MAGIC ACTS AND PRODUCT DEMONSTRATERS used to be the only things that amazed me when I was small. I would always become mesmerized by magicians performing things my eyes and brain could not believe. Making animals appear or disappear, cutting assistants in half or shooting flames out of extended hands; all of it was a total fantasy for me. As for those product demonstrators, I still can recall standing at the head of a small crowd of people gathered around a table as a man was talking about an amazing product that would prevent eyeglasses from steaming up. He would extend his hand out and slightly up just above his head while holding a pair of glasses and spray the lenses with this mysterious stuff. Next he would hold the glasses over what looked like a vaporizer that was spewing out steam. Miraculously the lenses never fogged up. It was pure magic to me. Anytime I was at a store and heard one of these demonstrators talking, I would make a beeline to them and wiggle my way to the head of the crowd of shoppers to watch the next magical feat being performed. MY AMAZEMENT OF THINGS HAS expanded as much as I have aged. Every day it seems I hear or see something that stops me in disbelief. I cannot recall a time where so many things happening around the world literally stun me. Gratefully not everything is of a horrific nature; there are some acts that are life changers and I mean that in a good way. Just imagine what it must have been like when the first microwave oven came into existence or when we had the first moon landing. I am sure it had to be a “heady” experience for many people. Sadly it seems to me currently the scale is tipping to the negative side more and more. An example that just came to mind is company advertisements that, for whatever reason, wind up having a racist or derogatory message. I believe it was the past week there was an alcohol commercial that looked as if it was making a prejudicial statement about races. Seeing an act of violence like commercial or religious buildings being blown up with innocent people inside just makes me stare at the news, trying to comprehend how such a thing could even be thought up; it simply boggles my mind. Many times I say to myself, “Did that just happen?” This same question crossed the mind of the main character in this horror thriller. FINDING HERSELF COMMITTED TO A mental institution Sawyer Valentini, played by Claire Foy (Breathe, The Crown-TV), could not tell at times if she was facing her biggest fear. Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Magic Mike, Erin Brockovich), this movie also starred Jay Pharoah (Ride Along, Get a Job) as Nate Hoffman, Joshua Leonard (If I Stay, The Blair Witch Project) as David Strine, Amy Irving (Carrie, Traffic) as Angela Valentini and Juno Temple (Wonder Wheel, Killer Joe) as Violet. This viewing was somewhat unusual for me. The movie was filmed with the use of an IPhone which made some of the camera shots interesting. I thought Claire was convincing and it was good to see Amy Irving. My issue with this picture has to do with the script. There were several intense scenes within the story, but then all of a sudden everything would go flat. I found myself losing interest because during the film it felt like scenes were being repeated. It was not until close to the end where I got back into the story, though I did not like the way the movie ended. I was amazed this picture was done on an IPhone; too bad it wasn’t better.
You know it is a real love when the person looks past your perceptions of yourself and focuses on what they see in you. It may have started as an infatuation but as time lengthened the love inside of you branched out to form a bond with the other person. The connection taps into each of your reservoirs of dreams and hopes, where the common ones blend together as the single ones wait for that spark of support that will fire them up towards reality. Love brings a person startling powers. Alone, individuals would not willingly place themselves in a situation that would be painful or harmful. However, when in a relationship love spurs the person to take on or at least try to take on their significant other’s pain or suffering. I have had a couple of relationships where the person had an accident or became ill and had to be hospitalized. It was awful to see them incapacitated and in pain. I felt helpless, wishing there was something I could do to ease their agony. It was during those times that I discovered love grows stronger in a health crisis. TRAGEDY would not change the feelings Adam, played by Jamie Blackley (The Fifth Estate, Snow White and the Huntsman); had for Mia, played by Chloe Grace Moretz (Carrie, Hugo). A gifted cellist, Mia was on course to follow her dreams when an automobile accident occurred, placing her in a coma. Adam could only hope his love would bring her back. Based on the novel, this dramatic movie had several elements that had the potential to create a moving story. The cast which included Mireille Enos (Gangster Squad, World War Z) as Mia’s mother Kat, Joshua Leonard (Higher Ground, Men of Honor) as her father Denny and Stacy Keach (Nebraska, American History X) as Gramps did the best they could with the script. Ultimately it was not enough because this picture fell flat as the scenes seemed forced and manipulative. The chemistry between Chloe and Jamie never felt strong to me; it only made things worse. One of the big issues I had was the way the story jumped from current time to past memories. They never provided an opportunity for the characters to become more than one dimensional. Compared to this past summer’s movie, “The Fault in Our Stars,” this film was a poor alternative. What made this a less enjoyable experience was the crowd at the theater; it was predominately 13-15 year old girls who were vocal throughout the movie. Geared towards them I just sat in my seat and wondered what would happen to them when they grew up and discovered love in the real world.
1 3/4 stars