THE SOUNDS FROM CONVERSATIONS AROUND ME blurred into a curtain of white noise. I was not focused on any of them, only aware of the background noise they created. Instead, I was pulling travel brochures out of my knapsack, that I had picked up at the hotel before taking myself out to lunch. The restaurant was a local establishment I had read about and was curious to check out. Whenever I travel out of state, I always try to eat at least one meal at a restaurant that is not part of a national chain. When I walked into this place I could smell the smokiness of barbeque in the air. The hostess had placed me in a booth by a window; I not only had a view to their outdoor patio, but I also had a wide view of the dining area inside. There was a constant flow of activity, from patrons walking in and out to the wait staff keeping up with the flow of meals coming out of the kitchen. I liked looking at the different food dishes being ordered; it was a way for me to see what was popular on the menu. After I decided and gave my order to the waitress, I delved into my reading material. IT WAS DURING THE TAIL END of my meal when I realized that curtain of white noise had dissipated. Looking up from my brochures I noticed a good portion of the restaurant patrons were looking at the front entrance. Standing at the door was a couple with a child. It did not hit me immediately, but pretty darn close that the patrons had stopped talking to stare at this couple. There was nothing I could see that was unusual about the couple. I was hoping they were not staring for this reason, but I knew deep inside it had to be the only reason the diners would have looked up and stopped talking to each other. The couple was biracial. Their child had a mix of features from both parents; dark cocoa skin, soft tightly curled brown hair and light-colored eyes. I was stunned that a biracial couple would draw so much attention. Why would anyone care? I do not have the answer, but it was not until the couple was being led to a table that the other patrons resumed their conversations. What in the world would they have done I wonder, if the main character from this action, adventure fantasy came into the restaurant? AN ANCIENT SORCERESS KNOWN AS THE Blood Queen, played by Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element, Resident Evil franchise), was plotting her revenge on mankind. Her plan included an unusual offer. With David Harbour (Revolutionary Road, The Green Hornet) as Hellboy, Ian McShane (Hercules, John Wick franchise) as Professor Broom, Brian Gleeson (Logan Lucky, Phantom Thread) as Merlin and Sasha Lane (American Honey, After Everything) as Alice Monaghan; this reboot was filled with blood and violence. In fact, that pretty much says it all about this picture. I found the script lifeless. What I assume was supposed to be humorous remarks bordered on vitriol. There was nothing fun or exciting in this film except Milla’s character. She was the only character that I cared about. I have never read the graphic novels but compared to the original movie, this one was a waste as far as I could tell. In all honesty, watching this film was like seeing a high school production that had not gone through its technical week. I felt different scenarios were shown but never carried all the way through to conclusion. All I can say is it was hell sitting through this film.
1 ½ stars
DEATH for some people is not always a permanent state. These individuals maintain their bond to the deceased, though it is not necessarily reciprocal. They may talk to their loved one every day, bringing them up on current events or asking advice on an upcoming decision. I had a relative who went to see her mother every single day, having on hand her mother’s favorite coffee and sweet roll. She would park on the side of the road and walk over to a congested area of headstones. With her folding stool, thermos and the plastic bag that carried the sweet roll and napkins; she would sit by the side of her mother’s grave and pour each of them a cup of coffee. Setting the cup down on the headstone, she let her mother know she brought her favorite sweet roll; she placed the item on a small paper plate to then join the perched cup of coffee. This ritual took place every day and after she had spent an hour or two, she would drink up the coffee from her mother’s cup and ask her if she was done with her sweet roll. She would tear the sweet roll into pieces and once she was outside of the cemetery would scatter the pieces by a tree for the birds. I am a firm believer whatever means a person needs to do to deal with death is fine with me; I do not judge or question. Everyone deals with death in their own way. Also, I feel anything is possible. Recently a friend of mine had died after a year long illness. After notifications went out to family and friends, a few days later out of the blue my friend’s cell phone rang with an unknown phone number. There was no one on the line when the call was answered. You want to talk about an eerie moment? Well someone close to the deceased who is in mourning could see the call as a sign. I could easily understand their thought process with this incident. If you choose to watch this mystery thriller, be prepared to experience something unearthly. Or is it really? WORKING as a personal shopper Maureen Cartwright, played by Kristen Stewart (Certain Women, The Twilight Saga franchise), was convinced her deceased brother was trying to contact her. This film festival winning drama also starred Lars Eidinger (Everyone Else, Clouds of Sils Maria) as Ingo, Sigrid Bouaziz (Portrait of the Artist, The Tunnel-TV) as Lara and Anders Danielsen Lie (Reprise, Herman) as Erwin. I have not always been a fan of Kristen Stewart, but I have to say this was one of her best roles. She pretty much carries the interesting story. Watching this movie was like riding an amusement park’s roller coaster; not the big major ones, but the ones that give you a thrill but do not let your stomach move up into your throat. At first I was not getting settled into the story since the script kept things somewhat sparse. But then layer by layer I found myself drawn into the surreal story. I enjoyed the directing in this picture; but at times the script became muddled and fell apart. The concept of the story interested me overall, because as I said you just never know.
2 ½ stars
The repetitive irritations in life can be considered the universe’s way of testing us to see if we have learned to let go. Scrubbing down from top to bottom your kitchen after spotting a trail of ants, only to discover the next day they returned, can be upsetting. Maybe you were inflicted with a rash, where you had to apply a topical ointment and take medicine. It finally cleared up in a couple of weeks. Three days later your skin started to itch, heralding the return of the rash and a new round of antibiotics. This past winter was not only hard for me but it was irritating. It seemed like every time I shoveled the snow around my house another storm would come by and I had to redo the sidewalks again. I remember at one point thinking if I could rent a flame thrower, it would be worth it to take care of the unrelenting snow. At least I knew the seasons would eventually change but imagine what poor Malcolm, played by Marlon Wayans (Scary movie franchise, White Chicks), had to go through when he discovered he was being haunted again. In this sequel Malcolm was starting out fresh; he had his new girlfriend Megan, played by Jamie Pressly (My Name is Earl-TV; I Love you, Man), a new house and new neighbor Miguel, played by Gabriel Iglesias (Magic Mike, Days of Santiago). Life was good until Malcolm noticed something was wrong. The basis of this comedy horror movie was to be a parody of several recent scary films. I will say Marlon threw himself into his character, screaming and yelling his way through the physical stunts. At one point it seemed as if Marlon created this picture just so he could see how many times he could be on screen without wearing clothes. Since the movie trailer had some of the better humor, there was very little in this film that produced a chuckle or snicker out of me. I just found the story was one long series of skits, each one getting more ridiculous than the previous one. As for commenting on the directing or camera work, there really was nothing I could offer since this film didn’t pretend to be anything else but what it was–a low level joke fest. Maybe I was wrong to assume Marlon had more to offer, because if he is going to make these movies a continuing franchise, they will become nothing more than a plantar wart that keeps coming back.
1 1/2 stars
They say the eyes are the windows to the soul but a mirror reflects what is in the mind. When one looks at themselves in a mirror they may not be seeing an accurate image. One person can only see all the derogatory names they were called when they were younger. Another individual may see the most beautiful person they have ever seen. I have had a love/hate relationship with mirrors that has mostly been hate. I have arranged my classes where the participants can see themselves in the mirrors. It makes sense that people should see what they are doing in class. The added benefit is I do not have to see myself because I know the person in that mirror has a warped perception of themself. There was a summer during my college years where I was greeted in the mirror by someone who had the confidence of Tony Manero from Saturday Night Fever. It did not last long before the image was replaced with a man, who used to carry 85 extra pounds on their body splattered with bruises. I know when I look into a mirror these days I rarely see any feel good attributes. There are days where the mirror tries to be kind and others where it is gloomy; however, I am grateful I have never seen anything sinister like I saw in the mirror in this horror film. Karen Gillan (We’ll Take Manhattan-TV movie, Not Another Happy Ending) played Kaylie Russell who wanted to prove what happened to her and her brother Tim, played by Brenton Thwaites (Home and Away, Charge Over You), had to be something supernatural. I feel I always have to preface my review of horror movies by saying I am not a big fan of them. If this film is any indication I may no longer need to state it. Without gratuitous bloodshed or gross mutilations, I found this movie to be tensely exciting. There was a continuous thread of dread throughout as the story reeled between the adult and childhood versions of the brother and sister. Katee Sackhoff (Riddick, Battlestar Galactica-TV) and Rory Cochrane (Argo, Dazed and Confused) were wonderful as the siblings’ parents Marie and Alan Russell. At one point I felt I was witnessing a psychotic episode, the next a hallucinatory one; all of it made for a mind bending experience where I was fidgeting in my seat with anticipation. I will tell you there were several scenes that made me squeamish and there was blood shown; but on the strength of the script, I know if I had seen myself in a mirror afterwards I would have seen a satisfied moviegoer.