I ONLY HAD TO GO THERE ONCE and vowed I would never go back. Before I share my experience, I want you to know this is just my reaction to the place; I know there will be others who think this place is a wonderful establishment and I would agree with them. It serves a purpose and obviously a need. For me, it was too weird and geared for the consumer to spend lots of money; or else, be considered less of a parent for not buying their child the things they were asking for. I had agreed to meet up with a few relatives for some shopping therapy and lunch. We wandered into this store that was filled with shoppers and their children. The store specialized in realistic toy dolls, though I do not know if the management would consider their dolls as toys. The aisles of accessories were astounding; anything you could imagine was ready for sale there, from head scarves to sunglasses to designer purses. What was more incredible to me was the in-house beauty salon and hospital for their dolls. If a child’s doll got broken, they could bring the doll into the store to get admitted into the hospital. Or, if a child wanted their doll to have a new hair style, they could make an appointment at the beauty salon to bring the doll in for a new hairdo. I checked the pricing for these things, and they were not cheap. THOUGH I DID NOT SEE IT FOR myself, I understood there was a restaurant somewhere inside the store where a child and their doll could share a meal together. Being somewhat of a cynic, I had to wonder if the doll’s meal would cost the same price as the child’s food. This was all so strange to me; to have children and their families spend such money on what essentially was a toy, baffled me. When I mentioned the in-house hospital earlier, I forgot to mention I saw a few dolls with bandages and casts on their limbs. What was going on in this place? Would the child have to buy crutches for their broken doll I wondered. The whole setup for this retail store was foreign to me. These dolls, though they were made to closely resemble actual human beings, were still a toy; a toy that could wind up discarded on a shelf after the child grew up and stopped playing with dolls. On the bright side, it was a good thing the dolls sold in this store were not like the doll in this horror, mystery thriller. AFTER A TRAUMATIC EVENT A FAMILY moves out of the city to an uninhabited country estate. They should have investigated who lived there before. With Katie Holmes (Batman Begins, Dawson’s Creek-TV) as Liza, Owain Yeoman (American Sniper, The Belko Experiment) as Sean, Christopher Convery (The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Gotham-TV) as Jude, Ralph Ineson (The Witch, Harry Potter franchise) as Joseph and Anjali Jay (The Age of Adaline, Power Rangers) as Dr. Lawrence; if no one had told me this was a sequel I would have never known. I have no memory of the original movie The Boy. And let me tell you, if the original was anything like this sequel I do not know if I would have gone in to see it. The directing was plain tired, and the script was awful. With the setting and details of the story, if the writers would have used their imaginations and pushed the limits of the story, they could have gotten an exciting and scary script here. Instead, this movie was a generic attempt at being a horror thriller. Clocking in less than an hour and half, it still felt as if I had been sitting for a long time due to the boredom I was experiencing. Sadly, I would have rather been back at the retail store that sold dolls instead of sitting through this blank stare of a film.
1 ½ stars
SLIGHTLY BELOW AVERAGE height, you would not associate them with unusual let alone average strength. Bespectacled and unassuming, the couple easily blends into a crowd of people without any effort. As they say “looks can be deceiving” and with this couple no truer words have been spoken. For all of their quiet, mild mannered appearances no one would ever guess they both were experts in the martial arts. The only way one would even know that about them would be if you saw them mentoring the students in their classes. Dressed in their off white colored short pants and jacket with a black belt tightly tied around the waist, the two of them periodically demonstrate defensive movements. The speed of their punches and kicks nearly defies nature; they are precise and quick. For some people who would have such skills, they would telegraph it via their enlarged confidence and mannerisms; but for this tiny duo, they conduct their daily life with a sense of peace and calmness. I AM ALWAYS amazed by the amount of people who make assumptions about other people based solely on their outer appearances. And it seems like more and more people are doing that these days. I do not know if it has anything to do with our society’s desire for instant gratification that causes people to make snap judgments; but it seems as if less people want to take the time to learn about another person. It still amuses me to this day when someone finds out what I do for a living and activity. Either they think I am too nice to do one job or not buff enough to do the other job. Think about it; imagine someone freely telling you, you do not look fit enough to teach fitness. I do not believe this would fall into the compliment category; it does not bother me, I find it amusing and rather enjoy seeing the confusing looks given to me. To see what I mean feel free to check out this comedic crime drama directed by Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven franchise, Traffic). AFTER LOSING HIS job Jimmy Logan, played by Channing Tatum (Magic Mike franchise, Jupiter Ascending), hashed out a plan to make his life easier and richer. He would just need help from strangers to pull it off. With Adam Driver (Silence, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Clyde Logan, Daniel Craig (Defiance, Cowboys & Aliens) as Joe Bang, Katie Holmes (Batman Begins, Phone Booth) as Bobbie Jo Chapman and Riley Keough (American Honey, We Don’t Belong Here) as Mellie Logan; the cast overall was fine in this film, though Daniel Craig was the stand out performer for me. His character was so different from what most of us “assume” him to be. I enjoyed the mix of characters in this story along with the side by side story lines; however, I have to tell you I was underwhelmed by this picture. With the buzz about Steven coming out of retirement and the favorable reviews I saw afterwards, I was left with a feeling of light amusement and enjoyment. For some reason the movie came across in a monotone way, without deep emotions attached to it. Some additional background information would have been helpful, but still I just felt I was watching a series of vignettes. It wasn’t like I assumed I was seeing a laugh out comedy or intense drama; I just thought, “Isn’t that a surprise.”
2 ¾ stars
They go hand in hand; for every high point in one’s life there will be a low point. It is just the natural order of things or the way I refer to it, the pluses and minuses of life. There is nothing like riding a high wave of elation; where positive feelings flood the body, coating all the senses with heightened awarenesses. Who would not want to have this type of experience; I know I would prefer it. However, life does not give one the option to pick and choose fully their experiences. I know I did not choose to trip off that street curb and scrape my knee on the ground. In my brain having both positive and negative experiences is necessary. You see, if a person only experiences one or the other what do they have to compare with what they are feeling? I know our emotions play a part in all of this. Though I wish I did not have to deal with the downs in life, I know they only make me appreciate the up times more. Without having the two polar opposites life would be pretty bland. ELIMINATION of the emotions was what the society in this dramatic science fiction film achieved for all of its citizens. There was no war, jealousy, hatred, bigotry or sexism; everyone lived in steady harmony. All negative experiences were a thing of the past; only the memories associated with them were stored in one individual known as the Giver, played by Jeff Bridges (True Grit, The Men Who Stare at Goats). When the time came to share those memories with his apprentice, the Giver needed to make sure the events of the past would not repeat themselves in the present. Based on the Newberry Award winning novel by Lois Lowry, this was one of my favorite books. Meryl Streep (Hope Springs, The Iron Lady) played Chief Elder who made sure all the rules were enforced to prevent history from repeating itself. The cast also included Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent, Oculus) as Jonas and Odeya Rush (The Odd Life of Timothy Green, We are What We Are) as Fiona. Sadly I have to say this film version sucked the life out of an incredible, thought provoking story. I was looking forward to seeing this picture and though Jeff and Meryl were excellent, they could not save the dullness of the script. For those not familiar with the book I believe they would mildly stay interested in this film. There was a cool look about the movie where some scenes worked well. Unfortunately with so much taken out of the original story, I could easily see where things could be confusing to viewers. It truly was a shame that a movie about an emotionless society was just as emotionless.
1 3/4 stars