FEW OF MY FRIENDS LIKED THE candy pellets that came out of the candy dispenser I carried around in my pocket. I had a couple of different kinds; one had Popeye’s head on the top and the other had the head of a dog. When you tilted the head back the mouth would open to reveal a candy pellet, for you to slide out and pop into your mouth. Whenever I went to the candy store I always picked up a couple of packs of pellets to reload my dispensers. As time went on and my tastes changed, I stopped carrying around my candy dispensers; I placed them in a desk drawer and soon forgot about them. Fast forward to years later and on one of my social media sites I have a follower who is a big fan/collector of the same kind of candy dispensers I used to have when I was younger. From seeing the things this follower has been posting, I discovered there is a world of people who enjoy these candy dispensers. And here I thought when I was younger I was the only one who liked them. I will say from the time I had them they certainly have increased the amount of different heads on them. THOUGH I KNOW NONE OF THOSE PEOPLE in my follower’s posts, I felt some kind of connection. It is the type of connection one feels when they discover someone they do not know has the same like/dislike of a particular thing. It immediately forms a connection between the 2 individuals because they have something in common that they can now use to build on a relationship. The best example I can show is my movie review site. The people who comment on my reviews were unknown to me for the most part. All of a sudden we started a dialog that was born in our mutual love of movies and in turn a comfort formed that allowed an easy sharing of each other’s life stories. Growing up, I had a variety of interests that were not shared by those around me. I can remember during the 7th or 8th grades meeting a couple of new students who had similar interests. It was not only an immediate connection, but it was the start of a deep friendship. In a way it was like finding someone who spoke the same language as you after being misunderstood by your peers for years. From the beginning of this film festival winning, dramatic thriller I found myself connected to the main characters. BEING NEW TO THE AREA DID NOT make a difference to the connection that quickly formed between Casey Caraway and her neighbor Jonas Ford, played by Sophie Nelisse (The Book Thief, Pawn Sacrifice) and Josh Wiggins (Max, Walking Out). Their connection would be tested beyond anything they imagined. With Joe Cobden (Source Code, The Day After Tomorrow) as Elbert Ford, Bill Paxton (Twister, Apollo 13) as Wayne Caraway and Colm Feore (Chicago, The Chronicles of Riddick) as The Chief; this story drew me in due to the connection I mentioned previously. The acting came across truthfully and at times powerfully. I felt Bill’s performance was authentic and intense, especially because I was getting a physical reaction from his character. The story line had a similar flavor to past movies of the same genre; however, I was surprised with the twists in this one. The filming style added to the despair felt in the story; there was a simple and direct style that made the characters come across in a raw, sometimes desperate, way. The story may cause uneasiness with viewers in the beginning, but it would be worth staying to see what happens and you never know, there may be a connection that forms with you.
2 ½ stars — DVD
THE NEWS REPORTER SHOWED NO REACTION to the mother’s comments. I sat in front of my television in total shock. Did I hear correctly, was she joking; I could not believe she said such a thing. More shocking to me was the fact that she would even think it. The reason the mother and her daughters were being interviewed was because one daughter had survived a shark attack. What had stunned me was when the mother said she did not tell her daughters that the city they were vacationing in was known as the shark attack capitol of the world; she did not want to scare her girls. She even chuckled when she said this to the news reporter. I simply could not fathom why a person would choose to vacation at a beach known for shark attacks and then not tell family members to be careful if they go in the water. This made no sense to me; and get this, the little girl had to show the reporter where the shark bit her on the leg. The cameraman panned down to show the bite that went nearly around the whole calf of her leg. There were large, bloody welts forming an oval shape across the skin. When asked, the little girl said she cannot wait to get back into the water. CAN ANYONE EXPLAIN TO ME THIS desire people have to court danger? Having seen that news report made me further question the sanity of some people. I remember when I was younger, I did stuff that I am sure others would think was dangerous. Playing in a condemned building or riding down a snow-covered hill on the cover of a trash can are a couple of things that come to mind. So, does danger all come down to one’s perception? During winter I change my driving style to accommodate for snow and icy conditions; but I see other drivers continuing to drive the same way they do on a dry road. And the result is some pass me by while others slide off the road. I notice now how I have changed regarding seeing ice on the ground. When I was young, I did not give the ice much thought as I walked on it. Now, I walk like a penguin on icy sidewalks because I have a fear of falling and breaking a limb. Is it an age thing then? I wonder; but I can tell you this, I would not have done in my younger days what the main characters did in this dramatic, horror adventure film. THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE A NEWLY discovered underwater cave was enticing enough to make four high school students disregard any kind of safety concerns. It could be a decision that kills them. With Sophie Nelisse (The Book Thief, Pawn Sacrifice) as Mia, newcomer Corrine Fox as Sasha, Brianne Tju (Make it or Break it-TV, Scream: The TV Series) as Alexa, newcomer Sistine Rose Stallone as Nicole and John Corbett (The Messengers, My Big Fat Greek Wedding franchise) as Grant; this movie’s story had a strictly paint by number formula. It was your typical man vs beast scenario, except this one was cheesy and generic. There was no real acting from the four women; though, the script gave them nothing to sink their teeth into, so to speak. Since most of the picture was filmed underwater, it was difficult at times to see what was going on. This type of story inherently comes with a level of dread and fear; it was a shame the writers could not have written a better script to play on those emotions. It did cross my mind if the dads of Corrine and Sistine provided anything to get this movie up on the big screen. As far as I am concerned, I wish I would have stayed out of the water and think you should do the same.
1 ¾ stars
Some people determine their wealth based on how many books they have in their possession. I can absolutely understand the concept. Books are portals that let me visit different lands, times and people. Sitting in a crowded subway car does not bother me; knowing that as soon as I crack open the cover to my book, I will be off on an adventure down to a place such as the Amazon River. Another benefit that comes with books is the opportunity to share them with someone else. One of my favorite date nights is going to a bookstore, where we split up and seek out books we think the other person would enjoy reading. I consider the act of reading aloud to someone to be a sweet, loving gesture. You can now understand why the title to this dramatic movie, based on the best selling novel, intrigued me. The book thief in this story was a young girl named Liesel, played by Sophie Nelisse (Monsieur Lazhar, Esimesac). Set in Germany during the early stages of World War II, Liesel was sent to live with foster parents Rosa and Hans, played by Emily Watson (War Horse, Breaking the Waves) and Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech, Pirates of the Caribbean franchise). As the horrors of war took place around her, Liesel’s love of books provided a safe haven for her and the people around her. Though I have not read the book, after seeing this film festival winner I have the urge to read it now. Besides the wonderful performance from Sophie Nelisse, I thought Geoffrey Rush did a great job with his role. The chemistry came across as lovingly real between the two of them. I did have some confusion on the circumstances that led Liesel to her foster parents, however. There were several other scenes that seemed rushed or without much emotional depth. This can be attributed to the script, for I found it to be uneven. Having the story told from a child’s perspective was something I found different then other films that dealt with the subject of Nazi Germany. One thing I found odd was the use of a narrator, especially towards the latter part of the movie where I felt the story was being quickly rushed to wrap things up. I liked parts of this film but the thing I really enjoyed was being reminded of a saying I used to hear when growing up–no one can ever rob you of an education. A few scenes had German spoken with English subtitles.
2 1/2 stars