Flash Movie Review: Fool’s Paradise
IF YOU HAVE NEVER SAT WITH someone who was constantly posting things on their social media sites, then consider yourself quite lucky. I myself have been lucky, but I did have someone sitting at the next table to me at a restaurant who was posting stuff. Besides being inconsiderate with all her narrations, she was taking photos of every dish that came to the table. I sat there trying to ignore it all, but it was like trying to ignore fireworks going off in your backyard. All her movements were overexaggerated as was her dialog. The baked potato was not just delicious with butter and sour cream, it was according to her a perfect blend of buttery dollops floating in a sea of smooth cream, with a touch of shaved cheddar cheese sprinkled on top like a brief spring shower. I could not imagine who would be following her on social media; what made her such an expert, I wondered. Not that I judge people by their appearances, but she barely looked of legal age and talked in a phony solicitous way. I did chuckle at the way she kept flicking her long hair back, to keep her face in the best lighting possible. What was the purpose of her doing these posts; did she expect everyone watching to go to the restaurant? Or did she hope to find a way to monetize her sites based on the number of people following her? I do not get it. THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A PRODUCT I purchased based on a celebrity endorsement. These days there are some bloggers that have become celebrities; no matter, I would not act on the advice of a blogger, actor, musician or anyone who was not an expert on the subject. Many celebrities have been spokespeople for products or services; though, it seems to me it has increased in number after the golden age of Hollywood. Nowadays, it only takes a person to do one thing that gets noticed and the press quickly blows it out of proportion. It reminds me of that documentary I reviewed where a homeless man saved a woman from an attack, after a traffic incident. He became this hot topic, being wooed by talk show hosts and news outlets. It turned out he might have staged the event and was later accused of murder. Go figure. I cannot describe it fully, but there seems to be this voracious appetite in the news/entertainment worlds to continually elevate people to these absurdly high levels of public recognition, no matter who or what they may have done or not done. This comedic satire can show you an example of what I have been talking about. HAVING BEEN RELEASED FROM A MENTAL health facility, a homeless man soon becomes the latest rage in Hollywood’s media mill. With Charlie Day (Fist Fight, I Want You Back) as Latte Pronto, Ken Jeong (Crazy Rich Asians, The Hangover franchise) as Lenny the Publicist, Kate Beckinsale (Underworld franchise, Love & Friendship) as Christiana Dior, Adrien Brody (Blonde, The French Dispatch) as Chad Luxt and Jason Sudeikis (Colossal, Ted Lasso-TV) as Lex Tanner; Charlie wrote and directed this film. I thought he did an admirable job with his character, which had no dialog; it was completely a physical role. He along with the celebrity cameo roles were the high points of this movie. The script lacked humor, depth and emotion. It kept reminding me of an old Peter Sellars film titled Being There. I knew something had to be up because I was the only one sitting in the theater. There really was nothing unique here except, as I said, for cameo appearances from such celebrities as Ray Liotta and Jason Bateman. With nothing funny or unique being offered, I was left bored through most of this film.
1 ½ star
Flash Movie Review: Jolt
THE PUSTULES ON HIS FACE WERE fiery red which I took to mean it was going to be a bad day. The days they were deeper in color were the days he usually went on a rampage. It was hard to look at him which truthfully was not a problem for me. You never wanted to make eye contact with him, trust me. I was lucky because I was never a direct target of his; I usually was on the peripheral edges of his outbursts. In other words, I was near the student he was attacking at the time. There were times when I could not get away fast enough and wound up getting knocked down to the floor from the victim being pushed into the scattering students. I never understood why the school did not kick him out at some point because through my years at the school, he was always trouble. One of my biggest fears was having my seat assigned next to him. I do not know if it was because he had flunked a grade or not; but no one ever tried to fight back against him. He was a bully, though I felt he was a maniacal, insane, crazy person. Putting aside his horrible complexion, I never understood why he was so angry all the time. You would have thought at some point he would have used up all his energy for staying angry; but I could not remember a time when he was calm, or at least less angry. DURING MY TIME IN SCHOOL WITH him, it never occurred to me that his actions could be fueled by hatred. Hate was a feeling to me, not a cause for action. I hated cooked spinach and football, but I would never throw my dinner plate with spinach against the wall. But something happened that caused hate and anger to blend inside of me. That bully’s friends (I know, it is hard to believe he had friends) became emboldened and they started looking for their own victims. One of them started to focus on me. We had a gym class in common which was the worst place to become a victim. Through half of the semester, I dreaded walking into the locker room because I knew it would be difficult to stay hidden from him. It always stunned me; no matter where in the school I would get ambushed, there always were students who joined in on the abuse. This is where my hatred and anger fused together to the point, I was plotting diabolical revenge against all of them. Of course, it was only in my mind, but my anger was at such a high level, I could have used the device the main character had in this action thriller. AFTER LIVING YEARS IN LONELINESS, A woman with anger issues finds comfort from a first-time date. Unfortunately, it was short lived when he was found murdered soon after. With Kate Beckinsale (Underworld franchise, Love & Friendship) as Lindy, Jai Courtney (Suicide Squad, A Good Day to Die Hard) as Justin, Stanley Tucci (Supernova, Night Hunter) as Dr. Munchin, Bobby Cannavale (Thunder Force, The Irishman) as Detective Vicars and Laverne Cox (Promising Young Woman, Orange is the New Black-TV) as Detective Nevin; this picture had a comedic element through the story. Kate was fun in the role, being able to balance the tougher aspects of herself with the softer things the character was aspiring to become. The script, though it was mostly a basic story we have all seen before, had some leeway to let the actors try to elevate the story. I found this film to be a light, female centric version of the John Wick movies; there was more action than story. And I was okay with it; I was not angry in the least. In fact, there were times I chuckled while cringing. There was an extra scene at the end of the credits.
Flash Movie Review: Underworld: Blood Wars
IT was in elementary school where I first met them, but at different times. One became friends with me in 4th grade, the other in 7th. They became my best friends and we did everything together. We would have dinner at each others’ houses, sleepovers, go on family trips together; we considered ourselves the three musketeers. Having two best friends was great during the school day because there was always a good chance one of them would be in one of my several classes during the day. As we started to grow towards our teen years we began to develop our own tastes. I did not think much about it because I just adapted to the new environment. There were some activities one friend liked that the other did not, so the two of us would do it by ourselves. DURING this time I did not realize my two friends were forming a dislike towards each other; I had no idea why it was even taking place, but it was becoming clear that I was neutral territory. They were not overt about their dislike but when the three of us were together I noticed when either of them talked it was directed towards me. They did very little eye contact towards the other. This was becoming very stressful for me because I did not know how to fix the situation. Once we were in high school the hostility they had for each other became more public. It was getting harder to make plans with either one because if I could not make it for a certain date, I would be accused of favoring the other friend. Talk about drama, the situation was uncomfortable to the point if one friend saw me talking to the other one I was accused of playing favorites. I reached my breaking point and told both of them I was done with the drama; if they wanted to keep this anger up then go for it, but I was removing myself from listening or dealing with any more hostilities. I felt the same way about this action fantasy film. THE key to winning the war between vampires and werewolves all came down to the blood flowing through the body of Selene, played by Kate Beckinsale (The Aviator, Love & Friendship). Whoever could capture her would win the war. This sequel also starred Theo James (Divergent franchise, The Benefactor) as David, Tobias Menzies (Finding Neverland, Atonement) as Marius and Lara Pulver (The Special Relationship, True Blood-TV) as Semira. On the surface this film had a good, dark look to it which fit into the theme of vampires. The fight scenes were fun in that comic book way of filming. Kate was the focus and handled the role beautifully; however, the script was so basic and clichéd that I quickly became bored. To me the script seemed as if it was pieced together in a “connect the dots” fashion. The writers must have decided the film needed a love scene, a rivalry, a generation gap, etc. and just threw it into the story; it was easy to figure out where things were going, so there were no surprises for me. As far as I was concerned I was hoping the 2 sides would kill each other so I would not have to sit through another sequel.
1 ¾ stars
Flash Movie Review: The Disappointments Room
A life full of expectations will be a life filled with disappointments. I wish it wasn’t so but it is a fact; having those expectations can lead you down a sad path in life. This was a hard lesson I had to learn; I mean it took years for me to figure it out and even to this day I have to catch myself from placing expectations on things I have no control over. Now I am not really referring to the expectations we have when we are buying a product. For example if you are buying a vacuum cleaner you expect to plug it in and it works; though these days that may not be the case as much. Or how about the conversation I just had with a friend who went to a restaurant and ordered a particular dinner because of my recommendation. It turns out they did not like it; they were disappointed in the meal. Stuff happens, but where I had to learn to let go of my expectations was when I interact with people. I used to think when I was dating a person who had expressed the same traits and philosophies as me; they would act in a similar fashion as me. Because I reply quickly to a person’s email or text, I used to think the other person would do the same and when they didn’t I would think I did something wrong. It turns out that is not always the case. I learned I cannot place my values, morals or beliefs on someone else. What all of this has done for me is realize I can only be responsible for myself. I have to tell you, this really has helped me when it comes to seeing a movie. Without learning anything about it, I walk into a movie theater without any expectations. I have no idea if I will enjoy a movie or not; even one like this one. RELOCATING to a beautiful house they purchased out in the country Dana and David, played by Kate Beckinsale (Love & Friendship, Underworld franchise) and Mel Raido (Legend, The Informers), had no idea their house had an extra room that came with a secret. This dramatic horror thriller also starred Duncan Joiner (Some Kind of Beautiful, The Perfect Guy) as Lucas and Gerald McRaney (Focus, Major Dad-TV) as Judge Blacker. What I can tell you is the house and its grounds were beautiful. This was the best part of the movie. Wow, I could not believe people at the movie studio put their stamp of approval on green lighting this project. The script was horrible, void of anything exciting or spine tingling. Normally I have enjoyed Kate’s performances but this role was a waste. It was a bummer because the story was split into two trains of thought. If the writers would have only done a story about the house or one about the family dynamics I think this would have been a better picture. Instead what was offered was a silly, generic, plain movie that should have been locked up in the film studio’s disappointments room. I truly walked into this with no expectations despite the film’s title.
1 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Love & Friendship
They never had any reason to know each other during their high school years. The closest encounter was when they attended the same class during sophomore year. When it was time for them to graduate, both were excited about going to college because each one was hoping to find someone they could marry. For her she had no real desire to study in the liberal arts; she wanted to be a wife. He on the other hand was looking forward to studying business but was concerned if he could find a suitable wife in his economics and accounting classes. During high school neither did much dating for a variety of reasons; but with college looming, the idea of attending a school with an increased population translated into better opportunities for meeting someone. I did not know either of these individuals personally; we shared common friends. When I heard about each one’s similar story about going to college I did think it was an odd goal, but then again one of my main goals was to attend a college where no one else from my high school was planning to attend. Something that amused me a bit was the fact that I was hearing a similar story from a girl’s and boy’s perspective. I knew from history classes and discussions women many years ago were treated more like property than equals to their husbands. Life was hard; without a means of earning income and becoming independent, I can certainly understand the motivation behind finding someone to marry under the circumstances. It is always a good idea to be aware of how far things have progressed; so if you are in the mood for a wickedly fun history lesson then I suggest you watch this romantic, comedic drama. BASED on a Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice) story this film starred Kate Beckinsale (The Aviator, Underworld franchise) as Lady Susan Vernon, Chloe Sevigny (Boys Don’t Cry, Zodiac) as Alicia Johnson and Morfydd Clark (The Falling, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) as Frederica Vernon. Set in the 1790s I thought the acting, sets and costumes were all good. Kate especially did well with her memorable character. If you are a Jane Austen fan I feel you will immensely enjoy this movie. I had a hard time with the script. For me there were too many characters to keep track of; I found myself trying to figure out who was related to whom or what was the importance of such and such character. It was bothersome after a while. From my limited exposure to Jane Austen I found this story to be different from the others. There was an underhanded or stronger sense of manipulation from the main character that I don’t recall seeing in her other characters. There was a lot to enjoy about this movie; however, I may be in the minority but there were times where I had wished for the film to end. There is something to be said for seeing how things used to be and it is good to know when they are progressing in the right direction; I only wished this film was more entertaining for me.
2 2/3 stars 3 ¼ stars for Jane Austen fans
Flash Movie Review: Everybody’s Fine
There are parents that do whatever they can to give their children a better life. Whether they push their kids to work harder at their studies or to give more time to their practices, most parents want the best for their children. Growing up my mother would always tell me that I should become an accountant, because I was good with numbers. I did not know if it was because at the age of 8 years old I started selling my brothers’ comic books and records on the street corner, unbeknownst to them. Or at the age of 13, I got a job with my friends selling household products door to door; I was enterprising but had no desire to grow up and become an accountant. From what I have seen, you just never know how a child will turn out. The family dynamics were fascinating to me, in this touching drama. Recent widower Frank Goode, played by Robert De Niro (Being Flynn, Limitless), realized he had to find some way to connect with his children, now that their mother was gone. When the children cancel a planned holiday trip to come in and visit him, Frank decided he would surprise each of them by showing up at their homes unannounced. Some surprises, however, do not turn out as planned. Just because someone says they are fine, doesn’t necessary mean they are okay. In the past few years I felt Robert De Niro was becoming a cartoon character of himself. It was so good to see him take this role and bring out a nuanced, emotional vulnerability; I thought it was one of his better performances. Playing his daughters Amy and Rosie, Kate Beckinsale (Underworld franchise, The Aviator) and Drew Barrymore (Charlie’s Angels, Music and Lyrics) were quite good in this poignant film. I certainly will give more thought before telling someone I am fine, after having seen this movie.
3 stars — DVD