Tag Archives: jeremy irons

RED SPARROW (2017) – My rating: 8.3/10

Red Sparrow is a Spy thriller directed by Francis Lawrence and written by Justin Haythe, based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Jason Matthews. It tells the story of a Russian intelligence officer who is sent to make contact with a CIA agent in the hope of discovering the identity of a mole. Red Sparrow is a pretty sexy movie that implies, Russians will do anything to achieve their goals.  I thought Red Sparrow was well done.

In modern-day Russia, Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) is a famed Russian ballerina who supports her ill mother. Following a career-ending injury, Dominika is approached by her uncle, Ivan Vladimirovich Egorov (Matthias Schoenaerts), who works in Russian Intelligence. Because of the accident she suffered, Dominika is no longer able to dance and is out of work.  Ivan convinces her to do a job which tasks her with seducing Dimitry Ustinov (Kristof Konrad), a Russian gangster, in exchange for her mother’s continued medical care. As Ustinov rapes her, he is killed by Sergei Matorin (Sebastian Hülk), a Russian operative and torture expert.  Ivan then offers Dominika a choice to begin working for Russian Intelligence, or be executed so there are no witnesses to the murder of Ustinov, which he ordered.

— SPOILERS BELOW —

Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton) is a CIA operative working in Moscow. While meeting with an asset in Gorky Park, they are confronted by the police. Nash creates a diversion to ensure his asset, a mole in Russian ranks, code-named Marble, escapes detection. Nash is reassigned back to the US but insists that he is the only individual whom Marble will work with. Since he cannot return to Russia, he is assigned to Budapest, where he will regain contact with Marble.

Dominika begins training to become a Russian operative, known as a ‘Sparrow’, capable of seducing her targets. Dominika excels in her training, despite some friction with her trainers, and she is assigned to Budapest. Russian SVR has been tracking Nash, hoping to find out the identity of Marble. Dominika’s assignment is to gain the trust of Nash, and reveal his contact.

Upon her arrival in Budapest, Dominika lives with Marta Yelenova (Thekla Reuten), another Sparrow. Her boss in Budapest is Maxim Volontov (Douglas Hodge). Dominika quickly makes contact with Nash, who correctly determines that she is a Russian Intelligence operative. Dominika reveals her true identity to him, as well as her motive to find out Marble’s identity. While Marta is out, Dominika inspects her room, and realizes that she is working to gather information from Stephanie Boucher (Mary Louise-Parker), chief of staff for a US Senator. Dominika also realizes she needs more time, and claims to her uncle that she is helping in Marta’s effort to gather information from Boucher. Upon returning home one day, Dominika finds Marta brutally tortured and murdered. Matorin reveals that he carried out the murder as a warning not to betray Russian secrets.

From this point, there is much more action as well as twist and turns.  Additionally, Jeremy Irons is in the cast and Dominika turns out to be a very clever young lady, capable of taking her new found position to many levels.  The plot thickens and so does the intensity.  There’s violence and explicit sexy scenes that are appropriate to what’s going on in the moment.  Red Sparrow is not suited for children. I mention this because I saw a dad with his young child in the audience.  I wanted to say something but I knew better.  Red Sparrow was brilliantly acted. Jennifer’s Russian accent was a little shaky at times, almost absent, but was convincing enough that it didn’t take away from the film.  I enjoyed the movie and recommend it to adults who would enjoy a pretty good adventurous spy flick.  Check it out!

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017) – My rating: 8/10

Justice League is a superhero film based on the DC Comics superhero team of the same name consisting of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. The film is directed by Zack Snyder with a screenplay by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, from a story by Terrio and Snyder. There are many reasons I’m glad Justice League was created.  I was a very unhappy camper when they decided to kill off Superman, especially by the likes of Batman, who actually has no super powers.  That was the biggest injustice in super hero history, in my opinion.  Justice League redeemed that unfortunate event, which made my day.  I also got to see Aquaman in all his glorious action, which also made my day.  So much eye candy, so little time!  I was well entertained as well.

Thousands of years ago, Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), an alien military officer from Apokolips and his army of Parademons attempted to conquer and remake Earth through the combined energies of three “Mother Boxes”. They were foiled by a unified army that included Olympian Gods, Amazons, Atlanteans, humans, and Green Lanterns. After repelling Steppenwolf’s army, the Mother Boxes were separated and hidden in three locations around the world.

In the present, all the world is in mourning over the death of Superman (Henry Cavill), which has triggered the Mother Boxes to reactivate along with Steppenwolf’s return to Earth in an effort to regain favor with his master, Darkseid.  When Steppenwolf retrieves a Mother Box from Themyscira, Amazonian Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) warns her daughter, Diana Prince / Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), of his return by lighting the invasion fire located in the palace.  As a result, Diana joins Bruce Wayne / Batman (Ben Affleck) in an attempt to unite other Meta-humans.  Bruce Wayne goes after Arthur Curry  / Aquaman (Jason Momoa), a member of the Justice League and heir to the throne of the undersea nation of Atlantis and Barry Allen / Flash (Ezra Miller), also a member of the Justice League and a Central City University student, who can move at superhuman speeds due to his ability to tap into the Speed Force. Diana Prince tries to locate Victor Stone / Cyborg (Ray Fisher), another member of the Justice League and a former college athlete who, after being cybernetically reconstructed after a near fatal car accident, has powers that allow him to fly, turn his arms into cannons, and manipulate technology.  Once the team is assembled, they go into action to keep Steppenwolf from acquiring all three of the Mother Boxes, but fail.  The team receives intel from James Gordon (J. K. Simmons), the Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department and close ally of Batman, leading them to Steppenwolf’s army, based in an abandoned facility under Gotham Harbor.

As usual, I’ve said enough.  The story gets even more interesting and how the Justice League keeps Earth from being destroyed by Steppenwolf is exciting.  Flash and another member of the Justice League have similar powers and are always in competition.  There are many funny scenes, as well as  lots of muscle flexing.  Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) stepped up his role as Bruce Wayne’s butler, chief of security and trusted confidant.  Also Diane Lane reappears as Martha Kent and Amy Adams as Lois Lane.  Justice League is a great super hero film with an all-star cast and a good story to back it up.  I recommend it to all – check it out for yourself!
 

RACE (2016) – My rating: 9/10

RaceWell done Stephen Hopkins, Stephan James and Jason Sudeikis.  A horrible situation exquisitely acted and well told.  Race issues certainly fits right in to today’s on going battles of racism, hatred and bigotry.  Makes me think we’ve learned nothing in the last 80 years.  It was quite interesting watching the bigotry of the Nazi regime vs the bigotry of the USA.  In the end, money and power prevailed.  The same as today.  There are many, many lessons to be learned from a movie like Race but I fear we’ll learn what we always learn and so the beat goes on the same as it always has.  There in the 1930’s we have a man, deemed as the fastest human alive, who could escalate the US to new heights in the Olympic games and we have people on both sides hating the fact that “the man” is Black.  It doesn’t matter the accolades we (the US) are about to achieve, only that “the man” is Black.  Against all odds, we put him in the race but the country holding the games is worse than we are.  They hate Blacks but even more than Blacks, they hate Jews.  Having to sit through this racism made me sick and angry.  It made me want to jump into the screen and strangle those responsible for stirring up this bigotry.  The whole thing is just so senseless and stupid.  People fighting because they were born Black or Jewish.  How dumb is that and what a waste of time.  What is one suppose to do about who they are, as if there’s something wrong with who they are?  Jesse Owens should have been able to concentrate on nothing else but winning but instead had to deal with both this own country and the country where the races were being held discriminating against him.  After all was said and done, he couldn’t even get a job to support his family.  Here is a man who represented his country in the 1936 Olympics and won 4 gold metals but couldn’t get a job because of his skin color.  Then you’re criticized for being a lazy non-working bum.  This is a bitter pill to swallow.  Race really brought out how screwed up the society is and how willing we are to sweep it all under the rug.  A dinner was held in Jesse’s honor but he couldn’t go in through the front of the hotel where the dinner was being held.  He had to use the service entrance.  It’s very hard to sit through movies that cause us to relive this part of history, especially when it’s still happening.  I commend Jesse Owens for his abilities, achievements and for holding it together when most would have lost it.  Watching Jesse Owen’s struggles from the onset of  his career as an Olympian to his bitter sweet victory when a doorman wouldn’t allow him to come in the front entrance of a hotel where he was being honored was a reminder that there’s much work to be done.  Freedom begins in your heart.

Strongly acted movie with loads of historic information surrounding the 1936 Olympics and Berlin where the games were held.  The relationship between Jesse and his coach was extraordinary and the issues between the team and Jesse Owens was also very interesting.  “Race” is a movie worth seeing.  Performances by Jeremy Irons as Avery Brundage whose actions cost the only Jewish candidates their participation in the games and Barnaby Metschurat as the German Chancellor, Joseph Goebbels who said “do you expect Hitler to be photographed shaking hands with that” (that meaning Jesse Owens) were outstanding.