phone’s screen. Finally, she found the photo she had been looking for and with a pinch of her fingers she made the image bigger for me. She wanted me to see the details of the object up close. I was chuckling inside, remembering the “old days” when one wanted to see something up close in a photograph, they would have to get a magnifying glass. Speaking of the “old days,” I remember when I used to go to rock concerts, I would have to buy a special high-speed film for my camera if I wanted to take photographs. Nowadays one only needs to take out their smartphone and snap a picture. And I am guessing most of you do not know there was a time when museums prohibited the taking of photographs; try enforcing that now with almost everyone walking around with a camera in their smartphone. I AM NOT DISCOURAGING THE ADVANCEMENTS in photography; but I feel something has gotten lost with the technology we use to take photographs. For me, photographs capture a moment in time; it may be of a person or a place. Going through an old box filled with photos is a way of finding connection to one’s past as they go forward in life. Seeing a relative wearing a different hat in each photo you have of them when they were young might surprise you; since, you have no memory of them even liking hats. Maybe she had designed the hats herself when she was younger; you would never have known if it was not for the photos in your possession. When I see a much younger version of myself and can immediately experience the same feelings I was dealing with in the photo; whether good or bad, I am reconnecting with my former self. That photo is proof of the history I have lived, besides being a reference point to how far I have come in life. Seeing the shiny images of deceased relatives staring out at you, is akin to feeling their support in your current endeavors. A photograph can say a lot about a person; just see what it says in this dramatic romantic film. AN OLD PHOTOGRAPH LEADS JOURNALIST MICHAEL Block, played by LaKeith Stansfield (Sorry to Bother You, Short Term 12), on a journey of self-discovery and love. With Issa Rae (Little, Insecure-TV) as Mae, Chelsea Peretti (Game Night, Brooklyn Nine-Nine-TV) as Sara, Chante Adams (Bad Hair, Monsters and Men) as Christina and Lil Rel Howery (Get Out, Good Boys) as Kyle; this film was beautifully staged. Going between two different time periods, I enjoyed the filming of each period and the connection between the two stories. Issa surprised me in this dramatic role; she had a wonderful authentic screen presence that matched LaKeith. Their chemistry felt real and believable. Though the script got heavy-handed at times with the romantic aspects and predictability; I still enjoyed watching the characters as they matured through the story. Also, it was pleasant to watch a romantic movie that felt organic in its development instead of feeling forced. I would love to see the art of printed photographs make a comeback because of this picture.
IT SIMPLY TAKES ONE EVENT, OCCURRENCE, meeting or altercation to change a person’s life. I fortunately and unfortunately had a profusion of them. Having seen the aftermath of a boy’s torture and killing of a cat steered me down a path to save and protect the animal population. Seeing a fellow student hoisted up to a locker room window, to be flung out, made me avoid the locker room the rest of the school year. After a couple of kids made fun of my religious beliefs, I avoided any talk about religion with anyone for years. Being on the receiving end of physical abuse made me untrusting and avoid any physical contact with another human being. I could go on, but I think you get the point; the things that happen to us when we are kids can have a lasting effect on what we become. Sadly, for some of these individuals they wind up living their entire life without realizing they have not reached their full potential; that there is more to their life besides fear, sadness and anger. For others, that single event led them on a road of exploration to discover their full capabilities. Can one consider all these scenarios a game of chance? I USED TO WONDER HOW DIFFERENT my life would have turned out if I knew then what I knew now. If I had been an active participant in my PE classes I might have been on one of the school’s sports teams. If I had not been sideswiped by the abuse, maybe I would have let my guard down a bit upon meeting new people and be open to new experiences. One never knows and cannot spend most of their time wondering about “if”. That word “if” can be truly debilitating to a person. “If I had only done…”, “If I went…”, “If I had taken…”; any of these types of musings will drive you crazy. Trust me, I know of what I speak. The most valuable thing I learned is not to sit and dwell on all the “ifs” in your life. I am a firm believer there are no accidents; there is a reason for everything. It is this belief that has allowed me to stop dwelling on the past and realize everything that happened to me led to who I am presently. Once I came to this realization I experienced a sense of freedom that allowed me to finally live my life. After all I have said you still wish you could go back and repeat your life, then you need to first take a look at this comedic fantasy. THERE WAS A REASON COMPANY OWNER Jordan Sanders, played by Regina Hall (Girls Trip, The Best Man Holiday), never let her guard down nor cared about her employees’ feelings. She was about to find out why. This romantic film also starred Issa Rae (The Hate U Give, A Bitter Lime) as April Williams, Marsai Martin (Blackish-TV, Goldie and Bear-TV) as little Jordan Sanders, Justin Hartley (This is Us-TV, A Bad Moms Christmas) as Mr. Marshall and Tone Bell (Dog Days, Whitney-TV) as Preston. The cast was well chosen for this story and did an admirable job of acting. There were a few humorous scenes and some funny lines; however, I did not get heavily involved in the story. The reason being this story had been done before and done a whole lot better. I found the script uneven as it jumped around from one emotional level to another, without any connections. It was a disservice to the actors where I did not see any chemistry being developed. I appreciated what the writers were trying to say, but something must have happened that made them veer off course.
EACH OF US I BELIEVE CARRIES a daily pill box container inside of us. I can see each of those little squares holding a small aspect of our personality, those things that make us, us. Not in a split personality way, but I feel we all have different personas we need to wear depending on the situation. I know when I teach my class I am a different person than when I am a credit manager at work. In fact, there have been many people in my classes who are stunned when they hear I am a credit manager. It is funny because several of them said the same thing, that I seem too nice to be in that position. Think about it; when you accompany your significant other to one of their work functions, don’t you act a certain way? I am willing to bet most of you who do, are conscious of what you say and how you act in front of your loved one’s fellow employees and superiors. It always stuns me when an employee’s partner winds up stinking drunk and makes a scene in front of everyone. NOW THERE ARE SOME INDIVIDUALS WHO act the same no matter what environment they occupy; damn anyone who doesn’t like the way they act. I used to be one of those people; I would say I was an extreme version of who I am now. There is this game where players must guess which answer you would choose for each scenario that gets presented to you. I had to stop playing because everyone knew exactly how I would react in each situation. I firmly believe everyone needs to be true to themselves. Where I used to make sure people knew I did not like them; now I can be civil and lessen my exposure to them if I can. I will not kid you, it takes some finesse. There just are some individuals who are not nice; feel free to put in any other adjective, since I erased them during my editing of this review. I am no longer an “in your face” type of person; however, if need be I have that aspect tucked inside of me. And that is what I meant about we have a pill box container inside of each of us. To show you an example, there is an incredible one inside of this film festival winning, crime drama. AS THE SOLE WITNESS TO A SHOOTING Starr, played by Amanda Stenberg (The Darkest Minds, The Hunger Games), knew if she revealed herself people’s perceptions of her would forever change. She did not know if she was that strong to do such a thing. Also starring Regina Hall (Girls Trip, Scary Movie franchise) as Lisa Carter, Russell Hornsby (Fences, After the Sunset) as Maverick “Mac” Carter, Anthony Mackie (Captain America franchise, The Hurt Locker) as King and Issa Rae (A Bitter Lime, Insecure-TV) as April Ofrah; this movie took me away to another place. The story, which was completely current and important, blossomed with the well written script and amazing acting skills of the cast. Amandla would be someone to watch for because she was beautiful in her role. I thoroughly enjoyed the way the script went from a humorous spot to an intense moment, to finally end up in a thoughtful place. It felt as if the writers and director precisely dissected the story to present a complete picture to the viewer. Though the story may be something you have already seen on the news; I found this picture presented a different take on it and I am here to say my eyes were glued to the movie screen.