Geena Davis

REVIEW: Ava (2020)

Ava (Jessica Chastain) left her family behind years ago after becoming a deadly assassin who works for a black ops organisation. As Ava tries to reconnect with her mother (Geena Davis), sister (Jess Weixler) and ex-fiancé (Common), the repercussions of a job gone wrong make themselves known, she is forced to fight for her own survival.

Ava is a combination of two different genres – family drama and action thriller – and it does neither well. The family drama aspect is dull and while the thriller part is more convoluted with Ava’s mentor (John Malkovich) and employer (Colin Farrell) fighting over if she’s still capable at her job. By blending the two genres and plotlines, neither aspect is given the development it needs to be compelling. The family drama stuff drags, and the conflict between members of the black ops organisation feels out of place.

I’m a person of simple tastes and I’ll always like seeing actresses fight, and beat, guys in hand-to-hand combat, however a film isn’t a good film simply because it has that. The fight scenes are brutal, and Chastain often does end up covered in blood and bruises, but the sequences are so badly edited that they are neither easy to follow or engaging.

So often this films just seems to be going through the motions; Ava gets betrayed by her employers, she argues with her family, she gets in a fight or a shootout. It’s like the script was full of tick boxes of action or narrative beats but few of them connect with each other, so the overall plot isn’t cohesive or entertaining.

Ava is dull and generic, so if you like some mindless 90-minute action film then this would suit but it’s not memorable at all. Even though the scene with Chastain taking down a bunch of guys while wearing a backless red dress is pretty cool. 1/5.

REVIEW: Miss Representation (2011)

miss representation movie posterA documentary exploring the under-representation of women in media, especially in positions of power and influence in America.

Miss Representation is an accessible documentary for all ages. It has the opinions of teenagers, both male and female, as well as women and men from academia, the entertainment industry and politics. It’s a simple, a well-structured documentary but it is also exciting and empowering and the sort of film that can and should prompt important discussions.

The people involved in the documentary tell their own stories, there are many well-known people featured and their open and honest attitude towards the situation is refreshing. Women like Condoleeza Rice talk about often being the only woman in the room in the White House while Geena Davis and Jane Fonda talk about women in the film industry and how while a few tiny things have changed over the years, a lot of things haven’t and some aspects of the industry and how women are presented have gotten worse. It is often frustrating and upsetting viewing as you see how the media treats men and women so differently, especially in politics.

One of the great things about Miss Representation is that it also has some men talking about their experiences and how the media’s attitude to women has a negative on men and young boys. If all children see on TV is scantily clad women and women being treated as objects, then boys will grow up with an unhealthy attitude towards women. That being said, while it is important to look at the broader impact of how the media says women should look and act, the film never takes away from the social, political and emotional impact these images have on girls and their aspirations.

Miss Representation is an important film and while the current situation between women and the media may be bleak, it does offer hope for a better future. 5/5.