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Flash Movie Review: Paradise Hills

I DID NOT SEE THEM UNTIL AFTER we were seated for dinner. They caught my eye because of what they were wearing, identical matching outfits. We were guests at a wedding, and I knew the two of them were not related to me. I had to assume they were a mother and daughter; the little girl looked like she was 5 to 7 years old. They were seated at a table nearby, in seats that were directly in line with my field of vision. Their dresses were made of a soft fabric like crepe or chiffon, with a pattern of autumn colored leaves all over it. With capped sleeves and a rounded neck, they each had a gold necklace around their neck that had a single dropped pearl dangling from it; in their pierced ears there were matching pearl earrings. I tried not to stare but the more I caught glimpses of them the more I found them fascinating in a creepy sort of way. Now I do not want to come off as disrespectful but seeing them dressed and acting the same made me uncomfortable. I have never been one to fall in line to fit in with the majority; I prefer people expressing their individuality and being different without feeling like they must conform to a certain set of “rules.” Watching these two with they identical hair styles and makeup just seemed so weird to me.      AFTER THE WEDDING EVENT ON MY DRIVE home, I spent some time thinking about that mother and daughter and my uneasiness with them dressing up to match each other. Having had some friends whose parents tried to raise them to be the same as their parents, I have always questioned the motivation behind it. Why did a mother or father want to have their child be just like them? Was it because that is how they were raised or maybe they wanted their child to be perfect, at least whatever they considered to be perfect? What I believe is children should be raised to be self-thinking, independent beings. Having spent many years feeling like an outsider, one could argue that has contributed to me wanting everyone to freely express their individuality. It is funny; I am remembering an incident with a friend who refused to go out to dinner with me until I had changed my clothes. He did not like what I was wearing, thinking it looked ridiculous on me. Because I did not want to argue I went ahead and put on a different shirt and pair of pants. I needed some of the gumption and fight the main character had in this film festival winner.      WAKING UP TO FIND OUT SHE was sent to a place that was going to change and mold her to fit into a certain society, there was only one person Uma, played by Emma Roberts (The Art of Getting By, We’re the Millers), knew who could do such a thing; it was her mother. With Danielle Macdonald (Patti Cake$, Dumplin’) as Chloe, Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians, The Farewell) as Yu, Eiza Gonzalez (Baby Driver, Bloodshot) as Amarna and Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil franchise, Shock and Awe) as The Duchess; this fantasy, sci fi thriller had some lofty goals. Visually, I enjoyed watching this picture; the sets and costumes, especially Milla’s, were wonderful. The cast was well-suited for the roles and worked well together. Unfortunately, I was able to figure out what was going to happen due to the script; it was a mashup of a few previous films in the same genre. There were some scenes that worked, but then others lacked focus. If this had been released (or maybe it was) at the theaters I cannot imagine it doing very well. However, seeing it at home made it more palatable for me. If nothing else, I certainly understood the message that was trying to be conveyed and commend the writers and director for trying to create something original. It was a shame it did not quite get to its high aspirations.

 

2 1/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: James vs His Future Self

AT PRESENT MY SUPERPOWER IS THE ability to withstand high heat.  However, when I was a little kid I wanted to be able to fly like a bird. A lot has happened between those two superpowers. I would consider myself an introspective person, maybe more so as an adult than my younger self. Though I would have to say, I tend to look more at the negative aspects of my life than the positive. Not to say I am a “doom and gloom” type of person, but I used to spend the earlier part of my life wondering how things would have turned out if I did such and such differently. You may be familiar with the phrase, “What would have happened if I had only…” This phrase really is two-faced. On the one hand, it gives you the opportunity to re-evaluate a past event and learn from your mistakes; however, it can also be a baseball bat to whack across your head as you beat yourself up for doing something that you later had misgivings on. There are still a couple of events that happened decades ago that I dwell on from time to time, wishing I had acted a different way in the situation. I guess some demons remain to remind me on how not to react a certain way.      THROUGH MY CHILDHOOD I DO NOT recall a superhero who had the ability to travel in time except for Superman when he flew around the earth at high speed, to reverse its rotation and turn back time. At the time I simply thought it was a cool trick, never delving into the true implications of such a feat. Imagine though if you had the ability to travel in time. You could go to the future to see how a decision you made turned out or you could travel back in time to correct something you thought you could have done better. I know one of the things I would enjoy doing is going back in time to see the older generations of my family in their younger days. Wouldn’t it be wild to see how one’s great or great, great grandparents met? I also wonder if the future would look similar to what I used to see on the Saturday morning cartoon show about the Jetsons. Having seen what could happen from that Star Trek episode about going back in time and how one moment of interference would change the world completely (I certainly am watching a lot of television during this stay at home order), I have to say the ability to time travel really is an incredible superpower. If you don’t believe me you might want to check out this comedic, science fiction film.      JUST AS HE WAS GETTING CLOSE TO figuring out the science behind time traveling young scientist James, played by Jonas Chernick (Blood Pressure, The Border-TV), was visited by his older self from the future with a message for him. The message was to stop what he was doing. This film festival winning movie also starred Daniel Stern (Home Alone franchise, City Slickers) as Jimmy, Cleopatra Coleman (The Last Man on Earth-TV, Hover) as Courtney, Frances Conroy (Joker, Six Feet Under-TV) as Dr. Rowley and Tara Spencer-Nairn (The Listener-TV, Corner Gas-TV) as Officer Walker. This story appeared as one of those typical time traveling adventures; however, there was a bit of fresh air in the script. First of all, it was great to see Daniel Stern in top form with his character as well as Frances Conroy adding another memorable character to her stable. There were some slow moments in this movie and a few predictable scenes. But you know, it did not bother me too much because I was enjoying the performances and the humor. I especially liked the way the story ended. If nothing else, this film provided me with some entertainment during this time and time really is something I am more aware of presently.

 

2 1/3 stars    

Flash Movie Review: Fast Color

SOMETIMES IT TAKES AN UNEXPECTED EVENT for an individual to discover their hidden ability. I have no recollection of the event, but I was told my relative ran alongside a bus to keep me safe. The story told to me was about a time I was riding a bus from the doctor’s office. When the bus came to our stop, I lined up behind my relative who had taken me. I was the last one in line to exit the backside door of the bus. Because I was young and small, the bus driver could not see me in his rearview mirror, walking down the stairs. He closed the doors and my back leg got caught between them. My relative, who had stepped off of the bus, turned around just as I yelled out for help. She immediately grabbed me to see if she could pull me out but the doors had a solid hold of my leg. The bus started to coast away from the curb; my relative kept holding me as she trotted along. Though she was active as a teenager, it had been decades since she did anything that would yield a drop of sweat to break out on her forehead, let alone running at top speed. With the bus merging into traffic it was going at a good clip by now. There were a couple of people sitting near the back of the bus that caught a glimpse of my predicament and hollered out to the bus driver to stop. He finally did but not after my relative had been running alongside for a few blocks.     DUE TO THAT EVENT MY RELATIVE discovered she had a knack for running. I know, what a way to find out, right? I was told I was shaken up from the bus ride but there were no injuries done to me. Presently, I have a friend who discovered he has an artistic flair for creating art pieces. With the stay at home order in place in his state, he has been purging his house of old, discarded items that he does not need anymore. He was gathering up all kinds of items, anywhere from hardware things to clothing accessories to expired medicine bottles. Having them stacked in a pile, one day he was sitting and looking at them. For some reason, he started picking out items and laying them on his coffee table. Pretty soon he had a small group of things that he arranged into a pattern. This intrigued him and before you know it, he found a 12 x 12 piece of wooden board and started gluing all the items onto the board. By the time he was done he had created a piece of art that could easily be hung up on a wall and no one would be the wiser. I saw a photo of it and it was beautiful. At present he has several pieces created that will easily sell in an art show. Just as he discovered a hidden ability, the main character in this dramatic thriller discovered her ability.      AFTER DISCOVERING HER ABILITY RUTH, PLAYED BY Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle, Beyond the Lights), became a target that needed to be harnessed. With David Strathaim (Lincoln; Good Night, and Good Luck) as Ellis, Lorraine Toussaint (Selma, Love Beats Rhymes) as Bo, Christopher Denham (Shutter Island, Sound of my Voice) as Bill and Saniyya Sidney (Hidden Figures, Fences) as Lila; this science fiction, film festival winning movie had a down to earth, gentleness to its story. I thought the acting was excellent and was grateful the script assisted the actors in a positive way. What I liked about this picture was the fact for a science fiction story it did not have major special effects, battles or otherworldly characters; it was rather a simple story that had similarities to other films with the same type of special ability characters. There was no new ground covered in this movie; however, its ability to be entertaining was much appreciated.

 

2 ½ stars        

Flash Movie Trailer: Bloodshot

THERE WAS A TEACHER AT MY SCHOOL who had a wooden arm. Every student knew it even if they did not have her as their teacher. She wore long sleeves year-round and she kept the hand portion of her fake arm covered with a glove. There was a rumor I had heard about a student in one of her classes. Upon being told to close the classroom window they had opened without permission; the student asked the teacher why, was she afraid of woodpeckers flying into the room? The student was expelled from school for 2 weeks. I am guessing most of you are shocked after reading about this teacher’s arm. It surprised me as well, since I live in a city that has a renowned rehabilitation center. Through the years the local news has reported on this institution’s latest cutting-edge, technological achievements. Patients from all over the world have come here to receive help and guidance from this rehabilitation center. I did not know the teacher’s circumstances on why she either chose or was given a wooden arm instead of some type of bendable prosthetic. Back in school there was a part of me that had always hoped I would get her for a teacher; so, I could see for myself how she navigated through the daily class routines. What can I say; I was curious.     SINCE I MENTIONED THE REHABILITATION CENTER, there was one success story that never made it to the news. I was fortunate to watch one patient’s progress on one of my social media sites. I must tell you; it was an incredible journey to watch because this patient came to the center after an accident caused their inability to walk. Periodically, they would post a photo/video of themselves relearning how to walk with mechanical assistance. I never knew what type of injury they had; however, I remember their earliest videos would show them buckled into a nearly full body suit that was suspended from the ceiling and had electrodes attached all over it. There was one video where the patient was wearing the suit and had 2 people on either side moving their limbs to simulate a walking motion. Weeks and weeks went by before the patient was able to move one leg an inch with no assistance; the smile on their face was immense. At some point the suspended suit was replaced with one that was remotely controlled. The patient had to hold onto two parallel bars, as their legs would slowly shuffle one at a time forward. What a feat to witness; I originally thought I would be seeing a similar feat in this science fiction, action drama.     NEW TECHNOLOGY WAS ABLE TO BRING Ray Garrison, played by Vin Diesel (The Last Witch Hunter, The Fast and Furious franchise), back from his untimely death. However, his memories were a different story. With Eiza Gonzalez (Baby Driver, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw) as Katie/KT, Sam Heughan (Outlander-TV, The Spy Who Dumped Me) as Jimmy Dalton, Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four, The Hurricane Heist) as Martin Axe and Guy Pearce (Spinning Man, The Rover) as Dr. Emil Harting; this film based on a popular comic book was a typical Vin Diesel picture. It also included a typical Vin performance; even when the action was done in slow motion. The idea behind the story intrigued me; in fact, I enjoyed the enhancements made to Vin’s character. Yet, the writers did nothing new with the story line. There were big fight scenes and special effects; but they were all wrapped into a blah script that did not provide me with anything new. All I can say is this film was not horrible; it was just bland and mindless. You would think with all the technological advances that have been achieved in the world, the movie studio could have presented a better film.

 

1 ¾ stars

Flash Movie Review: The Invisible Man

IF I DID SOMETHING WRONG, I was unaware of it as the driver of the car tried to cut me off. It was after work while I was driving home. There was a car ahead of me that was trying to make a left turn across oncoming traffic. I checked my rearview and side mirrors along with turning my head to check my car’s blind spot. With no car in sight I drove into the right lane to avoid getting stopped behind the left turning car. As I was passing the car on the left, I heard a car honking; it was a car from behind that was racing up towards me. Once I passed the turning car I drove back into the left lane; however, that was not good enough for this honking car. The driver sped up and got in front of me where he immediately slowed down to a stop. With cars on my right I was stuck behind him. Since I had no idea what was happening, I quickly looked for an out. There was a break in the oncoming traffic; so, I swerved into their lanes to get around the stopped car. He must have been shocked by my actions because he had a delay in his reflexes which was all I needed to speed away. I did see him start to follow me; so, at the earliest opportunity I swerved onto a side street and turned off my headlamps. I cut into an alley and backtracked towards my office to take a different route home.      I ALREADY HAD A SUSPICIOUS NATURE and this episode accentuated it. For the next several weeks I kept an eye out for that car. Gratefully, in the middle of my panic I did look at his license plate and remembered the starting letters and numbers. As I drove home, I was constantly checking my rearview and side mirrors. The problem I was running into was the fact this driver’s car and color were popular. Every time I saw black colored car of the same model in my mirror I panicked. I did not know whether I should turn off the road immediately or quickly speed up to make sure he did not get close enough to recognize me; I was driving myself crazy. This route was the fastest one for me to get home; but if I was going to be anxious and nervous driving it every day it was not worth it. Due to this I could totally sympathize with the main character in this suspenseful, mystery horror film.     AFTER LEAVING HER CONTROLLING HUSBAND AND his subsequent death by suicide Cecilia Kass, played by Elisabeth Moss (The One I Love, The Handmaid’s Tale), thought she would finally feel free of him. However, she still had this nagging feeling as if she was being watched, especially when little mishaps started taking place. With Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Faster, Going the Distance) as Adrian Griffin, Harriet Dyer (Down Under, Love Child-TV) as Emily Kass, Aldis Hodge (Hidden Figures, Straight Outta Compton) as James Lanier and Storm Reid (A Wrinkle in Time, Don’t Let Go) as Sydney Lanier; this movie was a real thrill ride. Elisabeth was outstanding in the role; the range of emotions that poured out of her was easily felt. I rarely jump in my seat from a scene in a movie; but I did while watching this picture. I thought it was ingenious to take the original story and flip it. There were a couple of scenes that were hard to believe; however, having committed myself fully to the story it did not matter much to me. I loved the buildup of suspense and again, the intense acting skills of Elisabeth which made this film a must see in my opinion. If one has any bit of a suspicious nature; this film could easily heighten it. There were a few scenes that had blood and violence in them.

 

3 1/3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Terminator: Dark Fate

THOUGH I DISLIKED HIM IMMENSELY, I was stuck having to work with him. If you pressed me to say something complimentary about him, I would have a hard time finding something nice to say. From the day I started working at the company, we never really clicked; however, we were cordial towards each other. From my perspective, it was important we had an open line of communication since we worked in the same department. It was not like I would see him sporadically; we were sitting in the same work space every day. It was within the first couple of weeks I realized I did not care for him. The first thing that set me off was when he started telling me what I should do. I would not have gotten a negative reaction if I had asked his opinion, but I knew what I was doing. He was taking it upon himself to explain his method, which he felt was the right way. There was no right or wrong way; it simply was a question of which order one did the steps needed to get to the conclusion. From listening to the way he treated customers and fellow employees, I felt he was pompous and arrogant.      DESPITE MY FEELINGS ABOUT HIM, I was not about to jeopardize my position nor the reputation of the company. I was not into drama; so, I was not going to make a scene over any of the comments he expressed to me personally or to other people. As far as I was concerned it was up to upper management to deal with his behavior. However, there were times where it was tough for me not to react to him. At some point we finally got into an argument where he resorted to name calling. That turned out to be the turning point in my relationship with him. From that time, I had nothing to do or say to him beyond anything work related. If he tried to start a conversation with me, I would walk away. When I came to work in the morning, I would say hello to my fellow employees, while bypassing him. If I happened to bump into him in the bathroom, I would look beyond him without saying a word. You might think my behavior was childish and it might have been; however, it served me well. I no longer had to pay attention to him expounding on his beliefs and the proper ways of living. If it had to do about business however, I would talk to him. We were working for the same company; so, it had to be done, just like one of the main characters had to do in this action, adventure science fiction film.      THERE WAS SOMETHING SO SPECIAL ABOUT Dani Ramos, played by Natalia Reyes (Birds of Passage, 2091-TV), that old enemies would have to learn how to work together if there was any chance of saving her and the planet. With Linda Hamilton (Dante’s Peak, Defiance-TV) as Sarah Connor, Arnold Schwarzenegger (Escape Plan, True Lies) as T-800/Carl, Mackenzie Davis (The Martian, Blade Runner 2049) as Grace and Diego Boneta (Rock of Ages, Summer Camp) as Diego Ramos; this latest installment of the film franchise took a lot of its material from the previous stories. I enjoyed this movie for what it was trying to do; relive some of its past glory. Essentially the script was one long series of chase scenes. Some of the action was fun and exciting; however, there was nothing new or fresh about it. I did like the way the writers created a few sly, humorous moments for Arnold’s character and what they did for the character of Sarah Connor. Overall, this was an easy picture to watch that did not require much brainpower.

 

2 ½ stars    

Flash Movie Review: Gemini Man

IF I ONLY KNEW BACK THEN what I know now, I could have avoided so many troubling things. Oscar Wilde had a famous quote, “With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.” This is so true. I am reminded of a friend who would repeat the same pattern when it came to the men she dated. Each relationship ended the same way with the man breaking it off and her heart getting broken. Whatever my 2 cents of advice is worth, she never allowed her relationships to develop; she went from having a few initial dates to acting like they were in a full-blown relationship, as if they were a long time couple. It was odd and uncomfortable to see her place herself repeatedly in these situations; yet, she would do the same thing over and over with each person she started dating. Of course, it is easier for me to give advice to other people than it is for me to take my own advice. I was in several relationships that, I see now, were not healthy. If I had my current level of confidence and knowledge back then, I could have saved myself a whole lot of pain. Yet, I always want to believe we gain something from each person we encounter.     I DO NOT KNOW IF I am wiser, but I certainly am aware how differently I react to certain situations these days. In the past, my younger self would always view any type of criticism as a threat, where I would immediately go on the attack. Most of my verbal confrontations with individuals was me yelling “You” statements at them. These are sentences that start with the word “You” followed by a descriptive adjective or action, like “You never said” or “You didn’t care.” My older self can see the difference between saying “you never said” and “I did not hear you” or “You didn’t care” and “I felt you were not interested.” It changes the whole flavor of the situation when one starts out saying I instead of You. When I look back at my younger years, I can honestly say I have few regrets. However, what I can tell you is my life would have been less stressful if my younger self had my current self-awareness. From time to time in fact, I will recall an experience from my past and replay it in my mind to see how things could have been different, if I acted more like my adult self. For me doing this is more of a mental exercise; for the main character in this dramatic, action science fiction film his past was more physical.      REACHING A POINT IN HIS LIFE where he could finally retire; elite assassin Henry Brogan, played by Will Smith (Aladdin, Suicide Squad), did not understand why he suddenly became the target of an assassin who was able to anticipate his every move. With Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane, Scott Pilgrim vs the World) as Danny Zakarweski, Clive Owen (Closer, Inside Man) as Clay Verris, Benedict Wong (The Martian, Doctor Strange) as Baron and Douglas Hodge (Red Sparrow, The Report) as Jack Willis; I was anticipating this film to be an exciting and visual piece of work because of the director, Ang Lee (Life of Pi, Brokeback Mountain). Visually there was a lot to look at; however, the action went to fast for me. I found Will was doing the same type of acting he has done before; so, I was not connecting at all with his character. The real shame here was the script; it was not only generic but gave the viewers clues to what was going to happen further in the story. Overall, there was nothing exciting or fresh about this picture. I hate to say it, but I believe this movie is an example of Oscar Wilde’s quote.

 

1 ¾ stars

Flash Movie Review: Freaks

I DON’T THINK I WOULD HAVE been as upset if the packaging had been different; but the fact that the bag looked identical to the name brand product, annoyed me to no end. During my weekly grocery shopping excursion, I picked up a bag of chopped lettuce and threw it into my shopping cart. I buy bagged lettuce every week; it is a staple in my household. When it came time to open the bag to make a salad, I noticed the pieces of lettuce were smaller than usual and several pieces were wilted already. Looking for the best by date on the bag, I realized the brand was different from the one I always bought; it was the grocery store’s private brand. I had no idea because as I said the packaging was so like my brand. Now I am not bad-mouthing store branded products, but it bugs me that they make their products look just like the name brand ones. I perceive it as an act of deception instead of a sign of flattery. In my pantry there are several store branded products, so I don’t have a problem using them. To be honest, some of them taste the same as the national brands; but some just do not have the same quality.      I DO UNDERSTAND THE MARKETING THAT goes behind these products. They are usually cheaper priced versions where the store can increase their profit margins by the sale of their own items. In my mind the reason a product is made to look like another product is to trick the shopper into thinking they have the original brand, just like what happened to me. All it takes is for a consumer to try the private brand and then hope they realize the thing they bought is fine, which will turn them into a devoted shopper of the store’s brand. If the package looked nothing like the original brand, a consumer could easily skip over it to reach for the one they have always used in their household; I truly understand the thinking behind this, but I still do not like it. I remember trying a store branded roll of paper towels and I took an immediate dislike to them. They were not as soft or absorbent as my chosen brand. They were a good price on sale, so I was willing to take a chance. This is the type of marketing I prefer where I do not feel I am being manipulated and I am getting something in return for trying the item, a sale price. Now I only wish I would have gotten a discount on my theater ticket for this dramatic, science fiction thriller.      HAVING BEEN TOLD HER WHOLE LIFE by her father that it was too dangerous to go outside, 7-year-old Chloe, played by Lexy Kolker (Shooter-TV, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.-TV) never left the house. However, when an ice cream truck came and parked outside her door, she did not understand what could be so dangerous about getting an ice cream cone. This film festival winner starred Emile Hirsch (Milk, Speed Racer) as Dad, Bruce Dern (The Peanut Butter Falcon, Remember Me) as Mr. Snowcone, Grace Park (Hawaii Five-O-TV, The Border-TV) as Agent Ray and Amanda Crew (The Age of Adaline, The Haunting of Connecticut) as Mary. The story started out slow and lasted a long time; it was not until the last third of the film where things picked up for me. I enjoyed the acting, particularly Lexy’s performance. I thought it was a smart move to have the audience see the story through her character’s eyes. The script was fine for the most part, but the entire story felt like a light version of the X-men franchise. Also, I think there must have been a small budget allotted to this project because the special effects looked cheap. When the film was over, I truly felt I had seen a generic X-men picture, interesting characters but nothing memorable.

 

2 stars

Flash Movie Review: Ad Astra

THE WORDS THAT NEVER GET SPOKEN to a loved one will remain inside of you always. They become part of your inner dialog, emerging periodically to your consciousness like buried treasure, whenever you think of that person who is no longer in your life. A friend of mine experienced such a thing when his brother one night took off, never to be heard from again. My friend told me there was a big fight between his brother and their parents; he never told me what the argument was about, nor did I ask. In the heat of the fight, the brother said at some point he did not want to be around his parents anymore. I remember my friend telling me he was shocked by that comment. A few days later the brother packed up his clothing and left in the middle of the night. My friend was devastated when he woke up the following morning. There was no note left behind; the brother did not send a message or word to his brother to let him know he was okay. I could see the pain across my friend’s face. I tried to comfort him, suggesting the brother might reach out to him once he arrived at his destination and settled down. He never called.      BESIDES THIS FRIEND I ONLY KNEW a couple of other households that experienced a family loss. With each one, the family member I knew suffered a long grieving period due to not saying goodbye. Because I was at a young age, I could not grasp the scope of such pain. The only way I could relate to it took place several years later when I had experienced breakups from a couple of long-term relationships. Physical death was not a factor, but I still felt the pain of loss. In one relationship I was left without closure; they simply said they could “not do this anymore” and decided to leave. My loss was accentuated by the sudden stoppage of our blended routines. I never realized how prickly routines could be when you try doing them yourself. They are a constant reminder of how your life used to be. Now, I can see if you were the one to end the relationship then those past routines would be the fuel that pushes you to your new life; it makes sense to me. However, not getting the opportunity to have a say in the demise of a relationship can have a profound effect upon one’s psyche. The main character in this dramatic, science fiction mystery can show you.      WITH EARTH EXPERIENCING UNEXPLAINED POWER SURGES, the little evidence that could be found led to a past space mission that ceased communications. The astronaut chosen to investigate the mystery was the son of the captain from the lost mission. With Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, By the Sea) as Roy McBride, Tommy Lee Jones (The Homesman, Shock and Awe) as H. Clifford McBride, Ruth Negga (Loving, World War Z) as Helen Lantos, Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games franchise, The Leisure Seeker) as Thomas Pruitt and Kimberly Elisa (Death Wish, The Manchurian Candidate) as Lorraine Deavers; watching this film felt like I was privy to a psychological study. The script and the directing kept a deliberate, methodical slow pace. Because I was involved with psychology in college, I found this movie interesting. However, I am not sure many other viewers would feel the same. Visually the picture was beautiful, and Brad’s performance was outstanding. Overall, I enjoyed learning the story in the movie but there were times I felt it dragged along. I may still be thinking about this film, but I feel complete in having told you what I thought about this outer space, adventure movie.

 

2 ¾ stars

Flash Movie Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home

COMPARED TO MY FRIENDS, I FELT lucky I did not have to experience it until I was 12 years old. For that was the year I experienced my first funeral. It was at that point where I felt like an adult for the first time. Up until then I was living my life in a carefree way, with no responsibilities or serious life events to experience. There was attending school, piano lessons, taking family trips and playing alone or with friends; my schedule was filled with these activities. After that first funeral things started to change for me. I became aware of sicknesses and diseases that were life threatening, besides my own mortality. If I am being perfectly honest, a part of me resented having to think of these things. I was content being a kid and had no desire to deal with adult situations. Not that I was living an idyllic life as Peter Pan, but I just wanted to stay a kid. And this was despite having friends who had lost loved ones at a much earlier age than myself. It turned out there was going to be something else coming down the road towards me that would cement my status into the young adult world.      A FEW WEEKS AFTER MY SIXTEENTH birthday I got my first job. Opening my 1st pay envelope and seeing a check made out to me was thrilling. In this case I was okay being treated and feeling like an adult. I had a weekly schedule that consisted of at least 2 days of work after school and a full day Saturday and/or Sunday. The schedule would fluctuate depending on which employees were available to work a shift. It seemed so adult to me. I would get a kick out of telling my friends I could not join them because I had to go to work, so I could get a paycheck. My experiences were not that unusual from most other people. All of us at some point make that change from being a kid to becoming an adult. For some, it might get triggered by a friend or family member; for others, it may take place during a trip to a foreign land or a hospital. I am not saying the transition will be easy. If you want to see for yourself, watch what happens to the main character in this science fiction, action adventure film.      THE OPPORTUNITY OF A SCHOOL TRIP to Europe was perfect for Peter Parker/Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland (The Impossible, The Lost City of Z). He would finally get the chance to spend time with his classmate MJ, played by Zendaya (The Greatest Showman, Shake it Up-TV), and tell her how he felt about her. However, he did not take into consideration a phone call from Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson (Shaft, Glass). This story for this movie picks up a short time after the Avengers: End Game film. With Jake Gyllenhaal (Stronger, Prisoners) as Quentin Beck/Mysterio and Marisa Tomei (The Big Short, The First Purge) as Mary Parker, this picture was a good transition point for future Marvel movies. The script was light and fun, along with a good amount of humor. Tom and Zendaya were an ideal pairing and I could see them growing into these roles in upcoming installments. When I compare this film to other superhero ones, this one comes up a little short with the “wow” factor. Though I smiled, chuckled and teared up a bit; I was not totally transported into the story. The script could have used a rewrite to firm up the plot because I felt the villain and the story surrounding them needed to be more intense and scarier, for one thing. Also, the whole idea for the villain was weak compared to past Marvel stories. This still was absolute fun to watch and you want to certainly see the 2 extra scenes during and at the end of the credits. Oh, and typical to these films there was a Stan Lee sighting.

 

3 1/4 stars   

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