I DID NOT THINK IT WAS an extraordinary feat; one of the fastest runners in our class was a girl. Her speed was impressive but the fact she was a girl was not a big deal to me. Maybe because I grew up with strong females, I did not put much stock in comparing the differences between boys and girls. The way I looked at it was this: someone is going to be the smartest, fastest, friendliest, most creative, and best musician in class; none of these attributes are aligned with one sex over the other. I just remember I never wanted to play tag with that speedy girl because she could quickly tag out most of us. It is funny, it was not until I started delving into science and physiology classes where I learned between the sexes, men tend to have more upper body strength, and women usually have more lower body strength. There was a girl in one of my classes who was one of the toughest students in our class; she had no trouble with her upper body strength. In fact, I do not recall any boys getting in a fight with her because they were all afraid, they could lose their status if the student body witnessed them being beaten up by a girl. THE REASON I AM MENTIONING THIS is because it seems to me every announcement I read or hear about these days tends to include, “she is the first woman” or “he is the first ethnic man” and so on. Do not get me wrong, I understand many positions/companies did not have progressive policies in place to promote various minorities into the bigger roles. It is a great statement to make; but one of my concerns is the chance companies are just using it as a marketing ploy. They put someone in an authoritarian position, who has been disadvantaged, and tout them to the world as if they are saying, “Look who we promote.” But then there are no others to follow in that person’s footsteps; the company policy or can I say prejudices, never change. I wish we lived in a world where we did not need to announce such things because it is not an unusual circumstance. Employees get promoted based on their abilities, end of story. Their skin color, religion, ethnic background has no bearing on them getting a better job. I really wish we could get to such a point, but I understand the world still needs some work to do. This is not a new phenomenon, but I was thrilled to see what took place in this action prequel. HER INSTINCTS SERVED HER WELL AND she was convinced there was something hunting her tribe. The only way she could prove it was to get evidence and show the villagers. With Amber Midthunder (Hell or High Water, Legion-TV) as Naru, newcomer Dakota Deavers as Taabe, Dane DiLiegro (American Horror Stories-TV, Sweet Home-TV) as Predator, relative newcomer Stormee Kipp as Wasape and Michelle Thrush (Pathfinder, Blackstone-TV) as Aruka; this dramatic adventure film took me off guard and surprised me. I thought the writers did a wonderful job of weaving the story within the Native American narrative. The scenery was beautiful, and I thought Amber was outstanding. Despite the several scenes with blood and violence, I loved this movie. For it being a prequel, it certainly can stand alone where I do not think the previous films need to be seen. Yes, they could be a reference for the viewer, but this film was so beautifully written and acted that I do not think it would be an issue. This picture had a solid story, great acting and in its own way showed what can get accomplished when one has the perfect individual for the task.
3 ½ stars
THE SENTIMENT WAS TOUCHING; BUT unless there was follow-through, I knew the relationship would not be sustainable. We worked at the same company for several years and formed a bond early on because we were similar in so many ways, both personally and in work ethic. She had a childhood that mimicked mine and I think that is what cemented our relationship the most; we reacted the same to the situations that came up in the office. When she told me she was leaving the company I was both sad and glad. I would miss her, but I was happy she found a job that paid her better. On her last day she came into my office to say goodbye and let me know we will still be friends, that our work time did not define our friendship. We agreed we would stay connected and get together. She left on a Friday and when I came back to the office on Monday, it did not take long for me to miss her. With our time together, we came to a point in our work relationship where we did not have to explain what we were doing; we already knew how the other would manage the situation as it revealed itself. FOR SEVERAL WEEKS AFTER SHE LEFT the company, we stayed in touch via text and phone calls. I would keep her abreast with any unusual activities that arose among the employees she knew. We agreed to meet for lunch a couple of times and had an enjoyable time sitting and talking to each other. However, as time went on our times in getting together were growing further and further apart. We texted more than called each other and even the texts started to get fewer. I knew if we did not incorporate some type of activities into our relationship besides just sitting and eating, there would be fewer and fewer things to talk about. I mean how much does it really matter to hear about an employee’s exploits at the office after being away for so long? Mostly these days our friendship is limited to sending and receiving birthday and holiday cards. It is an odd situation but not an unfamiliar one to me. You grow together while at the same company, but once one leaves the relationship does not stay the same. It is funny; I feel the same about this prequel franchise to the Harry Potter films. I have a stronger connection to the Hogwarts series than the movies I have seen so far for this current franchise. WITH AN ELECTION COMING UP PROFESSOR Albus Dumbledore, played by Jude Law (The Nest, Black Sea), is aware one wizard is trying to stack the deck in their favor. However, the professor cannot act against him directly due to a magical pact created a long time ago. With Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl, The Theory of Everything) as Newt Scamander, Ezra Miller (Madame Bovary, Justice League) as Credence Barebone, Dan Fogler (Balls of Fury, In Like Flynn) as Jacob Kowalski and Mads Mikkelsen (Another Round, Doctor Strange) as Gellert Grindlewald; this action, adventure fantasy left me with a bland feeling. I felt the drama was usurped by the action. Now there were parts of this movie that were exciting and magical, however, the script felt more one note than incorporating some highs and lows into the story. I normally enjoy Mads’ performances but, in this film, I did not think he was utilized fully for his character. A base comment for this picture would be to say it was lackluster; without the sparkle of wonderment, the magic and creativity did not pop like they did in the Harry Potter films. It almost felt as if the writers and studio were following a set game plan to produce this film. As I mentioned earlier, unless there is interest on both sides, this franchise is destined not to succeed.
On the very fringe of the neighborhood there sat an old sagging house. Painted a long time ago in dark colors, it now looked like it was freckled and wrinkled. All the kids who lived around the area had heard an old witch lived in the house. When I would have to walk by the place I always did so at a faster pace. There were some kids who had a defiant streak in them. They would run a stick along the rungs of the long metal front gate, letting the staccato clanking noise talk for them. I had heard some kids late at night would throw stones at the front door then take off running before the witch would storm out to scream at them. As far as I could remember she was the only occupant of the house, though there were rumors that some unsuspecting children who lingered too long by the property were never found again. As time went by and I began high school, all the stories and rumors I had heard about the owner of the haunted house went to sleep in my mind. Years later I found myself at a party and struck up a conversation with a another guest who was familiar with my old neighborhood. As we were talking she mentioned her grandmother used to live near where I grew up. You know what I am going to say; it turned out her grandmother was the witch who lived in that old house that us kids were afraid to go near. I really wished I knew how the story about her grandmother being a witch had started in my old neighborhood. HOPING to make contact with her deceased mother; a young Quinn Brenner, played by Stefanie Scott (No Strings Attached, A.N.T. Farm-TV), paid a visit to psychic Elise Rainier, played by Lin Shaye (Take Me Home, There’s Something About Mary). Elise had to explain why she no longer gave readings and warned Quinn what could happen if one tried to contact the dead on their own. This third installment’s story in the horror film franchise was a prequel, before the Lambert family’s time. With Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend’s Wedding, About Schmidt) as Sean Brenner, this film festival winner did not have the same impact like the 1st one did for me. Lin was the strongest character out of the cast; it was understandable since she was reprising her role. Except for a couple of good fright scenes, I did not find this movie particularly scary. There were scenes that had stereotypical horror tricks like a sudden sound or quick appearance. The directing was okay, but I found the script somewhat generic with its plot. I was more afraid of that old woman from my childhood than this film.
1 3/4 stars