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Where’d You Go, Bernadette

WHILE EMPLOYEES WERE COMPLIMENTING THE soon to be retired fellow employee, I kept my distance. Don’t get me wrong, there was no bad blood between us or anything like that; there just was something odd about him that kept me reserved but cordial around him. He had worked at the company for decades. Though he had built up getting 5 weeks of vacation a year, he only used 1 or 2 weeks; he evidently loved being at work. I hope I am not coming across as judgmental; but I am and have been always cautious around anyone I perceive as being extreme. Whether they are into a sport, an art or a belief; in my experiences, people who solely focus on one thing tend to lack skills in other areas of their life. Take this employee who retired; he was a bit deficient in social skills. He did not have much awareness of the world around him. From what I had heard, he had little or no outside interests. I assumed he was happy, but I really did not know. He lived to work. The funny thing is he reminded me of this couple I know. I once asked them what they do for fun and they could not provide me with an answer. Let me ask you, can one live a complete life without ever having some fun in it?      I APPRECIATE THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE focused on a goal; for example, athletes who train hard to get picked for the Olympic games. The amount of money, time and dedication they put into their craft is admirable and incredible. From the things I have seen and read about Olympic athletes, there are some who take it to an extreme by sacrificing all other aspects of their life simply to try and become a gold medal winner. However, there are many others who still pursue outside interests. There have been many athletes who have gone to college while training for the Olympics. Whether they win a medal or not, they have taken steps to have a successful career after the games. I can think of a few ice skaters who became doctors once they retired from their sport. When you think about it, it all comes down to how deep does a person want to dive into their obsession. I am a perfect example; when I started this site, I was doing a movie review every single day of the week. Declining all social engagements, my life was out of balance because I had to always go to the movie theater and write a review. I still struggle with finding balance between writing reviews and living life. Being aware of this made it easier for me to see what was going on with the main character in this comedic drama mystery.      RENOWNED ARCHITECT BERNADETTE FOX, PLAYED BY Cate Blanchett (The House with a Clock in its Walls, Carol), took a step away from her craft to focus on building a family. Surprisingly no one noticed the cracks in the family’s foundation. With Billy Crudup (After the Wedding, 20thCentury Women) as Elgie, Judy Greer (27 Dresses, Ant-Man franchise) as Dr. Kurtz, Kristen Wiig (The Skeleton Twins, Ghostbusters) as Audrey and newcomer Emma Nelson as Bee; this movie was written and directed by Richard Linklater (Boyhood, Last Flag Flying). I thought the acting was wonderful in this film. Cate and Kristen were utterly eye catching in each of their scenes. The story was interesting, but I found the movie dragged in the beginning. It was not until late in the picture where I realized I was more engaged with the story, even if some things seemed farfetched. However, I did feel as if the script was rushed to quickly and neatly tie everything up. The idea behind this story may have been intriguing; but I was disappointed I gave up a lunch date to go see this film.

 

2 ¼ stars                

                

                

Flash Movie Review: Everybody Wants Some!!

I know I am not the only one, based on how many reactions I have witnessed from other people. Maybe it is due to the fallacy we have all been bombarded with on what is considered beautiful, but when I see old photos of myself my 1st reaction is usually disgust. Besides seeing me when I was larger and had a lot more hair, the pictures of what was considered fashion at the time look like I was wearing clown outfits. How did we wind up having a small minority of individuals deciding for the rest of the population what was in fashion? Now for those of you who are not familiar with the 1980s, it was a time where disco music was beginning to wane as country music was becoming more popular. Before cowboy hats and boots were the rage the clothing was made up of synthetic fibers splashed with colors not found in nature. Since I am a big music lover across many genres, I can recall what type of music was playing during that decade. Usually all I need to hear is a few beginning notes of a song and I can immediately recall where I was when I first heard that song. It is then followed by the emotions I was going through at that time. For those of you who lived through the 80s, there is a good chance you would have been found on the weekends at the disco. Asking someone to dance was the standard pickup line for that generation. If you want to see how it was done you can see it in this movie.   WRITTEN and directed by Richard Linklater (Boyhood, Dazed and Confused), this comedy showed what life was like for a group of college baseball players in the 1980s. Starring Blake Jenner (Glee-TV) as Jake, Tyler Hoechlin (Road to Perdition, Teen Wolf-TV) as McReynolds, Ryan Guzman (The Boy Next Door, Heroes: Reborn-TV) as Roper and Zoey Deutch (Dirty Grandpa, Beautiful Creatures) as Beverly; the soundtrack to this film was awesome. Granted I am a fan of dance music so I spent a good portion of time tapping my feet to the beats while watching this picture. The story could be seen as a continuation of the director’s previous film Boyhood only because that film ended with the boy about to go to college and the character Jake entering college here. I enjoyed seeing what life was like back then; Richard Linklater painted an accurate and believable picture in my opinion. There was not much of a story as the scenes passed by showing college life for the students; there were no big dramatic shifts in the script. I did not find anything worth laughing out loud; however, there were times where I was amused by particular goofy scenes. For those who wish to see what that time period was like, this movie would fill your curiosity. And to those who lived through that era, please do not cringe when you see something that looks familiar to you.

 

3 1/3 stars

 

 

 

Flash Movie Review: Boyhood

How many of us can say we knew who or what we would become when we were young? During our formative years, the blossom of youth began to mold and form us into the future adults we would become. Family members, friends, peers and even the media played a part in our development. Recently I was sitting with relatives looking at old photographs and was fascinated with their reactions to seeing themselves. The majority scowled, looking like they had just bit into a sour piece of fruit. They would quickly turn the photo over to get it out of their eyesight. As I watched them I was recalling my impressions of them when they were young, compared to who they were now. It was curious to see how our life experiences altered each of us. Where some events seemed major back then, today they appeared inconsequential; however, they did steer each of us in a different direction. If photographs could initiate these thoughts imagine what would happen if your life was being documented year to year.    WRITER and director Richard Linklater (Me and Orson Welles, Dazed and Confused) had an audacious idea for a movie, to film the life of one boy for 12 years. This film festival wining drama was the end result as it followed the life of Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane (Fast Food Nation, Lone Star State of Mind), from a young 6 year old until he reached 18 years of age. Ethan Hawke (Sinister, Snow Falling on Cedars) and Patricia Arquette (Ed Wood, True Romance) played his father and mother, while relative newcomer Lorelei Linklater played his sister Samantha. The story was simple and straightforward as the movie viewer became a witness to the family’s reactions to life throughout the years. I found myself taking a different mindset while I watched this film. There were no surprises or twists to the story; one simply sat and observed this average family dealing with whatever came their way, like most of us do on a daily basis. The acting was amazing considering the cast would come together once a year and have to pick up where they left off the previous year. A tidbit for you from an interview I read with the director: he would not let the younger cast see playbacks on any of their scenes, only allowing the older cast members because Richard did not want the young actors to be influenced from seeing themselves in their roles. I found it especially unbelievable that the scenes seemed seamless as the story aged. There will be some of you who will feel the story dragged at times and I understand. I enjoy seeing anyone’s old family photographs, so watching this film felt like I was an invited guest of this family.

 

3 2/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Before Midnight

Saying I am angry does not mean I do not love you. For years I was not the best person to have an intelligent discussion with over a disagreement. The only examples of verbal fights I saw were ones where people threw derogatory words at each other. Not only did it take a lot of growing up on my part; but it took seeing the sad face of someone I loved being hurt, before I fully understood how to have an adult conversation about my feelings. Replacing the word “you” with “I’ made a huge difference right from the start. I learned how to talk about my feelings, along with clarifying things being said to me by saying, “What I heard you say…”. One of the most important lessons I learned was to address any issues as soon as possible. Since my pet peeve was to have someone bring up something that happened in the past that caused them distress, I did not want to do the same to them. I guess this is what they call acting like an adult. For all you adults out there, I can honestly say the art of conversation lived in this beautiful, touching film. I barely recall the previous two movies in this series, so my review will be solely on the merits of this film. Ethan Hawke (Training Day, Daybreakers) and Julie Delpy (Broke Flowers, 2 Days in Paris) played settled couple Jesse and Celine. Away from their daily routine, vacationing in Greece with their young twin girls, the couple began to examine their life together and question what they wanted for their future. I cannot tell you how long it has been since I have seen characters having real, convincing mature conversations in a film. Part of the brilliance in watching this had to go to the director/writer Richard Linklater (Bernie, Me and Orson Welles). In a world where everything has to be quick and fast, the long takes in this movie allowed an authentic progression of thoughts and feelings to be on display. Ethan and Julie deserve accolades for their amazing acting and the sharing of the writing credits with Richard. This was a genuine story about a couple looking at choices made and figuring out what was important to each of them. An absolute joy to watch, this romantic film deserves an Oscar nomination or two.

 

3 3/4 stars

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