I WAS NEVER THE TYPE WHO could go from one relationship to another to another, with very little downtime between. If the love relationship I was in ended, I would need time to grieve and deal with the sadness before venturing back into the dating pool. There was one long term relationship I had that I thought was leading to a permanent commitment; I was wrong. For several months I stayed close to home, not going out much even with my friends. I took that pain and funneled it into those home projects that I never had time for during the relationship. Oh, and I also watched a steady stream of movies. To tell you the truth, I cannot even imagine going on a date after a recent breakup. Knowing me, I would at some point mention my past relationship and the struggle I was having with its ending. And we all know one of the biggest red flags on a first date is to mention your recent breakup and how it is affecting you. I will say, after the grieving process has run its course, that first twinge you feel that plucks one of your heartstrings after meeting someone new, feels like the onset of that first spring day after a dreary winter season. WHERE I COULD NOT JUMP RAPIDLY into a new relationship right after the end of another, I have a friend who never had an issue doing it. After being in a long-term relationship for several years, they broke up and within a couple of weeks she had met someone new. They dated for approximately 4-6 weeks and then got married. To say I was stunned, would be an understatement. I so desperately wanted to ask her if she knew him that well where she wanted to marry him. Or ask her if she thought this would be considered a rebound situation. In case you were wondering, their marriage only lasted 3 or 4 years before they got divorced. I cannot fault a person who runs with their emotions, nor would I want to ever judge a person who is experiencing love. From my experiences, I know love is a powerful emotion that can drive a person into uncharted territories of their heart and to a certain extent their mind. I knew someone who would change his entire wardrobe based on the person he was in love with at the time. I did not understand it, but evidently it meant something to him. I felt the same way about the main character in this drama. AFTER THE THEFT OF HIS TRUFFLE hunting pig Rob, played by Nicolas Cage (The Frozen Ground, Leaving Las Vegas) was determined to get her back, even if it meant returning to his past life. With Alex Wolff (patriots Day, Jumanji franchise) as Amir, Adam Arkin (The Sessions, Chicago Hope-TV) as Darius, newcomer Cassandra Violet as Lori and Julia Bray (The Brain That Wouldn’t Die) as Bree; this movie captured my attention like the way a home cooked smell grabs me when I first walk into the house; I know there is something cooking that I will have to wait until it is done before enjoying it. The script was a slow burn attention seeker. It started out slow but the more the story unfolded, the more I was going deeper into it. Nicholas was incredible in the role and reminded me that he has the capability to produce a quality piece of work. This film is listed a thriller besides drama, and I can understand the reasons why; however, I do not want to build up anyone’s expectations that this picture will be an intense mysterious story that will have the viewer at the edge of their seat. Instead, what one will see is a deep and personal story wrought with emotions.
3 ½ stars
WHAT I WOULD HAVE GIVEN FOR a flashlight; it was dumb of me not to think of one. I was visiting a friend out of state, who thought it would be a cool idea to climb a mountain. It was nothing like the Rockies, but it was high enough. We were able to drive up part of it, park, then follow on foot a trail to get to higher ground. Up until that point everything was going fine. The vegetation was thick all around us which made our surroundings cooler in temperature and darker. I was okay since the day had been hot and sunny. Because we were making our way in subdued light, we kept assuming it was still bright outside, and this was our first mistake. As we were ducking under branches and constantly checking the ground for solid footing, we did not realize our ascent was going slower than anticipated. Neither of us thought about the challenges we would face by trying to crawl down in the darkness of night. I THINK IT WAS ME WHO was getting cold first and hungry. We had reached a substantial height where we could see the city glowing in the distance. All we had with us was water; I had wished I had brought a piece of fruit or a granola bar. We decided to turn back by retracing our steps to get back to a trail and then to our car. It did not take long for me to realize we were in trouble. It was nighttime and neither of us could see the ground clearly enough. There were multiple times where one of us thought we had solid footing but then the ground/rock gave away and we would stumble or fall. I fell and scraped the palms of my hands. With no sense of direction, only knowing we had to go down, we were lost. The area was not known for wildlife; however, that did not stop my brain from imagining a multitude of scary creature encounters. The longer we remained stuck on the mountain, the more we were freaking out. After multiple tries and retreats, we finally found a trail. By the time we returned to the car, we had logged nearly 10 hours in total crawling on the mountain. Ever since then, I have always felt an uneasiness whenever I find myself in a remote area. Whether it is in rugged terrain or wide-open spaces, my imagination kicks into high gear on what things could happen to me. This will explain my anxiousness as I watched this dramatic, crime thriller. WITH YOUNG WOMEN GOING MISSING in an area of Alaska, the only lead Jack Holcombe, played by Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, Face/Off), had was a junkie named Cindy Paulson, played by Vanessa Hudgens (Beastly, Dog Days) and she did not want to be involved with any part of his investigation. With John Cusack (High Fidelity, Love & Mercy) as Robert Hansen, Dean Norris (Total Recall, The Book of Henry) as Sgt. Lyle Haugsven and Gia Mantegna (The Prince, Criminal Minds-TV) as Debbie Peters; this film festival nominee’s story was based on actual events. For that reason, I found this movie creepier than usual. The main leads were quite convincing in the story; in fact, I was impressed with Vanessa’s work in particular. The filming of this picture made the feelings of isolation and despair more prominent throughout the scenes. It almost felt like it was hanging in the air. The story basically was a good guy vs bad guy set-up; I only wished the writers had delved deeper into the characters. It would have made for a more intense viewing, in my opinion. I was already uneasy about remote areas and this movie has now solidified my feelings about them.
2 ¼ stars
Change within a person, if they so choose, usually happens over time. There are some people who make it look almost effortless; I am not one of those folks. The pace it takes me to set myself on a course for change barely can be measured with a pedometer. Keep in mind I have eaten the same thing for lunch at work every day, five days a week, for 20 years. In some unexplainable way I take pride in it because it was the same thing my mother did when she worked, as did her father my grandfather. Little did I know I would get a lesson about change from the prehistoric family in this animated comedy. By following the same exact rules every day Crug Crood, voiced by Nicolas Cage (Adaptation, Season of the Witch), had kept his family alive. Everyone knew when it started to get dark outside they had to retreat to the safety of their cave. Well, almost everyone knew except for his adventurous daughter Esp, voiced by Emma Stone (The Help, Zombieland). The family would have no choice however when disaster struck and the rules had to be changed, if they were going to survive. Catherine Keener (A Late Quartet, Into the Wild) voiced Ugla, Crug’s wife who was the peace maker of the family. Cloris Leachman (Young Frankenstein, The Beverly Hillbillies) voiced Gran, the thorn in Crug’s side. I enjoyed this movie more than I thought I would and part of the reason was the cast. Having been in some dreadful films lately, I thought Nicolas did a fine job as the father. The humor was predominantly slapstick, but not in an overpowering way. Ryan Reynolds (Buried, The Proposal) was perfect as the inventive Guy, letting his pet handle the majority of comedy between the two. It did not bother me that the story was formulaic, it was easily figured out. However, due to the pacing and excellent animation; I found myself going along for the exciting ride. This film was appropriate for the entire family; there was a little for everyone. I think the film had a positive effect on me because I was able to tune out the noisy children sitting near me. Is it possible that I am changing?