ON MY DAILY COMMUTE I TRAVEL through a variety of different neighborhoods and towns. It is pretty easy to tell which ones are more affluent and that surprises me. I do not understand the government workings that play into a place being more desirable than another one. From what I remember in my sociology courses less desirable locations are by expressways, railroad tracks and overhead electrical power lines. However, that does not explain the big picture to me about a town’s sociological and economic makeup. As I drive through these places I keep an eye open for any architectural treasure since it is one of my hobbies or you could say, passions. I enjoy watching construction sites, trying to figure out what is being created. When there has been an economic down turn, more buildings tend to be built in a no-frills style; at least that is my observation. When times are better, there seems to be more of a creative flair involved in the building of a house or commercial building. Though I understand it is a money thing, I am sad when an older structure that has charm or a style from a different era gets torn down to make way for something modern. Just because something is new does not mean it is better. A PARTICULAR STRUCTURE I AM FOND of is the bungalow. It is a sturdy and practical building in my opinion. One of the neighborhoods I go through has row upon row of bungalows. I am always fascinated in the way the owners do subtle or dramatic changes to make their home stand out from the others. The only change that I find offensive is when the owners slice the roof off their house and add a 2nd floor addition that does not stay in the style of the original structure. Where the original house was made of brick, the boxy addition will be made of aluminum siding in an unnatural color that does not even match the lower portion. It is akin to placing a cake stand on top of a cake, is the way I see it. Some of these remodeling jobs either look like a spacecraft landed on top of the house or someone placed a package on top because it was too heavy to carry. They look ghastly to me. I am at least encouraged that recently one of the areas has formed a building committee exclusive to the preservation of their bungalows. Hopefully this will prevent these mashups of modern forms being plopped down on classic architecture; as I said before new does not equal better. And no truer words have been spoken to describe this latest update of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel. THE BOND BETWEEN FOUR SISTERS GETS tested as each one grows up and searches for her dream. This dramatic family film starred Lea Thompson (Back to the Future franchise, Some Kind of Wonderful) as Marmee, Sarah Davenport (The Hatred, Dusk) as Jo, Melanie Stone (Riot, Miracle Maker) as Meg, Ian Bohen (Teen Wolf-TV, Wyatt Earp) as Freddy and Lucas Grabeel (Switched at Birth-TV, Smallville-TV) as Laurie. I was surprised by how much I disliked this version of the story. The script was unappealing to the point I felt the sisters were simply caricatures of a previous movie, who only knew how to whine. Most of them did not seem real for the current setting they were placed in. There was little drama involved which only added to the dullness that washed over the script. You can call this a retelling, an update, a modern version; but if you cannot keep the viewer interested in the story, then what is the point of doing it in the first place?
1 ½ stars
Once again I was peering into the kitchen sink with its stopped up drain. The still, murky dishwater had a few mounds of suds that aimlessly drifted across the surface like melting icebergs. I had already poured some liquid drain opener into the sink but there were no signs of any movement. Looking in the basement over by my tools I came across an unopened box that contained a device that claimed to clear drains. I had seen an advertisement for it but had not used it yet. Returning with it to the kitchen I broke open the sealed box flap and poured the contents onto the kitchen counter. At first glance the items looked like a pile of tired snakes, gray with red tips. I followed the instructions on how to assemble the pieces. When I was done I was not sure which end was to go into the sink first. Inserting one end into the drain I pushed down on the air pump but nothing happened. Flipping to the other side I tried again but not even an air bubble came up to the water’s surface. Repeating the process again with the other end, the air pump still did not deliver its claim to clear the drain with forced air; the device was a useless piece of garbage. SIMILARLY, this faith based film reminded me of my clogged kitchen drain: dead in the water filled with rubbish. Nicholas Cage (Moonstruck, Leaving Las Vegas) played commercial pilot Rayford Steele, who was piloting a flight overseas to London when a portion of the passengers suddenly disappeared into thin air. Unable to contact anyone at flight control, it was not until he heard from his daughter Chloe, played by Cassi Thomson (Grave Halloween-TV, Big Love-TV), that he discovered people were mysteriously vanishing all over the world. Flying blind, Rayford was not sure if he would be able to safely land. I do not know where to start regarding all the things that were wrong with this action thriller. Besides being utterly offensive in the way they used stereotypes such as the “smart” asian man and the “suspicious” middle easterner, the script was cheesy and pathetic. The acting if you want to call it that was sad from everyone including Lea Thompson (Back to the Future franchise, J. Edgar) as Irene Steele and Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill-TV, House of Wax) as Buck Williams. Seeing the character Chloe going from riding a motorcycle to a piece of heavy equipment was laughable. It was brutal sitting through this film as it pounded its faith based agenda into the viewers’ heads. No way would I even consider this a movie; it was bigoted propaganda. This garbage needed to be flushed down the drain since nothing was going on except a paycheck.