Blog Archives

Flash Movie Review: Firebird

IN COLLEGE, I BECAME A FRIEND and confidant to my lab partner in our freshman year. We both had a similar sense of humor and shared the same interests, one of them being we were both from out of state. Early into the semester she told me she had a boyfriend back home which was fine with me, since I was not looking to date someone for the time being. I was more concerned with keeping up with my heavy course load. I asked her if it was hard being away from him and she said, “Not at all.” Well, that was not the response I was expecting; so, I decided to question her further. It turned out both of their parents introduced them to each other. She found him controlling but her parents approved of him because he was of the same religion. Before I could stop myself, I asked if they would still approve of him if he was verbally or heaven forbid physically abusive to her? She replied, “More than likely they would still approve of him.” I could not believe it. What was wrong with her folks, I wondered. Before I could comment further, she told me she was seeing someone else prior, but because he had a different religion, her parents would not allow him to come over to their house. I did not say this, but I was thinking how sad that situation must have been.      TO ME, ONE OF THE MOST powerful things a human being can do is to love someone. To feel it, acknowledge it and express it is a monumental moment in a person’s life. What I cannot understand are those individuals who wish to suppress that emotion/feeling in other people because it does not fit into their beliefs. The amount of time, energy and money being devoted in denying groups of people from expressing their love, for themselves and for someone else, is both horrifying and appalling. I would like to ask these people who protest and shout at marginalized groups, “How does their life infringe upon yours?” If a person loves someone of the same sex, what difference does it make to the person who opposes it? Or if a woman chooses to end her pregnancy, what right is it for a stranger to tell her she cannot do it? I have a hard time hearing and seeing this type of hatred; I cannot think what else to call it. A person realizing, they were born in the wrong body is a decision only they can decide, no one else. The toll it takes on these individuals who simply want to express their love for themselves or for another is exorbitant. You can see it for yourself in this film festival winning romantic drama.      DURING THE HEIGHT OF THE COLD war, a Soviet soldier finds himself becoming attracted to a new charismatic, confident pilot. With the KGB on high alert, any move out of order could be met with the severest of punishments. With Tom Prior (The Theory of Everything, Kingsman: The Secret Service) as Sergey Serebrennikov, Oleg Zagorodnii (Who Are You-TV, Oboroten v Pogonakh) as Roman Matvejev, Diana Pozharskaya (Zhara, The Counted-TV) as Luisa, newcomer Jake Henderson as Volodja and Nicholas Woodeson (Skyfall, The Man Who Knew Too Little) as Colonel Kuznetsov; this movie based on a true story was filmed beautifully. I thought the script was bit heavy handed on the emotions despite my feeling that it had glossed over the roughness of the environment. Regardless, it was a touching story that conveyed the dangers present during the 1970s in the Soviet Union. I thought the two main stars did a good job of conveying their emotions, along with a mix of dread. I was able to sense the pressure they were under. This is just me; but because the story is based in the Soviet Union’s air force, I did have a small sense of disbelief while watching this film. What they had to deal with just to be able to express their love.                                          

2 ¾ stars  

Advertisement

Flash Movie Review: Ticket to Paradise

NOW IT JUST AMUSES ME WHEN people have a perplexed look on their faces, after I tell them she is his ex-wife. From that one look, I have been able to ascertain which individuals maintain a negative view or outlook when it comes to divorce. The former couple and I are all good friends. We socialize together as well as celebrate holidays and birthdays. To me, it all seems perfectly fine; but then again, I have maintained friendships with many of the people I have dated. You see, I look at love as being one of the facets that contributes to a complete and solid relationship. If the love aspect has run its course and the couple decide to end their relationship, that does not necessarily mean they no longer care for one another. The individual could still be a kind-hearted, good person that one would like to continue being with for a friendship. I have friends who were originally in a romantic relationship with me; it did not work out, but we still enjoy each other’s company as friends. Granted if the relationship had negative elements such as abuse or dominance, then it is understandable why the individual or individuals would not want to interact with one another.      SO, WHEN I SEE A CONFUSED or negative look on someone’s face when they hear about the “ex,” I have noticed they look at divorce as a finality to the relationship. There is a couple I know where for them, this would be absolutely true. During their marriage they grew to hate each other, and I mean hate each other. They could not be in the same room which made things hard for those of us who were still friends with both. We had to choose which one to invite to which event. I must tell you, that was such a challenge and awful to do. In the beginning each of them would try to tell their side of the story, but it always quickly dissolved into a stream of hateful statements about the other one. I was the first to tell each of them that I was there for support but would not listen to any type of “bad mouthing” about their former spouse. It was not easy to maintain, but I constantly reminded them of it. With individuals who do not react negatively to hearing or seeing an ex, my experiences show they see the person in more of a full-rounded way. I am not saying this in a judgmental way; I just find it an interesting part of human nature. That is the reason I was intrigued with the story line of this romantic comedy.      A DIVORCED COUPLE HAVE TO MUSTER the strength to be together to persuade their daughter to avoid making the same mistakes they made when married. With George Clooney (The Midnight Sky, The Monuments Men) as David Cotton, Julia Roberts (Ben is Back, Mother’s Day) as Georgia Cotton, Sean Lynch (Hacksaw Ridge, Bloody Hell) as Rob, Kaitlyn Dever (Short Term 12, We Don’t Belong Here) as Lily Cotton and Billie Lourd (Star Wars franchise, Booksmart) as Wren Butler; this film had a predictable script. I liked the idea behind the story, but for the most part the script provided a generic blueprint of how everything was going to play out. Despite this issue, it was still worth seeing because of Julia’s and George’s chemistry and acting skills. I felt like I was seeing two old friends; there was an ease and comfort about them being together in character. The comedy bits were so-so with a couple being groan worthy. But again, I continued because I just wanted to watch George and Julia. In fact, it would have been interesting if more of the film focused on their two characters. This picture will be a forgettable one, except for the acting aspect. There were several outtake scenes in the beginning of the ending credits.

 

2 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Blonde

IT WAS SO LONG AGO, WHEN I first saw her. Back then, I thought she had an odd voice. I think I was still in elementary school when I saw Marilyn Monroe for the first time. It was the movie “Some Like it Hot” with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon and it was being shown on television. Liking both Tony and Jack, the movie easily kept my attention. When I first heard Marilyn speak, I thought that could not be her real voice; it sounded like a cartoon voice. Because I could not recall seeing any other woman that looked like her, I thought her voice added another layer to her cartoonish size physique. In my mind, she did not look real. The characters Tony and Jack played drew more of my attention than Marilyn’s character. I remember laughing at the two men when they were dressed up as women. After seeing this film, it was some years later before I saw another film that Marilyn starred in. And that movie was Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Though Marilyn’s character had a familiarity to it, I was older now and better able to understand the work that went in to create her character.  Her timing was impeccable along with her line deliveries. Her character became a classic in filmdom.      IN ALL HONESTY, I HAVE NOT seen any other of Marilyn’s films except one or two. I have seen news stories and articles, along with documentaries. In fact, there was a documentary series about her that aired earlier this year and it was the best one I had ever seen. The talk in Hollywood was Jayne Mansfield was highly intelligent. Well after seeing this latest docuseries, Marilyn was much smarter than what she let people see. For that time, as an actress, she yielded a lot of power. She knew exactly what she was doing to keep her name front and center. I was impressed with the things she achieved despite all the hardships she had to endure. The attribute of hers that I could relate to the most was her determination. She truly was a fighter and would not give up until she reached her goal. The perfect example is the film she did with the British actor who had no use for her and made her time during the filming of their picture a living hell, from what I understand. Now with my heightened awareness of her abilities, I have been working on watching anything that has to do with Marilyn. This is the reason I chose to sit through and watch this long movie based on Joyce Carol Oates’s novel.      DESPITE THE HARD CHILDHOOD, YOUNG NORMA Jeane, played by Lily Fisher (General Hospital-TV, Station 19-TV), had a determination in her that would help her succeed in a man’s world. With Ana de Armas (No Time to Die, The Gray Man) as Norma Jeane, Julianne Nicholson (Black Maps, August: Osage County) as Gladys, Tygh Runyan (Dark Harvest, Road to Nowhere) as Norma Jeane’s father and Michael Drayer (Claws-TV, Mr. Robot-TV) as Deputy Will Bonnie; this biographical romance drama had one outstanding thing going for it. It was Ana; she was amazing in her role. Unfortunately, I found the rest of this film to be exploitive and shallow. Maybe because I had watched the docuseries, I found the script for this picture to be disjointed. There were times where it felt like little snippets of time were being shown without any depth to back them up. I was disappointed with this picture; it did not provide anything new or anything entertaining. I think Marilyn would have been insulted by this movie.

1 ¾ stars

Flash Movie Review: Bros

FOR THOSE WHO KNOW ME, THEY know how much I like to try a new product or be the first to experience something new. I cannot tell you how many world premieres I attended because I wanted to see what all the excitement was about. There is something about seeing, let us say, a new theater production that I especially enjoy because if it goes to Broadway and becomes a success, I can say I saw it first. When it comes to food products, if they fit into my daily dietary intake then I will always try them at least once. Recently there was introduced a flavored drink at the grocery store that had a mix of cola and coffee. I am not a coffee drinker; but I must tell you I enjoyed the drink so much, that I later bought more of them to serve at a dinner party. Friends of mine are never surprised when I bring out some new item that I picked up at the store, so we can all do a taste test. My classes were always appreciative when I would update and critique the latest food products. Maybe it is part of my nature, to offer my opinion/view on something, that motivates me to experience something before others spend their time and money on it.      WITH TODAY’S MOVIE CHOICE, THERE HAS been plenty of “buzz” about this film. It is the first gay, romantic comedy that was made by a large, mainstream movie studio. I think that is great, but there is a part of me that wishes we, as a society, can get past having to use labels as adjectives. It is like when someone is talking about a friend and says “my gay friend” or “my straight friend;” what difference does it make? The same holds true for those who say my Asian or Black friend; I feel all one needs to say is, “friend.” There was a couple I knew who when they married caused controversy in their families because they were different faiths. My feelings boil down to this simple saying I try to live by: Love is love. If someone can, at some point in their life, express their love for someone, then I feel they have achieved one of the highest honors for being a human being. I do not care if the person you love is gay, straight, trans, Spanish, Muslim, atheist, native American and so on as long as there is love and respect then I am happy for you. With this in mind, I was curious to see what would take place in this film directed by Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Neighbors franchise).      IT WAS TOUGH ENOUGH TO MEET people who had commitment issues; but what were the chances if they were out of your league? With Billy Eichner (Noelle, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising) as Bobby, Luke Macfarlane (The Night Shift-TV, Brothers & Sisters-TV) as Aaron, Guy Branum (The Mindy Project-TV, Black Box-TV) as Henry, Miss Lawrence (The United States vs. Billie Holiday, Star-TV) as Wanda and Dot-Marie Jones (Glee-TV, Greener Grass) as Cherry; I appreciated the amount of effort that went into this production. The cultural references, the spot-on predicaments and the cameos were great; however, I thought the script lacked depth. The only character I found with any emotional depth was Aaron. The Billy character was bland and if he was not that then he was annoying. I have heard news that straight people are staying away from this film because the focus is about gay people. Maybe that is true; however, if a film is funny and relatable then I do not think it should make a difference. This picture had its moments, but I did not find it that funny or fresh.

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Persuasion

I FELT SAD FOR MY FRIEND and his girlfriend; I liked her. He liked her a real lot, having dated her for nearly a year. They looked happy together, laughing at the same things and stealing glances at each other during parties. My friend broke the news to me that he was going to break up with her. I asked him why, did something happen? His answer made this situation worse in my opinion. He did not have any reason to break up with her, but his family had insisted. My first question was asking him what in the world did she do that made his family make such a demand? The reason came down to one thing; she was of a different faith. Before I could filter my mouth, I blurted out, “That is the only reason, what is wrong with them?!?!” He got this sheepish look on his face, and I started to feel bad for what I had said to him. I tempered myself; in a calmer voice, I asked him if her religion bothered him. He said he did not have an issue with it, but his parents did. Without trying to add any further embarrassment, all I could offer was my condolences. I knew his family was wealthy and thought to myself, maybe that is playing a part in this recent development.      MANY YEARS AGO, I DATED SOMEONE twice. We dated for 9-10 months, broke up for half a year then reconnected and dated for a few months before we broke up again. Our backgrounds were completely different, but that was not the reason for our breakup. Without going into the sordid details, let me narrow it down to this: there were trust issues. Several friends, I could see, were perplexed that we were a couple. I was always grateful to listen to their concerns and comments. Not that I would necessarily act according to what they said, but I would store it in one of my memory banks, like a reference. Rarely have I ever acted on a relationship based on information that I have not personally experienced. There was a couple I was close friends with who literally hated the person I was dating. They made no bones about their feelings which caused me to have a face-to-face talk, explaining they have the right to feel that way, but they do not have the right to tell me who I can date. So, if they want to be included in events, they needed to be respectful. It turns out, I could have helped the main character in this dramatic adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel.      AFTER BEING CONVINCED TO END HER relationship with a modest man several years ago, the two meet again under different circumstances. Who will she listen to this time? With Richard E. Grant (Palm Beach, Can You Ever Forgive Me?) as Sir Walter Elliot, Dakota Johnson (The Lost Daughter, The Peanut Butter Falcon) as Anne Elliot, Henry Golding (Snake Eyes, Last Christmas) as Mr. Elliot, Ben Bailey (Level Up, Strange Hill High-TV) as Charles Musgrove and Yolanda Kettle (Made in Italy, The Crown-TV) as Elizabeth Elliot; this romantic story left me conflicted. On the one hand, I thought Dakota gave one of the best performances I have seen come out of her; yet the script was a bit schizophrenic. I am not a fan of characters shifting gears to directly face the camera and explain what is going on with the scene. Add in the odd mix of dramatic and tongue-in-cheek scenes and I was left feeling disconnected. There were beautifully done emotional scenes that I enjoyed, but then it was followed by a jarring change of emotions that left me confused. Too bad, because there were other characters, I enjoyed besides being interested in the story. If you are a huge fan of Jane Austen, then you might enjoy this movie more than I did. I wish the producers would have asked me for my advice prior to committing to this picture.                                                              

2 ¼ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Father of the Bride

WHEN SHE FOUND OUT MY FAMILY practices the same custom, she peppered me with questions. I was happy to oblige since we were having a lovely afternoon visit at her house. She was my friend’s relative who he had not seen in over twenty years. As we were sitting around her dining room table, eating cookies and fruit, she was telling us about her daughter’s wedding. As she spoke about the wedding ceremony, it occurred to me she was describing a custom my family does at a wedding. I asked her if the couple stood under a canopy during the service; she said they did. You should have seen her face when I told her members of my family get married under a canopy; her face lit up and she started telling me how much she enjoyed the service. From there she immediately went into a series of questions for me, starting with what the reason was behind erecting a canopy in the middle of the room. I told her the canopy represents the couple’s joyful new home together. The sides are open as a gesture that friends and family will always be invited in. She loved the concept as she asked if all canopies were made with an array of flowers. I told her some were, but others were simply made with fabric and four poles.      AFTER GOING THROUGH AND EXPLAINING THE other “foreign” customs to her, the three of us shared and compared the various kinds of rituals we experienced growing up. It was quite fascinating to hear what each of us experienced, though we could not always explain the meaning behind the custom. At one point, I was describing the practice of breaking a glass at the end of the wedding ceremony. I could not explain the reasoning behind it when the two of them asked me, so I had to look it up. It is funny, after I read them the explanation, I said I did not think many of my relatives knew this was the reason for breaking a glass. It turned out all of us participated in customs that we did not know the meaning behind. I offered the reason people participate in a custom may be to honor their elders. And as I just wrote this, I recalled a custom we used to do when I was growing up that we no longer practice anymore. If my memory is correct, it stopped after an elder had passed away. Even though some customs fade out of existence, I believe they leave a lasting memory, which may come out in a unique way. If you wish to see, customs play a strong part in this romantic comedic drama.      A FATHER FEELS OUT OF CONTROL when his daughter’s wedding plans do not include the customs he has been trying to maintain in the family. With Andy Garcia (Redemption Day, Book Club) as Billy Herrera, Gloria Estefan (Music of the Heart, Glee-TV) as Ingrid Herrera, Adria Arjona (Life of the Party, Pacific Rim: Uprising) as Sofia Herrera, Isabela Merced (Instant Family, Transformers: The Last Knight) as Cora Herrera and Diego Boneta (Terminator: Dark Fate, Luis Miguel: The Series-TV) as Adan Castillo; this updated version felt like it was created to appeal to a list of current issues. In other words, it came across as manipulative to me. The first half of the film was dry for me, besides being predictable. I did not find the movie funny, even when it seemed to settle into a slapstick mode. The cast was okay but honestly, there really was not anything that moved me emotionally. It was a shame because I could appreciate the message the story was trying to convey; however, things did not come together for me until the last hour. And even then, the writers kept the story in a light, easy mode. I appreciated the message that was trying to be presented, but the delivery of it was not a custom made fit.

2 ¼ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Downton Abbey: A New Era

EVERYDAY ON MY ROUTE TO AND from the office, I pass a house that is up for sale. It has been nearly seven months now that the FOR-SALE sign has been out by the street curb. I do not know how big an acre of land is, but there is enough land around the structure where two more houses could easily be built on it. The land slopes up from the curb to the white painted house, giving off the look of a southern plantation home. With green painted shutters and a thick white pillar on either side of the front door with its brass door knocker, I do not understand why the house has not found a buyer; from my view, it looks like something used on a movie set. When I found the listing for it online, I went through all the photos of the interior, and I was stunned. The rooms were extremely small with just as small doorways. I could not imagine how furniture would fit through any of the doors. The kitchen was nasty looking, with ancient appliances, broken cabinet doors and old fixtures. Upstairs there were four bedrooms and each one was oddly shaped due to the pitch of the roof and the support beams. To look out the window of one of the rooms, one would have to stoop over to avoid hitting their head on the ceiling. This house was in desperate need of a big remodeling.      THIS ONE HOUSE HAS CHANGED MY perception of large, fancy homes; or as what I refer to them as, McMansions. The most beautiful homes with perfectly manicured lawns and the best curbside appeal may only be a façade. I am always looking at the homes listed in the real estate section of the newspapers and now wonder what might lie behind their walls. Firstly, I do not understand why someone needs a huge house unless they have a lot of family members living with them. Homes that are over 10,000 square feet with a multitude of bathrooms make no sense to me. Why would the occupants need so many rooms? Then there are the “super” mansions that are massive beyond anything that I would consider being practical. I sit and imagine what rooms get used in a day, week, or month; trying to list in my head every conceivable function that would require its own separate room. Even coming up with obscure hobbies or uses, I can see a maximum of needing maybe twelve rooms and that is including four bedrooms and a den. Keeping up maintenance would be a nightmare; I saw proof of it in this romantic drama.      ALLOWING A MOVIE STUDIO TO SET up in their home was more of a necessity for the Grantham family because they needed the funds for repairs. Also, the timing was perfect since they discovered the inheritance of a French villa. With Hugh Bonneville (Paddington franchise, Notting Hill) as Robert Grantham, Jim Carter (The Good Liar, Shakespeare in Love) as Mr. Carson, Michelle Dockery (Non-Stop, The Gentleman) as Lady Mary, Elizabeth McGovern (The Chaperone, The Wife) as Cora Grantham and Allen Leech (Bohemian Rhapsody, The Imitation Game) as Tom Branson; one need not see the first film to enjoy this sequel. I am not familiar with the television series, so the first thirty minutes were a struggle for me; however, I soon settled in to experience a time gone by with the members of this household. The idea for the story was a stretch; I would have been more curious if the writers had gone down the other path, they introduced into the story line regarding Hugh’s character. Either way, fans of the series will not be disappointed with this film. As for me, I wound up enjoying spending the time with the Grantham family, though I wondered what else in the house needed repair.

3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming

A FRIEND OF MINE ASKED ME to accompany her to a family wedding. I like dressing up from time to time, so I was happy to join her. She told me the ceremony and reception were both being held at a downtown hotel; so, this was going to be a large wedding. I had met several of her family members, but I was also familiar with others solely based on the stories she would tell me about them. We drove into the city and dropped off the car with the hotel’s parking attendant. Entering the hotel lobby, there was a pedestal signboard that listed the day’s events being held in their meeting and ballrooms. Her cousin’s name was the third one down, showing the wedding was being held in the Crystal Ballroom. I stopped to ask a hotel employee who directed us to a set of escalators that would take us up to the room. When we came to the top of the escalator, there was an open area around us that had small high-top tables with guests milling about. A bulbous older man came up to us and gave my friend a big bearhug. He then extended his hand out to me to shake. When I grasped it, I had to suppress the urge to recoil back from him because his hand was wet. He must have sensed something in me because he asked me to excuse him, he had just licked his hand clean from a messy appetizer. I was speechless for a second before he burst out laughing; he said he was just kidding and introduced himself to me. I wanted to run from him and go wash my hand.      AFTER THAT FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH HER relative, I still was not prepared for what laid ahead. We mingled among the guests, and I was enjoying meeting the faces to match the stories she had told me about them for all these years. There was the aunt who loved her drinks, who would start dancing no matter where she was standing. She also did not need any music when she danced. At some point, a cousin came up to us and her first question was asking if the two of us were dating. Answering her cousin with a no, my friend grabbed my hand, and we made our way to where the ceremony was taking place. We got through it with no more interruptions from her relatives; however, once the dinner started all chaos started to take over. I felt like I was in the middle of an avant-garde movie, where the cast was experiencing psychotic episodes. The night consisted of a fight, guest passing out, foul language, unbearable long speeches; in other words, something like what I saw in this latest installment of the movie franchise.      A COLLEGE GRADUATION PARTY BRINGS EVERYONE together at Madea’s, played by Tyler Perry (Gone Girl, Alex Cross) place for a celebration. How soon before things get out of control when it comes to Madea’s family? With Cassi Davis (Daddy’s Little Girl, House of Payne-TV) as Bam, David Mann (Computer Love, Meet the Browns-TV) as Mr. Brown, Jennifer Gibney (Agnes Browne, Mrs. Brown’s Boys-TV) as Cathy and Isha Blaaker (The Flight Attendant-TV, Red Riding Hoods-TV) as Davi; this dramatic, comedy romance was consistent with all the other films before it. If you have never seen a Madea movie, then you might find something entertaining if you look for it. I did not find anything new except the characters had a larger vocabulary. There was a decent message buried in the script; but when weighed against everything one must sit through to get to it, it did not seem worth the wait. There were a few lines and a couple of scenes that were amusing; but not enough to maintain my attention. I am glad I did not have to go to the movie theater to see this picture because if I had, I might have become one of those crazy guests from the wedding I attended.                                 

1 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Review: I Want You Back

IF A COUPLE IS GOING TO end their relationship, the ideal situation in my opinion is when they both agree to it. I know personally it is much easier when both parties come to the same realization that the relationship is not working/healthy. A couple I knew were together for approximately a year before they discovered they could no longer grow in the relationship because each of them could not see spending the rest of their life with their significant other. Kudos to them for coming to that realization. They continued their friendship and were able to do so because they no longer had any boyfriend/girlfriend expectations placed on each other. I have come close to such a situation; but there always had to be an extended time of separation before I could relate to the person on a different level. Many of my friends never understood how I could be friends with someone who started out as a love interest. I would always answer them by saying just because the love aspect has dissolved, does not negate all the other positive attributes that attracted them to me in the first place. A different kind of love takes over from the romantic one.      THOUGH I HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE TO have had loving relationships that evolved into solid friendships, I have had some horrific breakups. One of the worst kinds is when your love cannot tell you why they are breaking up with you. All they can muster up is the fact they do not want to be in a relationship. It always feels like I cannot get closure with what we shared; honestly, they could say whatever they want as an excuse, and I would be fine with it if they can give me a reason. Outside of that, the absolute worst kind of breakup is when your partner has already started a relationship with your replacement. This has happened to me twice as far as I know and when it has, my first thought is how can a person immediately pivot from one relationship right into another one without some kind of reflection or personal growth help to discover why they were in the relationship and now out of it. I know myself well enough to know I need time off to contemplate all that took place and get myself to a space of self-care and acceptance before moving on. I certainly have not gone the route that two of the main characters in this romantic comedy did, which I am proud to say.      DISCOVERING THEY BOTH HAVE SOMETHING IN common when it comes to a relationship, two office workers come up with a plan to get their true love once again. With Charlie Day (Fist Fight, Horrible Bosses franchise) as Peter, Jenny Slate (Gifted, Obvious Child) as Emma, Scott Eastwood (Suicide Squad, Pacific Rim: Uprising) as Noah, Gina Rodriguez (Miss Bala, Deepwater Horizon) as Anne and Manny Jacinto (Even Lambs Have Teeth, The Good Place) as Logan; the reason this movie succeeds is due to the cast. I found Charlie’s and Jenny’s characters so authentic because of the chemistry between these two. Though the story is easy to figure out, the writers provided enough little twists and turns to make it all seem fresh and new. I usually do not react to extremes in comedy scenes; but I have to say, I did not mind them here because of the added emotional depth the writers instilled in the characters. And speaking of comedy, I did not find anything that caused me to laugh aloud. However, I did have a smile on my face while watching this entertaining movie about love and relationships.

3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Licorice Pizza

I WAS SURE I WAS ON my way to becoming a tycoon or at least thought of as being cool. There was no one I knew in my elementary school who was starting a business, but I was doing it. I do not remember how the idea came to me unless I considered the time spent selling candy and lemonade on the street corner, in front of my apartment building. My stand was a success; candy being the number one seller. What I used to do was set up the stand, a folding card table, early in the afternoon. I had two pitchers of lemonade and an assortment of candy pieces and bars. I would buy a bag of hard, fruit flavored candy that was individually wrapped, pour them into a bowl and sell each piece for a nickel. Right there, I was making a nice profit. When I was close to running out, I would have a friend of mine go to the store to buy another bag of hard candy and candy bars, which I priced a little more than the regular price. We would only buy the bars that were on sale; that is how I was able to make a profit on them.      HAVING GOTTEN A TASTE OF SUCCESS from my lemonade stand, gave me the confidence to start selling school supplies to my fellow classmates. I had a relative who was a manufacturer’s representative to a variety of companies that made school supplies. Their garage was completely shelved and fully stocked with all kinds of school items. Every new school year my cousins and I would go over and go “shopping” through the garage to get our school supplies. I must have asked my relative if I could take extra items, but I do not remember. There was no way I would have just taken them without permission; so, maybe I told him I wanted extra for friends? With my schoolbag loaded, I started asking classmates if they wanted to buy colored markers, erasers, pencil sharpeners and other assorted things. When students saw the variety of different colored markers and crayons, I sold out of everything in two days. I thought for sure I was on my way to becoming a great businessman. The added benefit to me was the fact students were now seeking me out to see what I had available. In my brain, I took this to mean I was now “popular.” Due to my history, I felt a connection at first with the main character in this dramatic, comedy romance.      HE WAS THE ULTIMATE PROMOTER OF himself. So, when student Gary Valentine, played by newcomer Cooper Hoffman, saw the school’s photographer’s helper he was convinced she would fall in love with him. With newcomer Alana Haim as Alana Kane, Sean Penn (Flag Day, Milk) as Jack Holden, Tom Waits (Seven Psychopaths, Short Cuts) as Rex Blau and newcomer Will Angarola as Kirk; this film festival winner and Oscar nominee was a disappointment. I thought Alana did a decent job for a newcomer and the established actors were good; but it did not matter because I thought the script was littered with distractions. The only actor that stood out for me was Bradley Cooper. There were scenes that fell flat for me because they were hard to believe in. Despite this movie being tagged as a comedy, I did not find anything funny. Sure, there were a couple of precarious predicament scenes, but what it came down to for me was the actors seemed too young for their roles outside of the school scenes. I periodically lost interest, though I enjoyed the soundtrack. I also appreciated the story line of first love and of the would-be actor trying to get ahead; but things did not comfortably fit well for me in the end. With its Oscar nominations, I almost felt as if I was being hustled as I watched this picture.

2 ½ stars  

%d bloggers like this: