AS A RULE OF THUMB, whenever I am having a discussion with someone who has an opposing view, I like to ask them what they heard me say. It is amazing how I may feel I explained something perfectly, but the person heard it differently. This is the beauty of having a face to face conversation; you can hear the inflection in their voice and get visual clues to the intent of their words. With more people communicating via electronic devices I feel I may miss what a person is trying to tell me. I wound up in a conversation with a relative that was done completely on a social media platform. Both of us wound up misunderstanding each other where I was left feeling hurt. On top of it, I was concerned other people would gain access to our conversation since it was all done electronically. Two things that come to mind: embarrassing and nobody’s business. Since that time, I promised myself I would not get into a war of words with anyone unless I could see their face. There is too much that can be misconstrued or lost in translation through the internet. I WAS RECENTLY CONTACTED BY ONE of my social media accounts and had to prove to them I was me. Considering the variety of unusual names I have seen on accounts, I had no idea why after several years they suddenly wanted confirmation from my account. Maybe I am incorrect in my thinking, but I figured they have the capability to see ever keystroke on my account and the ones that I comment on; why did they suddenly feel I was an imposter? Don’t get me wrong, I do not mind a company verifying their users. With so much fraud and fake individuals I have little trust with most things I see on the internet. I am sure there is even more underhanded things taking place that I am unaware of; I find it scary. From the little exposure I have had with friends of mine who are in IT, I really do not know if there truly is a website that is 100% safe and secure. It seems as if anything can be manipulated online to appear a certain way. I know at work we were taught to closely check the spelling in an email sent from an unfamiliar site. Evidently scammers from other countries may not fully grasp the nuances of another language and misspell a word or use an idiom incorrectly. Doesn’t it seem like it all comes down to communication and this dramatic, mystery thriller will show you a variety of ways. WHEN HIS DAUGHTER MARGOT, PLAYED by relative newcomer Michelle La, was not returning any of his calls; David Kim, played by John Cho (Star Trek franchise, Harold & Kumar franchise), filed a missing person’s report. The first thing the detective told him was to check Margot’s computer. David could not believe what he had found. With Debra Messing (The Women, Will & Grace-TV) as Detective Vick, Joseph Lee (Lion, Nerve) as Peter and Sara Sohn (Furious 7, Sense8-TV) as Pamela Nam Kim; this film festival winner told its entire story through social media sites and texts. I honestly thought I would dislike this way of telling a story; but I must tell you, it worked to the story’s advantage. Going from texts to FaceTime to YouTube to email became seamless for me. I found the script riveting and thoroughly enjoyed the acting from everyone. The story could easily be in today’s headlines which only made it more gripping to watch in my opinion. This was a novel and fresh way to do a movie and of all people, look who enjoyed watching it; me, the man who still has a landline in his house.
3 ¼ stars
WHEN IT WAS suggested we connect on our social media accounts she declined. Her excuse was she preferred to connect on a different social media account; one that I did not have interestingly enough. I was taken by surprise from her response, especially since I had known her for years. It was not like we were strangers, so I could not imagine what her reasons were; what did she think I was going to do once we became “friends” on our mutual site. There was nothing else to say about it to her and truthfully it was not that important. However here is the interesting thing; her sister-in-law connected with me the day after we had all been together for lunch. I think it was only a few hours after our connection when the one who initially refused my request sent me an email request to now connect. It was so odd; the only thing I could think of was either she did not want to be left out or felt I was worthy all of a sudden now that her sister-in-law connected with me. HAVING COME LATE to the social media party, I do not know all the nuances, customs or protocol when it comes to not only working the sites I am on but increasing the connections to the sites associated with my reviews. I find it challenging at times to keep up with everything and cannot imagine how people with more connections do it. Having seen individuals with over 1000 friends on a site, I just wonder how that is possible. I have been at social events where there are people who have to take a photograph of everything they are eating or they constantly pose for selfies; do the people on the other end really want to see that many postings? I do not get it and have to tell you I think at times some people are just addicted to their social media sites. Personally I do not find it healthy; it certainly wasn’t healthy for the friends in this horror thriller. FEELING SORRY FOR fellow student Marina, played by Liesl Ahlers (The Challenger Disaster-TV movie, The Crossing-TV), popular student Laura, played by Alycia Debnam (Into the Storm, The Devil’s Hand), agreed to accept Marina’s friend request. It was a decision Laura would soon regret. This film festival winning movie also starred William Moseley (The Chronicles of Narnia franchise, Run) as Tyler, Connor Paolo (Mystic River, World Trade Center) as Kobe and Brit Morgan (She Wants Me, Freeloaders) as Olivia. I think there was a drop of sense in this story regarding social media addiction, but maybe I am trying to find something positive to say about this waste of time. It would have been interesting if the writers had delved into society’s obsession with digital media and maybe even show the darker side of it; but what translated onto the big screen was generic and boring. The acting was awful, the production quality was mediocre, the script was uninspired; I am afraid to go on with all the negatives for fear I will bore you. There is nothing else I can offer up for this film review except to say you have been warned. I am still annoyed I paid to see this horror and not the type of horror the writers were trying to convey.
1 ½ stars
THEY WERE STANDING by the fountain in the middle of the block long park. If anyone noticed who they were they did not show it. I was sitting at a park bench and spotted them immediately as they came into view. It was a celebrity couple with their young child; both of them were actors, one in movies and the other did movies and television. My first feeling was surprise, surprise they were by themselves without an entourage. Despite their celebrity status they were walking around like your average parents taking their kid to the park. My curiosity about them was limited to finding out if they were pleasant, stuck up, funny or if they could form a complete sentence and carry on a conversation. I was not interested to hear if they had an opinion on world affairs or product endorsements. In fact, it offends me when celebrities use their status to share their thoughts and opinions on subjects far removed from their daily lives. THERE IS A FINE line that separates admiration and obsession. It used to be getting a celebrity’s autograph was the ultimate prize. These days it seems as if people want so much more out of their celebrities. Look at the plethora of commercial products being promoted by celebrities. Better yet look at the effect social media has had on the relationship between fans and stars; one comment by a screen actor can send an army of fans on the warpath. It borders on the bizarre for me. I am not interested in knowing where a celebrity shops or eats; it does not interest me to know where they have been or who they are dating. Now I will admit regarding the celebrity couple I mentioned earlier, I did ask my 5 year old relative to go over and try to play with the couple’s child so I could mosey on over; but, all I wanted to do was strike up a casual conversation and perhaps mention I have reviewed their movies. I guess that sounds self-serving doesn’t it? Oh no, am I turning into a celebrity stalker? FEELING LIKE AN outcast Ingrid Thorburn, played by Aubrey Plaza (Safety not Guaranteed, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates), found the life she was meant to lead. To get it she just had to become friends with a social media celebrity. This film festival winning, comedic drama also starred Elizabeth Olsen (Wind River, In Secret) as Taylor Sloane, O’Shea Jackson Jr (Straight Outta Compton) as Dan Pinto, Wyatt Russell (22 Jump Street, Everybody Wants Some!!) as Ezra O’Keefe and Billy Magnussen (Into the Woods, Bridge of Spies) as Nicky Sloane. I found the script for this story to be smart and heavy on the satire. Aubrey was perfect for the role; though I have to say from the few things I have seen her in, she appears to stay in the same comedic lane with her style. The rest of the cast did a great job as well and helped gave this story some biting depth. There were times when I noticed my mind started to wander away from the story, but I believe it was due to me not being able to relate to any of the characters. When I left the theater I needed to give more thought to the movie as a whole and realized it really provided a scathing take on society’s obsession with social media and celebrity status.