Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 10-15-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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28 ENTERTAINMENT OCTOBER 15-21, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER LIVING EDITION Lackluster 'Ava' misses the mark ★★ A couple of years ago, Charlize Theron starred in "Atomic Blonde," a film I very much enjoyed and reviewed in this column. She was a brutally lethal secret agent and the film focused on her deadly skills. It took the popular- ity of the Bourne films and gave it a feminine lead. There's been a few other femme fatale-themed mov- ies as well over the last few years, and now comes "Ava." "Ava" is a family drama masquerading as an assas- sin movie. Ava ( Jessica Chastain) is her own worst enemy, an addict with a conscience who is con- tinually asking her targets moral questions about what they've done wrong or who they've hurt. Yet she's morally duplicitous herself, eventually trying to get back her ex, who is now dating her sister. Ava has been gone eight years and comes back to find her father dead and her mother (Geena Davis) not in the best of shape. Her sister is not her biggest fan either and tells her at one point that she liked her better "when she was a drunk." For all intents and purpos- es, "Ava" is a poor man's John Wick rip-off. There's a nightclub scene near the end of the film that feels like it was culled together from the cutting room floor of a more superior action film. Even Jennifer Garner's "Peppermint" from 2018 had more emotion and feeling. Ava is emotionally bankrupt and has many character flaws and at no point during this film do you ever feel empathy for her. In the sequences where she is being a dangerous hand-to-hand combatant, this film excels, but when it tries to pedal the narrative of Ava's backstory or family history, it bogs down and becomes an opportunity to make a bathroom break. This is a confusing film since it doesn't have a clear direction. At times it wants to be an aggressive spy film but then turns to Lifetime TV territory dealing with Ava and her mom and sis- ter. These conflicting story threads make for an incon- sistent movie. Geena Davis shows up in the back half of the movie as Ava's mother and what's scary is that she actually bears a resemblance to Chastain. John Malkovich puts in a great turn as Ava's "handler" Duke and the seemingly ageless Colin Farrell is Malkovich's first protege Simon who looks to usurp control of the business. Farrell comes off great here especially in two separate fight scenes against Malkovich and Chastain. The film is directed by Tate Taylor who had heavy TV background before this film. I just feel like this film was trying too hard to emulate "La Femme Nikita" or "Alias," which were two superior TV shows that dealt in the same subject matter. Chastain is an outstand- ing actor but she just never seemed to be fully engaged in this character throughout the film. She felt like she had a lackluster and bored attitude throughout. JESSICA CHASTAIN plays an assassin-for-hire in "Ava." Film Unfiltered TOM BURKE do you know? You can place a Classified Ad anytime at valleybreeze.com Click on 'Classifieds' DAR Chapter hosting preamble memorization contest The Beacon Pole Hill Chapter, NSDAR has announced a contest in honor of Constitution Week 2020. Students in K-12 are invited to memorize the preamble of the Constitution and recite it to their classroom, social studies or American history teacher. All participants will receive a certificate of achievement and be entered into a raffle for a gift certificate to a local ice cream shop. Local businesses have donated gift certificates for the contest. Contact BeaconPoleHillNSDAR@ gmail.com for more informa- tion.

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