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Flash Movie Review: The Pale Blue Eye

VISITING A TOWN OUT OF STATE, I was walking down a cobblestone road while gazing into various shop windows. I was surprised by the number of shops devoted to witches. Granted most of them appeared to be geared towards tourists, with trinkets and baubles filling up their display windows. There was one store that was devoted to magic wands, nothing else. How were they making a living, I thought. I could not help wondering what the residents thought of all, what I considered to be, this gimmickry. What I really would have loved to have known was what the former residents from the late 1600s would have thought if they could have seen all the establishments, signs and statues devoted to witches and witchcraft. The reason being back in the late 1600s people were burned at the stake for being considered witches in this area. Talk about going from one extreme to the other. Maybe I am a bit nerdy to think of these things, but I have always been fascinated with the wide changes that occur in perceptions/reality. Whether it an inanimate object or human being, it does not matter to me. And honestly, I think many of you would be surprised to learn about some of them.      NEAR WHERE I GREW UP AS A kid, there used to be a garbage dump. Pretty much it was a non-descript place with tall fences around it. The village leaders decided to create a hill from the trash. Now the place is a destination stop for anyone who wants to go sledding or tobogganing. Except for the older residents no one would have a clue that underneath the grassy turf the entire hill was made from garbage. I get the same kick out of discovering what some celebrities did for a living before they were discovered. For example, James Bond’s Pierce Brosnan was a professional fire eater at a circus. Christopher Lee the actor worked for the intelligence service. And Danny DeVito was a hairdresser for corpses. I am sure some people would think my career path has some extremes in it and maybe it does, but nothing that would match the few examples I listed here. Another aspect I enjoy about the wide differences found in life is when a movie uses an historical figure in the early stages of their life. For example, the writer Herman Melville was a harpooner on a whaling ship, then in his last decades he was a customs inspector. My curiosity in this subject of contrasts/differences led me to view this crime, horror mystery film.      AFTER A CADET WAS FOUND DEAD, West Point Academy hired a detective to solve the mystery quickly in order to protect the image of the academy. Appearances were quite important. With Christian Bale (The Fighter, American Hustle) as Augustus Landor, Harry Melling (Harry Potter franchise, The Old Guard) as Cadet Edgar Allan Poe, Simon McBurney (The Last King of Scotland, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as Captain Hitchcock, Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner, Secrets & Lies) as Superintendent Thayer and Fred Hechinger (News of the World, The Woman in the Window) as Cadet Randolph Ballinger; this picture had a wonderful atmospheric look to it. With Christian and Harry blending perfectly with their characters, I was drawn into the story that was a slow burn. Everything was well placed and thought out; however, things took a turn that threw me for a loop. I did not care for how the story finished up. It seemed rushed and not as believable as the rest of the movie. Luckily, the cast kept me engaged through this rough spot; but I still found the ending odd. However, I still got a kick out of watching Edgar Allan Poe before he became famous. There were several scenes that had blood on display.

2 ½ stars 

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Flash Movie Review: Barbarian

I SAT THERE WONDERING WHY I was so afraid. The short-term rental place was beautiful; I mean magazine worthy beautiful. A family member had taken a trip out west and stayed at a short-term rental property they booked online. It was a three-bedroom home with a gourmet kitchen, fireplace, in ground swimming pool and a fire pit. The furnishings and home looked like they were from the mid-century modern period. My relative had rented the place with three friends for vacation. The location was walking distance from the main shopping/entertainment district of the city and a 75–90-minute trip away from a national park. In other words, it was an ideal location.  As I was being shown photos of their trip, a part of my brain was trying to calculate why I had this fear about doing a short-term rental property; I have always stayed in hotels when I have been on a trip. One of the reasons I know, is because I love breakfast food. I pick hotels that offer a free breakfast or have a restaurant on site; so, I can wake up, shower and head down for a meal that I did not have to prepare. However, seeing this home, I would not have a problem if I had to bring in some groceries and make breakfast for myself; it would be worth it.      NOW IF YOU ARE THINKING WHAT I am looking at is unusual for a rental property, you would be correct. I am aware this property is extreme because of the others my friends have shown me from their trips. Most of them are fine, nothing too outrageous; however, there have been a few that were the pits. One friend of mine rented a cottage on a lake for a vacation spot for him and his family. The first thing that greeted them when they arrived was a broken bathtub sitting on the front lawn. Once inside, they found the place was dirty and I do not mean dirty from the previous guests. There was mold in the shower stall, peeling paint on the walls and windows that would not stay open. Also, the hot water never got hot. They took their luggage and went right back to their car and drove to the nearest hotel they could find. That is more like the image that appears in my mind when I hear someone is going to stay at a short-term rental property. And now that I have seen this film, I am even more afraid.      ARRIVING IN A NEW CITY FOR a job interview, the candidate picked a short-term rental property to stay at during her visit. To her surprise, when she got there the place was already occupied. With Georgina Campell (All My Friends Hate Me, Krypton-TV) as Tess, Bill Skarsgard (It franchise, Eternals) as Keith, Justin Long (The Wave, F is for Family-TV) as AJ, Matthew Patrick Davis (Henry Danger-TV, Dwight in Shining Armor-TV) as The Mother and Richard Brake (The Munsters, The Rhythm Section) as Frank; this horror, mystery thriller grabbed me early on. The suspense was thick and well played out, partially thanks to Georgina and Bill; they were excellent together. I enjoyed the freshness in the script and the way it built up the suspense and dread. However, the sharp turn it took threw me. It started to feel as if I was watching a couple of different stories at one point. And maybe that is the issue I had with this film; I would have been perfectly fine to keep more of the focus on the beginning two main characters. It took me a while to understand there was more to the script than what I was perceiving; I think with a little more tweaking this movie could have been a breathtaking, scary story. It certainly gives one reason to pause before agreeing to a short-term rental vacation property. There were several scenes with blood and violence.

2 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

NO MATTER WHERE OR WHEN SHE was seen, she always had on a scarf or rain bonnet. She wore each of them the same way whether it was a blistering hot summer day or a frigid, wintery one. Sometimes, I would see her wearing both. I knew she lived in the neighborhood but had no clue where exactly. She walked with an odd limp that caused her to shift her weight from side to side. It looked like she could almost tip over, except she always had a shopping cart with her, which I assumed she could use to balance herself if she felt like she was toppling over. There was one distinct feature that stuck out for me; she had a marking on the side of her face that could have been a scar or a birthmark. I was never close enough to her to see what it could be. The other thing I remembered about her was the fact she was always alone, whenever she was out in the neighborhood. I had no idea if there were family members living with her or she was all by herself. Taking these things into account, I do not know how many of these things helped contribute to the reputation she had or more precisely was given. People thought she was a “witch.”      NOW I DO NOT KNOW IF people thought she did spells and incantations over a black cauldron like what has been depicted in movies and television; but I think they thought she was different from anyone else they knew. Maybe that was the reason why I never saw anyone near her; people were afraid. There were several kids in the neighborhood who would call her names; but only if they were across the street from her, in case she was going to do something to them. It was not until I started high school that I noticed she was no longer seen walking around the neighborhood. It was at that time that I started going to a new doctor for my yearly physical. From our conversations about the neighborhood, I found out he was a distant relative of that “witch” woman. The little he shared about her with me was enough to set me reeling. It turned out she was a Holocaust survivor, having lost her parents and siblings during the war. The doctor said Nazi doctors performed experiments on her while she was being held in a concentration camp. It was horrifying to hear this news and it occurred to me no one in the neighborhood had a clue about it. Instead of finding out and talking to her, people shunned her for her “differences.” It was a similar scenario for the main character in this mystery thriller drama.      ABANDONED AT AN EARLY AGE, A young girl must raise herself in the marshlands of the Deep South. The townsfolk, who did not trust her, looked to her as the prime suspect when a dead body turned up in town. With Daisy Edgar-Jones (Pond Life, Cold Feet-TV) as Kya Clark, Taylor John Smith (Lost Child, Wolves) as Tate Walker, Harris Dickinson (Beach Rats, The Kin’s Man) as Chase Andrews, David Strathairn (Nightmare Alley, L.A. Confidential) as Tom Milton and Michael Hyatt (The Little Things, Snowfall-TV) as Mabel; this movie based on the bestselling book was beautifully filmed. I thought Daisy and David Strathairn did a wonderful job of acting. Having not read the book, I found myself attracted to the story; however, there were times where I felt I was not getting all the details out of the scenes. Several of them felt like snippets of a story. I can only imagine the book being better at giving the details and emotions of each character. Normally not a fan of jumping back and forth in time, I did not mind how it was done in this film; they were longer in duration and relevant to what was currently taking place in the story. This was a good try by the writers, but with more effort, this could have been a better movie.                              

2 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Amsterdam

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD A STORY, that if you had not known the person involved in it, you would have never believed it was true? I do not know about you, but it has happened to me many times. A man was telling me about his childhood, growing up in a country that was dealing with strife and conflict. He said whenever soldiers were spotted coming towards the town, many of the families would take their babies and hide them in the forest; so, they would not be taken and raised to become soldiers when they became grown. Or they could just as easily have been killed if the soldiers did not like something about them. What a horrifying way of life, I thought. He said one time the soldiers surprised the town by showing up at nighttime. Whoever was closest to the infant grabbed them and raced out the back to get them into the forest. The soldiers went through the town then left; everyone waited a long time before going out to retrieve their babies. Because of the mad rush to get the baby into the forest, this family member did not pay close attention to where he was placing them. This family member came back to get another family member to join in the search. After a long time, they did come back with a baby they thought was the right one. I stared at him in disbelief. He said it was not until he got older before family members were sure they had taken the right baby; he turned into the perfect likeness to his older brother.      IF YOU ARE ANYTHING LIKE ME, you hear something on the news that is so far-fetched that you cannot believe it is a real news story. Not that I want to get into any political discussion, but there is a candidate who is from a state that verified the past presidential election results multiple times. This candidate does not agree with the results and their reason is because they have never talked to someone who said they voted for the current president. I had to sit there and process what this candidate was saying, “they have never talked to anyone who voted for the president. When told the number of votes that were counted, this candidate said anything is possible in a fantasy world. I could not make such a story up even if I had wanted to; it is so hard to believe. Their argument would be like me saying I have never talked to anyone who had visited the Artic, so it must not exist. I had never heard of the event that inspired this dramatic, comedy mystery story; and based on what I saw, I cannot discern what might have been real or fake.      THREE FRIENDS FRAMED FOR A MURDER find something more sinister than the circumstances of the death they witnessed, while trying to clear their names. With Christian Bale (The Big Short, Out of the Furnace) as Burt Berendsen, Margot Robbie (Bombshell, Mary Queen of Scots) as Valerie Voze, John David Washington (Tenet, Malcolm & Marie) as Harold Woodman, Alessandro Nivola (American Hustle, The Many Saints of Newark) as Detective Hiltz and Anya Taylor-Joy (Last Night in Soho, The Northman) as Libby Voze; this film had a stellar cast of characters. Too bad, they were not given the tools to help create an engaging film. I did not find anything funny in the script which only added to the quickness of me becoming bored. There was a cartoonish style to the acting, due to the script, that never allowed the story to reach a healthy level of suspense and drama. I wondered if the writers intended to shine a spotlight on the parallels between the political environment in this story with the current times, we have been living in. When I left the theater, I had the feeling that I had wasted my time going to this viewing. If I had not gone and seen this, would that have meant that it had never been made?                   

1 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Review: See How They Run

I WAS NEVER VERY GOOD AT playing mystery games like Clue. Of all the times I played it, I only won the game once. The same holds true for those immersive, staged mystery house events. Though they are exciting and fun, I do not focus on seeking out who is the killer; I am having such a fun time with the experience, along with the visuals and acting, that I get lost into it. In other words, I immerse myself, hence an immersive production. LOL There is something about seeing, what I would consider, average/innocuous events that later turn out to be vital clues to the identity of the murderer. This also applies to mystery books and movies; the way they can pull one into their story and take them on this wild trail of events has always impressed me. As I have been working on this review it has occurred to me, I was a guest at a dinner party where all the guests had to assume the identity of a famous individual. Throughout the meal there were six of us seated around the dining room table; some were talking with an accent and others were conversing with a different sounding voice. I was a well-known television star, so I periodically dropped clues about the type of shirt I was wearing and the landscape of the area I lived in on the TV series. It was not until we were eating dessert before someone correctly guessed my character.      WITH MY LOVE OF MYSTERIES, THE one and only time I was in London, England I wanted to see the play The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie. I remember how excited I was to see it, both because it was a murder mystery, and it was being staged in London’s famous West End district. The production checked off all my expectations. And the “piece de resistance” occurred at the end of the show when a cast member came out on stage to ask everyone in the audience to keep secret who was the killer. I thought this was so cool because I felt like I was suddenly part of the production, and my job was not to reveal the murderer. I want you to know I never did reveal the identity of the killer. I find it fascinating that after all these years I am now reviewing a dramatic comedy murder that incorporates The Mousetrap into its story.      PLANS WERE IN PLACE TO BRING the play The Mousetrap to the big screen. However, when a cast member was found dead, things had to be placed on hold as an investigation was to take place. The inspector would soon discover it was not easy dealing with theater people. With Adrien Brody (The French Dispatch, American Heist) as Leo Kopernick, David Oyelowo (The Water Man, A United Kingdom) as Mervyn Cocker-Norris, Saoirse Ronan (Mary Queen of Scots, Little Women) as Constable Stalker, Sam Rockwell (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, The Best of Enemies) as Inspector Stoppard and Harris Dickinson (The King’s Man, Beach Rats) as Richard Attenborough; this story based in the 1950s London had all the markings of being a classic “whodunit” type of thriller. The cast filled with well rounded, capable actors were well matched with their characters. I thought the sets and costumes were spot on, giving a perfect retro feel to the story. Sadly, it did not take much detective work to discover the script was a big letdown as was the directing. Things seemed to drag for the first half of the film. Where I normally admire Sam Rockwell’s acting skills, here he seemed to have gotten lost. There was no emotional variance to the scenes which I found boring. Weirdly, I thought Wes Anderson was directing because it certainly was his type of style; but it was not the case. I almost feel like I need to do some detective work to discover who allowed this production to go forward because it really is a mystery to me.     

2 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: They/Them

I WOULD LIKE YOU TO READ the following comments and tell me what they all have in common: “You would look better if you cut your hair.” “If you would lose some weight, you would look nicer.” “Why don’t you go into accounting; you are so good with numbers?” “I think you should play football; it will do you good.” Now that you have read them, what do you think is the answer? If you said, all the statements were offering unsolicited advice you would be correct. If you also said the statements were seeking to make a change in the individual, that would be a correct answer as well. For me, there is a difference between offering advice when asked compared to telling a person what you think they should do. No one has the right to try and change a person except for a psychiatrist and that is only if the person is seeking the means for a change in their life. One of the things I believe in is every person was put on this planet to experience or be happy. If they are not happy, then they need to find the means to experience happiness for themselves, whatever happiness means to them. When I first started to lose weight, I was doing it because I was not happy with my size. Clothes never fit correctly, were hard to find in my size and I tired quickly which made me unhappy. Despite the name calling and hearing the comments from “good intentioned” people; my weight loss only happened when I decided I wanted to make a change.      I HAD A FRIEND IN SCHOOL who was the butt of jokes and nasty comments because he was perceived as different by several students. He was super smart, with interests that were different from the other students. Having no interest in sports, besides not being athletically inclined, he was fascinated with art and fashion. It was never a surprise for me to see him walking down the hallway in clothing one would find in a fashion magazine. Where I preferred plain home style cooking, he always wanted to try some exotic, foreign food. Despite the ridicule and taunting he received, he did not change what he did. I admired his determination not to change himself just so he could fit in. He would tell me if the bullies cannot appreciate his passion, then it is their issue not his. I thought of him and others who would not change themselves because someone wanted them to be different, as I watched this mystery, horror thriller.      THE METHODS AND TECHNIQUES BEING USED at an LGBTQ+ conversion camp was becoming increasingly more uncomfortable for a group of teenage campers. And that was taking place before a dead body showed up. With Kevin Bacon (The Woodsman, My One and Only) as Owen, Theo Germaine (Work in Progress-TV, The Politician-TV) as Jordan, Anna Chlumsky (My Girl franchise, Veep-TV) as Molly, Carrie Preston (The Good Wife-TV, True Blood-TV) as Cora and Quei Tann (Dear White People-TV, Bruh-TV) as Alexandra; the idea behind this story intrigued me enough to decide to watch it. The cast was good, and the entire flavor of this film felt like a flashback to the stalker movies from the 70’s and 80’s. Unfortunately, the script was a poor patchwork of what felt like “woke” marketing topics. I was bored through parts of this picture; it lacked the suspense and horror one needs to make a story intense. At times, it felt like there were two story lines that could have gone their separate ways in their own movie. Credit must be given to the producers for approving this story to film; however, I do not feel the writing did it any justice. Characters were stereotypical and the scenes were predictable most of the time. Now, I am not telling the writers to make changes; however, maybe another rewrite would have helped this film. There were several scenes with blood and violence.   

1 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Nope

I WAS DEFINITELY IN THE MINORITY at the concert. Gratefully the venue had stadium seating; otherwise, I would have been ticked off with all the phone screens blocking my view. The place was packed with fans, and I was there with a couple of friends. As the band was performing, it seemed as if every person around me was watching the group through the screen of their phone as they were snapping photos and videos. Everywhere I looked there were people with their arms up, pointing their phone cameras to the stage. I sat there and wondered how many photos did a person need of their favorite band? It was crazy; instead of sitting there and enjoying the music, everyone was focused on capturing the musicians with their phones. It could not have been comfortable to hold one’s arms up for such a long time. I found it distracting because I did not pay good money to have these phones waving in the air. If I had been sitting on the main floor, I would have had a fight with the people in front of me if they had been using their phones. Why couldn’t people just allow themselves to enjoy the show and let it settle into their minds, to become a fond memory?      CAPTURING AN EVENT ON “FILM” IS not exclusive to concerts; everywhere I look, there is someone snapping a photo. Restaurants are a popular location for people to snap pix of their food; I am not sure why they do it. Sure, some dishes look great; but unless one is going to try and reproduce it, I am not clear why one would want to have a photo of it. I know I am more old school, but I do not see the fascination of posting things about myself on social media sites. I am astounded with the amount of people’s video clips that show up on my sites’ feeds. People dancing, pranking, posing, dressing up and so on; it is like a different world for me. There are many individuals who, I believe, see this as a way to earn income and fame. The more outrageous antics are done, I think, with the hope of acquiring a bigger following. And once there is a bigger following then the next step is to find a way to monetize one’s site. I know someone who has been focusing on making a living by getting corporate sponsors or products to promote while flying to various circuit events. So far it looks like they are succeeding. I am not sure I can say the same thing for the family in this dramatic, science fiction mystery.      A BROTHER AND SISTER ARE TRYING to keep the family horse business going despite unusual things taking place around their ranch. With Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah, Black Panther) as OJ Haywood, Keke Palmer (Hustlers, Alice) as Emerald Haywood, Brandon Perea (The OA-TV, Insurrection) as Angel Torres, Michael Wincott (Talk Radio, What Just Happened) as Antlers Holst and Steven Yeun (Minari, I Origins) as Ricky ‘Jupe’ Park; there were parts of this film that were bold and spectacular in a Hollywood way. I thought Daniel and Keke were outstanding, especially Keke; this was such a different role for her, and I was totally impressed. There was a lot going on in the story and to tell you the truth, if there was a lot of symbolism or meaning, it was lost on me. The first part of the movie dragged for me, taking some time before I felt I was engaging with the story. I still am not sure about the chimpanzee scenes and that is all I will say about that. Having some quality moments in this picture, I wished it connected more with me. Or maybe that is the point. 

2 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Old

WHEN I WAS YOUNG, I THOUGHT FIFTY was an old age. Now, I think fifty is the new forty. I do not know if it is because the way we live is evolving or something in our genes has changed; but when I look at old photos of family members and realize I am the same age as the relative in the photo, I do not understand why they look so much older than me. Did they think they were old; I have wondered? Age, to me, is a state of mind. As long as I can remember, I have heard people say, “Act your age.” I have always wondered what that has exactly meant. Is there a set of rules handed out at each birthday to tell us how we need to be acting at the new age? Sure, an adult making silly noises during a business meeting would be suspect; but would an elderly person flying a kite or playing with a squirt gun be considered childish? I used to work with a woman who always talked in a baby’s voice. Since she was from a different department, I never said anything to her because I did not know if it was a medical condition. I did find it odd, but figured it was providing her some type of satisfaction. Besides, who was I to judge her?      ONCE I FINISHED MY SCHOOLING AND had settled into the business world, I soon picked up this habit of wishing the time away. I am sure I am not alone in this. During work, I was constantly wishing the day would go by faster. If I were saving money to make a large purchase, I would constantly focus on the future, me with a new car or TV, imagining me using and enjoying the item. Even if it was going to take me over a year or two to save up funds, my attention was devoted to the future. I am not sure when I came to the realization that I was no longer living in the moment, but it took me a long time to figure it out. Even today, my tendencies are to dwell on the future while not paying attention to the things currently happening around me. Maybe because as I am aging, I feel time is moving faster. In my mind, I see the younger version of me still doing these strenuous activities that will tax my body; but in reality, I do not have the same level of strength as I did back then. I find it weird how my perceptions can be so different to my reality. However, it is not as odd as what the main characters were experiencing in this dramatic, horror mystery.      A FAMILY ON VACATION FIND THEMSELVES on a deserted beach that was beautiful and peaceful. What they could not understand was the fact they were getting older. With Gael Garcia Bernal (Wasp Network, The Kindergarten Teacher) as Guy, Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread, The Survivor) as Prisca, Rufus Sewell (Judy, The Father) as Charles, Alex Wolff (Pig, Human Capital) as 15-year-old Trent and Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace, Jojo Rabbit) as 16 year old Maddox; this film, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan (Glass, The Last Airbender), had an intriguing premise. I was curious about the story, but I thought the delivery of it was uneven. The movie dragged at first before I started to become fully engaged. Except for the gorgeous landscapes, there was nothing that went beyond being average. I thought Gael and Vicky had the most potential out of the cast; however, the script did not give them the opportunity to really explore their characters. This annoyed me because of the way the film ended; I did not care for it much. Now, I do not want to say I wasted my time by watching this picture, but there were times I had wished the film would have ended.

2 stars 

Flash Movie Trailer: Antlers

GROWING UP, I HAD A FRIEND who was embarrassed of her father. Without knowing his age, all of us felt he was the oldest out of any of our dads. Not that it was a big deal to any of us, but to her she felt uncomfortable by it. He did not participate in any of the school functions that involved any physical activity. I do not think that was an issue for my friend because I knew what bothered her the most about her dad; he spoke with a heavy accent. Being the oldest of his siblings, he tried taking care of them in their war-torn country after their parents were killed. Some of the siblings did not make it out when he was planning for all of them to immigrate to the United States. Out of all the fathers I knew, he was the only one with an accent. It did not bother me at all; I thought he was a sweet, quiet man who despite the circumstances dealt to him and his family, he did a wonderful job of providing for his children. They owned the apartment building they lived in, and the dad had other real estate holdings, so there was some sense of security for all of them. I can say as we all grew older my friend learned more about her family history, which instilled in her a strong sense of pride for her father.      SHE WAS NOT THE ONLY FRIEND I had who was embarrassed of their parents. There was the friend whose mother enjoyed participating in school functions. However, she would always come dressed inappropriately. Added to that was her over the top, loud personality. Many of the other parents tried to avoid her. Either she was oblivious or just did not care, because she never wavered in her choices of clothes and level of outrageous loud bantering. My friend would try to steer us in a different direction to avoid her mother anytime she showed up at our school. I remember one time at a school carnival, I spotted her manning the ball toss booth. From my spot away from her, I could see what she was wearing had to be upsetting some school officials. And sure enough, as I was walking towards her to say hello, our principal walked up to her and said she would have to cover herself up. I do not know if she expected it or not, but she bent over and took a sweater out of her bag. The principal told her to keep it buttoned up or she would have to leave the school. I never mentioned this to my friend. I am sure many of us at one time or another found something our parents were doing that was embarrassing; however, I do not think it was on the scope of what the young boy was experiencing in this dramatic, horror mystery.      WHEN MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER JULIA MEADOWS, played by Keri Russell (Dark Skies, Free State of Jones), notices one of her students withdrawing more and more from the classroom lessons, she takes it upon herself to find out what is going on. However, she does not understand there is a reason why her student doesn’t want her to get involved. With Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog, The Irishman) as Paul Meadows, relative newcomer Jeremy T. Thomas as Lucas Weaver, Graham Greene (Wind River, Dances with Wolves) as Warren Stokes and Scott Haze (Venom, Child of God) as Frank Weaver; I found this film played out more like a suspense story than horror. However, there were a few gory scenes with blood. There is something about Keri that I always find believable, and in this story, she was quite good. Add in Jesse and I did not mind the slower pace because the 2 actors were excellent together. The buildup of tense suspense was well done, and I feel it helped as two story lines were vying back and forth. Compared to other movies in this genre, this one is not the greatest; but it still entertained me. There was nothing here that the writers and director would find embarrassing.                                

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Death on the Nile

I AM THE FIRST ONE TO wear gloves and earmuffs in late autumn and I am the last to stop wearing them in the early part of spring. So, it made sense for me to agree to fly out of the cold winter weather and stay at a resort on a Caribbean Island. My only hesitation was the fact that I would be on the resort’s property for the entire time. I usually am not that comfortable being thrown in with strangers in a confined area for a lengthy duration of time. On an airplane, it does not bother me to sit among unfamiliar passengers or at a catered affair, where I am seated with strangers at a dinner table. However, being at a resort with the same people day in and day out, was rattling me a bit. On the plus side, the weather was in the 80’s when we landed with bright sunshine. The first night there, introductions were being made at the dinner reception; I was somewhat quiet as I was scanning the room, looking at the variety of individuals in attendance. A woman standing next to me started talking about how the heat was already making her body feel better. I agreed with her and for the next 10 minutes she cited off a list of her ailments and what she was doing to try and remedy them. I couldn’t wait to get away; but wound up seeing her every day, where she gave me an update on her health status.      THERE WAS A GENTLEMAN WHO I had met that I tried to avoid as well. He was a boastful, arrogant man who did or did not know he was talking down to people. He was at my table, but you would have thought he was holding court for his subjects. It is a challenge, at least for me, to have a discussion with someone who always thinks they know better. We were talking about fitness, and he had to show me the program he uses to track his fitness progress. Looking at it, I noticed everything he was doing was focused on building up muscle in his body. I asked him what he was doing for his heart, that I did not see any cardio work being done. From that comment, I basically got a lecture about how he does his workouts fast to get his heart involved. He even had to make a point to me that he sweats which I knew was not an indicator of the amount work one was giving to their heart. I already knew better than to try and correct him. Now you know why I am not comfortable being grouped with strangers for an extended amount of time; you never know how things will go. You can see for yourself in this dramatic crime mystery.      ENJOYING A WELL-DESERVED VACATION ON a cruise boat took an awful turn for detective Hercule Poirot, played by Kenneth Branagh (All is True, My Week with Marilyn), when a dead body showed up. With Tom Bateman (Cold Pursuit, Snatched) as Bill, Annette Bening (The Report, The Seagull) as Euphemia Bouc, Russell Brand (Army of One, Arthur) as Windlesham and Michael Rouse (1917, Murder on the Orient Express) as Private Laurin; this movie started out slow for me. The cast was good and some of the sets were beautiful; however, I felt the script pushed most of the excitement to the last half. Though I enjoyed seeing the exotic outdoor scenes, some of them did not look real to me. The other factor that affected me was the lack of excitement throughout most of the film. It goes without saying that Agatha Christie’s book was much better. On the bright side, I only had to be with these strangers for a couple of hours before I got to leave and go back home.

2 ½ stars 

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