(Short) Movie Review: The Outfit (2022)

It’s at the finishings that you must come to terms with the idea that perfection is a necessary goal, precisely because it is unattainable. If you don’t aim for perfection, you cannot make anything great. And yet true perfection is impossible.

-Leonard Burling-

Mark Rylance is an underrated actor and I encourage everyone to watch this movie as it shows the greatness of writing, casting, and editing to make it a captivating drama movie without car chases, superheroes, and many locations. In fact, there is one location throughout the whole movie and yet, you feel as if you’ve experienced the story from many different angles. There is little missing in this movie to make it better. The scenes unfold in the right amount of time and speed up when needed. The Outfit is written by Graham Moore and Johnathan McClain and stars Mark Rylance as Leonard Burling, Zoey Deutch as Mable Shaun, Dylan O’Brien as Richie Boyle, Johnny Flynn as Francis, Simon Russell Beale as Roy Boyle, Alan Mehdizadeh as Monk, and Nikki Amuka-Bird as Violet LaFontaine. It is rated R and is one hour and 46 minutes.

The location is in a tailor shop in Chicago during the mid 1950s where Leonard is quick to establish there is a difference between a cutter and a tailor. Leonard’s shop is used by Roy Boyle and his son, Richie, for their mob business. When Richie arrives with a gunshot in his stomach, Leonard helps him survive his wounds and finds himself in a delicate situation. There is an FBI recording of the gang’s operations and where the tape actually is remains a mystery. When Roy arrives to get answers about his son’s disappearance, Leonard continues his charade of not knowing what really happened to Richie. No one is going anywhere according to Roy and when an unexpected call comes into the shop, someone’s going to have to answer for Richie. The complete mystery of Leonard is no more as he reveals his motivations. The past becomes the present and the present becomes his future.

I rate The Outfit FOUR FINGERS and ONE THUMB at 100%.

(Short) Movie Review: Underwater (2020)

There are things will happen and make you feel powerless, and make you feel insignificant, but that’s it. There are just feelings. and sometimes you have to stop feeling and start doing.

-Norah Price-

Underwater is about a team of underwater researchers stuck in a station near the Mariana Trench while being attacked by an unknown creature. Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad were the screenwriters while William Eubank directed the movie. The major cast was Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie, and T.J. Miller. The running time is one hour and 35 minutes and is rated PG-13.

Underwater begins with Norah Price (Kristen Stewart) uneasy about something but not quite sure what it is until the area she is in becomes flooded. She reaches safety and reconnects with the Captain named Lucien (Vincent Cassel), Rodrigo Nagenda (Mamoudou Athie), Paul Abel (T.J. Miller). As they make their way to the control room, they find two more survivors, a biologist and engineer named Emily Haversham (Jessica Henwick) and Liam Smith (John Gallagher Jr.). All together they come up with a plan to escape and find safety above the water. The only problem is a creature never seen close up is lurking in the murky waters. Most of the team survive as they cross the ocean floor. The movie is about survival, bravery, sacrifice, and consequences of intentional ignorance.

What makes Underwater a good movie is the limited time you see the creature. It’s a simple story of getting from point A to point B with obstacles in the way. The story isn’t bogged down with the inability of the research team to investigate it thoroughly because there isn’t time. The opening starts with getting into survival mode and the ending ends with minimizing the negative impact and missteps of the mission. The cast doesn’t have much written dialogue to shine because there’s not too much talking when the bulk of it is underwater. However, despite Kristen Stewart gives an adequate performance, I wish there had been a little more dialogue. Most of this movie is full steam ahead and to hell with the consequences.

I rate Underwater GOOD of THREE FINGERS at 80%.

TV Show Recommendation: Covert Affairs (2010-2014)

Covert Affairs is about a CIA agent, Annie Walker, finding a balance between secrecy with her sister, Danielle Brooks and success as a new operative under the command of Joan Campbell. Good thing she has a support network, though small, in Auggie Anderson and Jai Wilcox. As she becomes more experienced and confident in her skills, her superiors find her more of a liability than an asset at times. They continue to have her back and give her protection until she goes too far in her lying and reckless decisions. Annie still finds a way to be in the middle of operations and uses her skills to shed light on the bad guys while trying to minimize the casualties of innocent bystanders. There are times it straddles between realism and fantasy but that is the skill of an operative. They make you believe something they are not and while some scenes feel more soap opera like, the relationships between Auggie and Annie and Joan and Arthur Campbell truly feel authentic. Besides Annie’s missions she is assigned and how she gets out of them when she’s in trouble is why you watch it. The cast and supporting cast include Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham, Kari Matchett, Anne Dudek, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Peter Gallagher, Hill Harper, Nic Bishop, Oded Fehr, Gregory Itzen, Sarah Clarke, Noam Jenkins, Eion Bailey, Richard Coyle, and Perrey Reeves.

I rate Covert Affairs FOUR FINGERS at 90%.

TV Show Recommendation: Animal Kingdom (2016-2022)

I can’t say enough good things about Animal Kingdom. Even after one of the major characters was written off the show, her replacement which was a younger version did just as well. The series ended on a somewhat predictable note, but with enough surprises and emotion that it cuts to the core. There really were no winners in any of the episodes and the so-called losers were all the children of Smurf/Janine Cody. You knew this family wasn’t going to continue its dysfunction forever. While all the cast shined, I have to give it up to Shawn Hatosy as older Pope. He was my favorite character. The six seasons of this show centers on the Cody family and their criminal enterprise in Oceanside, CA. This family/crime drama was created by David Michôd and stars Ellen Barkin/Leila George as Janine Cody (Smurf), Scott Speedman/Darren Mann as Barry Blackwell (Baz), Shawn Hatosy/Kevin Csolak as Andrew Cody (Pope), Ben Robson as Craig Cody, Jake Weary as Deran Cody, and Finn Cole as Joshua Cody (J). Supporting cast include Daniella Alonso as Catherine Belen, Molly Gordon as Nicky Belmont, Renn Randall as Christina Ochoa, Carolina Guerra as Lucy, Spencer Treat Clark as Adrian Dolan, Sohvi Rodriguez as Mia Benitez, Jon Beavers/Jack Conley as Jake Dunmore, Charlayne Woodard as Pamela Johnson, Rigo Sanchez as Manny, and Denis Leary as Billy.

The first season begins with J Cody needing a place to live and so begins his new life with his uncles and grandmother. The biggest thorn in his side out of his uncles is Pope and he wonders about his relationship to Baz. Everyone in the family is a combination of jealousy, hesitation, and wariness toward J. Essentially, none of them really want him there except Smurf and try their best to be civil as he tries to prove himself. Season two continues to focus on the complicated relationships among the Cody family while bringing in the money to live their lavish lifestyles. Certain family members try to distance themselves from Smurf while others try to prove themselves to her while still others are trying to outwit her. The family dynamics shift in some ways, but they all circle back to Smurf where she is at the center. The third season is full of regrets and guilt from past actions for Deran and Pope. It also includes the ups and downs of Pope’s mental health issues and his relationship with J. There is a constant tension between these two and you get a better sense of how calculated J can be.

Season four is where the Cody brothers start to splinter more than ever when an unexpected death occurs. This is my second favorite season because the episode between Smurf and her boys was the best ever and the most disappointing because a great character was lost. The people each of the Cody brothers relied on are dying or leaving and this leaves them vulnerable because their enemies are coming out of the woodwork including their own long distant relatives. The fifth season begins with the origins of Janine Cody’s control over Oceanside and underlying commentary on how her parenting skills screwed up all her children in some way. She was a selfish, manipulative mother where her children were there to serve her needs and not the other way around. The focus shifts to the relationship between Julia and Pope and Smurf and Pope. In present day, the Cody brothers continue their daring heists with mostly success. Season six, the final one, is my favorite one because the Cody family in all their faults got what they deserved. The scars built up over the years with and without Smurf were too great to ignore. I wasn’t sure how much I’d like the last episode but how it all came to a screeching halt was perfect compared to the slow burn over the seasons. I can’t help but wonder how long the freedom for the remaining characters last because given the who the survivors are, revenge has been a central part of the Cody family.

I rate Animal Kingdom FOUR FINGERS and ONE THUMB at 100%.

Trifecta #95

Trifecta #94

Flash Fiction: When They Die In the Silence

When they try to run me off the road, my car inches over and the edge next to the cliff, far down, gets closer and closer. I dare not peek anymore. I know I’m not closer to my death because I don’t fear death the way others do. I am not afraid to die because I have died already in my mind, many times over because that is what they wanted from me, that is how they tried to break me. I can’t be broken when I haven’t healed. The car keeps moving forward, lurching at times, stalling other times, and never doing the same pattern twice in an hour. This will be a long car ride. I don’t know when my vision will clear. It’s been hazy for days. I barely fall asleep at night and hardly wake in the morning. Making the predetermined trip on this October day is like the other days of the week. I step out, under the sun, and take a deep breath. My lungs making room for more pollution and the rumbling in my stomach is not similar to the gamble I’m taking. When they try to take me away, there will be no resistance or noise. The year doesn’t matter and neither do you in the silence of this dying animal.

Journal Entry Type #151: Set and Reset

The best advice I can give someone who is just starting out in life such as in their early twenties or even early thirties, is expect the unexpected. I know I’ve said this before, but I never thought I’d be in this position I’m in now. Seriously, I’ve never thought I would be here but yet, here I am without many things I thought I’d have and the one thing I thought I’d never have. Sure, I thought I’d leave this world in a blaze of glory (with tons of fortune and fame) in the most perfect setting and timing. I knew this would never happen the way I wanted it and the more the years go by, I’m convinced it was a pipe dream, so far out of range it’s not even within any of the time zones on Planet Earth. When you graduate high school, many graduates want to earn the big bucks like some Wall Street yuppie but fail to realize many of them have to take drugs to keep up with their fellow co-workers who also want to earn the big bucks. This is why I have little respect for anyone who owns a business and then demands unrealistic work expectations. I know many people looked up to and admire Steve Jobs, but the guy did not have a good work and home balance. This isn’t to say he would’ve lived longer because cancer will destroy as cancer does. For those who are in good health, why create such friction and unnecessary chaos when it doesn’t need to occur. On a much smaller scale, I know of a company whose management is young and inexperienced, which is fine because these new managers need to learn the ropes, but what isn’t good is their inability to listen especially to others who have been around ten or more years longer than them. There is such a thing as proving yourself and another thing of proving yourself while destroying what’s in front of you including the company as a whole. It’s not good management or business practice to over economize. When this happens, the structural flow is disrupted more, and the end productivity and result are lessened. I’m taking this mindset concerning my life. I’ve thought about moving out of state, to another country, to another Planet (just kidding). I’m thinking it’s time to try a whole bunch of things (and by this, I mean two or three things) and see what sticks and what doesn’t) in terms of opportunities. What’s there to lose? My pride? My mind? I’m trying to think outside my comfort zone. I’m trying to see what’s really out there in terms of entrepreneurial opportunities with minimal risk. If not now, when? What I’m doing right now isn’t working for me! Yeah, not so much!

Humorous November Quotes

Poem: What’s Left to Lose?

They asked me countless times.

Two questions each.

What’s left to lose?

How much else can you gain?

I don’t know how to answer them.

My honesty has never been my strength.

Ask me about my weaknesses.

I have much to tell with the right motivation.

The number of close calls I’ve had.

Three guesses each.

One, two, and three.

Maybe four different viewpoints of mine.

Feeling on top of a moving train.

Playing hooky on adulthood.

Nothing but carelessness.

Don’t give a damn.

What’s left to push?

Why is it important to win?

They left me twice already.

No more answers.

I’ll ask one more time.

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