CONFRONTING A BUREAUCRACY AND its red tape requires a person to be persistent, strong willed, stubborn and in good physical/mental health. These characteristics can easily be applied to a person preparing for war. From my recent hospital stay I got a taste of what it takes to confront a large corporation. In the scheme of things I realize my few inconsistent encounters there were not major, though I say this without knowing what the ramifications would have been if I did not question the staff’s actions. A nurse came into my room at one point to tell me she was there to give me drops for my eyes. I asked her what was she applying and she said probiotics. This made no sense since I provided the hospital with my bottle of probiotics; they were capsules, so how could they be given in eye drops I asked her. She agreed to go back to the pharmacy to find out the error. I have no idea what was in those drops by the way. ANOTHER TIME A DIFFERENT nurse came in to tell me she had my flu shot. I told her I did not approve a flu shot since my office offers them to the employees. In addition, I mentioned to her that I thought one should not get a flu shot when they are not in good health. She nodded her head and left the room with her medical cart. Since this was my first experience being in a hospital I now realize the patient needs to stay diligent in being aware of everything being done to them. If they cannot do this, then the patient needs an advocate; in other words, someone who will look out for the patient’s best interests. With so many different people coming into my room at all times throughout the day and night, I really got a taste of how not just the hospital but any large entity can wear a person down until they just give up. Granted my energy level was low while in the hospital; however, I am aware of the benefits reaped when one remains determined and steadfast. The main character in this action thriller is the perfect example of such a strong minded person. WHEN HIS DAUGHTER WAS killed in a terrorist bombing Quan Ngoc Minh, played by Jackie Chan (Shanghai Noon, Dragon Blade), was positive certain individuals had to know about it. He would not take “no” for an answer. This film also starred Pierce Brosnan (The November Man, Die Another Day) as Liam Hennessy, Katie Leung (Harry Potter franchise, T2 Trainspotting) as Fan, Rufus Jones (Bill, Hunderby-TV) as Ian Wood and Mark Tandy (Howards End, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason) as Simpson. What grabbed me in this picture were Jackie’s and Pierce’s characters; they did not appear to be similar to the roles they have portrayed in their other films. Jackie was an older version of himself which meant there were less comedic martial arts moves and more age appropriate movements. Pierce was intense in this film which only added to the whole cat and mouse vibe taking place. I thought the fight scenes were exciting and well done; they never seemed out of place or gratuitous. For me this film was good escapism and provided some food for thought about what really goes on in the world.
I DID NOT think my question was that unusual or demanded too much from the sales clerk. If you could have seen their face you would have thought I had just asked something outrageous or personal. All I wanted to know was if the shirt’s material tended to shrink. Besides the “dirty” look and the condescending way they answered me, they did not even bother to look at me in the face. I wanted to tell them if they were that miserable at their job, maybe they should consider changing careers. Now in the past I would have taken that response personally and snapped back something nasty to say to them. To tell you the truth I took most things personally back then. DUE TO THE events I experienced in my earlier days I was wary of most people. My mind would quickly go into attack mode whenever I had an exchange of some kind with a stranger. They could have been a volunteer soliciting signatures or a lost tourist, it did not matter; I would be distrustful of the individual until I saw or could ascertain they were not going to hurt me in some way. I am not exactly sure when I started softening my attitude and not taking things personally, but I think it was during a time I was being fixed up on several blind dates. It did not take me long into the conversation to realize whether the person was interested in me or not. Granted some people showed their disinterest easier than others; but even the ones that kept up a good facade, did not cause me to react negatively. I realized that everyone has likes and dislikes, trigger points that set them off and none of it should be looked at as a good or bad thing. Their qualifications or agenda was not a personal attack on me; I just did not fit into what they were looking for. In a way one could say it was just business. AFTER SURVIVING A terrorist attack while on vacation Mitch Rapp, played by Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner franchise, Teen Wolf-TV), could not think of anything else after that date but to hunt down the terrorists. It was something the CIA was doing also. This action thriller also starred Michael Keaton (The Founder, Spider-Man: Homecoming) as Stan Hurley, Sanaa Lathan (Out of Time, The Best Man Holiday) as Irene Kennedy, Taylor Kitsch (Lone Survivor, Friday Night Lights-TV) as Ghost and Shiva Negar (The Art of More-TV, My Babysitter’s a Vampire-TV) as Annika. The highlight of this film was Michael Keaton; he was the most believable out of the cast. I do not know if Dylan was miscast but he did not have much range with his acting and I am afraid to say did not have the physical presence to pull off his character. With decent fight and action scenes the script could not carry the story; there were several situations that did not ring true for me. In addition the story was not only predictable but the premise for it was cheesy and weak in my opinion. A couple of therapy sessions prior to developing this film would have been money well spent.
I do not want to see the aftermath of a major accident. A car crash, where the vehicles are crinkled and smoking, with the flashing lights of police cars all around is nothing I want to slow down and stare at as I drive by. It is hard for me to watch the news when they show the aftermath of a terrorist attack with people strewn about like limp broken dolls. Even in movies I am not fond of seeing the scenes that show realistic bloodshed. If a character gets shot with a ray gun it does not bother me; but if it is a sawed off shotgun, I would rather not have to see the outcome. Just to let you know as a movie reviewer I never look away from a film no matter how gruesome it may be. When a movie is made about a situation that actually took place there is a distinction that has to be made. If the film is a documentary I expect to hear real facts and see actual footage. Now if the story is done as a dramatization I understand the writers may take certain liberties to enhance the story and make it more entertaining for the viewer. In the case of this biographical crime drama, I understand it may not be exact factual information and for that reason I am reviewing it as an entertainment piece not judging the acts shown or the political statement. First aired as a television miniseries, this tense thriller was about the infamous terrorist Illich Ramirez Sanchez aka Carlos the Jackal. A Venezuelan revolutionary, one of Carlos’ famous acts was the 1975 raid on the OPEC ministers during their annual meeting. Edgar Ramirez (Vantage Point, Wrath of the Titans) was incredible playing the intense, egotistical terrorist Carlos. Even when his scenes required him to speak in a different language he was seamless in the way his character interacted with a variety of foreign individuals. The length of this Golden Globe winning series was 5 hours and 33 minutes on multiple DVDs and I was never bored as I watched it. My remembrances of the actual events depicted in this drama were vague, but due to the tightly written story and excellent direction I found myself staying engaged with every scene. This was an extremely well done, provocative dramatization of a person who, whether he liked it or not, was famous with a larger than life reputation. There were several brief scenes that showed blood. English subtitles were used during the scenes that had Arabic, German, Spanish, French, Hungarian, Japanese or Russian dialog.
3 1/2 — DVD
One of the fastest ways to learn about someone is to take a vacation with them. There are only a couple of friends I would take a trip with because I know they can handle my intensity. If I go with someone I have been dating, I try to dial myself down in the beginning; giving them a chance to get used to my idiosyncrasies. Now I do not want you to get the impression that I am some type of Tasmanian devil that feverishly spins out of control, as I subject the poor individual to nonstop action. Depending on what type of vacation I am on determines my energy level. If I am visiting a new city then I go at a faster pace as I try to see everything the place has to offer; in other words, a total tourist and more. If I am returning to a destination that I have visited before, then I am running in a lower gear. I use vacation time as a way for a person to get to know the real me; however, can someone really get to know someone well enough, their true essence? It is something to think about as the layered story played out in this dramatic film. Highly regarded Arab surgeon Amin Jaafari, played by Ali Suliman (Body of Lies, Lemon Tree), was puzzled when he returned to his Tel Aviv apartment only to find his wife Siham’s, played by Reymond Amsalem (Rendition, Lebanon), cell phone sitting on the table. The first word he would hear about his missing wife was when authorities came to talk to him about a recent terrorist attack. Based on the bestselling novel by Yasmina Khadra, this movie methodically built up the tension in the story. I found it fascinating the way the director and writers evenly presented Arab and Israeli viewpoints. The acting was excellent in this film festival winning movie. There were a few pockets through the movie where I felt the story dragged a bit, but there was still opportunity for me to ponder scenes that had just played out. This film posed some interesting questions, making me wonder if it is really possible to completely know everything about another person. There was a brief scene with blood in it. Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles.