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Flash Movie Review: The Independent

EXCEPT FOR A COUPLE OF PRIMARIES while I was away for college, I have voted for every election. It certainly is easier now with the early voting opportunities and mail in options. I remember back earlier finishing work at the office and racing to get to the polling place before it closed, sometimes showing up just minutes before. So yes, the system to me is much better today. However, in my opinion, I would make election day a national holiday. For something so important as elections, I think all citizens should have the day off to make sure they can exercise their right to vote. The things I have seen taking place in other states troubles me because it appears as if the new state laws being put in place are geared to make it harder for an individual to vote. The news on this last election was showing lines of people, blocks long, waiting to vote. If I am not mistaken, one place did not allow voters to have any food or liquids with them while they were waiting in line for hours. It saddens me to see how such an institution and cornerstone of our government is being tarnished and abused the past several years.      THERE IS ANOTHER ASPECT OF THE voting process that I find scary. It is the ability for a candidate to receive massive amounts of money from a single donor. Maybe it does not come directly from one individual, but their money can easily be divvied up among different political action committees for the candidate. There was a billionaire who lived in our state who donated millions of dollars to a governor candidate who had a hateful agenda. The amount of money given was obscene and all because the billionaire disliked the current governor’s policies which did not offer extra favor to the billionaire’s company. I think about the amount of money that goes into today’s campaigns and it could be put to better use in feeding the world or educating every single citizen or even funding new scientific research. But now it seems like only millionaires and billionaires run for political gains and positions. I know not every politician fits this description; but I would like to see a time where there are less political ads and mailers and more time for the candidates to go door to door or hold more campaign town hall meetings. Gratefully in my state the billionaire’s candidate lost significantly to the incumbent, so money did not make such a difference; but who knows what money can do. It may play a factor in this thriller for all you know.      A YOUNG JOURNALIST MAKES A DISCOVERY that could have a major impact on an upcoming election. With Jodie Turner-Smith (Queen & Slim, The Last Ship-TV) as Elisha, Luke Kirby (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel-TV, Glass) as Lucas Nicoll, Ali Marsh (Queens of Daytime, In Plain Sight-TV) as Sharon Romney, Julianne Arrieta (High Resolution, Del Playa) as Rachel Atkins and John Cena (Vacation Friends, The Suicide Squad) as Nate Sterling; this political film was lucky to cast Jodie Turner-Smith. For me, she is the reason I was able to get through the story. The script needed to find a new angle or a flair of surprising twists because the story played out like something I had seen before. I liked the idea, but the directing along with the script did not take advantage of the acting skills of its cast. There certainly were good scenes throughout the movie, but as a whole it felt more like a wannabe picture instead of something new and fresh. It was too bad because Jodie and Ann Dowd had wonderful screen presence that grabbed my attention. The idea for the story was both good and scary, making me more anxious about today’s political scene.

2 ½ stars 

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Flash Movie Review: Barbarian

I SAT THERE WONDERING WHY I was so afraid. The short-term rental place was beautiful; I mean magazine worthy beautiful. A family member had taken a trip out west and stayed at a short-term rental property they booked online. It was a three-bedroom home with a gourmet kitchen, fireplace, in ground swimming pool and a fire pit. The furnishings and home looked like they were from the mid-century modern period. My relative had rented the place with three friends for vacation. The location was walking distance from the main shopping/entertainment district of the city and a 75–90-minute trip away from a national park. In other words, it was an ideal location.  As I was being shown photos of their trip, a part of my brain was trying to calculate why I had this fear about doing a short-term rental property; I have always stayed in hotels when I have been on a trip. One of the reasons I know, is because I love breakfast food. I pick hotels that offer a free breakfast or have a restaurant on site; so, I can wake up, shower and head down for a meal that I did not have to prepare. However, seeing this home, I would not have a problem if I had to bring in some groceries and make breakfast for myself; it would be worth it.      NOW IF YOU ARE THINKING WHAT I am looking at is unusual for a rental property, you would be correct. I am aware this property is extreme because of the others my friends have shown me from their trips. Most of them are fine, nothing too outrageous; however, there have been a few that were the pits. One friend of mine rented a cottage on a lake for a vacation spot for him and his family. The first thing that greeted them when they arrived was a broken bathtub sitting on the front lawn. Once inside, they found the place was dirty and I do not mean dirty from the previous guests. There was mold in the shower stall, peeling paint on the walls and windows that would not stay open. Also, the hot water never got hot. They took their luggage and went right back to their car and drove to the nearest hotel they could find. That is more like the image that appears in my mind when I hear someone is going to stay at a short-term rental property. And now that I have seen this film, I am even more afraid.      ARRIVING IN A NEW CITY FOR a job interview, the candidate picked a short-term rental property to stay at during her visit. To her surprise, when she got there the place was already occupied. With Georgina Campell (All My Friends Hate Me, Krypton-TV) as Tess, Bill Skarsgard (It franchise, Eternals) as Keith, Justin Long (The Wave, F is for Family-TV) as AJ, Matthew Patrick Davis (Henry Danger-TV, Dwight in Shining Armor-TV) as The Mother and Richard Brake (The Munsters, The Rhythm Section) as Frank; this horror, mystery thriller grabbed me early on. The suspense was thick and well played out, partially thanks to Georgina and Bill; they were excellent together. I enjoyed the freshness in the script and the way it built up the suspense and dread. However, the sharp turn it took threw me. It started to feel as if I was watching a couple of different stories at one point. And maybe that is the issue I had with this film; I would have been perfectly fine to keep more of the focus on the beginning two main characters. It took me a while to understand there was more to the script than what I was perceiving; I think with a little more tweaking this movie could have been a breathtaking, scary story. It certainly gives one reason to pause before agreeing to a short-term rental vacation property. There were several scenes with blood and violence.

2 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

NO MATTER WHERE OR WHEN SHE was seen, she always had on a scarf or rain bonnet. She wore each of them the same way whether it was a blistering hot summer day or a frigid, wintery one. Sometimes, I would see her wearing both. I knew she lived in the neighborhood but had no clue where exactly. She walked with an odd limp that caused her to shift her weight from side to side. It looked like she could almost tip over, except she always had a shopping cart with her, which I assumed she could use to balance herself if she felt like she was toppling over. There was one distinct feature that stuck out for me; she had a marking on the side of her face that could have been a scar or a birthmark. I was never close enough to her to see what it could be. The other thing I remembered about her was the fact she was always alone, whenever she was out in the neighborhood. I had no idea if there were family members living with her or she was all by herself. Taking these things into account, I do not know how many of these things helped contribute to the reputation she had or more precisely was given. People thought she was a “witch.”      NOW I DO NOT KNOW IF people thought she did spells and incantations over a black cauldron like what has been depicted in movies and television; but I think they thought she was different from anyone else they knew. Maybe that was the reason why I never saw anyone near her; people were afraid. There were several kids in the neighborhood who would call her names; but only if they were across the street from her, in case she was going to do something to them. It was not until I started high school that I noticed she was no longer seen walking around the neighborhood. It was at that time that I started going to a new doctor for my yearly physical. From our conversations about the neighborhood, I found out he was a distant relative of that “witch” woman. The little he shared about her with me was enough to set me reeling. It turned out she was a Holocaust survivor, having lost her parents and siblings during the war. The doctor said Nazi doctors performed experiments on her while she was being held in a concentration camp. It was horrifying to hear this news and it occurred to me no one in the neighborhood had a clue about it. Instead of finding out and talking to her, people shunned her for her “differences.” It was a similar scenario for the main character in this mystery thriller drama.      ABANDONED AT AN EARLY AGE, A young girl must raise herself in the marshlands of the Deep South. The townsfolk, who did not trust her, looked to her as the prime suspect when a dead body turned up in town. With Daisy Edgar-Jones (Pond Life, Cold Feet-TV) as Kya Clark, Taylor John Smith (Lost Child, Wolves) as Tate Walker, Harris Dickinson (Beach Rats, The Kin’s Man) as Chase Andrews, David Strathairn (Nightmare Alley, L.A. Confidential) as Tom Milton and Michael Hyatt (The Little Things, Snowfall-TV) as Mabel; this movie based on the bestselling book was beautifully filmed. I thought Daisy and David Strathairn did a wonderful job of acting. Having not read the book, I found myself attracted to the story; however, there were times where I felt I was not getting all the details out of the scenes. Several of them felt like snippets of a story. I can only imagine the book being better at giving the details and emotions of each character. Normally not a fan of jumping back and forth in time, I did not mind how it was done in this film; they were longer in duration and relevant to what was currently taking place in the story. This was a good try by the writers, but with more effort, this could have been a better movie.                              

2 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: The Menu

THERE WAS A TIME WHEN I wanted to see what was so special about some of the finer restaurants in the city. One of the first places I made reservations at was the French restaurant, Maxim’s De Paris. I cannot remember anyone ever mentioning that name to me except in the movies. If memory serves me correctly, it was in the musical movie Gigi. The other reason I wanted to book this place was because periodically the city newspapers would mention a visiting celebrity who had dined at the famous restaurant. That was enough reason for me to want to go see the place myself. I remember Maxim’s was located on the lower level of a hotel. The décor was art nouveau with red velvet chairs, spiral black metal railings and curved archways. Lining the sides of the rooms were tall, curved booths of black leather that formed a scallop design down the length of the walls. I remember we had 3 people taking care of us: a waiter, a server and a busboy. The waiter unfolded our napkins and placed them on our laps; between every course he scrapped crumbs off the tablecloth with a metal looking object he kept in his pants pocket. The food was delicious, I remember; however, I did not see any celebrities that night.      MY CURIOUSITY OF FANCY RESTAURANTS DID not last long. It was depleting my funds and more times than not; I did not care for the food. The only time I felt full was when the restaurant served a basket of breads or dinner rolls. I am a visual and texture eater which means for me if a dish doesn’t look good then I will not be touching it. Also, I am not fond of things sitting in liquid or having a gelatinous texture. There were some restaurants we visited that tried to be creative with their food items. Unless it was in the dessert category, I generally did not like any of the food; if I cannot recognize it then I don’t want to stick it in my mouth. The other issue I had with some of the restaurants was the food portions; they were too damn small, in my opinion. What annoyed me during the duration of my eating at fancy restaurants was the fact I never saw a celebrity at any of the places, not even waiting outside the place for their limo. Based on my experiences at these fancy restaurants, there is no way I would want to have been a guest at the food establishment in this comedy, horror thriller.      A YOUNG COUPLE JOINED A SMALL group of dinner guests to experience everything at a renowned chef’s remote island restaurant. There were going to be plenty of surprises for the guests throughout the meal. With Ralph Fiennes (The King’s Man, The Dig) as Chef Slowik, Anya Taylor-Joy (The Northman, The New Mutants) as Margot, Nicholas Hoult (Those Who Wish Us Dead, Warm Bodies) as Tyler, Hong Chau (Downsizing, Homecoming-TV) as Elsa and Janet McTeer (Me Before You, Albert Nobbs) as Lillian; this film is a very dark comedy. Out of the cast, Anya was the standout for me. She has a way of commanding the screen that made her character the strongest. The script was interesting in the way it slowly revealed bits of the story. I will say there were a few scenes that seemed too far-fetched; however, they started to make sense when I thought of them more as a satire. I will say, I did not like the ending and felt it was too abrupt and somewhat of a cop-out. If it was not for the cast, I might have had a harder time watching this film. The food shown did not interest me; but if there was a turkey club sandwich with no mayo and burnt bacon served, that would have caught my attention.

3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Enola Holmes 2

THOUGH MY FRIENDS WERE NOT THRILLED having their older sibling attending the same school, I did not mind it at all. When the sibling was a brother, it usually worked out even better for me. I had one friend whose brother was two grades above us. If they saw each other in the school hallway, they rarely acknowledged each other. However, if I was by myself the older brother would nod his head in acknowledgement whenever he saw me. For me, at least in my mind, he was a pseudo-bodyguard. There were times when I would purposely walk alongside of him anytime, I saw a bully nearby. Just for the fact he was older, the bullies would not take a chance on starting something with me as long as he was near me. Not like he was some type of tough guy himself; he just was older and bigger and that was enough to curtail someone from picking on me. This is the reason I said it was a better situation when the older sibling was male instead of female. Some bullies did not hesitate to harass the older sister besides me if we happen to be walking alongside of each other.      WHEN I ENTERED COLLEGE, I LIVED on a floor where everyone else was either in a higher grade or a grad student. At first, I was intimidated; however, it turned into a fortuitous arrangement. The older students treated me more like a mascot than a freshman. What I mean by that is they rather enjoyed by naivety. For some, I think they enjoyed hearing about my trials and tribulations of freshman life; for others, they found comfort in being a mentor for me. Either way it was an added benefit for me. I was able to navigate freshman orientation faster and easier due to the helpful hints I received from the students on my floor. I was especially grateful to find out that the physical ed requirement could be bypassed if I told the university personnel I could not swim. This way, I would be placed in a remedial swimming class and not have to participate in a variety of sports activities I could not do. My floor turned into a highlight for me; I was hanging out with graduate students who were becoming nuclear engineers, accountants and pharmacists. I do not know what they thought about me, but I considered a couple of them like an older sibling who was watching out for me. It was a peaceful year compared to what I endured through my high school years. It is one of the reasons I was intrigued to watch this action, crime adventure film.      CONFIDENT ENOUGH TO SET UP HER own detective agency, the only customer who asked Enola Holmes, played by Millie Bobby Brown (Godzilla franchise, Stranger Things-TV), for her help was a young girl. The case would turn into something that was bigger than the two of them. With Henry Cavill (Man of Steel, Night Hunter) as Sherlock Holmes, David Thewlis (Harry Potter franchise, Wonder Woman) as Grail, Louis Partridge (The Lost Girls, Paddington 2) as Tewkesbury and Susan Wokoma (The Loneliest Boy in the World, Cheaters-TV) as Edith; this sequel proved movie studios can match or exceed the original movie if they set their minds to it. This picture was a fun film watching experience. Though I am not a fan of breaking character to talk to the audience; the plot twists, humor, and pacing were a perfect blend of excitement. Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill and Helena Bonham Carter (reprising her role) made for a strong troika in acting. The only downside I found in this mystery was the ending part. It was a bit confusing for me; but at that point I did not let it bother me. Based on this film, there is no reason why this story line cannot become a long-lasting movie franchise. There was an extra scene early in the ending credits.                                                       

3 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Halloween Ends

FORTY-FOUR YEARS AGO, SOME OF you might not have been born yet; for me, I was still in school and living in the same home I had been born in. Despite my schoolwork and working part time, I still found time to get together with my friends from time to time. A few of them had already finished their schooling and were living on their own. I was comfortable still being at home because it, especially throughout my earlier years, had always been my safe haven. There was a comfort and peacefulness that was nurturing compared to the issues I had had with the bullying and abuse that took place in the schools during my younger years. However, there was a moment in time where the comfort of my home took on a sinister bent. It happened after me and a couple of friends went to see a new horror suspense film at the neighborhood movie theater. I did not know anything about it except that the lead actress was the daughter of a famous Hollywood movie star. Even to this day, I still remember we went to a Saturday matinee to see this picture. We normally would have gone out to dinner afterwards; but after this movie ended, none of us had an appetite and just wanted to go home.      WHEN I GOT HOME, I WALKED over to the closet to hang-up my jacket; but this time, I hesitated at the closet door. Normally, I would just swing the door open and hang my jacket on the clothes hook that was close to the front, past the light switch. This time, I opened the door just enough to slide my hand in and turn on the light switch first before pushing the door further away. There had been a scene in the horror film that involved a closet and it had freaked me out. I knew inside it was foolish to think someone was in my closet, but I was not 100% convinced suddenly. Later in the evening I was talking to one of the friends who was at the movie earlier and they told me when they had walked over to their car in the theater’s parking lot, they first glanced through the window into the back seat to make sure no one was hiding there. Now, you might be thinking my friends and I were crazy to have been acting in such a way; but I am telling you, this picture was truly frightening. And back then I would have never guessed forty-four years later I would still be seeing another installment in what became an exceptionally long movie franchise from that first film.      MAKING CHANGES TO HER LIFE AND taking care of her granddaughter, the time was right for Laurie, played by Jamie Lee Curtis (Knives Out, Spare Parts), to stop being afraid of the past. However, her future might not go as planned when her granddaughter becomes interested in a local boy. With Andi Matichak (Foxfire, Miles) as Allyson, Rohan Campbell (The Valley Below, The Hardy Boys-TV) as Corey, Will Patton (Sweet Thing, The Devil Below) as Frank and Jesse C. Boyd (The Walking Dead-TV, One of These Days) as Officer Mulaney; this thriller went in a different direction than the past films in this franchise. The same eerie music associated with this movie was there which brought back memories from my viewings of the past films; I always enjoy watching Jamie Lee Curtis and she did not disappoint in this sequel. However, what did disappoint me was the script. The first half of the story had interesting ideas; but were not well executed, leading me to boredom. What one expects from this movie franchise did not really take place until the last half and by that point the bloody violent scenes seemed excessive. Also, it was easy to figure out who would not last until the end of the story. Based on this sequel, I hope this will be the last movie in the film franchise. As Jamie Lee’s character was trying to do, it is time to leave the past behind.                    

2 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Emily the Criminal

WHAT IS THAT BREAKING POINT THAT pushes a person to partake in illegal activities? I have been curious about it for a long time due to two experiences I witnessed. Many years ago, I worked at a retail business that was privately owned. The president was the son of the owner, who had died a few years before I was hired for the shipping and receiving department. The vice-president was the president’s brother-in-law. From what I saw, they seemed to be good friends who worked well together. Each one could easily fill in for the other, anytime one was out of the office; they both knew all aspects of the business. Or at least I thought so. After working there for a couple of years and getting promoted, I became more involved in the mechanics of the business. I would work a couple of Saturdays a month and it was not unusual for either of the men to stop by the store. One Saturday the president came in and asked me to join him in his office. I was perplexed, wondering if I had done something wrong. Once in his office he told me he fired his brother-in-law for stealing. I was completely in shock. How in the world could a relative, who had been working there for years, steal from his sister’s husband?!?! I wondered if that is how he was able to pay for his expensive clothing and cars?      I STILL THINK ABOUT THAT VICE-PRESIDENT from time to time, curious whatever happened to him. It was never shared with us at the store whether the president took the vice-president to court or if there was any jail time involved. Since I had never encountered anything like it before, my mind swirled with scenarios that were originally created on television shows. Did the vice-president have to give everything back? Did he steal because of some drug habit? Did one of them plot to kill the other? It was hard for me to make any sense out of it. I wanted to know, when was that moment when the vice president decided, he was going to steal merchandise or cash from the business and his relative. I remember back in school we had a transfer student who was friendly, who never got in trouble at first. Fast forward two years, and he turned into this student who would steal cigarettes and smoke them behind the school. It was not long before he got caught stealing clothes. Once again what was going on in his environment that made him steal. Though I am not condoning it, I at least got a glimpse of the process in this dramatic, crime thriller.      WITH THE AMOUNT OF DEBT WEIGHING her down, a caterer was offered a business proposal that sounded too good to be true, to make decent money. All she would have to do is go shopping. With Aubrey Plaza (Safety Not Guaranteed, Happiest Season) as Emily, Theo Rossi (Army of the Dead, Sons of Anarchy-TV) as Youcef, Bernardo Badillo (Sully, Revival) as Javier, Jonathan Avigdori (Snowfall-TV, Fauda-TV) as Khalil and Gina Gershon (Cagefighter, American Dresser) as Alice; I cannot remember being more impressed than I was watching Aubrey in this role. She was incredible with acting, going through a variety of emotions and actions. There were times I could feel what she was feeling in the scene; that is how good she performed.  The script was original and current; I did not find any unnecessary dialog. Plus, I enjoyed the way the separate story lines were able to intermingle without missing a beat. After the movie was done and I was driving home, I kept thinking about Emily’s story and wondered what I would have done in a similar situation. There were a couple of scenes with blood and violence.

3 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: They/Them

I WOULD LIKE YOU TO READ the following comments and tell me what they all have in common: “You would look better if you cut your hair.” “If you would lose some weight, you would look nicer.” “Why don’t you go into accounting; you are so good with numbers?” “I think you should play football; it will do you good.” Now that you have read them, what do you think is the answer? If you said, all the statements were offering unsolicited advice you would be correct. If you also said the statements were seeking to make a change in the individual, that would be a correct answer as well. For me, there is a difference between offering advice when asked compared to telling a person what you think they should do. No one has the right to try and change a person except for a psychiatrist and that is only if the person is seeking the means for a change in their life. One of the things I believe in is every person was put on this planet to experience or be happy. If they are not happy, then they need to find the means to experience happiness for themselves, whatever happiness means to them. When I first started to lose weight, I was doing it because I was not happy with my size. Clothes never fit correctly, were hard to find in my size and I tired quickly which made me unhappy. Despite the name calling and hearing the comments from “good intentioned” people; my weight loss only happened when I decided I wanted to make a change.      I HAD A FRIEND IN SCHOOL who was the butt of jokes and nasty comments because he was perceived as different by several students. He was super smart, with interests that were different from the other students. Having no interest in sports, besides not being athletically inclined, he was fascinated with art and fashion. It was never a surprise for me to see him walking down the hallway in clothing one would find in a fashion magazine. Where I preferred plain home style cooking, he always wanted to try some exotic, foreign food. Despite the ridicule and taunting he received, he did not change what he did. I admired his determination not to change himself just so he could fit in. He would tell me if the bullies cannot appreciate his passion, then it is their issue not his. I thought of him and others who would not change themselves because someone wanted them to be different, as I watched this mystery, horror thriller.      THE METHODS AND TECHNIQUES BEING USED at an LGBTQ+ conversion camp was becoming increasingly more uncomfortable for a group of teenage campers. And that was taking place before a dead body showed up. With Kevin Bacon (The Woodsman, My One and Only) as Owen, Theo Germaine (Work in Progress-TV, The Politician-TV) as Jordan, Anna Chlumsky (My Girl franchise, Veep-TV) as Molly, Carrie Preston (The Good Wife-TV, True Blood-TV) as Cora and Quei Tann (Dear White People-TV, Bruh-TV) as Alexandra; the idea behind this story intrigued me enough to decide to watch it. The cast was good, and the entire flavor of this film felt like a flashback to the stalker movies from the 70’s and 80’s. Unfortunately, the script was a poor patchwork of what felt like “woke” marketing topics. I was bored through parts of this picture; it lacked the suspense and horror one needs to make a story intense. At times, it felt like there were two story lines that could have gone their separate ways in their own movie. Credit must be given to the producers for approving this story to film; however, I do not feel the writing did it any justice. Characters were stereotypical and the scenes were predictable most of the time. Now, I am not telling the writers to make changes; however, maybe another rewrite would have helped this film. There were several scenes with blood and violence.   

1 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: Bodies Bodies Bodies

THE CALLER I.D. WAS SHOWING ME a request for a favor was imminent. The only time I would hear from this friend was when he needed a favor; I was so used to his requests that they did not annoy me like they did in the beginning. We had been friends for roughly ten years, but the request calls started taking place around five years ago. At first, they were intermittent; he would call periodically to say hi or to make plans to get together between favor requests. But the past few years the social calls dropped off leaving only the request calls as our form of communication. Because of our long history, if I could help out I would; however, if it was not convenient for me then I did not. If I were to look at our relationship from outside of myself, I would say we were more like acquaintances instead of friends. Granted, I make a strong distinction between friends and acquaintances, but I cannot honestly tell you I know what is new with my friend or how work has been going for him. I tried making plans with him in the past, but he never could commit to a time and place; he would always tell me he would get back to me. He never did until there was something he needed.      YOU MAY BE WONDERING WHAT DOES it take for me to stop being friends with someone. The obvious answer is if I could not trust them. However, there have been times where I thought we were friends but found out only when it worked for them. I had a friend I would hang out with from time to time, either doing a dinner or play. One day I received a mailer that a play I really wanted to see was coming to a theater in my suburb. I asked him if he wanted to see it; he gave me an enthusiastic yes. I said I would check on tickets and get back to him. The ticket prices were reasonable and there were plenty of seats, so I called him back to figure out a date. Now here is the part that changed everything for me: in the middle of us checking our calendars while on the phone, he asked where the play was being performed. When I said it was near me, he immediately said he was not interested. I asked him why and he said he was not going to travel out of the city to go see it. It came to me in an instant; from our history, he was only available for the things that were close to him; I was only a friend if I drove down to him. Maybe you have experienced something similar? I hope nothing like the friends in this comedic, horror thriller.      DURING A GAME AMONGST A GROUP of friends, one of the guests is murdered. When the friends start to figure out who they can trust, their true colors begin to come out. With Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give, The Darkest Minds) as Sophie, Maria Bakalova (The Bubble, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) as Bee, Rachel Sennott (Shiva Baby, Call Your Mother-TV) as Alice, Chase Sui Wonders (On the Rocks, Generation-TV) as Emma and Pete Davidson (The King of Staten Island, Set It Up) as David, this story was not something I was able to connect with easily. I could see the script was part satire and a take on the twenty something age group; but when they started playing the game, I lost interest. Plus, I did not find anything humorous in the script. I do not know if it was an age thing, but there was nothing I could relate to on some level. It was not until closer to the end of the story that I became interested. Overall, I was not a fan of this movie. There were several scenes with blood and violence.

2 stars  

Flash Movie Review: Bullet Train

IT IS AN UNCOMFORTABLE SITUATION FOR me whenever I am attending a dinner party, where I am not familiar to the host. It occurs when I am going as someone’s guest or attending a family function, where different people are contributing to the meal. I admit I am a fussy eater; add to that, I also am a visual and texture eater. If something does not look appealing to me then I am not interested in tasting it. I know these are my quirks; I do not pretend to hide or be embarrassed by them. However, I do not expect anyone to conform to my eating habits. This is why I get uncomfortable when going to dinner at someone’s house who is not familiar with me. My friends are thoughtful and usually will tell the host I do not eat onions or red meat; and I am appreciative of their actions. Many a times, the host will adjust their menu to accommodate me; but this is the part that makes me uncomfortable. I do not want them to change what they planned; I can eat around anything placed on a dinner table. There have been get togethers where the host has made two of the same dishes, one with onions and the other without. I do not want them to do such a thing; I can pick out the onions or just not put any of it on my dish, no big deal.      MY NOT WISHING TO CHANGE SOMEONE to fit my needs is a belief that I had to grow into; it was not something that came organically. I used to be one of those individuals who readily told people what they should do. I would see or listen to a person dealing with a problem and I would immediately tell them what they needed to do, whether they asked for my advice or not, it did not matter. Through a time of self-discovery and awareness, I realized it was part of my control issues. If someone asked me for my advice, it was okay to offer it; but not to swoop in and take on their issues. My eyes were opened to the point I could recognize when others were trying to “take charge” or convince someone to do something differently. I know this is my opinion, but I find those individuals who preach and try to convert people are no different than me trying to change a friend’s mind to do something I like to do. Just because, let us say, I like to skydive does not mean you have to do it now. However, in this action, comedy thriller it was amusing to see how the main character tried convincing people to his way of thinking.      HOPING THE JOB WOULD BE EASY and peaceful, an assassin has a tough time staying calm when he is stuck on a high-speed passenger train in Japan with other assassins. With Brad Pitt (The Lost City, By the Sea) as Ladybug, Joey King (The Conjuring, The In Between) as Prince, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals, Kick-Ass franchise) as Tangerine, Brian Tyree Henry (Widows, Hotel Artemis) as Lemon and Andrew Koji (Snake Eyes, Warrior-TV) as Kimura; I felt the movie was made more for the cast than the viewer. It was obvious the cast was having fun with their characters. Joey stood out for me with her acting ability. There was a lot of violence and blood throughout the film; but at least the fight scenes were well done, and I enjoyed the witty dialog. The script was uneven, eventually losing steam as it headed towards the end, which was a jumble. There was no character development; and, in this case, I was okay with it. I felt the whole story was put together like a board game and the characters were just game pieces. Pretty much, this type of story has been done before and done better; however, it was still fun to watch the craziness that all took place on a bullet train.

2 ½ stars 

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