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Flash Movie Review: Deadpool 2

THE ANNOUNCER STATED WITH CERTAINTY THEY were the perfect match. The couple had just been married in what appeared to be a storybook setting; which only flavored the comment into a cliché. Doesn’t everyone who ventures into matrimony feel they found the perfect one to marry? I may not believe someone can be perfect; but I absolutely feel they can perfectly fit with their mate to make the perfect union. Some people find their perfect match and some settle for the best available. I know a few couples who work well together for the most part, but they periodically encounter speed bumps in their growth together. Sad to say but I knew a couple of people who because of their low self-esteem settled with individuals that were not good matches for them. They seemed more like roommates than partners in life; they did very few things together because they did not have a lot of common interests. Not that it should define the relationship; heck, I feel it is important that 2 people coming together should be able to maintain their individual interests. All I am saying is that they also should be able to enjoy some things together.      PERFECT MATCHES CAN ALSO PERTAIN TO a person and their profession. How many times have you heard someone say they found the perfect job. Oh, well maybe that is not the best example; I do not know a lot of people who feel they are working at their dream job. Though there are athletes who were gifted in the sport they participated in. Now some people have an aptitude for a particular skill; let us say working with numbers. They may be a whiz at accounting or financing; however, the job may not be best suited for them. What I mean is they may work best individually but in a group setting or under micro-management they may not be the most proficient. Think about it; out of all the options, some would say obstacles, in our path the fact someone can feel as if they have met the perfect match or job really is close to a miracle. In the case of this comedic, action adventure I firmly believe the main actor has found the perfect role to play. Anything he does after this character has a chance of paling in comparison.      FOR ALL HIS FOUL-MOUTHED comments, bravado and inappropriate remarks; no one would believe he would be concerned about the welfare of a young child. Why then did he feel the need to assemble a team of super heroes? With Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal, Buried) reprising his role as Wade Wilson/Deadpool, Josh Brolin (Avengers: Infinity War, The Brave) as Nathan Summers/Cable), Morena Baccarin (Back in the Day, The Flash-TV) as Vanessa, Julian Dennison (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Shopping) as Russell and Zazie Beetz (Finding Her, Atlanta-TV) as Domino; Ryan has created the perfect role for himself. Just like the first one, this film was slammed with satire, strong language, humor and an abundance of action scenes. I did find the story a bit typical; but Ryan kept his twisted, humorous comments flying throughout his dialog. One needed to pay attention because there nearly was a constant stream of comments that were relevant, topical, political and pretty much any other adjective you wish to add. The action scenes were exciting and I liked the special effects. On the downside there was less surprise for me with this sequel simply because I experienced most of these reactions when I saw the original movie. Also, I think the amount of action scenes with this one nearly bordered on becoming monotonous. There is no denying Ryan will have a challenge doing a different character. He is now permantely married to this character Deadpool; he has found his perfect match. ALERT: please remember to read the opening credits and there were 2 extra scenes during the ending credits.

 

3 ¼ stars

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Flash Movie Review: The Hitman’s Bodyguard

WE HAD BEEN friends for several years. Through that time we had gotten closer, each of us did not use a filter when talking about personal stuff. Our friendship was evolving, though it took a big adjustment when she started dating someone who quickly became her main focus. I was not the only one who noticed the shift; our mutual group of friends noticed her dating relationship was turning serious. As with any relationship time spent with friends took place with less frequency; it was understandable as we all knew time was needed to lay the groundwork to establish a strong bond between the couple. After a few years our friend became engaged and the two of them began laying out plans to begin their life together as a married couple.     AFTER THEY WERE married they planted roots in a suburb not too far away from all of us; however, spending time together with them took place less and less often. As the years progressed I started to lose contact with a few of the friends since I moved to a different location. However I was still privy to news through the “grapevine.” I do not remember exactly how it came down, but at some point I heard derogatory remarks were made about me by this married friend. My feelings were hurt and I became angry to the point where I did not what to have any interaction with this couple. Now in hindsight I did not know if they actually meant what was told to me or if they really even said such a thing. Because I was angry I did not care; as far as I was concerned I did not want to have any part of them. This was the way I handled things in the past when I got angry. Long story short, this couple opened up a store that a couple of my friends told me was doing a thriving business. I did not care since I planned never to step foot into their place. After seeing this action comedy I did wonder if I made the right decision.     AS A TOP bodyguard Michael Bryce, played by Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, Woman in Gold), had to deal with all kinds of clients. Having fallen on hard times he never imagined he would have to protect the man who tried to kill him. Also starring Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight, Kong: Skull Island) as Darius Kincaid, Gary Oldman (The Space Between Us, The Dark Knight franchise) as Vladislav Dukhovich, Elodie Yung (Gods of Egypt, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) as Amelia Roussel and Salma Hayek (Beatriz at Dinner, Some Kind of Beautiful) as Sonia Kincaid; the story for this film was decent enough and the cast did a good job of handling the script. Ryan’s character was a light version of his Deadpool one in my opinion. As for Samuel L. Jackson this was one of his typical performances; however, for this character it worked. The highlight for me was Salma Hayek, she was the surprise with what the writers had given her to say. Truthfully there really was nothing special about this picture; there were many scenes with blood and violence. The story was not unique and for the most part it was predictable. At one point I felt like I was just watching a string of nonsensical scenes. I wondered at the end of the movie if I had made the right decision to use my free movie pass for this film. There was one outtake scene in the middle of the credits.

 

2 stars        

 

 

Flash Movie Review: Life

YEARS of reading and watching science fiction books and movies may be the reason why I believe there could be other life forms in the universe. Even if I was not a fan of the fantasy/science fiction genre, I was always open to the possibility we humans were not alone. I could never be convinced that out of the entire universe the planet Earth was the only place that could sustain life. One of the arguments I have heard is our planet is the only one that can sustain oxygen breathing beings; but I would counter that proposal by questioning the logic of oxygen being the only element that can support life. What if an alien species’ anatomy only needed carbon monoxide to exist? Unless they come to us I understand there is no way to prove this thought, since I do not know if we will ever evolve to a point where we will have the ability to deconstruct and rematerialize on another world via a transporting device or be able to travel in a spaceship at warp speed.     DURING my studies in college I had a literature course that covered several genres of fiction, including science fiction. For my midterm project I used several rolls of infrared film along with close-up camera lenses to create a photo album that I claimed was proof of foreign existence. The things I photographed represented places we had read about in our required reading list. Our instructor had us put our projects on display around the lecture hall and each of us had to explain what we had done. After we each gave our talks, the students were allowed to walk around and study each item before voting on their favorite in a secret ballot. It turned out not only did I get an “A” on my midterm project but my alien photo album was voted the favorite. From some of the comments I received the majority of my classmates loved how I had shown both friendly and non-friendly aliens. Hopefully I am only right about the good aliens.     WORKING in precise maneuvers six astronauts must retrieve a satellite returning from Mars that might contain proof there may be life existing on another planet. This science fiction thriller had some intense, exciting scenes right from the start. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals, Prisoners) as David Johnson, Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, The Proposal) as Rory Adams, Hiroyuki Sanada (47 Ronin, The Wolverine) as Sho Murakami and Rebecca Ferguson (The Girl on the Train, Florence Foster Jenkins) as Miranda North; this horror film had some icky scenes that were hard to watch, involving blood and violence. I thought the sets and special effects were cool, while the actors did their job well. The idea of the story was fine; however, I felt the writers needed to take a different angle because as I sat watching this film I kept thinking about the movie Alien. I did not find much different in this movie though I did enjoy the surprise twists. What I did enjoy, maybe enjoy is not the right word, was the way the writers depicted life and that is all I can say about it. If you do not believe there may be extraterrestrial life, you may not be anxious to see this film. Based on my belief system, maybe you should see it.

 

2 1/3 stars    

 

 

Flash Movie Review: Criminal

It suddenly appears from what seems to be its own volition and surprises you. Like an air bubble that has suddenly risen up to disturb the still surface of a pool of water, the thought bursts into your consciousness where you have to stop and wonder where it came from. I do not know about you but this happens to me on a consistent basis. I could be walking or driving along and suddenly some random thought pops into my head that at least has some type of connection to something in my life; but it can be so weird at times. There are things I can remember from when I was an infant; however, I could tell myself I have to do something as soon as I am done with what I am doing and as soon as I walk out of the room the thought goes poof, disappearing from my mind. The brain is both bizarre and miraculous at the same time. I have a friend who works in the medical field. You would not believe the things I hear that have to do with the brain; some of them would make good science fiction stories. To this day I remember watching a computer screen as the image of a patient’s brain, who had just suffered a stroke, began to appear. It was fascinating to watch as I could see where the blood was pooling inside of them. It was that experience and its aftermath that caused me to see the human brain in a different light. The same thing took place for me when I watched this crime drama.   WHEN agent Bill Pope, played by Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, The Proposal), was killed his boss Quaker Wells, played by Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight franchise, Paranoia), became desperate enough to see if the dead agent’s memories could be taken out of his head. This action film also starred Kevin Costner (Black or White, The Untouchables) as Jericho Stewart, Tommy Lee Jones (The Homesman, Hope Springs) as Dr. Franks and Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious franchise, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) as Jill Pope. As you can see a well qualified cast was assembled for this picture. Though the basis of the script had a science fiction slant to it, I was willing to go along and believe the story. I enjoyed the way Kevin played his character and was a bit surprised to see him so intense in the action scenes, though it could easily have been a body double. But this is what annoyed me about this movie; if you want me to believe the story than follow through with it. When one character’s house with elaborate security was broken into, tell me how the house was broken into again later in the story. They didn’t change the pass code? C’mon, this among other issues ruined the story for me. Congratulations to the person who came up with the idea for this story, but then why make it predictable in a scatterbrained way?

 

1 ¾ stars  

 

 

 

Flash Movie Review: Deadpool

Superheroes were good and nice individuals when I was growing up. I was exposed to a couple of them at a young age. There was the camp counselor who lifted this bully off of me by grabbing their pants’ belt, using only one arm. It looked just like something I had seen on my Saturday morning cartoon shows. I remember a friend’s parent donated new school supplies for our class one year. When I was doing charity work for a health organization I encountered a score of superheroes who did so much to make their patients’ lives comfortable. In fact, if  I think about it I would say some lottery winners who donate part of their winnings to charitable organizations could be considered superheroes. As far as I’m concerned superheroes come in all shapes and sizes. What they have in common is kindness and thoughtfulness. The thing you have to be careful about is the false ones; the ones that pretend to be doing a good deed, but have an ulterior motive for personal gain. There was this officer of an organization I encountered some time back. On the surface they came across as a caring, empathic person. However, their motivation was to get rich, so everything they did came with a price. All I have described so far did not prepare me for what I would find in this action movie. I never saw or heard of Deadpool before; but based on the crowd that showed up before me at the theater, I must be in the minority.    WHEN a medical procedure did not turn out the way he expected Wade, played by Ryan Reynolds (Woman in Gold, The Proposal), had only one goal in mind, to get revenge against the people who promised they could cure him. This superhero adventure comedy was not your typical one; it was rated R for a reason. So why in the world were there families in the audience with their young children? Excuse my bluntness but those adults were there to satisfy their needs first before thinking about their children’s welfare. The script was filled with foul and hard language besides the inclusion of sexual scenes. With that off my chest now, I can say I was laughing through this fantasy film. The jokes and barbs were fast and furious. Those of you who may not be up on pop culture may not get all the humor in this picture. Ryan was perfect with the role; I understand this film was a decade long labor of love for him to get to the big screen. The script was straightforward; this was a revenge story. Some viewers may tire of the constant barrage of jokes and remarks; it pretty much was a main character of its own. Since I was not familiar with the character Deadpool, I felt I was missing something about the story. At the moment I do not know if Deadpool is a true hero. There was blood and violence throughout the film.

 

3 stars

 

 

 

Flash Movie Review: Self/less

I do not know if everyone feels it at the same time or if they have a sense of it at all. When one is able to experience that feeling of being invincible or powerful, it can be intoxicating. For me it happened when I worked with a personal trainer for a weightlifting regime. It was surreal for me because not only had I never felt comfortable in my own skin prior, I now was working out among my peers without judgements. The aerobic classes I taught took on a new level of intensity. Some time later a subtle reality check began to settle into my consciousness. I started to become aware of how my body was reacting to the high jumps and kicks, so I added more low impact options. At some point I started to notice any scratches or scrapes on my skin took longer to heal; it appeared as if my skin would not let go of these cuts, keeping the scab’s impressions on my less taut skin like shadows. As time went on I realized I could not lift the same amount of weights I used to, nor run as fast on the treadmill. Maybe because one of the fitness centers I taught at was affiliated with a hospital, but I accepted it as a part of the aging process. Seeing heart and stroke patients struggling along the track or on a weight machine kept things in perspective. Though I have to say there were times I thought it would be wonderful if we could trade-in our bodies for a fresh one. This science fiction film will show you one way it can be done.    WITH disease consuming his body wealthy real estate tycoon Damian, played by Ben Kingsley (Shutter Island, Hugo), discovered there was a way he could beat the illness and continue to live. He could trade-in for a new body, but how would his mind handle it? The idea for this story offered a multitude of possibilities on where the story could go. With Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal, Buried) as a young Damian and Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game, Match Point) as Albright, I enjoyed the beginning of this mystery movie. Unfortunately the story took an odd turn and lost its way; I was not sure if this film wanted to be a love story, action movie or suspense thriller. It did not take long for me to lose interest and was able to figure out what was going to happen. Out of the cast I would have preferred more scenes with Ben, but I did enjoy watching Ryan as he tried to convince people of his true identity. At first glance this film looked like a fresh take on a the aging process, but it did not have much life to it.

 

2 stars

 

 

 

Flash Movie Review: Woman in Gold

As I came through the front door I immediately noticed the dead cigarette butt dangling on the edge of the cedar chest. No one smoked in the house. At one time the cigarette was lit because there now was a deep ashen scar exposing the unfinished wood beneath the polished surface. My eyes were drawn from the cigarette butt to the hall closet with its mirrored door gaping open. Inside the clothes were disheveled and piled up on the floor; there were several wire and wooden hangers dangling naked from the clothes rod. These two things did not connect together in my brain right away; however, as I walked into the bedroom it all made sense. A burglar had broken into the house and stole some clothing, jewelry and a small television. I was in shock as all of this sunk in and I realized how fortunate I was that the cigarette did not start a fire, destroying not only the apartment but the others in the building. As I moved from room to room an awful feeling came over me; I felt so violated and vulnerable. There was such a sense of dread, feeling unsafe in my own home; it weighed heavily as I imagined this stranger walking through the house not realizing the sentimental significance to items, let alone the things I needed like clothing. At least I had no idea who it was; can you imagine if I was home when the burglar broke in and took what they wanted for themselves?    MARIA Altmann, played by Helen Mirren (The Queen, The Debt), had only her memories when she fled Nazi occupied Austria. Making a life for herself in the United States, it was not until her sister’s death that Maria thought about the things that were taken away from her and her family so many years ago. One of the objects dear to her was a portrait of her aunt, painted by Gustav Klimt. Though it was hanging in an Austrian museum, she felt it belonged with her. Based on a true story, I enjoyed the way this drama portrayed the present and past together. The key in making it all work fell upon Helen and Tatiana Maslany (The Vow, Eastern Promises) who played the young Maria. I thought Max Irons (The Host, Red Riding Hood) who played Fritz, young Maria’s husband, was a strong asset too. Ryan Reynolds (The Voices, Green Lantern) as lawyer Randol Schoenberg was better than I have previously seen him but not on the same level as Helen. The script may have been predictable but I did not mind because I was fascinated with the “story behind the story” aspect to this drama. Granted my theft cannot compare to Maria’s but I felt a solid connection to this movie.

 

3 stars

Flash Movie Review: The Voices

I did not learn about the concept of “having a conscience” until I saw a cartoon where an angel was sitting on the left shoulder and a devil on the right one of a talking duck. The two were whispering back and forth into the duck’s ear, telling the animal what it should do. I was confused though I laughed at the imagery appearing above them anytime they spoke. After asking many questions with a multitude of examples I started to understand what it meant to have a conscience. Throughout the years I have seen more than my share of individuals who must have listened to their conscience’s negative thoughts. I know I am not alone in this regard; simply watching the newscasts, one can see people from all over the world who act out from the darkness inside of them. Now do not get me wrong, I am certainly no angel and a few of my friends can tell you about times where my dark side took over. When a driver cuts me off you better believe I may imagine I’m ramming their car with mine or they run out of gas or maybe their car’s engine dies, forcing them to use the barrier wall to stop their vehicle. However, that is as far as it goes, it is a fantasy. I may hear my dark side telling me what to do but I never act on it. And that is the difference; what makes some people act out their dark side?    RYAN Reynolds (Buried, Safe House) played Jerry, an affable factory worker who found himself attracted to coworker Fiona, played by Gemma Arterton (Unfinished Song, Quantum of Solace). However, Jerry’s talking pets kept telling him to kill her. This film festival winning crime thriller was a real dark comedy. I thought Ryan was excellent in this role, playing this kind and friendly fellow who had a dark side. The cast was so much fun, which also included Anna Kendrick (Into the Woods, Cake) as Lisa and Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom, Silver Linings Playbook) as Dr. Warren. Let me add the talking pets had some wicked fun lines. The set pieces really helped this comedy with Jerry working at a bathtub factory and living above a bowling alley. There were some scenes that seemed familiar to me as if I had already seen them in other movies and at one point I was not sure if the director was purposely trying to create some campiness or it was part of the script. Either way I was surprised I enjoyed this film despite the violence and bloodshed. I think you will remain with happy thoughts after viewing this film instead of listening to your dark side.

 

2 2/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Fireflies in the Garden

Words can provide us things like comfort, excitement, hope and tenderness. In written form we absorb the word’s meaning, allowing it to color a thought or infuse intensity into our feelings. We hear words and the sender’s inflection assists in molding the words to our heart and mind. As adults we have the skills to be resilient when words get lobbed over with the intent to hurt us. I knew this person who always tried to establish himself as the smarter person in every one of his conversations. Personally I felt he was extremely book smart but had little common sense. His favorite thing to do when having a discussion with anybody was to answer their talking points with “And your point is?” I always found it offensive. Now notice if he would have said, “I do not understand what you mean,” it would have taken on a kinder, respectful approach. There were individuals who would not let his comments bother them, they had a solid confidence that was honed by years of experience. However, a child may not be capable because their identity has not been fully formed. There are people who have skewed expectations when it comes to children and you will see an ugly example in this dramatic movie. Ryan Reynolds (Smokin’ Aces, The Proposal) played successful author Michael Taylor . An upcoming family celebration was forcing Michael to go home and visit his parents Lisa and Charles Taylor, played by Julia Roberts (Notting Hill, Closer) and Willem Dafoe (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Hunter). Though Michael was looking forward to seeing his mother, he would prefer avoiding his father who always seemed to be disappointed in him. This movie had 2 sides of the story that flipped back and forth. The side I found better was the one with Michael as a child. I wished the writers would have made the whole movie about this time period. The part that dealt with the adult Michael was okay but I felt a stark difference between the two. Granted the cast was excellent, including Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves, The Book Thief) as Jane Lawrence, but their portion of the script was weak compared to their formidable acting skills. Overall I remained interested in the entire story and noticed I was getting a fearful reaction from Willem Dafoe’s character. It really is something when I can sit here today and still remember all those words that scarred me as a young boy.

 

2 1/4 stars — DVD

Flash Movie Review: R.I.P.D.

It is not healthy for me to ignore my cravings. If it involves a particular food, I know if I do not satisfy my yearning, I will only wind up eating other things that will not be gratifying to me. What would make the situation worse is if I could not find the right item; I am sure this has happened to many of you. That urge, let us say, for a chocolate chip cookie; where your mind races to figure out the fastest way you can get one of those decadent, lovely circular mounds of soft moist dough that have accepted the requests from those deep rich chocolate chips to come settle down and plant roots on their pliable land–aahhhh. Imagine how it feels when you finally find a place that sells these cookies, buy one and on your first bite your taste buds are assaulted by a dry, unsweetened, hard pice of crumbling sawdust. You were taken in by a horrible imposter. Well, that is the same feeling I had watching this poor excuse for a science fiction/fantasy film. Recently slain police officer Nick, played by Ryan Reynolds (Safe House, Just Friends) found himself sitting in front of Proctor, played by Mary-Louise Parker (Red franchise, Solitary Man), the Unhuman Resources Manager for the Rest In Peace Department. Being given the option to go back to Earth, Nick agreed to join the force so he could find his killer. Accompanying him was veteran officer Roy, played by Jeff Bridges (True Grit, Crazy Heart). The story was a cut and paste job that took parts from Men in Black, Ghost and Ghost Busters. Unfortunately the writers did nothing to enhance or update the stories; so, I am at a loss to understand why they bothered with this movie. There was such a great opportunity to inject humor into this film; if only the writers had played up the human forms of NIck and Roy. Those alive would see Roy as a young, voluptuous blonde-haired woman and Nick as an elderly Asian man. It would have been funny to see more of these two characters in the crazy stunts that happened to them. The special effects were fine and I was so surprised to see Kevin Bacon (Mystic River, Sleepers) in the movie as Hayes. He was not in any of the trailers I had seen. Maybe the whole purpose of the film was so Jeff and Ryan could be added into the trail of seven degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon. After sitting through this film I came home and popped a DVD in of a good science fiction movie to watch and satisfy my craving.

 

1 2/3 stars

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