FOR MANY YEARS I DID NOT realize the ability to “read” an individual was a gift. I just assumed everyone was capable of doing it. As a kid there was a teenage neighbor that was polite and quiet. I did not have much interaction with him; I thought it was due to the age difference. However I always got a cautious feeling when he was around me. I could not explain it but there was just something about him that made me wary of him. One day I was walking down the backstairs with a cousin when the neighbor appeared at the bottom of the stairs we were about to descend. Without warning the teenager threw a rock at us and hit my cousin in the forehead. As the two of us ran back up the stairs the neighbor ran out into the alley and disappeared. Another example of being able to see a person’s true self happened when a friend of mine started to date this man who right from the start was making her all these promises of what their life would be together. Really, I thought; it was not long into their new relationship when his true intentions came out. The guy told her his funds were temporary tied up and he needed $500.00. Need I go any further in this story? SO THE ABILITY TO GET a sense of a person’s true intent is a valuable tool to include (if available) in one’s check off list when evaluating an individual. Now I do want to make it clear there is a distinction between “reading” a person and making a judgment about them. I do not believe my feelings about someone are written in stone; it may be only a feeling that causes me to be more cautious, but I do not assume the person is absolutely what I think they are in inside. Only time will tell the truth and even that is not always a given. I guess this is the area where one can only look for red flags, warnings that something is not right. I have heard just from my friends alone, so many stories about a person pretending to be someone they are not. It is even more prevalent on social media sites. And the ironic thing is this has been going on for such a long time; the only difference is there are now more people being duped who have stopped giving a person the benefit of the doubt, taking longer before they begin to trust someone. The main character in this mystery thriller will show you how it is done. PRIMA BALLERINA DOMINIKA EGOROVA’S, played by Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games franchise, Joy), career was cut short due to an accident during a performance. With no other means to support herself and her mother, she was ripe to be recruited into a special Russian spy program. She would become a quick learner. With Joel Edgerton (The Gift, Warrior) as Nate Nash, Matthias Schoenaerts (The Danish Girl, Rust and Bone) as Vanya Egorov, and Charlotte Rampling (45 Years, Never Let Me Go) as Matron; I thought the actors were well cast in this film. Granted Jennifer was the star of the story and gave it her best, but due to the uneven script I did not get totally wrapped up into the story. There were scenes that were intense but then we would go through a dull lull before something exciting happened again. I thought the story was sound but not everything clicked together in this picture. Also I felt the violence and sex on display were used as a distraction for the poorly written script. I had a sense this film would not match up to the excitement of the movie trailers; I guess I should listen to myself more often.
Between the people slightly in front an arm was thrust towards me so I shook hands with it. I did not have time to see who was attached to the arm so I asked the person alongside me. It was a city politician who was walking the parade route. Funny this was now the 4th handshake I have had with a political figure. You can learn something from a person’s handshake; I still remember the feelings I experienced when I shook the previous hands. One politician’s handshake was more of a squeeze instead of a shake; he was tightly wound in my opinion. Another politician’s handshake was firm but respectful who deliberately made eye contact, exuding confidence. The most I have been able to say to them was something about being glad to meet them. I think my handshake conveys my feelings; it is direct and firm most of the time. If I happen to get a negative feeling from a person I keep the handshake light and less firm so I can remove myself quickly. Besides politicians the only other celebrities I have met were a couple of directors who came to the screenings of their movies. I have seen actors at different locations but I am not the type to go run up to them and carry on about meeting them out in public. However what I really would enjoy is being able to sit down with them for coffee or dinner and just have a conversation that goes beyond the surface. This would apply to anyone from any facet of life who I admired. I can only imagine how it must have felt for the journalist in this biographical drama. WHEN the phone rang at his office Ed Myers, played by Giovanni Ribisi (The Rum Diary, Ted franchise), could not believe who was calling him. The gentleman on the line said he was Ernest Hemingway. Based on a true story I had never heard of this event. The first thing I have to tell you is I thoroughly enjoyed watching the outdoor scenes in this film festival winner because they were shot in Cuba; talk about timing as the United States has moved away from its previous policy towards the country. Starring Adrian Sparks (The Manhattan Project, The Purge: Anarchy) as Ernest Hemingway and Joely Richardson (Event Horizon, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) as Mary Hemingway; I thought the acting was good, especially from Joely and Giovanni. Set during the late 1950s in Havana, Cuba the idea to film this story sounded like it would be a dramatic win-win situation. Now I did like this movie but I felt it did not do real justice to the characters; the script kept things too simple so some scenes came across manipulative and over-dramatic. The actual experience was more important than what was told in this picture; but I have to tell you, I would be just as excited as Ed Myers if I were to meet the person who I felt changed my life.
2 2/3 stars
The world quickly changes when you are experiencing your very first love. For some it may have taken you from receiving an allowance to carrying a purse or wallet; it is a new found independence. If you are the first to experience it among your friends, it can be unsettling for some of them. I remember one of my earliest dates was going to a carnival that came to the neighborhood. Both of our best friends came with us so no one would have to go on a ride alone if one did not like the ride. The two of us went on a ride similar to a Ferris wheel but at a 45 degree angle, with each car looking like a parachute attached to a seat. She was wearing a sundress and a big floppy hat; neither of us realized what the consequences would be on this attraction. Spinning faster than it looked from the ground, our seat veered further out on its axis and the generated wind hit us smack in the face. She let out a screech as her dress flew up while the flaps of her hat folded back. The ride seemed to continue on forever as she screamed the whole time with one hand holding down the front of her dress and the other hand pressing down the hat on her head. Luckily we both were able to laugh about this later in the day. This is a fond memory I have carried with me through the years. I do not know if the couple in this romantic drama will be able to say that with their memories. Alex Pettyfer (I am Number Four, Magic Mike) played high school senior David Elliot. Through the years he had admired classmate Jade Butterfield, played by Gabriella Wilde (Carrie, The Three Musketeers), but never had the courage to approach her. It was graduation time and David would only get one chance to talk to her. Could he do it even if he lived on the wrong side of the tracks? This remake of the 1981 film was painful to watch because it had so few redeeming qualities. The script was laughable; truly, the audience chuckled at some of the cheesiest dialog I have ever heard in a long time. The acting was horrid except for Joely Richardson (Anonymous, Nip/Tuck-TV) as Jade’s mother Anne. Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek franchise, Deja Vu) played one emotion for most of the film–angry, as Jade’s dad Hugh. Since seeing this picture I have seen a couple of reviews where they said Jade’s hair was one of the best parts in this awful film and they were right. The memory of this movie is something I hope I can soon forget.
1 1/2 stars
It may only take one article of clothing, accessory, family member or friend and you get branded for life by your peers. A sweater you wore may have a spot or small hole that you did not notice, but someone else did and made the assumption you came from a poor family or even worse a dirty family. I have a watch that looks like an expensive, famous brand of timepiece. It always surprises me during a conversation with an unfamiliar person, when i catch them staring at my watch and their mannerisms do a slight shift towards me afterwards. I cannot explain it since I avoid dealing with people who only focus on the surface of an individual. Back in school I had a friend whose dad was a bus driver. I cannot tell you how many times other classmates would make comments about how his dad was Ralph Kramden (if this name is unfamiliar to you then look up Jackie Gleason) or he was the son of a bus driver. Not only did I not understand the reason for these kinds of comments, but I found them cruel. Well, evidently this same kind of labeling takes place among vampires. Lucy Fry (Lightning Point-TV) played Lissa Dragomir, the last vampire of a royal bloodline. After being out on her own in the real world she was forced to return to St. Vladimir’s academy for vampires with her best friend and protector Rose Hathaway, played by Zoey Deutch (Beautiful Creatures, Mayor Cupcake). She was not well received by some of the student body; in fact, some would rather have seen her dead. As if school was not hard enough already, Lissa found herself in the middle of a class struggle. This action fantasy was such a poor production; it screamed of being a Harry Potter and Twilight movie knockoff. The character Rose appeared to be jacked up on huge amounts of caffeine; her speech was more of a verbal blur to me. For the life of me I did not understand why Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects, Miller’s Crossing) as Victor Dashkov and Joely Richardson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Event Horizon) as Queen Tatiana were part of this film unless they both lost a bet with someone. The script provided nothing but poor dialog and goofy comments. There were so many opportunities to instill some excitement, tension, thought or even sentimental moments but none of that entered into this boring tale. I hope there are no plans to make a sequel. Though I mentioned I try not to label anyone based on their surface, I may have to reconsider when it comes to the director and writers of this silly vampire fantasy.
1 1/2 stars
A love relationship is very much like a tree. With care and affectionate nourishment the love grows, branching out to reach further up into the sky. Your relationship solidifies when the leaves open up to shelter and protect you from any harmful rays. Times of sadness come like changing seasons; shriveled leaves dropping like colorless tears. You gather them up and place them around the base of the tree to protect it like a warm shawl, warding off the cold effects of somber winter. The love and support you show will rekindle life into a new season of love. Like a tree one cannot pick and choose the parts they love and ignore the rest. Relationships go through many season of change; unconditional love is what keeps them strong. Love gets tested in this dramatic comedy about people and their addictions. The story centered around Adam, Mike and Neil; played by Mark Ruffalo (Now You See Me, Shutter Island), Tim Robbins (Mystic River, Jacob’s Ladder) and Josh Gad (Jobs, Love & Other Drugs), and the effect their different stages of recovery from addiction weighed on their relationships. The chemistry between Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man franchise, Country Strong) as Phoebe was sparkling real; I enjoyed watching both their playful and serious scenes together. There was an even pacing to the story where I never felt it becoming slow. I expected Joely Richardson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Event Horizon) as Katie to give a good acting performance which she did, but I was surprised at the screen presence from Alecia Moore aka Pink (Get HIm to the Greek, Catacombs) as Dede. Some of the humor was obvious, especially around Josh’s character Neil; it came across as cheap shots regarding Josh’s size. The writers did an admirable job for showing the characters’ addiction as a disease without it becoming a joke. That does not mean it was all seriousness; there were light threads of humor that never reached a higher level of laughter. Without saying it in so many words, I liked the way the theme of unconditional love played out in this romantic movie.
2 2/3 stars