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Flash Movie Review: Harriet

I BELIEVE EVERYONE HAS A BREAKING point; the only difference is each person has it set at a different threshold. Some years ago, there was an employee at the company I worked at who was a jovial man. Friendly to everyone, always a smile on his face; for all intents and purposes, he was an ideal employee. Let me add, he had been employed at the company for several years. I never heard the details of what caused him to reach his breaking point; only that it was a “bad” scene. He got into an argument with another employee. If the two men had a history of confrontations, I was not privy to the information. However, the fight turned heated as the 2 men raised their voices and started yelling obscenities at each other. I do not know how long this went on; but at some point, the jovial employee picked up a large monkey wrench and chased the other employee around their work area. Another employee intervened by tackling the employee and wrestling him to the ground, while grabbing the monkey wrench and twisting it out of his hand. As you may have guessed he was fired that day. When news spread throughout the company, employees were stunned; no one ever imagined he could get so angry or try to cause bodily harm to another person.      REMEMBERING THAT EMPLOYEE REMINDED ME OF my younger days when my breaking point was set at a lower threshold. I was always quick to use my anger to solve disturbing situations. If I felt someone slighted me, I would immediately go on the attack. Gratefully I never ventured into the use of physical harm; however, I would verbally abuse them by using every swear word I knew. If that did not satisfy me, I would plot out covert ways I could get back at them. I am too embarrassed to tell you about a few of the things I did in my past; let me just say I am not proud of those actions. What I can tell you is I am no longer that individual. These days, my breaking point resides on a higher level. The reason may be a variety of things, from becoming more mature to exploring avenues of self-help. Regardless, having a stronger sense of self has allowed me to make better and more rational decisions. Though I am still capable of letting my anger come out full force, I have not encountered a situation that called for it. Certainly nothing near what the main character endured in this dramatic, historical biography.      IF IT MEANT DYING THEN THE slave Minty, played by Cynthia Erivo (Widows, Bad Times at the El Royale), was at peace with it if it meant there was a chance, she could be free of her master. Chances were not in her favor. With Leslie Odom Jr (Red Tails, Murder on the Orient Express) as William Still, Joe Alwyn (The Favourite, Mary Queen of Scots) as Gideon Brodess, Clarke Peters (John Wick, Marley & Me) as Ben Ross and Vanessa Bell Calloway (Daylight, Lakeview Terrace) as Rit Rose; this movie based on a true story had the perfect actor playing the role of Minty/Harriet. Cynthia’s acting was memorable just as her voice was when her character would sing a few bars in several scenes. The story was incredible and unimaginable. For most of the time my eyes were glued to the screen; however, when the script went off into a religious fantasy mode it lost me a bit. I thought those scenes were over dramatic and thick. If they had been toned down and made to be more of a realistic conversation, I would have put more stock in them. Still, I was engaged throughout the story. On a sad/poignant note, the news today is reporting about a fast food restaurant where the staff asked a black family to change their seats because a white customer did not want them seated next to him. I cannot stop wondering if we will ever see a change.

 

3 stars         

Flash Movie Review: Southside with You

From what I have seen and heard all it takes to find a date is swipe your finger to the left or right. The dating world has certainly changed now that almost everyone has a smartphone or access to the internet. I understand there is a phone app that alerts you whenever there is a person near you that is active on the same dating site that you enrolled in. You might be able to tell I really have no idea what I am talking about here. Call me old fashioned but all of these “new fangled” methods of dating do not appeal to me. Maybe because we have become more of an instant gratification type of society, but I still do not understand why the art of talking/communicating has taken a back seat to physical appearances and close proximity when it comes to having a date. Back in the “old” days single people would meet each other through friends, at their job, the grocery store, on public transportation; a multitude of places but it was usually face to face. Sure there were tricks of the trade that were used depending on the circumstances; for example, a blind date could be set up to meet for a cup of coffee at a café. The reason being if you were not interested in the person the date would be short. Doing a dinner and show type of date would give you more time to learn about the other person plus if conversation was tentative the movie would occupy part of the time together. Some people prefer having an activity to do during their 1st date, such as a bike ride or bowling to find some commonality between each other. Personally I have found these old ways of dating to be more civilized. Now here is something to wrap your brain around; imagine having a first date that went on for the entire day, continuing into the night.   FIRST dates could be a challenge for some but intern Barack Obama, played by Parker Sawyers (Zero Dark Thirty, Survivor), thought he had everything planned out unbeknownst to his work mentor Michelle Robinson, played by Tika Sumpter (Ride Along franchise, One Life to Live-TV). This film festival winning biographical drama was about the actual first date Barack and Michelle had back in Chicago before anyone knew their names. These two actors were the main focus of the film though there were a few scenes with Vanessa Bell Calloway (Cheaper by the Dozen, Daylight) and Phillip Edward Van Lear (Meet the Browns, Prison Break-TV) as Marian and Frank Robinson. I did not connect with this movie at first because I found it slow moving. It is funny, as I sat watching this picture I was saying to myself, “Pick up the pace.” But then as things progressed it occurred to me that I was witnessing an actual date. The actors did a good job of acting instead of impersonating their characters. The way the two slowly became comfortable with each other was sweet in my opinion. I wonder how many people today could or would go on a first date like the one in this romantic picture.

 

2 ½ stars

 

 

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