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Flash Movie Review: The Peanuts Movie

Just as the rhythm section returns after the bridge in a song, so do the beats between long term friends whenever they get together. Preludes and introductions to events are never necessary because the bond between such friends has been seasoned and aged to perfection. Because I grew up with music and use it in my fitness classes, I am attuned to listening for the rhythm in almost any sound; so conversation to me has its own unique rhythms. Being with long term friends feels like a symphony because we are so comfortable in sync with each other, we can flow right into each other’s lives. The beauty of this is it does not matter how different we are from each other. When a group of us gets together one may be laid back, another high strung and someone else could be a bit scattered; no one cares since we have been part of each other’s life for so long. I have a close friend who lives out of state. We may not talk for months but when we finally do we fall right into step with each other as we share stories. Hopefully they are not reading this but I know they can be bitter or pessimistic but it is who they are and I would not change them for anything. The memories we have together are plentiful and they seem to soften any of the rough edges that may have formed on each of us. You know, it simply feels like home and that is how I felt with this animated comedy.    THE Peanuts gang, which has been absent from the big screen for over 30 years, return with some subtle changes in this adventure film. Only viewers who grew up with the characters like Charlie Brown, voiced here by Noah Schnapp (Bridge of Spies) and Lucy, voiced here by Hadley Belle Miller (Branson the Sitcom-TV movie), would even notice a difference. For example Lucy looked the same except her hair had more depth to it. The CGI effects were used gently as the animators stayed true to each character’s look. The reason this film succeeded was due to the memories most people have about the Peanuts gang. At the showing I attended the majority of viewers were older. The story was very basic, incorporating past actions and events into the script. There were some new elements; I especially enjoyed Snoopy’s adventures through the picture. Though I will have to say it took time for me to get used to the look of the movie. I found myself wondering at times if I was looking at hand drawn scenes or computer enhanced ones. Credit has to go to the Schulz family and the people who worked on preserving the essence of the Peanuts comic strips into this picture. The enjoyment I felt from this film came from reliving my memories of these old friends.

 

2 3/4 stars

 

 

 

Flash Movie Review: The Spanish Prisoner

To get the rich flavor out of certain foods, one must coddle and fuss over them. Think of your mother’s homemade spaghetti sauce sitting on the stove for hours; where it would simmer and bubble, emitting small puffs of steam into the air. Similar to that, this mystery slowly simmered as the various actors blended together into a rich, thrilling story. Watching this movie was a nostalgic experience for me; a throwback to a different time where the actors told the story, not the special effects or locales. This film slowly drew me into its story with its twists and turns. Joseph A. “Joe” Ross, played by Campbell Scott (Music and Lyrics, The Dying Gaul), created a formula that would bring millions to his company; run by Mr. Klein, played by Ben Gazzara (The Big Lebowski, Looking for Palladin). Altered attitudes and issues of trust came into play after Joe befriended the mysterious Julian “Jimmy” Dell, played by Steve Martin (Shopgirl, The Jerk), who warned Joe about taking steps to protect his creation. Written and directed by David Mamet (Glengarry Glen Ross, Hannibal), the driving force to this film came from the dialog. Filmed in 1997, the pacing took its time in revealing the story, allowing the actors to shine in their craft. It was fun to see a young Felicity Huffman (Trasamerica, Desperate Housewives-TV) and Ed O’Neill (Married with Children-TV, Modern Family-TV) who had small roles in this layered movie. Set in a past time, the wordy script took pleasure in reeling me into its web of intrigue and I went willingly.  One brief scene with blood.

 

3 stars — DVD

Flash Movie Review: Moonrise Kingdom

Do you remember your first love or infatuation? I remember my first love or should I say what I thought was love when I was in the 5th grade. For my very first date, my mother took Diane and me to an afternoon movie–natch. This quirky film was about first love. It took me a short time before I could get into the rhythm of this funny movie. Set in the 1960’s; Sam and Suzy, played by newcomers Jaren Gilman and Kara Hayward, were the young couple in love. They decided to run away which brought the citizens of their small, New England town to come out and search for them. The director Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox) assembled an eclectic group of fine actors for this film. For example, there was Edward Norton (The Illusionist, Fight Club) as the Scout Master, Bill Murray (Lost in Translation, Groundhog Day) as Walt Bishop and Bruce Willis (Die Hard franchise, The Sixth Sense) as Captain Sharp were among the ensemble of notable actors. Each character had a different view about the fleeing 12 year old kids, who wanted to get married. The way Mr. Anderson filmed the scenes, my eyes were constantly treated to novel shots filled with nostalgic trappings. I almost felt as if I needed to see this movie again because I may have missed something. From an innocent time long ago, with a cast of characters, everything was set into motion with the onset of first love.

 

3 1 /4 stars

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