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Jessica Chastain headlines the tired thriller Ava

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Illustration for article titled Jessica Chastain sticks to her guns in the tired assassin thriller iAva/i

Photo: Vertical Entertainment

Note: The writer of this review watched Ava from home on a digital screener. Before making the decision to see it—or any other film—in a movie theater, please consider the health risks involved. Here’s an interview on the matter with scientific experts.


When cable TV goes the way of the laserdisc, movies like Ava will find their lifespans significantly shortened. Sure, there’s always Netflix, or Redbox, or watching a movie on a plane. But some films, particularly forgettable and generic action-thrillers, are basically made to run every Saturday afternoon on TNT. Directed by Tate Taylor, Ava is a napping-on-the-couch movie through and through, with recognizable names and a sexy premise but no distinct personality.

The film reunites Taylor with Jessica Chastain, who co-starred in his 2011 awards darling The Help. Since then, the director’s settled in to a journeyman groove helming middlebrow Hollywood potboilers like The Girl On The Train
and Ma. Meanwhile, Chastain’s etched out a power-femme niche of her own in dramas like Miss Sloane and Molly’s Game. Ava combines these two career diections, taking elements of the most popular assassin thrillers from the past five years and combining them with a signature Chastain role: a troubled but principled overachiever who uses cutting intelligence and stubborn determination to succeed as a glamorous woman in a violent man’s world.

Said glamorous woman be the title character, an ex-addict now working as an assassin for a vaguely defined “company” that has neither the menace of Killing Eve’s The Twelve nor the style of John Wick’s High Table, although the movie lifts elements from both. The former is reflected in the character of Duke (John Malkovich), Ava’s paternalistic “handler” (think: Killing Eve’s Konstantin) who advocates on her behalf to “company” higher-up Simon (Colin Farrell) and his daughter/protege Camille (Diana Silvers). Under Duke’s protection, Ava has been able to get away with the moralistic quirk of asking her targets to confess their sins in the moments before she kills them. (Why this is a problem if she still finishes the job is unclear, but Simon doesn’t like it.) But when an overseas assignment goes spectacularly—but not quite John Wick spectacularly—wrong, even Duke can’t talk Simon out of “closing” Ava for good.

This plot line competes with twin subplots presumably intended to give the story depth. Following that botched hit, Ava heads home to Boston to lay low. There, she reunites with her estranged sister Judy (Jess Weixler), mom Bobbi (Geena Davis), and former flame Michael (Common), all of whom resent Ava for disappearing for eight years with only the occasional phone call to reassure them she’s alive. The family drama gets more complicated the longer Ava is back in town, and—combined with the assassins Simon keeps sending her way—the stress of it all threatens to compromise her sobriety. On paper, this emphasis on character may have made Matthew Newton’s script appealing to Ava’s impressive cast. But combined with Taylor’s commonplace direction, the multiple subplots make the film play like a season of television condensed into an erratic, overstuffed 97 minutes.

Illustration for article titled Jessica Chastain sticks to her guns in the tired assassin thriller iAva/i

Photo: Colin Farrell

The unremarkable lensing and nondescript locations enhance the feeling that you’re watching a pilot for a series on a streaming service that you’ve never heard of, but one that has surprisingly deep pockets. Scenes set in an abandoned church that’s been turned into an underground nightclub have the intimation of John Wick’s baroque excess, and prolific TV and film composer Bear McCreary’s throbbing electronic score dutifully pushes the action forward. But neither is utilized with enough flair. Similarly, while there are a couple of cool shots of knives flying across the screen at improbable speeds that recall editor Zach Staenberg’s work on the Matrix trilogy, most of the action is choppy and uninspired.

Chastain isn’t the only actor who’s worked with Taylor again after The Help: Octavia Spencer, who actually won the Oscar for her performance in that film, played the title character of Ma with more commitment than the movie probably deserved. Perhaps where Ava goes wrong is that, unlike Ma, it never pushes its main character to heights of either tragedy or camp. The female assassin archetype has seen many variations since Luc Besson’s ’90s heyday—so many that a businesslike, “she’s a loose cannon, but damn it, she’s the best we have” isn’t enough to keep things interesting anymore. Even when there’s a tasteful spray of blood smeared across her immaculately lipsticked face.

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Radhika Apte reveals real reason why she got married

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Radhika Apte needs no introduction to Kollywood fans after her appearance as Superstar Rajinikanth’s wife in ‘Kabali’ directed by Pa Ranjith.  The intense actress impressed with her performance of a meek girl to a mother of a grown-up and especially her reunion scene with Rajini took the audience on an emotional ride.

Radhika is happily married to her British boyfriend Benedict Taylor who is a singer and she shuttles between Mumbai and London to balance her personal and professional life.

Radhika Apte in her most recent interaction with Vikranth Massey on social media from London has admitted that she does not believe in the institution of marriage.  When asked why she got married the talented performer replied that it is easier for married people to get a British visa and that’s why she and her man opted for it in 2012.

Radhika is currently chilling with Taylor in their London home during the lockdown and will soon start filming her next English film ‘Noor Inayat Khan’ in which she plays a spy based on a true story.

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Jacqueline Fernandez shares picture of her being in ‘happy place’

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Actor Jacqueline Fernandez is working on a secret project where she found herself in a ‘happy place’. Taking it to Instagram on Sunday, the 35-year-old actor shared a picture dressed up like a traffic police officer as she is seen laughing her heart out.

“How was everyone’s Sunday?? Fun project coming up soon! #myhappyplace,” wrote Fernandez along with a picture where she is also seen holding a coffee mug. The ‘Kick’ actor also shared a few Instagram stories of her getting ready for the upcoming project.

Recently, the actor extended gratitude to her fans after the number of Instagram followers hit the 46 million mark.

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Why an ‘active’ approach to risk modelling is key to navigating markets today

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Whether investors are aiming for a cautious approach or a riskier investment profile with the potential for higher returns, Architas’ Blended Fund range is designed to match a range of investor risk appetites. And like many asset managers, Architas predominantly uses two approaches to define asset allocation within the five risk bands used in the Blended Range – strategic and tactical.

Whilst risk model provider EValue’s quantitative approach to asset allocation takes into account the long-term performance of different asset classes and the likely future performance given current valuations, along with long-term measures of volatility and correlations with other asset classes. Yet as with most systems of its kinds, EValue focuses on the long term; it is unable to analyse short-term market movements and fluctuations. So whilst it would have seen that in Q1 2020 markets fell by a record percentage before rebounding, it will not be able to factor in the cost of the coronavirus and lockdown and its impact on markets. Similarly, it is not able to consider ongoing Brexit woes, geo-political trade wars or the outcome of the US election in 2020.

Click here for the full article and to access more about the flexibility of the Architas Blended Range by clicking on the box below.

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