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Flash Movie Review: Shock and Awe

IT IS SO INFURIATING TO ALWAYS be asked for advice that always gets dismissed. I just need to stop giving it when I am being asked, because it drives me crazy. A friend of mine will constantly ask me what I think or would do regarding an issue she is experiencing. Since she asked I am willing to help; not that I am some kind of oracle of truth who has the best advice. However, in those circumstances where I do have knowledge about the subject I will advise her. Time after time she will pick my brain to get as much information as possible before she goes and does the exact opposite of my suggestion. This is not bragging but a majority of the time my advice has been right on target. I know she hears me but from all those times she chose not to take my suggestions she wound up either losing money, wasting time or delaying her healing process. It really is maddening to see this stuff happen to her when it could have all been avoided. If she does not believe what I am saying, then what is the point of continually asking me?      THE IRONIC THING ABOUT THIS is we had a mutual friend who could never tell the truth. With anything he said the listener had to discount most of it. As an example, within a span of 3-4 months I heard him say he was a personal trainer, an accountant, a financial advisor, a banker and a chef. I know there were more but I no longer can remember, nor care about it. As I am writing this I just realized on the one hand I have a friend that doesn’t believe what I am saying and on the other there is another friend who never tells the truth. If memory serves me correctly, the friend who did not trust my advice used to accept the other friend’s stories a/k/a lies. What the heck was she thinking?!?! Truth is based on facts and reality; so, she must have been using a different reality if she was willing to believe the story telling friend. I guess this is an example of a person believing something is true, but not knowing if it indeed is true. Sadly, this is only one of many instances where I have seen someone willing to believe something without investigating the facts. I have an idea what the journalists must have been feeling in this dramatic biography based on true events.      HEARING A RUMOR ABOUT THE government wanting to invade a country journalists Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel, played by Woody Harrelson (Wilson, Solo: A Star Wars Story) and James Marsden (Hairspray, Enchanted), set out to find the facts to such a story. Every turn they made was met with disbelief. Set before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, this movie also starred Rob Reiner (The Wolf of Wall Street, All in the Family-TV) as John Walcott, Tommy Lee Jones (The Homesman, The Fugitive) as Joe Galloway and Jessica Biel (Total Recall, The Illusionist) as Lisa Mayr. I so wished I had some knowledge about this story and the journalists from Knight Ridder newspapers; the story was made to play like a political thriller. Horribly, this movie lacked everything needed to tell a good story. I cannot put my finger on it but the script was dull; there was no excitement or thrills when there should have been. The acting was okay but if you look at the film Spotlight, this movie was a light version of this type of investigative story. Such a shame and waste of resources to produce this mess of a movie. Trust me you do not want to spend money on this picture. I would rather have seen a documentary about these 2 journalists and what they accomplished.

 

1 ½ stars    

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Flash Movie Review: Playing for Keeps

I am more comfortable with diversity, whether it is in my classes or in my neighborhood, than everyone being the same. There is more opportunity for learning with a diverse group in my opinion. For example, I am uncomfortable with a group of people who all act as if they are part of the Stepford Wives. This is one of the reasons why I lost interest with the characters in this predictable movie. I found the soccer mom characters to be simply icky. The message coming across was that soccer moms were unsatisfied, desperate to find physical affection. Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago, The Terminal) as Denise and Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction, Gattaca) as Patti would be examples of the poorly developed characters in this dull film. Gerard Butler (Chasing Mavericks, Law Abiding Citizen) played George, a former soccer star who was down on his luck. Divorced and having been an absentee dad to his son, George decided to coach his son’s soccer team in hopes of getting back into his son’s life again. Jessica Biel (The Illusionist, Total Recall) played George’s ex-wife Stacie who had moved on with her life and was about to get remarried as George came back into her life. Besides the story being silly, I felt the characters were one dimensional. Dennis Quaid (The Day After Tomorrow, Pandorum) was ridiculous as smarmy character Carl, cheating husband to Patti. The acting was not memorable and came across as being stilted. I could appreciate the idea of Gerard’s character wanting to be a responsible father to his son, but the writers veered off from it by filling scenes with silly filler. Relative newcomer Noah Lomax was very good playing the son Lewis. I felt bad for this character; not as much for having an absentee father as for being stuck in this loser of a movie.

1 2/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Hitchcock

Executives of sanitation and water plants could not explain the sudden drop in water usage. There were many people walking around with a musty smell and slightly unpolished look. Hotel employees were perplexed in the sudden cancellation of room reservations. Well, maybe things were not that bad; however, you cannot tell me there were not a lot of people who thought twice about taking a shower, after they saw the movie Psycho. I remember the first time I saw this movie and how my heart raced. When a film is considered a classic, I enjoy hearing the back story on how forces came together to create such a great movie. This was one of the reasons I wanted to see this film, along with Anthony Hopkins’ (Thor, Proof) performance as famed director Alfred Hitchcock. When the story focused on the birth of Psycho it was fascinating. Even with all the success Hitchcock had with the movie studio, they balked at his plans, refusing to finance the project. I got a kick out of all the tidbits surrounding the filming process. It was fun to see Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, The Avengers) and James D’Arcy (W.E., Cloud Atlas) playing Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. In some scenes Anthony Hopkins was believable as Hitchcock; but at times, it seemed as if he slipped out of character and the makeup was odd. For me, the star of this movie was Helen Mirren (The Last Station, The Debt) as Alfred’s wife Alma Reville. I had no idea, if the story here is true, that she was as influential as she was portrayed. The problem I had was when the story veered off the making of Psycho and delved into the relationship Alma and Alfred had, it did not make for a cohesive story line. I appreciated the things I learned from this interesting movie; I just wished it had been more.

 

2 3/4 stars 

Flash Movie Review: The Illusionist

For those of you who wish to have an extra serving of magic, gaze upon this movie review. A rich, sumptuous film that continuously teases the viewer with doses of drama, mystery and excitement. The time is the early 1900’s in Vienna and Eisenheim, played by Edward Norton (Fight Club, The Incredible Hulk) settles into a small theater, to enchant the ever increasing patrons with amazing magical feats. Ah, but the illusionist becomes enchanted with Sophie, played by Jessica Biel (Valentine’s Day, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry), who is engaged to a crown prince. What begins is an intricate cat and mouse game, as the amazing Eisenheim uses his skilled abilities, with the hope of succeeding in mastering the ultimate dream. Beautifully filmed as if with a velvet brush and earthly palette, I was enthralled with this wonderful, creative movie.

 

3 1/2 stars — DVD

 

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