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Flash Movie Review: Blonde

IT WAS SO LONG AGO, WHEN I first saw her. Back then, I thought she had an odd voice. I think I was still in elementary school when I saw Marilyn Monroe for the first time. It was the movie “Some Like it Hot” with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon and it was being shown on television. Liking both Tony and Jack, the movie easily kept my attention. When I first heard Marilyn speak, I thought that could not be her real voice; it sounded like a cartoon voice. Because I could not recall seeing any other woman that looked like her, I thought her voice added another layer to her cartoonish size physique. In my mind, she did not look real. The characters Tony and Jack played drew more of my attention than Marilyn’s character. I remember laughing at the two men when they were dressed up as women. After seeing this film, it was some years later before I saw another film that Marilyn starred in. And that movie was Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Though Marilyn’s character had a familiarity to it, I was older now and better able to understand the work that went in to create her character.  Her timing was impeccable along with her line deliveries. Her character became a classic in filmdom.      IN ALL HONESTY, I HAVE NOT seen any other of Marilyn’s films except one or two. I have seen news stories and articles, along with documentaries. In fact, there was a documentary series about her that aired earlier this year and it was the best one I had ever seen. The talk in Hollywood was Jayne Mansfield was highly intelligent. Well after seeing this latest docuseries, Marilyn was much smarter than what she let people see. For that time, as an actress, she yielded a lot of power. She knew exactly what she was doing to keep her name front and center. I was impressed with the things she achieved despite all the hardships she had to endure. The attribute of hers that I could relate to the most was her determination. She truly was a fighter and would not give up until she reached her goal. The perfect example is the film she did with the British actor who had no use for her and made her time during the filming of their picture a living hell, from what I understand. Now with my heightened awareness of her abilities, I have been working on watching anything that has to do with Marilyn. This is the reason I chose to sit through and watch this long movie based on Joyce Carol Oates’s novel.      DESPITE THE HARD CHILDHOOD, YOUNG NORMA Jeane, played by Lily Fisher (General Hospital-TV, Station 19-TV), had a determination in her that would help her succeed in a man’s world. With Ana de Armas (No Time to Die, The Gray Man) as Norma Jeane, Julianne Nicholson (Black Maps, August: Osage County) as Gladys, Tygh Runyan (Dark Harvest, Road to Nowhere) as Norma Jeane’s father and Michael Drayer (Claws-TV, Mr. Robot-TV) as Deputy Will Bonnie; this biographical romance drama had one outstanding thing going for it. It was Ana; she was amazing in her role. Unfortunately, I found the rest of this film to be exploitive and shallow. Maybe because I had watched the docuseries, I found the script for this picture to be disjointed. There were times where it felt like little snippets of time were being shown without any depth to back them up. I was disappointed with this picture; it did not provide anything new or anything entertaining. I think Marilyn would have been insulted by this movie.

1 ¾ stars

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Flash Movie Review: I, Tonya

IT WAS THE FIRST time I was invited to such an event and it would be my last. I was invited to an ice skating birthday party many years ago. The party was being held at an indoor ice skating rink that had a party room that my friend’s parents decorated with balloons and signs. I had never gone ice skating before so I was excited to try it out. After lacing up the skates, on wobbly legs I made my way to the rink, grabbing any solid object for balance on my way. Stepping on the ice I remained at the side with my hand on the short wall that surrounded the rink. I had seen ice skaters on TV and thought it was easy to stand on a thin steel blade but I was wrong. Every time I let go of the wall and tried to skate I fell down. I do not think I ever made it around the rink once without my skates slipping out from underneath me, either falling face first on the ice or on my backside.     THOUGH THERE WAS STILL time to skate before we were having cake, I got off the ice and sat on a bench where there was carpeting. I would not say I was sad, maybe frustrated; since there were people on the ice who made it look effortless. There were a few individuals who would skate face forward then suddenly do a hop so they could skate going backwards. I still remember one girl who was given a wide space around her because she was doing these incredible fast spins, where she simply looked like a blur or did spinning jumps in the air that captivated me. These few people almost looked like the skaters I would watch at the Olympics and other ice skating competitions. Sitting there looking at my discarded skates, I wondered if it was possible to get a second blade on each boot. I just felt if I had more blades to balance on I could make my way around the rink. And do you know what the funny part is to this story? I remember seeing Tonya Harding on television when she did something that no other female skater had done before and no one I saw at that rink was like her.     FROM A YOUNG AGE Tonya, played by Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad, The Wolf of Wall Street), stood out from the other ice skaters; her mother LaVona Golden, played by Allison Janney (Hairspray, The Hours), stood out even more. Based on true events this film festival winning, biographical drama has to be seen to be believed. Allison was totally outrageous in the role and I see award nominations piling up for her. Margot was a perfect fit for this character; it was a smart choice on her part that will make her even more bankable as they say. With Sebastian Stan (Captain America franchise, The Covenant) as Jeff Gillooly, Paul Walter Hauser (Kingdom-TV, Super Troopers 2) as Shawn and Julianne Nicholson (Black Mass, August: Osage County) as Diane Rawlinson; I cannot remember how long it has been since I sat in a movie theater laughing out loud. The script beautifully blended outrageous moments with tragic undertones. The story when it happened was so bizarre to begin with, I enjoyed seeing the behind the scenes stuff in this movie even if it was not true. One thing I knew for certain was the judgmental views officials had about Tonya. No matter which way one chooses to view Tonya in this picture, the fact remains she did something astounding. You will have to decide what it was she did.

 

3 ½ stars

 

 

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