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Flash Movie Review: Roman J. Israel, Esq.

HOW FAIR IS IT when an employee who has inside information acts on it? I do not feel it is right. At a company I used to work at there was an employee who worked in a division that assisted the human resources department. This person was involved in the yearly creation of the company’s calendar that listed which holidays the company would be closed. By the time the calendar was distributed the employee had already picked the most popular days to schedule their vacation time. For example they would always take the day after the company’s scheduled closure for the Christmas holiday. As for the holidays that were celebrated on Mondays, this person would pick either the Friday before or Tuesday after to extend the weekend out. Other employees in the department would get upset and rightfully so in my opinion. Limited on how many employees could schedule time off in one department, no one else got the opportunity to extend their holiday celebration or take an extended weekend vacation.     WITH THE ONSET OF instant news I have seen so many examples of individuals or groups of people using the knowledge they were privy to for personal gains. I am willing to bet there is a lot more that goes on that we have not heard about. And I am sure it was taking place way before the internet came into existence. Now I am not one to claim I walk a high moral ground, but I feel people who take advantage of other people solely because of their position are immoral. They may gain in financial ways but as a human being they fall down a couple of rungs on the evolution ladder. There is that old saying, “what goes around comes around” and I would like to believe that is true; however, I am sure there are some people who skate through life untouched by their misdeeds. I can see where believing in karma allows one to let go of the negativity of such actions, knowing the “crooked” individual will face consequences in their lifetime or the next one. If you are curious to see what can happen to a person then may I suggest you see this dramatic crime film.       DEDICATED TO HIS PROFESSION as a lawyer Roman J. Israel, played by Denzel Washington (Fences, The Equalizer), uses a piece of information to make a change in his life. It possibly could turn into more of a change than he anticipated. This film festival winner also starred Colin Farrell (The Beguiled, The Lobster) as George Pierce, Carmen Ejogo (Selma, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) Maya Alston and Amanda Warren (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Mother!) as Lynn Jackson. I had trouble connecting with Denzel’s character because I could not figure out if he was shy or socially undeveloped or on the spectrum for autism, despite Denzel doing his best. The script which was written by Dan Gilroy (Kong: Skull Island, Nightcrawler), who also directed this picture; did not help in developing Denzel and some of the other characters. Another thing for me was the lack of explanation on the connections between the characters. I am afraid I became bored with this movie at times. Considering the cast I felt there could have been more drama than the uneven script allowed. Maybe those involved in producing this film had knowledge about the characters, but they did not share it with the viewers.

 

2 stars

 

 

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Flash Movie Review: Marshall

IT IS STILL A MYSTERY, at least to me, how a person winds up with a strong sense of confidence. In fact is it even a sense? Maybe it is more of a belief; either way it is something I have struggled with for a long time. When I look back all the way to my school years, I do not recall any of my actions being motivated from a base of confidence. Now granted my brain is wired to be a defensive pessimist which I have always considered to be an asset. With this type of mindset I go into something expecting the worst; so if it fails I am not disappointed and if it comes out good then I am elated. The thing about being wired this way is it allows me to look at all the possibilities for ways things can go wrong, pushing me to go harder in finding a solution. Yet I still would like to know how it feels to do something without having to question oneself.     THERE WAS A PROFESSOR who periodically would get his manuscripts published into books. He never thought about what market he was writing for or if his work would be successful; he just knew when he was done writing his final draft the piece would get sold. I was fascinated to the point of being enthralled by the confidence he exuded when it came to his writings and teaching. There never was a point where he would second guess, doubt or even think he would not be well received in his world of academia. I wondered if by hanging around him some of his confidence would rub off on me. The whole confidence thing is such a curious puzzle to me. Is it something that gets instilled in a child from their living environment? Can a person be taught to have confidence? And how much influence does the classroom experience have on a child? I wish I had answers to these questions for it would have given me more insight into the amazing confidence the main character had in this biographical, dramatic movie.     DURING THE TIMES WHERE there were “White Only” water fountains NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall, played by Chadwick Boseman (Get on Up, 42), was sent to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman. It was a case that would take on historic significance. Based on a true event the cast also included Josh Gad (Beauty and the Beast, The Wedding Ringer) as Sam Friedman, Kate Hudson (Bride Wars, Deepwater Horizon) as Eleanor Strubing, Sterling K. Brown (This is Us-TV, The Suspect) as Joseph Spell and Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast, The Guest) as Loren Willis. First let me say the acting in this film was incredible; Chadwick and Josh embodied their characters fully. I am so impressed with Josh’s versatility and movie choices; he commanded the screen. The script and direction worked hand in hand to create not only a monumental event, but wrap it into a court thriller. Personally I would have enjoyed if the writers put in more of Thurgood’s back story because his confidence, especially in the environment he resided in, was unbelievable. With the courtroom drama taking up most of the air, the secondary side scenes were relegated to the background in my opinion. Please excuse the pun but the movie studio did justice to this story and I only wish I could have just a tenth of the confidence Thurgood Marshall had inside of him.

 

3 ½ stars

 

 

Flash Movie Review: The Judge

The spoken language is not an exact science. Sure there are rules we follow to aid us in communicating with each other; but some choose their words carefully, others say the first thing that pops into their mind. Then there is the inflection, the way we speak our words; some do so with conscious intentions. However, there are times where the intended remarks may come out in a veiled way that leaves them open for interpretation. By using tone, volume and speed to accentuate the words; they can caress a person’s soul like a velvet blanket or prick their heart with the tip of a sharp dagger. Adults seem to be better equipped to decipher what a person is saying to them. Children on the other hand are a whole different matter. They do not have the skills to navigate the convoluted road of language yet. A child proudly handing his parents a report card filled with all A’s and one B for grades thinks something is wrong when he is asked why he received the B and the A’s are ignored. Being told you are not drawing correctly because you are coloring outside the lines can plant the seeds of doubt in the child’s mind that they will never be an artist.    WORDS hit their mark with precision accuracy in this dramatic movie. Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man franchise, The Soloist) played high-powered lawyer and estranged son Hank Palmer. Robert Duvall (Secondhand Lion, The Godfather franchise) played Hank’s father, Judge Joseph Palmer. When evidence from a crime pointed towards his father, Hank’s conflicted feelings would spill out as he tried to determine if his father was guilty. To this film’s credit the cast chosen for the story was ideal. Besides both Roberts, having Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade, Armageddon) as lawyer Dwight Dickham and Vincent D’Onofrio (Full Metal Jacket, Law & Order: Criminal Intent-TV) as Hank’s brother Glen Palmer on board helped to sustain the story. I found all the actors were believable with their characters. The issue I had with this picture was the script; it was uneven and stale. I found some scenes were memorable, filled with high drama; but then, the drama would fall down into sections of boredom. It did not help that the film was way too long. The whole story line involving Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring, Up in the Air) as Samantha Powell went nowhere for me; I thought she was wasted here. From the trailer it appeared this drama would be filled with high tension and intense chemistry between the characters. Sadly, the evidence proved otherwise.

 

2 1/3 stars

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