I MISS DIALING A PHONE NUMBER and speaking to an actual person. The amount of time it takes these days to get a hold of someone seems as if it is getting longer and longer. Going through the different prompts feels like I am being tested to see how long it will take before my patience wears out. Not that I am totally old-fashioned; but I get frustrated when I must contact companies and offices for something, I think will have an easy answer then jump through automated verbal hoops. On the other hand, it is a breeze to check on my bank balance with the bank’s automated system without having to speak to a bank employee. I have similar feelings about the self-service checkout lanes at the grocery store. If I do not have coupons, I will use the self-service lanes. However, if I am using a coupon then I use the regular checkout lanes. The reason being at the self-service I have to wait for an employee to come over and approve my coupons then override the computer screen to allow me to scan the coupons. By the time I get through this process my ice cream usually has softened. THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE I KNOW who are emotionally locked to their past, when it comes to their love relationships. I had a friend who was living with the love of their life for several years, before their love took ill and died. My friend never got over it, mourning them for years. After what seemed a long, long time they agreed to go on a blind date; however, it went no further after the initial meeting. There were several dates to follow with various suitable individuals; but like that first blind date, all of them went no further than the one and only date. My friend kept saying none of the people they were meeting could compare to their deceased partner. I tried offering that it probably was difficult to make a comparison from only having one date. My musings fell on deaf ears. They preferred to live in the past and I say that because after a time I would have thought my friend would have started to dispose of their love’s clothes and personal items. They did no such thing; instead, they left everything the way it was when they were alive. A hairbrush remained in the medicine cabinet; their toothbrush stayed in the toothbrush holder. I felt sad for them, similar to how I felt initially about the private investigator in this romantic mystery. WHEN HE FIRST MET HER WHEN she walked into his place, private investigator Nick Bannister, played by Hugh Jackman (Bad Education, The Front Runner), had no idea that finding her lost keys would lead him to a crime. With Rebecca Ferguson (Doctor Sleep, The Kid Who Would Be King) as Mae, Thandiwe Newton (The Pursuit of Happyness, Vanishing on 7thStreet) as Emily “Watts” Sanders, Cliff Curtis (Risen, The Dark Horse) as Cyrus Boothe and Marina de Tavira (Roma, Secondary Effects) as Tamara Sylvan; this futuristic film noir production was enticing to watch. I thought the sets stood out as well as the outside Miami area. The first half of the story drew me in as the mystery was building. The pacing fit the story as the actors, who were stiff with their acting, tried to bring their characters to life. Sadly, the script did not help them. Unfortunately, the last half of the story got bogged down with twists and turns, past and present; to the point I lost interest. It bothered me because I enjoyed the visuals and the mystery portion of this picture. The other thing that absolutely annoyed me had to do with seeing a person’s memories that were being shown from an outside perspective. I can look back at a memory but if it is being pulled from my mind to relive, how could there be a different perspective that I did not see back then? This was not the way I remembered the past.
1 3/4 stars
Sitting up on a shelf in the pantry sits a platter that has special significance for me. There is nothing special about it if one is just looking at it. With its edges bordered by two small bands of gold and burgundy that have formed minute cracks over all these years and a multi-colored rosette at its center, this platter reminds me of the home I grew up in. It was only used on special occasions, being the vessel that carried out the main course for all sitting around the dining room table to devour. Besides this platter I have two other items in my possession from my childhood; a pair of scissors and a candle holder. I know what you must be thinking, such random items. You are correct they are random but each one of them comes with very distinct memories from my youth. Since then I have lived in several places yet, what I believe would be true for most people, that first one’s memories are the most vibrant in my mind. So much had happened there that formed the person I am today. From the neighbors to my friends from the block, it was essentially growing up with an extra large family. Was I sad when the time came to move out from it? You bet it was, however it never left from inside of me. Certain things I did to the next place were done in such a way to mimic those things left behind. Looking back, the transition may have started out hard but it was not as traumatic as it was for the sisters in this comedy. Coming home to visit their parents sisters Maura and Kate Ellis, played by Amy Poehler (They Came Together, Parks and Reactions-TV) and Tina Fey (Muppets Most Wanted, Admission), discovered the home they grew up in was up for sale. Before the house was to be sold the sisters decided they had to do something that would create an everlasting memory. There is no denying Tina and Amy work extremely well together; they have so much history between them. Besides them and some of their old cast mates from SNL like Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids, Grown Ups franchise) as Brinda, there was Dianne Wiest (Footloose, I Am Sam) and James Brolin (Catch Me if You Can, Marcus Welby, M.D.-TV) as Deana and Bucky Ellis. All the actors were fine for this picture. But I have to tell you this movie was a mixed bag. There was a mixture of fun zaniness, witty sarcastic dialog and off the wall humor; however, there were stretches where things became crude and silly. I did not think the story was all that original. It was easy to figure out what sight gag was about to happen or joke told. Because of who the two main stars were, this film needed a much stronger script. I did not have a problem leaving the theater after the movie ended.
It is not given out freely, nor should it be taken lightly. To be treated with respect, trust is something that is to be earned; at least that is what I think. The dictionary defines trust as a belief that someone or something is reliable, good or honest. Imagine if everyone believed everything they were being told was true, how hurt they would become when they found out that was not the case. How many of us make a large purchase, let us say a car or house, without depending on a realtor or salesperson? If we do not build trust with the individual we are not going to buy the item. I have never been one to give out trust easily; it has to develop over time. However, once someone has my trust they have it completely. I never question their actions or what they tell me because I believe them. Now I have to tell you being this way has a downside. If someone who has my trust breaks or bruises it, I feel the sting much deeper. Depending on the severity my trust could go from just needing a bandage to totally crumbling around me. No matter which way, my trust never comes back all the way. TO love a person is to trust them, but what if you could not remember them? Nicole Kidman (The Others, The Hours) played Christine, a married woman who was so savagely beaten that it affected her memory. Not able to recall anything from her past, she could only retain memories that occurred while she stayed awake; for once she fell asleep her memories would vanish by the next morning. Each day she woke up to find a stranger in her bed who was really her husband Mike, played by Colin Firth (The Railway Man, The King’s Speech). When she received a call from a Dr. Nasch, played by Mark Strong (Body of Lies, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), who claimed he was treating her, she would not know who to trust as she tried to find some way to retrieve her lost memories. Based on the novel, this mystery thriller could not have asked for a better cast. Having been paired previously for a film, Nicole and Colin were excellent and convincing with their acting. There is something about Nicole on screen that makes one focus their attention solely on her. Because the two actors were so good it only pointed out how poorly written the script was for this movie. I found it irritating because there were odd moments throughout along with a certain staleness to several scenes. Despite a couple of twists in the story, overall I was disappointed. I wonder if Nicole and Colin will lose their memory of this film as quickly as I have started to do. There were a few scenes that had blood in them.
Find me a Rekall center, I’m signing up! Think of the possibilities one could have, being able to have the memories of a dream vacation or having been a race car driver. I gave this some thought after seeing this action movie and decided the first thing I would do would be to save my good memories, so I would never forget them. Speaking of forgetting, those of you who saw the original movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger, this had little in common with it. There were a couple of reminders, but don’t pack a bag for Mars; this slick looking movie was a wild ride. Douglas Quaid/Hauser, played by Colin Farrell (The New World, Horrible Bosses), was a factory worker who discovered fragments of another life inside of his mind, after trying out an establishment that provided fake memories for its customers. Buffed up Colin may not have had the size of Arnold, but I liked his acting a whole lot better. Kate Beckinsale (The Aviator, Underworld franchise) as Dennis’ wife Lori was wickedly fun. She had great lines of dialog and was a strong physical presence, way beyond her small frame. I wished they had used Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad-TV, Red Tails) and Bill Nighy (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Notes on a Scandal) to better advantage. Though the story was lacking, making one chase scene blend into another and another; the movie was so cool looking in that Blade Runner/Fifth Element kind of way, that I did not really care. I had such a great time watching this intense science fiction movie, by the end I knew I would have a fond memory.
I have always said that our bodies are rented; that the mind is what defines a person. This was one of the reasons why I was offended by individuals who ignored me when I was heavy. After I lost my weight, these same people started acknowledging me. I was no different inside, yet some people never went past my surface. Granted this movie may be an extreme example, but it truly showed the amazing power of the human mind. Based on the true story of Elle magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, actor Mathieu Amalric (Quantum of Solace, Munich) did an outstanding job portraying, what friends would call the 43 year old editor, Jean Do. After regaining consciousness from a massive stroke, Jean Do was almost completely paralyzed. The only thing he had control over was the blinking of his left eye. With his cognitive skills functioning, Jean Do explored the memories he had, letting his imagination take him to wonderful places. The cinematography was simply gorgeous in this stunning film. Being left with no way to communicate with the people around him; a special nurse came up with an inspired idea, which allowed her to communicate with Jean-Dominique. Reciting letters from the French alphabet, she asked the patient to blink once for yes or twice for no, until she was able to form words out of the letters. After having seen the Intouchables a few weeks ago and now this incredible movie, I am so in awe with the capacity of the human mind.
3 1/2 stars — DVD