A FRIEND OF MINE CREATED AN informal group that consisted of friends and acquaintances, who wanted to help take care of our neighborhood. The only requirement to be part of the group was to have pride for the neighborhood. Since I was born and raised in it, I signed up to become a member of the group. I have to say my friend was a sensitive individual, who started the group to combat the negativity he was experiencing both in his workplace and personal surroundings. His hope was to spread a little positivity around the neighborhood through acts of kindness. The first event he scheduled was to meet at the beach, ready to clean up any litter. When I arrived, he handed me a trash bag; I already was wearing a pair of gloves, so did not need the ones he was providing. There was a total of 9 or 10 people who participated and the time my friend set for the event was two hours. We each were assigned an area of the beach and went at our own pace because some of us weren’t as young and nimble as the others. I was grateful that in my section I did not come across anything truly disgusting. Instead, most of the items I found were cigarette butts, plastic cups, empty bottles, cans and tattered sheets of paper. Why people could not take the time to walk over to the trash and recycling bins, I would never know. ONE OF THE REASONS MY FRIEND asked me to join his group was because he knew how attentive I was in recycling everything I could at home. Granted I was lucky that the town I lived in had a very active recycling program that was easy to follow. Each resident was given two large bins, one for trash and the other for recyclables. They also gave out small orange crates as backup in case our bins got full before trash day. Since I kept my bins in the garage, I made doubly sure to rinse any containers out before leaving them sitting outside for days. I did not want to attract any wildlife with food encrusted items. Besides the usual newspapers and magazines, I recycled most of my junk mail, along with any container that showed the recycling number on it. I also would recycle those plastic rings that held together a six pack of soda, but only after I cut open each ring to prevent any wildlife from getting their head stuck in one. For me, I felt I was doing my part in protecting this world just like the main characters felt in this action, adventure fantasy. DUE TO AN UNEXPECTED EVENT, ANCIENT aliens who lived among us had to come out of their peaceful lives to combat an old enemy. With Gemma Chan (Captain Marvel, Crazy Rich Asians) as Sersi, Richard Madden (The Take, A Promise) as Ikaris, Angelina Jolie (Maleficent franchise, Those Who Wish Me Dead) as Thena, Salma Hayek (The Hummingbird Project, Like a Boss) as Ajak and Kit Harington (Pompeii, Game of Thrones-TV) as Dane Whitman; this latest release from the Marvel Universe was a big disappointment. I felt the script lacked the typical humor one expects from Marvel films. Scenes dragged for me and I did not care for the flip flopping that took place in the latter part of the movie. Surprisingly, I thought the special effects were not up to par; there seemed to be an almost cartoonish aspect to the characters, and I do not mean that in a good way. The pacing and the action scenes just seemed off to me which added to my boredom. Except for the 2 extra scenes during the ending credits, I would not have immediately thought this was a Marvel film. It felt like I had spent an eternity watching this picture by the time it was over.
Advice given that was so simple and easy to remember; I can still hear it after all these years. I was talking to the wife of a married couple about what kept their marriage together. She said there were times you just had to keep quiet and not complain when you sometimes had to do something you really did not want to do. This was not earth shattering by any means; but it really resonated with me. I now cringe when I think about all those times where I used to complain about going to a restaurant I did not like or going out with “their” friends who I found annoying. There really was no reason I needed to let everyone know I did not want to be there. Whether it is the passage of time or maturity, I am so glad I do not act out like that anymore. I understand the importance compromises and sacrifices have in every relationship. Dating someone who enjoyed country western dancing meant even though I felt like a lopsided goofball while two-stepping, I kept doing it so I could be their dance partner. It is funny as I just wrote that I was remembering a couple I knew who got divorced because the husband did not like his wife being away from home as much as she was for her job. She was a flight attendant who was doing this even before they got married. Separation can be tough for any couple; imagine those individuals who are in a relationship with someone in the military. If you want to see an example from a long time ago you can see it in this autobiographical film. MISTER Brittain, played by Dominic West (The Wire-TV, Pride), believed Oxford was no place for his daughter Vera, played by Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, A Royal Affair). Though she had dreamt of going there, Vera would find her heart being distracted by a young man and the impending war. This film festival nominee was based on Vera Brittain’s memoir; I have not read it yet. However, after seeing this beautifully filmed period piece I want to read her book now. It was interesting to see the effects of World War I through a woman’s point of view. The cast which also included Kit Harington (Game of Thrones-TV, Pompeii) as Roland Leighton and Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Smoke-TV) as Edward Brittain were all especially good in this romantic drama. I will say the story started out a bit slow and predictable for me; however, Vera’s acting skills kept me involved in her plight. The look and feel of this movie was gracefully lush and when I found out it was based on a true story, I only had more fondness for Vera’s incredible life. There were brief scenes that had blood in them.
It is never a good sign when I glance down at my wristwatch during a movie. What made things worse was the watch’s battery was too low to illuminate the time. Looking for a watch repair shop was more of a challenge than I had expected, finally finding one a few suburbs over from where I was located. As I walked into the shop a tiny bell hanging from the edge of the door tinkled. Sitting behind a long, dusty glass case sat an old bespectacled man wearing oversized magnifying goggles on top of his glasses. His out of proportion massive, dark eyes looked up at me as I neared him. Hunched over a metal table with miniature piles of tiny metal watch parts, his disheveled clothing loosely hung off of his scrawny frame. As he worked on my watch I was able to look around the shop that really looked like an old discarded movie set. There were all types of clocks hanging on the walls, ticking in a symphony of different beats. Whenever I glanced over at the owner I was impressed by his meticulous precise movements while he worked on my watch. I had to wonder what will happen to the shop once the elderly owner was gone; would there be someone new who could do such intense looking work? Finding a protege with similar skills would be challenging. JEFF Bridges (The Giver, Crazy Heart) played Master Gregory, who was the last of his kind. When the evil witch Mother Malkin, played by Julianne Moore (Still Alice, Carrie), escaped the prison Master Gregory had placed her in, he would need the help from an apprentice with a particular lineage to help in her capture. Upon meeting Tom Ward, played by Ben Barnes (Stardust, Dorian Gray), Master Gregory was not sure if he found the right apprentice to take on such a difficult task. This action fantasy looked good in the trailers. I thought if Jeff and Julianne were adversaries they would be able to generate some high drama and sparks between their characters. Unfortunately the script was so bad; they could not save this dull adventure film. If the script had focused more on the two of them, I think there would have been a better chance this movie would have lured more viewers. I was actually embarrassed to see Kit Harington (Pompeii, Game of Thrones-TV) in his role as Mr. Bradley. The special effects were good but they were not enough to compensate for the ridiculousness in this picture, like stuffing something in Jeff’s mouth so he would be hard to understand when he talked. Sitting through this movie I had to wonder how Jeff got this role; this was the type of film only Nicolas Cage would star and bomb in.
1 1/2 stars
There are some things in life worth fighting for, metaphorically speaking. If I believe something is the right thing to do, I will argue the point without any time limit. I am willing to fight traffic if it means I get to spend quality time with a friend. (I bet you thought I was going to say a movie.) Love is certainly worth fighting for, wouldn’t you agree? There was someone I dated where I was wiling to make sacrifices or more accurately compromises because I felt it would help the relationship continue to grow. You may think it is silly, but one of my strongest self-imposed rules is my last meal cannot start later than 6pm, for dietary reasons. They liked eating at 8pm, feeling my time was too early. Luckily we both wanted to keep investing in our relationship so we negotiated times and made adjustments to help each other. In this situation it was worth it to me, to fight myself in the name of love. This fighting for love was one of the things I admired about this dramatic action film. Kit Harington (Games of Thrones-TV, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D) played Milo, who witnessed his parents’ death at a young age. Orphaned and alone he grew up a slave until he was old enough to become a gladiator. None of his fights meant anything to him until one day he saw Princess Cassia of Pompeii, played by Emily Browning (Sucker Punch, The Uninvited). I enjoy watching a movie that includes a historic setting or reenactment. It allows me to add a visual to what I have learned in school and books. Unfortunately the story for this film was pretty much a cheap knockoff of the movie Titanic, except there was fire instead of water. Kiefer Sutherland (Phone Booth, 24-TV) was forgettable as Corvus. I actually felt bad for Kit; with all the work he did to sculpt his body, he should have devoted some time to polishing his acting abilities for the big screen. He was one dimensional throughout the film. The only actor who did decent acting was Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Oz-TV) as fellow gladiator Atticus. I saw this film in 3D and it did nothing for me except cost me more money and made the picture look darker. The concept for this movie was silly to start with, add in the weak script and there really is no reason to fight your way to the movie theater to see this film. There were brief scenes that included blood.
1 2/3 stars