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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  

Flash Movie Review: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

IT WAS NOT UNUSUAL TO HAVE knocking on my front door, but it was strange to have a stranger standing there when I opened the door. I was living off campus in a 6 storied, student housing building. There was a property manager who lived on the ground floor, but all the apartments were for students; married students would live in the corner units of the building because they were 2-bedroom apartments. I was living in a studio apartment, or I should say one room with a bathroom, like most the students on the floor. Each floor had a common kitchen that the residents on the floor would share. It was nothing to knock on a door and ask a fellow student for something; however, on this day there was a middle-aged woman standing at my door. She was dressed in a long skirt and a light jacket over a white blouse that had a bow up around her neck. Her arm was hugging a pile of pamphlets close to her chest. She had a warm smile despite seeing the shocked look on my face when I opened my door. My first thought was thinking she was doing a survey for the university because I did not understand how she got through the security door in the building’s lobby.      I SAID, “HELLO, HOW CAN I help you?” As she introduced herself, she handed me one of her pamphlets. The front of it was illustrated in such a way to make me think it was an advertisement for a children’s book. She asked if she could tell me about her god. I declined the offer, saying I practice a different religion. Without losing her smile, she said her god would save me. Right then my attitude changed because I found her statement offensive. I believed ever person’s religion should be respected and that one was not better than another. I explained to her I was not interested, but it was nice to meet her as I closed my door. It has always puzzled me how people think their religion is the best or the “right” one. If memory serves me correctly, I think there are only three religions that do not actively seek out people to convert them over to their religion. It is one thing to be open and expressive about one own’s religion, but the idea of seeking out people to say they will not go to heaven or be with their god because of their religion is wrong in my book. I feel more strongly about it after seeing this Oscar nominated, biographical drama.      UPON MEETING THE MAN SHE WOULD later marry, young Tammy Faye, played by Jessica Chastain (The 355, Molly’s Game) would wind up experiencing more than she ever imagined one could while being a good Christian. With Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge; tick, tick…BOOM!) as Jim Bakker, Cherry Jones (Ocean’s Twelve, The Perfect Storm) as Rachel Grover, Vincent D’Onofrio (The Unforgivable, The Judge) as Jerry Falwell and Mark Wystrach (Road to Red, Scavengers) as Gary Paxton; this film based on a true story excelled due to Jessica, Cherry and Andrew. They saved the script that I found to be a bit too sanitized, considering what was going on during the times when Jim and Tammy Faye were growing their business. At times, I felt Jessica was on the verge of being a caricature but then she would reel it in during the next scene. I will say the script does not put the religious conservatives in a good light; if what was shown was true, I was taken aback with the backroom antics of the religious leaders in this story. Not only was this an entertaining picture for the most part, but it also reaffirmed my feelings about those who preach their way is the right way.

3 stars  

Flash Movie Review: Marry Me

THERE IS THAT SAYING, “THE THRID time is the charm,” and I knew my friend was hoping it was true, but I felt it was not going to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I really wanted her 3rd marriage to succeed; however, this current fiancé was no different than the other two I saw before. My friend is such a sweet, likeable person; but she has always been attracted to what I refer to as the “pretty boy” type of men. Each one she introduced me to was good looking and had a chip on their shoulder. My friend is a big game player who loves almost any type of game, from word ones to charades. I enjoy playing games as well and like most people enjoy winning; but if I don’t win it is no big deal to me. I am not that competitive with other people. However, her past husbands and this latest soon to be one were all intensely competitive to the point where I did not like playing with them. In my opinion, none of them played well with others; I would have thought that would have been a big clue for my friend to sit up and notice. Alas, she was very much in love with each of these men; there was very little I could say to her about it.      WITH MY FRIEND BEING A TALL woman, I understood why she preferred only dating men who were taller than her. There was a man she dated once who was maybe a couple of inches shorter than herself; I thought he was nice. She dated him for a month or two, but then found a reason why she no longer was interested in him. I thought it was due to the height, but she never admitted it to me. The other feature I noticed my friend was attracted to was fair skinned and light-colored features. With her having dark features, I could see she preferred being with someone who looked opposite of her; however, I did question her motives. How important really were these features? In the scheme of things, how do these requirements help find a good match? I tried persuading her to expand her field, that it was more important to find someone who was kind and respectful, instead of having someone who matched the image that was in her mind. For me, the things she was looking for were mostly surface things and for those of you who have known me a long time, you know I feel the surface stuff is just rental property, but the inside stuff lasts a lifetime. If you care to, you can see how things play out between the two ideas in this romantic, musical movie.      IT WAS PLANNED TO BE THE event of the year when musical artist Kat, played by Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers, Second Act), agreed to get married during her concert show and it was, but for all the wrong reasons as she discovered her fiancé had been cheating on her. How would she continue the show? With Owen Wilson (The French Dispatch, No Escape) as Charlie, musical artist Maluma as Bastian, John Bradley (Game of Thrones-TV The Brothers Grimsby) as Colin and Sarah Silverman (The Book of Henry, Battle of the Sexes) as Parker; this comedic drama’s story had a silly premise. However, what helped it was having Jennifer and Owen starring in it. They both had a likeability that came across easily. Now I will say I did not think playing their characters was much of a stretch; Jennifer was being Jennifer and Owen was just doing his usual type of character. There were some touching moments in this film, but there really were no surprises in the script. In fact, some of the scenes were out of place and odd in my opinion. The musical moments were fine, though I did think the song with the leather clad nuns was a weird concept. I give Jennifer credit for wanting to bring out a rom com this time of year; I only wish it had a better concept and script.      

2 ¼ stars 

Flash Movie Review: The Power of the Dog

I HAVE NOT THOUGHT ABOUT HIM for decades. His hair matched his personality; it was bright, fire red. If memory serves me correctly, at one time he was the only redhead in the class. He could be so sweet in front of the teachers, flashing this smile that revealed a little space between his two front teeth that I assumed the teachers thought was adorable. Add in the two freckled fleshy cheeks with that smile and I am sure the teachers forgot what they were angry about in the first place. Little did they know; he could be equally mean. One time he was seated at his desk, quietly cutting with a pair of scissors, little bits of hair off the long-haired girl who was sitting in front of him. One of his favorite tricks to play was to break the ink cartridge inside of a pen and let the ink drop on the seat at a student’s desk; so, if the student did not notice, they would sit on the inked chair and stain their clothing. Doesn’t he sound like a real charmer? Luckily, he was not a fast runner so more times than not I was not the focus of his bullying. It was nothing for him to kick someone in the back to see them fall and that would include any animals that crossed his path.      MAYBE I AM STEREOTYPING, BUT IN my experiences most bullies were not sweet and charming. With them never being anything but mean, there was never an expectation that one would catch them at a kind moment and be given a pass. This red-haired student, in my opinion, was more lethal because his actions were intentional and thought out. He had to get some enjoyment out of inflicting harm on other people, where someone who was always mean may not be aware, they are doing anything wrong or “bad.” Take it from me, there is nothing worse than sitting in class next to a known bully or mean kid because the entire time is spent keeping one eye on them in a state of perpetual dread, that something awful was about to happen. I am remembering how uncomfortable I was sitting in the classroom, not that the classroom was the only place where harm could befall me. The locker room in the gym was always a fertile place where bullies would rule. My vivid memory of this red -haired student appeared shortly after I saw the main character in this dramatic, western romance.      TWO BROTHERS RUNNING THEIR CATTLE RANCH together face a change when one of them becomes fond of a widow. With Benedict Cumberbatch (The Courier, Doctor Strange) as Phil Burbank, Kirsten Dunst (The Beguiled, Little Women) as Rose Gordon, Jesse Plemons (The Irishman, I’m Thinking of Ending Things) as George Burbank, Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In, The Road) as Peter Gordon and Sean Keenan (Glitch-TV, Lockie Leonard-TV) as Sven; the acting in this film was spectacular to the point where I felt Oscar nominations would be in store for some of the actors. The scenery, the music and the wonderful direction of scenes made this such an entertaining movie watching experience for me. The story’s pace was done in a slow and deliberate pace, where I found myself uneasy, as if there was going to be some impending doom taking place. This reaction was almost visceral for me, due to Benedict’s character. I especially enjoyed the way the director kept things at a minimum when it came to the actors. Instead of trying to manipulate the viewers’ emotions, she let the actors show their feelings in a look or gaze; it was effective. I also was surprised on how the story turned out; but it made perfect sense to me. This was an amazing film that, as I said earlier, should be a participant in this year’s Oscars’ ceremony.

3 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

I TOOK THE BRUNT OF THEIR kidding because I had never heard of such a college degree. A group of my classmates and myself were sitting at the student union. The building was an old, medieval looking structure. The food hall was in the lower level where the space had arched beams in the ceiling. We were sitting at a large table when one of my classmates motioned to a table close to us that had a group of women sitting and talking. He described a couple of the women at the table who were in one of his classes and said that group was here for a M.R.S. degree. The guys around me laughed as I sat there perplexed. I asked what kind of degree was a M.R.S and was answered with more laughter. Finally, my lab partner asked me what the letters spell out; I answered, “Mrs.” He said exactly, they are only attending the university to find a husband. Maybe I am not the brightest bulb in the marquis, bur I was more confused. Who would spend so much money to go to college just to look for a mate? Another guy at the table said he had a couple of lecture hall classes with a few of the women, and he agreed with my lab partner. He said they would stand outside the hall and watch the students walking in until they saw an attractive guy, then would come in and try to sit close to them. I found the whole thing preposterous.      HERE I THOUGHT I HAD HEARD everything, yet there was more news to come my way. A few weeks later a free, independent weekly news magazine came out with an article listing a group of universities that excelled in specific categories. It turned out my university was number #1 for drinking, alcohol that is. A school in the southern part of my home state was listed as the best “party school.” What caught my eye was a university close to a major city in my state that was listed as the best “husband hunting” place. I understood this news magazine specialized in “tongue in cheek” humor; but this “husband hunting” concept had to be a known thing to have gotten mentioned in the article. I was so surprised by this discovery; how come I had never heard about it before? Looking back at this time in my life, I must assume many of you cannot believe such a thing took place. I was there and I cannot believe it, it sounds so dated, right? Times change and I had to keep that in mind while watching this musical classic.      TWO FRIENDS, WHO WERE ENTERTAINERS, AGREED to take a transatlantic cruise for a job opportunity. What they did not plan for was to be followed by a private detective. With Jane Russell (The Outlaw, Double Dynamite) as Dorothy Shaw, Marilyn Monroe (The Seven Year Itch, Some Like it Hot) as Lorelei Lee, Charles Coburn (Monkey Business, The Green Years) as Sir Francis ‘Piggy” Beekman, Elliott Reid (Inherit the Wind, Vicki) as Ernie Malone and Tommy Noonan (A Star is Born, Bundle of Joy) as Gus Esmond Jr; this romantic comedy based on the Broadway musical that was based on the book was a blast from the past. Made in the 1950’s, I had to remind myself the story took place in a different time. The 2 actresses were terrific in their roles displaying excellent comedic chops and the songs they sang have lasted the test of time. If you are not a musical fan, I cannot imagine this picture will hold your attention all the way through; however, it was a fun and enjoyable movie. Even looking at this film on a historical level, I was entertained and fascinated watching customs and traits that would be frowned upon in present times. Still, this was a classic movie I wanted to see after hearing some of its songs for so many years.

3 ½ stars 

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