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Flash Movie Review: Second Act

A GOOD PORTION OF US WERE LED to believe that the ultimate goal in life was retirement. Put in your time at work and get to the finish line was all that mattered. For those who were fortunate to retire early, others would look at them as demigods; they found the secret formula that would let them enjoy life while they were still “young.” I had no such examples while growing up. The people I knew continued working well beyond their retirement age. When I started this movie review site, a friend asked if I would continue writing reviews into my retirement years. I imagined I would have the luxury of going to the movies during the early weekdays, freeing up my weekends that are presently being used for viewing multiple films. I do not see retirement as just sitting around the house with nothing to do. A friend of mine has determined retirement age is not an ending, but a beginning to the next chapter. It is a period of time where one can do something they are passionate about, where they want to explore it further now that they have the time to do so.     THERE ARE SOME INDIVIDUALS WHO DO not want to wait until retirement to do something they love. There was a member in one of my classes who was a CFO of a large corporation. She was proud of her work career, but as time went on she started feeling unsatisfied with the job. There was a period where she did not attend class, after being a regular for a few years. Then one day she showed up unexpectedly. After class she came up to talk to me. I said it was good to see her and hoped everything was okay. She informed me she had retired from her job and was taking classes to become a math teacher. It was something she had always wanted to do and decided the time was right to step back from the corporate world, so she could become a teacher. I was taken by surprise at first, since I knew how much she loved being a CFO. Seeing how driven she was in our aerobics class, I had no doubt she would succeed; she had the knowledge and passion. I feel these two attributes are needed if one wants to accomplish a dream. The main character in this dramatic comedy had these 2 things and will show you what can be done with them.      WORKING AT A LARGE RETAIL STORE was not what Maya, played by Jennifer Lopez (The Boy Next Door, Shades of Blue-TV), wanted to do the rest of her life. All she needed was a break to show what she could do for the advertising and marketing corporations on Madison Avenue. That break would come in the form of her resume. With Vanessa Hudgens (Dog Days, Beastly) as Zoe, Leah Remini (The Clapper, The King of Queens-TV) as Joan, Treat Williams (The Congressman, What Happens in Vegas) as Anderson Clarke and Milo Ventimiglia (Killing Season, This is Us-TV) as Trey; this movie could have been better. Jennifer has a screen presence that grabs your attention, but with the underdeveloped script she was left hanging. There was nothing special in the script that allowed the story to rise above generic. The writers had a touch of romance, comedy, drama and fun scattered throughout the story; yet, never went deeper with them. At one point I wondered if the focus was to show off Jennifer with her fashion choices, office and home furnishings in her new apartment. Maybe if the film studio had some of the drive and determination I have seen in Jennifer’s career, then they would have produced a more entertaining picture.

 

2 stars

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Flash Movie Review: Branded

I am a marketer’s dream, I fully admit it. Trying new products, particularly in the food category, is my thing. Something newly developed with chocolate, I welcome eagerly into my home with open arms. When I saw this movie listed at a nearby theater I had to see it. My middle brother was Executive Vice President Chief Creative Officer of an advertising firm. Yes, you can thank him for all those lovely pieces of mail; offering stamps, contact lenses, among a multitude of other items. His famous line is, “Marketing has destroyed the world.” Set in the future, this movie showed exactly how marketing was affecting the consumer. Misha Galkin, played by Ed Stoppard (The Pianist, Joy Division) was a marketing whiz. When he initiated a life changing experience, Misha was finally able to see the truth behind all those marketing campaigns that have been relentlessly, bombarding the masses. With this new found knowledge that only he could see; his girlfriend Abby Gibbons, played by Leelee Sobieski (The Glass House, Public Enemies), did not know if he was a genius or simply going insane. There was a slight sci-fi edge to the film that was shot mostly in Moscow. The story had no traction for me, particularly in the beginning, as it unfolded in a slow and ponderous way. I could see the satire the writers were trying to convey regarding the buyer’s need for acquiring more stuff. But, once the characters ventured into what I would call an advertiser’s war, I found the plot silly.  You would have thought the producers would have done some test marketing of this film; for if they had, they would have discovered this movie about marketing had very little to offer the consumer.

 

1 2/3 stars

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