Blog Archives

Flash Movie Review: The Harder They Fall

FOR MANY YEARS, THE ONLY OPTION I thought I had when I felt someone had done me wrong, was to retaliate. There was no other thought in my mind on how I could react to the occurrence. I can remember back in elementary school when a classmate called me a nasty name, referring to my size and instead of saying something back, I stood there silently. It was because I was already trying to figure out how I could hurt him.  Once I decided what I was going to do, I sat back and waited several weeks because I did not want the classmate to make any connection between calling me a name and something bad befalling him right after. So, I went about my business each school day, while discreetly staying out of his way as I plotted my revenge. Once I formulated my plan and felt confident, I could pull it off, I waited for our next recess time to spring my plan into action. As the class lined up to follow the teacher out of the room, I lingered in the back of the room. With the students focused on getting outside to the playground, I purposely walked by that kid’s desk. Quickly lifting the desk top I found his pencil sharpener and took it. As far as I could tell no one saw me take it. I kept it in my coat pocket all day until I got home, where I took out the hammer from our toolbox and smashed the pencil sharpener in our backyard.      INTO MY EARLY YEARS OF EMPLOYMENT, I still had that same mindset of essentially an “eye for an eye.” I worked with a woman who falsely accused me of something that I had never done. The reason she did it was to get the job I was working to get. I remember how furious I was when I found out she was “bad mouthing” me. For the next eighteen months I not only gave her the silent treatment, but I also did a variety of things to annoy her. Periodically, I would bring in food treats like ice cream bars, candy or bagels. Instead of putting them in the lunchroom, I would go around to each employee in the department and offer it to them except for this one backstabbing individual. She pretended it did not bother her; however, as the weeks and months went by, other employees who I was friends with would tell me how irritated this employee was at not being offered any food. I relished in the news and kept it up until she finally apologized me. I accepted it but I never let my guard down around her. Because of my past intensity to seek out revenge, I was able to understand the main character’s motivation in this dramatic western.      HEARING THE MAN HE HAD BEEN hunting down all these years was getting out of jail, there was only one thing on Nat Love’s, played by Jonathan Majors (White Boy Rick, Lovecraft Country-TV), mind; he wanted to hunt him down and kill him. With Zazie Beetz (Joker, Deadpool 2) as Mary Fields, RJ Cyler (Power Rangers, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) as Jim Beckworth, Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk, Our Family Wedding) as Trudy Smith and Idris Elba (The Suicide Squad, Concrete Cowboy) as Rufus Buck; the wonderful cast was a joy to watch as they committed to their characters that were based on true individuals. The script was a little too long and at times I felt the writers and director were paying tribute to Quentin Tarantino; but once things clicked in, I was thoroughly entertained. I will say I do not like modern language being injected into a period piece, but there was not much of it. I also enjoyed the way the story took a turn. Imagining the amount of energy Nat had to keep up to fulfill his quest, I am so glad I discovered other options to my reactions to a person I perceived had done me wrong. There were scenes of blood and violence.  

3 stars  

Flash Movie Review: Enemy of the State

I THOUGHT I HAD TAKEN EVERY precaution. No matter how many times the bank tellers ask me to insert my ATM card, I must always remind them I do not have one. Nor do I have a debit card. This was one of my decisions to protect myself. It is not that I think the bank has poor security protections, it is because I feel the passageway to get into their websites/portals is only protected by asking for my login and password. I chose not to do electronic banking, prefer instead face to face transactions at the bank. But besides banking, I did all the things that experts suggested one should do to protect their personal identity. I only use one specific charge card for any online purchases, and it has a security alert on it. The passwords I use are the ones that experts have suggested we use with upper and lower cases along with characters. I even pay bills the old-fashioned way with a paper check, envelope and stamp. With everything I do, I thought for sure it would be unusual for me to have any of my personal information stolen. Well, I was wrong because just recently I was the victim of identity theft.     WHEN I RECEIVED THE OFFICIAL NOTICE that my unemployment benefits were approved, I was flabbergasted because I am still employed. Looking over the document, all the information was correct about my employer and my social security number. I decided to talk to my company’s HR department to find out what was going on. The next day with letter in hand, I happened to mention my situation to an employee who it turned out got the same letter. He told me several employees received the letter from unemployment and it was a scam. Along with the letter there was a debit card that needed to be activated. If I had activated it, the scammers would have known they scored, and I would have lost access to my savings. I could not believe how this happened to me, especially because of the things I denied myself as a layer of protection. The first thing I was instructed to do was to freeze my credit report. Next, I had to file a complaint with the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission. Filling out information on a government website for identity theft, I then filed a police report. When I walked up to the front desk of the police station, all I got to say was I had my identity stolen and the officer asked if it was the unemployment scam. It turns out they were familiar since they received multiple claims on it. Even with everything I did I still feel violated and vulnerable. Now having watched this action thriller, I am even more paranoid about my plight.      UNBEKNOWNST TO LAWYER ROBERT CLAYTON DEAN, played by Will Smith (Gemini Man, Collateral Beauty), there was a reason why he was the target of a concentrated effort to attack and destroy his identity. With Gene Hackman (The French Connection, Runaway Jury) as Edward Lyle, Jon Voight (Midnight Cowboy, Runaway Train) as Thomas Brian Reynolds, Lisa Bonet (High Fidelity, Angel Heart) as Rachel F. Banks and Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk, Ray) as Carla Dean; this film festival winner was a tense and thrilling film to watch. The action was exciting and intense as it set up a typical good vs bad scenario. The acting was fine for this type of picture; I totally enjoyed Gene and Will in their roles. Though there was nothing too deep in the script and character development was more of a bystander, this thrill ride of a movie was totally entertaining to me. And that is despite the subject being identity theft. I may have to revert to hiding cash in cans at my house.

3 stars  

Flash Movie Review: If Beale Street Could Talk

ONE CAN NOT HELP BUT FEEL special as they walk into the building. The heavy glass doors with the gold trim are the first clue that one is about to enter a place that cannot be considered ordinary. The vestibule has a sturdy tiled floor; the low ceiling is held up by walls covered in deeply colored damask fabric. The material is framed in portions with an intricately carved plaster, painted in gold to match the trim of the doors. Entering the main lobby is not so dissimilar from walking into a grand hall of a European palace. Marble floors replacing the tile in front, there are huge crystal chandeliers that are longer in height than width. They look like oblong, translucent candy wrapped with intricately patterned, colored wrappers with the ends twisted shut. There are matching grand staircases both front and back with red velvet covered steps and oversized, limestone balustrades. One can only imagine they are used by royalty. Spaced equally between the two staircases are doors that all lead into an amphitheater. Undulating rows of seats perched on a sloping floor descend to a stage where a red colored curtain blocks everyone from seeing anything behind it. Only when the lights dim does the curtain rise to reveal the actors who were waiting behind it.      THERE IS A FEELING OF INCLUSION when one goes to see live theater. You could be sitting in the middle of a packed auditorium of strangers but feel as if the actors are bringing you into their story. I am a huge fan of seeing staged shows; there is something about seeing actors in the flesh compared to the big screen. Actors on stage have no chance for a retake; whatever happens they must be prepared to “go on with the show.” Seeing their emotions on display adds authenticity to the performance that I find connects me in a different way from actors in movies. Neither one is better than the other; it is simply a different form of communication. As you know I can get lost into a movie where I feel I am part of the movie; this is part of what I need to give a film a 4-star rating. At a play or musical the actors have more time to form relationships that carry them through the entire production. It connects them on a deeper level than acting in movies where they can do take after take of one scene. When I saw today’s film I felt I was at the theater watching a live performance.      WITH A BABY ON THE WAY Tish Rivers’, (played by relative newcomer KiKi Layne), joy was short-lived when the baby’s father Alonzo “Fonny” Hunt, played by Stephan James (Race, Across the Line), was arrested for a crime he did not do. This Golden Globe and film festival winning romantic, crime drama also starred Regina King (Ray, Enemy of the State) as Sharon Rivers, Colman Domingo (Selma, Lincoln) as Joseph Rivers and Michael Beach (Aquaman, Soul Food) as Frank Hunt. Based on James Baldwin’s novel, this film slowly unfolded to reveal a real-life portrayal of two families in Harlem. The acting was outstanding from every actor; I especially enjoyed the chemistry that KiKi and Stephan poured into their roles for each other. With a beautiful soundtrack and thoughtful cinematography, this was another achievement for writer and director Barry Jenkins (Moonlight, Medicine for Melancholy). Scenes seemed to be grouped into a series of acts, where I felt I was watching entire and complete feelings between the characters. I honestly believed everything I was seeing was totally real. There is nothing more I need to say, except this picture was a perfect conduit between film and theater.

 

4 stars

%d bloggers like this: