Movies: Red Sparrow, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Loveless

Red Sparrow

This film demands a lot from the viewer.  First, Russian ballerina has her leg broken by a fellow dancer with no explanation.  Next, after recovering from the injury, she enrolls in a secret intelligence school that makes weapons out of its students.

Even with this odd plot, the acting is impressive.  Jennifer Lawerence morphs from one personality to the next convincingly.  Joel Edgerton is a great match as the CIA operative.  Matthias Schoenaerts is the suave Uncle to Jennifer.  Jeremy Irons is a good bad guy and Charlotte Rampling is awesome as the Russian Headmistress.

Reviews have been mixed.  We found it gripping, intense, mostly believable and a new twist on an old plot.  It is rated R for strong violence, torture, sexual content, language and some graphic nudity.  It is NOT appropriate for children.  It runs a hefty 2 hours, 21 minutes.

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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Move over Angelina, make room for Alicia Vikander as the new Lara Croft.  In this episode of the Tomb Raider franchise, Lara embarks on a quest to follow in her father’s footsteps and find the missing links that will reveal the cause of her father’s death.

Lara finds a connection in her fathers death that leads to a journey to a remote island off the coast of Japan.  There are lots of twists and turns, most implausible, but necessary to the story line.

The acting follows suit.   Dan Wu plays an Asian boat captain who agrees to the journey.  Walton Goggins plays a pretty good bad guy.  Dominic West plays Lara’s Dad.  Hannah John-Kamen plays a bad girl while Kristin Scott Thomas plays the loving guardian (not) to Lara.

It’s rated PG-13 for violence, action and some strong language.  We discourage children from viewing this film.  The genre is noted as Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction and Fantasy.  It runs a long 118 minutes.

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Loveless

This was nominated for Best Foreign Film but was not released until after we departed for Europe (and it was not released in Europe until March 8).   Needless to say, it was not the winner.

It was however, a nail biting, gut wrenching and angst filled look behind the veil of Russian life.  Specifically marriage, child rearing, family and work life.  Oh my!  American soap operas are child’s play compared to this story line.

The Russian cast of 18 is filled with great actors who tell a heart wrenching story.  It is rated R for strong sexuality, graphic nudity, language and a brief disturbing image.  The genre is listed as Art House & International, Drama. It runs a whopping 129 minutes.

BTW, while buying the tickets John ran into the English actor Terence Stamp for a brief but pleasant moment!

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