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Flash Movie Review: Firestarter

THERE WERE SEVERAL MISSED NOTES, BUT I continued sitting there with a smile on my face. The little girl was playing a song on the piano; something that was unfamiliar to me. Her mother had asked me to sit down and listen to her daughter play, adding she believed her little girl had a gift for playing the piano. That is not how I would have described her piano playing, but I understood she was proud of her daughter. After the girl was done playing, I applauded and complimented her. She thanked me then headed out of the room. I turned my attention back to the little girl’s mother, who was sitting there with the biggest smile on her face and her hands clasped together by her heart. I hoped she was not about to do something that I find annoying, but my hope was quickly dashed. She said, “Isn’t her piano playing exceptional?” I ask you, how could I sit there and not say something complimentary about her daughter’s playing, even if it wasn’t true?” And that is exactly what I find annoying; parents bragging about their children and expecting guests to agree with them. Why put guests in an uncomfortable position by seeking out compliments from them? What guest would not say something favorable about a parent’s child? To me the whole thing is a setup.      EARLY ON, I REALIZED EVERY PARENT thinks their child is special and unique. There is nothing wrong with that; I only hope they create a supportive and loving environment for their children. Bragging to me shows a sign of insecurity in a person. Fishing for compliments tells me the person does not have enough confidence to believe in themselves. That is why I find bragging about children distasteful. It puts the child in a compromising position, where they are pressured to perform. I recall the years I took piano lessons, I never asked anyone to listen to me play. In fact, I avoided going to the piano recitals my teacher would hold with all his students. It is funny, I am just remembering a few scenes from the talent reality shows I have seen. Standing on stage is a 20- year-old who is singing off key. The performance was dreadful; yet he felt he did a wonderful job. His parents encouraged him to audition because they said he was such a good singer. I am all for supporting a child’s dreams; but how far does it go when there is an obvious lack of talent. As the judges critiqued the singer, I wondered if the parents had been fair towards their child. Heck, even the parents in this dramatic, horror sci-fi film did not want to brag about their child even though their child was indeed extraordinary.      AS THEIR DAUGHTER WAS HEADING TOWARD adolescence, it was only a matter of time before her special talent would get her noticed. This was something the parents were trying to avoid; no one needed to know about their daughter as far as they were concerned. With Zac Efron (The Greatest Showman, The Beach Bum) as Andy McGee, Ryan Kiera Armstrong (The Tomorrow War, Black Widow) as Charlie McGee, Sydney Lemmon (Fear the Walking Dead-TV, Helstrom-TV) as Vicky McGee, Michae Greyeyes (Kissed by Lightning, True Detective-TV) as Rainbird and Gloria Reuben (Lincoln, Who We are Now) as Captain Hollister; this updated version of the Stephen King novel started out poor and remained there. I found Zac to be an odd choice for his character. He was too young looking and his lines were dull. The script tried to freshen up the original story and truthfully there were a few scenes that worked; however, I was bored watching this picture. I liked the musical soundtrack, but obviously that was not enough to draw me into the story. With having an unusual character in the script, one would hope there would be some high exciting drama. Sadly, this flaming film shined as bright as a low ember.                   

1 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

THEY WERE SUCH SWEET GERMAN SHEPARD dogs, yet the two of them were so different. If you pretended to throw a ball across the room, one of the dogs would immediately search the whole room looking for that ball. The other dog would remain seated in front of you, staring into your face as if saying, “Who do you think you’re fooling?” It was obvious this dog was the smarter of the two. Though the other dog may not have been as intelligent, she was more demonstrative with her feelings. Yes, that is right; she was an emotional dog. Whenever her owner would sneeze, no matter where she was at, she would take off and run as fast as she could to get to him. If he was seated, she would jump into his lap; if he was standing when he sneezed, she would stand on her hind legs and try to wrap her front legs around him, as if she were hugging him. It was a sight to see. The most reaction coming from the other dog would be a turn of ears in the direction of the sneeze, nothing more. I did not care if one was smarter and the other more affectionate; I loved each of them equally.      I HAVE A HARD TIME ACCEPTING those who say their pet is only a pet. To me, they are not; they are family. Those 2 dogs I mentioned were family members in that household. Having a pet is like having children; both need to be potty trained, must be disciplined at times and both will go through their terrible two’s phase. The only thing different is your pets never move out of the house. I have learned so much from pets. They practice unconditional love every single day. There is nothing like coming home from a long day at work, opening the front door and your dog is there, absolutely excited to see you. Those times when you are feeling down and your pet quietly comes up to sit on your lap or lie next to you, makes the sadness easier to handle. I had a pet dog who would listen to me while looking into my eyes, barely blinking. I was sure he could tell how I was feeling about something. So, I do have a hard time believing a person can stay emotionally detached from their pet. In fact, I would be curious to see what they have to say about the dog in this comedic drama.      WHILE HIS OWNER DENNY SWIFT, PLAYED by Milo Ventimiglia (Killing Season, This is Us-TV), was trying to win car races; Enzo was learning lessons about life that would help him when he would be needed most. Based on the bestselling book, this movie starred Amanda Seyfried (Dear John, Mama Mia! franchise) as Eve, Gary Cole (One Hour Photo, Under the Eiffel Tower) as Don Kitch, Ryan Kiera Armstrong (Anne with an E-TV, It Chapter Two) as Zoe and Kathy Baker (Return to Zero, Cold Mountain) as Trish. If you are dog lover, you will love this film. I thought the dog Enzo was wonderful. Milo on the other hand was no different with his acting than what he does on This is Us. He seemed to be the same character to me. I am positive the book must be an incredible read; but I have a feeling the story did not transfer well to the big screen. I have not read the book, yet I knew everything that was going to happen as the story unfolded. The script was riddled with clichés, besides being quite manipulative with the viewer’s emotions. In fact, with Enzo being as smart as he was; I am surprised he did not bolt out of this picture.

 

2 stars             

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