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Flash Movie Review: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

A switch gets turned on and the lights go on. A simple procedure that requires little movement and truthfully not much thought. The only time I think about it is when a lightbulb burns out. This action of little effort disguises the massive coordination needed to get the power to my home, through the house to the lamp. Fortunately I live in a place that has been reliable for the most part, except for when we have had violent storms. Every month I send a payment to the energy company for the use of their electricity, but I do not have much awareness on where or how the company acquires their energy for sale. I imagine the amount of people involved is staggering; whether it involves coal miners, nuclear technicians or service personnel who maintain solar panels and windmills, the mechanics of it all have to be precise and efficient. As I said, luckily for the most part things work smoothly here for me. Can you imagine if things did not? The chaos that would ensue would be monumental, effecting thousands or millions of people. Presently a city in Michigan is going through a crisis regarding their water system. For the little I know about it, the situation was caused by various agencies within Michigan; it was not like some outside force attacked their water supply. In other words it could have been prevented if everyone had worked together. Now when a breakdown occurs due to outside elements, things can go haywire.    ARMED citizens in Benghazi Libya overpower a compound where the U.S. Ambassador has chosen to reside. Thirty miles away a small band of CIA contractors are witnessing the evolving destruction. Based on a true story this action thriller directed by Michael Bay (Transformers franchise, Armageddon) had intense, bloody fight scenes throughout the story. With John Krasinski (Leatherheads, The Office-TV) as Jack Silva, James Badge Dale (World War Z, Shame) as Tyrone “Rone” Woods and Pablo Schreiber (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Manchurian Candidate) as Kris “Tonto” Paronto as part of the cast; I was stunned by this film. Remove all the politics that have formed around this story; it truly was astounding to witness the amount of craziness that was billowing all around the characters. Let me see if I can explain the feeling. I went through drivers education class to get my license. Going through all the simulations and supervised driving lessons in the school’s parking lot did not prepare me to that adrenaline rush the first time my car slid across ice covering a busy intersection. The same can be said here; no one was prepared for the escalation of violence. Too bad the script was filled with cliches and simplistic dialog; how many times does one need to hear someone being called “brother?” The action was typical for Michael, fast action mixed with slow motion movements. Not to take anything away from these heroic people but their story needed a better script.

 

2 1/3 stars

 

 

 

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Flash Movie Review: Transformers: Age of Extinction

If it is not broke then do not fix it is a well known phrase. It means if there is no evidence of a problem, do not waste time or energy on it unless it provides a significant improvement. The different products that claim they are new and improved are things I tend to cast a skeptical eye towards these days. I do a running commentary during my classes; offering my take on current news, movies and the local scene. Recently I have added a weekly update on the latest product recalls and now have new items to mention every week. Some of the reasons for the recalls totally baffle me. For example there was the playground set whose swings hung too low, injuring children’s legs by scraping across the ground. A hanging glass star votive candleholder would break apart from the heat of the flame, possibly injuring people standing nearby. The variety of baby products that are being recalled is staggering. I am floored by the baby monitors with batteries that overheat and explode, causing possible injury (you think?) besides being a fire hazard. The only explosions I want to see are in a movie and this science fiction adventure directed and written by Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor, Bad Boys franchise) was saturated with them. It made sense since some of the Transformers were new and improved.    Mark Wahlberg (Boogie Nights, The Fighter) played Cade Yeager, a mechanic and tinkering inventor. With a recent purchase of a broken down truck, Cade felt he may have made a discovery that could change his life and the life of his daughter Tessa, played by Nicola Peltz (The Airbender, Deck the Halls). Little did he know his life was about to change in a very dramatic way. This action film was all about the battles, crashes and explosions. There was very little story; let me re-phrase that, there was very little good story to keep one’s interest. If you only want to see things being blown up then this movie fits the bill. I will say the special effects were spectacular and my favorite part was the final battle. The only 2 actors who showed actual acting ability were Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games franchise, The Terminal) as Joshua Joyce and Kelsey Grammer (Swing Vote, X-Men: The Last Stand) as Harold Attinger. The script was written with a low level of humor that bordered on ridiculous. I found very little suspense; in fact, it occurred to me I did not get excited by much in this picture. If this is what is in store for us with future sequels, I would prefer watching the original movie again.

 

1 3/4 stars

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