IT TOOK ME A LONG TIME to realize dreams are not written in stone. They are more like clouds; they do not necessarily have definitive edges and they are never static. Part of living my life is having dreams hanging ahead of me. Think of it like a carrot hanging in front of a horse. I am always trying to make my way towards my dreams. Having lived in rental apartments for most of my life, my dream of home ownership was a large one that had a hold on me. Working two jobs for extra income was tolerable, because I knew there would be more money to devote to building a hefty down payment for a house. It took me some years to reach this dream, but I finally did it. Another dream of mine was to have a brand-new car. The only cars I had to drive were used ones. One of my earliest cars cost $500; it had over 90,000 miles and a houndstooth interior. So, after driving many hand me down autos, I was able to buy a new car. Seven weeks later while parked in front of the post office, a man backed into my car while trying to get out of his parking spot in front of mine. My front bumper was dented and my thrill of having reached my new car dream evaporated in front of me. FROM MY SUCCESSES AND FAILURES IN achieving my dreams, I never judge someone else’s dreams. I may feel the person will have a tough challenge to get to their dreams, but I would not discourage them from trying at least. An acquaintance of mine contacted me about fitness. They wanted to change careers from finance to fitness. Partially based on their comments to my questions, I felt they were not completely aware of the work needed to become successful and earn a decent living. All of their questions I answered to the best of my ability without any judgement. I, also, did not gloss over anything; expressing the work it took to meet club members’ and clients’ needs. When I reached my dream of being a fitness instructor, I had no idea of the amount of preparation and planning it took to conduct a safe, fun class. The training and studying were nearly overwhelming for me. Learning about all the safety protocols alone was a monumental task. However, from a kid who flunked PE class twice to becoming a fitness instructor; I never let the naysayers discourage me and that is why I was rooting for the main character in this musical drama. THOUGH SHE HAD A GOOD VOICE, the idea of Rose-Lynn, played by Jessie Buckley (Beast, The Tempest), moving from her home in Glasgow to Nashville to become a country singer sounded crazy to most; but, that wasn’t going to stop Rose-Lynn from fighting for her dream. With Julie Walters (Harry Potter franchise, Mama Mia!) as Marion, Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda, Martian Child) as Susannah, Jamie Sives (Let Him Talk to the Greek, Valhalla Rising) as Sam and Craig Parkinson (Four Lions, Control) as Alan; this film festival winner took me by surprise. Not spending much time listening to country music, I was moved by the songs and vocals, which were provided by Grammy winner Kacey Musgraves. The acting from Jessie and Julie came across with depth and emotion; I was brought into their world. I will say there were periods of time where I had a tough time understanding the dialog when the Scottish brogue got thick. Yet, it did not distract me enough to lose my connection with the story. There have been previous films about a nobody becoming a somebody; however, there was a freshness to this picture that made me smile and tap my toes to the beat.
3 ½ stars
Since the National Spelling Bee was held last week, I thought we could do a word of the day. Today’s word is “dynasty.” The dictionary defines dynasty as a succession of people from the same family who play a prominent role in business, politics or in this case entertainment. I do not have an issue with actors bringing their children into the business. The only thing that matters to me is whether they are good actors or not. As for their personal lives I am not interested in the news that comes out of the tabloids. At one point while watching this science fiction movie, I felt a psychiatrist’s office would have been a better venue for Will Smith (Hancock, Seven Pounds) and his son Jaden Smith (The Karate Kid, The Day the Earth Stood Still). Playing father and son Cypher Raige and Kitai Raige, the two seemed out of synch. Based on Will’s story, if I had known M. Night Shyamalan (The Last Airbender, The Village) was the director; I would have seriously considered waiting to watch this movie on DVD and not waste my money. The story had nothing special to offer. Encouraged by his wife Faia, played by Sophie Okoedo (The Secret Life of Bees, Skin), Cypher brought his son along on his last space mission. The idea was for them to have some father and son bonding time; but when their spacecraft crash landed on a hostile planet, the inexperienced Kitai had to venture out alone to find the ship’s emergency beacon. The first thing that struck me about this film was the cheap looking props and poor CGI effects. Some of the items looked as if they were purchased from a home and bath decor discount store. After being mesmerized by the tiger in the film LIfe of Pi, all the animals in this movie looked phony. For a science fiction movie there was little science fiction in it. The nearly two hours were filled with stiff performances and corny lines. The problem with this film I believe is when someone is trying to build a dynasty; they do not want anyone around to question them or their motives. If Will wanted to have quality time with his son he should have taken him camping or on a road trip to check out potential colleges. Throw Mr. Shyamalan into the mix and you wind up with a science fiction movie this is stranger than fiction. A couple of brief scenes that showed blood.
1 2/3 stars
There is a game a friend of mine likes to play whenever we get together. Wherever we may be, he will point out different people and ask me if I think they are beautiful. I always reply with the same answer that I guess so, but I do not know what they are like on the inside. He will try to force me to make a judgement based on these people’s outside appearance, though I have explained to him that the surface is only a covering for the real person inside. Numerous times I have told him that making a quick judgement on a person’s looks is not what I am about. A beautiful covering over an evil soul is like putting a fresh coat of paint on a dilapidated house. You may love the color of the paint but the falling roof can kill you. This movie based on a true story showed the harsh reality of a person being judged by the color of their skin. Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda, The Secret Life of Bees) played Sandra Laing, a dark skinned girl born to white Afrikaner parents in South Africa during the time of apartheid. With her curly hair and richly colored skin, Sandra fought to find her place despite society’s restrictions. Alice Krige (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Contract) and Sam Neill (Jurrassic Park franchise, The Vow) were wonderful playing Sandra’s parents Alice and Abraham Laing. Sophia did an incredible job of acting and in a way, I could relate to her feeling like an outsider. This film festival winner was a bit hard to watch for me, since I am uncomfortable when I witness prejudice. To see how Sandra and the black inhabitants of the country were treated solely on the color of their skin was distressing. Sandra and her parents truly were brave souls. I think I will suggest to my friend that he watch this amazing movie.
3 1/4 stars — DVD