ONCE upon a time employees took pride in their work. Whether it was an office clerk, salesperson, mechanic or repair person; doing a good job used to mean something. Maybe because the business climate changed over the decades from an employees matter mentality to workers now being considered just a disposable statistic, it is not only sad but can be frustrating for the public. Presently I have friends who have been dealing with a large phone carrier for over 2 months, to get them to transfer their business phone lines to another party. Every single time my friends call customer service they get a different answer to the same question. Right now they have received 8 different responses where one representative says they need the new party’s permission to change the phone line to that party, but another rep says they can do it without any permission. Yet nothing ever gets done. WHAT I have found these days are employees who take their pride to cockiness. They really are not feeling good about doing decent work; they are doing it so they can boast and make themselves feel better than the people around them. I do not know about you but it takes a lot of energy for me to keep a straight face while a worker talks down to me in a condescending way. When I encounter someone bragging about something they did at work, that they think was extraordinary, all I want to ask them is, “Isn’t that part of your job responsibilities?” And companies want to know why consumers are switching to online shopping. It only takes one bad employee to color a person’s perception of that company or organization. This crime thriller will show you what I mean. POLICE officer Vincent Downs, played by Jamie Foxx (White House Down, Law Abiding Citizen) found himself being hunted down after he stole a drug shipment from a crime family. His problems got worse when he discovered the family kidnapped his son Thomas, played by Octavius J. Johnson (Coldwater, Ray Donovan-TV). Set in Las Vegas this action film told a story that has been done repeatedly before. The problem was this picture did not offer anything different with this genre. With Michelle Monaghan (Patriots Day, Due Date) as Jennifer Bryant, Dermot Mulroney (The Grey, My Best Friend’s Wedding) as Stanley Rubino and Scoot McNairy (12 Years a Slave, Non=Stop) as Novak; the only actor I thought did anything well was Michelle. In fact I wish the script had been written more around her character for she was the only one where I felt I had a connection. Jamie brought nothing to his role and the script only made things worse for him. C’mon, he has a bleeding wound that seems to only hurt when he needs to take a pause to catch his breath between stunts. Otherwise he is fighting and dodging bullets all over the place. Plus I find it ridiculous to have the bad guys shooting so many bullets but none of them have good aim. This movie was a tedious one to get through; I really would like to know if the people behind this film felt pride in what they created for the moviegoer.
1 ½ stars
Immediately I was struck by their fearlessness. I watched while their fingers without hesitation popped and dropped over the keyboard like convulsing spider legs. Just by pressing two keys at the same time they were able to get the computer to function in a way that took me a few more keystrokes. I knew they must have started at a young age playing video games. There is a certain attitude a gamer has when they are interacting with their computer or some other kind of electronic device; they appear more adventuresome to me. Where they have no problem trying out different commands, a non-gamer may get stuck at their computer afraid the next key they press will cause their machine to explode. I understand totally because I have a love/hate relationship with computers; I expect them to know how to fix themselves without asking me if something is okay to do. It is interesting to think about the recent generations that grew up with video games; I recall an article I read that talked about the positive effect the games had on a person’s eye/hand coordination. There was this one kid in school who would spend hours in the student union playing this one arcade game. His initials for the most points earned remained on the machine the entire time I was at that school. I would be quite curious to see what he is doing now in the world. Maybe he would be doing what the gamers were called to do in this comedic action film. BACK in 1982 a time capsule with examples of mankind’s life including video games was launched into space. Discovered by an alien race, they took the games to be earth’s declaration of war on them; so they reproduced the video games to attack earth first. This science fiction film had a great idea behind it, for it would attract an older audience for nostalgic reasons and a younger crowd who would appreciate the retro vibe of these “ancient” games. Not only did this comedy fail with its attempts to entertain, it made me a bit angry because of the blatant laziness associated with the script. Adam Sandler (Blended, Grown Ups franchise) as Brenner was the exact same character he has been in his last several films. I am tired of seeing the same thing and hearing the same type of jokes over and over. Adding in Kevin James (Here Comes the Boom, Paul Blart franchise) as President Cooper and Michelle Monaghan (Gone Baby Gone, Source Code) as Violet only increased the ridiculousness of this picture. Out of the entire script I chuckled 3 times as the expected excitement never materialized. If I would have known, my money would have been better spent at a video arcade then sit through this video void.
1 2/3 stars
Where some loves recede from our minds like grains of sand in a tide returning to sea, there is one type of love that remains with us. It is our first love; that special moment where the use of singular pronouns turns to plurals. With no one else before had you ever had this unique and fresh relationship; where you were affectionate, kind and loving. The conversations between the two of you remained on a private level and were different then the way you talked with your friends. Possibly for the first time there was someone who got you, understood the reasons behind the way you did things. A first love is never forgotten for it remains nestled in the mind. Not necessarily interfering with your present choices in life, the memory of your first love hangs prominently on a wall of your heart, away from the harsh sunlight of current disappointments, always working in conjunction with your mind. It is funny even when you do find a true love, no matter how long it may take, that first one is always there to remind us like a faint exotic perfume. TWENTY years had passed before former hight school sweethearts Amanda and Dawson, played by Michelle Monaghan (Gone Baby Gone, Source Code) and James Marsden (Enchanted, X-Men franchise), found themselves face to face due to the death of their friend Tuck, played by Gerald McRaney (Major Dad-TV, The A-Team). Though the two friends had moved on with their lives, there still was an undeniable connection between the two of them as they spent time together in their old hometown. Based on Nicholas Sparks’ (The Notebook, Safe Haven) novel, this dramatic romance followed the same formula as the previous films had done. The story was so predictable even though I never read the book. What I found the most annoying was the syrupy soundtrack that announced the emotions we were supposed to feel for each scene. The acting was okay though I found all of the characters, including Luke Bracey (The November Man, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and Liana Liberato (If I Stay, Stuck in Love) as the younger Dawson and Amanda, on the same level. I wondered if this was due to the cheesy script and I think that was part of it, but the director did no one any favors. The movie was slow and the scenes never felt complete for me. If you are a fan of his books or maybe I should rephrase that and say; if you are a fan of these movies made from Nicholas’ books, then you probably will want to see this with facial tissue in hand. I am all for a good tearjerker now and then, but this film left me dry.
1 1/2 stars