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Flash Movie Review: The Lighthouse

IT WAS A HARD LESSON TO LEARN but it made my life much easier. I have worked with a variety of individuals, some would say characters, throughout my work history. For years, I was quick to react to their actions. If I did not like an individual, they would know it without me having to tell them. There was this one salesman who walked around the place like a male peacock looking to mate. One day I counted how many times he had stopped in front of any type of reflective surface to check on his appearance; it was 23 times. It could be a reflection in a window, microwave oven door, mirror; it made no difference to him where he was or what he was doing at the time. He would see himself and stop to check the condition of his hair, face and tie. I did not like him because of the way he treated the employees. Besides talking down to them, he would belittle them if he felt they were not doing something he thought they should be doing, despite the fact he was not their boss. Whenever I had a verbal exchange with him, I would avoid making eye contact and try to limit my responses to one- or two-word answers. Trust me, he was not a nice person.     THERE WERE EMPLOYEES I HAD TO DEAL with who were stoned or drunk. You would think that could be amusing; but, try getting the correct answer you need from someone who cannot focus on their work, it wasn’t pretty. I would get upset as I sat and fumed over the encounter. How is it that I was trying to complete a project, getting stressed over the approaching deadline, while this other employee got to fly high through the day without any consequences. It was my job on the line, not theirs. My anger would last for days at times; I did not realize how much energy I was using to maintain my anger. Maybe it was maturity, therapy, self-reflection or a combination thereof; but I started altering my behavior. Things that used to annoy me I now was acknowledging their existence then moving on. If I was not getting the help I needed from a fellow employee; instead of getting ticked off I would document the event and add it into my notes on my progress. It was such a liberating feeling for me. No more getting upset or combative allowed me to focus on my needs and feelings. Though I have to say after seeing this dramatic fantasy film, I do not know if I could remain calm if I were in that position.      DESPITE VIOLENT WEATHER AND MECHANICAL FATIGUE, two strangers needed to work together for several weeks to maintain the functions of the lone lighthouse. With William Dafoe (The Florida Project, Shadow of the Vampire) as Thomas Wake, Robert Pattinson (Good Time, Twilight franchise) as Ephraim Winslow and newcomer Valerila Karaman as the mermaid; this was one of the most original stories I have seen at the movies this year. I honestly cannot say I was totally entertained; but I could not stop watching the impactful scenes in this film festival winner. The acting was superb; not once did I think the characters were William or Robert. Using a square format for filming in black and white made each scene that more intense. If you were to ask me what the story was about, I do not know if I could give you an answer. If there was symbolism or hidden meanings, they went over my head. My attention was so drawn to the characters due to the actors’ skills that I had to let go in trying to understand what I was watching on the screen. To describe it best, watching this film was an experience; I am just not sure what kind.

 

3 stars     

Flash Movie Review: Mermaid

The group of friends had a set monthly date to get together for dinner. They had originally first met when they were team players in a sports league. At the end of the meal when it was time to figure out the check they all agreed to split the bill; it was easier, making more sense instead of trying to figure out who ordered what and how much they needed to pay. There was one friend who usually had 2 alcoholic drinks with his meal, which also tended to be more expensive than everyone else’s food. Another friend from the group never had enough cash on hand; they always collected everyone’s money so they could then pay the entire bill on their charge card. No one minded nor knew their charge card rebated a percentage of the total monthly charges back to the cardholder. As an outside observer I would have gotten annoyed after awhile if a friend kept ordering the most expensive meals with drinks without ever offering to throw in a few more bucks to make up the difference. I at least know I have options: ask for separate checks, break the check down to each person’s share or just not order anything. Things like this can be irritating. They are not a life or death situation and I can have an effect on the situation. Compare it to the greed I see in the news, it is on a whole different scale. From a drug executive raising the price of a drug 5000% to a political figure disregarding public safety for monetary gain to a business financier setting up a Ponzi scheme to swindle workers’ retirement funds; I find the level of greed in people astounding. This comedic, dramatic fantasy had one solution for a greedy corporation.   BUSINESS tycoon Liu Xuan, played by Chao Deng (American Dreams in China, Assembly), knew his reclamation sea project was killing the sea life, but he did not care. The project was worth billions. This film directed by Stephen Chow (Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle) recently became the largest grossing film in Chinese history. With newcomer Yun Lin as Shan and Show Luo (Journey to the West, Hi My Sweetheart-TV) as Octopus, I have to tell you this “extravaganza” was trippy. Part Bollywood, part slapstick, part romance, part social commentary; this picture pretty much had everything in it. From a technical standpoint the special effects were cheesy, the acting was over the top and the script had some lame passages; but I have to tell you, this picture had a way of drawing the viewer in. I felt the message was an important one so I could appreciate all the effort it must have taken to create this movie. Bear in mind there were a few actual film clips of animals used that were hard to watch due to the content. All in all, this movie kept my interest while entertaining me. I am sure the film studio made a profit on this and I do not know, maybe they made a donation to a charity with some of the proceeds. Ultimately it is the studio’s job to make films and I commend them on tackling an important subject in a creative way. Mandarin was spoken with English subtitles.

 

2 2/3 stars     

 

 

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