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Flash Movie Review: Secret Headquarters

THROUGHOUT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, I ONLY SAW my best friend’s father twice. I never knew what he did for a living, I just remembered he was wearing a tie and hat the two times I saw him. I do not know why I remember that fact; maybe because I do not recall seeing any other father wearing a hat, not including the hats one only wore in winter. Though come to think of it, I did not see that many fathers of schoolmates; the majority were the ones that lived on our block. There was one father that said he was a college professor, but my friends and I never believed him. He was quite different; his reactions to things like his son hitting a baseball or his daughter performing ballet were odd in my opinion. I did not know the word back then; but thinking about him now, I can say he always had this pensive look on his face, as he studied his children’s playing. It was as if he were studying every movement his child did, looking for a flaw or a better way they could have done something. He had these thick round glasses that made him look like some type of inspector; at least that is what some of us thought.      AS FOR MY FRIEND, HE DID not seem to mind his father’s absence from the various school functions where parents were invited to participate. It was not uncommon for a student to have only one parent show up to school events. I always found it curious that the school would plan events during the school day, asking for our parents to attend when I knew many of them were working. It seemed odd to me, like the school was just being polite in inviting parents, knowing full well they would not be able to attend because of their job. The parents that intrigued me the most were the ones who had to travel for business. This was a foreign concept in my awareness. Where were these parents flying and why couldn’t they just make contact by phone, were a couple of things I wondered. There was one dad whose daughter could not tell us what he did for a living. He happened to be built like an athlete with defined muscles across his tall frame. I used to imagine him being in the CIA or FBI; he just had the look of an agent with his dark sunglasses. If I had seen this movie back when I was a kid, I could see me wondering about that father.      AFTER SCHOOL, A GROUP OF FRIENDS met up with their friend, who was at his dad’s house. While hanging out, they discover a hidden location underneath the house, just before a group of villains arrive. With Owen Wilson (Marry Me, No Escape) as Jack, Michael Pena (Fantasy Island, 12 Strong) as Argon, Walker Scobell (The Adam Project) as Charlie, Jesse Williams (The Cabin in the Woods, Grey’s Anatomy-TV) as Irons and Keith L. Williams (Good Boys, The Last Man on Earth-TV) as Berger; this action, adventure comedy had the cast to elevate the story. However, the script was too generic and pedestrian. I think part of the issue was the writers did not know what group to market for, kids or tweens. The humor was lacking to the point I was able to see what the punchline would be before it happened. Too bad because I thought Walker did an admirable job in his role. Now I have said this before, but if there is going to be a villain, they really need to be a “bad” person. The villain in this movie was too much like a cartoon character. I have a feeling this film will have many absent viewers. There was an extra scene early in the ending credits.

1 ¾ stars

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Flash Movie Review: Nope

I WAS DEFINITELY IN THE MINORITY at the concert. Gratefully the venue had stadium seating; otherwise, I would have been ticked off with all the phone screens blocking my view. The place was packed with fans, and I was there with a couple of friends. As the band was performing, it seemed as if every person around me was watching the group through the screen of their phone as they were snapping photos and videos. Everywhere I looked there were people with their arms up, pointing their phone cameras to the stage. I sat there and wondered how many photos did a person need of their favorite band? It was crazy; instead of sitting there and enjoying the music, everyone was focused on capturing the musicians with their phones. It could not have been comfortable to hold one’s arms up for such a long time. I found it distracting because I did not pay good money to have these phones waving in the air. If I had been sitting on the main floor, I would have had a fight with the people in front of me if they had been using their phones. Why couldn’t people just allow themselves to enjoy the show and let it settle into their minds, to become a fond memory?      CAPTURING AN EVENT ON “FILM” IS not exclusive to concerts; everywhere I look, there is someone snapping a photo. Restaurants are a popular location for people to snap pix of their food; I am not sure why they do it. Sure, some dishes look great; but unless one is going to try and reproduce it, I am not clear why one would want to have a photo of it. I know I am more old school, but I do not see the fascination of posting things about myself on social media sites. I am astounded with the amount of people’s video clips that show up on my sites’ feeds. People dancing, pranking, posing, dressing up and so on; it is like a different world for me. There are many individuals who, I believe, see this as a way to earn income and fame. The more outrageous antics are done, I think, with the hope of acquiring a bigger following. And once there is a bigger following then the next step is to find a way to monetize one’s site. I know someone who has been focusing on making a living by getting corporate sponsors or products to promote while flying to various circuit events. So far it looks like they are succeeding. I am not sure I can say the same thing for the family in this dramatic, science fiction mystery.      A BROTHER AND SISTER ARE TRYING to keep the family horse business going despite unusual things taking place around their ranch. With Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah, Black Panther) as OJ Haywood, Keke Palmer (Hustlers, Alice) as Emerald Haywood, Brandon Perea (The OA-TV, Insurrection) as Angel Torres, Michael Wincott (Talk Radio, What Just Happened) as Antlers Holst and Steven Yeun (Minari, I Origins) as Ricky ‘Jupe’ Park; there were parts of this film that were bold and spectacular in a Hollywood way. I thought Daniel and Keke were outstanding, especially Keke; this was such a different role for her, and I was totally impressed. There was a lot going on in the story and to tell you the truth, if there was a lot of symbolism or meaning, it was lost on me. The first part of the movie dragged for me, taking some time before I felt I was engaging with the story. I still am not sure about the chimpanzee scenes and that is all I will say about that. Having some quality moments in this picture, I wished it connected more with me. Or maybe that is the point. 

2 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Jurassic World Dominion

THERE NEVER WAS A TIME WHEN the shop’s floor was clean of chicken feathers. A relative worked at a butcher’s shop not too far from our home. I was young enough where I needed adult supervision still, not old enough to go by myself. The feathers were mostly whitish in color, covering most of the floor; it looked like it was snow melting after a couple of days of warmer weather. I would walk around, shuffling my feet, to stir up the feathers so they would float in the air for a moment like dust on a windy day, before gliding back onto the floor. The sound of clucking chickens was constant, coming beyond the swinging doors behind the counter. I was too young to understand these live chickens would soon be killed to become someone’s meal. At that age, I must have thought they were being kept as pets. There were several men all dressed in long, white aprons that stood behind the glass counters to take customers’ food orders. Besides the chicken feathers, my other strong memory is the different pieces of equipment these men would use to fill orders. Blocks of meat would be pushed through one hole and come out like thick strings in an opposite opening. It was the oddest thing for me to watch, yet I would be mesmerized by the different shapes and sizes of things being wrapped in some type of waxy, white paper that came off big rolls at each carving table.      AS I WAS GROWING UP, IT did not take long for me to realize that every item in that shop came from a live animal. When I was a small child, I did not make the connection that animals were a food source; in my mind they were pets. But after this new realization, I stopped going to that butcher shop. I did not want to see the process from live to grocery bag. To this day I do not eat red meat; the idea of it has never sat right with me. With that being said, I can appreciate the fact that the items in the butcher shop were as fresh as one could get compared to most people’s way of shopping today. When I see a package that mentions GMO (genetically modified organism), I get scared. The idea of eating something that has been genetically altered frightens me. Maybe it is my ignorance on the subject, but I wonder how the human body will manage something that was tweaked, for whatever reason, to produce a stronger or disease resistant product. What then does the body do with that when it is consumed? Before you answer that, maybe you should see what takes place in this action, adventure sequel.      WITH DINOSAURS NOW LIVING OUT IN the open among humans, the standard list of animals on the food chain is in a bad need of an update. With Chris Pratt (The Tomorrow War, The Kid) as Owen Grady, Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help, Rocketman) as Claire Dearing, Laura Dern (Marriage Story, Little Women) as Ellie Sattler, Sam Neill (Ride Like a Girl, Blackbird) as Alan Grant and Jeff Goldblum (The Mountain, The Grand Budapest Hotel) as Ian Malcom; this science fiction film had excellent special effects and chase scenes. It was enjoyable to see the blending of the original cast with the rebooted one; however, past that, this movie lacked the exhilarating fun found in the first picture of this franchise. The script was a mixture of story lines, none that really did a decent job of telling a good story. Some of the humor and references made to the earlier films were amusing, but I only wished the writers could have written a better, evil character in a thrilling setting. Instead of going out with a big bang, this movie was tired and bored. The dinosaurs would have been better off to have stayed extinct.

                                                           

2 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Men

EVERYTHING I RESEARCHED WAS TRUE ABOUT my travel destination. The weather was perfect for me when I disembarked from the plane, in the 80s with a gentle breeze. I was almost overwhelmed with the about of vegetation everywhere. There were flowers along the streets, blooming bushes in front of buildings, tall hedges surrounding homes; the place was so colorful, like an artist splashing different colored paints all over the place. I arrived at my hotel and was not disappointed. The lobby had live trees that received sunlight from the large geometrical skylight in the roof. There was artwork, paintings, and sculptures, from local artists that was placed throughout the lobby. After checking in and getting the key to my room, I rode the glass elevator up to my floor. The room was clean and bright, with a view overlooking one of the hotel’s swimming pools. On the bed was a couple of cut flowers that gave off a lovely fragrance; I could not have been happier. Because I did not know if it would be hard getting seated at the hotel’s main restaurant, I had made reservations because I knew I was going to be hungry when I landed.      BEFORE I HAD ARRIVED, I WAS told what foods to stay away from; so, I did not have as many choices of food as I had hoped for. It was okay since I tend to like simple foods. It turned out the restaurant was full; I was glad I made reservations. When the waitress handed me the bill, I decided I would pay for it in cash. I also wanted to break the large bill so I would have enough change for tips and small purchases. After sitting there for several minutes, I wondered what was keeping the waitress from bringing back my change. I finally had to ask another server to find her. When she finally came back, I asked her for the change from my payment. She acted like she did not know what I was talking about. I described how much my bill was and the payment I gave her, that I was expecting change back. She said she would go check and when she returned, she had my change. I was ticked off but chalked it off to a one-time thing. However, this same thing happened to me at a couple of other restaurants. My second day there a monsoon hit the place and the hotel lobby flooded; I could not leave my room for a few hours. When I finally was able to get to the lobby, a staff employee was standing by the entrance to the pools. He said they were closed due to the staph infection that had occurred after the flooding. I was not done; throughout my visit I was constantly being asked for money. By the time of my return flight, I was ready to go; my trip was not relaxing. That is what the main character should have done in this dramatic horror science fiction film, go home at the first sign of trouble.      GETTING AWAY FROM THE TRAGEDY SHE had been enduring back home, a woman retreats to a quiet estate in the country. During her first walk on the grounds, she encountered a man with no clothes. With Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose, The Lost Daughter) as Harper, Rory Kinnear (Quantum of Solace, Penny Dreadful-TV) as Geoffrey, Paapa Essiedu (Gangs of London-TV, I May Destroy You-TV) as James and Gayle Rankin (The Greatest Showman, Glow-TV) as Riley; this movie directed and written by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation) left me confused. I thought the acting was wonderful, with Jessie having a commanding screen presence. The filming was shot beautifully throughout the English countryside. However, I felt the script was too ambiguous; I did not quite know what was going on. Individual scenes were well done, but I could not tell you what this movie was about, except maybe it has to do with guilt or man’s relationship to females. I feel if one must work hard to try and make sense of a movie, then it is not entertaining.               

1 ¾ stars 

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 Adam Project

IT IS SO MUCH EASIER TO look back and know what you could have done instead of what you did do in that moment. Though I try to live my life without regrets, I have a history of events that I wish I could have erased or at least acted differently in. There was the odd-looking woman with the shopping cart who my friends and I would call a witch when we were little kids. In elementary school, I found a pencil sharpener shaped like an airplane on the floor. Instead of turning it into the teacher, I kept it because I had never seen one like it. During winter I cannot tell you how many times a group of us boys would be walking down the street as the local bus was making its stops. We never passed up the chance to throw snowballs at it as it drove by. I remember, though, talking a friend of mine out of wrapping snow around a rock before throwing it at the bus. The last time I participated in this activity was when the bus driver stopped the bus and got out to chase us. I never threw another snowball at a bus after that time. It is funny how some things never change because when I drive through the neighborhood in the winter months, inevitably I will spot a couple of little kids throwing a snowball at a bus or car before taking off and running away.      THEY SAY WITH AGE COMES WISDOM and I hope I continue to gain a little bit of wisdom every day. From time to time I think back to an event or a relationship and wonder what would have happened if…ahh, that word “if” can really trip a person up. In my classes I would coax members to at least try a new move because it was always easier than sitting and wondering about it for days on end. Imagine what we could accomplish if we were able to go back in time to do something differently than what we did back then. I carry a regret about a past relationship that ended in a brutally horrible way, to the point I said some awful things that I now wish I could have taken back. We learn from our mistakes, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could simply return to that specific time and redo our actions? I know I would be busy if I had the opportunity. Watching the main character in this action-adventure comedy, I could not help but admire his desire to try and make a change in his life.      AFTER CRASH LANDING, A TIME TRAVELING pilot finds his childhood home with his younger self living in it. With Ryan Reynolds (Red Notice, Free Guy) as Adam, newcomer Walker Scobell as young Adam, Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers franchise, Dark Waters) as Louis Reed, Jennifer Garner (Draft Day, 13 Going on 30) as Ellie Reed and Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, Blood Ties) as Laura; this was a fun science fiction film. Here was another role molded to Ryan, though I will say I thought Walker was almost as good as Ryan. There really was no new territory mined in the story; but the mix of childhood angst with family dynamics, rolled into a love story made this movie feel fresh. I enjoyed the whole cast as they all easily blended as a group through the script. As for the special effects they were nothing earthshattering, but they were fine for the several times they were in use. What was a surprise to me were the scenes that I found touching and sweet; they were a nice counterpoint to the other side of the story line. Overall, this was simply an easy, enjoyable movie watching experience and if you have a history of liking Ryan’s films, then you will be glad you saw this one as well.

3 stars

Flash Movie Review: The Matrix Resurrections

I SAT THERE STARING AT THIS small electronic box in the middle of the table. Photos of the restaurant’s food options appeared and disappeared across the display screen along with the various advertisements. Besides the box in the middle of the table, there was a crystal cube sitting alongside it. Encased in the cube was a QR code that I had to point my cell phone camera at to download a copy of their menu onto my phone. Once I decided what to order, I waited for someone to come take it. While waiting I noticed across the way a bank of dispensing machines. A couple of them dealt with soft drinks that a customer could concoct various flavors into their soft drink. I tried reading the options on the lit screen, but it was too far away for me to see. I sat there, while waiting for my friend to show up, as my mind drifted to memories of other restaurants, I visited that relied solely on wait staff to hand out menus, describe the specials of the day, and bring drinks and food orders to the table. It seemed to me as if the human experience associated with dining out was being replaced by machines.      MY FRIEND FINALLY SHOWED UP, SETTLING herself across from me in the booth. I had not seen her for a long time, yet she looked the same as far as I could tell. She had no issue navigating the electronic devices as she quickly decided what she wanted for lunch. We spent all the time before our food arrived, talking about our shared history such as the company where we both first met, updating on our family members we had heard so much about when we were working together and present jobs. The food finally arrived via a non-descript waiter. It was good to catch up with her; however, I noticed as we were eating that there was not much else to talk about except for things in the past. Her interests and mine were very different; so, me talking about movies would have fallen on deaf ears. Yet, I still enjoyed spending some time with her because of all the memories it stirred up. We had a fun time together when we worked together because we had a similar humor and reaction to the antics that used to take place around us. Still, by the time it came to pay the bill, I was glad we were done because I was “pulling at straws” to find something to talk about with her. I felt sort of the same regarding this action, science fiction sequel.      NEARLY TWENTY LATER NEO, PLAYED BY Keanu Reeves (John Wick franchise, Destination Wedding), is a top video game creator. One game in particular resembles a part of his past life, hmmm. With Carrie-Anne Moss (Memento, Jessica Jones-TV) as Trinity, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman, Candyman) as Morpheus, Jonathan Groff (Hamilton, Glee-TV) as Smith and Jessica Henwick (Love and Monsters, Game of Thrones-TV) as Bugs; this film’s saving grace was its humor, believe it or not. The abundance of references and video clips to the past films got to be a bit much, but at least they were entertaining at times. I found the story as murky as the visuals at time; I early on decided not to try and figure anything out, just go with the action. There were some good action scenes and visuals, but nothing that stood out to make this movie elevate itself over the previous ones. The draw for me here was the nostalgia factor and the writers certainly knew that would work. I recalled the feelings I had when I saw the first film; it was a revelation of new surprises. With this one, it was more of a “oh yeah, I remember that” type of experience. If one has not seen any of the other movies, they will probably be confused watching this one. There was an extra scene at the end of the credits.                                      

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Encounter

THE NEWS STORY REPORTED WAS HORRIFIC. I was watching the news on television as the reporter was standing across from a charred structure. The following is what she reported. A fire broke out in the apartment building and the father of one of the families living in the building was credited with saving several children. He had no training; he simply acted on instinct. First, he got his family safely out and away from the building. Knowing the other residents, he quickly ran back into the building to assist those neighbors who needed it. With smoke billowing and the fire spreading quickly, the father was grabbing any unattended children, bringing them down and out of the building despite the smoke irritating his eyes and lungs. I was wondering as the reporter was talking, how far away was the fire department from the building and how long did it take for them to eventually get there. The reporter continued the father was personally responsible for saving besides his family, five young children from the building. However, the story ended on a sad note; the father did not survive. After bringing out his 5th child, the father went back into the ravaged building to look for any other children. He never came back out.      I FOUND THE NEWS STORY INCREDIBLY sad. What a heroic feat the father had done for his family and neighbors; it was heartbreaking he had to lose his life in the process. Though I do not believe my story is anywhere on the same tragic level as what the news reported, I distinctly remembered the day I almost drowned. On a family vacation, we were staying with out of state relatives. One day it was decided we would go to a resort’s swimming pool. I was not even in kindergarten yet, so I do remember I was quite young. My swimming ability was limited to playing in the shallow end. At the end of the day, I decided to wash off my flip-flops. I walked over to the edge of the pool that was closest to me; it turned out it was the deep end. I sat down with my feet in the water and leaned over to rinse off my sandals. Before I knew it, I fell into the water. I had no time to think as I sunk below the surface. Still clutching my flip-flops, I started waving my arms up and down in the hopes I could get back to the surface of the water. The very next thing, I felt two arms hugging me from behind and up to the surface we went; it was that fast. A stranger had saved me who was nearby. It amazes me how instincts take over in times of need. If you choose to see this science fiction thriller, you won’t believe what the dad does to save his kids.      WITH THE POPULATION UNDER AN ALIEN threat, a father commits to do anything he can to save his two boys. With Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Malik Khan, Octavia Spencer (Thunder Force, The Shape of Water) as Hattie Hayes, Lucian-River Chauhan (Heartland-TV, Gabby Duran & the Unsittables-TV) as Jay Khan, newcomer Aditya Geddada as Bobby Khan and Rory Cochrane (Black Mass, Love and a .45) as Shepard West; the beginning of this film started off with a bang, it was exciting. The acting was ably handled by Riz with the surprise that the 2 young boys did such an admirable acting job as well. For me, I enjoyed the first half of the movie more than the 2nd half. It was almost as if two different stories were playing out. Unfortunately, it did not work; instead, it lost the excitement factor for me. It was sad because the acting was so good as was the idea behind the story. Too bad there was not someone through the entire making of this production available to save this movie.

2 stars  

Flash Movie Review: Eternals

A FRIEND OF MINE CREATED AN informal group that consisted of friends and acquaintances, who wanted to help take care of our neighborhood. The only requirement to be part of the group was to have pride for the neighborhood. Since I was born and raised in it, I signed up to become a member of the group. I have to say my friend was a sensitive individual, who started the group to combat the negativity he was experiencing both in his workplace and personal surroundings. His hope was to spread a little positivity around the neighborhood through acts of kindness. The first event he scheduled was to meet at the beach, ready to clean up any litter. When I arrived, he handed me a trash bag; I already was wearing a pair of gloves, so did not need the ones he was providing. There was a total of 9 or 10 people who participated and the time my friend set for the event was two hours. We each were assigned an area of the beach and went at our own pace because some of us weren’t as young and nimble as the others. I was grateful that in my section I did not come across anything truly disgusting. Instead, most of the items I found were cigarette butts, plastic cups, empty bottles, cans and tattered sheets of paper. Why people could not take the time to walk over to the trash and recycling bins, I would never know.      ONE OF THE REASONS MY FRIEND asked me to join his group was because he knew how attentive I was in recycling everything I could at home. Granted I was lucky that the town I lived in had a very active recycling program that was easy to follow. Each resident was given two large bins, one for trash and the other for recyclables. They also gave out small orange crates as backup in case our bins got full before trash day. Since I kept my bins in the garage, I made doubly sure to rinse any containers out before leaving them sitting outside for days. I did not want to attract any wildlife with food encrusted items.  Besides the usual newspapers and magazines, I recycled most of my junk mail, along with any container that showed the recycling number on it. I also would recycle those plastic rings that held together a six pack of soda, but only after I cut open each ring to prevent any wildlife from getting their head stuck in one. For me, I felt I was doing my part in protecting this world just like the main characters felt in this action, adventure fantasy.      DUE TO AN UNEXPECTED EVENT, ANCIENT aliens who lived among us had to come out of their peaceful lives to combat an old enemy. With Gemma Chan (Captain Marvel, Crazy Rich Asians) as Sersi, Richard Madden (The Take, A Promise) as Ikaris, Angelina Jolie (Maleficent franchise, Those Who Wish Me Dead) as Thena, Salma Hayek (The Hummingbird Project, Like a Boss) as Ajak and Kit Harington (Pompeii, Game of Thrones-TV) as Dane Whitman; this latest release from the Marvel Universe was a big disappointment. I felt the script lacked the typical humor one expects from Marvel films. Scenes dragged for me and I did not care for the flip flopping that took place in the latter part of the movie. Surprisingly, I thought the special effects were not up to par; there seemed to be an almost cartoonish aspect to the characters, and I do not mean that in a good way. The pacing and the action scenes just seemed off to me which added to my boredom. Except for the 2 extra scenes during the ending credits, I would not have immediately thought this was a Marvel film. It felt like I had spent an eternity watching this picture by the time it was over.

2 stars

Flash Movie Review: Venom: Let There Be Carnage

I KNEW MY FRIEND WAS NOT prone to hyperbole, but the gentleman sitting with us at the dinner table was as friendly and jovial as could be. The picture that my friend painted of this man, prior to the dinner engagement, made me hesitant to attend the evet. I was told he was a tyrant who would belittle everyone around him; he was an uber alpha male, though physically not the stereotype. He was quite tall, easily 6’5” in length with an equally large girth. My friend said this man used his height to intimidate his peers and business associates; he loved to lean slightly forward while bending his head to exaggerate the look of peering down at his prey. One story I remember my friend telling me was about a time when this man was trying to return an item to a store and the clerk couldn’t accept it because it had been opened. The amount of anger he displayed to the clerk made her cry and call the manager, who eventually took the item back to stop the man from making a bigger scene in front of the other customers. Throughout the dinner I found this gentleman to be friendly and engaging to the other wedding guests sitting at our table. I did not know what to say when afterwards my friend said the man who was sitting with us was not the man he knew, he must have been an imposter.      THE ONLY THING I COULD COME up with, regarding the drastic contrast, between perceptions and reality was to assume the gentleman was either put on medication or doing therapy or possibly found a new way of life. Keeping in mind that I believe each of us is born with both good and evil, the experience at the wedding was not a total surprise; I have encountered many individuals who you could say acted as if they had dual personalities. There was a member in one of my yoga classes who could walk into the room as light and cheery as you could imagine; other times, she looked as if it took all her strength just to put one foot in front of the other and would keep a sad, dour look on her face. When she was “down” I knew there was no coaxing I could do to get her involved with the class. Some say it might be a chemical imbalance in the brain, others could think the drastic contrasts in behavior were drug related. Then there is this picture that offers the possibility it could be due to an alien manifestation.      GETTING THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTERVIEW AN inmate on death row could provide a needed boost to Eddie Brock’s, played by Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, The Revenant), career. However, a small incident causes a major shift in the balance of power at the prison. With Woody Harrelson (The Highwaymen, Zombieland franchise) as Cletus Kasady, Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn, All the Money in the World) as Anne Weying, Naomie Harris (Collateral Beauty Rampage) as Frances Barrison and Reid Scott (Black and Blue, Late Night) as Dr. Dan Lewis; this action, adventure sequel amped up the humor in a major way. I thought Tom did a wonderful job in both his acting and stunts. The issue I had with this movie was once again the script. With the abundance of humor and mayhem stuffing the story, it just started to get repetitious for me after a while. I think if more time had been given to develop the characters deeper, it would have been a better viewing experience. In a way, I had this opposite thing going where there were parts I enjoyed watching then other sections were blah. There was an extra scene in the middle of the credits.

2 ½ stars  

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