Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, as always, is tremendous as a Russian ballerina forced by her pervy uncle to become a spy. It’s J-Law’s most revealing role to date, and yes, I mean it THAT WAY. And it’s lavish. But a spy thriller should be FUN and this one is definitely not. It’s painfully violent- one scene was almost impossible to watch. And it’s overly long. Almost 2-and-a-half hours!!!!! Joel Edgarton co-stars with Jeremy Irons in a much smaller role, along with Charlotte Rampling, one of the more entertaining since she trains the young spies to use their sexuality- reminding them the state now owns their bodies. The most fun was Mary Louise Parker, who disappears way too soon. I really didn’t like this movie at all. The violence was way too brutal. It’s funny how some are saying this film is perfect timing with the #MeToo campaign while others complain the movie is the OPPOSITE of female empowerment. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 63%.
An R-rated version of the 1974 Charles Bronson classic, directed by Eli Roth, best known as a director for the “Hostel” franchise. Bruce Willis stars with Elisabeth Shue as his wife, along with Vincent D’Onofrio and Dean Norris, who played Hank in “Breaking Bad”. I didn’t see this one.
Stanley Tucci stars as a college professor who, after writing a best selling novel years ago, now has writer’s block. He’s in a decent long term marriage- Kyra Sedgwick plays his wife. But he’s miserable at work, teaching mostly untalented kids. So it’s not a surprise when he starts to fall for the only talented student he teaches, played by Addison Timlin (Sascha Bingham of “Californication”). But is she a victim or playing him? That’s the issue in this perfectly timed film. Janeane Garofalo has a smallish role as another college professor.
This is Israel’s submission to the Oscars for best foreign film, though disappointingly, it failed to make the cut. This was one of the best foreign films of the year. It’s a deeply layered movie that starts with a couple getting the tragic news that their Israeli soldier son was killed. There are so many twists and turns and sidebar stories. This is a treasure and a moving piece about the cost, on both sides, of the Israeli occupation. I loved this film. This is great filmmaking!!!