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
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
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.
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
LIKE MANY OTHERS, I TOO SUCCUMBED to the allure of the recent lottery buzz. I find it one of the cheapest fantasies, simply with a two-dollar purchase price. There was so much coverage in the newspapers, television broadcasts and online news sources about it being one of the largest pots in lottery history, that I wanted to be part of the craze. After I made my purchase, I kept fantasizing about what I would do with the winnings. Surprisingly for that much money I did not have that much on my wealthy life to do list. The first thing I decided I would do is to buy a car, despite financial columnists saying now is not a good time. Next, I would buy a home in a warm climate; a place I could go to during the winter months. There is not that much I want or desire after that except to travel. So, with my $2.00 lottery ticket in hand, I joined everyone else who was hoping their ticket would be the winner. The suspense, and it was a good suspense, was building up as the drawing neared; I was all into my fantasies. By the time of the drawing, the suspense was overwhelming because of my mind being filled with imaginary houses on the market for me to peruse. SADLY, THE NUMBERS I WAS READING from the lottery site were not on my ticket. My dreams shattered, just like that. There would be no new car or new home, oh well. As far as I was concerned it was still a wonderful week of suspenseful fun. There are different forms of suspense, and I would partake with this kind any day. It certainly is better than the suspense one experiences before going under for surgery or the kind associated with what one hopes will be the delivery of a healthy baby. I believe each of us has experienced a form of suspense. The suspenseful anticipation of waiting for a loved one to come out on stage for a performance or the suspense one endures during a live auction; I feel they all are valid forms. As most of you know, horror films are not the first on my list to attend. I prefer the kind of horror that has suspense and is psychological. When I first saw the movie poster for this film, I was curious because the face reminded me of an old film that I enjoyed, where the main character had a similar mask. Deciding to see it, hoping it was not going to be gruesome, I cannot tell you how surprised I was watching it. YOUNG CHILDREN ARE GOING MISSING AND the police have very few leads. The latest victim wakes up in an empty room with a disconnected phone that still rings. Should he answer it? With Mason Thames (Walker-TV, For All Mankind-TV) as Finney, Madeleine McGraw (American Sniper, Outcast-TV) as Gwen, Ethan Hawke (The Northman, The Kid) as the Grabber, Jeremy Davies (Twister, Saving Private Ryan) as Terrence and E. Roger Mitchell (Favorite Son, The 5th Wave) as Detective Wright; this film checked off all my boxes for pure entertainment. I thought Mason and Madeleine were wonderful. Part horror, part mystery and part fantasy; the suspense level was steady and consistent due to a smart script. Aiding the suspense level was this constant sense of dread that the director expertly managed. Ethan was as good as the other cast members, but I felt his character could have been darker. I was relieved there were only a couple of short, bloody scenes with violence. During the ending credits, I sat in my chair and thought if there was any other movie this year that moved me as much as this one. None came to mind, but I certainly will not forget how much I enjoyed watching this one.
3 1/3 stars
THOUGH I HAD MISGIVINGS, I AGREED to join my friend for dinner at a recently new, popular restaurant in the city. I wanted to visit with him but was hoping we could just hang out at a local place that I knew had good food. He considered himself a “foodie” who enjoys trying the newest trendy restaurants; I on the other hand think of myself as a low rent eater who enjoys eating at diners and independent, family-owned places. There is a place near my home where the same family has owned and ran this restaurant since the 1960s. They serve simple entrees like turkey club sandwiches, tuna melts and burgers, each served with great French fries. And what I like about this place is the fact they serve generous portions, and the food is fresh and good. I am quite certain my friend would turn his nose up at the place just by its looks. The name of the place is written in red block letters on a square, plastic sign that hangs above the front door. Because decades have passed, the décor now is considered “kitschy” or retro. Realizing I could not dress in my usual relaxed weekend outfit, I asked if we could meet for an early dinner. I was hoping we could beat the crowds and if I were still hungry after eating, I could stop for something on the way home. AS I WALKED IN THE RESTAURANT, I was met by an employee dressed in black slacks and a white, long-sleeved shirt. Asked for the name of the reservations, I gave my friend’s name. The employee confirmed the name on her tablet then directed me to my friend who was already seated. The place was done in calm, subdued colors of blues and greens with a hint of gold. On the table was a small plate that had 2 square dinner rolls with a ribbon of oil circling them. A small pile of grated cheese was directly in the center; it looked like the white ashes from a funeral pyre. Throughout the evening while we conversed, several plates of varying sizes were brought and taken from our table. The salad took all of 4-5 bites to complete with some special dressing that had a lemon undertone to it. I missed having a good-sized salad. The main course for me was a boneless chicken breast; I had to ask them to omit the bacon, the sauce, the onions, and the peppercorn. Everything was ala carte, so I ordered crispy fingerling potatoes. I had never seen such a small chicken breast. When the bill came, I was stunned. We agreed to split the bill; it cost us $100.00 each. All this money which I would normally never spend at a restaurant, and I was still hungry. I felt the same way about this film; all the money the studio must have spent, and I was still wanting more by the end. A SKILLED CIA OPERATIVE UNCOVERS DAMAGING information on a job which sets in motion a manhunt to apprehend him, no matter the price. With Ryan Gosling (Blade Runner 2046, The Nice Guys) as Six, Chris Evans (Gifted, Avengers franchise) as Lloyd Hansen, Ana de Armas (Knives Out, No Time to Die) as Dani Miranda, Billy Bob Thornton (A Million Little Pieces, Bad Santa franchise) as Fitzroy and Jessica Henwick (Love and Monsters, Underwater) as Suzanne Brewer; this action thriller overflowed with fight and action scenes. It turns out they were necessary to cover up the poorly written script. With such a capable cast, this movie could have been terrific; but it never reached that level. I will say it was mindless fun, if one is in the mood for people being beaten up and things blowing apart. The fight scenes were well orchestrated, and I liked the various settings. By the end of the picture, I felt I had seen a compilation of scenes from previously, better done, spy action films. It just goes to show you spending a lot of money does not mean you will get a great, satisfying product.
2 ½ stars
WE WERE SITTING AND HAVING A SCRUMPTIOUS dinner at a restaurant, when a couple walked up to me and said, “What a surprise to see you eating all that food!” Now if they were total strangers I might have been offended; however, I knew them from my fitness classes. I asked them why it was a surprise to see me with a plate of food and they replied they assumed with me being so healthy teaching classes, I would have stayed away from restaurant portion sized food. I could not resist so asked them what they thought I would have been eating; they said a healthy sized salad. Really?!?! Granted I always try to eat a salad every day but more of an appetizer size before the main course. We exchanged a few more words before they wished me well and excused themselves. I sort of wished they had stayed longer to see the chocolate dessert I was expecting soon. My friends at the table were curious to know, based on the conversation they heard, why the couple thought all I would be eating would be raw vegetables and tofu. I explained how this has happened to be before throughout my teaching years. People assume based on how I look and act in class, that I am some type of “intense fitness person” who maintains a strict diet. To tell you the truth, I am used to hearing this; but I try to impress upon them and the rest of the members of my classes that one must find balance with their daily food intake. I can splurge on a Saturday night because I am carefully watching my food choices during the weekdays. HAVING EXPERIENCED INCIDENTS SUCH AS THESE throughout my years of teaching fitness, I wonder if it is in our nature to quickly make assumptions based on visual information. I have certainly been guilty of doing such a thing from time to time; though I do not act on such assumptions unless proof is provided. For example, I was introduced to a friend’s friend. From the brief time we all spent together, I felt he was a cheat. We all went out to eat and when the bill came, he picked it up, scanned it and told us what each of us owed. Because he was the only one who ordered alcohol, I would have thought he would have taken that out of the money we owed, but he did not. Not too much later after that meeting, I heard about him cheating a friend out of money. In this case my impression was correct. But I can certainly see how acting on first impressions can result in erroneous conclusions. If you need to see some proof, then I suggest you view this comedic drama. COMING HOME TO PREPARE FOR A night of partying, two friends discover a woman passed out on their living room floor. They wondered what the police would think if they saw this scenario. With RJ Cyler (The Harder They Fall, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) as Sean, Donald Elise Watkins (Free State of Jones, Black Box) as Kunle, Sebastian Chacon (Angelfish, Pose-TV) as Carlos, Sabrina Carpenter (The Hate U Give, Tall Girl) as Maddy and Maddie Nichols (Anderson Bench, Like Son) as Emma; this thriller posed multiple questions for the viewer to ponder. I enjoyed this film and thought the writers did an excellent job of presenting significant issues in a poignantly funny way, side by side with real concerns and feelings. It did take me a little time at first to get into the story until I realized that part of the film felt like an eighty’s slapstick comedy, though it was kept to a small amount. When the movie ended, it did not leave me; I kept thinking about how easy it is to make assumptions about individuals without getting to know them. If the writers hoped they would get the viewer to think while entertaining them, they succeeded.
ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS ABOUT teaching fitness/yoga classes is filling in for an absent instructor. Though I never refused unless logistically I could not make the class, there always was apprehension on what I would encounter from the participants. Like going to doctors or hair stylists, people find an instructor they like and stick with them. Walking into a class to find out a substitute is filling in for your favorite instructor usually leads to some level of disappointment. I remember filling in for a fellow yoga instructor and as I was introducing myself, three participants rolled up their mats and walked out. Ten minutes later as we were doing our warmup poses, a member asked me why I was not turning the lights off; evidently the assigned instructor teaches in subdued light. When I told the member I needed light to observe how each person was doing the poses; she made a sour face, uttered what sounded like a “harumph” before gathering her things and stormed out of the room. I totally get how individuals have expectations before they walk into the fitness room; but I must ask what options do they think are available? Either the substitute instructor teaches class, or the class would have to be cancelled; under these circumstances, wouldn’t it be better to deal with a different instructor’s style of yoga instead of no yoga at all? WHEN IT COMES TO INSTRUCTORS OR really anyone who is in a visible position, people are funny about those they like. Where I experienced more of the negative aspects when filling in for another instructor, I have heard from those instructors who have subbed for me. They have experienced the same negative reactions to their presence in my classes. I understand disappointment; when I go to a live theater event and the leading star’s character has a stand-in, I am disappointed, but I am not going to deny myself the experience of seeing the production. Just like those stories one hears about a rabid fan doing things to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrity, people want what they want as they say. I have read about millionaires who pay exorbitant prices to get a singer to perform at one of their parties. Or what about the individuals who do an outrageous act in the hopes of getting their celebrity crush to notice. I had a member who turned into a stalker, who would pop up at the oddest times to talk and ask me out until I had to file a complaint. As I sat down to watch this action crime comedy, I wondered which way would one of the main characters act, upon meeting their celebrity crush. DOWN ON HIS LUCK AND NEEDING the money was enough incentive for Nick Cage, played by Nicolas Cage (Pig, Between Worlds), to accept the offer to show up at a wealthy man’s estate. If nothing else, it would be a new role for him. With Pedro Pascal (Wonder Woman 1984, The Mandalorian-TV) as Javi Gutierrez, Tiffany Haddish (Like a Boss, Bad Trip) as Vivian, Sharon Horgan (Game Night, Dating Amber) as Olivia and Neil Patrick Harris (The Matrix Resurrections, Gone Girl) as Richard Fink; this movie was a lighthearted, fun experience. What made it so was the pairing of Nicolas with Pedro; they were great together as they played off each other. The idea for the story was novel, where I could appreciate the tongue in cheek flavor of the script. The writers were creative in setting things up for Nic to spoof Nicolas’ old films. Honestly, there is not anything that is a surprise here per se; however, it was just fun to see Nicholas doing such an excellent job parodying himself. As the film ended, I wondered if the movie studio would do another film with the two main leads; I think it would be a hoot.
THERE WAS NO ONE AROUND ME, so I decided I would be the first one to climb the mountain in front of me. Technically, it was a large hill; but to me it looked like it would be the biggest challenge facing me while on vacation. I was not well prepared to undertake such a feat; I was wearing gym shoes, no hat and carrying one water bottle. Ahead of me was what I thought might be a path, simply because there was little grass and rocks compared to the rest of the landscape. I started my way up and at first it seemed like it would be an easy climb. Let me add here, as I have grown older, I have gotten more afraid of heights. However, that thought was the furthest thing from my mind as I was feeling exhilarated from the breeze blowing and the receding land below me. As I was making my way up, the climb started getting steeper. There were a few times my shoes slipped from under me; luckily, if I were going to fall face forward, it would not have been a far fall since I was required to use my hands to help pull myself forward at times. I got as far as halfway up before I felt I would need the same amount of time to descend before it started getting dark. With one turn, I tried taking a step down but freaked out. It was too steep to walk down; I had to sit on my backside and slide myself most of the way down before I felt comfortable enough to stand up. HAVING TAKEN TWICE THE AMOUNT OF time to get back down from the climb up, I sat in my car listening to music to calm myself. What was I thinking? On a scale of things, I am sure this hill might rate mild for most people, but I realized if there is not a defined path with a gift shop at the end of it, I have no business climbing up a hill. In fact, I honestly do not understand why anyone wants to mountain climb. I am sure it must be exciting to say you have done something that so few have been able to do; but if it could kill you, why would you want to do it? A friend of mine one day decided he wanted to skydive. I did not understand the motivation, but he set his mind to it and made it happen. We saw the video of the jump and sure, it was amazing to see; however, seeing his cheeks flapping from the wind force as he was diving was enough for me to realize there is no need for anyone to jump out of a plane. Yet there will always be individuals who want to challenge themselves to do something extraordinary. An example would be one of the main characters in this prequel. HOW IRONIC THAT A MILD-MANNERED bank teller’s dream was to break into one of the world’s most secure bank vaults. All he needed was a little motivation. With Matthias Schweighofer (What A Man, The Red Baron) as Ludwig Dieter, Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones-TV, Maze Runner franchise) as Gwendoline Starr, Ruby O. Fee (The Invisibles, Polar) as Korina Dominguez, Stuart Martin (Only You, Jamestown-TV) as Brad Cage and Guz Khan (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Bubble) as Rolph; this action, crime comedy was your basic heist film with a few fun tweaks done to it. I enjoyed watching this movie because it was fast paced, with some thrilling and exciting scenes. The idea of the story was sound, but I had wished the writers would have gone further with the telling of it. The other reason I enjoyed this film was because the telling of it was not dependent on CGI effects; they did it the old-fashioned way by letting the actors tell and show us the story. I do not necessarily feel like one must see the original film to enjoy this one.
2 2/3 stars
OUT OF THE SEVERAL COUPLES I knew whose jobs were at the same company, they were an anomaly. They were a husband and wife who worked in the same office. If you did not know their last names you probably would not realize they were a couple; they always were professional in their positions. This was not the norm based on the other companies I had worked at where two employees were in a romantic relationship. I was at one workplace where one of the administrators was having an affair with one of the co-owners of the business. My co-workers and I always knew when the two had been together outside of the office. If they had had a good time, then they were always finding reasons to see each other throughout the day, communicating in what I would refer to as a “pseudo lovey-dovey” way, being so effusive with extra sweetness and politeness. If they had a “bad” time together, then they ignored each other the entire day. It got to the point where it was comical to see these two acting out in front of all the staff. The other aspect of this was the fact none of us ever wanted to disagree or cross the administrator, for fear she would say something to the co-owner. So, no matter whether she did something incorrectly or misinformed us, no one would contradict her. FROM MY VARIOUS JOB POSITIONS, I absolutely understood why some of the companies installed a no dating policy among employees. Honestly, I would have had a horrible time if I was dating a co-worker and we then wound up ending our relationship. How can one immediately switch gears from having a love relationship to a different one without having some separation time to heal and adjust to the new relationship? I know I could never do it; yet, I have witnessed couples who were in love one day and the next they suddenly are just friends. I need time to rewire my heart and mind to the new dynamic between us. In fact, I am proof that one can indeed become friends with their past significant others, because most of the people I have been in long term committed relationships with are still part of my life as a friend. However, with each one we had to separate ourselves for some time before we could come back as friends. Sure, it is not easy if the relationship ended on a sour note, but over time I believe it still can grow into some form of a friendship. If you are interested, see what happens with co-workers in this dramatic thriller. CALLED BACK TO DO AN INVESTIGATION of an operation that went wrong, a CIA agent must interrogate a former co-worker he was in love with when they were working together on the case. How objective would he be as they delved into their past? With Chris Pine (Star Trek franchise, Wonder Woman franchise) as Henry Pelham, Thandiwe Newton (Reminiscence, Westworld-TV) as Celia Harrison, Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix franchise, Mystic River) as Vick Wallinger, Jonathan Pryce (The Wife, The Two Popes) as Bill Compton and Ahd Kamel (Wadjda, Rattle the Cage) as Leila Maloof; this movie was more about the conversations than the actions. I thought Chris and Thandiwe were well suited for their roles and had a certain chemistry that worked between the two of them. I thought the idea behind the story was solid; however, I found this film dragged in parts. This might have been due to the jumping back and forth in time, though I thought several scenes could have been done in a more dramatic way that would have elevated the movie watching experience. Overall, this was a decent picture with a twist.
2 ¼ stars