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Flash Movie Review: Paradise Hills

I DID NOT SEE THEM UNTIL AFTER we were seated for dinner. They caught my eye because of what they were wearing, identical matching outfits. We were guests at a wedding, and I knew the two of them were not related to me. I had to assume they were a mother and daughter; the little girl looked like she was 5 to 7 years old. They were seated at a table nearby, in seats that were directly in line with my field of vision. Their dresses were made of a soft fabric like crepe or chiffon, with a pattern of autumn colored leaves all over it. With capped sleeves and a rounded neck, they each had a gold necklace around their neck that had a single dropped pearl dangling from it; in their pierced ears there were matching pearl earrings. I tried not to stare but the more I caught glimpses of them the more I found them fascinating in a creepy sort of way. Now I do not want to come off as disrespectful but seeing them dressed and acting the same made me uncomfortable. I have never been one to fall in line to fit in with the majority; I prefer people expressing their individuality and being different without feeling like they must conform to a certain set of “rules.” Watching these two with they identical hair styles and makeup just seemed so weird to me.      AFTER THE WEDDING EVENT ON MY DRIVE home, I spent some time thinking about that mother and daughter and my uneasiness with them dressing up to match each other. Having had some friends whose parents tried to raise them to be the same as their parents, I have always questioned the motivation behind it. Why did a mother or father want to have their child be just like them? Was it because that is how they were raised or maybe they wanted their child to be perfect, at least whatever they considered to be perfect? What I believe is children should be raised to be self-thinking, independent beings. Having spent many years feeling like an outsider, one could argue that has contributed to me wanting everyone to freely express their individuality. It is funny; I am remembering an incident with a friend who refused to go out to dinner with me until I had changed my clothes. He did not like what I was wearing, thinking it looked ridiculous on me. Because I did not want to argue I went ahead and put on a different shirt and pair of pants. I needed some of the gumption and fight the main character had in this film festival winner.      WAKING UP TO FIND OUT SHE was sent to a place that was going to change and mold her to fit into a certain society, there was only one person Uma, played by Emma Roberts (The Art of Getting By, We’re the Millers), knew who could do such a thing; it was her mother. With Danielle Macdonald (Patti Cake$, Dumplin’) as Chloe, Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians, The Farewell) as Yu, Eiza Gonzalez (Baby Driver, Bloodshot) as Amarna and Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil franchise, Shock and Awe) as The Duchess; this fantasy, sci fi thriller had some lofty goals. Visually, I enjoyed watching this picture; the sets and costumes, especially Milla’s, were wonderful. The cast was well-suited for the roles and worked well together. Unfortunately, I was able to figure out what was going to happen due to the script; it was a mashup of a few previous films in the same genre. There were some scenes that worked, but then others lacked focus. If this had been released (or maybe it was) at the theaters I cannot imagine it doing very well. However, seeing it at home made it more palatable for me. If nothing else, I certainly understood the message that was trying to be conveyed and commend the writers and director for trying to create something original. It was a shame it did not quite get to its high aspirations.

 

2 1/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Hellboy

THE SOUNDS FROM CONVERSATIONS AROUND ME blurred into a curtain of white noise. I was not focused on any of them, only aware of the background noise they created. Instead, I was pulling travel brochures out of my knapsack, that I had picked up at the hotel before taking myself out to lunch. The restaurant was a local establishment I had read about and was curious to check out. Whenever I travel out of state, I always try to eat at least one meal at a restaurant that is not part of a national chain. When I walked into this place I could smell the smokiness of barbeque in the air. The hostess had placed me in a booth by a window; I not only had a view to their outdoor patio, but I also had a wide view of the dining area inside. There was a constant flow of activity, from patrons walking in and out to the wait staff keeping up with the flow of meals coming out of the kitchen. I liked looking at the different food dishes being ordered; it was a way for me to see what was popular on the menu. After I decided and gave my order to the waitress, I delved into my reading material.      IT WAS DURING THE TAIL END of my meal when I realized that curtain of white noise had dissipated. Looking up from my brochures I noticed a good portion of the restaurant patrons were looking at the front entrance. Standing at the door was a couple with a child. It did not hit me immediately, but pretty darn close that the patrons had stopped talking to stare at this couple. There was nothing I could see that was unusual about the couple. I was hoping they were not staring for this reason, but I knew deep inside it had to be the only reason the diners would have looked up and stopped talking to each other. The couple was biracial. Their child had a mix of features from both parents; dark cocoa skin, soft tightly curled brown hair and light-colored eyes. I was stunned that a biracial couple would draw so much attention. Why would anyone care? I do not have the answer, but it was not until the couple was being led to a table that the other patrons resumed their conversations. What in the world would they have done I wonder, if the main character from this action, adventure fantasy came into the restaurant?     AN ANCIENT SORCERESS KNOWN AS THE Blood Queen, played by Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element, Resident Evil franchise), was plotting her revenge on mankind. Her plan included an unusual offer. With David Harbour (Revolutionary Road, The Green Hornet) as Hellboy, Ian McShane (Hercules, John Wick franchise) as Professor Broom, Brian Gleeson (Logan Lucky, Phantom Thread) as Merlin and Sasha Lane (American Honey, After Everything) as Alice Monaghan; this reboot was filled with blood and violence. In fact, that pretty much says it all about this picture. I found the script lifeless. What I assume was supposed to be humorous remarks bordered on vitriol. There was nothing fun or exciting in this film except Milla’s character. She was the only character that I cared about. I have never read the graphic novels but compared to the original movie, this one was a waste as far as I could tell. In all honesty, watching this film was like seeing a high school production that had not gone through its technical week. I felt different scenarios were shown but never carried all the way through to conclusion. All I can say is it was hell sitting through this film.

 

1 ½ stars        

Flash Movie Review: Resident Evil: Retribution

All these years I thought I was big stuff because I could hold my own against the Space Invaders video game. Then Alice came along and burst my bubble. I may not have played the video game this movie was based on, but I felt I had once I saw this action film. Also, this is only the 2nd movie I have seen in the Resident Evil movie franchise. The film started where the last one left off, showing us the previous ending scene in slow motion reverse. With this installment we find Alice, played by Milla Jovovich (The Three Musketeers, The Fifth Element) was mother to hearing impaired Becky, played by Aryana Engineer (Orphan). Alice was living life as a suburban housewife until the neighborhood was attacked by flesh eating zombies. It turned out Alice was being held in a secret testing location by the Umbrella Corporation, keepers of the T-Virus. For Alice to escape out of her holding cell, she would need the help of an insider and former friends. The first impression I had while watching this action film was how long could Milla keep up the physical stamina the role demanded? Presently, I believe Alice would be in the top 3 for being the toughest female action hero on screen today. The action stunts were plentiful, with some in fast motion and others done slowly. The primal story had holes in it that did not explain some things to me, but I do not think it mattered. I found the acting stiff and wooden for the most part, but again so what? The film was meant to be a visual explosion of special effects and action; it succeeded in that regard. This was nothing more than a video game on the big screen, without the joystick.

 

1 3/4 stars

Flash Movie Review: The Three Musketeers

That famous quote, “One for all and all for one,” took on a new meaning for the making of this movie. The film studio must have thought it meant for them to pick parts of different movies and blend them into one story. Sacrebleu, there was a little part of The Matrix; a cup of The Wild, Wild West and a touch of Mission Impossible all stirred into this confused film. Right from the beginning, when the ninja looking scuba diver rose from the depths of the murky water, I realized these musketeers were not the same as the ones I read about in school. Though the movie had an imaginative look about it, along with fun fighting scenes, I found myself growing tired from the poorly written script. A surprise for me was seeing Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds, Carnage) playing Cardinal Richelieu. Why did he agree to do this movie? Though I will say, he tried his best with what he had been handed. The character Milady de Winter, played by Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element, Resident Evil franchise) was so odd to me; she came across as a poor excuse for my beloved Emma Peel from the old television series. I could understand the Musketeers coming out of retirement to foil the sinister Richelieu’s plot against the king; sadly, they were not good enough to save this movie.

 

1 3/4 stars — DVD

 

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