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Flash Movie Review: Venom: Let There Be Carnage

I KNEW MY FRIEND WAS NOT prone to hyperbole, but the gentleman sitting with us at the dinner table was as friendly and jovial as could be. The picture that my friend painted of this man, prior to the dinner engagement, made me hesitant to attend the evet. I was told he was a tyrant who would belittle everyone around him; he was an uber alpha male, though physically not the stereotype. He was quite tall, easily 6’5” in length with an equally large girth. My friend said this man used his height to intimidate his peers and business associates; he loved to lean slightly forward while bending his head to exaggerate the look of peering down at his prey. One story I remember my friend telling me was about a time when this man was trying to return an item to a store and the clerk couldn’t accept it because it had been opened. The amount of anger he displayed to the clerk made her cry and call the manager, who eventually took the item back to stop the man from making a bigger scene in front of the other customers. Throughout the dinner I found this gentleman to be friendly and engaging to the other wedding guests sitting at our table. I did not know what to say when afterwards my friend said the man who was sitting with us was not the man he knew, he must have been an imposter.      THE ONLY THING I COULD COME up with, regarding the drastic contrast, between perceptions and reality was to assume the gentleman was either put on medication or doing therapy or possibly found a new way of life. Keeping in mind that I believe each of us is born with both good and evil, the experience at the wedding was not a total surprise; I have encountered many individuals who you could say acted as if they had dual personalities. There was a member in one of my yoga classes who could walk into the room as light and cheery as you could imagine; other times, she looked as if it took all her strength just to put one foot in front of the other and would keep a sad, dour look on her face. When she was “down” I knew there was no coaxing I could do to get her involved with the class. Some say it might be a chemical imbalance in the brain, others could think the drastic contrasts in behavior were drug related. Then there is this picture that offers the possibility it could be due to an alien manifestation.      GETTING THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTERVIEW AN inmate on death row could provide a needed boost to Eddie Brock’s, played by Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, The Revenant), career. However, a small incident causes a major shift in the balance of power at the prison. With Woody Harrelson (The Highwaymen, Zombieland franchise) as Cletus Kasady, Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn, All the Money in the World) as Anne Weying, Naomie Harris (Collateral Beauty Rampage) as Frances Barrison and Reid Scott (Black and Blue, Late Night) as Dr. Dan Lewis; this action, adventure sequel amped up the humor in a major way. I thought Tom did a wonderful job in both his acting and stunts. The issue I had with this movie was once again the script. With the abundance of humor and mayhem stuffing the story, it just started to get repetitious for me after a while. I think if more time had been given to develop the characters deeper, it would have been a better viewing experience. In a way, I had this opposite thing going where there were parts I enjoyed watching then other sections were blah. There was an extra scene in the middle of the credits.

2 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Black and Blue

SO ANNOYING, FOR THE PAST TWO weeks I have been trying to stop receiving a company’s daily email advertisements. I receive several every day and it is getting on my nerves. At first, I thought it would be an easy thing to do by going online to unsubscribe via the link they listed on their emails. Going through several steps before finally receiving a confirmation of the stoppage, I thought I was done. Sadly that was not the case because sure enough the very next day I got the same amount of email advertisements in my inbox. Once again, I went through the same steps online to put a stop to them, receiving another confirmation of my success. I was not buying it until I had seen proof; it never came since there was not even a slowdown in the amount of emails coming to me. My next step was to call them on the phone, easier said than done. I had to search multiple pages online before I found a phone number. When I called, the phone rang and rang without anyone ever picking up.  Jumping back online, I looked for another phone number and when I dialed it I was greeted with a message that told me to dial the number I had previously dialed. This just ticked me off further; so, I set up my computer to block this company’s emails.      THE LESSON I LEARNED FROM THIS WAS believing that the larger a company was, the more chances their employees would be apathetic towards their customers’ experiences and needs. I know this is a broad generalization, but I have experienced this in other situations. I was with a friend when they tried returning a couple of items they bought online from a store’s website. Figuring it would be easier and faster to stop at the store to return them, my friend was met with an unpleasant store employee behind the customer service counter. One thing I cannot stand is when a store employee does not even look up when addressing you and this is exactly what the employee did to my friend. Explaining the situation that the items were the wrong size, the employee said they could not help because the items were bought online. My friend agreed they were ordered online, pointing out to the employee it was from their store’s website. The customer service rep then did something that if I was returning the items I would have taken the discussion up a notch or two. They rolled their eyes at my friend. It was obvious they were not going to budge so I told my friend to dispute the purchase on their charge card. Just because the company was large it was apparent its employees were not interested in bucking the system to do what was right. In a way, it was similar to what the main character was experiencing in this action, crime drama.      INVESTIGATING THE SOUND OF GUNSHOTS COMING FROM a deserted factory police officer Alicia, played by Naomie Harris (Moonlight, Skyfall), discovered something that she should not have seen, according to the people on the scene. She saw it differently and because of that there was a chance she might get killed for it. This film festival winner also starred Tyrese Gibson (The Fast and Furious franchise, Transformers franchise) as Mouse, Frank Grillo (Captain America franchise, The Grey) as Terry Malone, Mike Colter (Men in Black 3, Luke Cage-TV) as Darius and Reid Scott (Dean, Veep-TV) as Kevin. The best part of this movie was Naomie. Not only was her acting excellent, but also having her as the main character gave this story a different twist to the usual cat and mouse game. This picture was pretty much all about the action and despite it being easy to figure out, I still felt I was being entertained. The script needed some finesse to make the moral messages less heavy-handed and soften the bluntness in its delivery, especially in the latter half of the story. Despite these issues, I did feel the movie studio was not lax in trying to provide a worthwhile product for the viewing audience.

 

2 ½ stars

Flash Movie Review: Late Night

WHEN IT COMES TO MAKING A CHANGE, I would not be one of the first to jump on the “bandwagon;” I readily admit it. For most of my life I have lived by the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If something is working for me, then I will remain doing the same thing over and over; I never get tired of it. I will give you an example: during the work week I like eating the same lunch each and every day; I enjoy it as much as the day before. It turns out I am not alone in my family; in fact, I am a 3rd generation same lunch eater. Among my friends, however, I believe I am the only one who does it. I wish I knew what it is about change that causes me to be hesitant. Though I am wired this way, fitness is what helped me dent my regimented ways, believe it or not. When I became a fitness instructor I had no choice; if I wanted to have a successful class I had to learn how to be more flexible (no pun intended). With any form of exercise, it is a good policy to always change things up; doing the same thing over and over increases the risk of injury from overuse.      IN MY AEROBIC CLASSES I WOULD maintain the same routines for several weeks before introducing new movements. If I did not, members would eventually become both bored and stagnant with their fitness goals. I had to teach myself to let go and provide new challenges for my classes. Due to this I slowly became more comfortable with accepting change. It has been a long process. Another thing I have become aware of is how accepting change helps a person stay relevant. I think that is something more important if basing it on society’s standards. This brings to mind someone I used to work with who did the same thing every day. As the years went by, more employees started to forget about them; it did not help they did outside and inside sales. There were stretches of time where no one would have seen them. And when this employee came into the office their desk was in a remote part of the building. As the company grew and updated its software and hardware, this person essentially lost touch with their fellow employees. It was as if time stood still for them, they became lost in the new procedures and operations. It was a similar dilemma that the main character was experiencing in this comedic drama.     TRAILBLAZING LATE-NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST Katherine Newbury, played by Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks, Men in Black: International), after many years is now being looked at in a different light. The same old thing was not working anymore. With Mindy Kaling (A Wrinkle in Time, No Strings Attached) as Molly Patel, John Lithgow (Pet Sematary, Beatriz at Dinner) as Walter Lovell, Hugh Dancy (Adam, Martha Marcy May Marlene) as Charlie Fain and Reid Scott (Venom, Veep-TV) as Tom Campbell; this dramedy excelled from the wonderful acting by Emma and Mindy in particular. Emma’s timing was impeccable throughout the movie. I enjoyed the whole cast but these two really stood out for me. I was pleased with the story because I found it current, funny and thought-provoking; kudos to Mindy for writing the screenplay. Despite a few clichés here and there, this picture provided me with some solid entertainment. And that is saying something because during this film I realized there were certain aspects of Katherine that I could relate to and not in necessarily a good way.

 

3 stars         

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