Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: AVA

Huh, what? Looking up AVA online, you’ll notice that this movie has some big name stars in it, such as Jessica Chastain, John Malkovich, Geena Davis, Common, and Colin Farrell in it. So why haven’t you heard of it? Because as of right now, until September 25th, it is a Direct TV PVOD Exclusive rental for $12.00 (that I thankfully didn’t pay for either as well as Mulan). And then I think it hits limited theaters and other streaming platforms for rent at the date I listed above. Why such a narrow promotion? Why is it exclusive to just this platform right now? Because the movie SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Oh boy is it bad.

Ava is a film that screams pay check and producer’s credit, as there is no fucking way that any of these actors and actresses accepted the role based off of reading the script. It doesn’t seem like there was a script as the story, plot and characters are riddled with cliches and are so paper thin. Per IMDB, it describes Ava as such: “Ava is a deadly assassin who works for a black ops organization, traveling the globe specializing in high profile hits. When a job goes dangerously wrong she is forced to fight for her own survival.” You might be asking, does the job that goes dangerously wrong, go wrong on purpose? Spoiler alert: Does a bear shit in the woods? Colin Farrell’s character is a high ranking leader in the same assassin organization that Ava and John Malkovich work for, Malkovich being slightly higher on that ranking list and why Farrell arranges the job to go wrong on purpose and him wanting Ava dead is the stupidest fucking reason I have ever heard of: simply because she talks to her victims before they are killed. Even though she never gives away any pertinent information, she just talks them basically asking if they know why people are paying her to kill them. It’s so so so fucking dumb, especially when she is a fucking lethal machine and is fantastic at her job. And that’s all the movie is, a job going wrong, assassination revenge plot story we’ve seen a billion times before.

But wait, there’s more bullshit side b and c plots of Ava still having family members that are alive: her sister, who is dating Ava’s ex (**eye roll**), and then her mother, played by Geena Davis, in the hospital because of a heart attack and eventually revealing to Ava that she knows that a certain incident that happened in an earlier time in their lives wasn’t their fault (**facepalm**). Oh and Ava has to take care of an $80K gambling debt her ex has (**slams head on table**). And all of it is resolved the way you think it would tacked on with a dumb ending scene that hints at a sequel that will never see the light of day. Take all of that horseshit, and combine it with lazy and terrible direction, awful smoke and gunfire CGI in some scenes, and awful, awful fucking sound effects. You know how assassins know some different forms of martial arts? Well they do that here, but the effects department must’ve had no budget at all, as it is the same loud and overly obnoxious “whoosing” sound effect used on every leg sweep, two-handed throw, and arm jab. I laughed it happened so often. Jessica Chastain is the only one that acts like they want to be there, as her performance is the only thing that is watchable in this. And I suspect she is the only one acting accordingly because she has a producer’s credit to her name on this one. The action isn’t, the story certainly isn’t, and the editing and pacing are sluggish even with a short 96 minute run time.

Colin Ferrell you can tell had the filmmakers cater to his wishes, as most of his role is inside and outside a cabin by the lake, probably one of his real life vacation spots. “Alright, I’ll do this other interior scene and another outside scene as long as they are filmed near by, and I can shoot most of my stuff around my cabin.” That other interior scene was obviously a set on a studio, as if you look out the windows of the hotel he is fighting with Jessica Chastain in, the background outside the window looks like a fast and last minute digital photography job, hastily edited so the background looks jarringly fake as they are moving about the room at different angles. And to make matters more head scratching, this movie is directed by Tate Taylor, who directed the great films The Help and Get On Up, but then also directed only okay ones such as The Girl On The Train adaptation and Ma. Ava is easily his most lazy and worst film. Like the bar is so low he’d have to resort to doing student films if he wanted to make a film worse than this one. Hell, some student films I’ve seen are better than this. So, if you just want to see Jessica Chastain looking gorgeous, acting bad ass, and a couple of scenes she’s either in a red dress or white tank top that reveals some amazing cleavage, that’s the only way I’ll recommend Ava to you. For the rest of you, I highly recommend that you skip this at all possible costs. All. Possible. Costs.

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Zach’s Zany TV Binge Watchin’ Reviews: SPACE FORCE SEASON 1 (Netflix)

Man…did SPACE FORCE pick the wrong weekend to debut or what, am I right? Not it’s fault though, but suffice to say that when viewing numbers for this weekend come out, I wouldn’t be surprised if Netflix, Greg Daniels, Steve Carrell and co. are disappointed with the ultimate results. Hope you all are staying safe out there and if you are protesting that you are doing it peacefully. Speaking of peacefully, I thought the show was going to have a lot more digs toward the government or those in charge of power, but everything was surprisingly tame and not controversial whatsoever. Which to be honest, was a little disappointing. Most if not all of the humor was tamer than some of the now tone deaf laughs that The Office gave us way back then. That being said, I still enjoyed Space Force for what it was and have to disagree with a lot of the critics that hated it. It is a different work place comedy from the creators of the ultimate work place comedy that people (including me) still binge watch constantly over and over again on Netflix (until it leaves that platform later this year, that’s when I’ll bring out the DVD’s!). While the show didn’t provide nearly as much laughs as I would’ve liked, the whole story was entertaining to me, and at least the first season was much, much better than the first season of The Office or Parks and Recreation. Remember how horrible those were but then those shows found their footing? Well if this show is already 10 times better than the 1st season of those shows, and it manages to find their footing in the next season or two, we could be in for something truly special. It remains to be seen, but I’m willing to give it a couple of more season chance. Right now it is passable okay bordering on good. And that ain’t bad.

Per Wikipedia, “Space Force┬áis a workplace comedy series that centers on a group of people tasked with establishing the sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces. Carell’s character, Mark Naird, is the general in charge of the effort and the series follows his collaboration to get “boots on the moon” per the orders of the President.” To add to that description, needless to say, almost all the people in this special sixth branch (excluding only a few) are a few thousand gallons of fuel short of a successful launch. Thankfully, Steve Carell is definitely not just playing Michael Scott with a rough military scowl, but an entirely new buffoon altogether, one that you could definitely say has more smarts than Michael Scott with the same amount of heart. Really none of the acting is a problem here, everybody plays a colorful and interesting character, but if I had to pick an MVP of the series, it unfortunately would not be Mr. Carrell, it would easily be John Malkovich. I haven’t enjoyed John Malkovich this much since his days playing an over the top character in movies like Rounders or Con Air. Here, he plays it straight, but he plays it so straight that its absolutely fucking hilarious. He is one of the few exceptions to all the dummies he’s surrounded by in the new special military branch (the African American pilot played by Newsome is a close second in terms of smarts and laughs). And when he disagrees with anybody’s thoughts on the next step to a problem they are having to solve, his facial expressions, demeanor and dialogue are pure comedy gold. If there is any reason to give this entire season a watch it is for him and him alone. Fortunately, he isn’t an ‘AND’ character and is second billed in the series, so he almost has as much screen time as Carrell. If the series ever didn’t bring back Malkovich, I would probably stop watching immediately.

The series is entertaining on a story level, especially the B plot that turns into the A plot at the end of the American Space Force vs. The Chinese Space Force. It is just that all the laughs are more chuckle worthy than laugh out loud antics (all the laugh out loud stuff is mainly just Malkovich). I’d say the jokes are hit and miss, about a perfect 50-50 ratio. If I had to pick my favorite episode out of the ten it would easily be the 2nd episode, which deals with a monkey and dog in space. That is the one episode that had me shaking the whole house with my laugh and didn’t just elicit light chuckles that wouldn’t shake anything but my tongue. The problem with the humor and jokes is that they didn’t take it as far as they needed to. They needed more controversial umph. Maybe they were afraid of retaliation of our current president that they didn’t want the attention? If so, that is disappointing, there was plenty of opportunity to make fun of the politics of it all and also make people laugh their asses off with some smart jokes. Instead, everything is played a little too safe. Maybe the showrunners will receive that feedback and not pull their punches in future seasons. If so, and they land those with brass knuckles right on the political satire cheek, this series will go places. Right now, it was good and not pretty good. I think the critics were a little too hard on it to be sure, but they do have a point. When you are the creator of two shows (Greg Daniels) whose first seasons were downright terrible but somehow overcame cancellation and ended up winning a bunch of Emmy’s with smart future seasons, wouldn’t you think the third time workplace comedy would be the charm? Apparently not. But this season was better than the first season of Parks and Rec and The Office, the last two seasons of The Office and the last season of Parks and Rec. And to me, that’s something to go a little over the moon about.