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Flash Movie Review: Night School

EVERYONE HAD TO SIT AND WATCH the short film; it was part of the curriculum. As the projector started up I could hear the soft clapping of the film as it looped around in front of the intense lightbulb inside the machine. Up on the screen scratchy frames in black and white counted down from the number 10. As soon as the opening frames to the story appeared on the screen you could hear moans throughout the classroom. There was an old car driving across the screen with these bulbous chrome hubcaps on the wheels. I say old because I knew the car was decades old; there was a radio antenna sticking up on the front, off to the side of the hood. The bumpers were nowhere near up to current federal safety standards and the most telling part was when the driver had to roll down their window using a small crank attached to the inside of the car door. This was my introduction to driver’s education class during high school. The people in the film wore clothing from another era as they drove and walked around what looked like a city landscape from decades ago. Most of the students in class laughed at this old, tired movie.      OUT OF MOST OF THE STUDENTS in the class, I was one of the few who already knew how to drive. I was taken to empty parking lots and taught how to drive; so, by the time I had to take driver’s education I already knew the rules of the road. Everything I saw in the film I had already done or studied in the handbook. For me the movie was boring, more an amusement from bygone times. Seeing what things used to look like kept my interest, but at times my mind wandered. I had been doing three point turns for months; how many more times did I need to see it being done in the educational film. With the room dark and me bored from the repetitive instructions being recited to us in a monotone tone by the narrator of the movie, it took a lot for me to stay awake. I wondered how many students throughout the years had to sit and watch this picture. To tell you the truth I was surprised the film had not become frayed and fragile after all this time. It is funny; though today’s movie was done recently, I quickly lost interest because I had seen it all before and that includes a couple of performances.     A GROUP OF ADULTS WITH BIG dreams attend night school hoping to graduate by getting their GED, their General Education Diploma. If they wanted it, they would need to pass one tough teacher’s class. This comedy starred Kevin Hart (Grudge Match, Central Intelligence) as Teddy Walker, Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip, Keanu) as Carrie, Taran Killiam (12 Years a Slave, Killing Gunther) as Stewart, Rob Riggle (Midnight Sun, 21 Jump Street franchise) as Mackenzie and Mary Lynn Rajskub (Safety Not Guaranteed, Mysterious Skin) as Theresa. The concept of the story was decent; but I must tell you the script was just a generic blueprint pieced together from what appeared to be all other comedies Kevin has done. He was the same character in this as he has played in his previous movies; it did nothing for me. Tiffany has excellent comedic timing and strong physical comedy, but the script did little for her talent in this story. I was periodically bored throughout the picture and it really was a shame because there is a good message the writers were trying to get out. If I was grading (which I am come to think of it) I would give this movie a D+.

 

1 ¾ stars   

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Flash Movie Review: Midnight Sun

WHEN IS IT THE RIGHT time to share something personal with the person you are dating? I have seen and heard a variety of reactions from my friends’ experiences. Some of them, in my opinion, share too much information too soon. I do not think it is necessary to dispense intimate details about oneself on the first couple of dates. At least for me it takes a few times of being together to see if both parties are starting to get comfortable with each other. Let me add I have never gone into a dating situation with a preconceived notion about the person or any type of expectations. I think that is where a person gets tripped up, when they have expectations. There were a couple of times where I went on a date and realized the person had planned out everything they wanted in a relationship. All they needed was to find someone to plug into their scenario; they really did not care to learn about the person, only if they could fit into what they had laid out for themselves.     NOW I WILL SAY I do not have a problem revealing things about myself if a person asks me. I would think if you have been following my reviews you would notice they can be rather personal. When I meet someone new there is usually one thing I will mention early on because I have learned if I do not, the person tends to spend time trying to figure out what is wrong with me. I happen to be hypersensitive to the cold; pretty much anything from the weather to air conditioning to ice cubes. My body reacts to the cold by shunting the blood to the internal organs to protect them; everyone’s body does this by the way. Mine just does it more often because more things make me feel cold. So you see when I am on a date and I do not take my jacket off at the cinema or restaurant, it may look odd to everyone. The same thing happens to me grocery shopping, especially in the frozen food sections of the store. It is summertime and I am walking around in a jacket because of the store’s air conditioning. But do you know what I think? If someone is going to get turned off because of my sensitivity to the cold, do I really want to be with them anyway? It was a similar dilemma for the main character in this dramatic, romance movie.     SEVENTEEN YEARS LIVING IN THE same neighborhood and Charlie, played by Patrick Schwarzenegger (Stuck in Love, Grown Ups 2), could not understand how he had never seen Katie, played by Bella Thorne (Blended, Scream: The TV Series) before or at least in school at some point. There was a reason he never saw her. With Rob Riggle (Dumb and Dumber To, 21 Jump Street franchise) as Jack, Quinn Shepherd (Unaccompanied Minors, Hostages-TV) as Morgan and Nicholas Coombe (Imaginary Mary-TV, Cinema Town-TV) as Garver; this film quickly fell into a generic pattern that has played out before. It was too bad because I enjoyed watching the interactions between Katie and Jack. However the biggest distraction for me was Patrick’s performance; his acting was more like sleepwalking. I could not get over how one dimensional he was in this picture; his face barely showed emotion and his eyes were dead looking. Combine this with the melodramatic, heavy handed story and all this film produced for me was boredom.

 

1 ¾ stars           

Flash Movie Review: Hell and Back

They may only be a string of words but they are filled with the essence of a person. In yesterday’s review I talked about people who do not follow through on their intentions or promises; today I am referring to people who out and out tell lies. For me this is one of my deal breakers on whether I continue a relationship with a person. I don’t have an issue if someone wants to colorize their stories, but saying something that is false to change another person’s perceptions is nothing I want to be around. A few weeks ago a friend of mine called to rant about a friend of hers who I happen to know. This friend had called to touch base with her and catch up with what was going on in their life. During the conversation the friend was explaining why he did not do something he had said he was going to do for her; he told her his sister had cancer throughout her body. My friend was stunned and saddened by the news. After their conversation ended she called another friend to tell them about the sister. Well long story short, it turned out this other friend called the sister to see if they needed any help and shocked her because she did not have any cancer. Now you have to wonder why a person would lie about such a thing; there is no excuse for it as far as I can see. When I hear things like this I feel a person will wind up experiencing a specific negative thing in their life; others would say they are going to hell.    AFTER breaking a promise Curt, voiced by Rob Riggle (Let’s Be Cops, 21 Jump Street), was dragged to hell. His friends who witnessed it followed Curt in to try and rescue him. This stop motion animated adventure comedy had some major actors voicing characters like Susan Sarandon (Tammy, The Lovely Bones) as Barb the Angel, Mila Kunis (Jupiter Ascending, Ted) as Deema and Bob Odenkirk (Nebraska, Breaking Bad-TV) as the Devil. Their voices were the best part of the movie; what they said was crude. This film is for adults only because the language was so blue aka risque, bawdy, R rated. I did not find the visuals creative considering the artists could have pretty much created anything they wanted for the scenes. The humor was at such a low level that I did not find anything worth a chuckle. As the script went from one sight gag to another I soon became bored with the story. To tell you the truth I was a bit surprised the studio was able to get first rate actors to partake in this picture. I had to wonder if the actors had done something “bad” in their lives where they had to participate in this film; maybe this was hell for them. Strong language throughout the film.

 

1 1/2 stars

 

 

 

Flash Movie Review: Dumb and Dumber To

It was a long day of intensive studies. We had not seen the outside since we had arrived at 8 in the morning. Before the dinner hour was to arrive we were given an hour to decompress from the day and clear our minds. My partner during the practical applications came up to me and asked if I wanted to take a walk with her. We had only met when we both started our yoga training a few months prior; however, there was an immediate connection. Our sense of humor was similar as our skill level with the poses we were practicing in our studies. As we headed outside the sun was in the latter part of the day, its orange hued rays large and unfocused. We headed down a trail that led us into a forest. With the air cooler inside the green canopied trees, we leisurely started up a conversation that moved us to be vulnerable with each other, laughing at each other’s adventures and supportive as we reported our past hardships. Time had left us behind; the few shadows that had slipped into our darkening green enclave could not catch our attention. When I happened to glance at my watch finally, we were 30 minutes past the dinnertime. In addition we were lost. I tried not showing my nervousness, but it was not easy as I began feeling my hunger pangs becoming aggressive in my stomach. Despite these concerns the two of us kept talking and laughing on a variety of subjects as we treated this excursion as an adventure. We did finally find our way back to our studies that day; but more importantly, we cemented a friendship that continues to this day. Lesson learned, adventures can be more fun with friends.    AFTER all these years Harry Dunne, played by Jeff Daniels (Looper, The Squid and the Whale), discovered he had a daughter. When his best friend Lloyd Christmas, played by Jim Carrey (The Truman Show, Bruce Almighty), saw a picture of the girl, he convinced Harry they should try to find her. Their road trip adventure would take them to the craziest places. This comedy written and directed by brothers Bobby & Peter Farrelly (Shallow Hal, There’s Something About Mary), was dull beyond belief. Most of the jokes were either retreads or barely humorous to me. The trailers truly provided the highlights for this film. After 20 years I felt the script should have taken a fresh look at Harry and Lloyd; instead it was a rehash of their previous film. All this movie provided was crude, rude and juvenile jokes for the most part. I wished I had for this movie gotten lost before getting to the theater. If you do go to see this film there was an extra scene after the credits.

 

1 1/2 stars

Flash Movie Review: Let’s Be Cops

They say clothes makes the person, but does it really? Do clothes truly have the power to turn a person into something else? At my last visit to the bank for work I noticed all the men were now wearing sport coats; in the past they only needed to wear their branded shirts. I asked one of the tellers why he was wearing the jacket and he said the bank wanted to present a professional, knowledgeable staff to the public. Yet I did not see a difference since no one could explain why the bank kept pulling out international checks from our lockbox and mailing them to us. I would then have to bring the checks to the bank and deposit them; it made no sense. On a more personal level I have known a variety of people who feel better when they are wearing some new article of clothing. I can understand even though I do not place much importance into what a person wears. As long as it is clean I do not care. However for some individuals clothes can be used as their calling card in making a strong statement. If it is a hazardous materials suit or protective bomb defusing clothing, then yes that makes a bold presentation.    UNIFORMS were the catalyst for this comedic movie. Jake Johnson (21 Jump Street, New Girl-TV) and Damon Wayan Jr. (The Other Guys, New Girl-TV) played best friends Ryan and Justin. When the two dressed up as police officers for a costume party, the pair discovered they were being treated quite differently compared to their everyday life. However the fun and perks that came with wearing those uniforms may not have been enough for the friends after they started to take the joke too far. I read an interview that was done with the director, where he said he allowed the two actors to ad lib many of their scenes together because they already had established a relationship with each other on their television show. It worked for this film since I found there was an emotional connection between the 2 men that helped form convincing characters. The humor and funny situations started out strong; but halfway through, the story lost the surprise factor and became repetitive. Part of the reason had to fall on the director’s shoulders; however, the script did him no favors. Having James D’Arcy (Hitchcock, Cloud Atlas) as Mossi and Rob Riggle (The Internship, Big Miracle) as Segars was a plus in getting to the end of this picture without complete boredom. Overall the story was not hard to figure out. This led me to believe several scenes were just done to provide filler, adding enough time to stretch what would have been a sitcom segment into a full length movie.

 

2 stars

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