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Flash Movie Review: Encounter

THE NEWS STORY REPORTED WAS HORRIFIC. I was watching the news on television as the reporter was standing across from a charred structure. The following is what she reported. A fire broke out in the apartment building and the father of one of the families living in the building was credited with saving several children. He had no training; he simply acted on instinct. First, he got his family safely out and away from the building. Knowing the other residents, he quickly ran back into the building to assist those neighbors who needed it. With smoke billowing and the fire spreading quickly, the father was grabbing any unattended children, bringing them down and out of the building despite the smoke irritating his eyes and lungs. I was wondering as the reporter was talking, how far away was the fire department from the building and how long did it take for them to eventually get there. The reporter continued the father was personally responsible for saving besides his family, five young children from the building. However, the story ended on a sad note; the father did not survive. After bringing out his 5th child, the father went back into the ravaged building to look for any other children. He never came back out.      I FOUND THE NEWS STORY INCREDIBLY sad. What a heroic feat the father had done for his family and neighbors; it was heartbreaking he had to lose his life in the process. Though I do not believe my story is anywhere on the same tragic level as what the news reported, I distinctly remembered the day I almost drowned. On a family vacation, we were staying with out of state relatives. One day it was decided we would go to a resort’s swimming pool. I was not even in kindergarten yet, so I do remember I was quite young. My swimming ability was limited to playing in the shallow end. At the end of the day, I decided to wash off my flip-flops. I walked over to the edge of the pool that was closest to me; it turned out it was the deep end. I sat down with my feet in the water and leaned over to rinse off my sandals. Before I knew it, I fell into the water. I had no time to think as I sunk below the surface. Still clutching my flip-flops, I started waving my arms up and down in the hopes I could get back to the surface of the water. The very next thing, I felt two arms hugging me from behind and up to the surface we went; it was that fast. A stranger had saved me who was nearby. It amazes me how instincts take over in times of need. If you choose to see this science fiction thriller, you won’t believe what the dad does to save his kids.      WITH THE POPULATION UNDER AN ALIEN threat, a father commits to do anything he can to save his two boys. With Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Malik Khan, Octavia Spencer (Thunder Force, The Shape of Water) as Hattie Hayes, Lucian-River Chauhan (Heartland-TV, Gabby Duran & the Unsittables-TV) as Jay Khan, newcomer Aditya Geddada as Bobby Khan and Rory Cochrane (Black Mass, Love and a .45) as Shepard West; the beginning of this film started off with a bang, it was exciting. The acting was ably handled by Riz with the surprise that the 2 young boys did such an admirable acting job as well. For me, I enjoyed the first half of the movie more than the 2nd half. It was almost as if two different stories were playing out. Unfortunately, it did not work; instead, it lost the excitement factor for me. It was sad because the acting was so good as was the idea behind the story. Too bad there was not someone through the entire making of this production available to save this movie.

2 stars  

Flash Movie Review: Seaspiracy

THERE WAS VERY LITTLE I LIKED about day camp and absolutely nothing I liked about overnight camp, except for toasted marshmallows and s’mores. My one and only time going to an overnight camp was during the summer months one year. I remember I had little to pack because it was going to be just a couple of days; there was no way I would have agreed to anything that would have kept me away any longer. The bus ride up was spent singing songs and looking out the window at the changing landscape. The campgrounds were in a wooded area that had a lake. I remember the main building was made to look like a log cabin, except it was 2 stories high and extremely long. The rooms took up half the length of the structure on both floors, with 4 kids assigned to each room. I was curious about the bunkbeds in the room because I had never slept in one. After we unpacked our bags we were to meet outside by the flagpole, where the camp director would highlight the activities that were available to us. My biggest fear was that most of the activities were going to be sports related. As luck would have it, each of the activities had a sign-up sheet; so, it wasn’t going to be something that I would be forced to do. When I was finally able to pick our activities, most of the ones I wanted were already full in several time slots. I wound up putting my name down for fishing; something I had never done before.      I HAD TO GET UP EARLY the next day; so, I would be ready to be taken down to the lake for, what I guessed, would be a fishing lesson. The lake was still except for the occasional shudder due from the cool, morning breeze. The small group of us congregated around the counselor who was handing out fishing poles, after he explained the parts to us. I was assigned to a spot at the end of the dock. Sitting down on the wooden boards with my feet hanging off the side, I cast the fishing line into the water with a plopping sound. With both hands clutching the rod in anticipation of having to battle an aggressive fish, I sat and waited and waited and waited. At one point, I looked down the length of the dock to see if anyone had caught something; it did not appear so since I would have thought I would have heard some commotion or excitement about catching a fish. After watching this emotional documentary, I am so glad I never caught a fish that day.     FROM HIS LIFELONG LOVE OF OCEANS and sea life, director and cinematographer Ali Tabriz decided to document how humans were affecting the oceans and its inhabitants. He would discover something more in the process. With Richard O’Barry (Founder of the Dolphin Project), Lori Marino (Founder of the Whale Sanctuary Project), Tamara Arenovich (The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society) and Gary Stokes (Co-Founder Oceans Asia); this adventure film stunned me in so many ways. At first, I was not sure where the story was going; I was sensing some manipulation taking place. However, as the story began to unfold, I found myself being swept in both literally and figuratively. There was a range of emotions I was feeling as scene after scene presented more and more incredulous depictions. At times, it felt I was watching a mystery, other times an action adventure. I must tell you this might not be an easy watch, but it will be worth it. By the time I got through the entire movie, my outlook on marine life had changed as well as my eating habits.

3 ½ stars         

Flash Movie Review: Finding Dory

The older I get the harder it is for me to remember the last time we were together. I at least remember where we met, it was in the city of Denver, I just cannot come up with the year. He met me at the airport; as I walked outside to the loading area, I saw them standing off to the side of the entrance. If I had not known he was coming to get me I might have overlooked him. He was an older version of the image I had of him in my mind. Perched now on his face were aviator style glasses, looking large on his oval shaped face. There was not a lot of hair on his head, but there never was to tell you the truth. However, what hair he still had now was all gray with wisps of white. Despite these changes as soon as we got in his car for the ride back to his house, it felt like very little time had passed since we last met. We picked up right where we left off as we talked about our families, jobs, health and everything else that was on our mind. This was the norm for our relationship presently since he moved to a different city. I felt fortunate that we were able to feel this continuation in our friendship despite the lack of time spent hanging out together. The funny thing about this is when we do finally meet up we are reminded how good it feels to share some time with each other. I felt the same way about this animated, adventure comedy.    THIRTEEN years have passed and though afflicted with short term memory loss Dory, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres (The Love Letter, The Ellen Show), suddenly remembered she had a family. She had to find them. As I said just before I did not realize how much I missed Dory with Ellen’s incredible comedic timing. Along with Albert Brooks (Drive, Defending Your Life) as Marlin, Ed O’Neill (The Bone Collector, Married with Children-TV) as Hank and Kaitlin Olson (The Heat, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia-TV) as Destiny; many of the characters were memorable, aided by the magnificent visuals all around them. The weak link to this sequel was the script. I found the humor and drama did not have a lot of variance; there were only chuckles instead of laughs, with very few attention grabbing dramatic scenes. But what made this movie stand out was the way the writers addressed the characters with special needs. I thought this was a brilliant way to introduce children to the topic and showed it was not a scary or bad thing. Kudos to the writers for making this issue a part of the story. In spite of the few issues I had with the script, overall the film was well worth seeing on the big screen. Before the picture started there was a sweet, charming short film that I totally enjoyed. Then make sure you stay through the fun credits for the extra scene at the very end. After seeing Dory again I hope it will not be another 13 years before I see her again.

 

3 1/4 stars

 

 

Flash Movie Review: The Lucky One

After the movie ended and I had to climb over the woman dabbing at her moist eyes with a wad of tissues, I was wondering who was the lucky one. Maybe she felt fortunate for seeing this movie; I know I certainly did not, I was the unlucky one. My teachers used to tell me before you give a negative comment, always start out with something positive. I liked the coming attractions. Now that I got that out of the way, let me start with the lead character Logan played by Zac Efron(17 Again, New Year’s Eve). He was so wrong for this movie and shame on the director for not pushing Zac to at least try and act in this movie. I felt he was too young and  pretty while he tried to portray a three tours of duty marine. After finding a photograph of a woman, Logan felt it was a good luck charm that protected him, keeping him alive during his military stint. He made a promise if he survived the war, he would find this woman and thank her. The photo he kept close was of Beth played by Taylor Schilling (Dark Matter, Mercy). Her acting was decent, but there was absolutely no chemistry between her and Zac. Besides being passionless to the point of almost painful, this movie was predictable. Syrupy music was used throughout as we were exposed to extended shots of the sun setting or rising. I did not read the book, but I think with a different cast and director this film could have been a better movie and a more believable story.

 

1 3/4 stars

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