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Flash Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

HOW DOES ONE GIVE UP SOMETHING they love? I find it to be one of the hardest things to do. I have been told I have strong willpower; that I can be disciplined enough to forgo something for a short time, not so sure about long term. Talking with someone recently who is pregnant, she said the hardest thing for her during her pregnancy was not being able to eat pizza. It is her favorite food and now every time she tries to eat a slice she gets horribly sick. I mentioned it should only be a temporary situation and pass once her baby is born. Another example I can think of is when one goes shopping with a friend or relative and both fall in love with the same item that the store has only 1 left on their shelf. Think about a sweater or cooking item that you have been searching for that your relative or friend has been wanting also; how do you decide which one of you gets to purchase the item? Maybe only shop alone to avoid the problem in the future; but for the present, most people tend to offer the other person the item out of politeness.      I KNOW TWO WOMEN WHO BOTH are passionate about collecting certain antique clothing items. They both have similar tastes which has become an issue for them. The items they seek can be found through auctions; the 2 friends wind up bidding against each other sometimes and not always knowing it. I thought they came up with an equitable plan. Before each auction they now discuss which items they are going to bid on. When they both want to bid on the same item, they take turns on who gets to bid on it. When there are multiple items up for bidding they alternate turns. Gratefully this has worked out for them; they avoid spending more money on items and more importantly, there are no hurt feelings. Now I understand the examples I have mentioned may seem trivial to some individuals. However, I believe whenever love is involved, whether it is love for an item or love for a person, there is a stronger connection that makes it harder for the person to separate themselves. Look at parenting; isn’t the idea of it to raise kids to become independent? Or, at the end of life; there are some people who cannot let go of their loved ones. Love is such a strong emotion; if you do not believe me then feel free to watch this animated, adventure sequel.      AS THE NEW RULER HICCUP, VOICED by Jay Baruchel (Lovesick, She’s Out of my League), has created a safe haven for the dragons who look up to his dragon as their leader. Just when his dragon Toothless is needed during a crisis, Hiccup’s dragon is focused more on love. With America Ferrera (Cesar Chavez, Ugly Betty-TV) voicing Astrid, F. Murray Abrahams (Robin Hood, Finding Forrester) voicing Grimmel, Cate Blanchett (Ocean’s Eight, Thor: Ragnarok) voicing Valka and Gerard Butler (Hunter Killer, The Bounty Hunter) voicing Stoick; this action sequel brought everything together for the final chapter in this movie franchise. The animation was wonderful as the actors brought their characters to life. I thought the story made a perfect ending to these films and appreciated the well written script providing a blend of excitement, humor and emotional sensitivity. If you have not seen the previous movies I do not believe you will be lost with this picture; there were things I had forgotten, and it did not make a difference in my level of enjoyment for this film. Though I love the dragons from Game of Thrones, there were a few dragons in this movie that I could see myself loving as well.

 

3 ½ stars     

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Flash Movie Review: Just Buried

When you find someone who has the same type of humor and similar likes/dislikes as you, it feels like you two are members of a secret club. The two of you may have the opposite reaction to something compared to everyone else around you but it is fine; both of you are sharing the same thought which only strengthens the bond between you. There is a term called “thick as thieves” which means two or more people are very close or friendly, sharing secrets. The term is an informal version of “partners in crime.” Growing up I had a cousin who was my partner in crime. We would take dishwater detergent bottles, pour the contents into a bowl, then fill the bottles up with water to use them as squirt guns. Our neighbors’ kids thought we were weird until they got doused with a blast of water from our bottles; they were more powerful than the average squirt gun. Even in my adult life I have several friends who are like my partners in crime. There is one friend I enjoy going with to the theater because we have such similar tastes; we usually get the same reactions to the things we see up on stage. You may find us laughing or crying at a scene while the theater patrons around us remain blank and emotionless. At least we had each other; can you imagine what it would be like if you were with someone who did not get you? It would be awkward.    OLIVER Whynacht, played by Jay Baruchel (This is the End, The Art of the Steal), inherited a funeral home that was nearly bankrupt. Things looked grim until mortician Roberta Knickle, played by Rose Bryne (Neighbors, This is Where I Leave You), found a way to increase the number of funerals at the home. This film festival winner was a twisted dark humored dramedy. Having been introduced to Rose in more current films, I enjoyed watching her in this older movie because it showed she had excellent comedic timing even back then. The cast, which also included Grahan Green (Dances with Wolves, The Green Mile) as Henry Sanipass and Nigel Bennett (Legends of the Fall, The Skulls) as Chief Knickle, was fine overall. As for the story it had a familiar vibe to it; I could predict what was going to happen in several scenes. Compared to other movies of a similar vein, I would have to say this was an average one. With this being a black comedy I would suggest you watch this DVD with someone who enjoys this type of humor; otherwise, they may sit there and think you are just odd. There were scenes with blood in them.

 

2 stars — DVD

Flash Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon 2

When the option is presented who would not want to repeat an experience that brought them pleasure previously? I know I certainly would want to do it. There are some places I return to when I take a vacation; the familiarity makes my transition from work mode to leisure time all the quicker. I have a few movie theaters that I prefer going to if I have the choice. Granted if there is a film I need to see that is only playing at a theater I am not fond of, you can be sure I will tough it up and go see it still. In regards to restaurants, when I find a meal that is good I will order it every time I return to the place. Where I am adventuresome in some areas, when it comes to food once I find something I like I can eat it over and over. I do not want to take a chance that I may not experience the same euphoria on a new meal that I could have had with my favorite. This type of thinking also plays into my feelings about movie sequels. If watching the first film was a great experience for me, I am hesitant about going to the sequel for fear of being disappointed. Sure there have been sequels that have been good or even better than the original, but I believe the majority of them tip to the side of being mediocre or a quick money grab by the movie studios. However, no need to worry with this animated adventure sequel; it was absolutely fantastic. After orchestrating a healthy relationship between vikings and dragons 5 years earlier Hiccup, voiced by Jay Baruchel (The Art of the Steal, This is the End), heads out with his dragon Toothless to find and hopefully change the mind of the the evil Drago, voiced by Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond, Gladiator), who was determined to take control over all dragons. This action film was filled with amazing animation that worked beautifully with the fully developed story. Before I realized it was her, I was immediately captivated with the emotional voice of Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine, The Lord of the Rings franchise) who voiced Valka. Gerald Butler (Olympus Has Fallen, Chasing Mavericks) reprised his rich voice for the character Stoick. Appropriate for the entire family, this picture was even better than the first one. I went through several emotional feelings while watching this wonderful film festival nominee. You can put your cares aside, take flight and join the wonderful world of dragons in this sequel. I hope they continue the franchise.

 

3 1/2 stars

Flash Movie Review: The Art of the Steal

As each of the year’s fully read pages of my life turn over, I notice that my mind and body do not always play nice together. There are things my mind tells me I can still do but my body now groans with disapproval. I know a trip to an amusement park these days means instead of ordering a snow cone I will be asking for a glass of water to accompany my 2 pills of ibuprofen. After the trees around my property release all of their leaves I can still climb up a ladder perched on the side of my house to clean out the gutters; however, my mind now recoils to the back of my head, screaming at me that I am going to fall. Sure there are some things I used to do years ago that I now wish I had the stamina to undertake; but realistically I know it would not be prudent on my part. Damn, don’t I sound so mature and adult? It was a similar dilemma that former art thief Crunch Calhoun, played by Kurt Russell (Death Proof, The Thing), was going through in this comedic crime film. After spending time in prison Crunch was coaxed into one last scheme by his half-brother Nicky, played by Matt Dillon (Crash, The Outsiders), to steal a rare book. However when two people have different motivations, no matter how good the plans were thought out, the outcome will not necessarily meet up with their expectations. The cast was made up with some decent solid actors. Seeing Kurt Russell back on the big screen produced a nostalgic feeling inside of me. It seemed to me Matt keeps playing the same type of roles, the darker edgier character of the cast. Yet with the actor Terrance Stamp (Unfinished Song, Wanted) playing Samuel Winter, I never tire of his performances; he always puts his best into each of his characters. The issue I had with this film was the lack of excitement; it came across as a typical heist movie with nothing special in it. I think listing it as a comedy was a bit of a stretch since I do not recall laughing at anything. Maybe it was because I found some of the characters were stereotypical. The other reason was the script did not give the actors much to build on to their characters. Too bad, because I felt the assembled cast would have gelled better with each other. Hopefully the actors did not feel they were too old to take risks with their roles and were only going through the motions.

 

2 stars

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