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Flash Movie Review: The Mitchells vs. the Machines

I WOULD BE ASKED TO COME out and play but they did not know I was already outside. Many times, various relatives would ask if I would prefer to be outside because it was such a nice day and I would politely tell them I was doing fine where I was already. You see most everyone did not understand I was visiting all parts of the world besides traveling to different planets. My spaceships came in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all were equipped with a multi light ray shooter. For those of you who do not know what that is, please let me tell you. It was a concave dish or half sphere attached to the rocket ship that generated various degrees of light emitting particles. Based on the intensity of the light, it could lock a person in place like a statue if the person came into the shining light’s circumference. When the intensity was dialed all the way up, the light ray would be my ray gun that could pierce enemy spaceships or cause mountains to explode wherever the light hit. Some days, I would hang out closer to home. Periodically, I would pay a visit to my imaginary zoo, where I had trained all the animals to listen to me. I was talking to animals way before I ever heard of that doctor named Doolittle.      MY IMAGINATION HAS ALWAYS ENGAGED ITSELF at a high level. At the time, I cannot tell you how many times I preferred being in my imaginary world than the real one. When I look back now, I can see why I had a harder time fitting in with different groups of people. Not to be judgmental here, but they were usually not as exciting and fun as the people I created in my world. Not that I lived a lonely life as a kid, I was able to disconnect and enjoy the company of friends and family. And I will say, when I met someone who had the same sensibilities/flair of imagination as me, we really connected on a deeper level. In fact, because of my imagination most of my friends always wanted me to be in charge of building our snow forts during the winter months; I created solid fortresses that protected us from any barrage of snowballs. So, in a way I see a powerful imagination can be a double-edged sword. It may be a little harder to fit in with people; but on the other hand, the people who can wrap their brain around it really get in synch with you. If I could relive my youth over, would I want to have a less active imagination? The answer is no; I believe it has been one of my strongest assets. You can certainly see why if you choose to watch this animated, adventure movie.      HAVING TO TAKE A ROAD TRIP with her family was hard enough for Katie Mitchell, voiced by Abbi Jacobson (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Broad City-TV). But to then join forces with her family to battle the evil forces behind the raging machines, it might be too much for even Katie to handle. With Danny McBride (Alien: Covenant, Rock the Kasbah) voicing Rick Mitchell, Maya Rudolph (Life of the Party, Inherent Vice) voicing Linda Mitchell, Michael Rianda (Gravity Falls-TV) voicing Aaron Mitchell and Olivia Colman (The Favourite, The Crown-TV) as PAL; this comedy fantasy was such a fun film to watch. The creativity and imagination would be enough to engage the viewer, but I thought the script was witty, smart and relevant. The various references to technology and family issues was a wonderful mixture of funny and familiarity. I particularly enjoyed the injection of quick scenes that perfectly described the feelings and thoughts I was having about the scenarios on display. It was such a good time for me to watch this picture and I appreciated the way it tickled my imagination.

3 ½ stars    

Flash Movie Review: Tyrannosaur

Some people assume I am good at detecting the anger inside of individuals because of my yoga background. While that certainly has helped me in recognizing the tension and anger someone may carry, the larger reason I can spot anger is because I have had an intimate relationship with it. I am not talking about spats, conflicts or disagreements; I am referring to that deep anger that boils inside, always on the verge of flaring up with any little spark. It is the type that is so out of proportion to the situation that bystanders stare in disbelief as you look like a cross between a paper shredder and volcano. I can remember how my anger would invade my brain, pushing everything aside into a single room as if it were being held prisoner. The anger and frustration would tense my body into stiffness. Luckily the release valve to my anger used a verbal route instead of a physical one. Though when I was younger, if something did not work the way I wanted it to, I would beat it apart to teach it a lesson. Yes I know it was stupid, but I did not know better at the time. I do not think anger ever leaves a person; at least I know it is still inside of me. The difference being it shares a space with my other emotions, willing now to work together with them. What worked for me may not work for someone else; each person has to find their own path in dealing with their anger.    JOSEPH, played by Peter Mullan (War Horse, Trainspotting), was unemployed, frustrated and angry all the time; he was a time bomb without a fuse. Hannah, played by Olivia Collman (The Iron Lady, Hot Fuzz), was a Christian woman who felt she could save him through prayer. But who would save Hannah? This film festival winning drama was an incredibly intense viewing experience. There was some strong language, though I had a hard time understanding Joseph’s accent. Their acting was beautiful which may seem like an odd choice of adjective to use; but I loved their dynamics along with Eddie Marson (Sherlock Holmes franchise, God’s Pocket), who played Hannah’s husband James. I thought the story and script were dynamite, both figuratively and literally. There was never a moment where I was not either washed over by various emotions or feeling on edge with the intensity of the scene. This DVD was a total surprise to me; in fact, afterwards when I looked online to see if this picture had received any recognition, I could not get over the long list of accolades. It is funny how this movie that dealt with anger could make me glad I saw it. A few scenes had blood and violence in them.

 

3 1/2 stars — DVD

Flash Movie Review: Locke

As I pulled up alongside the stopped vehicle, the driver’s head was slumped down as if he had passed out or was praying. When the traffic light turned green he lifted his head and draped the newspaper he was reading over the steering wheel and drove off. Now I love reading newspapers but even I would wait until I was in a less potentially dangerous environment before I would start reading something. My daily commute takes me through several neighborhoods where over the last few years I have seen some of the most incredulous things being done by drivers. There was the woman who was fixing her hair with a curling iron while driving with only one hand on the steering wheel. I remember passing by a car where the driver was shaving with an electric shaver. My favorite sighting was the man brushing his teeth while driving and rinsing out his mouth with a can of soda pop. When did the automobile become an extension of our house or office? I do not want to even think about a cousin who always drove around with a couple of empty, plastic water bottles in his car. It seems as if everyone is in a hurry these days, needing to be available around the clock. What could be so important that one could not wait until they were at the office or not driving their car? The answer lies in Tom Hardy’s (The Dark Knight Rises, Warriors) tour de force performance as Ivan Locke in this dramatic thriller. On an extended drive to London, Ivan would have to handle a variety of matters that needed his immediate attention. Writer and director Steven Knight (Closed Circuit, Dirty Pretty Things) had the perfect actor for this role that required him to spend the entire film in his car. I thought it would be a challenge to sit and watch this film festival nominated movie but Tom drew me in along with others such as Olivia Colman (Cuban Fury, The Iron Lady) as Bethan and Andrew Scott (Saving Private Ryan, Dead Bodies) as Donal. The way the story unfolded paralleled the miles covered by Ivan in his SUV, along with the changing camera angles that kept everything moving forward; all of it provided an interesting take on the scenes. I had read afterwards the vehicle had a gas gauge alarm that annoyed Tom while performing his scenes. The director kept filming, only eliminating the sound during editing. If anything it only made Tom’s acting even stronger. Now when I see someone talking while driving I imagine if they are experiencing any of the issues Ivan faced in this startling good film.

 

3 1/3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Hyde Park on Hudson

The challenge in reviewing this movie based on true events was not letting my belief in faithfulness bias my observations. Unfaithfulness is a foreign concept to me. Whether I am called old-fashioned or traditional, I believe loving a person unconditionally incorporates being faithful to them. Once I am in a committed relationship I only have eyes for them, no matter how corny that may sound. I was surprised by this movie; I had no idea one of the story lines was concerned with President Roosevelt’s love affairs. The object of his affection was his distant cousin Margaret “Daisy” Stuckley, played by Laura Linney (The Savages, The Truman Show). From the trailers I thought this film was all about the first visit of a reigning British monarch to America. Samuel West (Van Hesling, Notting Hill) and Olivia Colman (The Iron Lady, Tryannosaur) played the King and Queen of England. In the summer of 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth came to visit President Franklin D. Roosevelt, played by Bill Murray (Lost in Translation, Moonrise Kingdom), at his home in upper state New York. Fearing Britain would be pulled into the war waging across Europe, the King hoped to persuade the President in becoming an ally. If the story would have stayed with this part, the film would have been much better. The scenes with the President and King together were well acted and wonderful. At the start of the movie we were presented Daisy with little back story, as she became the narrator of the film. However, as the story continued she became more of a secondary character, blatantly showing the poor quality of the under developed screenplay. It was a shame because I was curious to see more of the cultural differences between the two countries. Those scenes had a gentle, sweet humor to them. Laura Linney who I have always enjoyed was sadly wasted in this film; granted she did not have much to work with in her role. This movie was like being on a bad date; I was not attracted to it, but did not want to appear rude by leaving early.

 

2 stars

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