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Flash Movie Review: Ghost in the Shell

WHEN I saw Rosie helping the Jetson family and Data assisting the crew of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, I believed an opportunity was being created for mankind to better itself. Removing some of the unimportant necessities of the day would allow man to study and learn more about life; in other words humans could reach a higher level of consciousness. Witnessing the blending of mechanical objects with people really has been an extraordinary event. Just think about individuals who received mechanical hearts and valves or athletes getting artificial arms and legs; it has changed people’s perceptions about what it means to be physically challenged. Just in the past several months the news reported on an artificial hand that a person could control with their mind; did you ever imagine this becoming reality during your lifetime? I vaguely remember an advertisement tagline that said something like, “better living through science.” This idea certainly has validity; however, I have a growing concern that science, depending on who is calling the shots, could dominate mankind.     ONE of my concerns for some time has been the manipulations taking place in our food chain. I am not comfortable ingesting a food item that has been genetically modified. The idea of animals being injected with growth hormones to create supersized creatures to yield more meat or milk frightens me. This was one of the reasons I gave up red meat years ago. Another area that concerns me is the “beauty” industry. With the amount of chemicals people apply to themselves on a daily basis with their soaps, dyes and makeup; I just wonder what the body does with it when the products get absorbed into the skin. Even seeing people who have gone through extensive plastic surgery to maintain their youthful appearance troubles me. I remember standing next to a television celebrity who was talking to their aide. Their face barely budged as the lips were forming words; their facial expression was totally void of any emotion. The title of this futuristic action film could easily apply to this celebrity.     MAJOR, played by Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers franchise, Lost in Translation), was the first of her kind; she was the ultimate blend of human and machine. At least she thought so until she started experiencing flashbacks. Watching this dramatic crime movie was a wild visual ride. All I could think about was it looked like a cross between the films Blade Runner and The Fifth Element. Based on the graphic novel this movie also starred Pilou Asbaek (Lucy, A Hijacking) as Batou, Juliette Binoche (Godzilla, The 33) as Dr. Ouelet and Michael Pitt (Seven Psychopaths, The Dreamers) as Kuze. I am not familiar with the story; however, the first half of this picture had me totally into it. Scarlett was good with the physical demands of the role, but I thought the acting part was one dimensional; unless that was how the character was written in the book. The last half of the film for me turned into a typical action movie; in fact, I am concerned Scarlett is being typecast since her character shared similarities with her Lucy and Avengers characters. I would have preferred if the script had stayed focused on the storyline regarding the flashbacks. The title of this movie remained with me afterwards as I wondered if this is where science will be going in the future.

 

 

2 ½ stars

 

 

Flash Movie Review: I Origins

I imagine it being a vast, rolling drum that continually tosses the contents within its hold. Random pieces stick together as if they were covered in velcro before they exit to settle down in what will become a new being. This is what I think takes place with our genes; it just seems so random to me. I have always been fascinated with the way characteristics, mannerisms and appearances get passed down within a family. There is a family of 5 where one child will look like a clone to one of the parents, but another child bears no resemblance to either; how does that happen? I find it freaky when characteristics skip a generation; I have been told I have some of the same mannerisms as my deceased grandfather. Though it is curious how this all happens, how about when individuals are not related to each other? The word is doppelganger and when I looked up its definition it said it was a ghost or double walker. Essentially it is a person who is an apparition or double of a living person. I experienced such a being when I was at a restaurant and thought a member from my class was sitting near me. As I walked up to her and began talking I noticed the strangest look come across her face, a mixture of confused fear. It was not her though she was even dressed similarly to the woman in my class.    REINCARNATION was a theme explored in this Sundance Film Festival winning movie, written and directed by Mike Cahill (Another Earth, Boxers and Ballerinas). Michael Pitt (Seven Psychopaths, Last Days) played molecular biologist Ian who had concentrated his studies to the human eye. Like fingerprints a person’s eyes were unique and different for each other. It had always been the case until Ian and his lab assistant Karen, played by Brit Marling (The East, Sound of My Voice), discovered a set of eyes that matched another pair. The story in this dramatic film was original and intriguing; the concepts regarding the meaning of this finding were thought provoking. Everyone acted wonderfully in this picture, including Astrid Berges-Frisbey (Angels of Sex, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) as Sofi. I cannot begin to tell you how bummed I was that the first half of this movie was slow and felt like it was going nowhere. It was not until the 2nd half where things came together to deliver an interesting and memorable film. This movie was listed as science fiction but I did not consider it to be. One brief scene had blood shown in it.

 

2 1/2 stars

Flash Movie Review: Rob the Mob

It does not take much to have a mundane type of day turn into a happy-go-lucky day. I am not talking about planned events where one is only waiting for the approval before undertaking a new position or some other such thing. I am talking about those things that happen in our daily life that are unexpected and surprise us. For me it can be pulling into a city parking space where there still is available time left on the meter. Opening the game ticket that was handed to me by the waitress and discovering I won a free dessert was enough to turn the rest of my day into a euphoric glow of joy, filled with bright skies and double rainbows. Oh wait maybe that was my sugar high talking now. No matter, these little surprises bring forth a dollop of fun to our lives. For Tommy Uva and Rosie, played by Michael Pitt (Seven Psychopaths, Funny Games) and Nina Arianda (Midnight in Paris, Tower Heist), one small surprise was not only going to make their day, it was going to change their lives. Following the trial of a major crime boss, the couple came up with a plan on how to rob Mafia managed social clubs. It would take some finesse to stay ahead of the FBI and the Mafia for this couple from Queens, New York. The first thing I have to tell you is this film was my surprise for the day. I did not see any advertisements or trailers for it, nor even knew the premise to the story. This picture was a hidden gem; I thought it was good entertainment. Now if that was not enough, to find out this movie was based on a true story blew my mind. I mean the audacity of coming up with the plan, the execution of it and the high stakes; I had to replay film scenes over in my mind afterwards, once I found out there was some truth to the story. Michael and NIna were adorable playing the loving couple; one could not resist the charm they brought to their characters. Andy Garcia (The Untouchables, City Island) who played crime boss Big Al had an easy time making his character work on screen. Ray Romano (The Grand, Everybody Loves Raymond-TV) as news reporter Jerry Cardozo was the weak link just because I did not see much difference in this character compared to Ray playing Ray Barone, minus the humor. There were some parts of the movie that slowed down for me, but not enough to take away my interest in the story. I have to tell you after seeing this film I not only had a good day but a good rest of the week.

 

3 stars

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