These machines were built for one’s enjoyment but if used in a certain way they would become torturous. I am not sure how many of you even know what a slide projector is but I have one in my possession. There was a time where people took pictures with cameras that used film; some of that film was meant to be developed into slides. A slide projector was used to display these types of photographs up onto a projection screen or a really, really white painted wall. I am a huge fan of photography having minored it in college. For me photos provide a visual history about a person. They have a way of letting us revisit a moment in time to re-experience the emotions we had back then. Whenever someone tells me they took pictures while on vacation I am the first to ask if I could see them. One of the reasons, besides seeing people enjoying themselves, is my being able to see places I have never seen or at least to see it through someone else’s eyes. A different perspective can enhance one’s own memories about a place. Now that I talked about the positive aspects, let me tell you about the unpleasantness one can encounter if the photo taker goes astray. You have been sitting for almost an hour while your host is showing you their photos from a recent trip. When you said you wanted to see them you had no idea there would be that many photos, photos of artificially flavored snow cones to their rental cars to clouds to benign forests to their motel room; you get the picture? If not, then try sitting through this action crime film. UNDERCOVER FBI agent Utah, played by Luke Bracey (The November Man, The Best of Me), needed to infiltrate a group of extreme sports athletes to solve an international crime case. The challenge would be to survive the death defying feats. The story for this crime film spanned the entire globe, offering spectacular outdoor scenes. I felt I was going through a collection of saved postcards from a world traveler. The action was intense, with stunts that were dumbfounding. With Edgar Ramirez (Joy, Deliver Us From Evil) as Bodhi and Ray Winstone (Hugo, The Departed) as Pappas being part of the cast, this movie was all about the visual experience; there was nothing else positive about the film. This remake barely resembled the original film; there was weak and cheesy dialog, bare minimum acting and a story that made little sense. Except for enjoying scenes from the different continents I was bored throughout the majority of this picture. It literally felt like I was being held hostage to sit through someone’s vacation pictures for however long was this movie’s running time. If I had a choice I would have preferred to stay home and wait for the characters to send me a postcard.
1 1/2 stars
Where some loves recede from our minds like grains of sand in a tide returning to sea, there is one type of love that remains with us. It is our first love; that special moment where the use of singular pronouns turns to plurals. With no one else before had you ever had this unique and fresh relationship; where you were affectionate, kind and loving. The conversations between the two of you remained on a private level and were different then the way you talked with your friends. Possibly for the first time there was someone who got you, understood the reasons behind the way you did things. A first love is never forgotten for it remains nestled in the mind. Not necessarily interfering with your present choices in life, the memory of your first love hangs prominently on a wall of your heart, away from the harsh sunlight of current disappointments, always working in conjunction with your mind. It is funny even when you do find a true love, no matter how long it may take, that first one is always there to remind us like a faint exotic perfume. TWENTY years had passed before former hight school sweethearts Amanda and Dawson, played by Michelle Monaghan (Gone Baby Gone, Source Code) and James Marsden (Enchanted, X-Men franchise), found themselves face to face due to the death of their friend Tuck, played by Gerald McRaney (Major Dad-TV, The A-Team). Though the two friends had moved on with their lives, there still was an undeniable connection between the two of them as they spent time together in their old hometown. Based on Nicholas Sparks’ (The Notebook, Safe Haven) novel, this dramatic romance followed the same formula as the previous films had done. The story was so predictable even though I never read the book. What I found the most annoying was the syrupy soundtrack that announced the emotions we were supposed to feel for each scene. The acting was okay though I found all of the characters, including Luke Bracey (The November Man, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and Liana Liberato (If I Stay, Stuck in Love) as the younger Dawson and Amanda, on the same level. I wondered if this was due to the cheesy script and I think that was part of it, but the director did no one any favors. The movie was slow and the scenes never felt complete for me. If you are a fan of his books or maybe I should rephrase that and say; if you are a fan of these movies made from Nicholas’ books, then you probably will want to see this with facial tissue in hand. I am all for a good tearjerker now and then, but this film left me dry.
1 1/2 stars
The time was put in and you felt you paid your dues. There was a sense of success associated with the job that enabled you to feel proud. But when the time came you were done; you did not want to have to put in another day doing the same thing you had been doing for many years. A long time ago I had a part-time job as the manager for a furniture company’s moving crews. Prior to taking the position, the department was constantly under fire from customer complaints about the damage caused by the crews delivering the furniture. My responsibilities were to setup weekly routes for the various crews; manage the loading of the moving vans and reduce damages to a minimum. It was a grueling job since more times than not I had to fill in and be part of a crew. I was constantly amazed by the customers who bought furniture that would not fit into their houses. When the time came to leave that job I was glad and vowed I would never move another piece of furniture again. However, I soon learned never to say never because anytime a friend asked me to help them move something I could not say no. These are some of the things you just do for friends. Similarly former CIA agent Devereaux, played by Pierce Brosnan (Love is All You Need, The Ghost), had the same dilemma when he agreed to come out of retirement to extract a friend from a potentially hostile situation in Russia. Due to the length of time away from the agency, there was a chance Devereaux’s special skills would not be able to serve him well this time. This action thriller played out as a light version of James Bond; without the sophistication, charm and witty dialog. Though there were plenty of explosions and chases, the script was a poor excuse for a crime film. Pierce was convincing in his role which helped fellow cast members Luke Bracey (Monte Carlo, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) as Mason and Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace, Seven Psychopaths) as Alice. Unfortunately the directing was not very good; I found myself becoming bored as the story spiraled into a multitude of cliches and predictability. With the recent releases of these action films starring aging movie stars and their obvious stunt doubles, I did appreciate the fact that Pierce appeared to be doing some of his own stunts; if not, the camera work was much better here because it was convincing to me. It would have been fun to watch Pierce in this type of role since I was always fond of his James Bond movies; however, it could not be found here because this film was easily forgettable.