I DID NOT think my question was that unusual or demanded too much from the sales clerk. If you could have seen their face you would have thought I had just asked something outrageous or personal. All I wanted to know was if the shirt’s material tended to shrink. Besides the “dirty” look and the condescending way they answered me, they did not even bother to look at me in the face. I wanted to tell them if they were that miserable at their job, maybe they should consider changing careers. Now in the past I would have taken that response personally and snapped back something nasty to say to them. To tell you the truth I took most things personally back then. DUE TO THE events I experienced in my earlier days I was wary of most people. My mind would quickly go into attack mode whenever I had an exchange of some kind with a stranger. They could have been a volunteer soliciting signatures or a lost tourist, it did not matter; I would be distrustful of the individual until I saw or could ascertain they were not going to hurt me in some way. I am not exactly sure when I started softening my attitude and not taking things personally, but I think it was during a time I was being fixed up on several blind dates. It did not take me long into the conversation to realize whether the person was interested in me or not. Granted some people showed their disinterest easier than others; but even the ones that kept up a good facade, did not cause me to react negatively. I realized that everyone has likes and dislikes, trigger points that set them off and none of it should be looked at as a good or bad thing. Their qualifications or agenda was not a personal attack on me; I just did not fit into what they were looking for. In a way one could say it was just business. AFTER SURVIVING A terrorist attack while on vacation Mitch Rapp, played by Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner franchise, Teen Wolf-TV), could not think of anything else after that date but to hunt down the terrorists. It was something the CIA was doing also. This action thriller also starred Michael Keaton (The Founder, Spider-Man: Homecoming) as Stan Hurley, Sanaa Lathan (Out of Time, The Best Man Holiday) as Irene Kennedy, Taylor Kitsch (Lone Survivor, Friday Night Lights-TV) as Ghost and Shiva Negar (The Art of More-TV, My Babysitter’s a Vampire-TV) as Annika. The highlight of this film was Michael Keaton; he was the most believable out of the cast. I do not know if Dylan was miscast but he did not have much range with his acting and I am afraid to say did not have the physical presence to pull off his character. With decent fight and action scenes the script could not carry the story; there were several situations that did not ring true for me. In addition the story was not only predictable but the premise for it was cheesy and weak in my opinion. A couple of therapy sessions prior to developing this film would have been money well spent.
Once upon a time kindness came from the heart. Without fanfare or expectations, it is something that can be random as it arrives unfettered. Simple acts like opening a door for someone or helping a person pickup the spilled papers from their briefcase, these acts need not be elaborate or expensive. I remember a time when drivers were not as aggressive, where the kindness of strangers played a part in everyone driving from point A to point B. Another area that I feel really has changed from years ago is the dating experience. Back then it was less calculated or maybe I should say not as risky. With the internet, people now can investigate a potential date. I remember a co-worker who would go online to checkup on a prospective date. They had to have a high credit score before they would go out with them. From the stories I have heard plus my own experiences, meeting a person can be a challenge. Some of the “rules” out there are to always meet in a public place, let someone know where you will be, never go home with a stranger on the first meeting; there really are many land mines dotting the dating landscape. My story is not unusual; after a few dates I received a phone call that they were in dire need of $300.00 and would I loan it to them. I apologized to them that I did not have the available funds and asked about their friends. They had a ready excuse but in my mind I felt it was odd to ask me after only 4-5 dates. Imagine, I never heard from them again. I chalked it up to me being one of the lucky ones. HURTING from a painful breakup with her boyfriend Dave, played by Morris Chestnut (The Call, The Perfect Holiday); Leah, played by Sanaa Lathan (Out of Time, Something New), appreciated the kindness extended to her from the stranger standing next to her at the cafe. When she bumped into him again Leah wondered if he was to good to be true. This dramatic thriller had a story that was done many times before. I thought the cast, which also included Michael Ealy (Think Like a Man, Seven Pounds) as Carter, did a good job where I enjoyed a couple of suspenseful scenes. However, this was not enough for me to enjoy this film. The redundant silly script was not believable with all of its cliches and predictability. The only thing that I felt saved this picture from crashing down was the whole good vs evil setup. I sensed this from the audience sitting around me at the theater. Just as an online profile may be better than the actual person, the trailer for this movie was head and shoulders above the actual film. There were a couple of brief scenes with blood.
1 3/4 stars
There are so many instances where people talk through a filter. An employee and a boss each have their own filter they must use when talking to each other. A teacher has a certain filter they need to use when talking to their students, just as a student has a filter they use when talking to their teacher. At least they did in my time, though based on what teachers have told me, students today use a filter with larger holes in it. The type of relationship where I feel there is no need for filters is the one between friends. With my friends and I there is no need to soften or temper our words to each other. I would not want it any other way. Our words travel on a slick smooth road that is void of any exits or potholes; a clear straight highway of thoughts and feelings. Fifteen years have gone by, letting their filters become less porous, as college friends reunite for the Christmas holiday at the home of Mia and Lance, played by Monica Calhoun (The Salon, Diary of a Single Mom-TV) and Morris Chestnut (The Call, Think Like a Man), in this funny movie. They soon discover the happy occasion may not soften the hard feelings and lies that were lying dormant inside of them. I did not know this comedic drama was a sequel at first, not recalling ever seeing the first one from 1999, The Best Man. Though the writers tried their best to make this a stand alone film, I felt I would have gotten more out of this movie if I had seen the first one. A few times I thought I was missing the joke or point being made. Putting that aside, I thought the story was predictable for the most part. With a majority of humor being handled by Terrence Howard (Prisoners, Lee Daniels’ The Butler) as Quentin, I thought the first half of the movie was okay. For the last half of the film, the story shifted where I found myself becoming more invested in the action. Besides the story involving Lance and Mia, I was interested in what was taking place with Robyn and Harper, played by Sanaa Lathan (Something New, The Family That Preys) and Taye Diggs (Equilibrium, Private Practice-TV). One of my pet peeves is a movie trailer that shows a scene that is not in the film and it happened with this movie’s trailers. Also, I felt the trailers showed too much humor with none of the dramatic scenes; this was poor marketing in my opinion. Good communication would have helped better advertise this movie; it would have also helped create stronger bonds between the friends in this film.
2 1/3 stars