Category Archives: Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday-Red Eye (2005)

Flying has become a routine of our modern lives. It can also create an opportunity for blackmail.

In the 2005 movie Red Eye, Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) hates flying with a passion.  On a flight to Miami, she sits next to Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy).  The conversation starts off as regular small talk until Jackson reveals that he has ulterior motives. If Lisa does not help Jackson assassinate a politician, her father will be killed.

This movie is brilliant. If there was one film to describe as a thriller, this film would be it. Murphy is truly terrifying, reaching the limits that only a villain in an Alfred Hitchcock film would reach. For her part, McAdams fear of flying is only heightened by the very difficult decision that she knows she has to make.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Flashback Friday-Gran Torino (2008)

Many of us remember the crotchety old man or woman who lived on our block when we were kids. By reputation, this man or woman was known for loudly voicing their displeasure when a child’s toy landed on their lawn or when one of the neighborhood teenagers cranked their music just a little too loud.

While this character for the most part remains a 2D caricature, the 2008 film Gran Torino explores this character with a new set of eyes. Walter Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) is a grizzled Korean War veteran whose pride and joy is a 1972 Gran Torino. Known for being the crotchety old man in the neighborhood, Walter not only does not get along with his neighbors, but he is also emotionally disconnected from his own family. When Walter catches Thao (Bee Vang), a teenager who is dared by his gang member cousin to steal Walter’s car, he decides to help the young man.

Walter’s mission starts out simply: to get Thao on the straight and narrow and away from the gangs. But the gangs are not going away without a fight and Walter finds himself pulled further and further into the fight.

I’m not a huge fan of Clint Eastwood, but this movie is very, very good. Though Eastwood is playing to type, he also steps away from the typecasting when he becomes the father figure to Thao and reveals  the heart underneath the shell.

I absolutely recommend it.

 

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Flashback Friday-The Da Vinci Code (2006)

Dan Brown’s 2006 novel, The Da Vinci Code was nothing short of a bombshell when it hit book stories 12 years ago. Depending on the perspective of the reader, it was either a thriller that kept you reading, or it was blasphemous/utter nonsense.

Either way, it’s no great mystery as to why a film adaptation of the book quickly reached theaters that same year. Starring Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon and Audrey Tautou as Sophie Neveu, the characters are trying to unravel a murder mystery, while discovering clues about the murderer in the works of Leonardo da Vinci. In doing so, they are outing a secret society that has lasted for centuries and could change how Christianity is viewed should the secrets be brought into the light.

I really enjoyed this movie. I enjoyed it not only because I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, but also the religious element adds to the tension that is part of discovering who the killer is.

I recommend it.

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Flashback Friday-Gulliver’s Travels (2010)

The stranger in a strange land is a common trope. Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift is one of the  most well-known stories that use this trope as the skeleton for the narrative.

In 2010, the book was made into a movie starring Jack Black, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt. Jack Black plays with title role with Jason Segel and Emily Blunt playing Horatio and Princess Mary, a pair of lovers whose fate it seems is to be separated forever.

I’m just going to say it. This movie horrible and not worth any amount of money one would spend at the movie theaters. Jack Black tries to include a sense of humor into the movie, but the jokes, like the movie, falls flat.

Do I recommend it? No.

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Flashback Friday-United 93 (2006)

Among the heartache and tragedy that is September 11th, stories of heroism shine through the darkness. One of those stories is the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93.

The 2006 film, United 93, is the story of their heroism as they fought against their hijackers. While they lost their lives in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, they saved countless others in Washington D.C. by preventing the terrorists from reaching their intended destination. With a cast that includes David Alan Basche playing real life hero Todd Beamer,  the film is told in real-time from the moment the passengers get on the plane, until it crashes, killing everyone aboard.

If there was ever a 9/11 movie that keeps the tension tight until the credits roll while breaking the hearts of the audience, this film is it.

I recommend it.

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Flashback Friday-Hercules (Miniseries)- (2005)

The myth of Hercules is one for the ages. The son of Zeus, the king of the gods and Alcmene, a mortal woman, his legendary strength and journey has become a symbol for facing the challenges in our own lives.

In the 2005 miniseries, Hercules, Paul Telfer plays the title role. Accused of killing his sons, he must go on a journey and face a number of obstacles before his name and reputation can be cleared.

Based on the myth of the Labours Of Hercules, the miniseries takes the viewer on a journey as Hercules not only completes his labours, but also grows up along the way.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Flashback Friday- Malibu Shores (1996)

The cross class divide is a story as old as humanity itself. The question, then begs, when a writer uses this very basic story as the skeleton of their narrative, is there enough to flesh out the story or is the writer relying on stereotypes?

In the short lives series Malibu Shores (1996), Zack Morrison (Tony Lucca) from the wrong sides of the tracks meets rich girl Chloe Walker (Keri Russell), it seems like a match made in heaven. But only to them, that is. Everyone else around them thinks that this relationship is a bad idea. Then Zack’s school is destroyed in an earthquake and he, along with the rest of his classmates, are forced to transfer to Chloe’s high school. The forced mingling between the two groups does not go over well.

Producer Aaron Spelling tried to replicate the success of his mega hit Beverly Hills 90210 with Malibu Shores. 90210, this show is not. It lasted only one season and was cancelled due to poor ratings.  While I give the creative team an A for effort, this show, unfortunately, was not very good.

Do I recommend it? No.

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Throwback Thursday-A Call To Remember (Television Movie)-1997

Life is complicated, that is a fact.

In the 1997 television movie, A Call To Remember, Paula and David Tobias (Blythe Danner and Joe Mantegna) are middle-aged Holocaust survivors just living their lives and going about their business.  But while they are still trying to keep back with the demons of their past, they are also dealing with the reality that their eldest son Jake (David Lascher) may go off to fight in Vietnam.

After the war, many Holocaust survivors returned to normal lives. Marriage, kids, jobs, etc. But the trauma, both physical and emotional that they experienced never left them. What I really appreciate about this movie is not only the normal relationships between the main characters, but also how resilient they are in spite of everything that they experienced.

I recommend it.

 

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Flashback Friday-Jewels (1992)

History has an interesting way of intersecting with our personal lives.

In the 1992 television miniseries Jewels, (based on the novel of the same name by Danielle Steele), Sarah Thompson (Annette O’Toole) is an American woman who marries William Whitfield (Anthony Andrews), a British Duke at the beginning of World War II. They settle in France, not knowing that war is coming. The war throws a chink (as it did for everyone in that period) into their lives. After the war is over,  the family opens a Jewelry store that is a success, but conflict arises, as it often does. Will the family and the store survive or will both cave into the pressure that is building within and without?

Danielle Steele, as a writer, is known for a certain type of narrative. I rarely if ever read her novels, so this review is strictly based on the television adaptation and not the novel. What I like about the story and the character that exist within this story is that it is a very human story. I also appreciate that real historical events have a hand in shaping the lives of the characters.

Do I recommend it? Probably.

*On an unrelated note, this will be my last Throwback Thursday/Flashback Friday post for 2017. Look for my new reviews coming in 2018.

 

 

 

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Flashback Friday-Christmas Edition-Will You Merry Me? (2008)

You know it’s Christmas when Hallmark movies start to pop up on the television schedule.

In 2008, Hallmark semi-diverted from their standard Christmas movie to tell the story of Jewish girl engaged to a Christian boy in Will You Merry Me?.

Rebecca Fine (Vikki Krinsky) comes from a Jewish family living in Los Angeles. Henry Kringle (Tommy Lioutas) comes from a Christian family living in Madison, Wisconsin. While Rebecca and Henry are happily in love and eager to start a life together, their families are not quite as eager to see the young couple walk down the aisle. Of course, Hanukkah and Christmas collide, adding to the misunderstandings and miscommunication. Will Rebecca and Henry say I do or will their families pull them apart?

Let’s put it out there. It’s a Hallmark Christmas movie. It’s predictable from the word go. But, it’s nice to see that the creative team attempt to add a little diversity to the usual narrative.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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