A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “FIVE FEET APART” – 7.5

Think: “Love Story” – for those who can remember.    

     This is one of those movies where you need a box of tissues, particularly as the film evolves into the latter stages. 

     Stella, a victim of Cystic Fibrosis (Haley Lu Richardson) is a beautiful teenager that spends most of her time in the hospital as a patient. Her life is full of mundane routines and she has got everything figured out until she meets Will (Cole Sprouse), another teen with the same chronic and terminal illness. Because they are both afflicted with the same condition, it is imperative that that hold their conversations at least 5 foot apart from each other, lest one or the other can be contagious from airborne issues that could lead to rapid decline.

     Flirtation quickly turns into broken rules with potentially deadly consequences for the two teens. As the movie fades into its second half, the tension rises as both lovers-from-a-distance are drawn closer to each other with death looming over their relationships.

     Outside of a few implausible scenes, the movie captures the attention of an audience because of the dire nature of these two kids falling madly in love, yet

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “GRETA” – 8.0 (M. Frank)

GRETA  8.0

In a word:  Gripping

Greta exceeded our expectations, partly because the array of movie releases in these last few months have been pathetic. Never have we walked out on so many junk movies. Because the quality of the film was unexpected, Greta earns a high rating. This was definitely a well-crafted suspense film, rife with great acting and plenty of scenes that would have the audience on the edge of their seats. The story is told by Academy Award winning director, Neil Jordan.

     Actress, Chloe Grace Moretz, who I never heard of before, plays in the starring role as Frances, a sweet, naïve young woman trying to make it on her own in New York City, Frances discovers a handbag left in a subway train then goes about tracking the owner down to give it back. Not everything is as simple as it looks.

     The owner of the purse is a middle-aged widow named Greta (Isabelle Huppert), an eccentric French piano teacher with a love for classical music and an aching loneliness. Frances gives her back the purse and quickly grows closer as a friend to Greta as the two become fast friends. But there’s more

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OH BEAUTIFUL FOR SPACIOUS SKIES

We’ve lived in the best of times. We should be thankful.

     This is about having a great day this past Sunday, when the patriotic aura among Americans got caught up in the moment, without prompts.

     Yes, gone are the days when we would see all Americans, of all colors, ages, ethnic background, religions and sexual orientations, stand to express their love of country. Yes, we are imperfect and mistakes are made, and individual prejudices exist to be sure, but when comparing the USA to the rest of the planet, I’ll take our freedoms and opportunities before any other nations in the world.

     Retired Medical Examiner, Dr. Jay Barnhart and myself have been entertaining and playing at private clubs, civic organizations, libraries, assisted living facilities and many other private stages for the last twelve years, a couple old-timers with long careers in public service who still like to play with their toys.

    His toy is a piano. Mine is a violin. Our mothers forced us to practice and take lessons when we were kids, and we are forever grateful. We came to call ourselves the Dick-Doc Duo, a former Homicide “Dick” and Medical “Doc.”

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “THE WIFE” – 9.0

THE WIFE  – 9.0

In a word:  Compelling

     If you prefer movies with a lot of action, sex, violence, Sci-Fi or political correctness, do not see this movie. This is pure drama with superb acting on the part of the prime stars, Jonathan Pryce and Glenn Close, who already has landed a Golden Globe for her masterful performance, not to mention a number of other awards. And, yes, she’s up for an Oscar as well.

     Set in 1992, Connecticut, the story begins where John Castleman, a famed literary giant, receives a call from Sweden telling him he is being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. He and wife Joan (Close) are elated and make their way to Stockholm for the grand awards.

     Meanwhile, the director brings us into flashbacks when these two lovebirds first met, wedded and established a harmonious relationship in which the wife helps and guides him through everyday living, more so than we could have imagined. The story expands to the young adult son who has issues with his careless father, and a few dalliances which The Wife is expected to ignore.

     The main plot surrounds a surprising revelation which sends all the

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MISSING FROM TRUMP SOTU SPEECH: MENTAL HEALTH. (Op-Ed)

This Op-Ed by yours truly appears in today’s issue of Florida Today.

President Trump’s recent State of the Union address covered a myriad of topics, all vital toward improving life, liberty and happiness in a world rife with poverty, violence, crime, terror and more. Absent from his to-do list was any mention about government’s role in dealing with the epidemic of serious mental illness.

     We blindly turn our backs to this tragic problem as though it doesn’t exist. It doesn’t make a lot of noise. It gets little attention. There are no protesters or demonstrations. The media doesn’t cover the problems nor do bleeding heart groups. Politicians skirt the topic with a minimum of attention because mental health is not a priority and garners no political steam, left or right. Besides, it’s difficult to quantify. It makes no difference to any political base.

     The medical field does their part in numbing psychotic people with prescription medicines, which only works if the patient 1) does not abuse the drugs, 2) does not sell the drugs or 3) fails to take the drugs. But it does not solve and/or cure the illness. It’s a means of getting by.

     But

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “COLD PURSUIT” – 4 OUT OF 10

COLD PURSUIT  –  4   (Out of 10)

In a wordAmateurish

     This was supposed to be thriller/revenge story with Liam Neeson at the head of the cast, followed by nothing other than amateurs, poor writing and dumb directing. I’d like to have a dollar for every time I’d groan with a pair rolling eyes. Oh give me a break.

     The setting is in the areas around Denver during the cold winter. Neeson’s grown son, had been abducted and killed by drug cartel people. This incensed Neeson to the point of embarking on a retribution campaign, but not until he was caught trying to blow his own brains out with a shotgun…which was never explained. Never mind that his marriage was over, apparently because the obsessed Neeson could no long communicate on a normal level.

     The story brings in a myriad of characters, including tribal chieftains, organized crime tough guys, oriental women, and a pair of investigative cops that must have come from Keystone. Kidding aside, two local police officers working in a small town outside Denver become the top investigators of things they don’t know what they are investigating. For diversity, they include one young

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QUIT SMOKING-ONE MAN’S STORY.

Today, January 14, 2019, is the 36th anniversary of my birth…or should I say, rebirth.  Truth be told, in 1983 it was the date that I stopped smoking cigarettes, forever. Had I not, I would have been long dead by now, and a horrible death at that.

     A year or so prior to then, a doctor-friend shared a diagnosis with me that I had the early stages of emphysema which, in today’s jargon, we call COPD.  I’ll not forget his words. “Marshall, I would rather treat an advanced case of cancer anytime, than a patient dying of emphysema. There is very little I can do to alleviate the suffering.”

     This would be no easy task for a four-pack a day addict like me. Like many folks of the early era, I started in 1955 at age 16 mainly to fit in with friends. It was cool. It was in. Movie stars on and off screen, all smoked. So did famous recording artists. Physicians could be seen on billboard ads recommending Camels or Lucky Strikes. In the 1950s and 60s you were not cool if you didn’t smoke.

     But time marched on. Literature was coming out just how

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