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Flash Movie Review: A Thousand and One

WHEN YOU ARE A SMALL CHILD, all parents seem bigger and more powerful. So, when the mother showed up to confront the bullies who were picking on her son, I could tell those boys were scared. I tried to avoid those kids because I knew they picked on other students; it seemed to me it was whoever was in their sights when they were all together, which usually was before school started, gym class or recess time. If it was only one of them by himself, then they did not always start trouble. I guess they needed an audience of their friends around to make it worthwhile to tease or abuse someone. When the mother walked up to them, the bullies moved closer to each other. She yelled at them as she jabbed her finger close to each one’s face. I did not hear everything being said but did catch the phrase, “How would you like it if I did to you what you are doing to my son?” By this time, the bullies could only look down and stay silent, but she was not having it; she demanded they look at her when she was talking to them. After a few more words, which she ended by saying, “Next time I will bring the police with me,” she made her way to the open school entrance. All of us knew she was going to seek out the principal. I never saw them pick on her son again.      ANOTHER MOTHER WHO STOOD OUT TO me was one I met in high school. She was a real character. The first time I saw her she was wearing hot pink colored short shorts, a white tank top and sparkling rings on both hands. The word that best describes her would be, “jolly.” She was always joking with her daughter’s friends, saying things that were on the verge of embarrassing; well, at least to her daughter who would just sit there and shake her head. But her mother volunteered for everything; it could be a field trip, a bake sale, a chaperone, whatever the school needed. I learned to respect and admire her because she was unapologetic. She was overweight and short, never letting it bother her. I was her daughter’s friend, so I probably had more interaction with her than other students. The thing I learned about her was though she had this fun cheerful side, she was very protective of her daughter. No one could even suggest something negative about the daughter without the mother confronting the person. She had no problem standing up for what she believed was best for her daughter and pity the person who was on the receiving end. Even having known these and many other mothers, I have to say I could not believe the perseverance and determination the mother displayed in this dramatic crime movie.      REFUSING TO WATCH HER SON LANGUISH in the foster care system, a mother decides to kidnap him and find themselves a better life. With Teyana Taylor (White Men Can’t Jump, Miracles Across 125th Street) as Inez de la Paz, Aaron Kingsley Adetola (Rise, Superblocked) as Terry 6 years old, Aven Courtney (Strive, Aviva) as Terry 13 years old, Josiah Cross (King Richard) as Terry 17 years old and William Catlett (The Devil You Know, Charm City Kings) as Lucky; this story based in New York City was unbelievable. I was surprised how quickly I was captivated by Inez; the acting was close to perfection. I will say this was not an easy film to watch, simply because of the tough, emotionally intense scenes; but believe me, it is worth it to see such a well-done movie. The acting was superb by everyone because I had to keep reminding myself this was a made-up story not a documentary; that is how real it came across to me. I will say the ending was a bit of a letdown for me; it seemed to have lost some of its intensity. Despite that, I have a new appreciation for a mother’s strength.                                              

3 ½ stars 


Flash Movie Review: The Mother

WAITING TO CHECK OUT MY SCHOOL supplies, I saw something that changed my opinion about motherhood. In the next line stood a mother holding a crying baby. I had no reason to assume she was not the mother. She tried calming the child by gently bouncing her up and down, while making soft cooing sounds. I was wondering why the mother did not give the baby bottle she had in her hand to her child just as she brought it closer to her other hand to unscrew the top. Placing the bottle on the edge of the conveyor belt, she contorted her arm back to grab something out of her large canvas bag that was slinged over her shoulder. I could not believe what she pulled out of that bag; it was a bottle of cola. She quickly took off the cap and poured the soft drink into the baby bottle. I had to look around to see if anyone else was seeing what I was watching; it was the most incredible thing I had ever seen. The mother closed the baby bottle and stuck the nipple into the baby’s mouth. I thought the baby would spit out the carbonated liquid, but I was wrong. The baby calmed down and sucked away on that bottle, like the way I imagined a sugar addict would do it. I wondered if Dr. Spock would have approved.      FROM THAT EARLY SINGLE INCIDENT, I realized not every woman is cutout for motherhood. I have encountered many women who were outstanding mothers. There was the mother who surprised her music-loving child with tickets to their very first rock concert, because she wanted to further encourage her child’s interest in music. On the other hand, I heard about the mother, who was attending the parent/teacher conferences at her son’s school, when the teacher mentioned the child’s disappointing testing scores and the mother exclaimed, she was screwed (the actual comment is not printable here). The mother was more concerned about the optics of having a child who is struggling in certain areas instead of focusing on finding the proper resources to help her son succeed. Her actions as told to me simply reinforced my belief that just having a baby doesn’t qualify a woman to be a mother. It takes a special person with a special skill set. It does not even have to be as skilled as the mother in this action thriller, but it certainly could not hurt.      HAVING BEEN FORCED TO GIVE UP her child at birth, a single mother had to resign herself to a quiet life of solitude. That life would rapidly change when she found out her daughter was being targeted by someone from her past. With Jennifer Lopez (Shotgun Wedding, Marry Me) as The Mother, Lucy Paez (The Exorcism of Carmen Farias, Silencio) as Zoe, Omari Hardwick (Army of the Dead, Sorry to Bother You) as Cruise, Joseph Fiennes (Risen, The Handmaid’s Tale) as Adrian and Gael Garcia Bernal (Old, The Motorcycle Diaries) as Hector; this drama had a decent premise and a committed lead star with Jennifer. Granted even in a fight scene her makeup and outfits looked fine, but I did appreciate her effort in making the fight scenes look believable. My issue with this picture was the script. It was a good idea but came across as a series of cliches; it was easy figuring out what was going to happen next. I felt there could have been more given to the characters, both emotionally and historically. And of course, there were a few scenes that came across as non-believable. It was not lost on me that this film debuted Mother’s Day weekend because it really showed an intense example of a mother’s love. There were several scenes filled with blood and violence.

2 ½ stars

Flash Movie Review: I Am Mother

SINCE THE MAJORITY OF MY FRIENDS started driving before I did, I discovered something interesting about parents. I had one friend whose father would always give a list of warnings before handing over the car keys to his son. Some of the things said by the father were, “don’t play the radio while driving,” don’t blast the air conditioning on high” and “don’t eat anything in the car.” Once we were able to get into the car and drive away, I asked my friend what was up with all the warnings from his dad. He told me his dad said the same thing every time he asked for the car, because his dad was always afraid the battery would die if the radio was on or if the fan was on high. I had no experience with cars, so I did not know whether his dad’s concerns were accurate or not. More importantly, I began to realize something else when the car did not die because we were blasting the a/c or the radio; parents may not know all the answers. At a younger age, I had no reason to question the things a parent would say; however, as I got older there were some things I would question. To me, this was all part of the learning process. How would I learn if I did not question things?      RECENTLY THERE WAS A NEWS REPORT about a father and his son who were accused of a hate crime. Besides it being a vile act, I had to wonder what was going on inside that family structure that allowed a child to act in such a way. I always thought the idea of raising a child was to help them grow up to think for themselves. Obviously, the son who participated in the crime had the same mindset as his dad. I understand children are like sponges when they are small, but I try to believe that getting an education and socialization provides the tools for the grown-up child to make hopefully responsible and rational decisions. I am reminded of someone I worked with who was a liar just like his dad. Anything either of them would say, I never trusted. Anytime I questioned them they would just make up some story to appease me, hoping I would go away. Because of my experiences growing up, I find nothing wrong with a child questioning a parent. Granted there is no rule book to child rearing, and as a friend of mine says, “Raising a child to grow up and be a decent human being is a crapshoot.” You just never know; which is what the writers of this dramatic, mystery science fiction movie wanted viewers to think about.      WITH HUMANITY EXTINCT IT WAS UP to one robot to care for the frozen, stored human embryos. For the robot to be successful it would have to teach the developing human how to be human, according to the robot. With Rose Byrne (Peter Rabbit, Spy) voicing Mother, newcomer Talilia Sturzaker as the child, Clara Rugaard (Teen Spirit, Good Favour) as Daughter, Luke Hawker (Blackspot, The Devil’s Rock) as Mother and Hilary Swank (The Hunt, The Resident) as woman; this film festival winning movie had a thought provoking script. As the picture continued the small twists and turns kept me wondering about certain scenes. Adding in Clara’s performance and I found this movie captivating. It was refreshing to have a science fiction film play out as a dramatic story without the battles and overwhelming special effects. I also enjoyed Hilary’s performance because the introduction of her character changed the flavor of the story for me. Since this film was never on my radar, I consider it a sleeper movie; one that packs more punch than what it appears to be. Even after watching this picture I kept thinking about it which is always a good sign for me.


3 stars    

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