THE PRICE ADVERTISED WAS THE deciding factor for my friends to book their trip. Having gone to Mexico multiple times they did not need the add-on excursions or upgrades to their tour package. With the low price they chose to extend their stay; but once they booked the hotel and agreed upon the dates, there wound up being additional costs. All of a sudden they were being charged extra for their suitcases and seats; never before were they ever billed such a charge when they booked through the travel agency. What really galled them was an extra charge from the hotel due to the extended stay; it brought them into the travel season pricing, whatever that meant. When I talked to one of my friends she expressed her anger at the travel agency. She said if they would have included all the extra fees into their advertised price she would not have gotten a bad attitude about them. The way they listed a super low price to entice travelers then hit them with added fees felt dishonest to her. I WOULD HAVE TO AGREE WITH her. The same thing has happened to me. Several years ago I saw an advertised price for a piece of furniture; it was something I had been waiting to go on sale. When I saw the item being advertised on sale I drove to the store to get it. Once there I sought out someone to help me which I have to tell you has become more of a challenge these days. Finally getting a salesperson, I went over the options of color and pattern. Would you believe the sale price was only for one specific color and wood finish?!?! For my color choices it would be more expensive. I was so ticked off I decided not to buy it and instead go look for something else. Things like this are irritating to me. Why can’t they just list the fine details (in large enough print) or state everything upfront? I feel the same way about passive aggressive behavior; just tell me what you want instead of hinting at it or trying to manipulate the conversation with me. It is annoying which is how I felt about this dramatic thriller inspired by true events. WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A romantic weekend for Brea and John, played by Paula Patton (Precious, Déjà Vu) and Omar Epps (Love & Basketball, House-TV), turned into a nightmare as they were being stalked by what they thought were just some prejudiced people. Actually they weren’t, they were looking for something specific. With Dawn Olivieri (American Hustle, Den of Thieves) as Cara, Missi Pyle (The Artist, Galaxy Quest) as Deputy Sally Marnes and Laz Alonso (Detroit, Jumping the Broom) as Darren Cole; this story had an identity crisis. If the writers would have only focused on one of the 2 stories taking place this would have been a better movie in my opinion. Unfortunately they missed an important opportunity to shine light on a dark aspect taking place around the world. I was so disappointed not only by this but the rudimentary script. Paula gave it a good try but as I have said before, a film loses points when the script makes the characters do unrealistic things. I am talking about, as an example, knocking unconscious your attacker but you do not take their gun with you or at least hide it before you run away. Stuff like this drives me crazy. So the bottom line here is this movie should have focused on being either a thriller or a startling revelation about human trafficking.
1 ¾ stars
Before I tell you my vivid memory about tasting chocolate for the first time, keep in mind I remember standing up in my crib and figuring out how I could climb out of it. That is as far back as some of my memories go. The chocolate was in the form of a baked cake in a 9X9 metal pan. From my very first bite I was hooked; with a spongy texture and no frosting on top, this first tasting started an avalanche of chocolate items coming into the house. Because I could not reach anything but the lowest shelf in the pantry, I could not reach any of the products like chocolate chip cookies or chocolate syrup that were kept on the higher shelves, without asking someone to get them for me. At the time I was around 1 ½ to 2 years old. Some may call it an obsession, I call it personal preference; but from that time whenever I am given the option I will always choose the one that has chocolate in it. I do not think I am unusual in this regards; don’t most of us gravitate towards things that give us pleasure or make us feel good? Example, one of my favorite musicals is Les Miserables. After seeing it for the first time, I had to own the soundtrack; then when the movie came out I had to own a copy of the DVD. Though different venues may not always work I enjoy when one of my favorite pastimes expands into another format; this is one of the reasons I want to travel to the Harry Potter theme park one day. So you see I can totally understand those who are into video games flocking to see this movie version of the popular game. DESPERATE to leave their dying planet and find a new place to colonize, the Orc invade the peaceful realm of Azeroth. Losing the conflict meant one side’s total destruction or the other’s extinction. Starring Travis Fimmel (The Experiment, Vikings-TV) as Anduin Lothar, Paula Patton (Deja Vu, 2 Guns) as Garona, Ben Foster (Lone Survivor, 3:10 to Yuma) as Medivh and Toby Kebbell (Wrath of the Titans, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) as Durotan/Antonidas; I cannot really say the acting was good or bad because the script presented all of them as 2 dimensional characters. This action adventure’s forte was the special effects. I think everything was CGI; my favorite look was the flying bird like creature. For a fantasy I thought the story was good; it made for perfect escapism. However, after the continuation of similar scenes I felt this film went on for far too long. From the trailer this movie looks like it would be fun and I guess on some level it was, but not enough to keep me thoroughly engaged with the story. And sadly it is obvious by the ending the movie studio is hoping to do a sequel. If that is the case may I suggest they bring in some drama, surprise and better dialog to bring in more than just gamers.
1 2/3 stars
I know I should not have chuckled to myself as I passed the car parked at the side of the road. The driver was sitting in it with the window open, nodding his head up at the police officer standing outside. Not knowing exactly why the driver was pulled over, I had my own reasons why I was glad he was stopped by the police. Back around a 1/2 mile or so the driver not only cut me off, forcing me to slam on my brakes when he whipped into my lane of traffic, but he then extended his middle finger at me when I honked at him. So when I finally came up to see he was pulled over by the police I had to chuckle and just think it was karma. I wish I could say it was wisdom on my part but I think it has more to do with growing older and less desire to get even or retribution against someone who I felt wronged me. The concept of karma fits well into my mindset at this age since I already believe each person is responsible for their actions. For example, if a person had been told they need to change some of their habits for better health, it is their choice on what type of quality they want for their life. So yes I believe it was karma that caused that speeding driver to get caught by the police. If you want to see another example of karma just watch the main character in this romantic comedy. CHARLIE, played by Terrence Jenkins (Think Like a Man franchise, Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming), avoided any type of romantic relationships; he preferred no commitments with the women he dated. Believing his friends’ bet would be an easy win, he agreed to find a woman to date for 30 days while avoiding any type of commitments with her. With a cast that also included Paula Patton (Deja Vu, 2 Guns) as Sherry and Cassie Ventura (Step Up 2: The Streets) as Eva, I thought the idea for the story was okay. If the script could have been expanded, avoiding the generic formula it used to create its story, this movie would have had more opportunities to display deeper thought into what was going on. Instead I found the story was predictable with a script that did not favor the actors. It was almost odd that the first part of the movie seemed different to the last half, which I enjoyed more. For me the last half had more heart if that makes any sense. The thing that attracted me to this film was the issue of karma, though I am not sure how many people would even think to focus on it. There was not much in this movie to warrant spending money on a full priced ticket. Brief scenes during and after the credits.
1 3/4 stars
I cannot begin to tell you how awkward it is when I am at a wedding and some relative comes up to introduce me to someone she feels has “things in common” with me. There I am standing in my suit with what I can only imagine is the look of an animal caught in the beam of oncoming headlights. My awkwardness is not caused by the innocent individual who is waiting for me to make the first introductions; it comes from the relative who does not know that much about me to assume they know me so well. Another aspect to my uncomfortableness is the way everyone was made aware of the pending introductions except for me. It feels like I was the only one left out of an inside joke. There was a time where I felt I had to bring a friend with me to a wedding just so I could avoid going through another troublesome situation. So on one level I could understand why Montana Moore, played by Paula Patton (Deja Vu, Precious) did not want to go alone to her younger sister’s wedding. Montana’s concern was becoming the last family member who was not married. With only 30 days until her sister’s wedding; Montana and her friends Gail and Sam, played by Jill Scott (Down to Earth, Obsessed) and Adam Brody (Damsels in Distress, Jennifer’s Body) came up with a plan to find a prospective husband for her, but it would take flying 30,000 miles around the country. If this comedy’s story seems a little desperate to you, you would be correct. The slapstick jokes for the most part were easy to spot coming up and then falling flat at your feet. I found the acting was stale with several characters like Montana’s mother Catherine, played by Jennifer Lewis (Think Like a Man, Meet the Browns), nothing more than a cartoon character. Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher, Glory Road) as William Wright and Taye Diggs (Chicago, Equilibrium) as Langston were two actors who tried to rise about the looney script. Since there was nothing that stood out as being to dreadful to watch, this film would be better suited to a home rental viewing. Though I was not part of this wedding I felt a bit embarrassed for the guests.